Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Business of Being Born

My friend, Kara, watched The Business of Being Born almost a month after I went and saw the show at the Circle Cinema, so I suppose it is high time I get to writing about the film!

As some/most of you know, The Boy was born in Frankfurt Germany, and in spite of my best intentions, the birth did not go as planned. However, due to an amazing midwife, I feel like I had a wonderful experience. Knowing what I know now, would I have done some things differently? Definitely, but that does not change that we made solid decisions for the health of me and the boy, and I pushed him out unassisted.

I heard about The Business of Being Born (TBBB) from a blog I read, so I went to look up the places where it was showing. I was actually rather shocked to see that there would be a showing in Tulsa, but as soon as I found out the times, I asked a few friends to join me for some afternoon "fun." I knew going in that the film was very pro-natural, pro-home birth. (BTW-- if you are anti either or both of these, just stop reading now and continue your business as usual.) After watching it, and having Kara also point it out, I feel like I should mention that it is almost to the point of midwife propaganda, BUT there are so many facts dispersed in the film, that unless you choose to focus on that aspect, you should be able to take that with a grain of salt.

The film itself only solidified my gut feeling that we are allowing doctors...mostly men... decide when and how we will birth our babies. Not only that, but we are avoiding "nature" and scheduling our births for no medical reason! I know. I "scheduled" the birth of The Boy after he failed to show up for 12 days, and he was born on the 13th. That is one thing I would do over. I would have waited a couple more days to see if he would have shown up on his own.

In a time where the US's C-section rate is more than twice what the WHO suggests it should be for any country, the film is eye-opening and a breath of fresh air that au natural does not mean you need to be a hippie...or self-sacrificing. Quite the contrary. The US also has some of the highest infant and mother mortality rates in the developed world. Even honest doctors will tell you that vaginal delivery is safer than a c-section. After all, a c-section is a MAJOR abdominal surgery.

Now, before the c-section police get on my ass, let me be straight. I believe that the c-section has a place in our society and in medical care. In some cases, it is more than necessary. However, that percentage is rather low. Ladies-- our vaginas and bodies function just fine without medical intervention!

I skimmed over the home birth portion, but let me make a few statements on that too before I end this LONG post. I do not believe in the scare tactics used by American doctors to discourage home births. They have a financial interest in delivering babies, and they want no part in anything that would jeopardize their share of the market. A trained (and licensed in states where a license is available) midwife will be able to help you deliver a baby just as well as a doctor. If there are complications, only a crappy midwife wouldn't have a back-up plan. Not every birth goes as planned in the film either. This is another thing I would have changed. My midwife asked if I wanted a home birth, and I said no. If I were doing it again, I would say yes. I think it would have been a lot more relaxing, and a much nicer all around situation. I would have delivered in the bathtub I think... anyway...

Some final food for thought--

An uncomplicated c-section costs almost double what an uncomplicated vaginal delivery costs. Complications and drugs only add to the cost. Paying cash? Be prepared to fork over more than $10K.

Why not take an elective c-section and treat it as cosmetic surgery for insurance purposes? Or limit the coverage of an elective c-section to that of an uncomplicated vaginal delivery?

An article on the founder of lay-midwifery in the US.


katandkarl said...


very nice.

KaritaG said...

It's hard not to write a long post on that, hence my novel that you linked to! Great post. I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said.

Amanda said...

I feel blessed to have had two natural births in my hospital with my "however-you-want-to-do-it-Amanda" doc and a midwife. Four weeks from now I hope to add a third to that record.

Michele said...

I agree with everything you said....ladies lets get invested in our own birth experiences instead of just assuming the position that they tell us to !! It took me 3 births to get it right with the 4th, and I still learned more afterwards and still learning. I wish for all women to know that God created our bodies perfectly to give birth with no drugs (with obvious exceptions). Women you can do it with the support of other women who have been there. That is the way it used to be until men thought they could do it better...hahahahahahaha....since when????? Sorry I'm not trying to men bash but it started with them.

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