Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Business of Being Born




So I just finished watching The Business of Being Born, a movie about home birth and midwifery. I had heard various things about it, and was quite curious to see it myself. I also knew myself well enough to know that I would be best off not going somewhere to watch it within earshot of others.




Honestly, as a movie, I think that it was well done. Did it change the way I feel about things? No. I don't support home birth. Because do you know how many bad outcomes you have to be a part of to feel that way? One. And then forever more, the very mention of home and birth in the same sentence will conjure up immediately the image of a family completely devestated by an outcome that could have been prevented.




Is that the way that all or even the majority of home births go? No, it isn't and I know that most home births are exactly what the participants are looking for. Which is great for them; but their experiences added together still aren't enough to replace the one that springs to my mind.




I'm sure that everyone takes something different from seeing the movie. The thing that stuck out to me the most? They interviewed a physician about his thoughts on home birth, and he said that he felt 'having a home birth is no different than me saying to someone that they don't need a seatbelt in my car because I'm a good driver'. And honestly? I couldn't have said it better myself.

17 comments:

niobe said...

I completely agree with you. Yes, the vast majority of home births turn out just fine. But, but, but....I can't imagine how devastated someone would feel if she was one of the unlucky ones and her baby was injured or died because of her decision to have a home birth.

natalie said...

Or what if your baby needed immediate care after the delivery? It's a very risky decision.

HOWEVER, I did use a midwife and would completely use her again. She delivered M in the hospital with a L&D nurse in the room with us. She was patient and kind and very different from my OBGYN (who I adore very much and would have been very happy if he delivered M). After I delivered, she got into the bed with me and helped M nurse for the first time. M was with me for quite a while before they had to take her away for her shots, bath, etc. She was so gracious and very gently told me about M's club foot. I wouldn't change one second about my labor or delivery. I think I might try to go natural next time, but that's the only difference. (M's delivery was 85% natural--the epidural wore off and I dialated so fast that it was time to deliver her before I could get another one!)

Christina said...

I would be interested to see this movie myself. I do support more natural, holistic birth...but in a hopsital or birthing center where there is immediate access to everything should the need arise. Yes, most of the time if goes smoothly...but no one wants to be the exception to that rule.

carrie said...

Oh, I've been wanting to see that movie - not that we are going through the birthing process again, but it sounded like an interesting movie, for sure!

I had two completely natural births and had looked into home birthing - but we decided that it would give J. and I both more piece of mind to be in a hospital. We were still able to "steer" the births, and chose no epidurals, soft lighting, no pitocin, etc. But we also had the doctors there...just in case!

Brittany said...

Somehow I've never heard of this movie. I just watched the trailer, and I've decided I need to see it.

I like my drugs too much...so no home birth for me! ;) ha ha.

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desperate housewife said...

I haven't seen the movie yet (I REALLY want to) but I'm pretty sure this is exactly how I would feel about it. I support one hundred percent the push for a less "medical" approach to what is USUALLY a straightforward, natural process. But there are just too many variables for me to ever feel comfortable pursuing a natural birth at home.
I myself had my last baby with the aid of a doula, but we still went to the hospital and had a doctor present at the actual delivery. Which was good, because I had some severe blood loss issues, as I had with my first baby as well. Even if I had had my kids at home, I would have had to be transported to hospital both times for Pitocin, or even a blood transfusion, depending on how long the midwife would have had me wait it out at home first.
I also know of a family in our area that lost a baby on the way to the hospital because her cord was around her neck too tight at birth and they couldn't get her breathing at home. So tragic, and perfectly avoidable.

Swistle said...

I like what Christina said: it seems like such a smart balance of wanting to do it with as little help as possible---but definitely wanting help there if it turns out to be needed. No one really knows how a birth will turn out, which is why there used to be so many more sad stories than there are now. I know a lot of people think c-section = sad story, but the stories used to be significantly sadder than that.

Arizaphale said...

Your experience has obviously had a lasting and deep impression on you so it's understandable that you feel so strongly about the subject. I agree with Christina and feel hospitals should be funded to offer more alternatives. I had a great experience with a water birth and midwives at hospital and apart from wishing I had a pelvic floor left to speak of...I wouldn't change a thing :-)

jennifer said...

I've been wanting to see this. While I'm intrigued by home birth, it's certainly not something I'd do myself. As you said, there are just too many things that could go wrong.

Jodi said...

I could not agree more.

You know what else I hate, how the homebirth au natural people always shove it down my throat. You do it your way and I'll do it mine, ok.

Kimberly said...

So well said. I couldn't agree more. I for one wouldn't mind a less "clinical" environment to give birth in, but at the same time, I want the staff, medicine and medical equipment right there within reach if me or my baby needs it. No question about it.

Magpie said...

I really want to see that movie. Not that I wanted a home birth, but because I think generally that birth is over-medicalized.

Carrie said...

I haven't seen the movie either, but completely agree with your post. I was born at home, and my mom got really lucky that things turned out okay- she was in labor for 2 days with me, then bled a lot after they finally got me out. She admits that she probably should have gone to the hospital, but she was too scared of doctors and needles to do that. Fortunately, I was fine and so was she. And oddly enough, she had another home birth 3 years later.

Adding to my opinions on the subject is my own experience- my son was in distress while I was in labor, he got stuck after I pushed for 5 hours, and I ended up having a c-section. It scares me to think what would have happened if I hadn't been at a hospital.

Like the other people- I think that mid-wife assisted birth at or near a hospital is great, but you've got to be able to move fast if something goes wrong!

Summer said...

Not trying to start anything, but wanted to add my two cents. :)

It's true that sometimes horrible things happen during a homebirth and families can be devastated. Because of that low chance you feel that homebirth is too risky. OK. But, horrible things happen in hospitals. Women die, babies die, both die, infections are caught, the wrong drugs are given, too much drugs are given, the list goes on and on. Women have just as much a risk birthing in a hospital as they do at home, some feel more because of the increased interventions in the hospital setting. If homebirth is out because of the slight risk then so should hospital birth be out. So where do we give birth? Is there any place on this planet where there isn't a risk?

Where you have seen the results of a failed homebirth, I have seen doctors destroy families lives with simple mistakes, sometimes on purpose to make things easier on themselves, often able to sweep it under the rug if they can fix their mistake by telling the women he saved her life. I'm sure he did, but he was also the one who put it in jeapordy. That's why how you feel about homebirth is how I feel about hospital birth.

To the doctor's quote, he's only half right. To him telling a woman to have a homebirth is telling her to drive without a seatbelt because she's a good driver. But telling her to have a hospital birth is telling her to ride in his car without a seatbelt because he's a good driver and his car costs more.

dawnomite said...

This topic is so hot-button! I have lots of natural-childbirth advocating friends and I do feel it's the "in" point of view right now.

I had two c-sections (one unplanned, the second totally planned), a doctor I trusted, and very successful hospital experiences. I don't have any regrets.

Like one of your commenters, I do feel that the natural-way folks are pretty pushy with their views, but that's because it's something they're passionate about.

Like another one of your commenters, I feel that risk is everywhere, and accidents happen both in hospitals and at home.

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