Monday, March 24, 2008

Our new baby, installment #35

About 10 weeks after Harrison was born at home, my mother asked me to come down to Bellani Maternity, a boutique near her house, to watch a screening of "The Business of Being Born," Ricki Lake's new documentary, for which I was interviewed. What was special for me about this night was that my grandmother and my sister-in-law would be coming, too. Before we watched the film, my mother and I added up all the births among the surviving women on our one side of the family. My grandmother had three children. My mother two. My aunt 2; her daughter, 1; my sister-in-law, 1; and I had two. Out of those 11, 10 births were either horrendous, cesareans, or extremely painful. Only one birth was absolutely without complications and would be remembered for how simply wonderful it was -- the one that happened at home, with a midwife, my second child. Although my mother finally understands why hospitals can get in the way of childbirth, the results of our little mathematical exercise was still surprising. After the film, I mentioned the family statistics to my grandmother, who was unconscious during her births thanks to Twilight Sleep, and I think for the first time she, too, understood that birth could be better if we left it alone. It was a small triumph.

11 comments:

Meg said...

I just found your blog a day or two ago, and I've been catching up your birth story. Thanks so much for sharing--it's inspiring to hear stories like yours.

My husband and I have no kids yet, but I've long hoped for a home birth for when we get to that point. I've recently started to really dig into midwife and doula blogs and I've compiled a monster list of books (including yours!) that I can't wait to get to.

mommymichael said...

my grandmother didn't have a twilight birth with her two babies, however the nun slapped her face *after a 72 hour labor with my mother* and told her to stop crying, women were made for this.

my grandmother on my father's side had all 5 babies under twighlight sleep and almost died with her 3rd. They're thinking though that the OB did it on purpose because they came out, didn't let my grandpa see the baby, told him they already had a good home lined up for it, and that my grandmother would probably die. my grandfather fought to get the baby and my grandmother thankfully lived, and had 2 more babies, my father of which is the last.

my mother was determined to use lamaze when lamaze was "crazy to use", wanted to breastfeed when bottle feeding was the "in" thing and was told she was starving her baby.
i'm sure i naturally learned from her to do what i feel is right. when i first mentioned the thought of using hypnosis for childbirth, she mentioned how people thought she was crazy for using lamaze. "just do it. it may take a couple of years, but they'll come around"

Pinky said...

Tina

This is off topic. But I don't know if I ever told you that I really really liked your book about the history of birth! I have recommended it to a number of my coworkers. I thought it was very fair.

Judith said...

Hi Tina:
congrats on your succesful HBAC! Just wanted to add a resource I have not seen mentioned. There is a book published in 2003 called Sit up an take notice:positioning yourself for a better birth by Pauline Scott, the coauthor of Optimal Fetal Positioning together with midwife Jean Sutton. Sit up is meant for lay people and encouarges women to get to know their bodies. I gave this book to a doula and she told that women found the book very useful. It also has gorgeous photos of pregnant women in it!

Lisa Barrett said...

I like your insights but isn't it a shame it takes the penny so long to drop

Archana said...

I'm really enjoying your book a lot, especially because I'm expecting our first child! I did enjoy reading about your home birth experience, but I would appreciate more information about the increased mortality rate of home births versus hospital births, as cited by this Slate article about the Ricki Lake documentary (http://www.slate.com/id/2181860/). It seems like your book so far presents childbirth as an incredibly dangerous affair given human evolution...

jwrm said...

There's a screening of the Ricki Lake film the Business of Being Born in London on Monday. It's being put on by the Associaion of Midwives (or something like that). I'd like to go but I've got the baby so my other half can go instead!

Mama V said...

Wow.

Sara Faith said...

beautiful birth! i started tearing up while reading it. thanks for sharing.

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