Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Business of Being Born

This weekend, my husband and I watched the movie, "The Business of Being Born", a documentary of birth by Ricki Lake and filmmaker Abby Epstein.

Even more so than being just about birth, it was about ways to approach birth other than through a traditional hospital, such as home births and water births. Now, I'm not against hospitals, but the movie did show some pretty disturbing clips about how birth in American hospitals has become more of a "business" than a service.

It showed several home births, some in the water, some not. And, I don't know about you, but watching a woman push through labor and then hold her baby in her arms did more than just choke me up (even hubby was a bit emotional). After watching all of these very wonderful home births, my husband was very passionate about us having our baby here at home.

Although a home birth would be a great idea and I've heard nothing but fabulous stories from women around me that have had home births, I unfortunately do not have the option to do so at home (no one in my area that can do it). I've currently been seeing an OB who delivers out of a hospital. My first OB and I did NOT click at all. Every time I waited HOURS for her to see me for an appointment, I felt like she didn't even care at all if I was there or not. She was quite cold. I've recently switched to a new practice (one of the OBs there is in my Boot Camp Class) who has a midwife, but this midwife can not deliver, only the OBs can. Also, there are seven OBs in this practice, and I have to meet with all of them (one I know well) because they're never sure who will be there when I deliver. That's a little unnerving.

I do have some faith in our medical establishment, and the doctors in this new practice, but know now that sometimes, procedures like c-sections and medications can be pushed on women when they really don't want them (or need them). If possible, I also do not want either (I already have enough scars on my abdomen from a colorectomy and appendectomy and don't want any more).

So, I'm feeling that a Doula, someone to hold my standards of care and beliefs up when I might be at my weakest, will be the best option for me right now. Thankfully I do have those around me and am meeting with a few this week. Who knows, maybe I'll be able to have both a midwife and Doula, but for now, this is what I've got going on.

Anyhow, back to the movie: I highly recommend that women who are interested in the best delivery possible should watch this. There's also the book version if you'd rather read.

True, I'll admit that some of the movie is a bit sensationalized - they show some crazy clips of hospital deliveries - but take that with a grain of salt and just use the information to learn more about where you'll be having your baby and what options you may or may not have.

Awhile back I posted a study that correlated low blood vitamin D levels with increased rates of c-sections. Now, I'm highly doubtful that this is true (the writers of the paper had a really good statistician...) and the increased rate may be more to do with what this movie has exposed.

To read more about this movie, visit the website, or read a review from the Giving Birth Naturally website. Both have great information.

I wish all the women around me (there's about ten in my immediate circle of friends pregnant right now) a happy, healthy and natural pregnancy. With knowledge comes freedom. Learn as much as you can, if you desire, and do whatever you feel is best for you and your child.


Marni said...

I feel the same way as you (except no baby in my tummy now). I like the thought of being in my own element and going for the natural approach with help from others. Love hearing bout your journey :)

Vic said...

My ex-wife had a doula and midwife for the birth of our second child (yes, it was in a hospital, but in a private room set up especially for this purpose) - I highly recommend it! It was such a wonderful, wonderful experience.

Would be interested in hearing more about your colon surgery. I had a complete colonectomy quite some years ago and found that the medical *industry* made my life into the struggle it has been fort so many years (during, as well as post), by treating the symptoms with drug after drug - and never, ever looking for the actual source by looking at my body and how it functions as a whole. I am finding that it was all a matter of overall health and finding out what the body did and did not want. Unfortunately, too late for me to go back - but I'm a fighter. :-) I hope that in your case you are doing alright with the results of your surgery.

Sorry about going off on a tangent to an off-topic from your intentions of this post!

Doulas and midwives are awesome, but make sure you really click with who you choose.

All the best!


Cassandra Forsythe said...

Thank you Vic for your thoughts! :)

For my surgery, I had a colorectomy. The surgeon removed a foot of my lower colon and part of my rectum.

It took awhile for me to recover (at least 10 mos fully) and I'm now totally fine.

Send me an email and I go into more detail with you too (


Rayne said...

My partner is a midwife and although we had to have a hospital birth, we included a doula in the birth plan. It was the best thing we could have done (short of being able to home birth our third child). Ironically, I recommend the doula for the partner/spouse as much as I do for the mom. There's something about having another person you trust in the room with you! It was an amazing experience.


Jaya said...

Cass, I am so glad that you brought some attention to this film. I saw it ages ago and thought it was provocative...but in a good way! If you are interested in some academic work in this field, I highly recommend looking up an article about the rise of medical obstetrics (and intervention) by John & Sonia McKinlay. I've done some work on this topic (in Sociology) and it is amazing how the medical establishment displaced midwifery in the US (and the UK). In many countries in Europe, home births are still normal and much less stigmatized than here, in North America.
Hope you and baby are feeling great :)

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