Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Orgasmic Birth and The Today Show:

Impressions of the two sensational reports

In reference to the controversial issues involved over our nation’s childbirth options, Beth Overton said

“The real power in changing things is to have mothers speak up. Otherwise this controversy is perceived as a turf war by providers.”

As an expectant mother, I have the responsibility to choose a provider that will care for me and my baby through pregnancy, birth and post-natal care.

Wait- there’s more than that. As a member of our community, I have a responsibility to listen to mothers- to hear what they want, what they consider safe, and what they know is right or best for them and their babies.

So, as I plan for the birth of my third baby, I pay attention when I get the opportunity to watch a movie like Orgasmic Birth. When I am referenced to a story on the Today Show entitled “The Perils of Home Births,” I pay attention. I study, observe, scrutinize and investigate the facts that are presented.

Here are a few of the things that made an impression on me from these video reports:

The hard face of the man who pulled on the attached-to-baby’s-head device during a documented vacuum extraction (Orgasmic Birth (OrB))

The special kiss shared by a couple as a woman experienced labor (OrB)

The sad voice of a mother, Kathryn McKenzie, as she regretted her choice for a midwife when her home birth experience ended in the death of her child. (The Today Show (TS))

The many pounds of baby (10lbs!) a woman was able to deliver through a positive, natural birth experience at home (TS)

The calm nature of a a little baby who just emerged from her mother’s womb and was welcome by the soft spoken song of her caring grandmother’s lullaby (OrB)

The intrusive yank a surgeon employed to pull a baby from an open stomach incision. The baby’s cry when it was rushed across the room away from its mother. The length of that foot-long looking tube that was crammed down its throat (OrB)

The presented fact that the rates of birth-related deaths are in direct correlation with the rates of c-sections. While the World Health Organization has found an optimal, safe c-section rate to be at 12%, the average rate of c-sections in the US is almost 30%- DOUBLE the safe rate (OrB)

The concern that hospitals often treat births like medical emergencies and may end up performing many unnecessary c-sections out of fear of malpractice lawsuits (TS)

Kathryn McKenzie’s lament, “I’d have a hundred c-sections over if I could just have my child in my arms. So c-section is not the worst thing. Losing our Noa was definitely the worse thing” (TS)

As I have just recently viewed these two reports, my commitment to mothers is renewed. I hope that I can help provide expectant mothers with accurate, honest information for safe options. I hope I respect individual choices that mothers make as they consider the specific locations and spiritual environments for their births. I hope that I recognize mothers’ devotion to and innate love for their babies.

As we consider health care reform, let us consider the expectant mothers of our nation. Let us listen to them. Let us hear what they wish for their babies and what they know is right for them and their families.

-Carrie K


  1. I am dying to see that movie, Carrie!

  2. The Silent War
    A reader (my sister) sent this to my email and agreed to let me post it. I feel that it is a pretty suitable response to my last post on Orgasmic Birth/The Today Show.

    I'm just going to state things as they are in my mind right now. I keep going back and forth. I feel like there is a subconscious war going on between people who support natural birth and those who support going to a hospital for the safety of technology. I'm trying to be understanding. I acknowledge that I am not an expert on the subject, simply because I do not choose to spend a lot of my time researching it and making it a large part of my life. I do however feel that because it is something terribly important to my sister, then it something quite important to me. Before my sister began speaking to me about natural birth and natural healing during her first pregnancy I had quite a poor view and opinion on 'natural' things. I have known a few people in my life that seem to have sort of ruined that reputation. And yet it's not ruined. Every time my sister speaks to me about natural birth, when she takes me to her hypno-birthing class, when she shares with me videos and her experiences with her own kind and caring midwife, I feel like that guard wall is lowering, and I see a brighter view on the other side than I expected. I appreciate that she has had wonderful experiences with her midwife. I appreciate her midwife. I've learned recently that midwives have to be certified, that they've had just as much learning experiences as doctors, just in different ways. I will admit that it was a little less-than-personal when I went in for my OBGYN checkups, and the fact that I found out that my doctor, the doctor that I had been seeing, the one that had implied that he would be there when I was delivering my baby, had left to help women in Africa without informing me he would not be present for my birth was a little startling. Even after all that though I would never change the experience I had with my first birth. My baby was born in a hospital, I was hooked up to all sorts of equipment, I had a breathing mask covering my nose (for crying out loud!) the entire time, and yet I felt the most comfortable I could have felt. The simple truth is, the stories of babies dying of suffocation in the birth canal while in a longer than planned home-birth haunts me. I appreciate the comment by Kathryn McKenzie, “I’d have a hundred c-sections over if I could just have my child in my arms. So c-section is not the worst thing. Losing our Noa was definitely the worse thing” . This to me is why I choose to believe, for me, a physiological birth is in the hospital, where I will be treated the way a hospital treats you. Which, by the way, is not as horrifying as some people make it out to be.

  3. This is why I feel there is a silent war. I had a wonderful hospital experience. The three nurses that attended me, before and then after the delivery were so knowledgeable, so caring, and so kind. I felt safe with them. After I had Eliza I was having trouble going to the bathroom for the first time since her birth (wouldn't ya know?). The nurse was so understanding. She had had children before, she was patient, and I felt totally comfortable with her standing there watching me squat on the toilet. Later that evening, right before her shift ended and she was going to go home she came in to help me once more. She made the comment, "Oh I'm glad you called me in this time. I was worrying I'd leave for the day and keep worrying if you were going to be able to make it to the bathroom."
    I don't know. I don't know that there is a right and a wrong to this issue. I would be terribly disappointed and hurt if the government reformed our health care so much that midwives were put out of business- if that choice was taken away from us. I think midwives actually choose their profession because they are truly passionate about it. I think the right answer might be that a woman, as a woman, has a divinely given intuition. I think that she should listen to her gut above all else. I think that if you are in the hospital and they are doing something you don't think is right, you should speak up. Likewise, if you are in a home birth and it is taking too long, or something seems wrong, pick up your bags and go to the hospital or call 911.
    There I think that's it. But I don't like thinking that one is better than the other. As for me, I will be having my next baby in a hospital, because that is where I feel safe and comfortable. Physiological.