“Birth Matters Virginia” Video Contest

Previously, I had blogged about the video contest sponsored by Birth Matters Virginia. Now that the deadline for new entries has passed, there are 44 videos in the running. In order to be considered for the contest, entries had to have a YouTube tag of “BirthMattersVirginia,” so it’s easy to find them. Here is the link to all the videos with that tag. I haven’t had a chance to watch them yet, but it promises to be good. Remember to vote for your favorite(s)!

Here is a video that was included in the facebook group’s links, but is not actually entered in the contest (perhaps because Dr. Buckley is one of the judges, and also appears in the video?). Enjoy “We Can Be Much Kinder,” a video about delayed cord clamping:


My take on 20/20’s “Extreme Motherhood” Show

There were five segments on this show (the links will take you either to the video itself or ABC’s write-up about it): 1) Orgasmic Birth; 2) “Reborns” — lifelike newborn dolls; 3) Extended Breastfeeding; 4) Serial Surrogate Mothers; 5) Homebirth and unassisted childbirth (UC).

Orgasmic birth? Yes, please! Who wouldn’t rather have an orgasmic birth than a painful one! Actually, for me, the birth itself was relatively painless; I’d just be happy not to have back labor next time. It was very interesting watching this segment of the show, because the women seemed to attribute their birth orgasms to lots of prenatal preparation — one woman specifically mentioned hypnosis, and the other women shown talked about being able to transform in her mind the labor sensations from “pain” to “pleasure”. Makes me want to start studying now for an orgasmic birth. 🙂 (No, I’m not pregnant.)

Reborns. I’ve seen these lifelike dolls before — back nearly a year ago, I was tag-surfing on WordPress when I saw a picture of what I thought was a baby, but the blogger identified as a doll. I checked out her blog, which had some fantastic close-up pictures of her dolls, and I was just amazed. They were so life-like — down to tiny arteries and veins in their skin! And I thought no more about it. I’m a little concerned about the women who treat these dolls as if they were people — much like I wonder about some people who treat animals as if they were babies or children. While I can deeply appreciate their maternal desires, I think they should find a better outlet for them. Even if they could not qualify as, or would not want to be, foster or adoptive parents, they could still find avenues to mother those who need mothering — a real-life person who could benefit from their care, rather than an inanimate doll who is no better nor worse for such treatment.

Extended breastfeeding — the meaning behind that depends on the user. I’d think most people use it for nursing longer than 12-18 months or so; as used in this segment, it was nursing children at 6 or 8 years of age. Not my cup of tea; but I could appreciate the mothers’ and children’s points of view when it came to breastfeeding. It was a little weird seeing those children over toddler age nursing, but unless there is some harm from it, I don’t see a problem. The only negative the psychologist could come up with is a theory that an older child being comforted by nursing could somehow interfere with his ability in the future to self-comfort. The negatives mentioned actually made me more of a proponent of long-term nursing, because what he said about older children I’ve heard frequently mentioned about infants and toddlers — basically a bunch of “what ifs” or “maybes” or “I thinks” without any actual data to bolster the opinion, and with evidence to the contrary (which would be these children’s older siblings who also nursed long times and were very well adjusted). Sometimes I wished I still nursed my younger son (about 2&1/2 years old), and frequently I regret weaning him when and how I did. Had I not weaned him, he probably would still be nursing, and might nurse for another year or so — just judging by his personality.

The “serial surrogates” were two women who were surrogate mothers multiple times — the American had 8 surrogate children, in addition to her own 3 children, before finally ending up with a hysterectomy; while the English woman had 12 surrogate children in addition to her own 2. Both women eventually became pregnant with triplets as part of their IVF pregnancies. Part of me agrees with the statement made by the English woman — “you do it once or twice and people say, ‘Oh, how nice of you to help these couples out’; you do it a lot, and people say it’s wrong. Why is that?” But, just as one might eat a doughnut or two without going overboard, one couldn’t eat the whole dozen without being identified as a glutton. There is a certain element of moderation necessary in most if not all aspects of life. While the American woman had only surrogate babies who were not genetically her own, the English woman had several babies by doing an intra-uterine insemination with the man’s sperm — using her own eggs. And one time, she ended up using not just her own egg, but her boyfriend’s sperm (she said they only had protected sex, so it was accidental) — so she did give away her own children, since she was a “surrogate” using her own eggs. She said her father was upset with her for doing that — giving away his grandchildren. She didn’t see it like that, but that is exactly what she did, every time she gave away a baby that was conceived from her egg.

The final segment was a combination of home birth and unassisted home birth. I didn’t like that there was no distinction drawn between the two. Especially considering the distinction that Ricki Lake and others who were involved in The Business of Being Born, make between the two — of supporting midwife-attended home birth but not unassisted birth — I was dismayed that this segment made it appear that she supported unassisted birth, and that her own home birth was unassisted. It was sloppy journalism. Probably, the producers of the 20/20 segment wanted to capitalize on her celebrity, but wanted to keep the “extreme” nature of UC, so accidentally-on-purpose neglected to mention that there were two different things under consideration. Furthermore, it made it seem like the only home births available are the “do it yourself” kind, as if home-birth midwives don’t exist! For many women who might like to give birth outside of the hospital, they might be turned off by the idea of home-birth if they think the only kind is unassisted. That doesn’t seem to make home birth more desirable or “normal,” if/since most women who might have a home birth would want a midwife to attend them. Finally, in the opening of this segment, they conjure up images of the Old West or of colonial times in America, making it sound like women had only unassisted births at these times. While it is true that numerous women must have been completely without a knowledgeable and supportive older woman, a midwife”, throughout the centuries, those were likely a tiny percentage of births. It is also true that in olden times, midwives didn’t have certain equipment and certain levels of knowledge that we have today (oxygen machines, pitocin, ultrasounds, sterility, the scientific studies now available), so old-time midwives were limited, compared to modern midwives, on just what help they could afford their friends, neighbors, and clients. Yet that doesn’t mean they were helpless or of no benefit. Modern midwives (as well as doulas) still use a lot of the same skills and techniques to help a woman through labor and birth, so that she doesn’t need a lot of the equipment and other paraphernelia available today. But we also have emergency services — including hospitals, ambulances, and C-sections — when the need arises. Which reminds me of another thing I didn’t like about the narration in this segment. They brought in Abby Epstein’s emergency C-section with the “but what if something goes wrong” in the background. Well, I think her C-section was an example of everything going right. Had she not been able to get a C-section when needed, that would be “going wrong”; but just needing a C-section is not “wrong” so much as “unplanned.” Had she been planning a hospital birth, complete with an OB her entire 9 months of pregnancy (or a little less since I think the birth was pre-term), and everything else happened just the same — she went into labor early, with a baby in breech position and small due to IUGR, would anyone say that “her birth went wrong” when she went to the hospital for a C-section?

“Extreme Motherhood” on 20/20 this Friday

At least, it’s supposed to air this Friday (I believe it still airs at 10 Eastern, 9 Central, but check local listings). The last few times it’s been scheduled, it’s been preempted at the last minute, so I’m not holding my breath. But, just in case it does, I’m passing along the info!

Here is what I’ve heard:

Segments include homebirth (both unassisted and midwife assisted), serial surrogates (women that have numerous babies for other women), “fake babies” (life like dolls), long-term breastfeeding, and orgasmic birth.

We’ll see what it ends up like. My expectations are fairly low, so I know they won’t be dashed, but I’ll be curious to see how it finally ends up.

Orgasmic Birth — Bumped Again

Now, it’s scheduled to run the first Friday in January — Jan. 2. I don’t think this is the first time it’s been bumped — I think it was aired to run a couple of months ago… and then a couple of months before that. I was excited that it was finally going to appear, since I got the announcement just yesterday (or the day before? — whenever) — it seemed like I heard so close to the “due date” that there was no way it was going to change. But, just like “due dates” for when baby is supposed to make his or her appearance, so “due dates” for when TV shows are supposed to make their appearance are only estimates, and can be changed. Sigh…

Actually, when I saw the fall-out on Gov. Blagojevich, my first thought was, “Oh, crap! I bet this is going to preempt the Orgasmic Birth showing!” Because I knew that the 20/20 things are set to run, and only late, important, and/or breaking news would alter it. So, I guess you get to watch “all the latest” on Illinois’s wonderful governor instead of wonderful birth-junkie stuff. Ah, well, maybe in January….

Orgasmic Birth to air on 20/20 this Friday

Here is the story from the announcement on ABC. The show airs at 10 p.m. Eastern.

If you watch the show, let me know (either in a comment here or on your own blog) what you thought of it. Have you seen the movie Orgasmic Birth? If so, what did you think of it, good or bad?

Birth videos woman ecstatic hospital

Yet another “search term” that appeared on my blog, which pretty much sums up this video. (I’m linking to it, instead of embedding it, because some people may be uncomfortable with this much female exposure even during birth. And since it would show up on tag-surfing, some kids might see too much.) But, if you’ve never seen this empowered birth video (and you’re over 18!), you’re in for a treat.

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The Best-Kept Secret

“What would happen if women were taught to enjoy birth rather than endure it?” poses the website Orgasmic Birth. The answer lies in the film of the same name, which follows eleven women as they give birth.

Think orgasmic or ecstatic birth is impossible? I know that birth can be empowering. On another blog I read in the past (and can’t recall where!), the author likened sex to birth in this way:

Is sex painful? Most women will say no. But all women will recognize that sex is painful or distasteful or otherwise negative for some women. In like manner, birth is painful, distasteful, or otherwise negative for most women, but for some it is not painful, it is pleasurable, and completely positive.

Think about it — if sex can be unpleasant or downright painful for some women but not for all, why then cannot birth be the same? There are many reasons why some women will not like sex; ditto for birth. But if you were talking to a woman who found sex painful, while you found it pleasurable, would you not want to give her tips or information on making sex better for her — enjoyable, even? So if a woman found birth orgasmic and wanted to share with you how that happened, wouldn’t you want her to share that information?