Ricki Lake produced The Business of Being Born to show the other side of birth in America. It gives a short history of how the US changed from using midwives to doctors while other countries continue to use midwives primarily, and shows a midwife in action with her patients.
This documentary, produced by Ricki Lake and directed by Abby Epstein, opines that money and fear are changing the way Americans give birth, and not necessarily for the better. Beginning with shocking statistics that the United States has the second-worst newborn death rate in the developed world and one of the highest maternal mortality rates in industrialized countries….
….paints a dismal picture of American birthing and emphasizes the frequent overuse of medical procedures in what are otherwise potentially normal deliveries. Stressing the prevalent use of midwives in birthing in other developed nations (70% of births are attended by midwives in Europe and Japan, versus 8% in the U.S.), the documentary then follows Cara Muhlhahn, a certified nurse midwife in New York City, as she attends a variety of home births. The footage is candid and sometimes very graphic, showing various home-delivery methods, including water birth.
I was happy to see this side of giving birth because all I know from friends and family is the hospital experience, c-sections, being induced…and scariness. I don’t want a scary birth…though I know there will definitely be some fear when I’m in my last month and the reality that I’ll have to push a human out my nani really hits me. I do not have one friend or family member who had their baby and felt good about their doctor, the experience, and how they were “handled” in the hospital. That worries me.
I have always hated hospitals and from early on I knew I’d love to have a different type of birthing experience, but not so far from the “safety” of a hospital if there were any complications. It would be great to have a water birth or the option to be in a tub until pushing time and have doctors near as well.
As for drugs, I’d love something that would ease the pain some, but I don’t think I’d want an epidural…until the pain makes me delirious and I grab the needle and inject it my damn self…and I can totally picture that happening. I’d love to give birth in a place where they don’t even offer it to me and when I scream for it, they give me something else, and remind me that I don’t want/need it. (I hope I don’t murder the poor person who tells me that.)
I’m a looong way from having to make my birthing location decision but I’m glad there are options like the birthing center at Roosevelt hospital. They have a “home-like” floor with birthing rooms that have tubs for water birth, allow you to walk around, be free, have your midwife help you out….and…it’s one floor above the traditional ob ward so if God forbid anything goes wrong, boom, you’re right there for help.
I also watched this documentary, Pregnant in America that was on the same tip, but seemed to hold hospitals/doctors in an even more negative light.
I’m really glad I have time to think, digest and later decide on how my little one will enter this world.
How was your birthing experience? Did you go the hospital, home, or birthing center route? Did you use drugs? Would you do it differently next time?