I was considering the title of this post as a temporary tattoo for my trip to the hospital. Maybe just at the bikini line, with some helpful arrows?
I watched The Business of Being Born last night. Ok, people. The scary parts to me were the c-sections. They just kind of re-broke my heart each time I saw one. Nelly was right about the twilight sleep births being horrifying. I was looking for a link to do the work for me, but I guess I need to explain it myself, since I can’t seem to find anything as comprehensive on the internet on twilight sleep as the movie described it. Twilight sleep was marketed as a way to have “painless” births. Women were given an injection of morphine and scopolamine. Then they would be semi-conscious during the birth, feeling the pain, but would not remember any part of it. She’d just wake up a few days later with a baby and no memory of the birth. Sometimes women would scratch at people, bang their heads and scream, so the doctors would actually tie them up (with lambswool, so their husbands wouldn’t ask questions later) and cover their heads with some kind of cushioned pilllow-looking thing and leave them there in labor on their backs for days. Interestingly, women’s activists took the access to twilight sleep up as a cause, opening up clinics in America, because they felt strongly that women should have access to “painless” births. Any woman with as little as one women’s studies class under her belt is accustomed to discovering historical, as well as present, brutality against women. The present trend in some hospitals having as high as a 45% c-section rate is also brutal. But this brutality has a celebrity sheen to it, and one of those fake sparkles in the corner. Not only are c-sections escalating, but unnecessary inductions, as well.
There’s a British message board I visit about once a week, mostly for the week-to-week updates on fetal development. Unlike What to Expect, they don’t tell you all the horrible things that can go wrong, and they often have good illustrations. I occasionally scroll down to the comments to see what the other women in my week are feeling. Many of the comments make my skin crawl a little, like when they LOL at things that are not funny at all, or when they don’t bother to use any punctuation or capitalization– it makes me wonder why I bother trying to teach it to my second-graders. They often do have something happening in common with my pregnancy. I like that part.
Well last week, at week 37, I was startled by the huge number of women who were hoping for, or looking forward to their inductions. WHA? As Nelly pointed out to me, ultrasound machines give a person a plus or minus one week due date. So if you are a straight lady who does not know the exact day that she became pregnant, and you’re relying on an ultrasound due date, and you induce at 37 weeks, you could actually be forcing your baby to be pre-term. Why would you do that? Would you want to meet your baby so badly that you would put its health and well-being into danger on purpose? Could anyone possibly be that sick of being pregnant?
I loved watching the natural births in the movie. I could watch them again and again. I especially liked one in which the woman’s 1.5-year-old son, in his pjs, is tapping on her arm while she’s in the birthing tub having what appears to be a contraction. Then she reaches down and pulls out a baby. Weird and wonderful, I tell you.
During my poll about if I should watch the movie before or after my birth, I was surprised to hear from the lovely Co and Lo that my old childbirth educator a ‘la Cakie’s birth, had told them to wait to see it until after they gave birth. This was especially strange advice, since she actually made us all sit through at least eight extremely graphic, more so than the movie, birth videos. I think perhaps she didn’t want us to feel like failures if we did end up having to have c-sections or whatnot. Well half of us did, anyway. And nobody was happy about it.
I say all of this knowing full well that I am going to a hospital. Since I’m going near the knife, I may very well be cut. I don’t mind having a c-section. I do mind having an unnecessary c-section. I feel like I’ve done everything in my power, short of having a home birth, to avoid that. But just in case…
Here’s another tattoo I’m considering:
NO PITOCIN PLEASE. (Unless I’m bleeding to death, then go for it.)