The Childbirth Olympics

golden podium of top 3 winner isolated on white background

Hi, folks, we at the Extreme Sports Network are proud to be reporting from this year’s Childbirth Olympics. We’re especially fortunate to have world renowned childbirth expert Ima Frawde, CPM here with us as a commentator.

Ima, tell us about competitive childbirth.

Ima Frawde, CPM here. I want to start by thanking the Extreme Sports Network for inviting me to comment on this very important event. Many people may not know about competitive childbirth, but it’s an obvious outgrowth of our understanding about birth. We used to think that childbirth was about having a healthy baby and a healthy mother, but we now realize that birth as a piece of performance art whose goal is to perfectly replicate birth in prehistoric times.

In addition to her medal, the winner receives a golden pessary and a lifetime supply of Depends.

I like to think of the sport as akin to rhythmic gymnastics. In rhythmic gymnastics participants are judged on how closely they execute a variety of stylized moves and how closely they mimic each other. In competitive childbirth, the judges evaluate each mother for how closely she executes the pre-approved moves of competitive childbirth and how closely she mimics childbirth in prehistory as imagined by a bunch of high school graduates thoroughly ignorant of both obstetrics and history.

The competition involves 3 phases. Competitors are awarded marks in each area: each competitor receives risk points, the object being to enter the arena with as many pre-existing childbirth risks as possible. Basic individual risks —breech, twins, postdates, VBAC —- receive small numbers of points. The key in this phase of the competition is to combine risks for bonus points. Bonus points are also awarded for women who willingly expose their babies and themselves to above average risks —- like a history of a previous stillbirth, intrauterine growth restriction, or a history of postpartum hemorrhage. pushing for more than 6 hours, ignoring thick meconium, or failing to monitor the fetal heart rate for hours at a time.

The strategy in this phase is come as close as possible to killing your baby and yourself without actually dying. No, there’s no point penalty if your baby or you actually die, but you can’t brag about the award if you don’t live to see it.

The second phase, which we’ll be watching today, awards style points for how closely the competitor mimics childbirth in nature as a imagined by a bunch of ignorant clowns. Style points are awarded for prolonged latent phase (regular contractions for two or more days BEFORE labor really starts), arrest of labor lasting 6 hours of more (extra style points for going over 8 hours), and pushing for more than 6 hours (extra style points for pushing more than 12 hours). Style points are also awarded for how much food a woman consumes during labor (it doesn’t matter if she vomits it up later), how much time she spends in the fecally contaminated birth pool, and how many herb preparations she consumes. Bonus points are awarded for pushing for more than 6 hours, ignoring thick meconium, or failing to monitor the fetal heart rate for hours at a time. Giving birth in creative place, such as in the Amazon rainforest or on top of Mount Everest also merits bonus points. Additional bonus points are awarded for being accompanied by animals like dolphins or sharks.

The final phase awards points for defiance of authority, but don’t thinks it’s merely about refusing postpartum interventions meant to protect the health of your child. Competitors are judged both on the seriousness of withholding those interventions; as you might expect, refusing the vitamin K shot, which could result in the baby bleeding into its brain and sustaining permanent damage, gets more points than refusing the eye ointment, which might only lead to blindness. Points are also awarded for bizarre childbirth practices attributed to indigenous peoples but actually made up by white women like lotus birth or eating the placenta. Additional bonus points are awarded for tricky maneuvers like attempting to breastfeed a non-responsive baby, or breastfeeding while in hypovolemic shock due to hemorrhage.

The winner of the competition is determined by adding together risk points, style points and defiance points. The winner has the satisfaction of knowing that she met the highest standards fabricated by a bunch of ignorant clowns.

Wait, what? The baby? Oh, yes, a live baby can be an unexpected bonus of the Childbirth Olympics, but that’s hardly a requirement, especially because many women enter because they want to experience a “healing” birth after a previous loss (of the competition, silly, not the previous baby), as opposed to wanting another child. There’s so much more to childbirth than whether the baby lives or dies!

The prize? Thanks for reminding me. In addition to her medal, the winner receives a golden pessary and a lifetime supply of Depends, which is going to come in very handy when she develops urinary incontinence after the inevitable uterine prolapse.

What do the runners-up receive? They receive a consolation prize for failing to meet the high standards of the competition: a lifetime supply of guilt!

 

Adapted from a piece that first appeared in September 2013.

  • Maybe this right.

    Jamb runs 2018 and 2018 jamb cbt expo

  • Amazed

    Any news about the baby with the candy cane cord?

    • AA

      The dad has said that they took the kid to a pediatrician and the kid is OK/

  • Dr Kitty

    OT
    #2 is finally sleeping 11hrs straight through!
    A month ago we were at 1:30, 3:30 and 5:30 wakings, now we’re 7pm-6am.

    We tried a bit of everything- stopping overnight feeds, getting a musical nightlight, wake-to-sleep, but that still got us one waking at 4am.

    So we turned off the baby monitor, bought ear plugs for my husband and gave CIO a go. It took one night and 10 minutes of crying before he settled himself back to sleep and that was it (15 minutes was the limit I had set before I planned to go in). 10 days of sleeping through and counting!

    Everyone, including him, is happier with best quality sleep.

    He’s currently playing with #1. She’s barricaded herself behind a large piece of cardboard and they are apparently playing “Mulan and Mongols”. #2 is taking the part of the Mongol army- enthusiastically shaking the cardboard Great Wall and screaming at the top of his lungs while his sister throws paper “boulders” at him.

    • CSN0116

      We’ve turned the monitor off and the fan on full-blast before 😉

      Congrats!

  • Amazed

    Aaaaand…. we have a winner! The asshole drama queen on Dr Amy’s Facebook page takes all the gold medals.

    Two dangerous homebirths that should have precluded her from ever having a homebirth, let alone unassisted one, because she risked leaving her kids motherless? Check!

    Baby coming out with a horrifying detail, aka cord? Check!

    Baby displaying a sign of a problem? Check!

    Asshole taking to the internet for reassurance? Check!

    Asshole rushing to the ER to have her own precious self checked but being strangely vagued about baby and ER? Check!

    Asshole vomiting shit about the baby nursing well because that simply is the most important issue here? Check!

    Asshole sending brave hubby to defend her? Check!

    Hubby being the same selfish pig greatly concerned with his and wifey Facebook image, as opposed to his baby’s health? Check!

    Assholes backpedaling like crazy about what they said re: baby’s condition? Check!

    Fellow assholes whining about the disrespect shown to this wonderful mommy by an evil OB who violated privacy? Check!

    And an addition that I don’t have a category for yet: Asshole revealing to the world her son’s you-know-what condition? Check!

    She and hubby are the ultimate winners of the current edition of Childbirth Olympics. If the baby is in trouble, I hope the authorities will hunt them down like the beasts they are. They can’t claim they didn’t know. They know, they know and they whine about their poor, fragile persecuted selves, as opposed to their big strong baby. Usually, I have sympathy for deluded parents, although I am not looking to absolve them of all the responsibility because they were such sweet little children who just couldn’t help but listen to the woo. For those piggish assholes, I have none.

    Hope the baby makes it without a scratch.

    • momofone

      It is horrifying. I couldn’t go to sleep last night for worrying that that poor baby was gasping for air. I hope she’s ok.

      • Amazed

        For about a week, I’ve been listening to my 6 month old niece wheeze and cough. It’s horrifying. My brother says sometimes she can’t take a breath and then she just pokes her tongue out and doesn’t stir, and then they panic. Of course, she’s being treated. She’s much better now, Auntie’s Little Treasure.

        The nonchalance of those parents is terrifying. I so, so, so hope that little mite is OK. How they can think it’s no big deal, I’ll never know. And those sociopaths have other children. It isn’t likely that they don’t know how fast a baby can deteriorate, let alone a brand new newborn.

        • momofone

          It’s awful, isn’t it? The first time my son had croup I don’t think I slept for a week. We went immediately to the doctor, and he was fine, but I don’t understand how these parents can be so cavalier.

          I also found it interesting that the mother posted the photo and expressed her concern, but when people confronted her, she said it was no different than with her other babies when they were born. Apparently it was different enough to post the question and say she was concerned. Then to say that the hospital staff expressed no interest (or something like that) in seeing her baby–I’m willing to bet something big that that’s because she left out the parts about the striped cord and the grunting, or snorting, or whatever she’d revised her comment to say at that point.

          • Amazed

            Those people on Dr Amy’s page are saints. Saints, I am telling you! So caring and mild-spoken, all for the benefit of convincing the asshole to PLEASE make sure that her own baby isn’t dying.

    • CSN0116

      She’s also anti school, vaccines, and basically all of the human rights that her kids are entitled to, including staying alive.

      CPS needs to pay them a visit for about 15 different reasons.

  • demodocus

    No specific advice, but good luck from one IVFer to another! May our success rub off on you.

  • Irène Delse

    Totally OT: Today, I explained to my dad why those cranberry supplements my MIL brought him are unlikely to help with his bacterial UTI. He was obviously a bit disappointed, and now I feel bad for opening my big mouth. But I still think it was useful information for him. Ah, well. I’m the family’s nerd. No two ways aout it.

  • mostlyclueless

    OT: Blog from a former naturopathic doctor about naturo-quackery: http://www.naturopathicdiaries.com/

    • corblimeybot

      I love Britt Hermes so freaking much.

  • Mel

    OT-ish: Nico and I are expecting our first human-calf come February.

    I didn’t expect the first trimester to suck as badly as it did. I’m very, very grateful for Diclegis.
    The hospital we are giving birth at has had woo-elements introduced and our first meeting with the OB/GYN nurse was full of how great immediate skin-to-skin contact, delayed cord clamping, and a golden hour of togetherness with just my husband, me and Spawn.

    The OB nurse was a bit startled by my requests to
    1) Wipe the kid off before handing them to me. I dislike goo.
    2) Put the eye-drops in before handing the kid to me. I much prefer my kid not going blind and I’m not enough of a fool to pretend it couldn’t happen to us.
    3) Let’s clamp the cord normally and focus on collecting the stem cells for donation to the local blood bank, ok?
    4) I am not a sheep. I am a human and we bleed a hell of a lot more than sheep do. We’ve got years of family building time ahead of us – I’d prefer to be there for it in real time rather than worrying about bleeding out while holding Spawn for the first time….

    My OB is awesome and found my requests quite reasonable…..

    • momofone

      Congratulations!

    • Monkey Professor for a Head

      Congratulations!

    • Margo

      Good that you got to have your preferences respected…..there was a time when there was little choice around such matters as delayed cord clamping, stem cell collection, skin to skin. I don’t think those options such as skin to skin etc are woo ….they are just options. You are lucky that your hospital offers you a choice. I am so glad that you get to choose.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “I don’t think those options such as skin to skin etc are woo ….they are just options. ”

        Nah, they are woo. The definition of woo is when you take something and start claiming that it has near-magical properties.

        I’m all for “options”, I’m just sick of the hype and the lies.

        • AnnaPDE

          So, where did anyone claim that?
          Personally I just found it nice to cuddle my kid while being finished up on the operating table, should I have refused on principle? The paediatrician present wanted LO in the bassinet to check first, and that was fine, but the other possible one usually gets it dine while the baby is on mum’s chest — again, why complain if it works? Finally, here in Australia the eye ointment has been discontinued decades ago with no ill effects (there are prenatal infection checks for mum and postnatal eye checks for bub), so not sure how woo it is to go without.

          • valeriereinhard

            I’ve had 4 babies via C-section, and I’ve liked holding them while they finish up surgery simply because it gives me something to focus on other than, well, the surgery! Also, squee, tiny cute baby!

          • fiftyfifty1

            “So, where did anyone claim that? ”

            NCB ideology makes these false claims all the time. And sadly, it’s now being parroted by some medical providers (such as Mel’s OB nurse above).

            Skin-to-skin is fine if you want it. But mothers should not be told what they are now: that if you don’t do it your “breastfeeding relationship” is in jeopardy. Likewise, if individuals or whole countries want to use an alternative method to prevent neonatal blindness, that’s fine with me. But let’s not lie to women and tell them that the eye ointment will cause their babies to have blurry vision that will prevent bonding, ok? If parents want an hour alone with their baby, they can have it. But let’s stop telling women that it is a Golden Hour that cannot be replaced.

            Once again, I am just fine with “options”. What I am against is the false labeling of some options as being vital and magical (or cause for doom) when they are neither. And I’m against the shaming of women who don’t follow the NCB script…and then the gaslighting of women who have been pressured and shamed with “Oh, it’s all just lovely options. This was never pushed on you.”

          • Azuran

            Wait…..isn’t a newborn’s vision blurry anyway? Are there really NCB that pretend it’s because of the eye ointment?

          • fiftyfifty1

            yep and yep

        • Fleur

          The point where the hype around skin to skin loses me is the point where people like my antenatal class teacher start saying that skin to skin contact in the first hour after birth is the “fourth stage of labour” and is “critical” to the mother-baby bond. Then there are all the scaremongering blogs warning that there are hordes of delinquent kids with attachment disorders out there and the only way to prevent your baby becoming one of them is virtually non-stop skin to skin as a newborn. I know women who have ended up panicking that they’ve lost the chance to bond with their baby because they had an emergency c-section under anaesthesia or they had a major bleed and took ages to stitch up. That makes me very cross indeed. I’m not a farm animal and there was never any chance of my rejecting my baby if I didn’t get my scent on her right after birth. I know that’s not what all proponents of skin to skin are suggesting but, as always, some people always have to take it to ridiculous extremes.

          I was also disappointed to find that, contrary to what several midwives told me, skin to skin contact when my daughter was furiously upset did sod all to calm her down. In fact, both times I tried it, it earned me a punch on the nose.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “That makes me very cross indeed.”

            My goodness, but you are emotional! None of this is being pushed on anyone. Your friends should consider themselves lucky. It’s all just lovely options, not woo.
            (snark).

          • Fleur

            *grins*

            (And quite often that’s followed by the insinuation that, deep-down, you must know that your failure to provide immediate skin-to-skin/ breastfeed exclusively/ babywear was bad for your baby, because if you were really happy with it, you wouldn’t be getting so upset and defensive, would you? Gaslighting 101.)

          • guest

            When my son was an infant, picking him up when he cried (for reasons other than having a clear need) just made him cry *harder.*

    • Who?

      Congratulations!

    • Inmara

      Congratulations! May your next trimesters be as boring and uneventful as they can!

    • Amazed

      Congrats!

    • Dr Kitty

      Wonderful news!!
      Hopefully Nico’s experience with calving will at least mean you don’t have to worry about HIM passing out during the birth!

      • BeatriceC

        I don’t know about that. My friend’s ex-husband was an OB/GYN and had delivered thousands of babies before he and my friend had their first, and he still passed out when it was his own wife and his own kid.

        • FEDUP MD

          Eh, I watched my own c-section in the overhead lamp reflection. It was pretty cool. Looked like the other hundred or more I’d seen during my training.

          • valeriereinhard

            I tried to do this, but they had the overhead lamp turned in such a way that I couldn’t see anything of any interest. Luckily, my anesthesiologist was a gem and offered to take pictures for me. 🙂

    • Irène Delse

      That’s great news! May the rest of the trip be uneventful until the little one is there.

    • demodocus

      Congrats!

    • Deborah

      Congratulations x

    • Charybdis

      Congratulations!

    • Mrs.Katt the Cat

      Congratulations 🙂

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Oh, hurrah! I am so very, very happy for you both!
      This is one of those times when I wish that the Internet were real life, so I could get your address to send you my standard KOTB Handmade Baby Quilt gift without being incredibly creepy. :p (Why, oh why isn’t there some way to anonymize addresses…?)
      In any case, many, many congrats! Please do stick around as baby and time allow. As you know, this is a wonderfully supportive place for new (and not so new) mommies. Keep us updated!

      • Charybdis

        Not to mention we really, really enjoy the cow posts.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Yes!!!!!!!! Tell Baby Calf to nap regularly from the start so that we don’t have to wait on the cow posts, ’cause of course that’ll be your first priority when baby’s napping. :p Having a newborn is no excuse for denying us cow posts! (sarcasm, needless to say…)

    • MI Dawn

      Congrats! Hope you are feeling better and the next several months are smooth and happy. Enjoy!

    • Chant de la Mer

      Congratulations! So excited for you both!

    • chomps

      There are most definitely studies that support delayed cord clamping (http://tinyurl.com/gpfjk75), and there are most definitely studies that support skin-to-skin contact (http://tinyurl.com/zgrqz6s). Margo is correct. There used to be a time when routine procedures were not based on evidence, but rather on convenience for the doctors, nurses, and hospitals with a nice heaping dose of misogyny. You are very lucky to have these choices. Even if you consider them “woo”, they are not choices that will harm you or baby either way, and in fact, NICUs in hospitals now support skin-to-skin care for their premies, which would be an odd practice if it didn’t do something, right? My personal experience with delayed cord clamping, which you may feel free to discount as n=3 if you wish, is that all of my children had their cord stump fall off in 3-4 days rather than 2+ weeks as is considered normal, which, to me, has implications regarding healing.

      Regardless, there being no Childbirth Olympics awards cuts both ways.

      (Hi, I, a stay-at-home-parent, received prenatal care (glucose test and everything!) and homebirthed my kids with an ARNP/CNM who has hospital privileges, one baby was transferred to the hospital for a non-emergent gingival epulis removal, one was born in my backyard, another was accidentally unassisted; all APGAR 9. They all received Vit K/eye ointment/newborn exams/vaccines on-schedule/regular medical well visits with a real MD pediatrician. They slept on their bellies; I don’t make my own baby food or breastfeed past 18m.

      My close friends make all kinds of choices different from mine, and that doesn’t bother me. My point? You don’t have to be all in the crunchy camp or all in the mainstream camp. As a parent, you do what works for you, and, importantly, judgement doesn’t get you very far in life.)

      • fiftyfifty1

        “rather than 2+ weeks as is considered normal”

        If you think that 2+ weeks is the norm, it shows your ignorance.

        “another was accidentally unassisted; all APGAR 9”
        If it was unassisted, how was the APGAR determined?

      • corblimeybot

        I mean, do whatever you want. But I’m never going to trust homebirth Apgar scores. I’m waiting to talk to a single homebirth friend who didn’t say their baby had unrealistically high scores, even when they obvious complications like shoulder dystocia or mec. I think that most of us who’ve followed Dr. Amy for some time, have seen tons of homebirth babies who were in obvious distress, whose midwives had assigned them glorious Apgars.

        I’m just never going to believe that any individual midwife (even a CNM) is going to accurately call Apgars as well as multiple pediatricians. I don’t believe that two midwives could do it as well. I don’t believe a midwife and a doula could do it. I definitely don’t believe a mother can do it by herself.

        My kid’s Apgar scores were determined by a few pediatricians (and likely nurses, according to my husband who watched it happen) working together with a set protocol and strict timing of when 1, 5, and 10 minutes were called. They had no personal incentive to say they were better than they were.

        If your career is based around delivering babies out of the hospital, you have an incentive to inflate Apgars. People are having their child with you for the experience. They’re already largely true believers. If you keep delivering the experience in line with their beliefs, you get more business.

      • guest

        Actually, my NICU did not encourage skin-to-skin, and depending on the condition of the infant, it could definitely be harmful.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “There are most definitely studies that support delayed cord clamping”….
        But none in healthy term babies.
        “and there are most definitely studies that support skin-to-skin contact (http://tinyurl.com/zgrqz6s)”….
        to keep preemies warm when not in an incubator…
        Promoting these practices as essential when in reality they only have marginal benefits for selected high risk populations is unethical.

      • Mel

        As 50/51 noted, the studies you linked do not support what you want them to prove.

        The studies on delayed cord clamping showed some benefits for preterm infants. The one direct study on term infants showed no statistically significant difference in iron levels. (The reviewers of the paper deserve a hard slap on the wrist for allowing the authors to wave the “45% difference in iron levels between groups” as if it means something when it doesn’t.) The other paper is a Cochrane meta-review which squeaks out a statistically significant difference between the two groups that is too small to matter clinically.

        The linked studies for skin-to-skin contact are mostly under-powered case-studies supporting a connection between skin-to-skin and breastfeeding. Honestly, I doubt that skin-to-skin contact makes much of a difference in long-term breastfeeding success rates compared to other items like maternal milk supply, latching success of the infant and overall demands on maternal time.

        My umbilical stump fell off 3 weeks and 5 days after I was born. This was a godsend for me because as a preterm infant all of my blood draws were taken from the umbilicus painlessly instead of the heel like my twin sister had done. It also provided a much needed dose of light-hearted humor for my parents and the NICU staff (e.g., “Yup, we figure she’ll have it when she gets married at this rate.”)

        Delayed clamping, immediate skin-to-skin and reduced medical monitoring in the first post-natal hour were not presented as options for me but as requirements. In this case, I honestly could care less what other moms choose to do; that’s their choice and their prerogative. I prefer using the cord blood to help other people live rather than gain a tiny benefit in iron levels; I don’t need to clutch a baby covered in amniotic fluid to my chest when a towel rubdown, eye drops and Vitamin K are available immediately after birth; I don’t value alone time with my husband and baby over careful monitoring during the first hours after birth since I’ve known enough women who had potentially life-threatening complications develop after childbirth.

  • Deborah

    Lol – let the Games begin!
    Bonus points for dolphins and sharks – love it!

  • mabelcruet

    Don’t they get special optional bonus points:

    For a completely silent birth (as per scientology) so as not to upset the baby’s soul as it joins the body coming earthside?

    Or letting Ina May fondle all the ‘titties’ and all the ‘twats’ (her words, not mine) whilst delivering?

    Or for giving birth completely alone in a local stream that all the deer and horses crap in?

    I’m sure bonus points for sheer stupidity would enhance the quality of the sport!

    • mabelcruet

      Actually, you could have a cumulative point scoring system meaning that if you give birth in a stream in complete silence whilst Ina May tweaks various bits of your ladyparts you get triple super bonus and win the platinum boobie with diamond nipples award for best mama (or is that just for the breast feeding olympics)?

      • MaineJen

        The platinum boobie has to say “BEST MAMA” in big letters

  • Roadstergal

    Ouch. And brava.

  • AA

    She said many of her pacific island friends also had the view that
    hospitals were the best place for giving birth, a perception passed down
    from their mothers who saw hospital births as a western privilege.”

    I think they have a good point there.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/310637/more-nz-pacific-women-encouraged-to-give-birth-at-home

    • Roadstergal

      “She said her father’s presence in the home also gave her assurance.”

      Is he an OB? An EMT? A specialist in neonatal CPR?

      Oh, no, he just personally hasn’t heard of any home birth complications. So he’s reassuring.

      “Ms Palavi said because of the home birth, there were marked differences to the way her body healed and also the bonding she experienced with her second daughter in comparison to her first labour with her oldest child.”

      Because the only difference between first and second baby is the location where it happens.

      • Roadstergal

        Also – the ‘bonding she experienced with her second daughter’ was so much better than her first? What a shit thing to say in print, in public, about your first child. Think it, fine, vent to your friends, fine, don’t have it out there for posterity…

      • Fleur

        Yes, it’s mind-boggling how some women seem to think that giving birth to and raising their second child was easier because they had a magical healing birth, rather than because, you know, they’d done it all before. Not to mention that it’s a daft exercise to try to compare how “bonded” you are with two children of different ages who are at completely different stages in their development. My godson was an angry, jealous three year old at just the point when his baby brother was all lovely gummy smiles and contentment. Now, he’s a gorgeous, polite six-year-old who is so gifted academically that his teacher thinks he needs extra work, whilst his brother is driving the parents up the wall because he still wakes them up three or four times a night. (Their mum is a great mother who would never favour one of her kids over the other, but the likes of Modern Alternative Mama would probably have decided to write my godson off long before he grew out of his terrible phase, so she could start over with another new baby).

    • Irène Delse

      My family lived in Western Africa in the 1970s. My mother have birth at a very modern teaching hospital, where local doctors were training under supervision of Western doctors. Giving birth there was definitely seen as the best plan, both by white and black mothers.

    • Mel

      The insistence that giving birth at home increases emotional, spiritual, psychological and some other kind of safety boggles my mind.

      It may do so if you have a birth that is quick, has manageable pain levels and has no complications for mom or baby.

      The stories of agonizing labors that stretch on for days – even without other complications – would not make me feel safe. I mean, we intervene when the cows have prolonged labors – why the hell would I want to do less for me or other humans?

      • Charybdis

        Make sure you tell them you DO NOT WANT either the jack or the chains… 😛