I pull back the curtain and show the often ugly reality of homebirth

Close up of hand in white glove open the curtain. Place for text

In the world of homebirth, I am known as “Satan,” or “she who must not be named,” or worse.

Why? Because I pull back the curtain on the often ugly reality of homebirth.

Promoting homebirth (or natural childbirth, breastfeeding or attachment parenting) depends on commodifying a romanticized ideal. The clearest expression is the hiring of a birth photographer, a previously undreamed of manifestation of privilege.

I rip away the gauzy trappings and expose the ugly reality: an injured, dying or dead baby.

It isn’t enough to remember the event; it isn’t enough to have a partner or friend take pictures. A professional is required:

…[Her] role is critical … because she is fluent in the alternative symbolic orientations to and understandings of natural birth … [She] also provides her association and emotional support either by sharing beliefs about the experience or by affirming the woman’s right to assign her own unique beliefs to birthing. This seemingly simple service of association and presence is a critical social need in the context of extraordinary experiences and rites of passage that depend a shared cultural consensus for their significance.

The above quote comes from Great Expectations: Emotion as Central to the Experiential Consumption of Birth by Markella Rutherford and Selina Gallo-Cruz. They are referring to midwives, but the point also applies to doulas and birth photographers. It’s all about creating a carefully curated view of birth (or breastfeeding, etc.)

One of the reasons I inspire such a visceral reaction from homebirth advocates it that I pull back the curtain on such carefully curated set-pieces and expose the ugly reality behind them. And I never lack for opportunities.

It’s not simply that there are so many homebirth deaths and disasters that I can pick and choose. It’s that even mothers who have let their babies be profoundly injured or even die in the quest for the idealized birth experience try to make sense of that experience by romanticizing it (“born sleeping”) and boasting about it.

I pull back the curtain on that fantasy and expose the ugly reality:

  • A baby has been profoundly injured or died
  • The mother is romanticizing a catastrophic injury or death
  • The mother is still boasting about HER achievement
  • The incident is a cautionary tale for anyone else contemplating homebirth

Not surprisingly, that results in considerable backlash. WomenΒ have created manicured tableaux to absolve themselves of responsibility and I tear that away. They post tasteful, artistic, carefully curated photographs to convey their understanding with the symbolic orientations of the natural birth community and I rip away the gauzy trappings and expose the ugly reality: an injured, dying or dead baby and a mother who bears responsibility for that outcome.

Consider the most recent case where, fortunately, no one was injured. A birth photographer posted a dramatic photo of a baby falling into the midwife’s hands — literally. The baby fell a distance of several feet, the umbilicus experienced tremendous traction and the cord tore open, artfully spraying the field with the baby’s blood.

I reposted the picture on my Facebook page with a question. How do the same people who insist that delayed cord clamping is critical to ensuring the baby get it’s “full blood supply” suddenly find it completely acceptable to spray the baby’s blood everywhere?

Here’s typical response:

image

Gabrielle Hyde (I have no idea of her connection to the photo) writes:

Why post things you don’t understand. Were you there? You do know what happened? It was made aware it was perfect birth. Obviously you have no idea what professionalism is. And I will through my professionalism out there and call you a cunt. Please do not shame mothers, midwives or any other woman who knows how to make big girl decisions. You, in your old age, need to grow the fuck up.

And when I ignored it, she followed with this:

No response? It’s okay to tear people down and break someone’s soul? Yeah, okay. It’s time for you to retire. Birth is the most amazing experience a woman can go through and you tore it down like wallpaper. Get off the internet, because you have no couth.

Gabrielle wanted a response, so here it is.

The wording is remarkably revealing.

The birth was “perfect” even though the clown of a midwife let the baby dangle by its umbilical cord, tearing it open and spraying the baby’s blood everywhere. How can it still be “perfect” even though the baby was harmed? Because the baby is simply a prop in the mother’s piece of performance art.

The choice of words — “tear people down,” “break someone’s soul” — illuminates how homebirth is about building the mother’s self esteem; what happens to the baby is irrelevant.

Thank you Gabrielle for illustrating the ugly reality behind the carefully curated images of homebirth. I pulled back the curtain and you helpfully provided the commentary:

A perfect birth is one that soothes the mother’s soul, baby be damned.

  • Lisa

    What whack-a-doodles. Glad the mother didn’t hemorrage from her “perfect” birth position.

  • Sarah

    Speaking as a woman, I found conceiving my babies to be considerably more amazing experiences than giving birth to them.

  • Gretta

    The baby is a prop in the mother’s performance art.

    Chilling.

    Let that sink in for a minute.

  • Jennifer

    OT: But can we talk about this study please: http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2553447

    • guest

      I have a friend whose family are the snowflakiest of the special snowflakes, and her older sister is the specialest of the snowflakiest of the special snowflakes. When she had her one snowflakiest of the specialest of the snowflakiest of the special snowflakes kid, he wasn’t allowed to have dairy, meat, wheat, soy I think, eggs, maybe peanuts? just so he wouldn’t have an allergy.

      I always thought this was the STUPIDEST thing I’d ever heard, just from having allergy shots and knowing that I had to be exposed to these things to get over the allergy (obviously this doesn’t necessarily work for severe, life threatening allergies), so keeping him from everything he might ever be allergic to would practically guarantee he would be intolerant to at least some of it.

      But this friend also says she can only eat gluten not in the US because the US gluten is different and if it’s in another country it doesn’t count? And it only counts sometimes in the US? So that’s what I thought of when I read this article. Cool story.

    • TheArtistFormerlyKnownAsYoya

      I saw a similar study that concluded the same. Some people like to claim early introduction of solids causes food allergies but I’m not sure where that idea comes from as the studies I’ve found conclude the opposite.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    How the hell did a baby manage to fall seven feet out of the mother’s birth canal? Was she laboring on top of a curio display cabinet or a commercial refrigerator or something? How does this even happen??? smh

    • Mariana

      I was wondering that too…

      • Maud Pie

        I was picturing her straddling a hydraulic lift like they use in oil change places.

    • Canary0

      The word is “several”. Not “seven”. Just more than two.

  • Isilzha

    “Birth is the most amazing experience a woman can go through and you tore it down like wallpaper.” Not every woman wants our experiences defined by pregnancy, childbirth, or being a mother. What about all the women who won’t or can’t get pregnant? It’s perfectly fine to marginalize them. This crap does nothing to empower women.

    • Petticoat Philosopher

      Also, how depressing! The birth is the most amazing experience, not the actual parenting part? Meeting your child? Watching them grow up into adults and seeing what kind of people they turn out to be and taking pride in their accomplishments and successes?

      Nope, it’s all down hill from birth…what a shame.

      • Daleth

        how depressing! The birth is the most amazing experience, not the actual parenting part?

        Exactly. It’s like obsessing over whether your wedding was as perfect and amazing as you imagined it could be, and still obsessing five, ten, fifteen years after the wedding… instead of focusing on, um, your actual MARRIAGE.

        • demodocus

          you can always have a healing second wedding! Who cares about the spouses. obviously your relationship with the earlier ones is damaged because your wedding sucked

          • LovleAnjel

            This actually happens. People will do a vow renewal but have a whole ceremony and reception with the dress and everything.

          • Sharon

            Wasn’t it Heidi Klum and Seal, or Mariah Carrey and Nick Cannon (all spellings questionable because I don’t really care, sorry. LOL) that did elaborate vow renewals each year?
            FYI neither couple is married now.

          • Charybdis

            It was Heidi Klum and Seal.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            FWIW, I kinda/sorta get this. My BFF and her husband got married just out of college when they were utterly and completely broke. She wore a nice dress her mom bought her, there were fewer than a dozen of us at the church, and the reception consisted of going to see a movie afterwards. Which was fun, but not hugely memorable, y’know?
            They’ve planned for a while now to have a party for some anniversary that will make up for the lack of a wedding. No, not the whole frilly white dress bit, but definitely a cake, music, good food, etc, all to celebrate “we’ve been married for X years and we can afford a fun party now!”
            Recreating the whole wedding thing, complete with dress et all does seem rather silly though.

          • RudyTooty

            Omygosh. I love this analogy! Yes, how ABSURD to think that if your wedding isn’t perfect, then your marriage is screwed. It’s all about the golden hour of matrimony, and the cocktail of love hormones (maybe just the cocktails?), and your precious memories preserved by your photographer that make a wedding, and hence your ENTIRE MARRIAGE, great.

            FFS.

            But this is what the birth nutjobs are effectively saying, isn’t it?

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I just had a really, really horrifying mental picture.
            The Next Thing in the social media, one-upmanship age: Consummation Photographers! You’ll be expected to hire some poor sod to photograph the first post-wedding sex act, no doubt complete with extensive staging, lighting, and so on, all very tastefully (EWWWW!) splashed about on Facebook et all, complete with “consummation story.”
            You heard it here first.
            *seizes the nearest alcoholic bevvie, chugs appropriately*

          • Heidi

            Heh, birth photographers need to add the conception set to their services, too!

          • Lisa

            I was wondering if that was part of the deal. But, no, that would have to involve the father. It’s all about the mother.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            *cringe*
            You KNOW there are people out there who’d go for it…

          • RudyTooty

            Ack!

          • Roadstergal

            LOL. We were sooooo tired and emotion-ed out, we had a very non-photogenic (but absolutely lovely) post-wedding sexy time.

            (I guarantee you it won’t be a ‘poor sod,’ though. Said photographer will be paid VERY well for their services. Wedding photographers already charge up the wazoo…

            Okay, now you’re making me think of more wedding night parallel industries. Sperm encapsulation?)

          • kilda

            we were so exhausted, there were no sexy times. As I recall, I read Family Circle and he watched Walker, Texas Ranger.

          • Charybdis

            Preserve the blood and/or semen stained sheets, maybe? Turn it into a “tasteful wall hanging” or frame it and hang it above the fireplace? Make the used condoms into modern art or “icicles” suitable to hang on the Christmas tree? Make jewelry out of your combined secretions (like they do for breastmilk) so you can wear your mementos anytime and skeeve out others as you tell them about your “wedding night jewelry”?

            Yuk.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Sperm encap….
            Don’t give them any ideas!

        • Stephanie Rotherham

          I always figure that the happiest day of your life should be your 50th (or higher) anniversary, rather than the wedding.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My folks just celebrated their 60th Anniversary. More than 60 kids, grandkids and great grandkids (with spouses) in attendance. You think the wedding was better than that? I can’t imagine how it could be.

            My dad’s older sister was there. 99 yo. As well as the newest great-grandchild, 1 mo.

      • Mariana

        When I was a teen I had a really hard time fitting in at school and all. When adults said that was “the best time in my life” I just wanted to jump off the roof… I kept wondering if it all went downhill after that.
        I’m glad to say that being an adult rocks! And I’m happier at 37 than I’ve been at 17 or 27. Can’t wait for 47!

        I make sure to tell all my teenage students that. Being an adult rocks!

        • demodocus

          Amusingly, our high school entry assembly told us that, but when I was riding in on the bus, there was a big banner over the road saying the exact same thing to the college freshmen. (The high school was on the edge of the college’s campus)

        • MaineJen

          Seriously. Why do they tell kids that high school is the best time of your life? It is, hands down, the worst for 90% of the population. Some people “peak” in high school, but not many.

          I agree, my favorite age so far has been mid to late 30s. I’m turning 40 next year, here’s hoping it continues to get better…

          • Daleth

            Slight quibble: isn’t junior high/middle school even worse? It certainly was for me…

          • Roadstergal

            For me, junior high and middle school were the worst. I got into AP classes in high school and hooked up with the drama geeks, which made HS way better. College was great, grad school sucked, my job now is fantastic. I’m saying good-bye to my 30s with sadness in 3 days, because my 30s were amazing. Best time of my life.

          • LaMont

            YES. High school was a slog and I was ready to GTFO of there, but middle school was hell on earth for me.

          • MaineJen

            I think I’m conflating the two; my town was so small that we had one school for grades 7-12. Grades 8-10 were particularly rough.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Best time in my life? By far, post-doc.

            All the fun of research, and none of the responsibilities of grad school or being a director.

            It didn’t hurt that we were in Colorado.

            That was a wonderful time of life.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            PS High school SUCKED.

            College was a lot better than high school.

  • RudyTooty

    Eh. Just because I’m trolling the internet for birth stories. Here’s one that I came across after a 2 minute search. (Google “sacred midwifery” the bullshit just cascades onto your screen) Anyway, *THIS* kiddo is one I’m worried about – floppy, semi-conscious/unconscious, breathing or not, can’t tell the color due to B&W photo. But floppy and not breathing really gets me antsy.

    http://www.ourhappyheadquarters.com/blog/2016/9/10/eliza-grace-birth-story

    The story does confirm that there was a shoulder dystocia and resuscitative efforts.

    • Stephanie Rotherham

      …What the hell?

      • RudyTooty

        What the hell? Pretty standard homebirth fare here:

        – planned homebirth with a midwife of dubious credentials
        – birth space decorated with all sorts birthy kitchy thingies
        – birth photographer (duh!)
        – 2 weeks of prodromal labor
        – family and friends flew in for the big event from all over the country (just like your wedding day!)
        – probable dysfunctional labor
        – encourage to trust birth (via midwifery dogma or religious dogma, you choose)
        – substandard prenatal care and assessment
        – inadequate fetal heart rate monitoring during labor
        – waterbirth (of course!)
        – shoulder dystocia
        – neonatal resuscitation
        – assistant missed the birth!
        – LGA infant

        Smh

  • mabelcruet

    You know what this reminds me of? That horribly frightening image of the woman delivering at home in Brazil (I think), photographed by a homebirth photographer and she’s in the shower, crouching down, and all you can see is a bright purple hand emerging-arm presentation, at home, primigravid mum, and the midwife just watching.

    • RudyTooty

      It was a foot. But yes.

      • mabelcruet

        Still bad though-I can still see the purple-blue digits and the utter lack of ‘oh my gosh, this baby needs to get out ASAP’.

      • Sharon

        OH, much worse! πŸ™

    • Mariana

      Yes! I saw that! It made me shiver. Mind you… Ambulances are not as quick here in Brazil as in the U.S. Or UK (it seems to be a supply problem) .. If you are in a small city they may really few of them to start with.
      And not all maternity hospitals have children’s icu for children not born there (since there aren’t that many spots to begin with, so they’ll most likely be used by babies born in that hospital). Large private hospitals in large cities will have several icu beds and will be able to take a homebirth baby, but that’s not the case in smaller cities

  • Dr Kitty

    I had the kind of day where even though I’m not working tomorrow I’ll be phoning in to check up on a patient.

    Anecdote of the day- two midwives suggested my patient could wait 4 days for a scan because she wasn’t in pain or bleeding. Or I could send her through A&E, where she would wait for hours and *might* be scanned, if the on-call Dr felt it was appropriate- but as not in pain or currently bleeding and under 24 weeks,, no guarantees.

    For various reasons I won’t go into for confidentiality, I found that unacceptable.

    As did the SHO and Reg I insisted on speaking to, who were more than happy to see the patient within the hour, on the ward, without having to go through A&E.
    I didn’t even have to use my scary tone of voice or anything.
    They got it.

    So… woman centred, compassionate care provided by the Drs, not so much by the midwives, who thought that not knowing what is going on with your baby is NBD.

    • Elaine

      I had both my kids with nurse-midwives and it got me down that with baby #2 I went in for a routine checkup at 25 weeks and the midwife (who hadn’t seen me in several months; I’d seen one of the others in the practice) blithely said I was measuring small and should have a scan to see if baby was developing properly, and the staff would call me to schedule it… and then I couldn’t get in for 4 days, and called back to ask if 4 days was too long to wait, and was told via a message relayed by a nurse that this was fine. No hint of how likely there was to be a problem or how serious it might be if there were one or whether waiting those 4 days would make a difference if there were a problem or …? I just got to stew all week about whether my baby was okay. (He was fine, as it turned out.) Maybe that is standard? I wouldn’t know.

      • Dr Kitty

        This was about early pregnancy scanning clinics being fully booked, in a situation where “we don’t normally do this” somehow became “we can’t possibly do this”… until I spoke to the right people who said ” in this case, of course we can do this!”

        I couldn’t leave this lady for four days. In her case it would have been beyond cruel, and probably actionably negligent.

        This is not the first time this has happened- I explain my concerns to a nurse or midwife, who suggest a routine visit or a wait and see approach, then I speak to a Dr, explain my concerns and they immediately understand and make something happen ASAP.

        Maybe it’s a knowledge gap, maybe it’s knowing that the buck stops with you, maybe it is having the ability to bend protocols to suit the situation, I don’t know.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          I think you were the poster who said a month or two ago something to the effect of demanding that a healthcare professional be *documented* saying “In my opinion, Patient X doesn’t need Y treatment/diagnostic test/medication” tends to make them pause, say, “erm, nevermind” and order whatever it was that the patient needed.

  • demodocus

    Very off topic. The toddler is licking a bowl of eggplant and garlic puree (baba ghannouj the store calls it. Meant to get hummus). Guess I’ll need to get this again, lol

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Ohhhh, I LOVE baba ghannouj!!!! There’s a rather awesome middle eastern buffet* near me that makes all their food from scratch. Their made-in-front-of-you pita bread stuffed with b.g. and falafel with a side of roast lamb and kafta…heaven!
      *I’m told that some local people object to the relatively high numbers of recent middle eastern immigrants here, though I’ve never seen such behavior myself. Me, I say if their coming means more kafta and baklava for all, then welcome to America!

      • Sean Jungian

        Thanks a lot, now I am craving falafel and tzatziki on fresh pita oh man help me!

        • KeeperOfTheBooks

          Tzatziki! *drools*
          I used to live near a marvelous gyro-cum-pizza place run by an Armenian family. I wish I still did now that I have kids, as they not only made the best tzatziki-laden lamb gyros I have ever tasted, but also had a full bar, an excellent selection of beer, and–genius, this!–an assortment of not just high chairs, but *battery-operated baby swings.* Have a fussy baby, but desperately want a dinner out? Go there for some great casual food, and the owner will put a swing by your table so that baby can swing (hopefully) happily while you nosh.
          Brilliant idea, I must say.

          • Bombshellrisa

            That food sounds amazing and the part about the swing is what it means to be family friendly! Love it!

          • demodocus

            We were at a 2nd hand store today and my kids and i got so many dirty looks. I’m sure you all and your kids were angels, but my boy is an ordinary toddler having an ornery day. Bugger off.
            And the clerk asked if I was over 50 (they had a discount). Thanks, lady. all women in their 30s like that mistake.

          • Bombshellrisa

            We recently had that happen. At Disneyland. And I looked straight at the rude guy giving me nasty looks and said “this isn’t fun for ME either”. I held my stare until he looked away embarrassed. My little boy is 2 1/2 and he isn’t the first child to have a tantrum at disneyland. Of course, he doesn’t limit his toddler behavior, he has had tantrums at every place we go to frequently. I usually save the 2nd store for “me time” because I can’t look at things with him around. I wonder if people just forget or block out memories of what it’s like to have a toddler. One of my friends told me that I just needed to wait until my husband got home to go out to the store or run errands. Yeah right.

          • demodocus

            The librarians were really cool this morning about him. (he’s been ornery all day πŸ™ I would like to go places by myself, but Dem isn’t home until aftre a lot of places are closed. )

          • Bombshellrisa

            Same with my husband. We never know how long it will take for him to get home from work or what days he will work. If I waited to grocery shop until he could be at home while I did that, we would be hungry half the time.
            Don’t you love librarians who “get” the toddler behavior?

          • demodocus

            Definitely. They’re also gentle with me since I broke down crying in front of them last year when we were having neighbor trouble.

          • moto_librarian

            We try πŸ˜‰

          • FEDUP MD

            Yeah, I had an old couple giving me nasty looks because my kids were loud. At Disneyworld. Seriously. If you want a nice quiet alone adult time, going to the most exciting kid place in the world is the absolute last place you should go.

          • Bombshellrisa

            Oh my goodness, yes! We were in the queue for the Monsters in ride. That alone should give someone a clue that it’s going to be popular with the littles.

          • FEDUP MD

            Not only that, it’s Disneyworld. It’s not like a fancy restaurant, or a Broadway show, or some other adult oriented place. Going to a park intended for kids and then complaining about them being there is pretty dumb.

          • BeatriceC

            I usually just smile to myself and thank the stars I am past those days. Unless a toddler is physically hurting people or destroying property and the parent isn’t neglecting the child, it doesn’t bother me one bit.

          • Who?

            I often give the parents an encouraging smile. The kid will get older, the grouchy bores complaining will likely be grouchy bores forever.

            I have previously asked said grouchy bores if they were budded off, not born and raised like regular children. Since I can’t believe anyone so grouchy is really human, let alone was ever a child.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            I know, right?! If we lived in that town again, I’d totally make it a weekly or every-other-week thing to eat there as a family. Between the great food and booze and the owners’ obvious efforts to make everyone happy and welcome, it really couldn’t be beat for a family dinner out location. The owners were super sweet people, too–I hope they’re still doing well, because goodness knows they deserve to!

          • Bombshellrisa

            This is the difference between paying lip service to family values (families need to eat meals togethor!) and actually valuing the family. I know that if everyone was able to bring in a cranky baby, put it in a swing to soothe it and have actual support to eat in a restaurant, families that did choose to eat there wouldn’t feel like they were being a burden to others if their baby was a little fussy and they might actually be able to enjoy a meal out. The food you describe sounds amazing too, win win!

          • Megan

            That is absolutely fucking brilliant. I don’t use that word often, but it is totally appropriate here. The only thing that would make it better? A play area for toddlers complete with snacks. And a nice family restroom. OK, maybe I’m getting carried away…

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Agreed! I live four hours away now, but whenever other friends of mine (particularly parents) mention they’re doing a trip to my former city, I always recommend this place.

          • shay simmons

            they not only made the best tzatziki-laden lamb gyros I have ever tasted

            I used to live in Detroit. I now live in a village of 900 people in the middle of the upland corn prairie.

            YOU PEOPLE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS TO SUFFER!!!!

          • MI Dawn

            Greektown! Oh, how I MISS that place! New Jersey doesn’t have many good places and people ask for something called “Ji-rose” that’s spelled gyros. I cringe and shudder every time I hear it. But the Greek places have gotten so used to it, they nearly have a heart attack when someone (me) says it properly.

          • shay simmons

            There’s a sort-of Greek place in the county seat, 25 miles away. People here ask for JeeRohs, too.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Oh, I have some idea. *grins ruefully*
            I spent the first 13 years of my life in a town next to one of the east coast Ivies. The food and cultural opportunities were INCREDIBLE, and I was allowed a fairly ridiculous amount of freedom–would bicycle to the museums associated with that university and hang out there all day. Much though my homeschooling was neglected, I will say that unlimited access to both excellent libraries and museums taught me a lot about literature, history, and natural sciences, though the math and non-paleontology/earth sciences were pretty sorely absent.
            I then moved to, and went to high school for junior/senior year in, a town with a population of 1,000 in the Midwestern rust belt. Pretty much everyone was related to each other, and the local cuisine was limited to tracking down some poor, unsuspecting food item, coating it in cream-of-whatsit soup, and baking it at 350 for a couple of hours. *shudder*
            I literally left as soon as I turned 18, and never looked back.

          • shay simmons

            We’re only 55 miles from Champaign-Urbana, but two hours in the car is a bit of a stretch for a few slices of lamb.

          • Michael McCarthy

            ” but two hours in the car is a bit of a stretch for a few slices of lamb.
            When I lived in Columbus, I drove many times to Cleveland to eat at a car-hop place called Swenson’s. The food was meh, but the car hops were all cute college guys wearing small, tight shorts and tight t-shirts. To place your order, you had to turn on your lights so the game was to sit and decide who you wanted to wait on you and then try and turn on your lights at the right time. Okay, maybe it was a bit crazy but my friends and I enjoyed it.

          • shay simmons

            Why do I never hear about these places until it’s too late?

          • Michael McCarthy

            If you weren’t from the Cleveland area, you likely wouldn’t know about it. They are still in business if you ever find yourself there. Sadly, though, they had to start hiring girls as well.

          • JoeFarmer

            Speaking of Cleveland, what’s behind their near or at the top ranking for underwater homes? It was surprising to me.

          • Michael McCarthy

            That is weird. I don’t know.

          • JoeFarmer

            Ya, I get some financial news e-mail and it had stats from the new name for what used to be RealtyTrac. Cleveland, Akron and Dayton were at the top of the list along with Las Vegas. Seemed odd to me, too.

          • BeatriceC

            A friend of mine goes to great lengths to get beef tongue. He lives in Key West. It’s not available there. In fact, the closest place it’s available is about 20-45 minutes north of the tip of the Florida mainland (depending on traffic). It’s about 3 hours from Key West to Homestead, which is the southern end of the mainland. I used to buy some and bring it to him when I lived in Miami and travelled regularly to Key West. He’s a bit sad he no longer has a friend who both lives on the mainland and visits regularly.

        • MaineJen

          Staaaaap I’m still at work and can’t eat for another hour…

      • shay simmons

        I see no downside to this!

      • Mariana

        Ok… Now I have to cook tomorrow… Sunday is my day off from the kitchen… But now I must have homemade pita

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Next time try the hummus and see what he likes better.

      Then the next time, get them both and have him choose which one he likes better. That’s what we did with the dogs and their dogfood.

      Personally, I’m taking the hummus. Not a baba ganoush fan, although it’s fun to say.

      http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/weekend-update-segment—dana-carvey-and-tom-hanks-as-dennis-millers/n9994

      • Sean Jungian

        I like both but I LURRRVE hummus.

      • demodocus

        I already knew about his hummus love

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          So then it is obvious. Like we did with the dogs, put a bowl of each on the floor, and see which one he goes to.

          • demodocus

            Eh, I prefer hummus, so mommy wins

          • Roadstergal

            Latte (the high-energy dog) likes whichever one is closer.

          • D/

            Somehow I’m picturing this πŸ˜‰

            https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=oa0edCv2o04

          • shay simmons

            This could be our cat.

          • BeatriceC

            Or my Senegal. Little 135g bird eats almost as much as the 950g macaw.

          • Roadstergal

            That’s Latte!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            We had to make sure the bowls were exactly the same distance away, yes

    • Mrs.Katt the Cat

      Damnit, I just got back from the store and I have no hummus and this thread is reminding me how delicious it is. πŸ™ Mini would not let me eat it while prego, I was soooooo sad.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        I made homemade hummus for a while, until there was an unfortunate incident while pregnant involving misreading recipes for both tzatziki and hummus. As I recall, I misread teaspoon as tablespoon in relation to both garlic and salt.
        I can still gag just thinking about that, and can’t stomach the idea of making my own to this day! And me someone who loves to cook…

    • Dr Kitty

      It’s pretty cheap and easy to make yourself- prick eggplant with fork and grill/broil until skin charred and insides squishy. Scoop out insides and mash with a fork. Mix with crushed garlic (raw or roasted) tahini, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and parsley to your preferred taste and texture.

      You can whip up the tahini-garlic-oil- lemon base and divide it in two- adding cooked mashed chickpeas to make hummus to the other half.

      If you like it smooth you can use a sieve or blender, or just a fork or potato masher if you prefer it chunky.

      Those are my go to dips for cocktail snacks. I usually serve with pieces of toasted pitta bread, olives and mini falafel.

      • demodocus

        I already have made hummus, but sometimes I can’t be bothered.

        • Dr Kitty

          I *usually* can’t be bothered to make it!

      • Are you sure you’re not Israeli?

        • Dr Kitty

          My 25% Jewish heritage seems to mostly come out around food!

    • demodocus

      Apparently, I’m also causing cravings again, lol

    • Mariana

      This is SO easy to make! (And so is hummus). For baba ghannouj you roast the eggplant (cut the green top off and put them in a baking pan and toss it in the oven until very soft), cut it open and scrape all the insides with a spoon and into a food processor. Add 1 table spoon of lemon juice, 1 tbs of hummus (sesame seed paste), mashed garlic and salt to taste. Blend it all up and serve with olive oil.

      Hummus is cooked chickpeas (can be canned, but it’s better if you warm them before blending, it makes it smoother), humus, salt, lemon juice and garlic to taste, all purΓ©ed in a food processor. Serve with olive oil

      My mom’s family is Lebanese. We make these all the time

  • LovleAnjel

    I wish I’d had a birth photographer, I was in labor for over a day and pushed with a stuck baby for hours. By the time we got the OR I was exhausted and could barely keep my eyes open. I have no visual memory from it. We have a couple of pictures my husband took with his phone, but they’re not great, and I wish there were more.

  • Dr. Sara

    Hey Dr. Amy, off topic, but I haven’t seen an analysis of the breastfeeding – SIDS benefit on here or anywhere else, other than the study showing benefit for any breastfeeding, or for 2 months.

  • no longer drinking the koolaid

    I’m a retired home birth CNM. Yesterday a former client called looking for something that was in her chart. As I read through the chart I saw with fresh eyes how dangerous OOH birth can be. She had a quick, uneventful birth of a first baby. However, shortly after the birth the baby stopped crying, got dusky, and the heart rate began to drop. Fortunately, the baby responded quickly to some suctioning and a little oxygen. For me, reading that, all I could think was, “What of that hadn’t worked?”
    The mother still thinks it was a perfect birth. I realize afresh what a fool I was to have facilitated all those labors and births OOH. So many close calls and the mothers all remembering the “perfect” birth.

  • Madtowngirl

    “Birth is the most amazing experience a woman can go through and you tore it down like wallpaper.”

    Lolololol. Maybe birth is an amazing experience for some women. For me, it was very anti climactic. I’ve had many more amazing experiences than that in my life.

    Holding my baby for the first time, after she was cleaned up and deemed healthy enough not to go to the NICU, was pretty amazing, though.

    • Gatita

      I thought birth was really cool but raising my kid and seeing the awesome person he’s developing into is exponentially cooler.

      • BeatriceC

        Now that they’re teenagers, getting small glimpses into the men my boys are becoming is really amazing. Every once in a while I see something they’ve done and I’m just amazed at who they’re becoming.

    • Taysha

      I thought the best experience was when the kids took themselves to bed without argument.

      Fool me.

      • Kelly

        I thought it was when they could put their own shoes on or buckle themselves into the car by themselves.

        • Taysha

          OMG buckling themselves has been EPIC!

          Same for opening/closing their own doors. No more laps around the car!!

      • From the book, “What Dr. Spock Forgot”, which I haven’t written yet (but ought to), is that you want to throw a party when the youngest child is big enough to climb in and out of the bathtub unaided , so your back gets a rest, and when the children can get their own glasses of water.

      • evilhrlady

        No, it’s when they finally throw up in the bucket instead of all over the bed/floor/stuffed animals.

    • Roadstergal

      “Birth is the most amazing experience a woman can go through”

      I wish my mom were still around, so I could ask her about getting her PhD vs popping me out of her vag. I mean, yes, she loved me a lot, but the picture I have on the wall is of her in her matriculation garments, degree in hand, and she has quite a big grin going.

      • Angela

        How about the most painful experience?

        • Ceridwen

          I’ve given birth twice, gotten an MS, and am on the verge of my PhD. I’m pretty sure the academic degrees have both been substantially harder and more painful than the births! If we stick to only physical pain maybe birth wins out but it was still way easier overall, even the first time when it was over 40 hours long.

          Holding each of my kids for the first time has certainly been one of the most amazing experiences of my life, but that’s because I was meeting my kids. Not because of the birth. IMO, we devalue women when we tell them that birth is the most amazing thing they will experience. Women have so much more to give to the world, to themselves, and to their children, than birth.

      • momofone

        She must be thinking, “Wow–this is almost as awesome as giving birth!”

    • Sean Jungian

      Right? If that’s the most amazing thing I could ever hope to have experienced, that’s a pretty sad life.

      Having a child in my life has been one of the most amazing things to happen, I’ll admit – but that’s a long-term thing. The best thing about giving birth (for me) was not being pregnant anymore YAY!!!

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        Heh. I’m very short-waisted, and have 8+ pound babies. With both kids, when my OB asked how I was doing while in recovery, I gave him a goofy grin and said, “I’M NOT PREGNANT ANYMORE! I CAN BREATHE! THIS IS AWESOME!”

    • Fleur

      I’ve never met a woman in real life who described childbirth as beautiful or amazing, and I’ve only met one who described it as empowering. In my experience, when a group of mothers get together to talk about their experiences of childbirth, they compete over who suffered the worst pain, who ended up with the worst stitches and who can come up with the most gross simile for the birth process (“like pushing a watermelon out of your arse”). One of my closest friends is pretty into the woo in most respects, but her only advice to me about vaginal birth was “you’ll poop yourself in front of strangers and you won’t be embarrassed until afterwards because you’ll be so spaced out from the pain”. I actually think the whole crunchy idealised birth narrative is pretty much divorced from the experiences of the average woman on the street.

      • Mrs.Katt the Cat

        I peed in front of everyone. Didn’t trust my legs to get me across the room so I asked for a bedpan.
        “And now, you have all seen me pee. Contraction time!” gets quoted in my family

        • LaMont

          Family quotes/inside jokes are the BEST. I’m actively trying to compile my family’s set; I’m pretty sure we could speak for over 10 min at a stretch without saying a single comprehensible thing to the outside world πŸ™‚

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I’ve never met a woman in real life who described childbirth as beautiful or amazing,

        What these people always miss is that “Having a baby” is a beautiful and amazing experience, yes, but not because of HOW that happens. My wife will tell you that the c-section was an amazing experience, because of the baby that resulted.

        I consider the first child to be especially profound. One second, you are not a parent. Next second, you are. And your whole life changes as a result.

        When your next one comes along, your life changes again, but you don’t have the transition into parenthood.

        These are all transformative events, and you have the feelings that come with them. But none of it is contingent on pushing the baby out your vag.

        I can only imagine, but I would figure going to the hospital to pick up your adopted baby would similarly be a beautiful and amazing experience. Kids just are that way.

        • Sean Jungian

          Getting to meet this person you’ve been waiting so long to meet!

        • Tori

          Yes, exactly. I loved giving birth – but that was because of my son being the result, and that first moment if meeting him. Even now, it still makes me cry.

      • AnnaPDE

        That some woo-ish acquaintance confirmed the pooping part while explaining how great her tear is “almost unnoticeable” 3 years on was the last straw for me to not even try for vaginal birth and just go for CS right away. Of which the best part was the baby, but being transferred to the hospital bed on that hovercraft mat came a close second.

      • shay simmons

        Starting at 1:12 minutes.

      • Inmara

        I’ve met a few who described their birth experience as amazing (most of them were homebirths or in birth centers – which are a fringe practice here too, but at least with real, medically trained midwives), but I wasn’t there so I can’t say how much of that was reality vs. glossing over it, and how the birth REALLY went safety-wise. For me, the emphasis on “spirituality, empowerment, emotions etc.” during the birth is something I simply don’t get – but then, in these matters I’m very rational and goal-oriented (getting the baby out in a timely manner and being in the biggest hospital available was all that wanted). The first moments after birth WERE truly amazing, because it was so sudden and overwhelming, to hold a baby – and that’s what I remember from birth the most, not what kind of room we were in (it was small and packed with hospital equipment) or how spiritually close we were with midwives (we were not, and that’s fine – they were professionals doing their work, for what I’m thankful).

      • Roadstergal

        My experience is that when I bring up birth and then just listen, I do get a lot of that ‘natural’ shit coming through. I remember hanging out with two co-workers who were talking about their births. One (US native) had two epidurals with two fairly straightforward VBs. The other had two with no pain relief at home (she’s Dutch and had both children there, so she was default homebirth). She talked about how she had to wait long enough after her first baby to forget a little how horrible and traumatic it had been before she could even consider a second. But she still had this whole thing about how she was glad she went through it all and it was best in the long run and at least she didn’t have a C-section… without all of the Dutch midwifery propaganda, would she still think that? If she had been allowed pain relief, would she feel differently?

        And I’m still super weirded out by the birth announcement from a gal I know recently – her HUSBAND posted that they ‘managed to go all-natural,’ which sounds like mom was in agony, the baby was in danger, or both, and they ‘powered through’ and are proud of it.

        And even my sister – the oldest of my sibs, not exactly the most un-woo-y person I’ve come across, sadly – once repeated to me the whole “Go in on Friday, they’ll give you a C-section just so they can go home” BS.

        So it’s definitely out there.

    • corblimeybot

      Biological essentialism again. The most amaaazing thing that can happen to a woman is childbirth. None of her other accomplishments matter in comparison, nor does the actual child who is the outcome of childbirth. Typical of these morons.

  • Azuran

    OMG that could have been SO bad. I’ve seen cases in dogs where the cord got pulled following birth complication and it snapped directly on the umbilicus, resulting in either massive hemorrhage or the puppy’s gut just falling out of it’s abdomen. That baby could have died.
    But of course, they don’t care. And they dare to call this perfect? Any doctor would be sued if he dropped the baby and caused this. But if it’s a midwife, it’s normal and beautiful.

    • Sean Jungian

      You forget, they label home births that result in a dead baby as “perfect” too…

      • corblimeybot

        IT IS BEAUTIFUL because now you can cultivate your image as a tragic mama struggling against the complete uncontrollable forces of fate! You now can join the select club of TRULY strong mamas.

        • MaineJen

          …but how does that square with “be prepared and be in control of your birth!”?? (Thinking of a comment I saw on here recently)

          • RudyTooty

            Yeah, homebirth midwifery is rife with contradiction.

            Don’t think about it too much.
            Just trust.

          • corblimeybot

            Birth is completely uncontrollable and “babies just die sometimes” when shit hits the fan. Homebirth is responsible for all good or acceptable outcomes, and has no responsibility for bad ones!

            I do think that some of these women view a dead baby as part of their “survivor warrior mama” merit badge collections. If they sacrifice a child to their beliefs, it just proves how committed and strong they are!

          • RudyTooty

            I really believe it’s reckless midwives who perpetuate this belief instead the mothers who sought out midwifery care because they saw all this gorgeous birth photography of homebirths, were told that home birth is “as safe as, if not safer” than hospital birth, they maybe had some kind of crappy experience in the hospital, and once they entered the realm of midwifery and woo-town, they were sequestered and fed oodles of lies and myth about the beauty and perfection of birth.

            After a birth where they lose their baby, they have to sort out what the hell happened… and for a while they may cling to the BS that was fed to them by the NCB community.

            It really is a rare human being who values a birth experience over her own baby. That is a pathological and extreme psychological condition, and I just don’t buy that many women feel that way.

            Midwives, on the other hand, should know better. They promote reckless birth because they aren’t going to lose their own baby over it, just their client’s baby. And, you know, they’ll blame the mother for 1) not trusting birth, 2) not doing her homework, and 3) not accepting her responsibility for the risks she took by hiring the midwife in the first place.

            Oh wait, but home birth *is* as safe as hospital birth… until you lose your baby with a homebirth midwife, then it isn’t, and you just didn’t do your homework. You listened to your “professional” midwife.

            I have deep and wide compassion for women who’ve lost their babies in home birth with midwives. I don’t fault them for trying to make sense of the horror they experienced at the hands of a midwife they hired and trusted. They’re trying to tell themselves a story that is not as brutal as the truth. Which is was they were duped, seduced, and serenaded into believing all the bullshit of homebirth and midwifery and they paid the ultimate price for it.

            This problem of valuing the birth experience over the baby is primarily a problem of over-zealous, under-trained homebirth midwives, not the people they prey upon.

            NCB is like a cult.

          • corblimeybot

            In general I agree with you, and in general I think NCB midwives and their ilk are the actual agents of evil here. Anecdotally, I’ve seen lots of homebirthers who were nice enough people, but just had no clue in hell how poor their choice really was.

            But (also anecdotally) the homebirthers I know all acknowledge the baby has a higher chance of dying at home. They just don’t think anything bad will ever happen to them, because they’re better than other women. Not because they think homebirth is safer. They acknowledge that it’s not. But THEY are better than other women, so nothing will happen to them.

            I know that they think this, because they bring it up pretty often. When bad birth outcomes happened to their friends (home or hospital), it was always their friends’ fault in some way. When iffy outcomes happened to themselves, they simply
            pretended they did not happen.

            Third anecdote: The woman I know who said that her child dying at homebirth was an regrettable but acceptable price to pay, to avoid the hospital. She asserted that if her child died, it was the hospital’s fault for not making her comfortable enough.

            And Dr. Amy has posted some truly breathtakingly heartless reactions that women have had when their child died in a homebirth. I’m always surprised when I go through her archives. There are women out there who absolutely do not give a shit about the kid, and absolutely do view the child’s birth solely as a fulfillment experience for themselves.

            I also don’t think we can underestimate the economy of narcissism and public performance of “womanhood” that goes on in NCB. The theatrics are real, these people are real. Every homebirther I know publicly narrated her birth in some way, and sought adulation for it. Everyone of them has made homebirth a BIG part of their identity.

            More to the point, they all promote it for other women, making them part of the problem. They cluck their tongues at other women who chose the hospital, as if to say, “Oh, poor you, sorry that you’re so weak! I did better than you did, but not everyone can be as great as I am.”

            It’s also, in my view, their baby who pays the ultimate price. The mother may also have tremendous suffering and regret, but the kid is dead. They’re the ones who had their futures stolen from them.

          • corblimeybot

            And honestly, it shouldn’t be that surprising if some women appear to value their child’s birth primarily for their own fulfillment. It’s very common to devalue children. Child abuse is common. Horrible, unloving
            parents are common. It’s also common for people to treat their kids like irredeemable disappointments, when they don’t live their lives according to their parents exact wishes.

            In other words, it is reasonably common for people to not value their children throughout their lives. Or to view them as extensions of their own desires, rather than real human beings. I do not see why it’s hard to believe that people would view their babies that way, as well.

      • mabelcruet

        And homebirths that result in a dead baby but was carried out because the mother had previously had a hospital birth are labelled as ‘healing’ and ‘perfect’. The dead baby is just a prop in the performance.

  • Cody

    “…but the point also applies to doulas and birth photographers. It’s all about creating a carefully curated view of birth (or breastfeeding, etc.)”

    I agree. Some of us doulas and childbirth educators are trying to fight this. I think this phenomenon is most evident in the growing popularity of courses such as hypnobirthing. I have no problem with the meditative, relaxation portion of this philosophy, but what I do take issue with is the following:

    β€’ Complete avoidance of any kind of discussion involving medical intervention or complications. “Only happy birth stories please, my baby is listening”

    β€’ Parents being told that people who don’t have successful hypnobirthing experiences probably didn’t practice enough.

    β€’ it only hurts because you believe it’s going to.

    How is this childbirth prep?

    I became a doula to help women have a less shitty experience, I think I do well at that. I did not become a doula to try and coerce women to birth a certain way or pretend that birth is something that it isn’t. I am part of a very small lonely group of doulas.

    • RudyTooty

      THANK YOU CODY!

    • BeatriceC

      At one point I considered training to become a doula to add an evidenced based voice in the sea of woo. I eventually decided against it, but the thought was there. Thank you for doing what you do!

    • Roadstergal

      “Only happy birth stories please, my baby is listening”

      …seriously??

      • Cody

        Hahahaha, ya. They hand out buttons that have that quote written on them and tell parents that if some one starts talking about birth negatively, you are to repeat those words.

        On the one hand, I hear parents retell their birth stories all the time and they are frequently incorrect, and I get that pregnant women don’t want to be terrified with the worst stories possible. But this is actually the tip of the iceberg in hypnobirthing. You are only supposed to focus on the outcome that you want. It’s like a perverse form of the visualization that athletes use. Hypnobirthing instructors do claim a comparison with sports related visualization, but I think one of the main differences that no one ever points out is this; if I visualize myself running a marathon successfully, it might make me more relaxed on the big day, and put me in a positive frame of mind, but it won’t make my legs longer, get rid of my asthma, or guarantee that I’m not going to injure myself. It’s the same with birth. That might not be the best analogy, but you get the idea.

        • Sean Jungian

          “You are only supposed to focus on the outcome that you want.”

          Oh wonderful, “The Secret”-slash-Prosperity-Gospel rears its ugly head yet again. The very best in victim blaming – if anything happens other than what you WISH REALLY HARD FOR, then you just didn’t try hard enough.

          I would love for this bullshit to disappear.

          • Cody

            This program has been around for ages, but it has exploded in popularity recently, at least in my area.

        • Roadstergal

          “Don’t tell the marathon runners that if they feel chest pain, leg pain, or severe shortness of breath, they may wish to consult the medical support staff. Only positive marathon stories! Your lungs are listening!”

          I still can’t get over ‘my baby is listening.’ I talk to our dogs now and then, and I always scatter in some variation of “Y’all speak English, right?” It amuses my husband.

          • Sean Jungian

            It’s just so teeth-shatteringly precious I feel like I need an insulin injection…

          • Roadstergal

            “My baby is listening. Use pig latin for the dirty words.”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Wong tong fong?

          • Cody

            Almost. They cover their asses. It would be more like this, “we want to encourage you to have a good realationship with your medical care provider, so by all means, talk to them if you have any medical concerns during the marathon. You do need to trust your instincts, you know what is best for your body and your marathon. However, we do find that often the complications that some runners have could have been avoided through more affirmations in preparation for the race. Often we feel lung pain during the race because others have described their own lung pain during past marathons. Have you seen your chiropractor lately?”

          • Mel

            Huh.

            So my twin and I were born at 28(ish) weeks with twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome. I am absolutely, freaking positive that we never heard about that prenatally because very, very few people have heard of TTTS today and it was even less known in 1981.

            Since my parents found out that there were two of us AFTER the doctors discovered that I was vertex while my sister was transverse on top of me, I think we can safely assume Sis and I managed that mess on our own without any outside suggestions.

            Mom had no idea that a rapid, unexpected birth of the vertex twin when no ORs were available would cause the doctors to do a total breech extraction of my twin sister. (And I think she preferred the inhaled anesthetics to Hypnobirthing during the extraction, but I can’t be absolutely certain since she was never trained in Lamaze let alone Hypno before we were born.)

            I am also sure that my mom never gave developing a case of pre-ecclampsia that the doctors were deeply concerned was going to devolve into ecclampsia several hours after we were born. She’d never heard of pre-e and had no idea it could happen after the baby was born.

            Did someone tell my sister that she should kill off most of the nerve cells in her cochlea? That seems like an odd thing to tell a baby. If they did, why did she listen to them and I ignore them? Honestly, I’ve always been more of a follower than she is. And it’s pretty impressive that someone managed to explain how to develop hypertonic cerebral palsy to me and hypotonic cerebral palsy to Sis as premature infants. Maybe they used those board books?

            Oh, and there was that freakishly rare birth defect that killed my brother. He was born without a spleen; all his other organs were in great shape. We’ve yet to run into anyone else who was born without a spleen who had all other organs in great shape. So….I’m pretty confident no one told David to clot off his splenic artery during fetal development. And, honestly, I think he was smarter than that even during fetal development.

            Yeah, I don’t buy any of that. I don’t blame people for not wanting a rough outcome for their children, but seriously, don’t create some bullshit that blames my family for our misfortunes to make adherents of whatever the birthing fad of the moment is feel safer.

            Because truly you don’t know what your future brings. I can think of much worse outcomes than the ones our family had.

          • Charybdis

            I talk to (and for) my dog all the time. She pays more attention and obeys better than DS does. But “my baby is listening” is just barking mad.

            Seriously, whose kids listen to them when you want them to? They hear the whispered conversation between you and your husband that is taking place in the bathroom with the fan on and shower running where you are discussing what to get DS for Christmas, but they *don’t* hear you telling them to get their shoes out of the middle of the floor when you are standing right in front of them.

        • Young CC Prof

          It’s one thing when pregnant women interrupt gory birth stories to say, “I get that this is going to happen, I’d rather not hear horror stories right now.”

          It’s another thing entirely when you go around literally denying that anything bad even might happen and refusing to take any precautions against problems.

          • LaMont

            My family is very weird, but we’re fans of what I like to call “morbid/catastrophic speculation,” and none of our blowing-off-steam craziness has ever materialized just because we dared say it might. If I ever get pregnant, it’s going to be “what will you do if ” *all the damn day long*. It’s like living in a consulting case interview.

            Actual Convo:
            MaMont: Hey kids! I’m looking at wills and stuff, and I realized that if I go first, your father could remarry and have more kids!
            PaMont: Hey kids! Did I tell you about the time your mother *went crazy*?

          • Young CC Prof

            See, I like what-ifs. When I was pretty small, my parents did a “fire drill” in which we discussed how to escape from every room in the house, including the upstairs. My takeaway was not to start being afraid that the house might catch on fire, but more “Probably won’t happen, but it could, and now I know what to do!”

            I find a well-thought-out hypothetical solution more reassuring than a thousand promises that something won’t happen.

          • Kelly

            Me too. I call myself a realist and it makes me really good at organizing people and events.

        • BeatriceC

          I generally refrain from telling my pregnancy and delivery stories to first time mothers because my experiences are far from the norm. That said, women should still know what’s really going on, including the fact that things don’t always go right so they’re prepared in the event that things do go sideways.

      • SporkParade

        Let’s just say, it was pretty clear we were going to be the flunkies of the hypnobirthing class when the teacher asked how pregnancy was going so far, and our answer was, “Great! The fetus at 30 weeks now weighs more than my husband’s birth weight and I now weigh more than my husband. We had pie to celebrate.”

        • Cody

          Did you find any portions of it useful? Is so, which parts? Did you think parts of it were BS? If so, which parts?

          • Megan

            I actually found the book “Mindful Birthing” more helpful because instead of being cheesy and full of biological essentialism, it was more exercises for relaxation and focusing (which would be helpful in a lot of situations, not just childbirth). I still think that childbirth is very painful and there is definitely no shame in an epidural, but for those women who, for whatever reason, would like to avoid that, I preferred that book far and away over the Hypnobabies home study course.

          • Cody

            I agree. I think that there is great value in relaxation exercises. Any tough situation is made a little easier when people remain calm.

          • Kelly

            Having had a very quick birth the second time around, I wish I had some kind of relaxation tricks to help me until I got the epidural. I was expecting to get one before it got too bad but it got bad quick.

          • Cody

            It’s always good to have a plan B.

      • mabelcruet

        In 1986, Neighbours (an Australian TV soap opera) began showing in the UK and immediately become cult viewing. It was on twice a day-lunchtime and then repeated later in the evening and a few months later, there were reports of newborn babies who were being soothed to sleep when the theme tune came on, and the media was full of theories about how they were remembering being in utero whilst their mother was watching TV. I’m not sure how much of the tune got through on top of bowel sounds, maternal heart beat and all the other noisy internal processes, but I always quite liked the idea.

        • Sean Jungian

          When I was pregnant I was working at a place where I had up to 20 hours’ (not exaggerating) worth of meetings per week. One of the Directors was at a lot of these meetings and he loved to talk and talk and TALK. It got so that in my later pregnancy my son would be asleep but would immediately start kicking and rolling around when he heard this man’s voice lol.

        • Roadstergal

          That’s where we got Guy Pearce from, isn’t it? Baby-soothing or no, it has my gratitude.

          • mabelcruet

            Oh, definitely! He was cute when young and is utterly gorgeous now.

        • Monkey Professor for a Head

          Going off on a tangent, I wonder whether it’s true that babies can taste what you eat via amniotic fluid and breastmilk. I’ve heard it said a few times before, but wasn’t sure whether to believe it. I really struggled initially when we started my son on solids as he was very fussy. My husband and I eat a lot of spicy food, but I would usually make something different for my son as I didn’t think he could handle it. One day he refused to eat any lunch, and I assumed he wasn’t hungry. But when I sat down to have my lunch, he toddled over, grabbed a handful of rice and dhal off my plate and downed it with great pleasure. Ever since then I’ve just fed him anything we eat (with milk or yoghurt on standby for when it’s too spicy), and his eating has been much better. So anecdotal, but maybe it’s true.

          • Young CC Prof

            The food on Mom’s plate is always better. Even if they were poured from the same pot 30 seconds ago.

            Stealing my food is how he learned to eat meat, veggies and rice. Before he could even walk, he was crawling around, pulling himself up and trying to steal from my bowl.

          • mabelcruet

            I dare you to ask your obstetrician to carry out taste tests at delivery! I know some women eat really spicy curries as that is rumoured to precipitate labour, so having a quick taste test at the time of delivery might confirm your hypothesis. You’d have to have a control group who only ate very bland food. You could get a bunch of wine connoisseurs to see what they can detect and see if it correlates with maternal diet.

            On a related note, isn’t ejaculate supposed to change taste if a man eats something spicy or garlicky? Apparently fresh pineapple makes it more palatable…:)

          • Azuran

            Really weird train of though from that.
            Since asparagus makes your pee smell weird. And amniotic fluid is part foetus pee…Does the amniotic fluid start to taste weird after a pregnant woman eats asparagus?

        • MI Dawn

          We always laughed at our eldest because she would sooth at the “Jeopardy” theme and stare fixedly at the screen any time Alex Trebek spoke, but she’d look away and/or cry when anyone else spoke!

      • Megan

        And they encourage you to limit contact with those who discuss birth in a negative way and to surround yourself with only people who share in “your” feelings about the birth experience. Looking back, it’s very cult-like. By the time I was induced, the thought of listening to Kerry Tuschoff’s voice drove me batty and I ended up not using it, and thank God for that.

        The best thing about Hypnobabies is that I made back most of my money by selling it on eBay (though I needed the money, I still feel a bit guilty doing so).

      • Steph858

        My response: “Don’t worry, being pregnant and giving birth were really easy for me. I never had any tiredness, morning sickness or anything like that. I never even had enough of a bump for anyone to know I was pregnant if I didn’t tell them (I’m skinny so not a case of ‘Pregnant or fat?’ either). If my son had been an accident, I could honestly have been one of those women you read about in tacky magazines who didn’t know they were pregnant till they went to take a dump and a baby popped out.”

        “As for giving birth, that’s easy-peasy too. It hurts a little when they insert the needle to give you the epidural, but no more so than stubbing your toe. After that you just need to lie back and think of England for half an hour while the surgeons do their thing. It’s a bit uncomfortable but not painful. Then you spend a week in bed while the nurses look after your baby in the NICU. I only took 2 weeks off work in total; 1 week before giving birth and 1 week after.”

        Their projected responses:
        “Lucky cow! Stop showing off! What a terrible mother you are for not giving birth naturally and for going back to work so soon!”

  • T.

    Bungee jumping baby!*

    *I know I am a horrible person. It was my first thought

    • Charybdis

      Don’t feel bad. It was mine too.

    • Azuran

      It’s the next level of natural birth: You give birth while bungee jumping, and the baby is bungee jumping with it’s umbilical cord.

  • Sean Jungian

    Well, this photo takes “stunt birth” to a whole new level.

  • Amy M

    Well, the BIRTH was perfect, things only went sideways after the baby came earthside.
    /sarcasm

  • RudyTooty

    I am SO. OVER. Birth photography.

    I used to like it – because, well, phones weren’t everywhere, birth photos weren’t EVERYwhere, and people weren’t documenting every nanosecond of their lives, and so a photo of a birth was a unique and intimate item, usually reserved for sharing among the few individuals who were there, and a select few, close personal friends.

    Now birth photography is just effing natural birth propaganda – I can’t frigging take it anymore. The decor, the lighting, the staging…. arrrggghhh the bullshit of it all.

    • Sean Jungian

      My personal opinion is that if I wanted to see the birth, I’d be there in the room with you. For me a nice post-birth pic of family & baby or just baby is plenty. Quite honestly, newborns are pretty ugly when they’re fresh from the oven (my own offspring excepted, of course lol).

      I just don’t want to see it. Not my thing.

      • Roadstergal

        That’s what I always thought of as ‘birth photography.’ Happy family once all of the drama is done – hey, everyone, meet the new family member! Ten minutes, an hour, even a few days post-birth – still a squishy newborn! I never thought ‘birth photography’ would become ‘vagina involvement mandatory.’

        I guess it’s because it’s now less about the new family member than it is about the vagina involvement.

        • Amy M

          There are a handful of pics of my babies right after they were born—screaming on the scale, and a nice one of my husband holding one of their hands while said baby gets checked over by a doctor. I am not in any of these pics, not even a bit of my leg. We wanted photos of the babies (which were NOT professionally done, it was the camera phone my husband had in his pocket), not of their birth. It was nice for me to see the immediate post-birth pics, because I only got a brief glimpse of the babies until a couple hours later.

      • RudyTooty

        Yeah, and because this birth photography thing is just chapping my hide today. One more thing.

        Birth photographer priorities:

        “Complementary birth tub for your home birth when I’m your photographer because I love the color of the tub and how it looks in my photos!”

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/dfa31f1cfe094c80909090be29a9895109c31109813280eab921f70ed7d0080d.jpg

        FFS

        • Roadstergal

          “Blue! To match the color of your waterbirth baby!”

          • RudyTooty

            She thinks of *everything*!

          • Charybdis

            Color coordination is *very* important.

          • Azuran

            Ah dammit, the baby is a redhead!!! THE BIRTH IS RUINED NOW!!!!!

          • BeatriceC

            Funny side story. When MK was born the first words out of the doctor’s mouth weren’t the typical “it’s a boy” or “it’s a girl”, but “It’s a redhead!” MK does, in fact, have fireball orange hair.

          • Charybdis

            I remember the doc saying “He’s blonde!” when she removed DS from my abdomen. DS went on to grow beautiful copper-colored hair.

          • MaineJen

            “Lots of dark hair, just like you” is what I heard πŸ™‚ My son had a full head of hair…my poor daughter had a baby mohawk.

          • guest

            Ha!

          • RudyTooty

            Now that I think about it, I have seen some incredibly stunning photographs at cesarean births. Particularly if the mom has blue eyes. So. Stunning. With her face framed by the blue drapes.

            Maybe Ms Birth Photographer will start offering complementary recommendations for a cesarean based on maternal eye color. She should totally do that.

            Because it’s all about the shot, isn’t it?

          • Bombshellrisa

            The lighting in the OR is good for pics!

          • Melaniexxxx

            Don’t even. Soon people will be demanding pink sterile drapes for their gender-reveal ‘gentle caesarian’

        • Sean Jungian

          Oh, yay, does it come with complimentary bacteria and feces courtesy of the previous users? Yippee!

          Barf. The whole pool-of-tepid-filthy-water-in-my-living-room birth thing grosses me out.

          • RudyTooty

            Yeah, but it’s not about you, it’s about the birth photographer.

            Priorities, here.

          • Bombshellrisa

            A local CPM was selling her birth pool and someone (a very sensible someone) commented that they were creeped out by the thought of all the poop and blood that the pool must have seen. The CPM then mentioned that hospital beds and linens get bloody too but nobody is grossed out by them. Which makes me wonder if this midwife had ever heard of a chux pad.

          • Sean Jungian

            Oh come one, bed linens can be washed in an industrial washing machine at high temps, with bleach.

            Someone wiping out the birth pool with a handful of paper towels is not comparable.

          • kfunk937

            I think they’ll melt in the autoclave, too. If you can fold it into a tiny enough chunk to stuff it in there.

        • Bombshellrisa

          “I love the picture of this tub in pictures” says it all. Do they love the water turning the color of wine too? Yuck

        • Heidi

          Soooo, how do you empty an inside birthing pool? How do you fill an inside birthing pool? I guess you could bring a long hose inside to fill it up. But I am not seeing a convenient way to empty a bloody mess that weighs maybe a ton or something?

          • Roadstergal

            I once had to empty a 75-gallon no-longer-in-use aquarium bucket by bucket, with one of those manual gravity pumps that kick-starts most easily by mouth suction. I can’t imagine a warm slurry of blood, amniotic fluid, urine, and maternal and baby feces tastes any better.

          • Heidi

            Ugh, I just read the instructions on their website. You either siphon it or use an electric pump. In either scenario, you have to fish out the debris before starting. It also said for personal use only and not for sharing, which I would assume to begin with but that photographer disregards.

          • RudyTooty

            Debris happens.

          • corblimeybot

            Does anyone remember a birthing pool photo set that was on the internet about 15 years ago? I remember the father’s name was Zoltan. This was long, long before I was thinking of becoming a parent. But despite the parents’ rosy spin on the birth, I came away thinking that it was about the grossest thing I’d ever seen. Because they were using something like a aquarium net to catch the mother’s poop directly from her butt.

          • MaineJen

            You’d need a pretty fine net to catch e coli. I’m just sayin

          • corblimeybot

            Exactly what I thought. I was 18 or 19 when I saw these photos, and I thought, “What the hell good does that do, she’s crapping in the water? Using a poop scoop isn’t going to make that water clean again!”

          • Heidi

            I found it too…wow.

          • Heidi

            “Zoltan gave me his love gift 9 months ago.” I can’t quit laughing.

          • PeggySue

            GAAAAACCKKKKKK

          • MB

            That is disturbing AF. The newborn was gagging underwater? AFTER having had the cord wrapped around its neck. Fucking lunacy.

          • Megan

            Isn’t Zoltan the name of the dude in the machine in the movie Big?

          • Mel

            In truth, my first and longest-lasting objection to giving birth at home is the clean-up. I tell people that the reason Jesus was born in a barn is that Mary and Joseph were realists about the birthing process πŸ˜›

          • Bombshellrisa

            http://www.labortubs.com/services6.html
            This is a service that delivers and sets up birth pools. Has some FAQs.

      • BeatriceC

        All newborns look like Winston Churchill. Or a baked chicken. or both.

        Seriously. Even my own. Well, except for my 504g 24 weeker. He looked like a drowned rat.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          All newborns look like Winston Churchill.

          I saw that many years ago, someone said, “All babies just look like grumpy, old men.”

          It stuck with me because it gives me a chuckle.

          • BeatriceC

            I probably read something similar and it stuck. I’ve been using that phrase for years. I have no idea where I got it from.

          • Roadstergal

            I’m a big fan of Mock the Week, and one of their quick-fire Scenes We’d Like To See was about the maternity ward. One woman on the panel contributed “Oh my god, I just gave birth to Andy Parsons!”

            Andy Parsons, on the panel at the time: https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/d2725800de9edfbcb94bc28c654ae870f0120a59314ca637acf303d3f8d3e7d4.png

          • swbarnes2

            My dad said “Churchill, Eisenhower, Gandhi, or Mao”. Except mine, mine looked lie a perfect angel. (I was prepared to expect the worst, though)

          • Mel

            Hitchcock. Once I gained enough weight to be an actual newborn size, I was the mirror image of Alfred Hitchcock.

        • Azuran

          Makes me think of when my coworker showed her her first US pictures of her baby at 12 weeks gestation. Of course, being a bunch of women of childbrearing age, we were all ‘OOOHHHHHHH! wow!, so cute!!!!!’
          But really, it’s a shitty, grainy black and white picture of a deformed shrimp.

          • Mel

            After our first ultrasound, they gave us a few pics of Spawn. The only one that I found fascinating was one that showed Spawn’s fingers, hand, and arm. I was simply amazed at how much movement the kid had in such a tiny, tiny package….

        • Bombshellrisa

          Mine looked like Winston Churchill’s half Chinese child (my Asian heritage really showed up for the newborn looks. It’s not so evident now).

        • Mrs.Katt the Cat

          My sisters were discussing who the baby looked like. My answer? A Grumpy Potato.

        • Mel

          Mom was glad once we looked a bit more like a chicken and a bit less like a Cornish game hen or a plucked pigeon.

          Preemies. We’re not always the cutest πŸ™‚

          • Kelly

            I have a picture of my brother and I holding my preemie twin brothers. They are brown, wrinkly, and weird looking. They looked like over cooked potatoes.

          • BeatriceC

            Yup. All of mine were preemies, but the youngest was the scrawniest. He barely even looked human until he was a couple months old.

        • guest

          My newborn son looked just like my 65 year old uncle, and my daughter looked like an alien.

          • AnnaPDE

            The alien thing seems to be common. On one of the 3D ultrasounds my kid looked exactly like ET, and when I pointed this out to the OB, she said “They all do, around this age, but it’s really bad for business to say it out loud.”

          • Stephanie Rotherham

            My brother looked like E.T. when he was born.

            He still looks like E.T. 26 years later.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Me too. Our local community is filled with people who like to take pictures and in this age of cameras being readily available, they are all calling themselves photographers and charging a lot to capture every grimace and other moment of a birth. All perfectly lit, with a light reflector handy to create the perfect shadow.

      • RudyTooty

        I’m positively ragey about this. Pent up, insanely ragey.

        Because women are duped into thinking their births are supposed to be/going to be these gently lit freaking Mary Kay parties or something. And not an actual birth/potential medical and/or life-threatening event.

        RAGEY. Everytime I see “beautiful” birth photos (and gawd, they’re everywhere!) I lose my shit. Internally. I’m losing my shit over this.

        I have a bone to pick with birth photography.

        It’s not photojournalism (another claim from Michelle Lynn – please check out her FB page), it’s just freaking propaganda.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          Rage away, kiddo!

          (seriously, this is fun to read. I like your attitude!)

          • RudyTooty

            I think I got it all out. I feel so much better.

            Last night I wandered over to Michelle Lynn’s fairy princess unicorn birth photography facebook page.

            [I don’t recommend it, but here’s the link.]

            https://www.facebook.com/hamptonroadsbirthphotographer/

            And I just got angry. It is clear that as a birth photographer, it is all about HER.

            The shot of the baby with the ‘torn’ cord is all about how awesome she is as a birth photographer, how she put herself in the crotch of the Captain Morgan stance in order to get that *AWESOME* photo, how it’s all about if you hire HER, she will get some *awesome* shot of your baby for not only you, the parents – but also the rest of the damn universe. Because that’s good marketing for her business.

            [And if I completely dissociate, what a great photo of fluid dynamics. That blood spurt is great photography. Sure, I can go there.]

            But I’m not going to dissociate because her photos are about births, and are about human beings, and she demonstrates a fantastic ignorance of birth with her photography. It’s horrifying.

            I scrolled through her feed and it was the same incessant, narcissistic message. It made me ill.

            Birth is not about Michelle Lynn the Birth Photographer. And her perception of it, although she is entitled to it, is incredibly warped and inaccurate.

            People obviously pay for her “services” so I assume she’ll carry on.

        • Bombshellrisa

          I am in the same boat. Oh and there was a home birth here that one of the better known photographers attended. I wonder if she would have documented it if it turned into a disaster. The hospital is farther than 10 minutes, it’s 40 with a little traffic. The argument that a medivac could come is stupid, the “midwife” obviously doesn’t know that there is only one spot for a helicopter to lift out someone needing that. You have to get in an ambulance and head to one of the schools, where the helicopter meets you. I am tired of birth drama. The pictures of the clock in perfect shadows, the misery of contractions captured forever, the babies who look like someone needs to start NRP but instead mom is sitting in the birth tub saying “I did it”.

          • RudyTooty

            I think I had a turning point when I went to a birth photographer’s blog and saw her photos of a birth where I was the L&D nurse.

            Let’s just say the story she told with her photos are not really what is recorded in the medical record.

            And here is where I am of two minds.

            What lovely, perfect, precious photos for this family! OK. Yes. I get that. What a lovely keepsake for the family. They are beautiful photos. And their baby was born safely. And they will love and cherish those photos.

            BUT – when those photos are published to the internet – to the whole wide world – they represent something else. They are a marketing tool for the photographer, and on another level they are propaganda for the natural birth industry.

            Anyone who was present at that birth (nurses, physicians) is unable to publically set the record straight about what happened.

            I’m in the photos. But I can’t log on to the blog and say “Hey, I’m Rudy RN. Just want to lay down a few factoids about this labor and birth so as to not deceive the public.”

            So the photographers control the narrative and deceive the public.

            THAT’S what I can’t stand.

            Maybe photographers should be held to privacy standards.

            Because I do believe parents should have beautiful photos of their births and their newborns. They are precious – in many ways, and in many circumstances.

            But when the birth photographer is telling the story, many facts get left out. THAT’S dangerous.

          • demodocus

            Are the staff allowed to opt out of having their pictures taken? Ethically, you ought to be, imo

          • RudyTooty

            Truthfully, I’m not even thinking about the cameras and cell phones and what not that is recording the birth. Even if we ask them not to do it, (we routinely ask them to not video tape during cesareans) people still will. It’s such a simple thing to do.

            I don’t think medical policy has caught up with the reality of documenting video and photos. I do think staff should have the right to privacy – which we don’t.

            But as far as the patients go – they can violate their own privacy all they want. And they do. They facetime their births all the time.

          • demodocus

            I’ll never understand this desire.

        • Kelly

          I would definitely like a photographer for after the baby is born but not before. My husband took photos of my first born right after she was born with the umbilical cord still attached and I really hate seeing them. They are gross and the look on my face is of pure exhaustion. They might be good to combat the really nice narrative that these people like to convey. I wasn’t even looking at my baby and I just was glad it was over with. I was so thankful when they finally got her off my chest.

    • Erin

      Given my track record of attempting to leave newborn babies in the hospital whilst screaming “It’s not mine!” (currently 1 for 1), my consultant has suggested (it was actually more of an order) if I “keep insisting on a general anesthetic” for my repeat section that we give a phone/camera to someone in the theater for photographic proof.

      My comment about doctored photos was met with what’s best described as a “frosty” look.

      Can’t see any pictures of the event making the family album though.

    • BeatriceC

      Sometimes the professionals can capture really incredible moments, since they’re not as emotionally involved as the parents, friends and family that might be there, and not as physically involved as the medical staff. One of my favorite photos ever was captured by a professional. It shows the look on a new mother’s face the moment she was told the girl she though she was having was, in fact, a boy. It’s a priceless photograph of pure human emotion. It was wonderful.

      That said, some people take this idea too far, and I agree with the general sentiment here.

      • RudyTooty

        I think one reason I’m so emotionally constipated over this issue is that I LOVE BIRTH. I work as an L&D nurse. I’m training to become a CNM. I feel (oh yes, I’ll say it), CALLED to do this work. I have been at gorgeous births and I have seen gorgeous birth photos. And birth used to be, anyway, this private, rarely seen event, and so birth photography was pretty damn magical.

        Now, as a licensed professional care provider, I am bound by privacy rules (which is a good thing), and so I can’t tell everyone what really happened at a birth. But the freaking BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHER can post ahMAZing photos all over the internet and wax poetic about these *perfect* births when she/he really has no freaking clue about the multiple risk factors we were managing.

        Women prioritize what kind of fucking sports bra she’s going to wear in the cerulean blue birth tub, she’s got her makeup done, and she has artfully chosen different accoutrements for her birth setting.

        (See, I’m just losing my shit.)

        I pride myself on being able to keep a calm and focused environment during labor and birth – that does not MEAN it was easy-peasy perfect and magical. Birth photographers would have you believe that. Well, and who wouldn’t hire a birth photographer when they’re selling this mythology to people?

        My opinion of birth photography has really changed over the past 10 years (well, and so has the ubiquity of it). I really see it as dangerous. Lay people with expensive cameras and lighting are ignorantly creating this idea of perfect births and selling it to women.

        It seemed sort of benign, but now I think it might even be more dangerous than the promotion of home birth midwifery – because midwives, too, are prohibited from discussing their clients’ births in public. Birth photographers control the entire dialog – and truthfully, they don’t have a clue about what’s going on medically with the woman. They’re wrapped up in the birth.

        Which, like I said -birth is an awesome thing. Birth really is incredible. It is. But I don’t want to make it something it’s not. It is not always safe. It is not always perfect. It is not what the birth photographers would make you believe it is. Sometimes it’s positively effing terrifying.

        • CharlotteB

          Thanks for saying this. I mean, if somebody’s able to do their hair and makeup and whatever, good for them, I guess. But of all the times in your life when you should be allowed to be ugly (ugly=not adhering to media-driving idealistic beauty standards), allowed to be utilitarian (hospital gown anyone?), and allowed to let go physically and emotionally, it’s when you’re freaking having a baby.

          There is one picture from my kid’s birth, and it’s when I’m cutting the cord. I’m wearing a hospital gown, my hair is a frizzy mess, I’m wearing my glasses and the previous day’s makeup, I’d brought a comfy bra but never got to change into it because labor was so fast. I love that picture, which was taken with a phone, the lighting was hospital-grade, but it’s a genuine moment. However, it would never make one of those collections of “Amazing birth photos!!”

          In our birth class we had to watch a (home)birth video, with the lighting, the super attractive parents, the candles and the “perfect” music. My husband called it “Hipster Homebirth Porn”–but that’s essentially what a lot of birth photography has become.

          • Gatita

            “Hipster Homebirth Porn” ha!!!

            My husband says that one of the most memorable moments of my son’s birth was when the placenta “slithered out of you like Cthulu and landed in a bucket on the floor.” Not beautiful. My birth was easy peasy. And also kind of icky because that’s what birth is.

          • CharlotteB

            Now there’s a visual…

          • Roadstergal

            “And also kind of icky because that’s what birth is.”

            That’s my big take-away from all of the crunchies (and even though I’m a scientist, I have a lot of hippie in my heart and in my past and on my FB). They can’t let something just be icky. It has to be Empowering and Beautiful and Icky Is A Construct Of The Patriarchy…

          • Fleur

            A good friend of mine is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met, but my favourite photo of her is the one her husband took on his crappy camera shortly after the birth of their first baby. She’s got stringy hair, a blotchy face and she looks utterly shattered. The baby was a ten-pounder and she’s only a skinny little thing so, in the photo, it kind of looks as though the baby’s about to eat her. But she’s grinning from ear to ear as though she can’t believe her luck, and it’s lovely.

        • Gatita

          A prime example is Ashley Martin and how the photographer posted her homebirth photos with a nice narrative when in reality the baby almost died because of the midwife’s incompetence.

          • RudyTooty

            Yeah, that too. Thank goodness Ashley Martin had the wherewithall to post her perspective on her son’s birth. A lot of reality was scrubbed out when the photographer’s narrative was dominating the story.

          • BeatriceC

            She was one I was thinking of as I read this, but couldn’t recall her name.

    • guest

      I wish I could have had a birth photographer, though. I am normally the photographer in my family, but I didn’t even pretend that I would be capable of photographing my own major event, and my support person was no good at it. Even after the kids were born, I had to ask her to take pictures of them in the NICU and bring them to me to see – she didn’t think of taking the pics I really would have liked to see. My life is not over because I don’t have a picture of the first time I laid eyes on my daughter, of course not. But I get why people want a photographer.

      • RudyTooty

        I get it.

      • Kelly

        I get it too. It just sucks that people are taking it to the extreme to make people look crazy if they want a birth photographer to capture those special moments. These people just want to show how amazing they are to the world.

    • Ceridwen

      My husband took pictures at both of my births and I like them. But we’ve never shared anything but the ones from the early stages with anyone else. My favorite shot (and one of the only ones we’ve shared) is actually one of my belly with the fetal monitor on it during the first few hours in the hospital. Definitely not natural birth propaganda.

      • RudyTooty

        ” I got my camera ready and we headed to the back where she had her birth space ready.

        Twinkle lights and sheer curtains lined the pergola they had put up just for her birth. It was beautiful and tranquil. ”

        Propaganda. This is what I’m talking about. I can’t take it.
        http://hamptonroadsbirthphotographer.com/blog/2016/8/22/birth-of-baby-eden-ohana-home-birth-outdoor-water-birth-hampton-roads-birth-photographer

        • MaineJen

          Sounds like a scene from Portlandia, to be honest….

        • Sean Jungian

          LOL Everyone looks so bored in those photos.

          • RudyTooty

            And I got bored looking at them. She only posted 456,098 of them.

            Narcissistic.

          • Sean Jungian

            She’s just an okay photographer. Decent. However, any artist knows that you have to curate the collection, posting alllllll the pics is inane.

          • Roadstergal

            The trash can is the most essential photographic tool.

            Or these days, the Delete button.

        • PeggySue

          Dear God. Laboring in a LBD? With half the neighborhood sitting around watching? This also has the sort of “ultrafeminine” feel that sometimes goes with biological essentialism: the woman is always on display, her clothing, hair, etc., is styled to look appealing at every moment.

        • Kelly

          I used that kind of lighting for my wedding not for a freakin birth. So weird. I am so sad that this happened in my neck of the woods. I don’t really understand why this is so prevalent here.

        • Megan

          I stopped looking when I got to the picture of her crotch with the all the detritus floating in the pool…

          The young girls (her other daughters?) just look pissed, like, “My mom is such a nut job. Why is she doing this??”

      • Megan

        I love to horrify my parents by showing them the picture of my older daughter emerging from my abdomen covered in blood. I think it’s awesome; others, not so much. πŸ™‚

        (We have a similar pic of my second daughter but since my amniotic sack was intact and was broken during the CS she is not bloody so it doesn’t have the same effect, though it’s still just as awesome to me.)

    • Elizabeth A

      I feel like, with birth photography, birth videography, and the way midwives aren’t expected to bring their own food, the amount of WORK women are expected to do in addition to giving birth has just gone way the hell up.

      It’s no longer enough to be in labor. You have to be in labor in a birth tub that you set up in your home, and staged and decorated so that it would look good. You have to be in labor in a cute bikini so that you won’t mind showing people the pictures later. You have to be in labor with a facial expression that won’t look terrible, and with your hair nicely brushed and possibly in fancy braids. You have to be in labor with a buffet in the next room for your family, friends, and paid attendants.

      I can’t help but feel nostalgic for the days when they checked you into the hospital, ejected your husband, and pointed you at a bed. I’m not saying they were perfect, but you did get to focus.

      • Sean Jungian

        The amount of work I’d have to do just to get all the pet hair vacuumed up alone would put me off home birth.

      • RudyTooty

        Ugh. I just. Ugh.

        Why has birth become a performance?
        Oh, because we’re photographing it and plastering it all over online.

        What pressure, what impossible standards to try to meet. Yes. It really is alarming, to me, how women primp themselves for labor. Please don’t do that. But then I’m assuming that birth is something private, and only shared with your health care professionals and those individuals who are closest to you and who LOVE YOU unconditionally.

        But no. We’ve invited the internet audience to our births, and that’s not a good thing.

        Do these people who hire birth photographers have to sign a waiver saying that any photo taken by this “professional” is theirs (the photographer’s) to distribute and display online? Probably.

        No wonder they have on their fanciest bras and matching maternity panties, their eyemakeup is impeccably done, and their nethers are waxed and vagazzeled. I mean, this moment is going up on the internet!

        Good grief.

        • Sean Jungian

          Waxed???? Good grief I hadn’t even shaved my legs in 6 months by the time I went into labor…

          • AnnaPDE

            I worked out how to peek around my belly and shave in time for the due date. Shaving without nicks and ingrown hairs is not all that simple, so that was something I really wanted to do myself instead of trusting a midwife in pre-op prep with it.

          • Sean Jungian

            I didn’t think they still shaved women. I know I wasn’t shaved when I had my kiddo.

            After my water broke, I was seized with the obsession that I had to shave my (unshaven for 6 months legs). However, I was not very successful and gave up around midway through so I could get to the hospital.

          • AnnaPDE

            Not routinely for vaginal births, but around CS the incision site my OB prefers smooth skin so the adhesive bandage seals well.

        • Elizabeth A

          If people want to get their pubic hair waxed off and dress up fancy, it’s really none of my business. I understand why people would want pictures. Cute maternity bras made me feel a lot better when I was pregnant (I felt like my breasts were going to be wrapped in ace bandages forever), although I stuck with lacy low-rise bikinis the whole time.

          I worry when the decorating seems to be obligatory, when women worry about being treated badly or scolded for *not* doing it, when there’s so much focus on preparing for birth that’s about cosmetic issues, and not about medical ones.

    • kfunk937

      The contrast with artfully posed Victorian mourning daguerreotypes of babies and children is quite striking, though.

  • MaineJen

    That photo is absolutely terrible. You can bet that if an OB in a hospital dropped a baby and let it dangle from the umbilical cord (!!!), they’d be calling for his/her blood. Instead the midwife gets “Yay! Perfect birth!” and the mom gets “Way to go momma!” And the baby gets…crickets.

    • sdsures

      The baby (not specifically in this case) gets a pine box. :'(

  • corblimeybot

    Oh goody, another homebirth warrior calls Dr. Amy a “cunt” and makes an ageist comment. So sensitive and pro-woman! You can really see why she thinks she’s more “professional” than Dr. Amy.

  • sdsures

    A while back, I remember a “birth photographer” who snapped a portrait of the squatting mother.

    A tiny foot was protruding from between her legs. :'( I don’t remember if the baby lived.

    • Angela

      Ew!! I’m glad I don’t have any pictures of myself giving birth, let alone a video.

      • sdsures

        I’ll let them take all the pics they want after the baby is swaddled.

      • demodocus

        More to the point, I’m *truly* glad there are not photos of my mother giving birth. *shudder*

    • corblimeybot

      Was that the photo collection that was on Buzzfeed in the past year or so? The mother was in the shower, and an itty-bitty blue foot was hanging out of her? And the photographer composed the picture like this was a totally normal situation?

      • Roadstergal

        I remember that one. It was like something out of a horror movie.

        • corblimeybot

          I KNOW. It truly haunts me.

          • sdsures

            Sorry I brought it up. πŸ™

          • corblimeybot

            It’s FINE. People need to know this is not okay! It must be discussed!

          • sdsures

            OK. πŸ™‚ Hope the baby is OK.

        • sdsures

          Listed under “Skills” on that page:

          “Birth”.

          • Roadstergal

            M Night Shamylan needs to take some classes from that photographer. I mean, even in his Sixth Sense prime.

          • sdsures

            LOL

    • D/

      Saved in favorites of my “scary shit” file:
      http://linesena.com.br/portfolios/parto-da-janaina-3/

      • sdsures

        That’s the baby, so to speak.

      • Gatita

        OMFG. Nightmare fuel.

        • D/

          Isn’t it though? And the loves-to-be-spooked grandkid strolled right up on that a while back thinking that tab was some secret trove of horror movie recommendations

          Definitely made for an interesting “scary shit”-safety conversation.

      • RudyTooty

        [I feel bad about all my profanity-laced comments today, but it seems appropriate.]

        I remember this photo. How fucking stupid.

  • Roadstergal

    So – a picture of a baby tumbling headfirst towards the ground with blood spraying all over the vicinity was the photo they chose to be the public face of the ‘birth experience’?

    (ETA – calling Dr T a sexist name must be part of homebirth bingo, now. ‘Cunt,’ ‘cow,’ ‘witch,’ ‘bitch,’ etc. Womyn power!)

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      So – a picture of a baby tumbling headfirst towards the ground with blood spraying all over the vicinity was the photo they chose to be the public face of the ‘birth experience’?

      Hey, it was a perfect birth!

    • corblimeybot

      Homebirthers get to use this as “proof” that you can be so incompetent a midwife that you let a newborn fall, and let the baby’s cord snap and firehose blood everywhere – and things will still come out fine! Cord snapping is no big deal, mama, don’t let those evil doctors tell you otherwise.

      I agree with Dr. Amy: I wonder how they square this with their concurrent claims that a child must be attached to the placenta for eons after birth. This baby’s blood was spraying everywhere, how does that fit in with that narrative?

      I know, I’m being silly for assuming the baby’s fate is important at all.

      • RudyTooty

        Oh, and please let it be known that this birth and these photos became the ‘public face’ of birth because the birth photographer was emphatically encouraging everyone* to “like” and “share” her freaking amazing birth photos.

        *except you Dr Evil Satan Amy Tuteur. Not you.

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8e0ad90f80c9f2b8011dd97b74c611cfca412cc7eb8b57e48402f27c59fa7ea3.png https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/19169f1af78820052655a9822bbd30fc4e4a2837dc9d967cae93a83f8881070e.png

        • Roadstergal

          “cord did not “snap” it tore”
          Because ‘torn’ is somehow different and better when it comes to things that accidentally happen to cords.

          • RudyTooty

            Totes different. Fer sure.

          • sdsures

            WTF is a “Childbirth Cascade”?

          • Amy M

            It’s this right here, captured in the pics—the baby cascading down to the floor.

          • demodocus

            and its blood…

          • sdsures

            Erm…

          • sdsures

            More dramatic?

          • kfunk937

            Cords =/= ziplines.

        • PeggySue

          That baby looked really pale to me. I am a hospice chaplain. I have seen lots of people look Really Pale and it is generally not good. Or am I just crazy?

          • RudyTooty

            My thoughts are that the reason the woman was in the “Captain Morgan pose” was because there was shoulder dystocia, and the midwife was attempting maneuvers to release the shoulders.

            The baby has great tone, and good reflexes are good, and is only a few seconds old – I mean, the kid could crump, but he is starting out OK and will probably have a great 1 minute apgar. To agree with the ‘opposition’: it is hard to tell from a snapshot exactly what is going on. Let’s hope a clamp found its way to the cord and too much blood was not lost. The pale color could be due to impacted shoulders… it’s hard to say.

            So, hey, HOORAY for the midwife not letting a baby die during a shoulder dystocia (let’s give credit where it is due). But you know, if the midwife did struggle to get the shoulders out, and had to resuscitate, I’m sure the *photojournalist* who was present would have accurately portrayed the events that occurred during that home birth. Because that’s why she’s there. To accurately portray what happens at a home birth.

    • Ceridwen

      The doc fumbled a bit with my son and he almost slipped out of his hands. He was fucking embarrassed, not proud, and apologized to us for it.

  • Angela

    The cord snapped during the birth of my 3rd (and last) baby. I didn’t even know that could happen. They were putting the baby on my chest after birth and I reached down to pull him up a little higher and it snapped. The OB acted quickly, but it was pretty freaky! Blood spurted all over.

  • Cyndi

    Yes! The baby in this one is merely a prop to the “Warrior Mom”. Continue to tell the truth, Dr Amy.

  • Mel

    Shit. That’s a lot of blood. That’s more than I’ve seen from a calf at birth and a calf weighs 80 pounds instead of 8 pounds.

    Lots of ungulates expect the baby potentially dangle from part of the cord as the final outcome of giving birth. That’s why their umbilical cords are set-up to rip without having blood splatter everywhere.

    Humans don’t let babies dangle because we have thumbs for one reason. That’s crazy stupid dangerous.

  • BeatriceC

    Slight typo near the end: “…even though the clown of a midwife let the baby dangled…” should just be dangle.