I have been watching and TiVo ing more episodes of House of Babies lately, ostensibly for my friend Amanda, who is TTC soon, and for my own enjoyment and study of free non-medicalized birth video.
I like this show very much, and enjoy the head midwife a great deal. Her strong warm spirit NEVER wavers and her personality jumps off the screen at me everytime I watch the show.
I am beginning to be surprised, however, at how many (near 100%) of the women "choose" to labor in a semi-lithotomy position in the birth pool. It never wavers, they are all laying back into their partners' chests, legs pulled back, and it is beginning to grate on me, just a little. I know TV is edited all to bits, and I know there have got to be some episodes where someone (anyone!?) flips over into the also very common (certainly the only one bearable for me) position of belly down, more like a leaning over, hands and knees.
And so I am posing this question, as I mull over my thought on freebirth, waterbirth, midwives, both "hands off" and "hands on", is this idea of a televised birth in a possibly non-optional, non-optimal, non-voluntary positioning, really very morally sound? Is this show as cool as I once thought?
What would these mothers do natuarally, instinctively, to best birth their babies? If the TV crew wasn't there, if 4 apprentices werent there, if the lights were much lower, too low for TV, would they really all choose to half-lay on their backs? Would the husbands really do and say almost nothing to their wives, if they were in a more private space? I know with all my heart that it would be different.
Is it enough that natural(er) childbirth is on TV now, cant I just be happy about that?
I love to think about what differences could this show have made in my own life, if I had had IT to watch over and over rather than the despicable A Baby Story or even worse, Maternity Ward or any of those other emergi-dramas on TLC?
Oh, how my blood boils to think of expectant families having that garbage pounded and pounded into their imagery....the blur of lights and sterile blue fabrics, the wires, tubes, and sinister music.....
IS House of Babies as good as were are going to get on TV? Probably, and it really does serve a great purpose and fill a huge gap in the birth-shows market. I really do like it. I like the vibes, I like the liberal use of homeopathy, massage, exercise, and chiropractic in the prenatal care. I like the 100% breatsfeeding rate, I like the staff, and the emphasis on emotions and nutrition as number one. I like the idea of the public seeing waterbirth after waterbirth, moan after moan, woman after woman going to 42 weeks, no episiotomies ever, over and over seeing the babies got right to mamas breast, cord intact, and only ONE hopital transfer for a mom whose baby was a breech heavy meconium staining----and of course the midwives came with her to the hospital and never left her side.
I just still wonder about the almost cookie-cutter pushing positions, and the VERY invasive/intrusive exrtaneous chitter-chatter that surrounds the mother. They talk and talk during the entire second stage, and do not seem to respect the traditiional Birth Bubble time, instead too much banter about The Baby has Your Nose, etc.
I still will TiVo it for my friend, and it is still the best thing on TV (as far as I know!) for unmedicated birth. I worry that it will eventually be off the air.