Natural Childbirth

Just watched a video on YouTube in which woman gave birth on the shore of a creek
unassisted by doctors. Most of the video consists of the mother-to-be working through her labor
pains, pacing in her backyard, soaking in a bathtub, and then finally laboring alongside what
looks like a small river. I’ve been present for all three of my kids’ births, and this was still the
scariest birth I’ve ever seen. I just can’t imagine standing by as my wife manages her own
birthing process miles away from any doctors or hospitals.
The scene that cinched it for me was when the baby’s head had emerged, and she asked her
husband for a little help. He reached in and pulled the baby out, and for all of this time the baby
wasn’t making any sound. I asked myself, is that normal? Is he or she okay? It turned out that
the baby did cry, and looked just fine but it was hard to tell.
I happened across the video because I read an article about a new reality series that Lifetime
will be airing which tells a story each week of women who give birth out in the wild. According to
the article I read, the show was inspired by the video I posted in the first paragraph. The video
went viral, attracting 20 million views.
Okay, so if women want to experience natural birth outdoors, then that’s really their decision. I’m
mostly shocked that a TV network feels that they can find enough women who are willing to
share this experience with a national audience to fill more than a couple of episodes.
If my wife chose to give birth naturally, then I would have to respect her decision, but as a father
of three I have to admit that it is really stressful assisting in the birthing process. My wife had
actually planned on giving birth without painkillers for our first born, but once she was in labor
she changed her mind. With our third born, there was never any questions about whether or not
she would want an epidural but our son came so quickly there wasn’t even time for the
anesthesiologist to wheel their cart into the room. We checked into the hospital at 3 a.m. in the
morning, and at 5 a.m. the nurses were saying we would have Elijah by three o’clock, but
instead he had been born by 11 a.m.
My point is that Elijah’s birth occurred inside the hospital while we were surrounded by nurses,
doctors, and monitoring equipment, but it was still super intense. I just don’t know how anybody
would be able to handle being away from that support system and literally delivering their child
with their bare hands. But, maybe there is something that I don’t understand because I’m a
man.
I think that its great that people want to experience a natural delivery, or be outdoors when they
have their baby. This makes for a great story later on when they’re older. (“Hi . . .Derick is it?
Did Marge tell you how she was born? While she finishes getting ready for prom, let me show
you the video . . .”) It’s just not something I’d feel comfortable with.
On a whole other level, it takes a lot of self confidence to post a video of yourself delivering a
baby. Or, finding someone who is willing to video the baby delivery (Who knows, maybe the

next trend will be for the mothers to strap a camera to their thighs as they start to feel
contractions, and record the delivery without help). I recorded our first two childrens’ deliveries.
With our oldest, there is a lot of shots of me standing around watching the proceedings, and the
nurse’s butt, but absolutely no gore and just a couple of minutes where you could actually hear
our daughter right after she was born. It is probably the world’s first ever “G”-rated birthing
video. This is because when I set up my video camera on a tripod in the only corner of the room
without medical equipment, I never took into account the possibility that the railing they use on
the beds, and the nurses that stand around the bed might actually obscure the camera’s view
enough to block exactly everything that it was meant to capture.
My mom was in the room when Josh was being born, so at the last minute I handed her the
camera so that I could stand by Theresa’s side and cut the umbilical cord. I thought that this
was perfect, because my mom could catch all of the key moments. And, this did work out,
although my mom was very hesitant about recording the birth.
With Elijah, I wasn’t as worried about recording a video, but even if I had wanted to it wouldn’t
have been possible. Everything happened too fast.
I gather from the article that there are a lot of precautions taken during the production of Born in
the Wild episodes. There are doctors on hand, and hospitals are nearby. The other thing they
have that I never would is an entire platoon of camera operators who can capture every angle
and allow the father to focus on his wife.
Take a look at the video, and then let me know what you think of the couple’s choice to have a
baby outdoors. Have you ever chosen to give birth naturally? Would you give this a try?
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