Friday, May 21, 2010

A Real Baby Story

I was flipping through the channels the other day, you know one of the increasingly rare times that Brayden was in school and Gage was taking a nap and I actually got the television all to myself (meaning that I was NOT watching anything animated for once). While I was channel surfing I came across that show A Baby Story on TLC.

I used to watch this show all through out my first pregnancy, planing my own delivery in accordance to the things I saw on that show that I thought that I might like. I was convinced that what they showed on A Baby Story was really how it was.

This time, as I flipped through the channels on the tv, I scoffed at the woman in the fancy whirlpool tub with her camera ready make-up perfectly in place who simply winced at her pain. I turned the channel, because A Baby Story is NOT reality television.

Let's start with that fancy picture of the woman cradling her round stomach at the beginning of each and every show. Yeah, I don't know about you mama's out there, but my stomach never looked like that.

I was gross, beautiful and glowing because I was carrying my child, but still pretty gross to look at. There was no perfectly round stomach for me. In fact, I resembled a giant egg for most of my pregnancies. I didn't have that nice sweet baby bump, I was my own continent. And that smooth, perfect skin ... yeah ... NO! I was covered in bright red, angry looking stretch marks that itched something terrible. And my belly button, or the place where my button once was, protruded out of my stomach like a monster. I reiterate, I was gross.

While I was pregnant the first time I did what that show and all of the books that I had read said I should do and wrote a birth plan. I wanted to be able to walk around the hospital floor to help with the pain. I wanted to hold off on the epidural until it was absolutely needed, if it was needed at all (obviously I waaayyy underestimated my tolerance for pain), I wanted to use one of those big ball things that supposedly help with contractions, and I wanted to be able to have a water birth, since they are supposed to help with the pain and be more natural for the baby.

What I got was none of that. Not one single thing. I'm pretty sure when I handed the nurse my birth plan she took it out to the nurse's station where she and the other people there all had a good laugh at my inexperienced expense. I had to be induced, which meant I had an IV in. And I also had those fancy belts around my stomach monitoring the baby's heartbeat, so there would be no walking, no big ball thingy, no water birth, no anything. I was, quite literally, strapped into my bed and unable to move at all. Oh, and as far as the pain medicine went, I pretty much screamed my head off until they gave it to me.

For me, giving birth wasn't this loving, bonding experience that they picture on that show. Oh no! I didn't want a single person to touch me the entire time I was in labor, and I pretty much scared the living daylights out of my husband when I sent (screamed at) him out of the room every ten minutes, telling him to go and find me the drugs.

Oh, and the best part, seven plus years, and another baby later, I'm still left with the faded stretch marks and the spare tire around my mid-section.

Now that is what being pregnant and giving birth is really like. It raw. It's honest. And it isn't pretty at all.

But the end result is amazing. At least they got that part right on that awful, lying show.


  1. OMG! I totally watched those baby shows when I was pregnant too (I guess we all do) Everything seems so easy! They don't ever show the 5 days past your due date, being induced, having 12 hours of labor (5 hours of pushing, being on oxygen and throwing up every 5 seconds) only to have an emergency c-section so that your baby doesn't suffocate because her big head is stuck in the birth canal making your back feel like they are ripping out your spine even WITH the epidural. That's just my real life experience any way, I also have horrible stretch marks and a muffin top too! Man was it worth it though! (= great post...very real.

  2. AMEN! When I was pregnant with Amelia, I actually had to stop watching it because they'd inevitably come up with women who'd lost previous pregnancies and it just plain freaked me out. That and the birthing scenes. Certainly they never showed anyone with a belly that looked like a butternut squash like mine did nor did they show someone projectile vomiting into a little basin just to have it bounce back and end up all over happened to me. A Baby Story...bah humbug!!

  3. Nice. Very real post, Amanda. mom's had 6 children, I'm #3, and I have to say...this book
    Is the only birth book I've read so far in my life, but it's really good.
    And it's wonderful to have a good dose of reality...The only part of Baby Story I've ever seen (we don't have cable) was a really horrible one...she was lying down and the doctor was about to snip her. Ay yi yi.
    It's fascinating to hear of different women's REAL birth stories, though:)

  4. I watched those shows too. In fact, I always looked forward to them. :o) I was lucky enough to have my ideal birthing experience both times, but my God, pregnancy and post partum were a nightmare and not anything that was ever portrayed on any of those shows. I'd gladly go through labor and delivery if I could just skip being pregnant and dealing with post partum issues. Ugh. And I still have the stretch marks to prove I did it and the spare tire because the stretch marks aren't proof enough. :oP

  5. I really dislike what I refer to as 'That Show' as well, but really for other reasons. I agree that it really only shows a certain type of birth and that it greatly distorts the realities of childbirth. I also dislike that it plays into the fear of birth. And yes, I watched it religiously before I had my first and really thought that was what birth was going to be like. Gah!, I'm getting heated just thinking about it ;)


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