Monday, February 20, 2012

Recording Your Birth

Here's a topic I feel so strongly about -- the importance of recording your baby's birth. Yes, I do mean with video or photos, not just writing your birth story.

My sister-in-law, who was at our first birth insisted on taking pictures at Daymon's birth, and I was horrified! Really. I felt angry that she was snapping that camera. She had them developed immediately (this was 1996!) and I put them away, embarrassed.

As the weeks became months, I would find myself thinking about his birth, literally, every day. I would relieve those moments of becoming a mother as I nursed my sweet baby boy. I found those pictures and have spent hours looking at them, thinking about those moments and how I felt as I held my new baby.

I am so glad now that Tamara knew then what I couldn't have known at the time. She kept telling me that I would want these pictures some day. She was so right!

I'm not sure what I thought the pictures would be like -- all 175 lbs of my 9 month pregnant body, exposed. They were so tasteful. So emotional. So tender. And now, so treasured.

We obviously did not videotape his birth, but we knew by the time we were pregnant with #2 how much we loved having those pictures, so we decided to record our 2nd baby's birth with a video recorder. We set up the camera across the room, and while we can hear everything happening, we can't see a darn thing! Still, it's so emotional to listen. Her video, while not the best visually, is the most emotional one of them all.

 By the time we were pregnant with the third baby, we knew that we wanted a great video. To our dismay, at 33 weeks, we found out the hospital had a no-video policy at the time of birth. Are you kidding me? That's like ripping the best pages out of a book! No one was going to take this experience from us! We pulled our records from the hospital and hired a homebirth midwife. We would have paid $100 to have our baby in the hospital, but were now going to pay $2500. This was an expensive video! It meant that much to us. We had a friend do the video and that was her only job. How sad it would have been to have missed that birth.

We did the same for the fourth baby. It is so special, not only for us as parents to have these memories recorded, but also for the child. Our kids are amazed when they watch their birth videos. What an amazing sight to behold -- your entrance into the world. To see how hard your mother worked to get you here.

Still not sure? You never have to watch it. Or, you can keep it for yourself and never show it to a single person. Your choice. But you will not ever be able to go back and record it after the fact. Trust me -- as someone who was so adamant about not wanting pictures, you will not regret having them. Many times over the years, I've heard women comment on wishing that they had recorded their birth, but I've never heard a mom say that she wished that she hadn't. Think about that.

Many hospitals have banned videotaping (is that even the right word anymore?!) the birth for legal reasons. Find out the policies beforehand. That would be so disappointing to be expecting to record or photograph your birth and then be told no. You do not want surprises like that in labor!

And if you still aren't sure, check out this video Ceci did for one of my couples.  Grab your tissues.  It'll be the best 6 minutes of your day. 

Halen's Birth Story from Ceci Jane on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

I had intended on having at least some pictures or video of my labors and births, but ended up forgetting it until it was too late. In some ways I regret it, but in other ways I don't because of having video of me naked at my fattest, etc.

However, I do totally agree that you can always choose not to watch it if you never want to, but it is a one-time possibility of capturing the video, so when in doubt, record it!

Somebody commented on my blog saying that their hospital banned videoing of births, but they got around it by setting their digital camera to record video, and the husband just pretended he was taking pictures and was actually videoing.


Jess said...

Shortly after reading your blog today, I came across this one:
It is a tear-jerker for sure. But certainly displays another dimension of why one might want their birth recorded

Andrea said...

You know I couldn't go through my day without commenting on this. thank you for your post I loved it!
With my first two births I was embarrassed and even angry when people asked me if I wanted to take a picture of their births. I thought they were freaky. And I cry as I am writing this because it is a shame I actually thought that. I had to relearn everything I thought I knew about birth, and had to un-learn many things to be able to fully experience the heavenly joy of bringing my third child into this world.
And with my last birth I had it video taped and I am able to relive those precious moments again and again. Watching it doesn't get old, I don't grow tired of it and I can't get enough of it. And every time I see me reach down and pick up my baby for the first time I cry. There are no words to explain the beauty of my birth video, and it can not be replaced. Priceless.
I love it even if I was 200+ pounds. That REALLY is NOT the point of my birth video, the point is re-living those emotions, experiencing those moments over and over again.

karyn said...

My husband videoed our birth...I am SO GLAD! It was incredible to watch later, and I showed it to my Mom. (She of course had wanted to be there but we wanted it to just be us) She's had 6 kids (in hospitals) and has never seen a baby be born. So it was really awesome to be able to show her later how awesome, safe and peaceful our baby girl's home birth was.

karyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
karyn said...

I know I already commented, but now that I watched the video, I just have to say....That's my friend Jenni K (Joyful Birth-Doula Care)! I didn't have her at my birth since she lives in TX and I live in VA, but I love her! She's so sweet! Sorry, I just got a bit excited when I realized who I was seeing! :)

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