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Amazing Births on the Discovery Health Channel

3976 Views 17 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  redmomma
I realize it's kind of late to be posting this (the show starts in a couple of hours) but Discovery Health is airing a 3 part series starting tonight called "Amazing Births." The first episode airs at 8pm Eastern time, followed by the second episode at 9. They're airing them again at 11pm and 12am. The third episode will air later this summer.

The show features unassisted births (primarily unintentional, but a few intentional also) in unusual locations or under unusual circumstances - babies born in cars, buses, on a ferry, in the ocean, in a tree, etc. There's also a story about an unassisted birth where the woman didn't know she was pregnant. Hopefully it will be an interesting show.
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There's also a show on the same channel tomorrow called Alternative Births or something like that. Its all about homebirth. I think its on at 8, but the Discovery channel times really confuse me...Why can't they just adjust their times for each zone like everyone else?
I watched tonight. I didn't even once hear them say "Breastfeed" or "nurse" they said things like "nourish" and "feed". Also every time a mother was nursing her baby they blurred out her breasts, even the one the baby was latched onto
: Oh and instead of putting baby skin to skin with mom to warm these sweet babies up (some very premature) they put what looked like a mylar wrap around them to keep the heat in.

I am newly pregnant, so even though a lot made me angry I still cried for all the moms.
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I was so mad at this show I had to stop watching it.
At first I thought it might be fun to have my MIL record it if I could figure out the times and channels (she has sattelite and I know nothing about it) but if it makes you that mad I better not!

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I didn't like it at all. It was very much about women-can't-do-this, what-a-freak-coincidence-it-worked-out. And all the lack of common sense! Nobody, not one that I saw, put a baby on their chest to warm it, they were doing all kinds of silly noneffective things instead (like the police officer that put the baby in the footwell of the car and turned the heater to the feet setting). And they all seemed to think they needed to cut the cord right away (because of course that is what you do). Although I have to say that when I had heard a news story about that college student that didn't know she was pregnant I didn't believe it, but after watching the security cam footage it is much easier to believe - she really didn't look pregnant. It was odd. Although I don't know how she'd have made it through transition without being scared out of her mind...

But I had to stop watching too. The tone was so cynical it drove me NUTS, and everyone treated birth as this huge freak event - not at all naturally, never giving credit to these women or anything. Like, "thanks to the police officer..." or whatever, not "thanks to the natural process that is birth, even breech twins can be born without assistance!" (Can you tell I should never, ever write these things?)
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There were only 3 women on the show that I remember that really needed assistance: the woman who gave birth in the tree during a flood, the woman who gave birth at 6 months on the plane, and the australian woman who delivered breech twins in her car and they were also very premature.

The college student who didn't know she was pregnant... I cried when her story came on. That baby was truely a miracle. And the woman who was sick of hospital births and went to spain to birth by the ocean, she was wonderful also.

I wanted to slap the rich whiney b!tch from boston who gave birth on the boat. And the preschool teacher who wrapped the baby in some nasty green tarp from her classroom. And why oh why did every single one think it was necessary to cut the cord? Jeebus that stupid trooper used some guys nasty pocket knife!

And *why* didn't those moms take the baby and put him/her under their shirts to keep them warm? It would have been my instinct to do that. I hated the alarmist messages they kept giving to you. Gah, my husband made me stop watching...
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Don't have cable, but sounds like I wouldn't want to see it anyway. I am so sick of hearing how "the cab driver or police officer or Dr! delivered the baby", as if mom wasn't even there at all. I HATE the word delivered. Drives me nuts!

My BIL caught his first calf on the farm and MIL was telling everyone that BIL "delivered" the calf. I had to corrrect her and say that no, ummm, the cow birthed the baby, BIL watched the calf being birthed, he did NOT deliver it. So yes, here I am, sticking up for the birthing rights of the farm animals. My family thinks I am a total loon, but oh well
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I was totally disappointed with the show. I've been looking forward to it since I was first contacted by Discovery last year. They originally planned on interviewing me for the show and reenacting several of my births. At that time the show was being called "Do-it-Yourself Births." A few months into production they changed the title and changed their minds about including me (supposedly because my births happened too long ago). I was disappointed but hoped it would still be a good show.

In April of this year they contacted me again and said I had been so helpful with the first series (I put them in touch with people whose stories they found on my site, tried to get members of the UC community to participate, etc.) that they wanted me to help them again (they're considering doing another series on the subject). Once again, they wouldn't be interviewing me or reenacting my births because I hadn't "given birth in an unusual location." But they still wanted me to put up a page on my web site in hopes of attracting participants, put the word out in the UC community, and put them in touch with several more women whose stories are on my site.

In exchange for doing this, I would be given..........nothing. No interview, no money, no credit at the end of the show (as a researcher or consultant). Nothing. Other than the "joy" of knowing I had helped them. What an insult! This time I said no. And after seeing the show last night I'm glad I wasn't a part of it. It was not at all how they described it to me. It was totally fear-based (other than the ocean birth which I enjoyed).

What's nice is that this morning I did a radio interview (cjam in Canada) about unassisted birth. The host asked me about the Discovery show and I got to vent!!

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Originally Posted by nikirj
Although I have to say that when I had heard a news story about that college student that didn't know she was pregnant I didn't believe it, but after watching the security cam footage it is much easier to believe - she really didn't look pregnant. It was odd. Although I don't know how she'd have made it through transition without being scared out of her mind...

Okay, a little
T but I've thought many times about this type of scenario and how it plays out - cuz we've all heard of these stories before. It's such an interesting concept that a woman could not only be pregnant and not realize it, but that she could then be in labor and just think she's having some strong cramping. Then, whoops, out comes a baby! What intrigues me about this is that it kinda goes to show you how much of an impact FEAR can have on labor. We've heard this, yes, but here is a prime example. I think women in our society are conditioned all their lives to fear the big bad that is childbirth. And because of that, we tense and create more pain. Not that labor when you don't know that it's labor wouldn't hurt, but it sounds like (and I didn't catch this show) that this woman managed just fine when she didn't know she was in labor (or did she by this point?). Anyway, it's interesting to me . . .
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She was told by many doctors that she could not have children. She had a period every month. She went to work and classes every day, never once crossed her mind that she might be pregnant because she was told over and over that she would not be able to have children. She didn't realize she was in labor till the head started to come out
She handled it beautifully, imagine thinking you were having period cramps and out comes a head! She said it was just instinct to reach down and turn her to pull her out.
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Well, this makes me feel better when I realized yesterday that I only get the Discovery Channel, not the Discovery Health channel and couldn't watch.

When pregnant with ds, I used to have these fantasies that dh and I wouldn't get to the hospital on time, and would have the baby at home by ourselves or in the car. My hospital birth went just fine, but we are planning a homebirth this time!
Wow. Not suprised that the show was a complete pain-in-the-a. I actually almost signed up for our cable company's most recent "free digital cable for 6 months" offer just to watch it. But I thought, gee, the show might be annoying, like the episodes of Birth Day that actually feature doulas, birth centers, and a homebirth. They reek of the 'how AMAZING that everyone at the birth center survived, let alone avoid spontanious combustion, without an attending OB' attitude.

And here, when Discovory Health had an oppertunity to redeem itself, and actually show a pleasant version of birth, they fail.

Thank you, mamas, for watching it, and reporting the dismal failure of the program, so I can be glad that I didn't waste my time opening the door for the cable man.

It's really amazing that the producers for Discovory Health have no interest in promoting trauma-free births....why is that?

Is it because the public won't watch? The audience, women, just don't believe it? Is there big medical money, like GE and their 3-D ultrasound, who might insist on a pro-hopsital, pro-doc attitude for any programs aired on the station? Are the producers themselves victims of birth violence, and so because they have chips on their shoulders (i.e., "well, my wife had to have a c/sec and would've died at home, so thank god for OBs, and any other birth choice is stupid")?

I think it is quite peculiar. The blurred-out breastfeeding breasts is quite troubling. I just saw full frontal female nudity on IFC, a cable channel that's in the same 'realm' (i.e., not as brazen as HBO & Showtime, though not as tame as basic cable & broadcast) as Discovory Health so why not breastfeeding breasts? Breastfeeding's not as 'vulgar' as a crowning birth shot (which of course should be shown, in my opinon.)
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I was very puzzled reading this thread until I realized I was thinking of a different show. I watched "unconventional births" last night and thought it was fabulous. the babies were placed on mamas chest, the cord wasn't cut right away, they were all nursing (okay, so they blurred out a nipple on one, oh well, it was obvious that the baby was nursing). the midwives spoke at length about the safety of homebirth, about details that are left out at hospitals, etc...i was frankly surprised and amazed at how incredibly NON-biased towards the medical industry it was.

but i guess that's a topic for another thread!
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Yes, I watched the homebirth one and thought it was great. Although they only showed one homebirth and two birth center births --- they were beautiful births. Did you see where the ten year old sister caught her baby brother in the tub? (She didn't really catch him, the midwife did, but she had her hands there.
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Now "Unconventional Births" which aired last night was wonderful!!! 2 birth center births and one home birth and all the babies were breastfed and was beautifully written and directed IMO.
Yes, I really liked the Unconventional Births show :). DS, who has been terrified when we watched "A Baby Story" or similar, really, really liked the waterbirth at the end (where the 10yo helps catch the baby) and DH, who happened to walk in right at the end of that birth, was impressed as well. I was favorably impressed that finally they left out all the hospital scare tactics, there were no disclaimers or anything!
I was the second mother to give birth on the Discovery Health show "Unconventional Births" I am glad to see you all liked it and I would be willing to answer any questions you had about it.


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