Video in Labor: A Do or a Don't?

Sasha Brown-Worsham

Old video camera
Flickr Photo by Robert of Fairfax
Like many issues around children, the issue of whether to bring the Sony Handycam into Labor and Delivery is one fraught with opinions.

Some say labor is a can't miss Kodak moment while others scream "Get that f!@#! camera out of my face!"

I am mixed.

So, I asked some moms (and dads) what they thought:

Amy Kelley, a mom of three who currently lives in the Netherlands has her first birth by C-section on videotape, but her second was not recorded.

"I have my first birth on video, though I am not sure that should have been allowed given liability issues for the hospital or doctor if something went wrong," Kelley said, making a pretty compelling point. 

Still, she has shown the video to family and close friends and is overall glad to have it. "We don't have any video of [my second birth] and that is a shame. The memories are in my head and I don't think I will ever forget, but it's a shame we can't share the experience."

Meanwhile, Andy, a mom of one from Boston, Mass. is less thrilled with the idea.

"These days it seems like there's just too much potential for things to end up on YouTube... too narcissistic for me. Also just on a pragmatic level it seems like the video stuff would have a high potential to be in the way and cause trouble. Of course I am writing here from the perspective of having had a C-section, so I'm envisioning a video camera in the operating room. Perhaps a non-OR situation is much more reasonable."

Adam Vella, a dad of one also from Boston, Mass. says he feels like he missed out. "When my daughter was born planned c-section, I would not have been able to video tape it," he said. "Hell I wasn't allowed a camera. I also wasn't even allowed to peek over the curtain, cut the umbilical cord, or anything. I got jipped."
As for me, I fall somewhere in the middle, which is fitting since one birth was recorded and the other was not. The first time I gave birth, I shuddered at the thought of even photos. So there are none. And I almost immediately regretted that decision.
My second birth -- 18 months later -- is a harrowing 15-minute clip of me screaming "I can't!" and moaning and looking like a cross between Grimace and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but I am still so grateful to have it. That moment where he emerges makes me cry each time and now allows me to feel things I was too stressed and exhausted to feel at the time.
Of course, I am not sure yet whether it will ever be watch-ready for anyone besides myself and my husband. I am nude and very exposed through a good portion of it and I somehow doubt that my teenage son would want any part of seeing it. But for me and my husband, it is such an important reminder of that day and I kick myself for not having one from my daughter.

So, what do you think?  Labor video: a do or don't?
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