Watching a Live Birth While Pregnant? Heck NO


Sarah Kate Ellis Kristen HendersonWhen you're pregnant, you spend a lot of time asking the women who have already given birth for tips. But you never know: are they telling the truth or sugarcoating it? Are they really "experts" because they've gone through labor and delivery?

It was being totally unsure whether my friends were telling me the whole story that made me wonder during my pregnancy if it would just be better to turn off the miracle of life-type movies and find someone who was pregnant . . . and make her take me into the delivery room. It sounds like the perfect way to prepare for the bit day yourself, right? But is it really better to watch a live birth when you're pregnant or to just wait until it's your own time to go?

Since I never got the chance, The Stir reached out to two moms who have been on both sides of the coin. Kristen Henderson and Sarah Kate Ellis are a lesbian couple who got pregnant the same day (a story they've written about in their new book, Times Two). They expected to deliver their "twins" around the same time, but nature didn't quite cooperate.

Initially, Sarah Kate was expected to deliver first. The couple's daughter, Kate, wasn't turned properly in the womb, and doctors expected to perform a C-section. But after attempts to flip the baby worked, Sarah Kate's C-section date passed. And then Kristen went into labor early.

"I figured Sarah would go first, and I'd have a cheat sheet," Kristen confessed. An easy going rocker chick (she's one of the founders of Antigone Rising), she wanted to have the preview to see how things would go, but she wasn't set on it. Good thing, because instead it was Kristen, her doula and a heavily pregnant Sarah Kate in the delivery room when Thomas came into the world. And for awhile, that was OK.

"Honestly, getting Kristen through that, I forgot I was pregnant," Sarah Kate said. "That was really my focus -- Kristen and Thomas . . . Then I got home and realized I was still pregnant." And that's when what she'd just seen kicked in. "Seeing her in all that pain . . . I was already terrified of the pain, but I really, seriously believe my body shut down!"

Having enjoyed her pregnancy, Sarah Kate said watching Kristen give birth made all those "my body can't do that" fears come bubbling up. "I as so scared of giving birth," she admitted. So she stayed pregnant for three more weeks, two weeks past her due date. Doctors were about ready to induce when she finally went into labor with Kristen at her side.

Moral of the story, ladies? If you're an easy going chick who thinks a cheat sheet would be fun, have at. But if you have even the smallest iota of being afraid? Say hells to the no and run away!!

What do you think? Are you looking for a live birth to get in on before the big day?

Image via Kristen Henderson and Sarah Kate Ellis

labor & delivery, labor


To add a comment, please log in with

Use Your CafeMom Profile

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Join CafeMom or Log in to your CafeMom account. CafeMom members can keep track of their comments.

Comment As a Guest

Guest comments are moderated and will not appear immediately.

elfis... elfishpirat

It really depends on the birth. If you see a birth that is treated like an emergency with pitocin, epidural, other interventions and ultimately, results in a screamfest or c-section, IMO, it's not healthy to see that and have it portrayed as how birth should be. On the other hand, seeing a homebirth with a midwife that is all natural could be very helpful. I saw multiple births before I got pregnant, so I knew what to expect.

Knitt... KnittinMama

Horrible horrible idea! I was terrified even though both of mine were scheduled c sections. Watching that would have totally sent me into panic attack. I do however think its a good idea for girls around 15 to watch a live birth. See darling daughter? If youre not ready for this youre not ready for sex!

Memph... MemphisSuzi

I dont think its really helpful.  EVERY birth is different, every women handles pain/stress differently and it could freak you out unnecessarily.  Or on the flip side could you leave feeling like a failure if you watch a rosey "perfect" birth and your doesnt turn out that way. 

Freela Freela

I think it depends on the birth.  I know when I took a birthing class we watched videos of several different births... an unmedicated birth, a birth with epidural, and a c-section.  It was good information, and got me to think about different choices I would face during birth and what I wanted to do.  To me it would be no different than birthing your second child, when you have some experience to draw on.

jalaz77 jalaz77

Every birth is different. A home birth could go wrong as well as a hospital birth. You never know. For people who are so against the "horrible horrible" hospital births, stay home and do it yourself. You know what's best right? Not against home births but I am against people who trash hospitals.

Rache... Rachell9503

When I was 6 weeks from my due date with my second I stayed with my then sis in law through her delivery. Even though she had a really rough delivery including 3rd degree tears, it just made me excited and anxious for mine to be born, LoL.

nonmember avatar Katie

"elfishpirat": Just because a woman receives an epidural does not, by any means, mean that her baby's birth was treated as an emergency. The most important thing in childbirth is doing what's right for you, and ultimately, what will create the best birth environment for your child. It's true, an epidural shouldn't be a "given", but there are two sides to the coin -- Such as women who are so set on giving birth without pain medication that they refuse it (or ask for it too late) and later experience severe postpartum depression, and even PTSD! We all have different thresholds of pain, too. Or, in the case of c-sections, when a natural childbirth DOES turn into a legitimate emergency (as it did for my best friend with her first child -- who was doing an at-home waterbirth with a midwife when, after an excruciatingly long labor, the baby became so distressed that she had to have an emergency c-section in a hospital ... something she was not at all prepared for!) When it comes to childbirth, we should all prepare for everything as best we can, in the ways we're comfortable with, strive to express our opinions lovingly, and support each other as women.

Lynette Lynette

depends on the birth.  And it depends on how you are preparing for the birth as well as how the other mother has prepared..  A hospital birth I would be leary of (I have had both hospital births and a home birth).  With my homebirth I did something called Hypnobabies(google it) for pain management instead of the epi's I did with my 2 hospital births.  With the hypnobabies birth I was very calm and in control.  I think that would have been a great birth for a pregnant woman to attend.  With my hospital births all I did was lamaze and I was out of control, I let the pain overtake me.  So yeah.  Hey I do think pregnant women need to stay away from most birth shows, they drove me crazy!

jalaz77 jalaz77

Lynette-it wasn't the hospitals fault that the pain caused you to be out of control, it was the lack of being prepared on your part. Not starting an argument but I get tired of people blaming hospitals for a mothers failed birth plan.

1-10 of 19 comments 12 Last