When it comes to live-tweeting, Facebooking, or Instagramming birth, typically, I'm against it. After having had a child of my own and realizing what a deeply intimate and raw experience it is, I couldn't, for the life of me, understand why someone would want to let friends, followers, and virtual strangers in on that experience with them. But then I read Ruth Iorio's live account of her home birth on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (hash tag: #ruthshomebirth), and I had a change of heart.
Perhaps it was because of her brutally honest home-births (or any births)-aren't-all-faerie-dust-and-rainbows approach ("No loss of mucus plug or breaking waters yet. Just - TMI! - diarrhea, which is a sign system is clearing out"), or the fact that she had a whiskey sour in the bathtub a few hours in (I didn't know you could do that!), but Iorio gave one of the most uncensored accounts, with photos, of what it's like to give birth, starting with the minute her contractions began. It's painful; it's messy; it's beautiful. It's exactly what birth is like.
Here's some of her messages and photos:
Contractions started at about 8pm. Mild, 30 secs long, 2.5 mins apart. Called doula and told her I was cleaning the house #ruthshomebirth— Ruth Fowler (@fowlerruth) December 26, 2013
It's really helping moving around. Can't imagine being stuck on a bed with an IV. That would suck. Tweeting helps too. Distractions good!— Ruth Fowler (@fowlerruth) December 26, 2013
Labor basically feels like shitty period pain in waves. #ruthshomebirth— Ruth Fowler (@fowlerruth) December 26, 2013
Caption: Whiskey Sour, 4 hours in. They've slowed to 4 min apart or so. No rest for the wicked. #ruthshomebirth
Some are claiming Iorio is an exhibitionist and simply out to get her, as one commenter put it, "gold medal for giving birth at home" (they give awards for that?), but I don't see it that way. When I read this, being someone who's already given birth, I was reminded, quite vividly, of what it was like to have a child -- going from the first I-can-totally-do-this contractions to the excruciating ones (to the epidural) to holding my daughter for the first time. I didn't get an "OMG, look at me, I'm such a badass for giving birth naturally" vibe from this at all. I thought it was inspirational. Also, it's worth noting that Ruth is a (rather brash) writer by trade, so it sort of seemed apropos that if anyone would live-tweet their birth, it would be her.
I definitely am not the type of person to let the world in on my birth, but I certainly feel a bit different about posting such a private and personal moment to social media. Ruth's home birth has shown me that, if done right, it can be a really beautiful and empowering thing. And also, every woman's birth story is their own. Who are we to judge?
Did you Facebook/tweet/Instagram your birth? What about photos in the delivery room?
Images via Ruth Iorio/Instagram