Dear Holly: You Were Born on April 24, 2016!


Dear Holly: You Were Born on April 24, 2016

Dear Holly,

You have finally arrived- and the world rejoices! Two days ago on April 24th, 2016; you were born after less than 3 hours from the time we checked in at the hospital. You were born weighing 7 pounds, 5 ounces and, exactly like your brother Jack when he was born, you were 20.5 inches long.

Because of how quickly things transpired, Mommy amazingly ended up giving birth to you without having to induce labor or have an epidural; instead, she just had the Nitrous oxide; also known as laughing gas.

Dear Holly: You Were Born on April 24, 2016

You were born with slightly wavy, light brown hair with blonde highlights. And I couldn’t help but notice you have the most beautiful eyes, which clearly came from your Mommy. (The current consensus is that your eyes are blue, by the way.)

Everyone who meets you instantly falls in love with you. I will never forget the moment I got to hold you and kiss you on the forehead saying, “Daddy loves you.” It was so emotional for me that I couldn’t cry.

Beyond emotions.

Dear Holly: You Were Born on April 24, 2016

And obviously, your brother Jack is smitten by you. You are like a stuffed animal that suddenly came to life.

Thank God, you are here and you are healthy. All the many doctors who have seen you so far all simply tell us the same thing: She’s a perfectly healthy little girl.

Even though there was concern from some of the midwives a few weeks ago about you being underweight, you still ending up being born 7 pounds, 5 ounces.

Dear Holly: You Were Born on April 24, 2016

You have been such an easy baby so far. When you cry, it’s so soft and it’s actually kind of funny.

Based on what I’ve seen in these past (less than) 48 hours, I get the idea you are going to be a low-maintenance baby.

It’s okay that you waited 4 days after my birthday to be born. We still get to celebrate our birthdays the same week, for the rest of our lives.

You are here. Wow.

I love you so much!



Dear Holly: You Were Born on April 24, 2016

dad from day one: The Business of Being Born

Fourteen weeks.  Second trimester.

For the past several weeks, my wife has been toying with the idea of “going natural” for the birth.  In other words, no pain medication.  And I’ve been impressed just by her willingness, because I know if it were up to the men of the world to continue the human population by giving birth instead of women, the human population would have died off thousands of years ago.

I had been seeing The Business of Being Born keep popping up on my Netflix as a recommended title that I would enjoy.  Then recently, a writer friend ( also told me I should see it after she read about our disappointment with our first two appointments at a standard hospital.  (Of course, we ended up switching to midwives and are so happy, though I had no idea what a midwife really even was when we first met with them.)

So last night we watched the documentary, The Business of Being Born, directed by Ricki Lake and produced by Abby Epstein (yes, they are both Jewish).  I went into it thinking it would be a tiring movie telling how much money is made off of strollers, cribs, daycare, etc.

Instead, it is a one-sided film about the importance of the long-lost tradition of natural births.  And we loved it!

I took notes:

-Induced labor increases the chances of C-Section by 50%

-In Japan and Europe, 70% of births are delivered by a midwife.  In the US, only 8%

-The US has the 2nd worst newborn death rate in the developed world

-The US has one of the highest maternal mortality rates among all industrialized countries

-Since 1996 the C-Section rate in the US has risen 46%; In 2005, it was one out of every 3 American births

While there are obviously certain situations where a C-Section is absolutely necessary (like the baby being “breach”), it is a major surgery that has become the new norm.

Interestingly, in the movie, a group of young doctors are asked how many live births they have witnessed.  Basically, none of them had.

And to me, that’s scary.  That it’s easier, less time consuming, and more profitable to induce labor and perform a C-Section that it is to let the baby born naturally.

In the documentary they explain how the peak times for American babies being born is at 4pm and 10pm, the times at the end of the work shifts so that doctors can go home.

For me, the desire to have a natural birth all comes down to observing the downward spiral of having a baby in a hospital, with a doctor, the American way:

The mother is given Pitocin, to induce labor.  Which causes longer, more intense contractions and cuts off oxygen to the baby, putting both the mother and the baby at risk, as well as potentially causing birth defects (even ADHD or Autism in the child later on, though not enough evidence can back this yet, but I won’t be surprised when it can).

So inducing labor increases the chances of having a C-Section by 50%, which puts both mother and child at greater risk.  And the epidural slows down the birthing process- which in addition to the Pitocin, is another drug that may also affect the health of the baby.

Until last night, I had never witnessed a live human birth.  But now I’ve seen at least four or five.  All of them natural.

It’s pretty interesting to watch.  I didn’t think it was gross, and I’m not artistic enough off a person to go on and on about how beautiful it was.  It just seemed natural and normal.  Like watching someone poop.  But a baby came out instead.

The Business of Being Born does contain a large amount of nudity, as most of the mothers are nude while giving birth.  But we were so intrigued by watching the births, that it didn’t register, “hey, this is porn”.  It was just a woman giving birth.  The documentary is not rated, because if it was, it may have to be rated NC-17.  But to that I say, What Movie Rating Does Real Life Get?

One of the major reasons I now support natural birth (and denounce induced labor by a doctor, with certain exceptions) is the fact that in a hospital, the mother lays down flat on a bed.  Common sense tells us that gravity will naturally help pull the baby out.  Plus the fact that by having the mother lay down flat, it gives the baby less room to come out.

I also learned that when a baby is born naturally, “a love cocktail of hormones” is released by the mother, causing a unique bond to occur between the mother and the child.

This is where we’re headed.  This is what we will attempt.  A natural birth overseen by midwives.  Yet just down the hall from an M.D. in case something goes wrong.

We just have to be weird, don’t we?

All pictures with the “JHP” logo were taken by Joe Hendricks Photography: