My Idle Hands Encountered the Devil Television Today

Dear The Learning Channel,

I watched part of two episodes of your show, A Baby Story today.

I have seen your show before. It’s a cleaned up, pretty version of labour and delivery and it always features a happy ending. I have actually heard it referred to as birth porn for just that reason. I used to be unemployed and without children and it was pretty gripping television, what with the happy ending and all and the triumph of woman over pain and the sneak peeks into American hospital rooms.

However I now have two children of my own (so I am an Expert) and though my labours were different from each other in many ways, they both shared two very important characteristics: I was respected and trusted to my process throughout. These are characteristics I think are missing from your show and I think this absence is detrimental to your viewers, many of whom are probably developing from you their own ideas about what childbirth will be like and who would benefit from a balanced portrayal of same.

The two episodes I saw today depressed and disgusted me. Both featured women whose labours were declared “non-progressive” and so their doctors recommended cesarean sections. In the case of the first woman, her perfectly normal baby was removed from her uterus and then removed from the room and only when her own mother asked that the baby be brought in, did the nurse bring the baby to her mother.

The second woman had an epidural placed to help with her pain and then was put in bed to dilate, you know, as though she were a machine. After several hours of her just lying there, waiting for something to happen, her doctor examined her cervix and said, “You’re 7 centimetres and the baby is still quite high up. Right now it’s looking like we’ll probably have to do a c-section but you know, I’ve been surprised before. I’ll come back and check you in a while.”

When he returned, a scant hour later, he declared that she was still 7 centimetres and the baby was still high up. He pronounced that it was time to get that baby out because – and this is what really got my hackles up – “…you’re not dilating and the baby is still quite high. This is nature’s way of saying it’s not going to happen.”

At this point, The Learning Network, I truly did want to leap into my television set and kick that pig fucker doctor right in the junk.

She was given paralytic drugs, made to stay in bed, as much as told that she probably wouldn’t be able to deliver her baby vaginally but hey – maybe! – but her doctor doubted it, told that she would probably have to have major surgery and then left alone: SURPRISE! she didn’t dilate, SURPRISE! the baby didn’t move, SURPRISE! her body shut itself down.

This doctor wants to invoke Nature? Ignorant pig fucker! Nature intended this woman to be on her feet, using gravity to move the baby down, using her body the way her body was built to be used. Nature intended for her to be supported by people who know what they are talking about. Nature intended she be given the time and space and information she needed in order to have her baby safely, successfully, in her own time.

And I have no problem with c-sections. They save lives. They are sometimes necessary. And yes I know the show is edited and I did not see the whole story. Maybe at the end, she sued him. I don’t know.

However I would like to propose a companion show for A Baby Story, working title: Doula Saves the Day! Imagine the style of Nanny 911 (the show where the bossy nanny comes and whips a badly behaved family into shape) taking place in a hospital setting within the framework of a woman’s labour and delivery day. A doula, a non-medical support person for a labouring woman and her partner, would be available to intervene in a Nanny 911 fashion, should a woman being filmed for A Baby Story think it warranted.

Here is the episode I just described being transformed into Doula Saves the Day! When the doctor comes in the room and offers his opinion, the husband says, “We want a doula!” After a commercial break, the doula magically arrives and helps the woman to her feet (or better yet is called before she gets the epidural so that she can request a walking epidural) and takes her for a walk around the hospital. She helps her into the shower or bath and lets her labour in water. She gets the woman a yoga ball to sit on and crouch over.

When the doctor comes back in an hour, the woman has progressed to 8 cms and the baby is lowering in her pelvis. The doula convinces the doctor they should wait another hour before thinking about a c-section. Within the hour, the woman is fully dilated, a variety of positions for pushing are proposed (only one of which is lying prone on the bed) and when it is time, the woman delivers her baby vaginally with the support of her husband and doula by her side. She holds her baby right away.

(And if people take to this you could do an Xtreme Doula Saves the Day!, where the doula takes the doctor out behind the hospital and kneecaps him.)

I think the experience of birth can be so many things and can be influenced by so many factors. I really think the model I’ve described above would result in fewer unnecessary surgeries and would also serve to show the viewing public that there is an alternative to “shut up and do what the doctor says, you ignorant slut.”

Most sincerely, awaiting your positive response,


This entry was posted in idiots, television. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to My Idle Hands Encountered the Devil Television Today