A British-American bluestocking living in the UK writes about politics, pop culture, and emerging new paradigms as they unfold on both sides of the Atlantic. (New content.)

Monday, 20 September 2010

Tweeting Through Childbirth---Push and Text, Honey!

I am Twitter-challenged. I am not sure how it works exactly (though this blog will be on it soon) and I know its connected to a cell phone, but I don't use mine (even though I own one.) I will pause now so that you can be astounded. I did learn how to use it through my computer, though. Somehow, I don't think that counts. The idea is to have a portable way to communicate at all times, right? Well, I can't text worth a farthing. My nieces in the States who are still in high school all have Twitter accounts and I can log on to see what they are doing with their school and friends.

So, it was a bit of a stunner to read that Mrs Star-Stone,a mother from Stafford (in the UK) managed to Tweet through the 13 hours of her drug-free labor during a homebirth...in a birthing pool. Not only did she Tweet while going through labour, but she tweeted while she was floating in water. I can picture her, holding her phone aloft attempting to keep the phone from falling in the tub, and pushing and tweeting at the same time. Her dexterity is to be admired, though the visual is a bit alarming.

I remember when I had my daughter. I was preparing for a homebirth as I couldn't find anyone who would do a waterbirth.  I tried. In the end, she came early. My mother kept telling me I couldn't have natural childbirth. Back then, the only women who had natural childbirth drove vans, ate a lot of brown rice and followed the Grateful Dead. I ate brown rice but  I wasn't a fan of the Dead (you can tack this on to the astonishment  or outrage of not knowing how to Tweet). The idea that I could have held a tiny phone in my hand and typed messages to my friends or family seems a bit Olympian to me. Besides, my mother would have been typing, "You can't do it. Ask for the epidural. Now!" But I didn't ask for the epidural and kept on using all the natural means I had thought of not to ask for a pain-killer.  It worked. I had a natural birth much to the chagrin of my mother who was thousands of miles away and wanted a note from my doctor as proof.  I didn't think  it was really that difficult. And seeing my daughter's face was worth whatever I went through. But, I remember sharing a room with a woman when I was recovering and she asked me how my labor went and in my rush of joy I said, "I loved it" and she managed a very pained half-smile. Apparently, her birth had been extremely difficult. I didn't know that as I was still in a haze of happiness. And I overheard her on the phone later hissing (through the drawn curtain between us): "They put me with some damned woman who said she loved her birth! Is she out of her mind?"

To her credit, Ms Star-Stone says she wanted to "dispel the myths of childbirth." I wonder if it was that, or the fact that so many people just cannot let go of their mobile phone long enough to enjoy living, or in this case, birthing. And, if you Tweet, does that cancel out having a full natural childbirth?  Pass the Cherry Garcia ice cream while we come up with a verdict.