Friday, 3 July 2009

Scans, homebirths and mothers

Eli and Dan with their three boys- Toby, Luca and Gabriel and Elis' Mum Vicky Katherine, Bryan and Beatrix before the birth of Lucie

Whenever I have filmed a birth I ensure that the family sees the finished film before it goes online or is broadcast. Although I love this part I also find it quite daunting; other people are going to look at how I filmed their birth experience and I worry that it won’t meet their expectations.
A few weeks ago I went to see Katherine and Bryan to show them the film of the birth of their second baby Lucie. I had already filmed the birth of Beatrix, so Katherine and Bryan knew what to expect and had not been worried about me filming this second birth. For a mother to watch
the birth of their baby it must be quite hard- flashbacks of what they were feeling at the time and emotions that were going through their heads must bring it all flooding back. As Katherine and Bryan watched, they were reminded of the early pregnancy when Katherine had a Nuchal fold scan and the baby would not co-operate by showing its fold of fat on the neck. How small Beatrix seemed at the time, and now, several months later how much she has grown and adopted her role as older sister. The labour was relatively short but sharp, Bryan had been rubbing Katherine's back furiously and her mother had come over to look after Beatrix. Katherine watched in silence with tears running down her face as she saw her baby Lucie being born. I am relieved to say that Katherine and Bryan loved the programme and it's now uploaded to the site.

A couple of weeks ago I went to see Eli and Dan with the rough cut film of their third baby’s birth. I filmed it last summer and now eleven months later it is finally ready to go online. Eli, Dan and Eli’s mum Vicky watched as we saw Eli having an anomaly scan at 21 weeks of pregnancy. Her two older boys Toby and Luca were at the scan too and they waited to hear if the baby was a boy or girl. No mistaking its sex as the grey and black picture focussed on a prominent part between the unborn baby’s legs- ‘Yes, it’s another boy’!
Eli is heard to say something about the amount of testosterone that will be flowing around her home in a few years time! We laughed at Eli and Dan’s interview where he only manages to get a word or two in edgeways- and sympathised with my editor who had to view all six hours of Eli’s birth diaries!
At this point I looked across to see Vicky wiping tears away; she had already started to cry and I realised that it must be even harder for a mother to watch her daughter going through the birth process.
When the programme reached the labour and birth Vicky was in full flow and Eli followed suit, it was a wonderful waterbirth with Gabriel coming up through the water with his eyes already open.
I hope that one day when my children decide to have babies of their own that they will allow me to be present at the birth of my grandchildren, although my daughters have already told me in no uncertain terms how they wont want me at the birth of their babies, so it seems amazing that so many women have asked me to be present to film and document their birth experiences, and several have asked me back to film more than once, which I find an honour and a privilege. I do hope that in time my daughters will change their minds, and in return I will promise to be a supportive and sympathetic birth partner, even if I do cry.

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