Friday, 18 October 2013

The one where I might get naked on national TV

Some of you may know already that One Born Every Minute is being filmed in Bristol's Southmead Hospital RIGHT NOW - literally there could be a baby being born under the spotlight as I type. Until November the production team will have their rig up in Southmead's maternity ward and at the newly opened Cossham Birth Centre.

Filming in Cossham Birth Centre is a new direction for the programme which has been somewhat associated with 'on the back medicalised hospital birth pumped full of drugs'. To be fair not all the births it features are like that at all but there is definitely room to show a wider variety of births and to get out of the hospital wards.

But even bigger changes are afoot and this year OBEM will be featuring home births for the first time, yes that's right home births. Now I don't know about you but I have watched pretty much every series of OBEM and I found it particularly useful in the run up to Leelah's birth. I mean witnessing birth isn't an every day occurrence for most of us and certainly few of us are privileged enough to be present as another person's birth unfolds. Watching the series made me understand so many things about what we go through as women and as partners. It demystified so many elements of birth for me and made me confident that I could do it too, it also made me not want to give birth in a hospital, I just don't like them and to me birth wasn't about being treated, it was about what nature gifted me with, about nurture and the comfort of home. I am also lazy and the thought of rousing myself into a taxi in the middle of labour just didn't appeal.

I digress.

So after I had given birth to Leelah at home (you can read about our amazing, funny, wonderful story here on Emma's blog ) I watched OBEM with different eyes and one incredible birth experience behind me. I said to Mr B: "It's such a shame they don't have any home births on this series isn't it?" I said it like a bloody parrot every time I watched it, then one day I said: "Well I would do it, I wouldn't mind sharing our home birth on something like this".

Then I forgot about it... until a couple of months ago when a Twitter friend Retweeted me into a Tweet from the OBEM  production team saying that they were looking for people planning a home birth in Bristol between August - November 2013. Well that put us out of the running, or so I thought. As it turns out home births don't need to adhere to the strict production schedule because they don't rely on a big rig up and only involve a tripod, a camera and one camera person. Simple. So....

I knew I wanted to do it. I was fortunate enough to have had other people share their wonderful birth experiences with me and each and every one was different but equally inspiring. Hearing those stories helped me believe in my own strength and empowered me to embrace the gift that mother nature gave me. It also helped Mr B and that is just as important in my eyes. The experience of the birth partner is also hugely important to see and share. To me doing OBEM would be a way to share a natural and beautiful experience with many people, to demystify and empower other people to believe they can do it too and that there is nothing to fear. It's not for everyone and I understand that but there are people who just don't even think about a home birth or that birth doesn't have to be hard and torturous, many people have only ever had one option presented to them PAIN SUFFERING HOSPITAL. We've come to dread birth and I think that is really a shame as it isn't always that way.

Bloody hell I am rambling off again.

Just like with having a home birth the first time round it is Mr B who had the doubts, not about being at home but about having someone else there with us... and not just someone else but millions of people. How would it affect me, him, the baby, the process of birth? I know it is going to be different to our birth experience with Leelah, every birth is different but I feel ready and able to share our birth experience if it will help other people find strength and inspiration to choose the birth they want without fear and anxiety.

So we've said yes. We will do it. We've met two of the team at our house (a female producer and female camera operator) and talked it through at length. Mr B and I have talked it through. We can pull out at any time if we aren't comfortable.

Is it going to change the atmosphere of giving birth at home? Who can say how it will be, it's all just speculation after all. Last time there was a point when three young male paramedics were discussing my record collection with me as I lay stark bonkers naked on the floor laughing between contractions.

I don't mind people being there if they bring the right energy to the space.

Birth is about celebration to me, I was as high as the stars last time.

Who knows what the birth of little nugget will bring but I am ready to share her birth and our experience.

Would you be willing to share your birth experience on camera. How do you feel about programmes like One Born Every Minute? Am I wise to be flashing my all and sundry to the world?


  1. I know one of the producers on it - it wasn't Claire that came and saw you was it?! That would be amazing. You should defo do it!! Xxx

    1. Hey - No it was Louise and I have also spoken to Ian. But Claire may well be involved with us. We are having our interview film done in a few weeks so may meet her then. That will make it more of a reality. xx

  2. I'm so glad that OBEM are starting to focus on home births. It's been a long time coming.

  3. Ok, way late to commenting on this, but seen you tweeting a lot about it.
    We wanted a home birth with Henry but there were no midwives available in the end to come out.
    However I'm not sure I'd want to share that moment with other people, I liked the intimacy of those first few minutes as a new family (or expanded family!)