April 23, 2007

Q: Who Cleans Up Your Home Birth Bathtub If You Don't Have An Assistant?

Lessee, 3pm, that means it's lunchtime on the Coast. Sorry.

Because she was concerned with the increasing frequency of Caesarian births at hospitals these days, Ricki Lake produced a documentary about the Delivery Industrial Complex which debuts this weekend at the Tribeca Film Festival. The Business of Being Born is directed by Abby Epstein, and shows several sets of parents "who decide to give birth on their own terms."

Lake is one of those parents. The home bathtub birth of her second child is featured in the film. But it's the quote from her plug for the film in New York Magazine that makes me wonder and/or shudder: "To this day, my assistant talks about how she had to clean up my bathtub afterward.”

So. Logistics? Is this all part of the Home Birth FAQ and thus, no big deal? Is the real issue here that Ricki Lake made her assistant do her doula's job [update from the comments: or her baby daddy's job?] in the first place?

Talk Show Host Gives Birth. On Camera! In A Tub! [nymag]

6 Comments

Ewww. I know we're trying not to be all judgmental and whatnot. But, that is totally the dad or birth partner's job!

What possible career track lies ahead for a celebrity personal assistant that they would do this? Are they into BDSM much?

Gah. Tacky.

Perhaps her assistant was the birth partner... I mean if you think about the way Hollywood types seem to rely on their assistants it seems like a good match.

[according to wikipedia, she was married to her baby daddy until 2003. the on-camera baby was born in 2001, which means this film has had a long and labored delivery process. Also, either she has the same assistant six years later, which I find hard to believe, or she still keeps in touch with her c.2001 assistant, or she made up the story to plug the film. tough call, but I'm gonna vote for "C". -ed.]

I was secretly rather pleased that our birth circumstances prevented the use of the tub (very fast labor, no time to get the thing setup and heated). I can barely stand to clean the kitchen. Our midwife was quite clear whose job it was, and it damn sure wasn't hers. I suppose one advantage to the tub is that it can be dragged outside and cleaned with a hose, unlike say, the sofa.

this story has hardly broken, and already ricki has taken a whole lotta crap for baring it all "at 195 lbs." let's give the woman some credit for sharing her experience in all its glory. i attended the institute of design at iit in chicago--studying product design--i was mortified when my friend wanted to design a birthing chair for her senior thesis project and my (well-known) advisor told her that he couldn't support her designing such a product because he couldn't relate. shame, shame. i'm no hippy, but birthing children shouldn't elicit such groans of grossness.

[point well taken about grossness, and no point ever made about her weight, except, that is, by Ricki herself. But that's not any point here. Rather, assuming the asst. anecdote is true, and that wrap-up in homebirth is the partner's job, then 1) was Ricki a boss from hell to make her assistant do it? and/or 2) was the baby daddy a total flake for NOT picking up the slack and/or the placenta? -ed.]

Usually, the midwives do most of the clean up. A load or two of laundry is a great job to assign to mother-in-law. Besides, a bathtub isn't exactly hard to clean. Run some water, little scrubbing powder. A portable birth tub is a little more difficult; in my case husband and father-in-law took care of it. I didn't hear any complaints. Incidently, I have a birth tub rental business so I am more than a little familiar with the cleaning of the tubs.

I don't understand what peoples problems are I cleaned out my tub after I rested a few hours with my newborn even though their father should have. I am proud to say I have delivered 3 children at home and I am grateful to do this again with my next child due around late August 2010. I have no fear of cleaning it myself if need be. Being a single parent is a good thing also. If a single parent you can ask for help from family or friends.

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