Friday, April 18, 2008

Tootsie Talks ~ Some People Listen

Tootsie's weekly advice column. She's no expert, although she's not really sure what constitutes "expert". If it involves school, she attended the school of Very Strong Opinions. Questions are welcomed. Answers may borderline ridiculous.


Q: Holly from Anglophilefootballfanatic kicks it up a notch this week with three THREE questions: 1. How many licks does it take to get to the center of the tootsie roll lollipop? 2. You hear about getting 3 staples in your wardrobe each season. What 3 do you suggest for this season? 3. And, what would you recommend taking on a trip to Disney that doesn't scream "I'm a Mom?"

A: Holly? Didn't that fricken owl answer your first question when you were like 5 years old? It's not Wuuhuuun. Nor Twoo-whooo. It's Thhhuuhreee! Three. And how pompous was that owl anyway? Looking down his beak at that kid. What a dick. On to question #2; when you say "season" I'm assuming spring? Because it was like 90 degrees at my house yesterday which just screams "SUMMER!!". My recommendations are 1) 3/4 sleeve cardigan, and don't tell your husband, but go with cashmere. Because? YUMMY! 2) These pants are in my closet and look amazing on, in a very Katie Holmes kind of way. She may have questionable taste in men but when it comes to fashion she's at the top of her game. Pair it with a simple white tank top and a bright chunky necklace! Which brings us to 3) Shoes. Think wedge. The answer to your third question is so obvious: Johnny Depp.

And now for everyone's favorite brand of advice: UNSOLICITED

In a recent article, obstetrician Michel Odent (you'll note that I don't refer to him as "Dr. Michel Odent" because no where in the article is he referenced as such. It's a British paper and I have no idea about its legitimacy or if it's their version of The Enquirer) describes "why he believes that when a woman goes into labour, her partner should stay well away". And his opinion is this:
"That there is little good to come for either sex from having a man at the birth of a child. For her, his presence is a hindrance, and a significant factor in why labours are longer, more painful and more likely to result in intervention than ever. As for the effect on a man - well, was I surprised to hear a friend of mine state that watching his wife giving birth had started a chain of events that led to the couple's divorce? Or another lady describing how the day after her husband had watched her deliver their child, he had fled to his hometown of Rome, and never returned again? For many men, the emotional fallout of watching their partner have their baby can never be overcome."

Uh-huh. I see. The poor tender dears. Childbirth is messy and not nearly as sexy as conception. I understand. What's that? Oh you were going to tell us how you came to this scientific conclusion? Go ooonnnnn...
"When I was first involved in obstetrics in the Fifties, it was unheard of for a man to be present as their child was born."

Oh! I get it! You're old-school. Emphasis on the old. I'm sure you're also aware that in the fifties it was common practice to knock a woman out cold and hand her an infant when she came too. Oh, I'm sorry. You weren't finished:
"Childbirth was predominately a woman's business - usually carried out at home - and while a man may be in the vicinity at the time of labour, he would usually be found in the kitchen, boiling copious amounts of water, and therefore would miss the actual event."

You may have skipped a chapter or two in all of your fancy book learnin', but childbirth is STILL predominately a woman's business. And in the past he was more likely to be found smoking cigarettes and tossing back some bourbon. Keep going:
"However, by 1970, a handful of women started to ask for their husbands to be present at the birth, a shift that began to occur in many Western countries at about the same time."

GASP! Those crafty, globally organized bitches!
"There are a variety of reasons for this, including the fact that birth was being increasingly concentrated in hospitals rather than at home, and the rise of the smaller nuclear family meant women increasingly turned to their husbands for support in all areas of their life, rather than relying on their mothers or aunts."

My own mother does not have the capacity to withstand witnessing her own child in moderate to severe discomfort. However, I could rely on my mother in law to keep me updated on the strength of my contractions according to the monitor and that there weren't enough chairs in the delivery room to her liking. My husband was the calm in the brewing storm. So what is your professional opinion about the husband being present for the delivery and its effect on the laboring mother?
"First, a labouring woman needs to be protected against any stimulation of the thinking part of her brain - the neocortex - for labour to proceed with any degree of ease. This part of the brain needs to take a back seat and allow the primal "unthinking" part of the brain connected to basic vital functions to take over. A woman in labour needs to be in a private world where she doesn't have to think or talk. Yet, motivated by a desire to "share the experience", the man asks questions and offers words of reassurance and advice. In doing so, he denies his partner the quiet mind that she needs. The second reason is that the father's release of the stress hormone adrenaline as he watches his partner labour causes her anxiety, and prevents her from relaxing. No matter how much he tries to smile and appear relaxed, he cannot help but feel anxious. And the release of adrenaline is contagious.

It has been proven that it is physically impossible to be in a complete state of relaxation if there is an individual standing next to you who is tense and full of adrenaline. The effect of this is that, with a man present, a woman cannot be as relaxed as she needs to be during labour, and hence the process becomes longer and more difficult."

So your professional opinion is that in order for a laboring woman to "be in that part of her brain where she doesn't need to think or talk", is to stick her in a room full of women (i.e. mothers/aunts)? This is your solution? Have you actually met the chatty female species? This doesn't explain how it is any different with a man than it does with "mothers and aunts" in the room, now does it? Rhetorical, sir. Because distraction is distraction is distraction. And what say you about the stubborn placenta?
"Physically, in order to deliver the placenta with ease, her levels of oxytocin - the hormone of love - need to peak. This happens if she has a moment in which she can forget everything about the world, save for her baby, and if she has time in which she can look into the baby's eyes, make contact with its skin and take in its smell without any distractions. Often, as soon as a baby is born, men cannot help but say something or try to touch the baby. Their interference at this key moment is more often than not the main cause for a difficult delivery of the placenta, too."

Your professional opinion is, that with my husband in the room, I don't love my newborn child enough? Let me say this to you, Michel Odent: You may have been "involved in childbirth for 50 years", and "been in charge of 15,000 births", but you sir, have never actually given birth. You can never know the immediate unconditional love that is born right along with that child and might I add, without actually having YET seen the child. You will never feel that mother to child emotion. You will never completely understand it. Which is obvious by your opinions. Because that is all it is; your opinion. Not a scientific study but your own observations as an obstetrician about a couple of guys who fled at the sight of a human being emerging from a vagina and women whose labor took a little too long for your taste.

So here is my advice to you, Michel Odent: RETIRE!

33 comments:

caution said...

I believe Michel Odent was a twin to my first OB. There are many, many Michel Odents still out there and fully licensed to practice medicine. I think I might have been better off out in a field with some nice neighbors to coach me through that first delivery. Then again, maybe not...

Heather said...

"Child birth" and "state of relaxation" are terms that should not even appear in the same universe together. If my husband hadn't been in the room with me, who would I have yelled at?

stu said...

"GASP! Those crafty, globally organized bitches!"

It is sort of like blogging. All you women coming together and exchanging ideas. It can't be good. ;)

Keep up your crafty.

-Stu

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Word.

calicobebop said...

I wish Muffin's Dad had been there for her birth - I'd have wrung his neck and been done with it. :) Bitter, party of one!

Quick Question - please don't be grossed out, but how can you get the smell of vomit out of a favorite stuffed animal? CoCo the Pony suffered what appears to be a terminal case of vomit submersion this weekend and Nothing Is Working! Thanks.

Queen Goob said...

You crack me up! Johnny Depp�.is currently residing life-sized in my daughter�s bedroom courtesy of me, her loving mother.

I was laughing quite hard at your comments directed to Michel Odent. Unfortunately, I actually could have done without my spawns� sperm donor in the room during labor. Has sat on his haunches, elbows on knees and eating a What-A-Burger while staring unblinkingly at that monitor exclaiming at each indication a contraction was about to begin that �oooooaawwwww, THAAAAAT�S gonna be a big one.�

Angie said...

I think Michael Odent's "thinking" part of his own brain has taken a back seat to the "unthinking" primal part. However, I could be wrong because I am not a doctor, but I play one in my house (and used to in the woods when I was a kid with the neighbor boy.)

KEEP BELIEVING

The Introvert said...

That guy seems to dislike women. Perhaps he's in the wrong profession. However, if and when I am ever in labor, I would probably want no one but the doctors in there. A) Hubby would NOT be able to handle watching the whole thing, and I'd have to worry about HIS feelings. B) I don't even let anyone watch me vomit...much less give birth. What can I say? I have issues with being vulnerable.

Karen said...

Way to put him in his place! It is my unprofessional opinion that men have no business talking about childbirth. I don't trust a pediatircian that has no children as much as I trust a mother of 8.

I've always said that my husband is present when the baby went in, so he's gonna be there when it comes out. And nobody else gets to be there (except medical staff) for the same reasons. Hubby knows enough to quietly be there for support and humbly do what I demand. (I'm a bitch during birth.)

womaninawindow said...

My, the world is full of stupid people and to make matters worse, stupid people who think they're smart. This almost makes me question what I might think I know, but I do know this: childbirth for me was a scary prospect. Parenting a scary prospect. I didn't get there alone. I wasn't gonna be doing it alone. I sure as hell wasn't going to be pushing out babies alone! I mean, labour was a beautiful, beautiful moment to share between husband and wife. Ya. That's it!

JoeInVegas said...

So, I take it then that you don't value Mr. Odent's opinions?
Will you be following up on them at the birth of your next child?

Jennifer H said...

As for Michel O-no-you-di'ent...I hope he gets the world's biggest kidney stone someday. Then we'll talk.

flutterbyshutter said...

mr. odent also says "I've known of perfectly well-balanced men who held their wife's hand through labour then left the next day never to return again." is it just me or do "perfectly well-balanced" men NOT walk away from their wife and newborn child because labor was just too much a strain on THEM? i thought so too.

Melissa said...

Mike is a jerkwad. Way to call him out! Let's blame the "difficulty of childbirth" on women...because as we all KNOW, men have NOTHING to do with it. I have other words to describe him, but I sense you keep this a PG-13 rated blog...

JCK said...

Yes, this smirks of smug from him. I hope you get lots of google hits off of his name on this post!

Personally, I ended up asking my doula and mother to go out of the room for a few minutes so that I could talk to my husband calmly and ASK FOR AN EPIDURAL!! I tried natural. I really hung in there. My husband saved my ass and was the calm one, as I writhed, threw up and pushed her out in 12 minutes. ;)

HRH said...

I am liking the unsolicited advice portion...regular?

Star said...

Okay I have a funny story to tell here. When I was in nursing school I worked in labor and delivery. One of my duties was to watch the men for any signs they were "going down" AKA faint. Smelling salts near by.

One extremely memorable day we had a dad who was getting "that look". Not only did he faint but on his way down he caught the IV pole, ripping the IV out of his very laboring wife's arm (blood shooting everywhere). He also managed to hit his head on the floor really hard and ended up having bleeding on the brain and in ICU.

So...maybe SOME men are better staying out of the delivery room LOL.

Thankfully, my hubby did just fine although I did have my doubts prior to the actual day. If I had something in my eye and would pick up my eyelid and say to him "do you see anything in there" he would say stop...that is gross!!

Madame Queen said...

Those pants? So cute, but unless you're six feet tall you will SWIM in them. I couldn't find anything shorter than a regular and it was a least a foot too long!

"Those crafty, globally organized bitches!" totally made me laugh out loud!

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

We women just don't know what is good for us...

Fannie Mae said...

I don't care how much "experience" a man has had with childbirth; until they can DO IT THEMSELVES they might want to keep their opinions to themselves.

Suburbia said...

Well said Tootsie! Stupid man.
If my mother had even been in the same city when I gave birth I'd have had trouble 'relaxing'!

Kalynne Pudner said...

I notice he forgot the part about covering our faces with an ether-soaked rag.

ALF said...

Can I go shopping with you?

Greta said...

Hmmm..."it was common practice to knock a woman out cold and hand her an infant when she came too."

Don't hate me, but can I do that instead? :)

Cheri said...

Tootsie~

I totally agree with you on what to take to Disneyland. Awesome.

Also, what a marvy piece on childbirth. You. Are. Awesome.

Keep them coming!!!

anglophilefootballfanatic said...

I have the same weather you do generally, silly! It's 80s here right now. I thought you would test the owl's hypothesis?!

The doctor needs to get a kidney stone...which is apparently, the male equivalent to childbirth..and then see what he thinks.

Colleen said...

I couldn't wear those pants at O.N., either...I usually can wear a regular length in their pants, but not those! They were literally 8-10 inches too long...and too wide for my height (5'1")...I looked like a frumpy isosceles triangle.

And nice way to tell that "doctor" to STFU.
While in labor, when I was tired of hearing my husband say anything, I told him to shut-up. He rubbed my back during my excruciating back-labor, he heeded my commands of "stay behind the knees...do not look below", and he advocated for me when my epidural only numbed me from the knees down.
And the placenta was hard to deliver? Really? did I have abnormally small ones? or did they just seem small after my large babies?...mine nearly shot out at my OB because I was still in the whole "push 'em out, push 'em out, WAAAAAYYYYY OUT" mode.
(note: this is why my OB is a woman...even though my OB is childless, I trust her because she has had pelvic exams and knows how uncomfortable it is to have someone's fist and freakin' elbow up your whoo-ha)

BusyDad said...

He is SO RIGHT! Immediately after my wife popped the baby out, all I wanted to do was tell her my best knock knock jokes and recite the Gettysburg address which I was so proud to have memorized! All while giving my newborn son nuggies and high fives.

g said...

Hah! Only yesterday three of us parents were telling chiildbirth horor tales to a newlywed friend at work (at her request). One of the guys popped his head through the door, listened about 10 seconds and took off down the hall!

OHmommy said...

OMG... you always say it so well. What a STUPID man!

Have I told you how much I puffy heart you? Are you going to Blogher?

Don Mills Diva said...

Oh how I wish I could meet him in person so I could slap him silly!

pogonip said...

Amen! I truly couldn't have survived childbirth without my husband right there.

MommyTime said...

It may be that I'm coming in too late here for you to read this comment -- but I'm loving this post so much that I just added you to my reader (and yes, I've been reading since I left that comment back on your first post 1/2 an hour ago -- and I really am supposed to be grading papers).

This man sounds a lot like the 19th century advice manual writers I read sometimes. My personal favorite bit is that labor requires the part of my brain that doesn't think. Nice. I'll keep that in mind if I ever get pregnant again. Oh, wait, I won't be able to remember that at the crucial moment because presumably remembering would require THINKING, and I won't be able to do that and deliver a baby at the same time. -sigh- How do I function on a daily basis at all?!