Tilda Swinton: Childbirth is “murderous”

Childbirth is  “a truly murderous business,” the Scottish actress Tilda Swinton told reporters today at the Cannes Film Festival.

“It’s violent. And if one doesn’t embrace that, if one can’t embrace it — and it’s really tough to do that — then you’re up a gum tree because it means you’re going to be cutting off a whole part of yourself,” said Swinton, 50, the mother of teenage twins.

Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton

Swinton told reporters that movies and television give people an idealized vision of birth, according to a story by Anita Singh in the Telegraph, a British paper.

“In movies, and particularly in television films, when people have babies, they are sitting in a hospital room and there are flowers everywhere. They are made up, magically, and they have a baby in their arms and it’s all really lovely,” she said.

Swinton made the remarks while discussing her latest film, "We Need to Talk About Kevin," directed by Lynne Ramsay, which is generating major buzz at Cannes. The film is based on a 2003 novel by Lionel Shriver.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Childbirth vs. baseball

Where do you stand on this? It probably depends on how seriously you take your sports.

The baseball season was only a few weeks old when a sports blogger lambasted Texas Rangers pitcher Colby Lewis for missing a game in which he was scheduled to pitch, in order to attend the birth of his daughter, Elizabeth Grace.

Colby Lewis

Colby Lewis

Lewis, 31, was the first player to go on Major League Baseball's new paternity leave list. A player can be on the list, and off the roster, for up to three days for the birth of a child.

"Baseball players are paid millions to play baseball," Richie Whitt wrote in a post for the Dallas Observer sports blog. "If that means 'scheduling' births so they occur in the off-season, then so be it. Of the 365 days in a year, starting pitchers 'work' maybe 40 of them, counting spring training and playoffs.

"If it was a first child, maybe. But a second child causing a player to miss a game? Ludicrous."

Twitter and blogosphere lit up with sputtering rebuttals: Fatherhood trumps baseball any day, buster.

The Rangers' pitching coach, Mike Maddux, said he supports the new list.

But baseball writer Rob Neyer waded in on Whitt's side of the fracas for SB Nation:

"I'm going to be honest here, as I have been since the first time this came up, some years ago (official paternity leave is new, but players taking a game off to attend childbirth is not)," he wrote.

"As a human being, I think this is fantastic. As a baseball fan, though? If my team's in the playoff hunt, I'm sorry, but I don't want one of my starting pitchers taking the night off. We're not talking about some guy who works on the assembly line for the Integrated Widget Corporation. We're talking about one of the most talented pitchers on the planet, not easily replaceable. What if your team finishes one game short of the playoffs? Was it really worth it?

"Or as a sage philosopher once observed, The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

"And last I checked, there were many fans of the Texas Rangers."

Well, it's not just the Texas Rangers anymore. Several other players have already gone on the list, including the Oakland Athletics' catcher Kurt Suzuki, Washington Nationals' shortstop Ian Desmond and New York Mets' left-fielder Jason Bay.

“Teams were basically granting [leave to attend births] anyway, but they ended up playing short, and that really wasn’t the goal,” Peter Woodfork, a senior vice president with Major League Baseball, told the New York Times' Tyler Kepner for a story about the list. “[The paternity leave list] leaves no gray area. Neither side feels like, ‘Well, we really want you to stay.’ There’s no guilt, and it helps both sides.”

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The birth of Prince William

Prince William, set to marry on Friday, was born in the private Lindo Wing of St. Mary's Hospital in London on June 21, 1982, more than a week before his due date.

He was the first male of the British royal family to be born in a hospital. Prince Charles also broke with tradition by attending the birth.

Prince William and parents leave the hospital

Prince William and his parents leave the hospital

Prince Charles and his first wife, Princess Diana, William's mother, arrived at the hospital very early on the morning of the day William was born.

George Pinker MD, the royal gynecologist, attended Diana. She had also been coached by Betty Parsons, a nurse and natural-birth advocate who had helped Queen Elizabeth with a couple of her births.

Many accounts present the birth as "natural" and drug-free, while at least one insider book holds that the princess had an epidural during her 16-hour labor.

William was born at 9:03 p.m., and weighed 7 lb. 2 oz. A 41-gun salute was fired off in his honor. Princess Diana was back home the next day.

Prince Charles, always restrained, was clearly thrilled. He wrote friends, "I can't tell you how excited and proud I am," adding that he found the newborn William "surprisingly appetising."

Twins born in two different years

Talk about your scheduled C-section. A Machesney Park, Ill., couple went out of their way last weekend to have their twins born in two different years.

Ashley Fansler, 23, and Brendan Lewis, 24, welcomed daughter Madisen Carin Lewis at 11:59 p.m. on New Year's Eve. Aiden Everette Lewis was born a minute later, at 12 a.m. on New Year's Day.

The twins were born by Cesarean section at Rockford Memorial Hospital in Rockford, Ill.

The couple and their doctors purposefully timed the scheduled C-section so the babies could have separate birthdays. Fansler's due date was Jan. 28 but doctors reportedly were concerned about complications.

"We decided to do it that way [bridging the new year] and everything worked out,” Lewis told Matt Williams of the Rockford Register Star. “They said they would do it if there was no complications or anything. Everything was safety first.”

Check out footage of the parents and the newborns here:

Birth photographer is back on Facebook

"I'm BAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK! : )"

That's what Laura Eckert, a Shueyville, Ia., photographer, wrote today on the Facebook page for her New Creation birth photography business.

Facebook had disabled the page last month because it displayed photos taken during and just after childbirth. Earlier today, though, officials of the social media website apologized to Eckert and restored her company's page.

Eckert, 33, told the Associated Press she was shocked when Facebook notified her before Christmas that they had removed inappropriate photos from her page. Eckert said she had cropped all the photos on the New Creation page so they would meet Facebook's guidelines.

When she tried to log on to find out which photos were gone, Eckert discovered the account had been disabled.

A number of Eckert's supporters put together another Facebook page called "Restore Laura Eckert's account."

The photographer emailed Facebook repeatedly, asking for an explanation and reinstatement, but  the company did not respond until KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids aired a story about the dispute, she said.

"It's funny it happened after the media got involved," Eckert said. "I sent many polite e-mails asking for information over the course of the last few weeks and got no response. None."

Eckert said she believed the pictures that brought her page down were from a water birth last spring.

Facebook objected to some of the photos when she first posted them because they contained nudity, Eckert said. She then removed some photos and edited others to eliminate any sight of nipples or genitalia, with Facebook's standards in mind.

But then last month, all three of her Facebook pages, including the New Creation one, were gone.

"We make an occasional mistake. This is an example," said Facebook spokesman Simon Axten.

Eckert said she intends to continue to post birth photos on her Facebook page.

"I see the miraculousness of it," she told the AP. "Maybe that clouds my judgment a little bit."