For those of you interested in the topic of "birth" and The Walking Dead - this blog is for you. I must vent about episode #4 (Season 3) and the annoying blunders that make television birth so unrealistic.
First, I know it's a TV show, based on a comic book, and yes, the creators are permitted their dramatic license to a certain extent. But here was the first unrealistic problem with Lori's labor: The gang is being chased around the prison by zombies who were let into their fortress by a vindictive former prisoner. They're in the dark, the alarm is blaring (via back-up generator) and at each turn they could be met with a grisly death by a ravenous "walker." This is exactly when Lori starts to experience labor pains.
Woahhh, hold up a sec!!! Anyone ever hear of "fight or flight?" When adrenaline kicks in, labor often stops or stalls. If a zebra in the wild were to be chased by a predator while she was in labor, adrenaline would stop her labor and allow her to flee until she made it to a safer spot. We are MAMMALS and our bodies work the same way. For some women, just the trip to the hospital and enduring triage is enough to stop or slow labor until she can readjust. So, being chased around a dark prison by a herd of frothing dead folks does not exactly provide a relaxing labor scenario.
That was the first thing that had me scoffing. Then, once Lori finds a relatively safe closet with her son and Maggie (who has watched her dad deliver a calf or two) she goes from one contraction straight to pushing. Okay, I know it's her second birth and all - but this is a little speedy even for TV un-reality. At that point she concedes that something is wrong. To her credit (and actress Sarah Wayne Callies has in fact given birth) she assumes a standing pushing position (far better than the traditional 'flat on back') and begins with some very authentic vocalizations; the kind you hear when women are bearing down...pushing.
She quickly removes her pants and lays on the floor (back to the lithotomy position!) so that Maggie can deliver the baby who appears ready to be born - almost Alien-style. However, there is blood present and it's bright red and copious - not what you typically see in normal labor. Lori is screaming in pain, then Maggie says, "I don't even think you're dilated all the way." What a good call! Yet, how did she know? Did she do a cervical exam? I've got to assume she was making a veterinarian's daughter's guess.
I'd like to venture a diagnosis here: Placental Abruption. In this rare complication the placenta separates from the uterine wall BEFORE the baby is actually born. You would know this is happening because there would be a constant sharp pain (unlike a typical contraction) and you would see a fair amount of bright red blood. Placental abruption occurs sometimes in women who've already had a c-section (like Lori) and have suffered a maternal trauma of some sort (her entire existence post-apocalypse) as well as some other condition like hypertension, for which she'd never know, having had no prenatal care.
Within moments, Lori is demanding that Maggie cut the baby out using her previous c-section scar as a guide (which by the way looked unnaturally long on her prosthetic abdomen.) When Maggie protests (knowing that this incision will certainly kill Lori) the laboring mom claims that SHE should die so that the baby can LIVE! At that point, I shout, "What is this baby going to live on!!? You think a prison is stocked with FORMULA? You can't feed a baby sugar water! You can't even give it evaporated cow's milk!" (My boyfriend had had enough at that point and asked me to stop being so annoying.)
Yet Maggie feels compelled to follow orders and using Carl's blunt-looking knife, she slices through Lori's abdomen and manages to pull the very chubby baby out of her body. Lori quickly expires and her son (as an afterthought) goes back to shoot her in the head so that she doesn't pester the rest of them when she returns as another walking dead folk. Yes, not exactly a cheery ending or a typical task performed by older brothers in general - all summing up to a rather maudlin episode, even for a show so rife with death.