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Bill Hader Jokes About Wife’s ‘Offensive’ Natural Birth Plan

01/15/2010 at 06:00 PM ET
Michael Buckner/Getty

As a repetory player on Saturday Night Live, Bill Hader has learned a valuable life lesson: to simply go with the flow. And when he became a first-time father to daughter Hannah Kathryn in October — in the middle of a show week nonetheless! — that lesson was put to the test.

“I honestly don’t remember doing the show,” he admitted during a recent appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. “It was just, look at the cards, read the cards … ‘What’s happening?’ It was a crazy week.”

Barely functioning and only going through the motions of the live show, Bill, 31, hadn’t anticipated the extreme exhaustion that accompanies life with a newborn.

“I literally had not slept for five days. Everyone tells you [that] you don’t sleep and it’s true — they’re not lying to you.”

While the couple may have received plenty of advice from close friends and family, Bill and his wife Maggie Carey also signed up for a birthing class. Despite being surrounded by six other expectant couples, the pair received a less-than-friendly welcome! “My wife — she wasn’t righteous about it or anything — wanted to try natural, she wanted no epidural, and the other people … got really offended,” he recalls.

“My wife was like, ‘We’re going to try and tough it out,’ and this guy was like, ‘What? You’re saying my wife’s not tough?’ Huh? Who wants a tough wife? What are you talking about man? He was like, ‘Come on! Wrestle right now.’”

The misconceptions about Maggie’s au-natural approach didn’t end there! “He was like, ‘So what, you guys are going to have your baby in a bath tub or something? What, you like live in a hut or something?’” Bill jokes.

When the moment of truth arrived, however — following a 16-hour attempt to go natural — Maggie traded in her birth plan without a second thought. “She was in labor for 30 hours and at the 16-hour mark it was like, ‘GIVE ME THE EPIDURAL!’ and [I said], ‘Honey, remember?’” Bill reveals.

“[She said], ‘Shut up! Epidural — now!’ And she hooked herself in.”

Click below to read about Maggie’s eventual c-section and 3-month-old Hannah’s latest milestones.

With baby girl weighing in at 9 lbs., 12 oz. a cesarean was performed. Determined to support his wife, Bill stayed by her side in the operating room and, under doctor’s orders, kept his eyes down! “They have a tent around my wife and they’re like, ‘Don’t look on the other side of that tent,’” he remembers.

“So I’m sitting with my wife trying like, ‘Hey, alright. We’re having a baby!’ And I hear them [say], ‘Alright, here she comes, here comes the baby,’” he says.

“‘Aww — ohhh! Oh my God! Whoa! What did you eat? This baby is huge!’ No one was like, ‘Awww,’ they were all like, ‘Ohhh, this baby is big!’”

Through it all Maggie relied on a doula for support, as Bill’s nerves may have gotten the best of him. “She was awesome, amazing, but she was like Gene Hackman in Hoosiers,” he says. “She was just like, ‘We can do this! I love you!’” The father-to-be, on the other hand, served as the perfect yin to the birth coach’s yang! “I was the Dennis Hopper in Hoosiers,” he jokes.

“I was drunk, knocking stuff over, ‘We gotta do the picket fence!’ And they’re like, ‘What are you talking about? We’re having a baby!’ Then they threw me out, ‘Get him out of here!’”

Despite his humorous recollection of Hannah’s delivery day, the new dad can’t help but be proud of his baby girl’s latest milestones, including recently finding her voice and — more surprisingly to Bill — letting her parents know when she is working on a dirty diaper.

“When she poops herself that’s the funniest thing because she just gets like a total blank look on her face and fazes out,” he laughs. “It’s the loudest noise.”

However, parenting also comes with its fair shares of bumps in the road. “Today she hit her head for the first time and when babies hit their heads, they have their pause moment where they kind of look at you,” he explains, “and my wife is really good because she’s like, ‘Ohh, yay, it’s okay.’” The same can’t be said for the new dad!

“She hit her head and I’m like, ‘NOOOO!’ That’s the worst for a kid, when they hit their head and they see their dad going, ‘Noooo!’ And she’s like ‘Wahhh!’ My wife [said], ‘Give her to me, just give her to me!’ And I’m like, ‘No! This is the worst thing ever!’”

Source: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon

– Anya

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Showing 40 comments

Liliana on

I saw this when it aired and he was so funny.

mrsh on

At my childbirth class, the instructor asked if anyone there believed it was possible to give birth without any pain medication, and I was the only one to raise my hand! I can completely relate to his story. I did end up having a natural birth, but that was largely because it only lasted 3 hours. Honestly, for me, the contractions weren’t bad but the pushing was awful! Anyway, I love Bill Hader. He manages to make a long childbirth sound funny!

Alee on

Cute interview!

Kaylie on

Awww, they sound like such great parents! I love their name choice!

Sarah on

I can’t put my finger on it, but this interview has really annoyed me …

Angela on

This goes to show that anything can happen and we can’t beat ourselves up if things don’t go as we’d hoped for. I labored naturally without pain meds for 24 hours, ended up getting an epidural, then had to have a C-section because my daughter was in fetal distress. The result ended up being a healthy mommy and baby, so all was well.

mazzie on

@sarah – same. cos it’s kinda hypocritical, he’s stereotyping people who chose not to have a completely natural birth…

April on

He’s a comedian, and he’s joking about a specific person in their childbirth class. Nothing to be rubbed the wrong way about IMO. He’s a very funny guy.

Bb on

LOL this interview is great.

skunknuggets on

Hopefully his wife can have the natural birth she’s wanted next time around. She’ll know what to expect b/c she’s experienced it before. I know my first labor caught me by surprise, but I did much better with my subsequent births b/c I knew what to expect. I ended up with a c-section with my first, an epidural VBAC with my second, and a natural HBAC with my third. I hope to have another natural HBAC (cause an epidural isn’t really an option at home – LOL) with my fourth in April.

Amy on

Angela – I’m guessing your daughter went into fetal distress BECAUSE of your epidural ;)

I just wish (and Angela this isn’t directed solely at you, really!) that more women would realize that in most cases, epidurals/other medical intervention do more harm than good to both mom AND baby.

Amy on

Also, meant to add – c-sections don’t always make healthy babies. They can cause breathing/respiratory problems, trouble breastfeeding, etc.

mrsh on

My daughter went into distress, too, and I didn’t have anything in my system whatsoever. She just couldn’t handle the stress of delivery well. Had I not been able to push her out in less than 15 minutes, I’m not sure what would have happened.

graciesmom on

Angela, the exact opposite was true for me.

I was in labor for 25 hours without medication. At almost the 26 hour mark, my daughter went into distress and I ended up needing a c-section.

It’s a personal choice how one chooses to deliver. Judgement shouldn’t be passed either way.

Bill’s a comedian and this was a story about his daughter’s birth. I fail to see the harm in it.

Moore on

mazzie, its about a specific person in the class. I don’t see the problem. Just sounds like the person probably had strong feelings about natural deliveries.

Tricia on

Amy, I just wish more women would realize that, 100 years ago, women and babies routinely died in childbirth. We take so much for granted.

Not everyone who gets an epidural or a c-section planned it that way, most of us did not tailor our deliveries around vanity or convenience. Moreover, your accusing Angela of causing her childs’s fetal distress by her choice is just plain cruel.

diana on

i gave birth in a large bath-tub, lit with candles, and without drugs. intense and cool experience.

i have given birth in a lovely room in a hospital overlooking a park with the sunshine streaming in, a great epidural and lots of laughter. happy and cool experience.

lets not start the great birth debate… it just makes everyone stroppy and some people sad.

Sadie on

Exactly what Tricia said.

Melissa on

I don’t see Bill as being hypocritical at all. If anything, I think he’s sort of poking fun at what seems to me as a constant “my way is the best way” sort of attitude that comes with raising children these days. Like, his wife said she wanted to do it naturally, and immediately someone interpreted that as her lording her choice over him. If she’d said she WANTED an epidural, she would probably have been met with a bunch of people that told her she shouldn’t have one, or said they were “tougher” because they did it naturally.

There also seems to be a huge stigma that if you’re not doing something “naturally” for your baby (e.g., no epidural, breastfeeding, homemade baby food, etc.) then you’re somehow a lesser parent.

However someone decides to have and raise her baby doesn’t really matter if the end result is a happy and healthy child. Just my two cents anyway.

Kate on

Tricia, love it. You said it perfectly!

Angela, as a doctor I can tell you that Amy very likely has no relevant qualifications to say such hurtful things, and also has no idea what she’s talking about. Epidurals do not cause fetal distress. C-sections ^can^ cause transient tachypnoea, but in the case of fetal distress will prevent more complications (including death of the mother and/or child) than they will cause. I have worked in a third world country where facilities for epidural / c-section were not available, and women did routinely have obstructed labours and go on to deliver deceased infants. This in turn lead to permanently disabling conditions such as obstetric fistula. People like to get all self righteous about “natural” birth, but if you want to talk about what is “natural” then in about 10% of cases a c-section is necessary to prevent death or disability in either mother or infant. Just look at the maternal/infant mortality rates in Afghanistan to see what I’m talking about.

/rant.

I don’t know who this bloke is who’s being interviewed, but he sounds hilarious!

GiannaG on

“Angela – I’m guessing your daughter went into fetal distress BECAUSE of your epidural :)

Amy, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and hope you didn’t intend this to come out as nasty as it did. Sometimes people type things and the tone is totally different to what they intended. Because I’m sure you couldn’t have been trying to condescend to a mom sharing about her difficult and probably scary labor. The little smiley face at the end, though…Nah, couldn’t be.

Elsa on

Wow, aren’t we a judgmental bunch! People need to realize that everyone has their own ideas about how they would like their birth experience to be, and everyone has different pain threshholds. I personally wanted a natural birth. I was told that any medical intervention would increase the chances of needing a cesarean — a very scary thought for me.

I did indeed have a natural birth and I’m so happy I was able to endure it. I found the contractions to be quite intense at times, but the pushing, and crowning (ugh) to be very intense. I felt quite mentally prepared for how painful it would be, but… Why didn’t anyone tell me I could be pushing for 1.5 hours?!! I had no idea it could take this long, and even longer for some women. Very intense workout that was. However it was such an empowering experience to make it through naturally.

CelebBabyLover on

Kate- Actually, I can see where Amy is coming from. From what I’ve read, Epidurals CAN increase the risk of needing a C-section, and they DO sometimes cause labor to stall.

Elsa- I couldn’t have said it better myself! Everyone has different pain thresholds, and everyone has different things they are and aren’t comfortable with when it comes to giving birth. Some people are fine with Epidurals and such while others, like myself, feel uneasy about and/or are completely against them.

That being said, at first I was a bit concerned when I read his comment about being drunk in the delivery room, but after reading that he’s a comedian (I honestly did not know that before I read the comments!), I’m guessing that he was just being funny. :)

Laura on

Kate,

Are you claiming that 10% of the birthing population, regardless of risk status and location of delivery, requires a cesarean to prevent morbidity and mortality? That’s not even remotely true. 10% across the board, perhaps, including high-risk situations (breeches, multiples, preeclamptics, women with diabetes, etc). And certainly in 3rd world countries where nutrition and prenatal care is substandard, there’s going to be much worse birthing outcomes.

But if you are talking the US population of low-risk women, 10% is way too high (the WHO recommendation, as I’m sure you know, is inclusive of all risk levels). There are MANY midwives who work strictly with low-risk women who have cesarean rates under 5%. I think we have to be really clear when we are talking about low-risk healthy women (not that emergencies can’t happen, but those barring known-in-advance medical risks) vs the general population, some of whom are, of course, going to need induction or cesarean or what have you.

And I’m not sure where you are getting the confident notion that it’s known that epidurals do not cause fetal distress. That is NOT known. There is conflicting data about FHR patterns post-epidural. The jury is still out, if you will. But it’s a very tenable theory, and we do, of course, know that epidurals lower maternal blood pressure, are associated with maternal fever, and are possibly linked to dystocia. There are a host of other risks, as well (related to second stage pushing efforts, fetal positioning, etc). Women deserve to be well-informed and weigh risks versus benefits. Epidurals have their time and place and with judicious use can save mothers and babies. However, as a routine practice, they do nothing but bring on additional risk for the sake of comfort. Some women will be comfortable with the odds of a routine epidural in an otherwise routine birth, some won’t (I am one of them). Everyone has to decide for themselves.

I’ve had it both ways, and the experience of a hands-off, unintervened with birth (twice now) was so ecstatic comparative to my epidural birth that, even if safety were exactly the same, I would never go back to a medicated birth. It’s not that it’s a contest, it’s that it was best for me and my babies (and I absolutely do not want to sign up for anything that increases my changes for a surgical birth, which, with certainty, carries risk for baby as well as forever changes the reproductive life of the mother).

moose on

diana I’m with you…I have had both (great epidural birth and great ‘natural’ birth). Whats the big deal? Its just birth…gotta happen somehow…

Mary-Helen on

I had three “natural” deliveries, two where the only meds I had was gas and a shot of demerol and one completely med free because it went too fast. Had an epidural been offered in the first two, I would’ve jumped on it and asked for one with my third! I think there is nothing wrong with either option, it’s up to the woman. I would recommend going as long as you can w/out and take the meds if you need em. However, I can say completely drug free isn’t THAT BAD.

Emaline on

This was the most hysterical interview! Congrats to the new mom & pop!

The Nanny on

I don’t think Amy was trying to be rude…(at least I hope no!) but rather was just trying to get her point across and it came out rather crassly. But I do understand what she’s saying.

Laura, thank you for your comment — I was going to say the exact same thing! I recognize where epidurals/c-sections/medical intervention are necessary and I am grateful that such technology exists. But, in my opinion, in a “normal” birth, drug-free is absolutely the best, safest, and healthiest choice for both the mother and the child.

sara on

Tricia, you make perfect sense. C-section does save alot of lives and women should not look down on other women because they do not know the reasons behind another womans delivery outcome. In the end, regardless of method, giving birth and caring for a newborn is not easy and all mothers deserve equal respect for their hard work.

Catey on

I’ve had a natural birth with my first and third, and an epidural with my second (30 hour labour). My first and second were strictly breast fed, my third would not take to it and had to be bottle fed at 4 months(and for the record, it was my lactation consultant who recommended it)

And in the end of all that drama, I have three, perfectly healthy kids. Isn’t that the main thing?

I made a decision for what was best for me and my child and make no judgements on others for doing the same.

CelebBabyLover on

The Nanny- I agree with your comment, but I’m confused about something. When is an Epidural ever actually neccesary (outside of being used for anesthesia for a C-section, I mean)? This is something I am honestly curious about. I did not know before that Epidurals are sometimes neccesary (again, outside of being used as anesthesia for a C-section), and would like to know why. :)

sil on

i gave birth to my first daughter with epidural and it was great, with my second daughter was a natural birth and i didn’t enjoy it at all, it was too much pain for me. I think every woman has the right to choose the way of deliverying a baby, it’s ok to have different points of view, but people like Amy (“Angela – I’m guessing your daughter went into fetal distress BECAUSE of your epidural”) are, in my opinion, disrespectful and ignorant.

Olivia on

Funny interview. When my daughter bumps her head, my husband tends to over-react, which leads to her crying. I’ve been teaching him to stay calm and wait for her to cry, or not. “She’ll let us know when it really hurts”, I tell him.

The Nanny on

CelebBabyLover – you’re right, I worded my comment awkwardly! I meant epidurals as a precursor to a c-section.

fuzibuni on

Kate,

You wrote that in about 10% of all births, c-section is necessary. But in the United States, the rate is around 33%. That’s one in three births. It has risen 50% in the last 15 years. In the UK, the c-section rate is 20% of all births. In Brazil, 80% of women have cesareans. However, the world health organization has stated that anything over 15% is excessive.

So my question is, how do we really know what the c-section rate should be? Depending on what country you live in, or what type of medical care you receive, it drastically alters the birth outcome.

Meanwhile, valid studies have been done that show results as low as 2-4% can be achieved in conditions where women have quality pre-natal care and less medical intervention.

So, while the medical community continues to blame the “inherent danger of birth” on the high cesarean rates, anyone who is paying attention can’t help but wonder if there are other factors at play.

Ashleigh on

Given that it’s 2010, a woman can choose whichever birth plan she wants. Nobody should be judged for it. Bill was, in no way, being an advocate for a specific type of birth. Instead he was discussing how labor and delivery played out for HIS wife.

Truth is, just because a woman has a natural birth does not make her a better mother in the same way that a c-section doesn’t do the same either.

fegie on

I had my children 20+ years ago, and epidurals were not available in my hospital in S. Florida. We were told it’s all natural, if a life threatening or baby threating event occurrs, it’s going to be a c section. If there were no epidurals, everyone would be fine.

babymomma on

I just find it weird and surprising how so many people seem to think a natural birth is just an enigma. I have nothing against people who either elect for or end up having a c-section, I just personally think natural is better, even if it means making your life a living hell during labour. As long as it’s safe for baby, keep on breathing through it! I laboured for 41 hours before delivering my son naturally, with no drugs at all, in a hospital and with a doula. Yet I consider myself lucky that I was not persuaded into a c-section because I was taking so much time.

Angela on

Thanks to all of you ladies for your kind words and support! Amy, my daughter was in fetal distress prior to the epidural and had failed the non-stress test nearly two weeks before she was born. And I’m happy to say she’s now a happy, active, brilliant two-year-old.

kaye on

CelebBabyLover,
An epidural can be recommended in the following situations:
- The mother has high blood pressure (epidural’s are known to lower blood pressure)
- The baby is in distress and/or an assisted or surgical birth is a highly likely outcome.
- In a prolonged and difficult labor, where the mother is tense and ‘fighting the pain’. An epidural in this instance can allow a mother to relax, and the cervix to dilate the last few cms. Labor can also stall in this situation however.
- If a women hasn’t slept and is exhausted, an epidural may be offered so that she can attempt to sleep and hopefully as a result will have more energy for pushing.

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