Baby’s position wasn’t the problem; problem was the baby’s head became stuck.

Homebirth midwife Karen Carr forgot Mark Twain’s famous admonition: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”

It wasn’t enough to let her actions speak for her after they led to the entirely preventable death of a baby at homebirth. It wasn’t enough to let her actions speak after she had plead guilty to felony charges in exchange for avoiding a manslaughter trial. Apparently, she felt she had more to say, so she gave an interview to The Washington Post. You can read the interview here: Midwife Karen Carr, convicted in Alexandria baby’s death, is under investigation in Md.

Ms. Carr’s observations on homebirth and the deaths over which she has presided (there have been more than one) have ignited a firestorm of protest. In the nearly 300 comments to data, most readers have expressed their horror at Carr’s cavalier attitudes toward neonatal death at homebirth.

Carr’s guilty plea to felony charges came in the wake of presiding over the death of a breech baby who’s head became stuck for more than 10 minutes before Carr even bothered to call 911.

The baby’s position wasn’t the problem, Carr said; the problem was that the baby’s head became stuck.

That is the obstetric equivalent of insisting that ‘it wasn’t the fact that I pushed him off a ten story building that killed him; the problem was that he hit the ground.”

It’s nothing more than a brazen attempt on Carr’s part to avoid responsibility for the choices that SHE made and the actions that SHE took. The mother had been counseled by every other medical provider to have a C-section precisely to avoid the “problem” of a trapped head and the neonatal death that is the nearly inevitable result.

According to prosecutors, it was this unwillingness to accept responsibility that led to Carr’s indictment. Apparently she still hasn’t learned a thing from the baby’s death and her acknowledgment of legal responsibility. As Alexandria prosecutor Krista Boucher points out:

The lack of integrity and veracity demonstrated by the defendant’s taking advantage of a plea arrangement to her benefit, standing before the court under oath and affirming that she was pleading guilty because she was in fact guilty, and then turning right around and claiming that she did nothing wrong, is extremely disturbing… It evidences the same arrogance that got her into trouble in the first place, and it does not bode well for her future clients.

Don’t worry, though. Carr has been “traumatized” by what happened. No, not by the baby’s death; don’t be ridiculous!

“I was very traumatized by attending that birth,” Carr said, hands clasped. “It really shook my faith in the process in a way that nothing ever has done. It was just — a very desperate, heartbreaking situation to be in.”

Her faith in the process? Of course. It is axiomatic in the homebirth community that the key to a safe, successful outcome is to simply “trust birth.” Carr “trusted birth” and it killed a baby. How traumatic for her.

It apparently never occurs to her that her “trust” was utterly misplaced. Birth is not inherently safe; it is inherently dangerous. Only an uneducated fool would think otherwise.

Anyone familiar with the world of homebirth advocacy will recognize that these are not merely Carr’s bizarre personal opinions. Carr is accurately reflecting the views and philosophy of Ina May Gaskin, American homebirth’s Fool-In-Chief. Carr is a walking, talking exposition of the “Midwifery Today” school of thought, complete with the trail of dead babies in her wake. She is a perfect example of what happens when we allow high school graduates to give themselves pretend degrees in midwifery and foist themselves on an unsuspecting public.

If we learn anything from this tragic episode, it should be this: American homebirth midwives (CPMs) are grossly under-educated, grossly under-trained and arrogant in their ignorance. They should not be licensed anywhere, because they are unfit to care for pregnant women and their babies.

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