Why don’t homebirth advocates learn from a near miss?

She argued with me in another forum about the safety of homebirth:

I truly recommend the book, “Born in the USA: How a Broken Maternity System Must be Fixed to put Women and Babies First” by Dr. Marsden Wagner. He is a Doctor with extensive experience and would enlighten many a doctors on the subject and safety of Homebirth…

Lets start there Doctors. Lets actually enable a women to birth rather then telling her in many ways that she does not know her body, cant possibly push a 10 pound baby out of her vagina (for example), must birth on her back with a cathetar and epidural because she could never handle the pain. Lets educate women and truly give all sides of the birthing procedures…

She became an ICAN co-leader because of her belief that her first child was delivered by an “unnecessary” C-section:

My oldest son was a c/s bc the ob thought he was too big. I was young, ignorant and swayed quite easily. He was scheduled to be cut out of me one day after his due date. I never felt labor, and I barely remember his birth. He was 9lb 6oz 21 in and a 13.5in head.

She vowed that her second birth would be different. Despite the risk factors of a previous C-section and previous macrosomic baby, she chose to have a home VBAC with a certified professional midwife (CPM). The baby nearly died and she suffered a significant postpartum hemorrhage:

[The midwife] checked [his] heart tones, she couldn’t find them.

My heart stopped.

[The midwife] had me get on all fours with my chest on the bed to relieve the pressure from his head in the birth canal. [She] told [my husband] to call the ambulance. [Her] assistant called the hospital to prepare for a homebirth transport…

She had a partially prolapsed cord. Fortunately the ambulance arrived quickly and the hospital was only a few minutes away. The baby was born alive.

Delivering the placenta was interesting, and seemingly boring. Then I began to lose a lot of blood, it poured out of me. Pieces of [the baby’s] amniotic sac were still adhered to the wall of my uterus and required [the doctor] to manually scrape the walls to remove the excess.

She was extremely proud of her vaginal birth. Earlier this year she wrote:

…Having [him] has set me on the path to becoming a homebirth midwife. I believe in women and their innate ability to birth.

Someone asked me recently how I could want to be a homebirth midwife since I had such a difficult delivery and it is obviously not safe. My response was, “Yes it was incredibly difficult however, will you not birth your child at the hospital under induction because women and babies have died?” I needed the hospital and it was there. I will birth my next child at home as well, no second thoughts.

She planned a homebirth with the same CPM despite her history of a previous C-section, a macrosomic baby, an occult cord prolapse and a postpartum hemorrhage.

At 41 weeks, her daughter died in utero on Thanksgiving day. She was delivered later that evening in the hospital. The baby weighed 5 lbs. 15 oz, suggesting that she had been suffering from intrauterine growth retardation likely due to placental insufficiency.

This mother dodged a bullet at the first homebirth, but didn’t learn anything. She wasn’t as lucky the second time around and her daughter is dead.

  • yugaya

    “Plenty of women … didn’t have more than the
    20week ultrasound.”

    A question for the regulars since this is the second comment that suggest the same thing – is that even remotely true, this claim that “plenty or most women” do not have ultrasound examination after 20 weeks at all?

    I am asking because that is definitely not the case where I live.

    • Busbus

      I actually had a homebirth, but my back-up OB had me do bi-weekly non-stress tests (which include a detailed ultrasound) starting at 40 wks 3 days. I had to pay out of pocket for my prenatal care and declined some earlier ultrasounds (generally going by what the OB said was most important), but not those. My OB was quite clear on the point that those were necessary.

  • yugaya

    “since a majority of deaths (maternal and
    perinatal) are occurring in the hospital not in homes”

    You should really start paying attention to what you are saying because:

    “in case you did not get the memo: 99.32% of births occur in hospitals”.

  • yugaya

    ” he was a eugenicist but he was not overtly racist.”

    Can you say that with a straight face?

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      I literally LOL’d when I read that. Also: ” Despite his possible extreme eugenic approach Grantly Dick-Read was only mildly racist for his time”

      Brilliant.

  • yugaya

    Not where I live. When you pass the 36 weeks mark that would require you to deliver a premature baby in a specialist hospital only, you will go to your regular OB in your hospital and as a part of them admitting you into their care an ultrasound is obligatory part of examination.

  • Karen in SC

    Note to 2014 readers. Comments from older posts are scrambled and not in any logical order and difficult to follow.