I admit it. I cannot get used to these horror stories. I cannot understand how someone would let her own baby die simply for bragging rights.
I’ve written about unassisted childbirth in the past. I’ve pointed out that the leading American exponent of UC, Laura Shanley, and the leading Australian exponent of UC, Janet Fraser, have each lost one of their own babies at UC. I’ve also written about the death of both a baby and mother at UC.
My son Isaiah … was silently born on January 21st at 10:30 am. His weight and length were 8lbs 5oz and 21.5 inches respectively. Here is his story….
7am I woke up with a contraction and 15 minutes later had my next one. I got up to make breakfast and ended up leaning over my kitchen table with the strongest contraction yet. 2 minutes later another one that broke my water. Soaking wet I waddled to the bathroom as my DH drew me a bath.
5 minutes in the tub I pushed his foot out. I was tickling his foot in between contractions and felt him react to it. I did not know when I went into labour that he was footling. So that was a shock but I had decided that I could continue on with my unassisted homebirth at that time.
Single footling breech is an extremely high risk situation and once the first leg is delivered the risk of death goes up dramatically. That’s because the cord can fall out along side the leg. The cord will go into spasm, cut off the baby’s supply of oxygen and the baby will die. It is an absolute indication for calling an ambulance immediately. Instead, this mother decided to ignore it.
So 30 minutes later I was still trying to push out his other foot…
So as I am pushing I put my hand down to feel his foot again and then I felt it… the cord. I decided that I could still try to birth him myself. I got out of the tub and laboured on my hands and knees on our bed. This continued for a while, I think about 45 minutes.
In the face of obvious disaster, the cord has prolapsed, the mother still does not call for assistance.
I finally laid down at about 10:15 and pushed most of his body out. He was still alive at this point, I felt him moving. My 2.5 year old DD then informed me that our baby was a boy.
I pushed his head out in 2 more pushes. He didn’t cry…
Now, when it is too late, they decide to call for assistance.
My husband checked his airways and performed CPR, called the paramedics (his aunt and uncle) they arrived immediately and continued working on Isaiah for another 2 hours while we waited to be airlifted to the hospital… When the helicopter did arrive they pronounced my son dead.
She held her son’s body at the hospital:
… I was able to hold him most of the day until we left the hospital at 7pm that night. Isaiah’s presence in our life was very brief, but he touched our hearts in a way that we will never forget.
He may have touched their hearts, but that wasn’t enough to cause them to take the most basic steps to save his life. Being able to brag about an unassisted birth was obviously more important than whether Isaiah lived or died.