There are so many homebirth deaths occurring that I am having a hard time keeping up. I originally planned to blog today about the recent homebirth death in New Jersey attended by a CPM who had already had her license revoked. I’ll need to save that one for another day.
I came across the story of this homebirth death because of a post entitled, The MOTHER of all posts: IT’S NOT OUR FAULT.
Her heart rate was monitored closely with consistent reassuring heart tones the entire time. At the point when she was crowning … we were still getting a steady, consistent heartbeat. I pushed for a reasonably short amount of time and delivered her without the need of an episiotomy … and I only tore minimally not requiring stitches. She was born and had already passed, the cause of which we can only conclude was having suffered a cord accident in the last moments of birth. She received immediate emergency care but was unable to be revived.
The stories are sickeningly familiar. The blog detailing the mother’s commitment to unmedicated childbirth as “healthier”; the death that supposedly took place in the moments before birth; the clueless midwives who had no idea that the baby was dead; and the link to site where donations can be made to cover the cost of the funeral.
The mother is livid that someone chose to mention that it was her decision to have a homebirth that led to her daughter’s preventable death.
I received a comment on my blog yesterday. Completely, off the topic of the post it was attached to. Unrelated. Here is what it said:
Knowing that this was a “home birth” and that you have NOT once mentioned home birth in all the blog entries that you have written…I would like to just say one thing, that “women who give birth at home trade the “birth experience” for “safety”. There are “risks” with both home birth and hospital birth, but I can’t understand why anyone would want to sacrifice safety for experience…just saying!
… We are devastated by the tragic loss of our baby girl and this judgmental, hateful “anonymous” has the audacity to tell us it’s our fault…
If this person believes we are responsible that’s one thing, but to point their finger at grieving parents in the midst of our immeasurable pain, something this individual could NEVER understand, and try to shame us and blame us by telling us our child’s death is our own fault is disgusting. What type of human being could sink so low? How revolting can someone really be?
What type of human being? The type that cares that babies are dying unnecessarily.
One of the delicious little lies of the homebirth movement is that women who choose homebirth take responsibility for the outcome. The hell they do.
They blather on about being “educated,” about doing their “research,” about ignoring the advice of obstetricians, family members and friends. They insist they understand the risk that the baby might die … right up until the moment the baby dies.
Then they blame God, the universe, fate, anything else but themselves, the people actually responsible for making the choices that led directly to the death of their babies.
Hey life, universe, god or whomever it concerns,
I’ve got some questions for you.
I’m suppose to be celebrating the birth of my baby girl right now. Snuggling her, holding her and kissing her. Why am I planning a funeral?
She was healthy, strong and perfect, why couldn’t she survive the last moments of childbirth?? Why wasn’t my body perfect for her exit? I TRUSTED it. I trusted you.
No, you didn’t trust life, the universe or god. You trusted YOURSELF to know better than medical experts.
Who made the choice to deliver at home, far from emergency equipment and personnel? The homebirth mother. Who made the choice to hire a substandard practitioner? The homebirth mother. Who chose to ignore the medical advice of obstetricians? The homebirth mother. Therefore, who is responsible for the death of a baby that could have been prevented by obstetrical interventions provided by legitimate obstetrical providers in a hospital? Who else but the homebirth mother?
Saying that the homebirth mother bears responsibility for the death of her baby at homebirth is not incompatible with feeling sorry for her loss. It’s no different than grieving for a child who went through the windshield and died because her mother didn’t buckle her into a carseat. That mother is no doubt devastated, and no feeling person can failed to be moved by that devastation, but that doesn’t change the fact that the mother, through her action or inaction, is ultimately responsible for the death.
It is all so damned repetitive:
• The claim of being “educated”:
We researched for months, we read all the information we could find, we learned from every source out there. Our midwives educated us but never pressured us or even encouraged us to give birth at home.
• The claim that the midwives were not at fault.
Our midwives closely monitored the entire pregnancy… The attention, genuine concern and high quality care we received from these three amazing women (and EVERYONE who worked at the midwifery practice) was incredible…
Incredible? That’s not how I would characterize midwives who didn’t know that the baby was in distress until it dropped into their hands already dead.
• The pathetic assertion that the baby received the same resuscitative measures that would have been available in the hospital.
Could she have been revived if she were in a hospital? The same procedure that would have been made to attempt to resuscitate her in a hospital WAS MADE for Aisley.
No, the same resuscitative measures were not used. There was no expert resuscitation with intubation.
• The insistence that it is no one’s fault.
It was an accident that she died. Accidents occur in hospitals as well. The risk of infant death in a home birth is less than 1%. It was an unforeseeable tragic event. Would anyone blame a mother in a hospital for being responsible for her baby’s death? How dare anyone blame us!
How dare they blame you?
YOU are the one who chose to give birth far from emergency equipment and personnel. YOU are the one who insisted that you were “educated” about the risks of homebirth. YOU are the one who chose midwives who were so clueless that they didn’t even know that the baby died during your labor.
When a baby dies at homebirth, those who warned you are entitled to say “I told you so.” What happened to your daughter is precisely what those who warned you were afraid of. They did tell you so; you chose to ignore them. YOU were the one who made the decisions and therefore, YOU are the one who is responsible.