I’m beginning to wonder if belief in NCB and homebirth pseudoscience will be an example of natural selection in action. The increased death rate of homebirth, the increased rate of death and disability associated with withholding vitamin K, the increased death rate of children who are not vaccinated mean that children whose parents believe in pseudoscience have less chance of surviving to reproductive age, weeding out whatever deficiencies led parents to these poor decisions in the first place.
Don’t believe me? Consider Mandy’s story:
I rouse myself enough to grab a diaper, and pull Ryder towards me. There is a puddle of blood on the bed. His umbilical cord stump fell off when he was just six days old, and it hasn’t stopped oozing since. A drop or two of blood each day. We weren’t worried. Now this? It’s like a wound… Starting to panic, I try to gather my thoughts enough to make a plan. We need to go to the hospital. It’s Sunday. This is a lot of blood.
Be sure to take a look at the picture that is helpfully included, showing the bleeding baby and the pool of blood.
There is the usual whining about the evil people at the hospital, then:
But Ryder’s bleeding times are very, very out of range. We’re going to admit him to the PICU. You’re going to speak to a pediatric hematologist and the pediatric intensivist. He needs a Vitamin K shot and a blood transfusion. I’m sorry.” The bed shook with my sobs. I held Ryder so tightly. They were going to have to start an IV. Another needlestick. They needed to draw more blood. My poor, sweet baby. This isn’t fair. This isn’t fair.
You bet it isn’t fair. Ryder is experiencing this pain because his mother thought she was smarter than pediatric hematologists.
The following morning, we were told that all of Ryder’s follow-up labs came back normal. He was officially given the diagnosis of “hemorrhagic disease of the newborn” which is caused by a vitamin K deficiency, and the reason that nearly all newborns birthed in a hospital are given a shot of vitamin K at birth.
So she’s learned her lesson, right?
Mandy had done her “research,” which had left her more ignorant than before, and despite what happened, she still believed it.
We chose not to get a Vit K injection after doing some research on the reasons it IS given. Hemorrhagic disease of the Newborn only occurs in 1 of every 10,000 newborns, and yet it is given to all. The dose given is something like 1000x what is required to prevent the bleeding disorder (forgive me, I can’t recall all of the exact numbers without looking them up again.). Vit k is also associated with increased risks of childhood cancers [Note: There is no evidence to support that claim.] The risk/benefit was high enough for us to decide that the risk felt safer – we trusted ourselves to recognize a problem if one arose.
It was just an amazing coincidence that Ryder didn’t get the vitamin K injection and then hemorrhaged. The real cause was mastitis (??!!).
I was taking large amounts of Vit K via spinach and kale smoothies, which was transferring through breastmilk… We had no issues at all until I got mastitis and was too sick to continue making sure I was elevating MY Vit K levels.
Spinach and kale smoothies? This woman is a walking parody.
And what about the next time?
In the future, I will probably STILL not give a vitamin K shot at birth, but try harder to be sure my own levels are sufficient.
This woman is a fool. She is extraordinarily lucky that her baby bled from his umbilical stump where she could see it. He could just have easily bled into his head and wound up dead or permanently brain injured. Having dodged a bullet, she drew the inane conclusion that she is bullet-proof.
She didn’t manage to kill her first baby, but you know what they say:
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.