You nearly killed the baby, but you think the NICU abused him?

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There is really no limit to the chutzpah of homebirth advocates.

Case in point:

Took castor oil at 41&2 and had contractions 2-3 min apart starting at 10 pm until I delivered the next day, Friday 7/26, at 5:15 pm. My first labor was only 12 hours, start to finish, so this really shocked us all… Delivered that way [half squat] with my midwife supporting my perenium. It is a boy! He was lifeless & they had to work to het him to pink up. He had apgars of 5/6/8 but swallowed fluid, had retractions in his abdomen, & would stop crying. After 30 min, they new he needed to be.transferred. I couldn’t pee & needed to be catheterized & stitched up had a 2nd degree tear all along my episiotomy scar.

The baby had to spend several days in the NICU but is now, apparently, fine. The folks in the NICU saved her baby’s life, but she’s mad at them.

Spent 2 days fighting them in the nicu & another in the less unit (they wouldn’t discharge us) I feel like he was abused & tramatized in there …

The NICU traumatized the baby? How about his own mother who nearly killed him for no better reason than bragging rights. She hired a midwife so incompetent that she had no idea she was about to deliver a lifeless baby. She labored at home without adequate monitoring. She let her baby spend hours nearly asphyxiating. She insisted on delivering far from the people and equipment that could have resuscitated the baby faster and possibly prevented a long NICU stay.

. I can’t shake this feeling that I really fucked up & shouldn’t have had a homebirth 🙁

Ya think?

There’s a lot she and other homebirth advocates can learn from this story:

1. Trusting birth is not a plan for success, but a plan for disaster.

2. A previously easy vaginal birth is not a guarantee that the next birth will be easy.

3. Homebirth midwives are incapable of assessing the wellbeing of babies. They typically have no idea what is going on until the baby drops into their hands half dead.

4. The NICU will save your baby’s life, but the people in it won’t be happy with the fact that you risked and nearly lost your baby’s life. They may well treat you as if you let your baby unsupervised to fall out the window, because that’s the equivalent of what you did. You left your baby totally unmonitored and “trusted” that nothing bad would happen. That strategy works no better with birth than with windows.

5. Don’t like the way your baby was treated? YOU were the proximate cause, not the NICU staff. He probably would never been in the NICU at all if it weren’t for your insistence on having a homebirth. I am not excusing anything less than 100% professional behavior toward the baby, but YOU put him in the NICU, so you bear some responsibility for his experience.

These incidents happen over and over and over again, and over and over and over again, both homebirth midwives and homebirth mothers refuse to take responsibility. Will the midwife undergo peer review for this disaster? Unlikely. Will she be required to have additional training in monitoring babies during labor? Almost certainly not? Will MANA, the organization that represents homebirth midwives, review its requirements in light of the unacceptably high rate of death and injury at homebirth? Not in this lifetime.

No doubt this mother would claim that she “educated” herself about homebirth and “takes responsibility” for her own medical decisions, but she hired an incompetent provider, labored in a place far from emergency assistance and then fought with the people in the NICU who were trying to save the baby’s life.

Proving yet again that you can’t become “educated” by reading the propaganda spewed forth by homebirth websites, homebirth midwives and homebirth advocates. And whining that the people in the NICU who saved your baby’s life traumatized him after you nearly killed him is the exact opposite of taking responsibility.

  • labtech05@gmail.com

    I truly appreciate the job of the NICU team. You are right that parents are often to quick to blame NICU when it is not at all their fault.

    However, I think you were a bit overly harsh. Home births can be an acceptable choice as long as the proper precautions are set int place. For one, I would suggest a mid-wife who has actual credentials as a L&D RN. It would also be important to be close to the hospital and have a plan to get there rapidly in the event something goes wrong.

    • Who?

      A bit overly harsh on who, exactly? The incompetent birth hobbyist, the parents who ignored medical advice?

      One of the really outrageous things about the homebirth movement is its contempt for medical care, until even they can see it is an emergency, when suddenly all those untrustworthy professionals must jump to it, drop everything else, and rescue the situation.

      • labtech05@gmail.com

        Not all people who choose home birth have contemp for medical professionals. I simply believe that we women need to stop judging each other. We all need to do what we think is right. I chose a hospital for both of my own births but I don’t sneer at those who elect different choices.

        • Who?

          Oh so it’s a tone thing. We all have to speak kindly to everyone and everything will be okay. I presume you also think that the homebirth mother above should have spoken more kindly to and about the medical professionals left to sort out the mess that was her baby’s health. Or do we excuse her on the basis of her self-induced trauma?

          The kind thing to say to someone considering a homebirth is: Choose homebirth if you like, but know that your baby is far more likely to die or be injured than during a birth in hospital. As, incidentally, are you. Know that the many minutes it takes to get to specialist care can be the difference between a good and a bad outcome. Think about whether you can truly accept that responsibility.

          That is kind, not because it is nice, but because it is true. And an adult who can’t handle the truth is unfit for serious decision making, particularly concerning the life of another.

          • labtech05@gmail.com

            It’s not a tone thing. Home birth parents should not blame NICU staff at all. I am saying that not all are against medical staff when the need arises. You presume many things I never said. I am attempting to have a polite adult discussion.

          • Who?

            If not against medical staff if the need arises, why choose to make their job harder by not being right there?

            Why not trust those staff-to whom the life of mother or child is ultimately trusted -to advise the parents, respecting their wishes, in a clinical setting.

            Polite and adult discussion doesn’t require agreement. I have no desire to be rude.

          • labtech05@gmail.com

            Never asked you to agree. Just don’t make assumptions about what I am saying. Get clarification. Anyway. We never know what someone is going through. Perhaps they had a traumatic experience involving a hospital or medical staff? Or maybe they are nervous outside the comfort and familiarity of their home. My friend’s first birth involved a stillbirth. She had panic attacks every time she steps into a hospital due to the memory. Thus why she switched to home births. It’s a much calmer experience for her.

          • Who?

            That is a terrible tragedy to have lived through.

            There are women who post here who have had similar experiences, and they have shared how they use drug and other therapy to manage their fear and anxiety so they can give birth to subsequent children in hospital where it is safer, even though the thought terrifies them.

          • labtech05@gmail.com

            Can you take those during pregnancy? I would guess the fear would be worst during the next pregnancy.

          • Who?

            Apparently there are some that are safe.

    • swbarnes2

      I’m pretty sure the vast majority of L&D nurses can get jobs in hospitals, and don’t really want to practice so vastly beyond their scope. Besides, most of them will be full of stories that go “Well, this baby was in trouble, but since we were able to use this hospital-only intervention on him within 60 seconds” he was fine. I think people who have a lot of those anecdotes don’t want to have anecdotes that run “This baby died because I couldn’t fix the problem like the team of doctors and nurses do in the hospital. I didn’t even know about it because I didn’t have the means to monitor”.

      I don’t see how you can have a plan to get somewhere fast that involves calling an ambulance, waiting for an ambulance, traveling the ambulance, then being taken into the right department of the hospital, evaluated by the medical staff there, who THEN can start to act. That’s a LONG time for, say, a baby to have no oxygen, or for a hemorrhaging mother to be bleeding like a faucet. If you want to be within 5 minutes or 2 minutes, of emergency medical help, the only way is to be at the hospital.

      • labtech05@gmail.com

        I chose a hospital for the birth of both of my sons but I don’t judge those who prefer alternatives. My friend had a great home birth. She lived across the street from a hospital and her midwife was an experienced RN. My point is we women are constantly judging each other over everything– breast feeding vs bottle feeding, cloth diapers vs regular, home birth vs hospital, work outside the home vs stay at home moms… the list is never ending. Perhaps we should realize that we are all doing our best to make good decisions and respect each other’s choices.

        • Who?

          Your friend was lucky.

          Do you feel so tolerant about parents who don’t use carseats for their children-though the risk of dying in a car accident is much lower than the risk of a death at homebirth?

          • labtech05@gmail.com

            Don’t be snarky. It’s obvious that is not what I am saying.

          • Who?

            How is that snarky? It’s cold, hard, dreary, not very pleasant facts.

            So what are you saying?

          • labtech05@gmail.com

            I obviously never said I would tolerate not having a car seat. You pulled that out of nowhere, implying I am some sort of heartless monster who endangers children. That was based on passive aggressive assumptions– not fact or reality.

            I clearly stated that I don’t condone making idiotic decisions that would endanger mother or baby. So why even ask such a question?

            Home birth is higher risk and therefore requires MUCH more preparations. Most people would not be able to handle it. But the few who are prepared for it should not be sneered at.

          • Who?

            Okay.

            The car seat is an emotive but telling example. If you read it again, you’ll see I didn’t suggest you wouldn’t require a car seat for your child: I was testing your suggestion that we shouldn’t be judgmental. Turns out that sometimes you think we can be, so that’s good information to have.

            There is no way to be prepared for homebirth so that it is as safe as hospital birth. There just isn’t.

            As it happens, I don’t care what choices people make. What I care about is that they understand the risks. If someone is prepared to put their child at risk, who am I to tell them not to?

            If someone asked me what I thought, I’d tell them, share the numbers with them, and leave them to it: my one piece of advice would be that they make a choice they can live with, even if it goes not as planned. If they can live with a dead baby, and the nagging feeling it could have gone differently, then fine.

          • labtech05@gmail.com

            For the record I will never have a home birth because I am a huge wimp and want the epidural. 🙂

            Of course if I had a stillbirth I would probably react like my friend and be terrified of hospitals due to the memory. Or never get pregnant again.

        • Bombshellrisa

          I have attended out of hospital births in a birth center that is right across the street from the hospital. No matter how close you are to a hospital, time is of the essence and it takes precious minutes to gef a laboring woman out of a birthing tub or off a bed and into a car. Or calling an ambulance and waiting, knowing they have to assess the situation before they can take anyone anywhere.

        • Hilary

          The problem is that having a home birth is not equivalent to breastfeeding or what kind of diapers you use. Like not vaccinating (although to a lesser degree since non-vaccination effects the general public) this is something where another human being’s – a child’s – well-being and *life* is at stake. That’s why Who’s car seat example makes perfect sense.

          I don’t judge women who have home births (incidentally all the women I know who’ve had them have had significant hemorrhages) but I do judge the decision to have one. I think it’s a bad, dangerous decision. My attitude toward a woman who chooses a home birth is that she may be a very lovely, intelligent person, who in this particular instance – for whatever reason – made a bad, dangerous decision. We all screw up sometimes.

  • NursingRN

    On one of our monthly surveys of “patient satisfaction” I read a statement that nearly made me a bald nurse for tearing my hair out of my head. It went (not verbatim, of course) like this: “I really don’t think it was at all necessary to have my baby stay in the special care unit because you THOUGHT he was going to develop some ‘infection’ and you felt the need to give him IV antibiotics for this. It was a needless invasive procedure. And furthermore, the special care unit is too far from postpartum, I had to take an elevator down or the stairs down just to see my baby all hooked up to a bunch of scary looking machines.”

    I see. Hmm. Well, why didn’t you TELL US you were a fully trained and experienced CNM, OB, Pediatrician, NNP? CHORIO SCHMORIO! It’s like a little cold germ, just give him some nice warm colostrum and he’ll be FINE! And those nasty old RN’s you have to deal with- phooey on them. They aren’t educated about the green way to birth a baby-HEY! How dare they rub that alcohol pad over their stethoscope and touch your baby with it! How dare they invade your body by making sure your uterus is minding it’s P’s and Q’s? Why do they INSIST on talking to YOU and NOT your bodyguar- er- doula?!

    Ok, seriously- both my kids “enjoyed” a stay in the SCN for the first 36 hours of life. My son got preventitve antibiotics because I had chorio, and the first time I got to meet him (after a stat section) he was getting his third IV in his scalp. Yes, it IS hard to see your first baby ever with “mummy arms” and getting an IV in his head (at age 5 he STILL has a good vein in his forehead…pulses when he’s mad!) but I was honestly too scared for his health to be preoccupied with my dreamy little green organic birth going all to heck. I didn’t care if he was getting an IV, I was scared he was going to DIE! My first viewing of my daughter was her laying in the isolette with an o2 cannula in her nosey because she aspirated a bunch of mec stained fluid and had low blood sugar when she was delivered. Traumatizing? For me, minor- for my little pepper? Probably very refreshing to be able to BREATHE and the formula (aka “rat poison” apparently) was probably pretty tasty and refreshing since bringing her blood sugar up from 35!

    This HB mom was traumatized because her fantasy of a perfect beautiful birth went to poop and while I genuinely believe she was scared for her baby, and I can guarantee that if I were her nurse I would treat her with NOTHING but the utmost compassion and mercy (because she doesn’t need anyone being a jerk to her at this point) I can’t help but wonder if this reaction isn’t just a bit of a pity party for herself? Gotta take it out on someone?

    • Bombshellrisa

      There are patients who firmly believe we clean our stethoscopes
      with alcohol pads to make them cold. They also believe if a baby is crying during a first bath, the nurses are “being mean” to the baby! These are the very same people who complain about things like you mention (and also call staff fat and ugly).

  • Kell RN

    thanks a million for this post! As a NICU nurse in a level IV NICU I take care of many babies who are very sick. Many of them are there with no fault or neglect of their parents or medical community, they were simply dealt a bad hand. I do take care of some with this same story (or worse). In these cases I am angry at the choices the families made (along with their midwifes). No matter what I do my job and give the baby the best care possible, because regardless of what brought them there, that is what they deserve! I do meet many lovely parents that are so appreciative of what we do and become wonderful advocates for their baby, and become a partner in their care as they point out subtle day to day differences that help guide our decisions. They learn to assist in the care of their baby, as well as comfort and sooth them. What makes me very angry though is when parents question everything we do and act like we are harming and abusing their baby. I once had one dad say “wow this looks like a fun job, poking babies all day and making them cry”. I have never been so angry. I LOVE MY JOB, I love the intricate skills I have gained, and most of all I LOVE those babies. But I do not thread IV’s into tiny scalp veins just for kicks, suction breathing tubes just because, poke heals for fun, place lines and tubes in every orifice just because I can, give endless amounts of morphine just so I don’t have to deal with the baby being awake. I do each of these things because if it is in the babies best interest. I do not place your brain injured baby into a state of hypothermia because I want to see them shiver, I do it because it is proven to help with brain and organ recovery in the situations (to a certain degree). If a doctor orders something I feel is unnecessary, especially if it is something that will cause the baby pain (such as a lab draw or procedure) I FIGHT and ADVOCATE for that baby. I watch for subtle signs of pain, infections, or overall worsening status. I tell the doctor when I think things are better and communicate when I think things can be weaned or discontinued (meds, vent settings, oxygen etc) I give meds to make that baby feel better, or if I can I will hold that baby, or hold their binky in their mouth, or pat them endlessly. I have spent many nights just holding their hand because that is all the human touch they can handle, and it seems to calm them. AS SOON as I feel the baby can tolerate I sit the mother or father in a chair and move her child to her arms even if that baby is still connected to a ventilator and other multiple tubes and wires.

    I wish all parents could understand all this, and am so thankful most of them do. However no matter what the parents think I will never ever stop loving their babies and giving them the care they deserve.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I once had one dad say “wow this looks like a fun job, poking babies all day and making them cry”. I have never been so angry.

      I’m sure you resisted the urge to say, “Well, if I thought doing it to you would help, I’d do that instead”

      • kell RN

        EXACTLY what I was thinking!

  • Emily

    I HATE what these women often consider trauma to be too – one woman on the thread complaining that her baby had a bruise from having blood taken and that this was devastating and traumatic. No shit?! Guess what, being asphyxiated during a long labor where mum wanders around eating and floating in a bath and has a great experience is ACTUAL fkn trauma that can KILL the baby. A bruise ain’t SHIT compared to what these mums do to their kids.

  • Jane Ellen Brooks Smith

    I wish there was a way to like your articles. LIke Like Like

  • Justanothermd

    Does anyone with medical training think for a second this baby truly had apgars of 5, 6, and 8 prior to trfr? NO WAY. Not from that moms description. Who would trust a home birth midwife to assign an honest apgar score?

  • Joanne

    Amy, are you a hater of women? I understand people of your generation can be backward and difficult, but you seem to be a bitter and awful person. I am so glad the educated younger generation do not buy the rubbish you spill as the right and only way to birth and raise children.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      No, I am a hater of letting babies die preventable deaths for no better reason than bragging rights.

      • labtech05@gmail.com

        It’s not always about bragging rights.

    • LibrarianSarah

      Again with the agism. I hope people don’t talk to you like that when you are no longer of child bearing years. You should take a lesson from passed generations about respecting ones elders or take a cue from modern social justice campaigns about not using a persons demographic status to degenerate them. Age based bigotry is still bigotry my dear.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      So, all of the sudden going back in time to a more backward generation than Dr. Amy is from is progressive? Hmmm

  • Guest

    I’m a

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    I always thought that having a baby in the NICU would be traumatic. Seeing pictures of those babies all bandaged up with tubes sticking all over the place breaks my heart, and is the reason I couldn’t be a pediatrician.

    And if you find that horrifying, then it is understandable that you think the people are doing it are being mean.

    But the key is to step back, shake your head to clear your thoughts, and remember that these people are doing what they need to do to SAVE YOUR BABY’S LIFE! They aren’t trying to damage your child, they are trying to save her.

  • Lena

    OT: Ugh, a women on MDC with a history of premature births is planning a UC. She’s 33 weeks and is 4 cm dilated. 3 of her 4 babies spend some time in the NICU, and she feels that 2 of them were there so the hospital could bill their insurance, since there was “nothing” from with them except their weights.

    I really don’t understand these people. It’s one thing if you have an uneventful history but when the latest gestational age you’ve managed is 36 weeks how can you not be more wary? I’ll go ahead and say it–if something goes wrong that woman would be completely undeserving of any sympathy.

    • amazonmom

      When those preemies get born at home and end up being brought to NICU by EMS the parents usually try and stop us from doing anything. The midwife said everything was fine! Yeah that blue , cold baby with the shakes doesn’t need any tests or help, sure. Hypothermia, RDS, hypoglycemia , the homebirth preemie triad. Sometimes with a sepsis add on.

  • skepticaldoula

    So recently I did my AHA/AAP NRP training. I was tested on all the (chapters 1-9), which includes intubation even though I will never actually intubate a baby as a nurse. I was shocked to learn that the 2 CPMs in the class were only going for testing/certification on Ch. 1-3 & 9. So they basically did not even practice any of the skills used for resuscitation in serious cases (taught in ch. 4-8) such as epi administration. It occured to me that OBVIOUSLY they did not test on those chapters because if they needed to perform any of those life saving measures they would not even be able to – they don’t have the equipment!! It kills me! Esp. since the they always say “we bring the equipment for resuscitation with us to you home”…nope, you bring a bag and maybe some frickin herbs, not even a CPAP.

    • PrecipMom

      I have a question, actually. At what minute point do you start moving to things like intubation, epi administration etc in a neonatal resuscitation? I’m trying to gauge how profound the difference is in in hospital vs out of hospital resources for neonatal resuscitation.

      • skepticaldoula

        Hello, here is the link to the current algorithm (p 6 is the flow): http://www2.aap.org/nrp/docs/NRP2011Summary.pdf
        Even if you live directly across the street from a hospital, there is no way that in 2 minutes you could have that baby intubated or epi administered. It’s so sad. The 10% of infants that need some resus at birth and especially the 1% who need extensive measures are suffering here.

        • Jo Anne

          My goodness! Where could you be possibly working with intubation rates such as these? Must be the dark ages.

  • yentavegan

    Dear Mom-to-be currently planning on an Out of hospital birth,
    i can hear you tsk-tsking and I can see you shaking your head.
    You are saying to yourself,”My midwife is a professional and she would never put me or my baby at risk. The mother in the above example must have been doing something wrong or she must be leaving out a piece of information. This could never happen to me.”
    You are wrong. You are needlessly making your baby’s birth dangerous and life threatening. Your baby deserves the best that modern living offers. That includes the right to fetal heart monitoring. You have no business denying your baby the right to have her/his heart beat checked for how well contractions are tolerated.
    Birth is hard on your baby. Your baby is depending on you to protect her/him.
    Your midwife will not be able to give your baby life saving medical care. Even small interventions yield life affirming differences.

  • Bombshellrisa

    Some interesting charts:
    http://chartsbin.com/view/2501 percentages of births via c-section by country
    http://chartsbin.com/view/2602 births attended by skilled birth attendants by country
    http://chartsbin.com/view/1451 neonatal mortality rate by country

    • thepixiechick

      Great charts! Based on those charts you could hypothesize that a c-section rate between 22-30% is the ‘sweet spot’ as it correlates with the lowest rates of death per 1000 live births.

  • Steff

    Barf!!! Misinformation o-rama.

    “It doesn’t actually hurt any more to have a child without drugs – IF you know how!”

    http://www.gowiththeflowdoula.co.uk/2013/02/natural-homebirth-not-just-for-hippies/

    • Bombshellrisa

      The picture of the woman in the birthing pool is stressful to look at. How in the world is THAT more relaxing than having an epidural and napping in a hospital bed? Further down one of the comments has a link to why women need to “relearn the art of nesting” and why “there is no place like home”. I really rolled my eyes at the comment about how proud one woman was of birthing her baby “in the same bed he was made in”. Yeah, like any kid wants to know that about themselves.

      • I don’t have a creative name

        Why is this something special? It makes about as much sense as eating a lasagna and then taking a dump in your oven and being proud of yourself for it. Why do these women keep looking for things to congratulate themselves on, as if the baby himself were just not enough? I don’t get it.

        • An Actual Attorney

          It amuses me, since Actual Son was conceived on a table with my feet in stirrups. (Not a kink, just ART)

          • KarenJJ

            My kid was born where they were conceived – in the local hospital.

        • JoannaDW

          You mean…you don’t take dumps in your ovens after you cook? I thought everyone did that.

      • Wren

        What about babies who weren’t conceived at home? I really don’t want to know if anyone has conceived in my guest room but they certainly aren’t giving birth there!

        • An Actual Attorney

          It was a family joke that my brother’s height came from his being conceived in Canada in a known guest bed. We still visit and I always tease him about that warm tingly feeling he should get. It usually gets me a punch in the arm.

      • GiddyUpGo123

        In a bed???? Doesn’t she know that nature intended us to birth our babies in fecally-contaminated kiddie pools???

        • Bombshellrisa

          With 5 women with their hands on you, touching you, like in the picture. Ugh. Why do these types absolutely flip out at a routine cervical check, but let themselves be photographed naked while laboring and don’t mind five people touching them while they are having a contraction?

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I really rolled my eyes at the comment about how proud one woman was of birthing her baby “in the same bed he was made in”.

        So that means that my high school classmates should have had their babies in the back seats of their car?

      • fiftyfifty1

        That’s why so many of us who got pregnant during residency gave birth at our residency hospital he he he….

    • amazonmom

      I almost gagged reading that nauseating woo! Maybe it’s the hormones but my patience with woo has gone down lol

    • PollyPocket

      True story: my first was 100% pain free and with significantly less drugs than I anticipated.

      I had an epidural placed, but it was never actually hooked up to the pump (teaching hospital). So I probably got some local around the area, and maybe a loading dose injected by the anesthetist. But several hours later I was still 100% pain free when I felt like pushing. A few minutes later, after the placenta was out (really fast pushing stage!) I told the nurses they had to wait to clean me up because I had to pee and I jumped up out of bed and ran to the bathroom. The doctors found out the epidural wasnt hooked up and I found out I am an excellent placebo responder.

      So I concede that it is possible, though unlikely, to give birth without pain.

  • PollyPocket

    Off topic: I read the original thread and then clicked around the other homebirth posts. There are so many on what kind of snacks one should provide for their midwife. THIS IS A THING? There is one thread by a woman who can’t make end meet and is wondering what kind is snacks to get for her midwife and how she will provide them. There are other comments randomly scattered throughout about being almost ready, but need to get more snacks for midwives/”stock up on mid wife’s favorite foods.”

    In the supplies needed for homebirth: gifts for your midwife.

    I had to do a home health rotation in nursing school and it was drilled home that it is beyond unprofessional to expect a patient to feed you, especially one who’s is sick or, I don’t know, in labor…

    I am just so taken aback that midwives haven’t heard of lunch boxes and takeout.

    I guess it’s just another thing they teach in med school that midwives aren’t privy to (ie the rules of surgery).

    • AmyP

      That right there is yet another argument against home birth–hospital nurses don’t expect YOU the patient to feed and cater to THEM.

      • Bombshellrisa

        No we don’t-but I have to say, those family members who raid Costco and leave gifts of food for the nurses are much appreciated. This has happened more than once with patients and their family. It was so unexpected and kind!

        • Denise Denning

          My mum is a retired maternity nurse, and while the delicious snacks brought by grateful family members were appreciated, she did mention how hard it was for maternity nurses to maintain a healthy weight.

    • Bombshellrisa

      That actually is a thing. Since there are usually quite a few people at a home birth (midwives, students, assistants and doulas) and the woman feels like she is having friends over, not healthcare professionals over so she still has to play hostess

      • Denise Denning

        I didn’t seriously consider home birth, but I did look into it, and one of the major drawbacks that seems to be downplayed is the mess. Why have that in your house? You’ll have a lifetime of cleaning up after this kid, so why not let someone else clear away the mess of their birth.

        And yes; if the homebirth goes pear-shaped and you end up in hospital, you’ve got the worst of both worlds, having bought snacks for your midwife, doula etc, then getting subjected to the horrible and dehumanizing experience of a hospital birth.

        [/sarcasm]

        • Antigonos CNM

          I’ve written before that I had a number of patients, when in the UK, who had had a previous homebirth and flatly refused to have another because “I didn’t get a moment’s rest afterward” at home. I also was called, more than once, by a panicked husband when his wife, resuming all the housework [including the mounds of laundry from the birth] within hours of delivery, had fainted.

  • Maybe I should start reaching out to these moms on various forums and get them information on HOW to get disciplinary action against midwives. It isn’t easy but they can have their certification revoked, it takes two complaints unfortunately and the situation can’t currently be in some sort of legal process.

    The homebirth midwife charged with manslaughter in moab got her cert revoked previously. She could only still practice legally in Utah or Oregon.

    • stacey

      If only there was a way to actually get justice.
      Never hurts to try though!

    • Meerkat

      Have you tried contacting Utah Department of Public health? I am not sure they will close up this birth center, but they might investigate. They might be take an interest in a business which employs a sexual predator like your midwife.
      If that fails, I would write letters to your state’s senator and attorney general.

  • An Actual Attorney

    OT – hysterical! http://youtu.be/zZlz0b0Kgng

    • Karen in SC

      did you notice the patient was hatted?

  • thankfulmom

    The only specific complaints she had about the staff were the peds. nurse (in a step down unit?) who was too forceful in her attempts to get the baby nursing, and the heel sticks.

    My daughter has a scar on her heel from all the sticks, but she is healthy and the nicu nurses were very helpful and kind.

    Had a terrible L&D nurse though for two days. She was in such a hurry to go on her break that she apparently forgot to tell the nurse covering for her that my bp was 180/105 when I went in. It dropped to 76/56 a little while after the epi., had the second nurse known my bp was high to start with she might have caught on earlier when my bp started falling. She kept telling my mfm “I didn’t know.” Anyway, that was just the tip of the awful care I got from the first nurse. When I told the postpartum nurse what all happened she told me I should contact the ombudsman and the clinical manager.

  • Sue

    NICU staff would have to be absolute saints to bear this transference of personal guilt without snapping back…and then being accused of being ”mean”.

    • amazonmom

      We go in the break room and take deep breaths. Sometimes we get together after work and have a beer!

    • You know, I do have several years of health care experience (thats actually what scared me out of going to the hospital initially-dealing with physicians who were unethical on a regular basis). I’ve worked on neo nazis with racist tattoos all over, chauvanistic pigs who called me names, and other people I found totally repugnant. I knew that everyone deserved care, regardless of any other thing going on in their lives. I believe health care is a human right. It doesn’t take a saint to deal with that, just a professional. Everyone gets sick. If you aren’t tolerant enough to deal with every sort of person you shouldn’t work in health care.

      • R T

        I absolutely agree and get tired of people on here acting as if it acceptable for healthcare professionals to mistreat women who attempted homebirth! It is their job to take care of all sorts of people and if they can’t do that professionally they should pick another career!

        • I don’t have a creative name

          Has anyone done that?? I haven’t seen it. My take is that I can understand the frustration of a trainwreck showing up at the door and knowing YOU’RE going to be held responsible for someone else’s stupidity if you can’t fix everything immediately. I just can’t imagine. But there is never an excuse for treating someone poorly. If any dr. or nurse does, there needs to be consequences.

          • R T

            Yes, several times multiple people have done that! People show up at the hospital having caused themselves all sorts of medical emergencies in stupid ways. If you can’t handle it, get a different career. Doctors and nurses do often mistreat patients without any real consequences. I know because I’ve been subjected to it myself, not under the circumstances of a home birth, but under other circumstances. When my pain relief didn’t work after my csection the staff in recovery assumed I was a drug addict and that’s why it must not be working and did nothing to help me. I can only think it was because my husband and I are heavily tattooed. Each nurse and doctor asked me multiple times if I was a drug abuser and one doctor said he thought I was just scared and not really in pain. He prescribed a heavy sedative to “calm” me down which did nothing to help me. I felt extremely judged and mistreated. Finally after seven hours my perinatologist showed up and saved me with a pharmacy consult and a PCA Pump. There was a peer review afterwards but the nurses I’m friends with said if there had been any real consequences for any one involved they would have heard about it and they didn’t. Having been on the receiving end of judgement and unprofessional behavior, I know it happens!

          • AmyP

            I have heard that tattoos have that effect.

          • Bombshellrisa

            There are plenty of nurses who are heavily tattooed under their scrubs-they shouldn’t be judging their patients for the same thing!

        • prolifefeminist

          I haven’t seen anyone on here condone mistreating anyone, ever. Can you point to comments that have? Because I seriously have NEVER seen that. I’ve seen the opposite, actually – people venting their frustration that homebirth trainwrecks come in and blame the hospital and complain about everything there, and the staff still has to be professional and treat them with respect. There are always exceptions, but for the most part, doctors and nurses do act professionally.

          My personal opinion is that a lot of homebirthing moms are convinced that homebirth is “as safe or safer” than hospital birth, and they expect the hospital staff to affirm that belief. When they don’t – meaning, when the staff doesn’t pat them on the back for their decision and assure them that resulting trainwreck had nothing to do with being at home, they take it as the staff being “unsupportive.” Doing something countercultural sort of naturally puts people on the defense.

          It’s like a parent whose kid wasn’t in a carseat and gets injured in a car accident complaining that the hospital staff mistreated/disrespected them because they didn’t act like it was all fine and dandy to skip using carseats. Part of the job of nursing/doctoring is educating patients so they can hopefully avoid future illness/injury. That should of course be done in a kind and respectful way, but it’s nuts to expect staff to act approvingly towards dangerous, reckless choices.

          • R T

            It is said on here at least once EVERY time a story like this posted. People make comments about how of course the medical staff was rude and cold because they are angry the mother did a home birth. In fact, this arguement is getting old too! We just had a long thread about this on another story a few weeks ago. Complete with some people saying its the medical staff’s duty to treat everyone the same and not let their personal feelings become involved and other defending the medical staff being aholes.

      • Bombshellrisa

        I think that it goes beyond that. When you take care of people, you expect that they aren’t going to be at their best. Their family isn’t going to be at their best. They deserve care no matter what, I agree. But this woman (and many like her) accuses the NICU staff of abuse, which is a serious. Because she didn’t understand the seriousness of her child’s condition (and how it came to be in the first place) and the NICU staff is an easy target for her to vent her frustration on.

  • Frequent Guest

    OT: My sister had her baby yesterday. Her water broke at 3 AM, she reached 10 CM at 2 PM, and she began pushing at 3 PM. Her CNM (this was in a hospital) let her push for 4 1/2 HOURS before bringing in a doctor, who recommended forceps. Turns out the baby’s head was turned at a slightly funny angle, and he was over 9 lbs, both of which contributed to why he wasn’t coming out. His Apgar scores were 3 and 8. He’s doing good now (a day later), although my sister got a third degree tear, so that’ll take a while to heal.

    • Karen in SC

      Wow. I was begging for the “vacuum” after just one hour of pushing. Glad your nephew is doing well and wish your sister a speedy recovery.

    • amazonmom

      Congrats to your sister, I’m glad he turned out ok in the end.

    • fiftyfifty1

      Congrats to you sister and I hope for a smooth recovery for her and the baby.
      4 1/2 hours. That is just stupid. Especially since they had already let her labor down 1 hour. What was the CNM thinking? Was she blinded by NCB woo ideology? Was it a turf issue? And why the hell if CNMs are all about vaginal birth and wonderfully trained etc. etc. etc. couldn’t she herself have diagnosed the malpositioning of the head? So she finally calls in an OB who is able to both diagnose and fix the problem. Imagine that. Too bad she didn’t call in the OB when she should have: 4 hours earlier. That baby obviously was paying the price.

      • Something From Nothing

        I think her pelvic floor pays the biggest price in this situation. Her baby was fine, despite a long second stage and forceps, but she had a head on her pelvic floor for hours and then forceps with a third degree tear… Ouch.

      • stacey

        Same thing happened to me, with an OB. I pushed for 2 hours, labored down 1 hour, then pushed another 2, before finally getting my CS. Forceps? No thanks. My pelvic floor is fine, but I did have IC with the next baby so who knows if damage was done?

        And I had begged for an MCRS, so it wasn’t an issue of avoiding a CS. My son was so stuck, that they had a hard time getting him out. His head was just too big. All this after a 30+ hour labor.

        The problem isn’t CNM vs OB. It is a dedication to VB that go way beyond what is safe and healthy. The hospital I chose had been protested for their high CS rate right before my sons birth, and I think that influenced them, even if they didn’t realize it consciously. They had a high CS rate because it was the biggest, best, high risk, and the sole women only hospital in the area.

        • Mom of 2

          Yes, this. I can think of several times when the CNM was ready to throw in the towel and recommend a cs but the OB disagrees and recommends to continue labor/pushing. In my experience, many OB’s, like CNM’s, prefer to deliver the pt vaginally. So much for the NCB idea that OB’s are itching to cut.

        • prolifefeminist

          When I was deep in the woo, I was against MRCS (just typing that now makes me cringe!). My reasoning was based on the whole “do no harm” principle.

          What I failed to appreciate back then was how much harm vaginal birth has the potential to cause. I’m almost embarrassed to write that, because it seems so obvious now! But back then, I’d had two very easy vaginal deliveries and one c-section with a very difficult recovery, and although I knew it wasn’t like that for everyone, somehow those easy vaginal births were the “standard” that stuck in my head – the default against which c-section births were compared. In the absence of an emergency, doing a c-section seemed like an unnecessary harm. I guess when you look at it through that lens, it makes kinda sorta just enough sense on the surface to be an acceptable position.

          The belief I would really love to see fall is the belief that vaginal birth is the way to go unless there’s an emergency – as if it can never cause permanent damage to the mother’s body. Avoiding pelvic floor damage seems (among others) like a pretty damn good reason for choosing a MRCS!

      • Frequent Guest

        I don’t want to be entirely unfair to the midwife – my sister said that the midwife did know and tell her that the head was malpositioned, but that since my sister was making a little (a very little) progress, she had her continue pushing. It was my sister’s first baby, and I don’t think she knew that pushing for so long was really abnormal. I also don’t know why the doctor wasn’t consulted until after four hours.

        • guest

          same thing happened to me, but my baby died just before the doc got a chance to open me up

      • theadequatemother

        My OB friend tells me the midwives up here in Canada are the same – they wait too long to consult, can’t fix problems like malposition so they proceed to engage in watchful waiting until it is very very clear that things aren’t going to progress. 4.5 hours seems outrageous to me also.

      • guest

        Where were the nurses? They must have known that 41/2 hours of pushing was too long.

    • fiftyfifty1

      I think this is a good example of why CNMs need to work *under* OBs not “alongside” them in their own practices. I didn’t use to feel this way, but it is becoming more and more apparent to me. At this point I would never recommend CNM care.

      • guest

        Yes,yes,and yes. My daughter would be alive today.

    • prolifefeminist

      Congrats to your sister! Sounds like one hell of an ordeal though. I hope she recovers quickly.

  • stacey

    Why Castor Oil? I thought “babies know when to be born”?
    How very natural…Ha.
    I really don’t see this as any different from any other induction, except it uses something that doesn’t do anything except give you the sh**s, and it was at home without CEFM.
    That MW must be exceptionally ignorant- I could see the disaster coming just reading the first few bits about the labor.

    • amazonmom

      I feel so bad for the moms who took castor oil before going into labor. Almost always they are pooping and puking their way through labor, miserable!

  • PoopDoc

    2 days? 2 days? That is NOT a long NICU stay. Try > a year. We had one baby who was cutting molars when I rotated as an intern. It was really, really sad.

    • tim

      I remember when we were leaving for the cardiac floor after 3 weeks in the NICU, there was a flurry of activity every day for an 18 month old who was getting ready to go home for the first time. The nurses seemed so sad that they were losing this little guy who had been wtih them for so long, and they had to say goodbye after spending so much time with him and his mom. Very bittersweet.

    • Gene

      We had a kiddo who was transferred from the NICU to the PICU about a week after his first birthday (nurses brought a cake). This child would never go home (combination of medical issues and completely inappropriate family). The nurses didn’t want him to go, but he was approaching toddlerhood and needed the PICU was better equipped.

      • prolifefeminist

        The thought of some of these kids being transferred from NICU to PICU and then discharged to pediatric long term care facilities absolutely breaks my heart. I can only hope that they are showered with love in those places.

      • Dr Kitty

        I found the long term patients in Paeds the hardest.
        The ones who never left, and were never going to.
        Some ( if they were only children or whose parents lived near by) had a lot of family contact. Some (who had lots of siblings or whose parents lived far away, or coped by detaching) went days without seeing family.

        The nurses did all they could, but is heartbreaking.

    • Awesomemom

      My niece had to be in the NICU for six months. She was born with a gap in her esophagus and had to wait to grow in the hopes that the gap would shrink but in the mean time she had to be constantly suctioned to keep her from drowning in her own spit. Thankfully the surgery went pretty well and she is now starting to eat by mouth. So yeah two days is nothing.

    • Lizz1155

      I’ve always wondered, if a baby or child is in hospital and the parents for some reason are not around, what happens about consent for medical care that the kid needs? Is it just assumed?

      • PoopDoc

        Parents are generally available. Consent can be done by phone. And if parents are unreachable you do what you have to in the patient’s best interests.

      • Elizabeth A

        IIRC, when our daughter was admitted to NICU, we signed a blanket consent for “appropriate and necessary” care, and they pretty much took it from there. I know she had three doses of surfactant in her first 24 hours, and no one checked in with me about those – they may have checked in with DH, but I was in pretty lousy shape. They subsequently delayed some things (Hep B) vaccine because they were unclear on my consent, but they could have given her the shot, there are certainly plenty of stories of NICU babes getting those. They absolutely didn’t say anything about bililights or CPAP, I just showed up in the room and found out about this (this was very early on).

        I feel pretty strongly that no one should have waited to consult us about these things. If she needed breathing assistance, I wanted her to have it. If bililights were required, I wanted them on. I didn’t want those decisions dialed through my post-surgical morphine haze. I just wanted the baby taken care of.

        The NICU nurses were generally quite good about calling us if anything unusual popped up, which was rare for us.

      • Kristie

        My husband signed a blanket consent for our daughter when she went to the NICU. It covered doing a cutdown to insert a PICC, and everything else that happened on the unit. We knew about what was going on, but we didn’t need to sign any more forms during the 46 days she was there.

      • prolifefeminist

        I was hospitalized during my pregnancy, and as soon as it became clear that we would have to have the baby early (I was 31 wks), I signed a form consenting to NICU care for the baby. They did whatever they needed to do to keep him stable (ventilator, cpap, abx, tpn, umbilical artery lines, iv, bililights, etc etc) and also whatever tests were needed during the 5 weeks he was there (brain ultrasounds, chest x-rays, bloodwork, etc). Things can change on a dime in the NICU, so I’m glad they don’t wait around to get consent every time they suspect a problem.

  • I don’t have a creative name

    Mom, if you read this:

    “I can’t shake this feeling that I really fucked up & shouldn’t have had a homebirth”

    Yes, you did fuck up. And no, you shouldn’t have had a homebirth.

    You went into it with the best intentions; I have no doubt you did not mean to hurt your child – but that is what homebirth so often does. In the hospital, you would’ve been monitored much more closely (those dreaded “interventions” you hear about) and the baby’s distress would’ve been caught much sooner, and whether by cesarean or vacuum or what, they would’ve gotten baby out much, much sooner.

    I hope and pray baby has no long term effects. Sounds like the NICU did their job for him and if he is unscathed, then thank your lucky stars. And then… try not to spend the rest of your life beating yourself up. We all make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them. People who don’t learn from this type of thing continue to promote homebirth as this wonderful thing, thereby putting other babies at risk. I hope that won’t be you.

    Congrats on your baby.

    • prolifefeminist

      “We all make mistakes, but the important thing is to learn from them.”

      Exactly.

      Wonderful, wonderful post.

  • I don’t have a creative name

    Somewhat OT – since we so often compare homebirth to driving impaired here… that yeah, usually no one gets hurt, but when they do, it’s usually quite bad, and made worse by the fact it was so, so preventable. Have y’all seen this? http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/08/02/mother-tells-driver-daughter-fatal-crash-i-would-kill-you/2611325/ I’ve read some comments criticizing mom for her rage, and I hope for her sake that it cools down to the point she can have a semblance of a life again, but nothing will ever be truly ok again. I can’t believe this jerk could only get 8 years.

  • Denise Denning
    • Alicia

      Thank you!

    • Anj Fabian

      They’ve apparently been deleting comments. FYI.

  • Alicia

    Where’s the link to the story?

  • stacey

    If the mom reads this:
    I am sorry that you had such a horrible experience, and I hope your son is doing well. I blame both the HB and your so called MW, who is very obviously clueless. I am sure you thought you were doing the right thing by your son, and would never want to hurt him.
    I am sure the HB was horrific, and the NICU is scary regardless (I had 2 in there), I hope you can heal. I would avoid that MW though, she is no good, as well as other that think HB is a good idea. They cannot see the damage it caused you.

    • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

      I would speculate that the NICU nurses were rough with trying to get her baby to nurse because they knew that it was his best chance for actually getting fed enough after discharge. They probably knew that she wasn’t the formula feeding type, and hoped that if they could get him to breastfeed, it was his best chance to get enough calories once she got him home. Again, pure speculation, and I don’t think roughness is justified, but I can understand that desperation.

  • Captain Obvious

    Commenter , ” I’m sure your sons recovery is 100% due to the fact that he was born naturally and that you have been there for him through his ruff little beginning.” I am sure if CEFM detected prolonged variable decels or bradycardia there at the end that an episiotomy and vacuum would have expedited the delivery so the baby wouldn’t have been depressed as long as he was. Or a (unne)cesarean could have been done. And, she wasn’t there when he needed her. She stated her MIL went to the NICU while she got stitched up. Do these commenters even comprehend the birth situation that is right there in front of them in print? Or do they just have these copy and paste supportive comments that they throw up there to validate her choices?

    • Elizabeth A

      Is that your comment about the mom not being there at nicu admission, or are you quoting again?

      Being stitchrd up strikes me as a damn good reason not to be at the nicu yourself.

      • Bombshellrisa

        She was being stitched up by her midwife at home (the one who wields Super Glue) so her MIL went to the hospital.

    • fiftyfifty1

      The baby didn’t actually need mom during the time she was being stitched up. The baby needed professionals with training, and that’s what he got in the NICU.

      • Bombshellrisa

        Reading that story, sounds like she should have gotten checked out by a professional too. That part about the tear is making me squirm

    • Older Mom

      Would you think it better that she went to the NICU *unstitched*? How would that help her baby?

      Granted, I don’t think this midwife knew what she was doing with stitching, but mom had a difficult delivery and needed those tears treated. To suggest she should skip stitches to watch professionals tend to her baby is appalling.

      • I don’t have a creative name

        I kind of took it as he was pointing out the complete stupidity of the quoted comment, not that he was saying she shouldn’t have been fixed up.

        • prolifefeminist

          Yep, that’s exactly what I think he meant too.

      • Captain Obvious

        Yes, I meant it as the commenter stated that she was there when he needed her, but she had already stated that she didn’t get to the hospital until much later after being stitched up. Now if she was in the hospital, she could have been sutured while being with her son.

        • Elizabeth A

          Now if she was in the hospital, she could have been sutured while being with her son.

          Not really. They don’t do that work in the NICU – no space, NICUs are often open units, so no privacy.

          Sometimes I think the biggest favor I can do for NICU moms is to stand up and say that I love my daughter, she is everything I would want a preschooler to be, and she has no idea that I did not make it to the NICU every day.

          I delivered my daughter by c-section in a hospital with an excellent NICU. In the first 24 hours of that child’s life, I think I managed 45 minutes in the NICU.

          There’s this stereotype that a good mother would be at the NICU every possible minute, making sure her baby got nothing but breast milk, and was kangarooed all the time. Pretty picture. Often not possible.

          NICU is the most comprehensive child-care arrangement you will EVER have, and when the baby comes home, you will not be able to turn around, put the baby in a family or group daycare and go back to the office. NICU families often wind up doing scant visiting so that they can preserve PTO and FMLA leave. They often feel guilty. They shouldn’t. Doing the best you can with this situation often just doesn’t look like people think it does.

          • prolifefeminist

            “Sometimes I think the biggest favor I can do for NICU moms is to stand up and say that I love my daughter, she is everything I would want a preschooler to be, and she has no idea that I did not make it to the NICU every day.”

            It is SO refreshing to hear someone say this! 🙂

            I, too, had a c-section, and was on a magnesium drip for 24 hrs afterwards, so I didn’t even set foot in the NICU until more than a day after my son’s birth. And as much as I thought I’d spend every minute at his bedside while I was an inpatient myself, I found myself getting very tired and sore very quickly – and I imagine most postpartum moms feel the same way. Once I was discharged, I went back almost every day for several hours – and I still remember the guilt I felt on the two (two!) days I was too exhausted to make the trip in. And I had the luxury of being my own boss, so there was no worry about using up leave. I cannot imagine how difficult it must be when you have that clock ticking. All I had to work around was my husband’s work schedule and taking care of my older kids.

            And somehow, my son has no idea I skipped a few days…and he wouldn’t know it if I’d skipped a few more days either!

          • Captain Obvious

            I was getting at, if she had delivered in the hospital, the fetal HR pattern would most likely have been category II or worse, III, and the OB would have expedited the delivery with an episiotomy and vacuum and any resuscitation may only have been done in the L&D room in front of momma in the neonatal bassinet. After a short B&M the baby could have very well been given back to her while she was being sutured. I believe this baby may not even of had to goto the NICU.

          • Rachel

            I don’t know. I delivered at a hospital, and my son was delivered quickly, with me receiving an episiotomy. They still took him to the NICU just for observation even though he was OK.

          • jenny

            “Doing the best you can with this situation often just doesn’t look like people think it does.”

            This whole post should be required reading for people.

            Some of the things I read from natural birth advocates about the “horrors and trauma of the NICU” make me wanna throw something. I’m not trying to discount that it can be difficult and traumatic for kids, but my god, it’s not something that people do for no reason. If your baby is in the NICU it’s because they need serious help.

            My second child was in the NICU only four days, at which point we discontinued life support because she had multiorgan failure. She was full term and never got a drop of breastmilk. I didn’t get to hold her until she was three days old, because touch was too distressing for her (after that, her brain injury was so extensive that she couldn’t feel a thing). I am so grateful every day to know that when I wasn’t able to be with her… because I was sleeping, eating, or had to be with my older child… that some of the most compassionate people I have ever met were taking care of her. She was surrounded by love for every moment of her life. I have nothing but respect for parents who somehow find a way to continue to meet their responsibilities while their hearts are in the NICU.

          • auntbea

            I am so sorry that happened to you.

          • jenny

            Thank you for your kind words.

            I think I would like to share my daughter’s story here, and I suppose this is a good spot as any.

            She is my second child and she was born at 40 weeks + 5 days, in my kitchen because of precipitous labor. Paramedics arrived while she was crowning. When she didn’t breathe, they took her to the hospital. Later we found out the paramedics had seen her cord while she was crowning. Normal healthy pregnancy, previous straightforward birth, vertex, -1 station at my last appointment. Because of the prolapse, she had profound brain damage, DIC, and multi-organ failure, even after cooling blanket treatment. We chose to discontinue life support and spend the rest of her very brief time holding and cuddling her. As someone said further down in the comments, it absolutely can happen to anyone.

            Before my daughter was born and died, I thought birth was safe, because everywhere I turned, people were saying that it was safe. I’m one of the only people in my social group who hasn’t had at least one planned home birth. Hell, I know a woman who had a baby in one of those giant tupperware storage bins while her mom attended.

            I planned a second hospital birth because setting up for a home birth sounded stressful (and a tupperware storage bin as birth pool frankly sounded like a special kind of hell) while going to the hospital for three days sounded a lot like a vacation. I had no real concerns about safety. I figured I’d had one baby no problem, and while I definitely didn’t want to take any chances, I didn’t believe anything bad could happen.

            My belief that birth was safe was naive, but it was not the cause of my daughter’s death. I tell people all the time now, you never think it will happen to you, you never believe that your child will be the one to suffer or die, but death touches us all, and pain touches us all. Sometimes the difference between life, death, or brain damage is a matter of moments. Birth is not safe, because it doesn’t have to be. Babies die and the human race goes on.

          • Dr Kitty

            Jenny, I’m so sorry for your loss.
            You sound so strong.
            People need to hear your story, because it does reinforce the message that even when labour and delivery are at home, and quick, things can still go wrong.

            At least you know there is nothing you could have done differently, as in your case circumstances overtook you.

          • Dr Kitty

            Oh, Jenny, do you feel able to share your little girl’s name with us?
            Some of us pray for or otherwise remember in our thoughts the loss families we know of. Names help.
            Totally up to you, and of course if you’re not into being included in the thoughts and prayers of complete strangers, just say the word too.

          • jenny

            I don’t feel comfortable sharing her name here, but I would very much appreciate any prayers or kind thoughts for her. Thank you.

          • An Actual Attorney

            I am so sorry.

          • Box of Salt

            jenny, I am sorry for your loss.

            Thank you for sharing your story.

          • prolifefeminist

            I’m so very sorry that you lost your sweet baby girl. :.( No one should ever have to go through what you went through.

  • ratiomom

    Dr Amy, you left out some of the juicy parts. Like her midwife`s `intervention` when she popped the stitches on her tear:

    “Oh… She couldn’t re- stitch them but we tried super glueing it. I don’t think its sticking but I’m afraid to look 🙁 I may end up with what looks like two super long labia’s down to my bottom 🙁 I can’t stop crying :(”

    Isn`t it nice and natural to let a highschool graduate with no medical training loose on your perinuem with a tube of super glue?

    • stacey

      HOLY SHIT.
      She better get that fixed.

    • Spamamander

      OMG I’m in pain just reading that… shitshitshitshit.

    • Mac Sherbert

      Would someone please tell her to go to the DOCTOR?!

    • auntbea

      That’s what dolphins use to repair *their* lacerations.

      • Sue

        Sure – works great under water….no, wait…

    • Meerkat

      Isn’t super glue super toxic? Especially to the open wounds?

      • amazonmom

        I’m hoping the “midwife”used the proper repair glue to fix human wounds, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they broke out the super glue either.

        • Sue

          Cyanoacrylate for tissue repair is actually just plain old (sterile) superglue – but it’s used to glue together dry, neat skin edges, not torn, wet mucosal tissue… This person clearly has no idea…

          • amazonmom

            The stuff used on the neonates after heart surgery was purple where I first worked. The parents would freak when they saw big cartoonish purple lines on the baby’s chest. We had to reassure them the skin wouldn’t remain purple.

          • AnotherOB

            DermaBond.

      • kilda

        actually, no. It may sound odd, but “super glue” aka cyanoacrylate adhesive can be and sometimes is used to close skin incisions or wounds in place of stitches. Not that it was appropriate for a second degree tear, mind you, but for a superficial wound it’s not crazy at all.

        • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

          I got a large cut on my forehead “stitched” with super glue, and I don’t even have a scar. But an actual nurse did it.

          • FormerPhysicist

            My oldest had a forehead wound glued. She has a slight scar. The ER pediatric doctor did the gluing. To reduce scarring, and because we were already there and the gluing was only an extra few minutes after the evaluation and cleaning.

          • Sullivan ThePoop

            My oldest split her lip and they stitched it with dissolving stitches and glued it on the front. She has no scar at all.

        • Tim

          That’s actually what it was first used as – an instant battlefield adhesive to stop extreme bleeding until a soldier could be moved away from fire and tended to properly.

        • Meerkat

          I know jewelers use it for scrapes and such, but I was always dubious, otherwise why would they put all the warnings on the label? Isn’t skin adhesive specifically formulated? Or is it exactly the same as super glue?

      • stacey

        Its not that she used super glue. Its that she had no clue how to suture in the first place, and is likely totally untrained how to use the glue properly.
        No, You Tube does not count.

    • amazonmom

      This poor woman needs reconstructive surgery now since the repair wasn’t done correctly after delivery. It very well may be that she can’t have another vaginal delivery if she wants to preserve a repair, or she may have to live with the damage until she is done having kids. It breaks my heart that she has to live with this because of a quack.

    • prolifefeminist

      How can this bullshit be tolerated as being “pro-woman” – this poor woman has been maimed! Look at what she has to go through now! Totally substandard “care” – this is so completely effed up. How do these midwives live with themselves??

    • Gene

      I’ve been told by our hospital OB group repairs some minor vaginal tears with glue(aka Dermabond).

      • stacey

        Like a scalpel, its the person holding it that makes the difference between being butchered and being cut properly for a surgery.
        An OB with derma bond? Sure. A HB MW with it? NO THANKS.

      • Mom of 2

        Some docs here use it on c-sections. I’ve never seen it used on vaginal tears though.

        • Mom of 2

          Only on the final skin closure, suture for the rest, of course. I realized I should clarify after I read my comment 🙂 It was used for my cs and my scar is almost invisible.

          • prolifefeminist

            They closed my skin incision on my first c-section with it too – and it was nearly impossible to see the scar after it healed. It’s amazing stuff! I wonder why docs use staples instead of glue or steri-strips – can any docs here chime in on the reasons for that? Staples just seem so…painful and more likely to leave a bad scar.

          • Dr Kitty

            I had staples, which didn’t hurt and I have a perfect scar.
            I react badly to suture materials, so I asked for them.

          • Gene

            I use staples (in the ED) for places where scars are less of a concern (scalp, mainly). DermaBond for small, non-mobile areas (forehead, face, etc). Sutures everywhere else. If there is a huge bleeding wound, though, staples are sometimes used for a fast closure (much much faster than suturing). But this is ED medicine.

  • Anj Fabian

    A third commenter:
    ” I really think first talking with your
    midwife in conjunction with a therapist might help you sort our your
    emotions. Your midwife may be able to provide you with a totally
    different viewpoint of your labor and birth as she was observing from a
    completely different perspective.”

    Yes on the therapist. Midwife? Maybe, if your therapist think it would help. Considering how many home birth accounts we’ve seen “cleaned up” by the midwife, I’d consider a midwife an unreliable narrator unless there was independent verification.

    • Sue

      I’m sure the MW will provide her with a ”totally different viewpoint” – she will never admit that she is incompetent and dangerous, will she?

  • Anj Fabian

    Another commenter:
    ” It also sounds that you had a great birth
    team, who took good care of you and your baby and knew how to deal with
    both the emergency and when to transfer.”

    No. Aspiration and retractions are both indications for immediate transfer, not mucking about for 30 minutes. Apgars of 5/6/8 again are an indication that the baby’s condition is NOT improving and that baby needs support.

    • Karen in SC

      all the baby needs is mama’s warmth and breast. didn’t you know that, Anj?

      • Elizabeth A

        Argh. Forgive me as I digress for a mokent, but YES, that is precisely the thought process. Those people who look for evidence back that assertion up with handwaving about the value of kangaroo care.

        Here’s what I know about KC: in a third-world NICU, with no resources but antibiotics and blow by oxygen, kangaroo care improved survival rates for neonetes with birth weights over a kilo and g.a. at birth of something like 34 weeks, to 50%. That may have been an improvement in those circumstances, but it’s not a compelling argument if your baby is in a NICU in the US.

        Before I had a preemie, I thought that if I could just hold her and nurse her she’d be fine. I could do neither when she was born. It was terrible. But she genuinely needed the time in the isolette, under the bililights, with help breathing. Kangaroo care came in later, when she was far more stable. KC is great for feeder grower preemies, but it’s just cruel to push it at parents of preemies with more intense needs.

        • stace

          Its easy to say any old thing when you know nothing about the subject. I had a 33W preemie, and KC wouldn’t have done it. Nor b milk, since she couldn’t suck yet.
          I didn’t realize that many died even at 34 weeks, I have been insulated by modern medicine and the miracles it performs.

          • Elizabeth A

            I’m happy to have the insulation, because yes, in parts of the world 36 week infants often don’t make it. The contrast between there and here is… kind of appalling, really. I wish the benefits of science and civilization were more widely available.

          • AmyP

            JFK and Jackie’s son born in 1963 at 34.5 weeks (?) who died very soon after would be an example of how time and technology have changed.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Bouvier_Kennedy

            Wikipedia says that nowadays, 95% of similar babies are saved in the US.

          • amazonmom

            I’ve had many older people be absolutely amazed at what we can do for their premature grandchildren and great grandchildren. They remember other preemies like JFK’s baby dying, and often disclose their own losses as well.

          • Elizabeth A

            It’s better then that. The long-term outlook for 32-34 week preemies is just as good as the outlook for full-termers. The short-term, of course, is very different, but they generally survive.

          • prolifefeminist

            “I wish the benefits of science and civilization were more widely available.”

            Amen to that. I had a 31 weeker, and while I was *immensely* grateful for the amazing NICU care he received, I would go home and read Jeevan’s blog and feel somewhat guilty and so, so sad to read that while my preemie was snug and warm and fed in his isolette, being watched over by highly trained nurses and respiratory therapists, a baby older than mine died because the power went out in the hospital overnight (no backup generator) and they couldn’t keep him warm enough. Or hearing my nurse friend, who went on a mission trip to Haiti after the earthquake, cry as she recounted how she held a moderately premature baby as he died, unable to provide him the blow by oxygen he needed because there simply wasn’t any.

            My dad grew up outside the US in a very rural area that lacked much beyond basic medical care. He was born slightly premature and barely survived. When I had my preemie, we had neonatologists from the best children’s hospital in the US caring for him, and I was very reassured that he would do quite well. But my dad and his siblings were on edge the whole time – they didn’t let out a sigh of relief until after he was discharged. A couple of weeks after he came home, my parents were visiting, and my dad said, “he looks good – do they think he’s finally out of the woods?”. It wasn’t until then that I realized that, unlike me, he remembered how things used to be, and he wasn’t taking anything for granted.

            It’s so very true that we are insulated from the dangers of birth (especially complicated/premature birth) away from modern medicine, and that can lead to such a false sense of safety. I don’t think the HB movement as we know it would ever have gotten off the ground 100 years ago in the US, just as it isn’t popular now in places of the world without widespread access to modern obstetrics. That alone ought to tell people something.

    • Actually apgars 5/6/8 would suggest a successful and effective resuscitation. But I doubt that’s what happened here. A baby born “lifeless”– that is, blue, no heart rate, no respiratory effort, no movement at all– doesn’t get to a 1-minute apgar of 5.

      The apgars assigned during the stress of a hospital birth gone bad are already not particularly reliable. I suspect the apgars assigned by a poorly trained birthing helper clown, especially when faced with a lifeless baby, are pretty much just made up.

  • Anj Fabian

    A commenter chimes in:
    “You were definitely mistreated in the hospital and have every right to be traumatized over it.”

    Even though there is no way to tell if she was, and she’s what – entitled – to be traumatized? How is this helping?

    • Captain Obvious

      Well, the baby was traumatized at home. And the baby has no say in the matter.

    • Elizabeth A

      To be fair, the hospital was as kind as possible to me, and I still found the NICU experience traumatic. It’s pretty awful. Worth it in the end though.

  • stacey

    She was traumatized by the whole situation, especially the HB, but cannot admit that at this point. We should be kind to her error, so she learns not to have another HB next time.

  • NICU RN

    I have a lot to say about this but I have to run and take my kids to daycare so I’ll try and be short. I have worked NICU for over 13 years in 5 NICUs across the country. I have just not seen these behaviors that “crunchies” describe. Our primary focus is the baby, yes – and we should always be careful how we explain things to parents – but at the end of the day the baby is our patient, not the parents. This woman probably does feel a lot of guilt and that can manifest itself as anger towards staff. But to say the baby was “abused and traumatized” – well, in the words of my 5-going-on-15-year-old – “whatever.”

    • Captain Obvious

      Stages of grieving, DABDA: Denial. Anger, complaining about the NICU staff. Bargaining, ” I can’t shake this feeling that I really fucked up & shouldn’t have had a homebirth. Depression. Acceptance. Hopefully she will not try another Homebirth stunt.

      • prolifefeminist

        That’s got to be the most horrendous feeling, to suspect/know that you screwed up and it hurt (or worse) your child. It takes a lot to even admit you’re thinking you might be at fault. I feel for this mom (not so much for the idiotic commenters though).

        • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

          It just highlights the incredible bravery of moms like Bambi, who are willing to accept that they made a mistake in choosing homebirth, and willing to share that to help other moms in making a safer choice.

          • prolifefeminist

            Yes, it does. It sure does. I have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for her and the other homebirth loss moms like her. I am not exaggerating to say that they are heroes to me. They quite literally are saving lives by bravely sharing their stories.

  • Zornorph

    I think it’s a real tragedy how the staff in hospitals have been turned into these money-grubbing harpies who care nothing for babies and mothers unless it improves the bottom line. Whereas I haven’t spent a great deal of time in hospitals personally, in nearly every case when I was visiting friends or family, I have found the vast majority of the staff were genuinely caring people who did their damnedest to get everybody well and healthy and out of the hospital. Of course you are going to run into bad apples everywhere, but they are far and away the exception, not the rule.
    Home birth people go into a hospital loaded for bear because they are taught to think of hospital staff as the enemy. Nobody likes being thought of that way and since it’s often poorly concealed, they are not going to be friendly to you. I have to admit that I realized I was about to do the same thing in reverse – I’ve heard so many stories about hospitals with lacto-nazis roaming the corridors, that I was preparing snappy comebacks the moment one shows up to talk to me. I’ve since realized that I shouldn’t prejudge anything or anybody and just politely deal with things as they come. Not sure if the hospital my son will be delivered in is one of those ‘hide the formula’ ones or not, but I can assure you, I’ll be asking for as many free samples as I can talk them out of parting with!

    • Alicia

      My experience giving birth to my son (which has been my only experience staying in a hospital) was great. There was one nurse during the night shift that seemed annoyed with me, but that’s it. When my husband ended up the ICU once, everyone was great. All ER trips have had polite and effective staff. Most doctor appointments have been the same. I’ve never had any medication pushed on me unless I really needed it, and I’ve always had my questions answered. And I think the fact I’m always respectful of the medical staff helps a lot!

      • GiddyUpGo123

        I had one seriously mean and nasty nurse at the hospital when my first child was born. But that did not make me think I should have a home birth next time. You’re going to meet mean and nasty people where ever you go, because mean and nasty people are endemic. Letting someone like that force you out of a safe birthing environment into an unsafe one makes you weak, not strong. You can’t handle one stupid, obnoxious person? To the point where you’ll risk your child’s life to avoid said stupid, obnoxious person? You’re the one with the problem. You need to learn how to handle people who are rude to you, or ignore them, not flee from them. Especially when it means you’ll be risking your child’s life just to avoid someone who really isn’t worth any of your time and energy anyway.

        • Karen in SC

          Amen to that!

      • me

        There’s a saying:

        If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day long, *you’re* the asshole.

        I do wonder about some of these women complaining about all these mean/rude people they encountered in the hospital. One or two during the course of your stay? Okay. It happens. Everybody that walked into your room? Maybe it’s time to look at the common denominator…

    • AmyP

      I just got a free sample of individual formula packs in the mail today. Score!

      I’m exclusively breastfeeding at the moment, but that stuff is expensive, and you never know when it might come in handy.

      • Elizabeth A

        If you don’t use it yourself, it’ll make someone at the food bank happy.

        • prolifefeminist

          That and diapers – our local food bank is always so grateful for both!

    • amazonmom

      I have decided to do the same as you are. I’m going to be polite to the lactation staff. I don’t want my coworkers (I’m delivering where I work) knowing my mental health history so I am not going to tell them all the reasons why I’m going to supplement with formula. If they get pushy then they are getting booted!

    • prolifefeminist

      I totally agree – if you treat people with respect, you will usually get respect in turn. If you treat people with contempt, well then…don’t be surprised if your nurse is professional but curt instead of the warm, fuzzy personality you need.

      I’ve had five babies in five different hospitals across two states. I treat people the way I would want to be treated, and I make it a point to thank my nurses as they go off shift for taking good care of me. It’s a tough job to be a nurse! So in five hospitals, over a total of 18 inpatient days (so that’s what, like roughly 54 different nurses) – not a single nurse was anything but kind and polite and helpful. Sure, there are always some bad apples out there, but what are the chances that if most L&D nurses are really the awful oppressors of womanhood that NCB makes them out to be, I wouldn’t have run into at least one bad one by now.

  • Karen in SC

    I delivered my second son at 41 weeks. My labor was text book, progressing well, manageable with no epidural. First contraction at 4 am, born at 11 am. Meconium was seen when waters broke right before pushing. I was in the hospital so a pediatrician was in the room so when my son was born blue with low apgar score, she and nurses worked on him. He didn’t go to the NICU, he stayed with me.

    This happened after a normal healthy pregnancy and an almost perfect labor. If it can happen to me, why would any other mother think it couldn’t happen to her? I guess labor itself can sometimes stress a baby enough, and maybe post dates can contribute. But why take any chances??

    • Captain Obvious

      “He had apgars of 5/6/8 but swallowed fluid”. I never understand this expression of “my baby swallowed fluid”. What are the midwives telling their clients? In utero, the lungs and stomach have amniotic fluid within them. At birth the baby coughs up amniotic fluid and some gets squeezed upward during vaginal birth. Any fluid left in isn’t really swallowed but maybe ineffectually suctioned out. With prompt neonatal evaluation and resuscitation, this baby probably would not have ended up in the NICU.

      • Anj Fabian

        Proper resus. And maybe not ended up in NICU, but usually babies that are born flat are watched carefully to make sure they don’t have problems.

        • stacey

          Probably wouldn’t have been born flat!
          Had she had text book care, she would have been induced a week previously, and probably avoided this whole event.

      • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

        Also, isn’t swallowing fluid pretty benign? The concern is probably aspiration of fluid into the lungs.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “If it can happen to me, why would any other mother think it couldn’t happen to her?”
      Because you probably didn’t eat enough kale or trust birth enough.

  • Gene

    “The NICU will save your baby’s life, but the people in it won’t be happy with the fact that you risked and nearly lost your baby’s life. They may well treat you as if you let your baby unsupervised to fall out the window, because that’s the equivalent of what you did.”

    This is an interesting corollary, as I deal with it every day at work. Parents whose children are injured because they weren’t in a proper car seat, didn’t bolt a TV or furniture to the wall, co-slept or put their baby in an unsafe sleep environment, smoke constantly around their asthmatic child, leave medications or drugs out, think that the dog licking their child’s face is “cute”, refuse to vaccinate, etc etc etc. This doesn’t even get into non-accidental trauma. I see babies and kids all day long whose injuries/illnesses are a direct result of their family’s unsafe choices. And I will still treat that parent with respect even if I am screaming inside: YOU ALMOST KILLED YOUR CHILD! I will, however, talk about child safety and good health choices.

    • Mac Sherbert

      And if you’re treating my child for something that could have been prevented I’ll probably be screaming on the inside to myself “I almost killed my child!”.

      Thanks for taking care of all those children out there.

    • prolifefeminist

      “think that the dog licking their child’s face is “cute””

      Just out of curiosity, what kind of injuries/illnesses do you see from this?

      I’m not a dog person myself, and I’m not a fan of dogs licking me or my kids anywhere, much less the face, but I have so many friends who don’t think twice about it.

      • amazonmom

        Parasites, but that’s coming from my daughter’s pediatrician not anything I know about myself

        • Gene

          Bites. Lots and lots of dog bites to the face.

          • amazonmom

            I didn’t think about that! Good point.

          • prolifefeminist

            That’s what I was afraid you’d say. Yikes.

            What a tough job you have, seeing all these injuries to kids. As a mom of four rambunctious boys who’ve made their fair share of visits to our local peds ER, I thank you for what you do!

        • prolifefeminist

          Gross… 😮

        • auntbea

          My father in law saw a case of meningitis on his peds residency from a baby eating food a dog had licked. He gets very antsy whenever our daughter touches our dog.

    • Sue

      I agree, but, when the parents’ sublimated guilt comes out as snappiness and criticism of staff, it takes the patience of Solomon to remain polite and friendly.

    • auntbea

      Do most parents need to talk about child safety after something like this happens? Aren’t they painfully aware that they made mistake?

      • Gene

        You’d be surprised. Most generally as of the “I had no idea XXX was dangerous”. But I see a (not small) minority that actually defend whatever behaviour it was that caused the child harm. Lots of grandparents leaving meds out (yes, one of your pills CAN kill your grandchild!), not securing kids properly (YOU didn’t die from riding on my lap), etc etc. And parents (but s/he LIKES doing whatever it was). Let’s just say that I have total job security from boundless human stupidity/arrogance.

        • theadequatemother

          I just spent a week with my inlaws and had to remind my FIL EVERY DAY not to leave his NTG spray where the toddler could reach it. EVERY DAY.