Sign the petition to force MANA to release their homebirth death rate

MANA stats 2004-2007

I created a petition on Change.org with the (probably vain) hope of publicly embarrassing the Midwives Alliance of North America into releasing the death rate of the 27,000 homebirths in their database.

You can find the petition at Release the Homebirth Death Rate!

To:
Midwives Alliance of North America
Release the Homebirth Death Rate!

American women need accurate information to make an informed decision about homebirth. Until MANA releases the number of babies who died at the more than 27,000 homebirths attended by their members, women will lack access to critical information that they deserve.
Sincerely,
[Your name]

Several of the people who have already signed have done so in memory of babies they have loved and lost, unwittingly trusting “midwives” who never told them the real risks, the actual death rate, of homebirth.

I read yet another story of a preventable neonatal death yesterday on message board. The mother introduced herself back in March:

I’m a FTM and doing home birth as well. We made that decision when we saw the documentary “The Business of Being Born.”

My midwife said that these “complications” can be foreseen way in advance and can be fixed as long as the signs are noticed. With hospitals, they don’t keep an eye on you so they miss those signs and then rush you to get a c-section…

Last Thursday, baby Natalie died during labor, fatally compromised most likely during the pushing phase:

After 6 hours of pushing, not only was I in pain and tired but she hadn’t moved and there was meconium running down my leg which indicated that she was in stress. My midwife was still checking her heartbeat and it was a little slow. They had me lay on one side and have oxygen and that seemed to help her heart but it wasn’t helping anything else. At that time I told my midwife I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. She tried to lift my spirits and say I COULD do this but I told her I did not want the encouragement. I was tired and I didn’t want to be in pain anymore. I wanted the hospital.

Now Natalie’s mother is left bereft and bewildered:

… By the time they opened me up, she didn’t have a heartbeat. She was covered in meconium and the umbilical cord was wrapped several times around her neck and body. They tried resusitating her for 15 minutes but she never made it.

I was in disbelief. Wait, what? But this wasn’t supposed to happen. None of this was. I was supposed to have my little baby girl at home, she was supposed to be in our arms, we were supposed to be happy. That was the plan. How could she die?

Yet another mother is left in agony for no better reason that because homebirth midwives want to preserve their ability to earn money from their birth junkie hobby, dead babies be damned.

… I want a do-over. Why can’t I have a do-over? I’ll do it right this time, I promise.

I’m sorry, baby girl. I’m sorry you were in stress. I’m sorry I didn’t know. I’m sorry you didn’t have a chance to be held and to be loved by us. All we wanted was you.

Please sign the petition to prevent tragedies like these. I have arranged it so that Melissa Cheyney, Director of Research at MANA will get an email every time someone signs.

Sign in memory of baby Natalie … and Aquila, and Marybeth, and Shahzad, and Wren and the many other babies who died because their mothers never gave informed consent to homebirth, because they never knew the death rate. Even the Midwives Alliance of North America knows that homebirth kills babies who didn’t have to die. They’ve done everything in their power to make sure that American women don’t find out the truth. Let’s end the needless, senseless deaths NOW!

  • schnitzelbank

    Sweet Jeebus. Dr. Amy, have you ever thought of writing a screenplay (a documentary?), to counter BBOB? I know how the masses like to be edutained- rolling the horror of HB in a nice, 90-min digestible film, could be an effective counterweight to Ricki Lake’s claptrap.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      It takes tens of thousands of dollars to make a documentary.

      • schnitzelbank

        I’d kick in to that cause!

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    We’re at 350 signatures and counting!

    Thanks to everyone who has signed. If you haven’t signed yet, please do so. I wish I could see the look on Melissa Cheyney’s face when she receives the emails.

  • yentavegan

    and this study does not take into account the death of Vylette moon. her mom labored under the negligent ‘care’ of midwives at a free standing birth center. Her mom was belatedly transferred to a hospital, where valiant efforts were made to save her life. Free standing unaffiliated birth center statistics get hidden because when the shit has already passed thru the fan, and the infant is no longer able to live midwives cover their asses and transfer too late.

  • Lisa from NY

    Dr. Amy, you would have gotten more signatures if you had phrased it differently and not used your name.

    “Please help publicize the great success rates of midwives so more insurances will cover their services.”

  • Squillo

    I submitted a comment yesterday asking which journals the in-press articles were going to be in. Hasn’t made it through moderation.

    • Happy Sheep

      I asked the same thing

      • Squillo

        It will be interesting to see if they let your comment through. Is there any reason whatsoever that one wouldn’t want to reveal what journals have accepted an “in-press” article for? The researchers I interview regularly give me copies of these and many list them on their CVs.

        What’s the big secret?

        • Happy Sheep

          I just checked, not there and I submitted it yesterday. I asked for the name of the journal, date of publication and since it was in press and the other stats have been released, the mortality rate.
          It’s not in press, it’s not being peer reviewed, unless they mean MANA higher ups have reviewed it and they have decided not to share.

  • Antigonos CNM

    Sending a copy to Melissa Cheney of each person’s signature is genius. Wish I’d signed with my CNM attached.

  • Antigonos CNM

    Just this morning, on another forum, I read a comment by someone contemplating becoming a sister in an active religious order that she was thinking of doing “an intensive 6 month course in midwifery” prior to her entry to religious life. AFAIK, she’s not even a nurse. ARRRRRRGGGGHHH….

    • Mrs Dennis

      Yeah, cause nuns have such urgent need of midwives… sheesh.

      • Antigonos CNM

        No, but it was pointed out to me that [1] many work in third world countries in medical clinics — I did say this woman was interested in an active community — and [2] there are Catholic hospitals in the US that employ or have nursing sisters on staff.

    • Dr Kitty

      I don’t think the Church likes you to presume how or where they will choose to use your talents…

      She might WANT to end up in Africa doing midwifery, she might end up wiping bums in a Church run nursing home in Iowa.

      • auntbea

        So…she’ll end up wiping bums regardless?

      • Rochester mama

        Religious orders have defined scopes of work and particular missions, she probably knows exactly where she will be serving when she joins a particular nunnery. They don’t get deployed from the Vatican or anything like that.

        • Dr Kitty

          You join the order, and go where you’re told to, and quite often it isn’t where you thought it would be.

          At least, such is my experience of the Irish monks and nuns I know. Many of whom wanted to do missionary work In Africa, and ended up teaching primary schoolchildren in Ireland.

          • Rochester mama

            Guess it varies from order to order, I’m most familiar with the midwest of the US, specifically the Fransicians in Rochester MN.

  • rh1985

    This makes me so sad and angry. I’m expecting my own baby girl and I saw the picture of this baby and just lost it crying. :(

    • anion

      Best wishes for your healthy pregnancy and baby, and safe labor! I have two little girls myself. :-)

  • fiftyfifty1

    I think about how this all would have been different if MANA had already released their numbers. This mom would have known the risks. Even if she was still hell-bent on having a homebirth, the knowledge that it was more risky would have planted a seed in her mind and in the mind of her husband. Then she would have listened to that inner voice when she first felt that something was going wrong. Or her husband would have seen things going off track and would have lovingly convinced her to go to the hospital just to get things checked out. Either way, that baby would be alive today and they would be holding her in their arms and staring at her beautiful face and listening to the sweet sounds of her breathing.

    • Lisa from NY

      Even if she had all the facts, she still could have been sold on the “we hold your hands and doctors don’t” crap.

      Dr. Amy presents facts, but NCB centers have much better marketing techniques.

      I honestly don’t think the statistics will have much influence over “Natural is better” and “Mind over matter” and the clincher, “babies die in hospitals, too”

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        Yes, she still could have chosen homebirth, but at least it would have been an informed decision. By refusing to release their death rates (which everyone already realizes are hideous), MANA makes it impossible to give informed consent for homebirth.

      • Former NCB Believer

        I have had a home birth and changed my mind after reading this blog. I have an OB for my current pregnancy. Not everyone is closed-minded to evidence.

  • Karen in SC

    OT: the new Firefox update un-enabled my greasemonkey blog fix. :(

    • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

      Anyone else affected?

    • Karen in SC

      I re-installed the fix and restarted Firefox and it works again!! thanks!! genius!!!

  • Amy Tuteur, MD
    • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

      Nice job imafrawde!

    • auntbea

      That was frustrating to read. I get that a lot of people don’t think about this on a daily basis, and I’m all for demanding sources, but a) people don’t seem to reading the sources they’re given and b) why is there skepticism that homebirth is more dangerous? I’m guess I’m atypical, since I post here, but I can’t think of another situation in which people would not automatically assume that lack of access to a hospital was a bad thing.

      • fiftyfifty1

        I think that it has to do with what people think skeptical means. There seemed to be plenty of commentators who were of the “I’m suspicious of experts” flavor of skeptic.

        • auntbea

          Good thing Newton doesn’t publish anymore or they might not believe in gravity.

          • Foqus

            If only they didn’t.

    • Karen in SC

      I dislike reddit even more than GOMI, but maybe some will sign. Any GOMI commenters want to add the link so a TFB thread or somewhere?

    • Bambi Chapman

      I’m curious as to Shannon’s position in MANA. She isn’t helping their cause.

    • theNormalDistribution

      Oh, fuck me for clicking that link. There’s too much stupidity in that thread.

  • wookie130

    I signed the petition yesterday.

    If it helps move us all to a time and place where beautiful children such as Natalie don’t have to endure such senseless death, count me in, x 1,000.

    My heart just breaks for this couple. Such a needless tragedy. And that God-forsaken midwife will just carry on, as if this is a “normal” part of her profession. This simply cannot be excused, and I don’t care how the NCB/HB crowd want to slice it.

  • Allie P

    I am shocked and bereft and appalled at this poor mother’s tragedy. She was lied to by her midwife leading up to the birth (hospitals don’t monitor these things? What about the evil continuous fetal monitoring that’s so “unnecessary”? I had it!) and then during the birth and her beautiful daughter paid the ultimate price. I’m so so so sorry this happened. There are so many deaths that we can do nothing to prevent. Letting these babies die needlessly has got to stop.

  • amazonmom

    Natalie should be alive right now. That “midwife” knew damn well that baby was in trouble. How could she not? How can she have sat there and watched that baby DIE? A live, healthy child and mother is THE priority, isn’t it? How is the hospital so awful when we rescue babies from DEATH with our C/S and peds teams? I guess I shouldn’t comment anymore until these pregnancy hormones are gone.

    • Allie P

      I hear you. I’m crying right now thinking about baby Natalie and her mother’s desperate words.

      • amazonmom

        I felt my son kick as I read what happened to Natalie. I need to wash the tears from my face before I go pick up my daughter from preschool. My daughter that is alive today due to modern obstetrics.

        • KarenJJ

          My girl shares the same name. She showed signs of distress and mec during labour. The result was one straightforward c-section and I have a nearly 5yo who is talking, dancing, singing and trying to figure out how to read. To imagine the alternative is horrific.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      That “midwife” knew damn well that baby was in trouble. How could she not?

      You underestimate the arrogance of the midwfe. She was so damn sure of herself that she was unwilling to accept the possibility that things were going bad.

      It’s easy to not know the baby was in trouble if you deny the possibility that the baby could ever be in trouble. By definition, the baby was not in trouble.

      • Deborah

        I agree. That this poor woman pushed for 6 hours with meconium running down her leg is a clear demonstration of this midwife’s ignorance and level of indoctrination that “birth is as safe as it gets” – that she cannot entertain the possibility that there is a problem – hence the “yes you can do this” comment.

  • Rochester mama

    Her story makes me angry at the hoard of home birthers that refuse to think this can happen. I went unmedicated and my darling baby boy started having late decels and prolonged bracacardia when I started pushing, but I was in a hospital so the midwife turned it over the the OB on staff and Peds team. First push to vacume extraction was ten minutes and he had great apgars. Her little girl should be here, but a seemingly vast group of online busybody birth junkies convinced her it was “safe”. Yes interventions are sometimes unnecessary. I might have been able to try a few more positions to push in or tried a few more minutes. But there is no way to tell where that line is until it’s too late. I’ll take the painful unmedicated vacume extraction in exchange for my healthy non brain damaged ALIVE son.

    • araikwao

      Very similar story to mine. The pain of a partially-anaesthetised episiotomy during delivery is phenomenal, but barely a blip compared to a lifetime’s agony that this poor woman will endure. I’d love to know how Ms Lake would respond to a mother like this.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Sounds like my daughter’s birth. Really fast delivery (6.5 hrs start to finish) Big baby, late decels and meconium stained waters. They called in the NICU team and the OB did an episiotomy and vacuum assisted extraction. NICU docs suctioned her and got her breathing.
        The tearing and stitches hurt like hell, but her apgars were fine and she’s fine.

  • SimSum

    That baby gave ALL the right messages that she was in distress, the midwife simply failed to acknowledge them. I don’t understand how women put themselves in danger like this!!! Go to the hospital, pass on the drugs if you feel like you can do it, find a doctor who is friendly to what you want to so, but just BE at the hospital where they can detect the signs of danger, not in your living room. I’ve had crappy hospital experiences, (including having a midwife deliver my 2nd baby at the hospital of a foreign country, (Italy), where OBs don’t handle births unless there is a problem, but oversees the birth), but I walked out with healthy babies!! These women need to think about risk alone. (How far is it to the hospital? How long will it take paramedics to just retrieve you and take you to the ER? If your baby isn’t breathing how long do you have to wait for help???) Sure, things don’t ALWAYS go wrong, but you don’t want to purposely put yourself in a time-sensitive situation if it does!! Do the right thing for yourself and your baby!! I’m very sorry that this mother was misinformed and paid the ultimate price of a homebirth gone wrong. The midwife should be held accountable.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      These women need to think about risk alone. (How far is it to the hospital? How long will it take paramedics to just retrieve you and take you to the ER? If your baby isn’t breathing how long do you have to wait for help???)

      Of course, if your midwife is an imbecile, it really doesn’t matter how far from the hospital you are.

      • SimSum

        This is true. I would hope that these questions would be asked by the mother, whom we hope is not an imbecile. Of course they are brained-washed into thinking rainbows, sunshine, and unicorns.

    • Jules

      Oh god, is having a baby in an Italian hospital really bad??

      • SimSum

        Yes. It was. My husband is Italian and we lived there to try it out, but after my son’s birth, I wanted to be back in USA so bad. No epidurals, I was induced, had him in 45 min, not because he came naturally in that time, but because they manually dilated me to get me to stop yelling. The told me to shut up an stop hollaring during contractions. After he was born, the washed him with soap and pumped his stomach. While hat was going on, the midwife sewed me up without pain meds kicking in first. A nurse fought with me about me keeping mittens on my baby’s hands because they believe clothes traumatize them. She literally plucked them off my baby. When I wanted to supplement with formula, they had a fit. My baby was man-handled roughly like a sack of potatoes. I had a baby in the states before that so I know there are other ways of doing things. My midwife told me that it wasn’t “that bad” even though she had never given birth before. It was traumatic. I’m not a baby about things, but I don’t like my child or myself being treated like crap.

        • auntbea

          Whoa whoa whoa. They can manually dilate you and get labor over in 45 minutes? Why do they not do that routinely? Surely some people would prefer that?

          Also those midwives sound like snitches.

        • T.

          This sound so weird to me. I am Italian, I don’t have children, but several of my friends and acquitances do, and nobody had been treated like that, ever. Now I am going to talk to my Obs friend, and ask her about this.

  • anion

    My god. Six hours of unproductive pushing on an undropped baby, meconium running down her leg, and a severely depressed fetal heart rate, and the midwife is *still pushing her not to go to the hospital?*

    It doesn’t occur to the midwife that if the baby hasn’t moved after even an hour or two of pushing that perhaps there’s a reason for that lack of movement? What does she think–that the baby was hanging on to the walls in there refusing to come out because it was too much fun?

    My heart breaks for that poor mother. Even when she seems to think the urgency of the hospital staff is “being pushy” even though “there wasn’t any reason for it.” I’m sure she didn’t know there was a reason for it, because her midwife–as we saw above–made her think that not only was the midwife capable of providing better care than the hospital because she wouldn’t miss anything (except for the number of things that even I, a total layman, can see), but that hospitals just don’t care and only want to abuse and hurt women because that’s how they get their kicks.

    And after infertility. Nobody should have to learn their mistake–and learn that they’ve been fed a soup of lies–the way that poor woman and her husband did. And no precious, beautiful baby should have to die because of those lies, either.

    • Lisa from NY

      There are some babies who do survive long labors, so a midwife is willing to wait longer.

      A doctor would put (GASP!) the evil pitocin in the IV to assure a quicker labor and healthy baby.

      • fiftyfifty1

        Docs wouldn’t have tried to pit this labor in an attempt to speed it up. They would have DETECTED FETAL DISTRESS and done a C-section. A quick labor doesn’t assure a healthy baby if there is a cord problem like this.

        • Anj Fabian

          A doppler ultrasound could have detected a potential problem before labor even began, but again – CPM.

          • Karen in SC

            …..I’m a CPM and I’m okay. I sleep all night and I work all day….

      • Antigonos CNM

        The maximum permissible time for pushing for a primip is 2 hours. For a multip it should be much less. Apart from meconium or decelerations in the FHR, which are both indications for transfer, I would have transferred this woman if she had been fully dilated for 2 hours without progress for that reason alone.

        • anion

          My first was an induction at 40 weeks. My baby hadn’t dropped yet, and didn’t drop during labor. My OB had me push for about an hour/hour and a half before asking if I wanted a section (You bet I did!). I started pushing around five am and out she came via section at 7:32 am.

          I can see letting pushing continue if it’s productive, but in my case, and in this case, it was not. If after several hours you’re still hearing, “She’s only two inches away from the birth canal!” isn’t that a pretty strong sign that pushing isn’t doing anything? (Correct me if I’m wrong, please.)

        • Mominoma

          “For a multip it should be much less.” That’s…interesting. And kind of disturbing. I had my daughter a year ago (induced at 38 weeks because my kidneys were going haywire) and she was my sixth child. I pushed with her the longest I’ve pushed w/ any of my babies…1 1/2 hours. I could tell the doctor and the nurse were getting concerned, but the words “c-section” never crossed their lips. Of course, my Bishop score was not what you might call favorable, but since I was getting very ill….wonder if that makes the difference, there. My daughter is doing fantastically today, so the outcome is a happy one, regardless. And I have to admit that it would have been difficult for me to recover from a c-section with a bunch of other kids, little time off for my husband and no family near to help out.

          • Antigonos CNM

            There are several factors here. I think, had you gone beyond 2 hours the question of whether a C/S, even with other co-existing problems [you mention your kidneys], might be indicated would have been seriously evaluated.
            Was there a gap of more than a couple of years between this pregnancy and your last one? Were you having strong contractions or did they seem to peter out when you reached full dilatation? How big was the baby?
            And in the end, it is a judgement call. In OB there are few things written in stone. When I write that the second stage, in a multip [and you are a grand multip, which has its own risks], is *generally* much less than 2 hours, it is not, without exception, *always* less.

            Glad everything is OK.

          • Mominoma

            Yeah, lots of things going on. :) AMA for me, there was a seven year gap between her and my next youngest child (SURPRISE!lol), and I was on a pit drip for 10 hours before I felt uncomfortable enough for an epidural…8 hours before she was born. I also wasn’t pushing very effectively, since I was so swollen from edema and I was just flat out exhausted. I’d already been hospitalized once because I felt so terrible. (I was spilling 5 grams of protein a day…it takes a big toll on you, natch) And she was a tiny mite, only 6lbs 8oz.

            I trusted his judgment, and I never thought much about the fact that I’d pushed for so long, given the above. My next youngest came out in only five pushes, and had had little difficulty delivering the others…maybe 15 minutes of pushing, tops. In any event, things turned out shiny and happy, since I was in the hands of a competent OB and nurse! :)

  • Doceorcecat

    I just can’t comprehend it. If I were a midwife and I caused the dead of a child, not only would I never be able to practice again and it would haunt me forever, but I would make sure to let the world know how dangerous it can be. How are these people rationalizing what they’re doing? They have to be monsters.

  • Squillo

    From the bereaved mother’s post talking about planning her homebirth:

    My midwife said that these “complications” can be foreseen way in advance and can be fixed as long as the signs are noticed. With hospitals, they don’t keep an eye on you so they miss those signs and then rush you to get a c-section.

    Apparently the only “signs” this midwife would have noticed would be if the baby wrote “get me the f*ck out!” in blood and sent a note out through the poor mother’s vagina.

    • amazonmom

      That midwife is a flaming idiot. All she did was sit there and watch a baby die. She’s so stupid and arrogant that she has no idea of what we do in the hospital. We do the opposite of what she did, we do everything we can to stop suffering and death. Maybe that confuses that “midwife”, because in her tiny mind there is no way but hers.

    • Antigonos CNM

      The midwife said [if she really did] the exact opposite of the truth. When obstetric complications occur, they usually occur quite rapidly and often entirely unexpectedly, and are far more noticeable in a hospital than at home.

      With EFM, it is possible to see whether decelerations are signs of fetal distress or cord compression; without EFM, decelerations can be undetected for a very long time, and it isn’t possible to see whether they are type I or type 2 in any case.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    Please post the link on every NCB and homebirth website and Facebook page that you can. I’ve just posted it on the MANA and Midwifery Today Facebook pages. They’ll probably delete it and ban me, but they can’t ban everyone.

    • Ivy Wilson

      I would love to! But I would also love to post to the place where MANA published the (without death rate) STATS from 2004 to 2007 that you pictured above. Are they available online anywhere? Thanks.

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        Here I think, but you may have to sign up to see them:

        http://www.mana.org/research/mana-stats

        FYI I don’t think any States in the U.S. require that midwives keep statistics EXCEPT Vermont and Oregon.

    • Bambi Chapman

      I’m actually already banned from MANA’s page.

      • Allie P

        That’s horrible, Bambi. Yours is a voice and a story they need to hear.

        • I don’t have a creative name

          … which is exactly why TPTB there banned her. Her story affects their bottom line ($$$$) as it might make people (rightfully) shy away from CPM’s.

  • Ivy Wilson

    Does anybody know where MANA published the MANA STATS 2004-2007 that Dr. Amy posted above? I can’t find it on their website.

    • Squillo

      Published by Melissa Cheyney, Chair of MANA’s Division of Research, in the August 2011 newsletter of the National Association of Certified Professional Midwives. (http://www.nacpm.org/documents/NACPMnews2011-web.pdf)

      • Ivy Wilson

        Thanks, but that link doesn’t appear to be working. In the Documents & Archives section on the nacpm website, I don’t see an August 2011 newsletter. There is an August 2007 Newsletter, but it doesn’t appear to have the stats in it. Forgive me if I have missed something.

        • Squillo

          Google NACPM News August 2011. The first link is to the newsletter. Cheyney’s article, which includes the stats, is on page 5.

  • Suzanne

    Reading the comments when she first shares her plan to homebirth make me so angry. From the arrogance in saying that there is nothing a midwife cannot handle at home, to the shaming that the one lone voice of reason received, knowing the outcome as we do, it is horrifying. Reading how often the BOBB is given credit for their homebirth decision is equally horrifying. There is nothing I wouldn’t go through for my children…WHY do so many parents let their child be the one that pays the price for their high risk decision? So selfish…

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      And why would you make such an important decision based on a movie made by an actress/talk show hostess. That would be like taking vaccination medical advice from a model/ex-Playboy centerfold..oh wait

      I don’t have anything against actresses, models or centerfolds but I sure don’t take my medical information from them, because they are not qualified to give advice on those subjects.

      And why doesn’t anyone who is pregnant or planning on having a baby call the hospital where they might plan to deliver and see if they can get a tour of Labor and Delivery and ask some questions. I got a tour with my Lamaze class, they answered all the questions I asked:

      No we don’ t shave you, we don’t give you an enema, we really prefer to set you up with a hep lock but we won’t if you really don’t want it, we will set you up with an epidural at 4/5 cms, IF you want one(if you want one and you know that before you labor let us know, as we have to notify the anesthesiologist, we will wait to put in silver nitrate drops in the baby’s eyes if that’s what you want, we will let you have skin to skin before we do anything, if at all possible. And this was all 19 years ago next Monday! I will note I have an episiotomy, because it was necessary to get her out in a hurry(fetal distress/mec)

      • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

        I’m sorry this sounds like victim blaming. I blame the Midwife and MANA and the people in positions of power/politics who enable them. But why do so many people get sucked into listening to celebrities about things those celebrities know nothing about?

        Maybe it’s having known way too many people in my life who would probably be dead if they had been born/given birth at home, starting with my mother, who hemorrhaged as soon as she went into labor with my brother and had to have a C-section&hysterectomy due to uterine rupture. I was 4 and to this day I have never seen someone bleed out that fast.

    • Antigonos CNM

      I wonder if it would be possible to sue Riki Lake as an accessory to manslaughter…so many of the women who have had homebirth disasters cite BOBB as one of the major factors in convincing them to try home birth.

      • Happy Sheep

        Someone should at least put the link to the 2 BBCthreads on her FB and Web Page, Rickis Lake is partially responsible for this, the mother outright said she decided on HB after BOBB.

  • DaisyGrrl

    RIP baby Natalie. These stories make me so sad. The mother’s grief is so raw and so new – she will be processing this for a long time as she comes to terms with how negligent the midwife was and wrong it was to place her trust in this nut.

    Meanwhile, what are the odds that this midwife will never mention to her subsequent patients that a baby died on her watch and that it was 100% because of her negligence? She’ll just shrug her shoulders and say that the baby wasn’t meant to live since the hospital with all its interventions couldn’t even save her. More women will place their babies’ lives in her hands and “trust birth.” And the deaths will continue.

    • Lisa from NY

      Or the midwife will claim she never lost a baby. Who will ever know?

      • DaisyGrrl

        Well of course the midwife didn’t lose the baby. Natalie died in the hospital so it was clearly the hospital’s fault. No need to worry prospective suckers…er…clients about that teensie tiny unfortunate outcome. It won’t happen to them because birth is as safe as life gets and she’ll transfer at the first sign that something’s wrong (or just in time for the baby to die a preventable death in hospital – same thing).

        Ugh, these people make my skin crawl.

  • Renee Martin

    This death went exactly by the script we see so often.

    Caring Mom gets pregnant and is thrilled. She watches/reads BOBB and other propaganda. Decides to look into HB and finds it wonderful. Joins HB group online and is cheered on, possibly while IRL friends and docs try to stop them (not always). They find a MW they love, and wait for labor. Labor starts at some point, during which, totally obvious problems are missed and ignored by said MW. Baby either dies, or is near death. Either mom transfers, or baby is born still at home. If transfer, a tragic scene ensues. Parents devastated, baby dead, and MW free to do it again.

    Tragic.

    • Lisa from NY

      They also tried for a year using three inseminations (IUI).

      • Burgundy

        This is what I don’t get. If the mom had trouble to get pregnant to begin with, why would she “trust birth”?

        • Allie P

          It happens SO often. Mothers are already angry at their bodies and their perceived “failures” to conceive naturally, and they view NCB/homebirth as a way to prove to themselves that their bodies work. Like amputees becoming athletes. Of course, most amputees who decide to run a 10k are risking no one’s life to do so. I’m all for healthy challenges, but this one isn’t healthy. It’s really twisted. I wish the script were “I had trouble getting pregnant but after this baby is safely born I’m going to be the best parent the world has ever seen.”

    • Captain Obvious

      “Most importantly, when people ask who delivered my baby, I can say I did. I think people forget how naturally the birthing process can be.”

      I didn’t go to school and residency for sooo many years for nothing.

      • amazonmom

        Dead babies are natural. Unfortunately most in the homebirth industry hide that fact from homebirther clients until it’s too late. Of course my body grew my daughter, but without the OB and the hospital she would be dead, and maybe I would be too. I think its wonderful that I can say my OB found the problem and did the C/S before the situation killed us both. How does that take anything away from me? I guess I don’t get it. Everything in my record indicated I would probably have an easy vaginal birth until that 40 week visit. Hooray for OBs and hospitals!

  • Jessica

    Baby Natalie is absolutely gorgeous. She did not have to die. Her poor parents did not have to bury their first child. My heart breaks for them – lied to and misled in the most horrible way with the worst outcome.

    I hate that The Business of Being Born has convinced women that hospitals are bad places to give birth. I hate that MANA denies women (and men!) the ability to make an informed decision about where to give birth and what risks are involved.

    Everything about this makes me angry.

  • http://whatifsandfears.blogspot.com/ Doula Dani

    Another home birth loss that will be counted as a hospital death, not a home birth death.
    That loss is heartbreaking to read. My heart breaks for this mother and all of the family.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      It seems the norm that they end up on the hospital’s doorstep. I wonder if that is the reason MANA is holding back the death rates. If they really followed these cases to the end with records they might really have some disturbing numbers.

    • Jessica

      This is why Oregon’s change to birth certificate reporting is so brilliant – Natalie would not be counted in the hospital stats here.

    • Happy Sheep

      I’m starting to think that my new retort for “babies die in hospital too!” will be “and how many of THOSE are homebirth transfers gone wrong?”

  • prolifefeminist

    This quote ought to sum it up for anyone considering a home birth:

    “I’m sorry, baby girl. I’m sorry you were in stress. I’m sorry I didn’t know. I’m sorry you didn’t have a chance to be held and to be loved by us. All we wanted was you.”

    “All we wanted was you.”

    Because in the end, what REALLY MATTERS is ending up with a live baby. Familiar surroundings, quiet, candles, soothing music, and the comforts of home are nice…but when all is said and done, what you really want is a live baby in your arms.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      Exactly! I do not even understand how they convince women otherwise. I could care less about the experience, I’d prefer no trauma, but in the end as long as everyone comes out alive with all their brain cells I am happy.

      • Happy Sheep

        How many times have you seen “birth is as safe as life gets?” They convince women because Intrapartum deaths are so crazy rare that they can make believe that death isn’t a real possibility for their baby.
        Coupled with magical thinking that doing everything “right” exercise, kale, diet, supplements, avoid any and all “toxins” will protect them from bad outcomes, bad things only happen to “bad” mothers.
        In addition, Midwives are happy to tell them that if you do x, y and z, your birth will be perfect, and if it wasn’t perfect, the mother did something wrong.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          How many times have you seen “birth is as safe as life gets?”

          Of course, as I’ve pointed out countless times, this is completely untrue. In fact, childbirth is probably the most unsafe thing that we actually willingly participate in. Climbing Mount Everest is one thing more dangerous. Driving NASCAR races is, in fact, not.

          Besides, who cares? Crossing the street is, on the whole, a pretty safe activity. That doesn’t mean that I don’t look both ways before I do it.

    • amazonmom

      My OB and the hospital staff kept apologizing for the fact that I desperately needed a C/S before labor began. My OB even offered to try and do an external version on the OR table after my spinal, giving me a less than 10 percent chance of the version working. I remember thinking to myself “why are they apologizing? my baby can’t be born safely without this C/S. I’m not upset at all”. I really wasn’t upset! All I wanted was my live baby in my arms, and the C/S was the best way to get that. Was I supposed to let her load me up with tocolytics for a version attempt that wouldn’t work and then get a C/S with a uterus that didn’t want to contract, putting me at risk for PPH? It was like the OB and staff were used to dealing with the BOBB types, not risk averse people like me. Everyone in the room looked a whole lot more relaxed when I said “let’s just do the C/S folks!”

    • Are you nuts

      What’s so sad, though, is that these women likely think they are doing what’s best for themselves and the baby. Because the midwives lie to them. They scare them with tales of forceps and being strapped to a bed and money-grubbing doctors who only want to get you outta there so they can claim their next victim. They tell them that for a low-risk pregnancy, the safest place to give birth is at home. They tell them that the second there is a problem, they will go to the hospital. But history has shown that’s simply not true.
      My heart breaks for these mothers. Yes, they have responsibility here too. But these midwives are holding themselves out as health care providers. A woman who doesn’t have the resources (for whatever reason) to determine that a CPM is not a valid alternative to an OB shouldn’t have to pay the ultimate price for her ignorance.

  • I don’t have a creative name

    The midwife and NCB community will circle the wagons around this murderous midwife with the tired mantra, “Some babies just weren’t meant to live”, just like they always do. And they will again paint themselves as the gentle, loving ones, and those who want the cold hard facts on the death rates at homebirth as meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen.

    I mean, SIX HOURS of pushing, even after it’s clear baby has been in distress for some time? This is horrifying. I can’t even. Did she get her training from the back of a Cheerios box? What the hell???

    • Jessica

      What’s worse is that she was trying to convince the mom to keep trying! My God, that poor mother had been pushing for six hours and had meconium running down her leg, and you STILL don’t think this an appropriate time to transfer?

      That MW has that baby’s blood on her hands.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        This is the disturbing part for me. She accuses hospitals of not being able to see the signs, yet she is the one who not only missed them, but wouldn’t listen to the mother when she recognized them.

    • araikwao

      There’s always this unspoken belief that time is on their side, you know, the hospital is only 5 minutes away, we’d be aware well in advance of anything not going right. But what happened to the intuition and the “other ways of knowing”? The mother *didn’t* know, and the midwife either didn’t, or was in denial about the significance of the meconium and failure to progress, because, in her experience, things always turn out ok if you just trust birth. I wonder if the midwife will change her practice at all in the future..

  • Just A Guest

    In all fairness, no one has ever told me the death rate of any medical event I have ever had. I’ve always signed consent that said I knew it could happen, but I never got a number. Not when I had babies in a hospital, or anytime I had surgery, or anytime I’ve received a prescription.

    • auntbea

      Right, but if you asked, someone would tell you. Your doctor could not ethically tell you to wait for the research report that might be published about it sometime in the future.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        Right, that too because the information is always available.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      I have been told about a couple of things. When we were deciding what to do about my thyroid they overly explained the benefits and risks to all three roads and why as a team they had decided on medication. Although I do have a very rare autoimmune disorder that they gave me a team for. I am not sure how often that happens. Now they over think every step of treatment for anything, everyone has to weigh in on it and they explain everything to me in detail.

    • prolifefeminist

      The difference is that doctors generally aren’t telling their patients blatant lies about the safety of this or that. Consent forms cover all the bad stuff and might not get read or explained well to the patient, but there’s a difference between that and outright lying to a patient, claiming something is safe or safer when it is not.

    • anonymous

      Odd, but I’ve been told every time. Even for something as small as a root canal.

      • Sullivan ThePoop

        My daughter had to have her wisdom teeth taken out when she was 13 or 14 because they were blocking her molars from coming in. Anyway, they were freaking her out with all the information. Mainly because she was still well under 100 lbs which makes problems with anesthesia more likely, but the teeth were tiny which means the likelihood of problems with the extraction was low.

    • Alenushka

      You can always ask the provider. Or google it. Death rates for surgeries and meds are public data.

      • Karen in SC

        Ironic, isn’t it?

    • Allie P

      Every shot I gave my kid came with a sheet that told me the facts and figures of side effects. My Lamaze class gave me facts and figures on epidural side effects (which I promptly wadded up in to a ball and tossed). Maybe that’s the lesson. I wanted an epidural birth, so I didn’t give a S* what the supposed “risks” were.

    • amazonmom

      The only time a doctor gave me a death rate for anything was during my 40 week OB appointment. The OB gave me a 100 percent death rate for my baby if I attempted a vaginal birth with baby in the current position/presentation. She said she almost never says 100 percent for ANYTHING, but this time she would. I think she assumed I would be upset with her for saying I desperately needed a C/S. Guess she is used to clients fighting her about C/S.

  • prolifefeminist

    OMG I feel so angry and sick reading this and seeing the picture of that beautiful little girl who will never get to experience life. So angry at the fucking disgusting negligence of that midwife – who the fuck lets a woman push for SIX HOURS with meconium running down her leg and a depressed fetal heart rate and doesn’t immediately transport?? And of course the midwife will get off scot free because even if there’s an investigation, there aren’t any sanctions. Just unbelievable. That poor sweet baby…and her parents…they must be in complete shock. A whole lifetime with their daughter, all those firsts, all that love…lost. Gone. And the midwife who did this will be allowed to lie and kill again.

    • Sullivan ThePoop

      I think the most poignant part of the story was how she couldn’t even fathom that she could lose her baby. If she had given real consent to the home birth she would have known it was a very real possibility.

      • prolifefeminist

        Exactly – if she’d been given REAL consent, as in “informed consent.” But these midwives can spew whatever lies they want to get and keep clients, and rarely are there any repercussions.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        For me, the poignant point is the midwife who accuses the hospital of not being able to see the signs, but then misses everything herself.

        • Sullivan ThePoop

          That’s pretty typical in these stories though. Most of the moms kind of play off the death like they weren’t meant to live or would have died in the hospital anyway. I could feel how confused she was that it was even possible that her baby was dead.

          • Amazed

            I wonder how many of the posters sniveling for her sad loss were among those who called bull on the only reasonable poster in the first thread.

            That’s what they do, right? Oh it’s fine, midwives are great, doctors are only out there to get you… but you’re the one who makes the decision, of course.

            Then, a few months later, “I’m so sorry for your loss, mama. I am weeping.” *snivel* “Now, time to get back to my own living children”

            Poor baby girl, poor family.

          • Amy M

            There was one poster in the 2nd thread, (was it one of you?) who said “Don’t blame yourself, it was your midwife’s fault. You were lied to by the homebirth movement.” I’m glad someone said it to her. I hope after some of the grief has been processed, the mother is able to get that message, and if she and her husband go on to have more children, they’ll do it safely in a hospital.

          • Amazed

            Yeah, I’ve seen this poster criticize midwives after botched deliveries. Usually there’s always someone to cry, “You’re not helping!”

          • Amy M

            I thought she said it in a thoughtful way though. And up to the point I read, no one had responded to her at all, so that was good, I guess.

          • Amazed

            Yes, same here.

          • Regular reader

            She is indeed a poster here. She is always thoughtful and kind, but very honest.

          • amazonmom

            It’s part of my job to sit nearby as parents say goodbye to their dead infants. I usually wait just outside with the door cracked open a bit so parents can call me in if they need me. Almost all of the parents tell their babies they are so sorry, that they wish they had done things different, that they didn’t know their sweet baby would die. None of these parents caused the death of their child. I always make sure to tell the parents that it wasn’t their fault. I’m so glad someone told the truth to this obviously suffering parent. Patients are supposed to be able to trust that their provider is doing all they can to ensure safety. When a “midwife” lies and screws up so badly that it kills a baby, that “midwife” should be blamed. The movement that tells parents lies should be blamed. It makes me so angry that people who put themselves out there as providers violate the sacred trust their clients put in them.

          • Stephanie

            That is why I can’t stand Babycenter. I’m part of Nov 13 and I still go on occasionally, but I got so sick of the misinformation and NCB crap that I just couldn’t look at the boards anymore. When I tried to post legitimate info about water birth I was told to ‘quit with the scare tactics.’

          • rh1985

            The one that kills me in my Feb 14 club is the mother to be of twins who is forgoing all vaccinations, for babies being born in the winter that will be at higher risk of prematurity due to being twins, and thinks that breastfeeding will magically give them all the immunities they need despite the mother herself refusing to get any vaccinations or boosters for herself. Where exactly does she think any immunity breastfeeding gives comes from?

          • amazonmom

            The current thread in my private Dec group is about skipping Vit K and eye ointment. I was so happy when I didn’t have to be the one voice of reason yet again, the lead crunchmaster actually said she really thought everyone should allow the K shots.

          • Bambi Chapman

            That part pisses me off. They encourage you and this decision, yet if something happens, they aren’t the ones picking up the pieces. They are guilty too.

          • Amazed

            Oh yes. They don’t lie and I don’t think they mean to. But they present their wondeful HB stories in a way suggesting that there is no other possible way for things to happen. Every concern is explained away. And then – boom! They aren’t there to support the mother. In reality, they cannot support her. All they can do is tell her what an amazing woman she is – as if she cares about her ego in the moment.

            And they feel they’ve done their duty.

            Disgusting.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Gosh, I can’t get over this. What do you call this type of combination of arrogance and incompetence, exhibited by the midwife?

    • prolifefeminist

      Honestly? I’d call it a sociopath. It’s worse than negligence or callous disregard for human life.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Yeah, that’s probably fair. I can’t get past, “What an asshole!”

        • prolifefeminist

          That too, Bofa. A total fucking asshole.

    • Squillo

      I call it murder.

  • I don’t have a creative name

    Oh my goodness… all of us have things in our lives we wish we could do over, but this… the agony of living with the wish to do over that which killed your baby must be unbearable. I feel so sorry for that mom. May this tragedy be used to save other babies from the same fate, and may baby Natalie’s death not be in vain.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Exactly. Here is the parent who admits it: she screwed up (that’s why she says, “I’ll do it right this time”). She is the voice that is needed for change.

      Then, when the incompetence is this serious, I’d hope there would be an attempt to get it changed.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    Wow.

    That’s about as blatant example of incompetence that you will ever see. First, there is this:

    My midwife said that these “complications” can be foreseen way in advance and can be fixed as long as the signs are noticed. With hospitals, they don’t keep an eye on you so they miss those signs and then rush you to get a c-section…

    Hospitals don’t keep an eye on you? I thought the problem with hospitals is that they did things like continuous monitoring, which is unnecessary, and unnecessary cervical checks?

    But then, when it all comes down, it’s the midwife who fails to notice the signs. Actually, that’s not true. These weren’t so much signs, as flashing lights and sirens. And she ignored them.

    Moreover, even when the MOTHER is seeing bad signs, the midwife is not only not noticing them, she is telling the mother to ignore them!

    That midwife is simply evil. That’s all that to it. We aren’t talking about a mistake, we are talking cruelty.

    • Lisa from NY

      Talk about marketing strategies. If I could invent a winning slogan like that I could be rich.

    • Captain Obvious

      I didn’t catch if this midwife accompanied the couple to the hospital?

  • moto_librarian

    I am so very sorry for baby Natalie’s parents and family. Everyone involved with MANA has blood on their hands. The same organization that constantly complains that hospitals don’t provide informed consent is guilty of the very thing that they criticize to a far larger degree. As a woman, I am insulted by MANA’s blatant lies and misrepresentations. Does MANA’s leadership really believe that the majority of women are so stupid that we will believe these fabrications? Wendy Gordon and Melissa Cheney should be ashamed.

  • AlexisRT

    The first link is broken.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks. I fixed it.

  • Expat

    Poor mom, poor baby.

    • Lisa from NY

      The baby is in heaven. The mother is grieving.