January 17, 2014: this week in homebirth idiocy

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Let me give thanks where thanks is due: Thank you homebirth advocates; I can always rely on you to do my work for me, helpfully illustrating my central claims about homebirth advocacy.

For example:

1. The narcissism of homebirth advocates

Rixa Freeze attempts to enumerates many of my claims:

Along with accusations of being selfish, narcissistic, irresponsible, horribly misinformed, or tragically brainwashed, home birthers also are accused of wanting to control their birth.

Now read the whole post (it’s very short). Does it strike you that anything is missing?

That’s right. There’s no mention of the baby! You remember the baby, the entire point of the birth for the rest of us, not a prop unworthy of mention.

But apparently not for Rixa. In a post of only 302 words, Rixa uses the words “I,” “my,” and “me” 20 times. She mentions the baby 0 times.

Just in case you had any doubts that homebirth was about anything but the mother, Rixa confirms the narcissism of homebirth.

2. Earlier this week I wrote about homebirth and defining deviancy down. Simply put, homebirth has so many bad outcomes that  advocates have been forced to redefine bad outcomes as “good.”

Case in point: in the post Grounded Midwives, Chris Brecheen raved about the homebirth midwives who attended the female partner in his polyamorous relationship.

What wonderful things did they do?

Then they started talking about the placenta.

Not if, mind you, but what should be done with the placenta. I sat there trying desperately not to bust out into a few choice lines of Tim Minchin’s Storm while they were calmly discussing encapsulation vs. placenta stew with the apprentice midwife. It was just too much.

“So, is there any science behind this placenta stuff?” I asked, knowing full well there wasn’t …

“Not even a little bit,” the midwife said in a relieved voice.

Wait, what? Was she . . . maybe . . . as uncomfortable as I was?

I watched the midwife’s eyes flick over to the apprentice—the one who was offering to do the encapsulation. The midwife bit the corner of her bottom lip a little, and then launched into a discussion about how a placebo you believe in has real power even if it is the placebo effect. “If it works, it works—even if everyone knows it’s a placebo.” …

Suddenly, I had an ally—a midwife ally who knew this placenta crap was something people believed in, took seriously, would probably get offended about, but had absolutely no science backing it.

And that’s when I realized Renee was going to be in good hands …

Wait, what? The midwife condones her assistant making money from a procedure she knows to be pseudoscience and Chris is impressed because she acknowledged that it has no benefit?

This guy has very low standards.

And that turned out to be a good thing, because his partner ended up with a C-section after 80 (count ‘em, 80!) hours of labor. What did the midwives do that was so impressive?

Renee needed a midwife who could in one moment stand defiantly between her and our utterly obnoxious doctor and say, “Her hips are perfectly wide enough.” But she also needed a midwife who could, an hour later, be gracious enough to defer to modern medicine when it was time to admit that progress had stopped and exhaustion was kicking in.

Wait, what? Chris thinks it was a good thing that the midwife delayed a necessary C-section by an hour because she had absolutely no idea what was necessary or not?

The midwife and Chris’ family behaved like toddlers: “How do you know!” “You can’t make me.” And, like toddlers, they ended being wrong and having to do it anyway.

This is supposed to be impressive?

3. I’ve often written that homebirth advocates have absolutely no concept of risk. They dramatically exaggerate the risk of rare complications, and grossly minimize the dangers of homebirth. Once again, my friends at MANA (the Midwives Alliance of North America) come through for me and illustrate my point.

In a post entitled HUMANizing Birth (get it “human”), MANA gives pride of place to a startlingly stupid analogy promulgated by midwife Saraswathi Vedam. You may remember Vedam. She’s responsible for the grossly irresponsible Homebirth: An Annotated Guide to the Literature ©, which includes 66 separate citations that purport to show the safety of homebirth. But if you read each and every citation, as I did, you will find that only 3 of the 66 “citations” support the claim that homebirth is as safe as hospital birth.

Of the 66 citations:

Fully 25, more than 1/3, are not scientific studies at all
1 was never published
1 was published in a non-peer reviewed publication
1 was publicly retracted
17 do not even address the issue of homebirth safety
2 are underpowered
4 compared homebirth to a hospital group containing high risk women
12 showed that homebirth had an INCREASED risk of perinatal or neonatal death

What does Vedam have for us now?

Tell a man that he could possibly have a heart attack when making love. Then tell him that it would be safer for him to come to the hospital and make love while being monitored by a physician. Do you think a doctor coming in to take his blood pressure and monitor his heart every 10 minutes would affect his performance?

Ha, ha, ha; hospital birth is stupid. It’s no different from insisting that men have sex only in hospital. Ha, ha, ha. There’s just one teensy, weensy problem with this analogy. It is grossly misleading. The risk of a heart attack during sex is approximately 2-3/1,000,000 episodes and the natural risk of maternal death from childbirth is 10,000/1,000,000 births and the risk of neonatal death is 70,000/1,000,000. In other words, the risk of DEATH in childbirth is almost 50,000 times greater than the risk of having a heart attack during sex, and almost certainly more than a 100,000* times greater than the risk of dying of a heart attack during sex.

Apparently the point is supposed to be that if we don’t hospitalize men during sex, we shouldn’t hospitalize women during childbirth because the risk of death is only ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES HIGHER . Well, that sure convinced me (NOT)!

I found Vedam’s analogy instructive in yet another way. She, like most homebirth advocates, seems to think that childbirth is a “performance” and that any performance is necessarily ruined by scrutiny. In the first place, childbirth is not a performance and it is deeply misogynistic to suggest that it is. In the second place, most performers (actors, musicians, athletes) have no trouble performing at the highest levels when under scrutiny.

So it’s an awesome analogy except for the fact that birth is a 100,000 more likely to result in death than sex, childbirth is not a performance, and there is no evidence that scrutiny ruins performances.

4. Here’s a bit of this week’s lactivist idiocy for your entertainment pleasure. It comes from (who else?) Allison Dixley, the self-proclaimed Alpha Parent:

Question sent to me today:

“I feel awkward around formula feeders. I don’t know where to look. Is it okay to look at their baby? Is it okay to ask them why they don’t breastfeed, or when they stopped? What’s the etiquette? Any chance you could help with these questions? I’m not being weird, I’m genuinely curious.”

I’ll leave you to analyze this gem for yourselves.

 

*Edited to correct a math error.

  • Informed
  • Lisa from NY

    Regarding Chris Brecheen, if he lives with his girlfriend and her husband, how do they know who the father is without a DNA test?

  • Meerkat

    The Alpha Parent Facebook discussion was pretty funny, especially this rare gem:
    ” I have a special cloak I carry around to throw over them so I don’t have to look. If I forget it I just breastfeed and smile while staring at them intently until they feel ashamed and in awe of my breastfeeding achievements and leave”
    Hahahahahahahaha!!!!!

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      Nice that this person admits that there goal is to shame others

      • Meerkat

        I thought that “in awe if my breastfeeding achievements” was pretty hilarious. I wish there was an award. I would like one for my breastfeeding achievements. A diamond necklace. I may tell my husband…oh, wait… He doesn’t care.

      • KarenJJ

        I suspect that the Alpha Parent attracts a lot of poes. That comment was hilarious, it has to have been in jest.

  • lucy logan
  • Dr Kitty
    • Young CC Prof

      And now that I’ve had my morning cry… Great article, thanks.

    • DaisyGrrl

      Yes, bless the wonderful miracle workers who bring babies back from death’s door. What a beautifully written article. Brought me to tears.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Ob in OZ

      Great story. I had a patient who is planning a home birth after her first baby was born in a hospital with a known birth defect requiring intensive care and then surgery in the newborn period. She was unhappy about the number of people present and the lack of time spend bonding/skin to skin before the baby was taken for inntensive care. She does not seem to understand that the reason she has had years bonding is because of the Doctors and Nurses who saved the childs life in those first few days. Far from appreciative, she is all about the experience this time.

    • thankfulmom

      Great story! I’m going to share it on the preemie board I read

    • Sally RNC-NIC

      I love this. Thank you so much for sharing. Homebirth advocates will often reference a judgmental, sterile (the horrors!) and unfriendly hospital experience….but as a NICU nurse let me say this. Whenever a baby is admitted to our NICU, we ALL mama that baby, and we will go above and beyond to embrace that family. It’s not fake. It’s not for show. It’s what makes the NICU so special. We just……do.

  • Megha

    Omigosh omigosh check this shit out. Rebirthing ceremonies for women disappointed with their child’s birth.
    Woo woo woo
    http://www.essentialmums.co.nz/pregnancy/birth/labour/9613003/Rebirthing-Recreating-the-birth-experience

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      I don’t see a problem with it if it helps em.

      • Young CC Prof

        Yeah, I agree. It’s kind of silly, but if it helps the mother psychologically, I can’t see anything wrong with it.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          See my other comment: why do they need to be helped psychology? Too often, it’s because they have been set up to fail.

          Why is a c-section considered a failure? Because the NCB community makes it out to be. Think of all the stories we’ve heard about women who “didn’t realize” how damaging her c-section was until someone told them it was.

          • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

            yes,lets make sure that no one puts any unapproved ideas in womens heads, that could be dangerous. ??? seriously? I don’t care if everyone hears about this idea. Its not like a disease you can catch, its an idea that people either buy into or they don’t. People can hope for a certain experience and feel disappointed when it doesn’t pan out. That’s life, isn’t it?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I disagree that there’s nothing wrong with setting people up to fail.

            That’s life? That things don’t go as planned absolutely IS life. However, that it is the result of some personal failing is NOT life. Sometimes, there are things that are out of your control, and when they happen, they do not mean that you have failed.

          • theNormalDistribution

            I think you’ve injected a bit of sexism that wasn’t at all implied in Bofa’s post. The point is, NCB tells people they’re broken so they will need NCB to fix them. It’s just like colon cleanses. They sell you some pill or juice to clean out the “toxins” which is an idea that they invented just to sell you something. It has no basis in science or reason.

            And you know what? It is like a disease you can catch. Because any sales pitch or ideology that hooks you in by convincing you that you’re broken and need them to fix you is manipulating you using your emotions. Guilt, fear, insecurity, need for acceptance or insurance or empowerment… Whatever they can use to get you drinking their kool-aid. There’s a huge difference between this and an open marketplace of ideas that people can either “buy into or [not]“. This is predatory.

          • Trixie

            Meh….I’m having a hard time getting fired up about this one. Humans have varying degrees of need for ritual. My need for it is very low, but if this harmless ritual helps someone else, I don’t see the need to criticize.

          • GiddyUpGo123

            Wasn’t there some awful case of a rebirthing ceremony that actually killed a 10 year old girl? She was adopted and having behavioral issues and her adopted mom thought the ceremony would help them bond, but instead she suffocated her child under a pile of blankets. I guess there’s always some whackadoodle who can take something that seems harmless and use it to kill someone.

          • jenny

            That’s a completely different thing than these baths people are doing. It was child abuse shamming as bogus therapy for Reactive Attachment Disorder – and it was definitely very fucked up. The girl’s name was Candace Newmaker. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candace_Newmaker

          • GiddyUpGo123

            Ah, should have clicked through. I just saw the term “rebirthing ceremony” and flashed back to that awful story.

          • Trixie

            Yeah, that’s a whole different thing though.

          • toni

            I scoffed a little at first but on seconds thoughts i think this might be a good thing. Maybe it could catch on as a way of solemnising new life without risking it with home/water birth. Done soon after birth it could satisfy that desire for a gentle, elemental welcome to the world that many women seek for their babies. It doesn’t appeal to me because I am not a touchy feely person but I do appreciate the desire for ritual. I think for those who had a scary or precipitous labour or if the husband missed the birth or something this could be a lovely thing to do. Don’t see why you would need to pay someone to take a bath with your baby though.

          • Stacey

            I think you can feel like a failure even without NCB. People are complicated.

            I do agree that there are a lot of people who were happy about their kid births, even wrote about it, until the NCBers got them. after that, they were all “now I know how bad it really was!”.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        The problem is not the “rebirthing ceremonies” themselves, but the fact that they promote the idea that women should be “disappointed with their child’s birth.”

        The same people promoting these rebirthing ceremonies are the ones who set the women up to fail in the first place.

        • jenny

          True, but, I’d rather a woman have a needed c-section (or induction, or whatever) and feel ok because she can do a “rebirthing” than do everything she can to avoid a needed c-section because “there are no do overs.” Or, ugh, the “healing birth.” NCB zealotry sucks but it’s not going away any time soon. If this is a bridge that helps women make healthy choices and cope with disappointment in a healthy way (and I do think a bath ritual is a healthy way to cope, whereas the other two options I mentioned are not) then I’m all for it. I don’t think it’s ridiculous to ever be disappointed. I think it’s what you do with your disappointment that matters.

          • Ob in OZ

            I have always laughed at these rebirthing issues, but you have succeeded in giving me a different perspective. If it was called something different, and the negative connotations were downplayed about the actual birth (ie- stop blaming the Doctor for doing a necessary forceps, vacuum, c-section) and instead this was a baby-focused bonding experience at a time when most moms are feeling like crap (no sleep, breaastfeeding nonstop, house out of control, and add return to work for some…) I would now say that this sounds lovely. Just don’t ask me to watch the video.

          • Lena

            Looking at it strictly from a…strategical perspective, I agree with you. It is much better to sell this as a “legitimate” healing mechanism than the alternatives. But I’m never going to be convinced that it’s not a completely inane thing to do, done by people who cannot be reasoned with. It IS ridiculous. It just is. It might be better compared to the dangerous things these women would do, but lets not pretend we’re dealing with rational people here. We’re talking about a group that would seriously consider a “healing birth” to “heal” from the trauma of a healthy baby in a hospital. People will feel what they feel, but some people have pathological ways of dealing with those feelings; I’m not comfortable pretending that “rebirthing” is anything other than a way to contain that pathology.

        • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

          There isn’t anything wrong with being disappointed with childbirth. People can feel however they want to.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            As I said, the only reason they are disappointed is because others are telling them they are failures.

          • thankfulmom

            Right, I read the link. They provide the service for moms whose labor was fast or traumatic. What, is there a time frame now for an ideal calm birth?

            With my second, I walked in requesting an epi. After checking me, the nurse yelled for the anesthesiologist, I got my epi., and pushed out my baby. Didn’t even have time to get settled into the labor room. I didn’t know I was supposed to have a longer calm labor in the hospital so I wasn’t disappointed. However, I did spend the day with my step-mom debating if I was in labor. Poor woman almost fell over when I told her I wanted ice cream and was going to the grocery store. I was 10 days overdue and she was pretty sure I was in labor. That was probably my easiest birth.

          • Lena

            I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with people who are so disappointed in their births that they feel the need to do something like this. At the very least, it demonstrates a complete lack of perspective.

            Stuff like this proves that there really is such a thing as not having had enough real problems in life.

          • jenny

            I think if it’s framed as a way to confront and embrace the fact that we don’t really have control over birth, and focus on what really matters (having our child in our arms), and on the fact that bonding is in the things we choose to do with our children, not on how we give birth, something like this could be effective and appropriate. I really don’t see anything wrong with someone doing this, nor do I think that it reflects any sort of lack of real problems.

      • Megha

        I see the problem being that the people making u feel like your birth was inadequate (unnecessary intervention crap spouted off by NCB’ers) are the same people making money off your guilt by getting u to take a bath with your baby and labeling it as process to ‘fix’ what has happened. Mo’ money mo’ money for the NCB community.

    • Trixie

      Not fundamentally weirder than baptism, IMO. If taking a nice bath with your baby helps you feel better, and they aren’t submerging the baby’s head or anything, I think it’s fine.

    • Ob in OZ

      The comments after made me cry with laughter (ok, maybe it was the fifth one that got that response. I’ll leave to those that read the article and comments to figure out which one it was). Not the comments I think they were expecting.

    • fishcake

      This is definitely something midwives would love to monetize. And for these women’s next actual births, I’m guessing they’d attempt home birth.

    • Paloma

      I think the commenter with the re-enactment for the conception had the best idea. They should do it and invite a photographer, the whole family, and film it to post online. Only downside is they would have to post the video on redtube instead of youtube, but what’s the difference right?

  • mashroom

    Crap, living in Canada where midwifery is very regulated, I didn’t realize that the US of A has such a crapshoot of who can call themselves a ‘midwife’ and that there are freakin’ levels to it… This is seriously scary.

    I had a fabulous team of midwives, who tended to both my and my baby’s needs. AND they have HOSPITAL PRIVILEGES!!! They are limited to how many clients they can take on per year (I think it’s 52-56 range), are trained for at least 4 years in a very specific university program, have at least 1 year practicum with established midwives, ONLY take on low-risk cases. And if the pregnancy gets complicated (and sometimes they do), they hand the medical portion of it all off to a doc while sticking around for continued emotional support (continuity of care and all).

    I had a very uncomplicated pregnancy/labour/childbirth (luckily), in a hospital, drug-free (I wanted to try it that way, knowing full well that if it turned, I would freely ask for drugs and my wishes would be granted), with a tiny tear that my midwife was qualified to stitch up.

    My cousin was sick for the first half the pregnancy, had a 2 day labour, with drugs, in a hospital (attended by her midwife), and she ended up with needing a c-section (cord wrapped around baby’s neck twice with not enough cord left to descend into the birth canal). Had her labour been as mine, the midwife would have caught the baby. But since my cousin had to go to the OR to get the baby cut out of her, the midwife went with her as a calming supportive voice.

    Yeah, there’s definitely some woo involved with midwives, some more than others. Essential oils and homeopathy are not actively discouraged, neither are herbal remedies (except for ones that are proven to be bad during pregnancy). Some tests become optional if the mother REALLY doesn’t want to do them, but they are all explained during the 45 minute appointments. (the genetic testing – you CAN do it if you want, but if you as a parent are willing to take care of a severely disabled kid, and don’t care to know it ahead of time, the midwives won’t push it on you.)

    They support VBAC, but ONLY if you are a good choice for one. And then definitely in a hospital (no home birth). They support home birth, but again, ONLY if it’s a really un-complicated pregnancy, AND you have a good birth plan, including transfer plan, AND you have support to birth at home, AND at the first potential sign of trouble you get to the hospital. They do support the woman’s journey to motherhood, all while making sure the baby comes out okay.

    This whole idea that a midwife doesn’t need medical training or credentials is utterly ludicrous!

  • Stacy21629

    Now that I am exclusively formula feeding my sweet little failure-to-thrive baby there’s a secret part of me that is just itchy for some lactivist to ask me why I’m not nursing my baby. To provide me with “factual evidence” as someone on the Alpha Parent comments said about how I’m harming my baby by formula feeding. So I can give them the factual evidence that I breastfed my son to a year, but for some reason dried up at 3 months with my daughter. She weighed LESS at 4 months than at 2 months. 7 pounds 8 ounces. I felt like a horrible mother staring at those numbers on the scale, not being aware that my child was literally starving and I obviously didn’t have the milk I thought I had. Then I can tell them that she gained nearly 3 pounds in 3.5 weeks. And that they can shove their “factual evidence”.

    • Young CC Prof

      Yeah, I feel the same way. Were you there, when I watched nurses try to start an IV line in a four and a half pound baby with collapsed veins? No? Then you don’t get to talk about how I feed my kid!

  • Valerie

    This is typical dribble from Audrey…a so called “doctor”.
    Let me remind her that abortion is all about the mother as well.
    Let’s just suggest we women are used to having a baby in our bellies being always about us. The baby has no viable use until it is born, perfect and the gender we want. Otherwise, abort.
    Audrey cannot have it both ways. She is proposing an anti woman model. It goes against what we have been taught.
    What audrey is suggesting is that women give control about everything to people who claim to be experts. Dubious science always omits facts to avoid a real discussion.
    Ultimately, she wants to put us back in the dark ages. We have fought to hard for our freedom to control our bodies to let some weak woman like her define us.
    Who cares what women chose for themselves and their families?
    Audrey is no advocate for the unborn, why is she politicizing the unborn now?
    We have aborted 55 million babies since Roe v. Wade. What difference is the setting? Seriously

    • Young CC Prof

      Who is Audrey, and what is this comment about? I’m seriously confused.

      • Jessica

        I’m stumped, too!

      • Stacy21629

        I think Valerie means, “Amy”…she’s SO up in arms about this blog…she literally doesn’t know what she’s talking about!

      • auntbea

        I don’t know bur she apparently has a problem with excess saliva.

  • Shonda

    I’m finding myself confused as to why there are a bunch of people here hanging around ranting about women who make the CHOICE of home birth, knowing there are risks–it’s just logic that there are ALWAYS risks–when meanwhile…

    Dr. SOB also says all over the blog, “Her breasts, her body, her baby: her decison.” (The DOCTOR spelled decision wrong, not me, just quoting.)

    Shouldn’t you follow your own advice?

    Or is it just that women should have their own choice, but we’re going to totally roast them for choosing home birth.

    You think you’re saving a bunch of lives educating people via criticism because *some* babies die during home birth? Babies die during abortion, too. Women also die from abortions sometimes. I don’t see you ranting about that. This blog is nonsensical in that way.

    But don’t let me stop you. By all means, keep telling yourself: you’re saving lives! Eyeroll. But someone, please do explain. Why demand women be given a choice to abort or formula feed. BUT SHE BETTER NOT GIVE BIRTH OUTSIDE A HOSPITAL! Tell me. Seriously, I want to know why the choices should go away there?

    • Karen in SC

      INFORMED CHOICES, that is all this blog is about. Informed about the relative risks of location of birth and baby feeding choices. FACTS only, not lies or exaggerations.

      I hope you really didn’t mean to equate abortion with formula feeding.

    • Young CC Prof

      No one here has ever said home birth should be illegal.

      In your first paragraph, you refer to “…women who make the CHOICE of home birth, knowing there are risks…” What concerns us is that many women who choose home birth are NOT aware of the risks. They have been lied to by the natural-birth movement and believe home birth is at least as safe as hospital birth. That’s what this blog is about: Making people aware of the real risks.

      If a woman is really aware of the risks of home birth to both herself and the child and determined to do it anyway, it’s her choice. It’s a choice I disagree with, but I’m not going to chase her down and drag her to the hospital in chains.

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      I am genuinely trying to understand- do you think people like dr amy should be trying to take away birthing options, or that they should not share her thoughts about it with the world? Neither thing makes sense to me. If you don’t like her opinions don’t read em.
      I don’t know where you got the idea that health and safety decisions are somehow above criticism. They are, in fact, the most important decisions to criticize.

    • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

      And the Oscar for stupidest comment today goes to….

      • Trixie

        I think she thinks that formula feeding (of full-term infants, in the developed world) kills babies.

        • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

          Babies “sometimes” die during abortions is the topper IMO.

    • Amazed

      “I’m finding myself confused as to why there are a bunch of people here hanging around ranting about women who make the CHOICE of home birth, knowing there are risks–it’s just logic that there are ALWAYS risks–when meanwhile…”

      Do they know, though? Did Sara Snyder know that a vaginal breech birth was more risky than a C-section? Did she know that the research supported it also specified that it should be practiced by doctors at hospital, not midwives at a birth center?

      She didn’t know because she wasn’t told. Her midwife “providers” somehow neglected to mention this part while cheering her on to leave her birth, her life, her baby, and her money in their hands.

      Did Bambi Chapman knew that as a grand multipara, she had no business giving birth at home? She didn’t know because she wasn’t told. Her midwife “provider” didn’t provide her with this information… just as she didn’t provide her with the information that she had a very sick baby because the “provider” wasn’t provided with education that would enable her to recognize Mary’s condition for what it was.

      And they are far from the only ones this happened to. They signed for one set of risks while being unaware that they were taking another, much greater than a hospital one. Women like them can benefit from the information here.

      As to Rixa, Ms What-Her-Name-Was “My baby died but the midwife was awesome” and their ilk – they are fully entitled to their choice. And since they took care to inform the world of it, the world is fully entitled to be critical.

      Please. Not all choices are created equal and not everyone’s choice is automatically admirable just because it’s someone’s choice.

    • Dr Kitty

      Choices, real, informed, safe, accountable choices are good.

      Choices made in desperation, without all the facts, without any safety net or accountability…not so much.

    • Dr Kitty

      I think you mustn’t have looked at the comments from last autumn.
      Savita Halappanavar’s death was discussed, at length, in the comments.

      Nobody here is cool with women dying after abortions, what on earth gave you that impression?

    • Maria

      The world is not as black and white as you are presenting it to be, and neither is this blog. Choices for women in relation to their health are not simply about choice for choice’s sake. For women to make truly empowering choices they need to be fully informed, and unfortunately many of the people who encourage/sell/promote/profit from home birth do not provide women with full information. They fall back on “trust birth” and “our bodies were designed to do this” and “Doctors just want to make money off of you” etc. That is decidedly NOT information. It is propaganda. And when you question it or ask for proof the vitriol mixed in with further platitudes is just as eye roll inducing as you seem to find in Dr. Amy’s writing. So, if you decide you know what the goal of this blog is based on one post then you don’t need to keep reading. But, if you truly value having informed choices for women (well, for everyone really) then read a few more posts and delve into the conversations in the comments to really learn. You don’t have to agree, but you will be able to learn more than you know today.

      • Karen in SC

        Well said!

      • LadyLuck777

        Excellent rebuttal. If a woman knows about all the risks and still chooses a homebirth, that is her choice. Spreading misinformation about risk is not okay, however.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          How many women choosing HB know that the CPM that is attending is not qualified to be a midwife in any other 1st world country?

          How many know that when the midwife says that “they can just transfer to the hospital if things get bad” that a) she has no relationship with the hospital, and the hospital does not consider her to be a legitimate provider; in fact, if you transfer to the hospital, don’t be surprised if the MW doesn’t even come along, and b) there is no guarantee that she can recognize the signs of when things are going bad?

          HB midwifery, particularly with CPMs, is a complete and utter sham. How many women know that when making their choice?

          • LadyLuck777

            Excellent point. Sites like Dr. Amy’s attempt to convey that information, but it is tough when there is so much misinformation.

    • Stacy21629

      People in WV are free to choose to drink that tainted water. No one is going to stop them guzzling a gallon of it. But if no one has told them it’s grossly contaminated, is that really a choice we want them to make? Shouldn’t someone warn them of the dangers? They are still free to make that choice, but certainly they are entitled to accurate scientific information upon which to base their decision.

    • areawomanpdx

      I’m sorry. Most women who choose homebirth DON’T understand the risks at all. NCB advocates all over the internet are lying to them about how safe it is to trust birth. Dr. Amy is making an effort to help them make an informed decision about homebirth.

  • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

    k you guys have inspired this post of comebacks for people with the audacity to ask formula moms why they aren’t breastfeeding. http://exhomebirthers.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/why-arent-you-breastfeeding/

    • Maria

      Congratulations on getting your blog up and running!

    • Jessica

      Love your blog! Such a great resource.

    • auntbea

      Lost my nipple in the war. Lol!

  • Kate

    Just found this blog and will never visit again. Just wanted to chime in and say, I find your blog and your attitude toward people to be just ugly. Ugly, ugly, UGLY. As if using harsh language like “idiocy” and mocking people and their opinions will get anyone to take you seriously? Dr. Amy, grow up. The tone of this blog reeks of controlling tyrant on a power trip who will snark at anyone who DARES to disagree with you. I find it incredibly distasteful, the way you present yourself and your opinions. So harsh…if one of my OBs had a blog like this, I’d run FAR away and change my phone number. This speaks hugely to your idea of what professionalism is, and it’s a far cry from what I know professionalism to be.
    I say this as a woman who has had three c-sections and is VERY glad for hospital births and modern technology that saved me and my children’s lives. You’re entitled to your opinions…this blog and the way you present them? Ick. I don’t have time for this ugliness.

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      I felt like you when I was pregnant, and I paid for it dearly. Dr amy’s tone has nothing to do with if she is right or not about the facts. If you can’t look past someones attitude to evaluate their claim then you aren’t going to get to the truth as often as you could. I think I know why dr teuter is the way she is, its because she has to repeat herself all the time to people who don’t know what they are talking about. It is annoying and bound to cause some resentment.

      • Karen in SC

        Right on, Shameon! I love the tab on your blog that says “Hate Dr. Tuteur, Click here.” Well done, on that and your blog as well.

        • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

          thanks. I am trying to appeal to people who dislike the tone here.

          • Jessica

            I agree with Karen, I think your blog is great!

      • Kate

        On the contrary, I very much understand the points she’s trying to make and SOME of them I even agree on! Many of them I agree on! However, I’ve educated myself on these points with the help of those professionals who have the self-control to keep their emotions in check and avoid lashing out and name calling while still being able to make their points in a respectful manner that does shame people.

        My comment was not in regards to her messages but her UGLY tone in expressing them and how NOT helpful they are when delivered in such a harsh way.

        • Ennis Demeter

          Babies and mothers are dying. Don’t you think harsh language is merited?

        • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

          so make your own nice blog. thats what I did.

        • KarenJJ

          Not helpful to you, but helpful to others. It’s personal preference. There are other blogs with a gentler tone if you prefer. I’m glad you have found practising doctors that you find kind and helpful. If you agree with the message but not the tone you might find other ways to get the message across. It IS a very important message, don’t you think?

        • Ob in OZ

          There is a hugh difference as to ones tone in the presence of a patient, and that of the internet. I don’t get the internet and blogging. Like why people spend their time doing this. I only visit this site and this site only when I have some down time at work (like waiting for some one to deliver who could have had her baby hours ago without pediatrics in attendance if she showed a little more faith in her doctors and less in her doula). I would love to say the things Dr Tuteur “says” but never would to a patient in front of me becuase the situation is completely different. I am trying to convince the individual in front of me that there birth choice is idiotic, but would choose other words to get my point across, as well as being nice so they feel somewhat comfortable coming to a hospital in an emergency. Similarly I do not call them an idiot when they do show up mid disaster or after the fact, as I am a professional and have compassion. What I do is at some point if possible try to prevent any poor outcome from happening to that patient again, even if they brought it on themselves. I am not trying to save many lives (like Dr Tuteur is) or trying to be a famous blogger.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I don’t get the internet and blogging. Like why people spend their time doing this. I only visit this site and this site only when I have some down time at work

            You just answered your own question. Why do people blog like this? Because people like you (and me) check it out. It may or may not be the only one someone reads, but if you add up, with the billions of people around the world, if only a fraction stop by to read what someone has to say, that turns into a lot of readers.

            Why do people spend there time doing this? Because there are people willing to spend their time reading it.

        • moto_librarian

          Oh Kate, why can’t you just stick the flounce? Tone trolling is so very tiresome.

          You just don’t understand, do you? People are happy to listen to the siren songs of the NCB movement, which includes bashing OBs and hospitals. Dr. Amy is a wake-up call. Being “nice” doesn’t work.

          • AlisonCummins

            “People are happy to listen to the siren songs of the NCB movement”

            … but only because they are narcissistic idiots who don’t love their babies. If they were good people to begin with the siren songs of the NCB movement would have no appeal.

          • Young CC Prof

            Oh, not necessarily. There’s a fringe that’s about performance birth, not the baby, but an awful lot of mothers are responding to the promise that a natural birth means a better, healthier, more bonded baby, and the threat of (unspecified or imagined) harm to the baby from interventions.

          • AlisonCummins

            But if someone tries to say that here, they get yelled at.

          • Siri

            No, Alison, that’s actually a big part of Amy’s message as I understand it. That small numbers of women treat birth as a performance and their babies as dispensable props, but a much larger number of women are tricked into going without epidurals, feeling their caesarean sections make them failures, persevering with breastfeeding because supplementing would make them feel guilty etc. Amy has a lot of sympathy for women who were simply sold a pup, so why would anyone get yelled at for saying that?

          • Siri

            That’s a really odd thing to say. Who do you think holds that opinion here?

          • KarenJJ

            I tend to think of the siren songs as coming from the narcissistic idiots. The followers of such songs are a mixed bag in my experience.

        • Meerkat

          In order to make a blog—any blog—popular one has to make it interesting, often provocative. It has to attract readers and make them into regular readers, otherwise, what’s the point? The purpose of this blog is to offset the NCB propaganda. There are a whole bunch of homebirth blogs, and Dr. Amy is the only doctor who is presenting the other side of the argument. Honestly, if she were to write a nice and polite blog, I probably wouldn’t read it because it would be boring.

    • Karen in SC

      I’m sorry you misunderstood. Dr. Amy shines a bright light on the UGLINESS of the NCB web of lies and preventable deaths.

      • Kate

        Misunderstood that she is not intelligent enough to craft a post without the word “idiocy” in the title? It’s called TACT, my dear. It shows intelligence, class, and dependability. You catch more flies with honey. I’m sad you would defend her harsh language.

        • Karen in SC

          We get so tired of tone trolling. There are really good blogs that deliver the same message with a less strident voice. 1. What Ifs and Fears Welcome 2. Mama Doc 3. Safer Midwifery for Michigan and a new one 4. Exhomebirth. Sadly, while those blogs are excellent in every way, they must get very little traffic since posts have few to no comments. Please feel free to read those and recommend to people if you can’t take the heat.

          • Amazed

            I don’t know about the rest of you but I am really tired of tone trolling when it’s clear that the name-calling is called for. Really, how would you call the people engaged in behavior like the one Dr Amy discusses? I call them idiots and I don’t care about being politically correct. You don’t get to brag about putting your baby i jeopardy all over the internet and get a soft, “Oh, I really don’t think it was the best way of dealing with the situation” from me.

            What can I say, I am the Queen of Meen.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Tone trolling is the only thing available to homebirth advocates who can’t rebut the facts. That’s why it’s so popular. It’s just another way to say, ” I don’t have to look at the facts if I don’t like the tone.”

          • Amazed

            Yeah, that’s my understanding, too. But I’ll say once again that I am most baffled by women who not only tone troll but actually take your tone into account into their decision making. It’s as if they are doing it to spite you, the ebil OB who wanted to go all routine last time, or the damned midwife who snapped at them because it was her time of the month or something. As if you’ll suffer the consequences if something goes wrong and not them.

            So childish and immature.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I agree Amazed, and would suggest that women who claim that the tone of this blog makes them want to do a HB do not reflect well on the HB crowd.

          • Amazed

            Quite right. One comes to wonder whether these are empowered women and goddesses making informed choices, or bratty children ready to fly the banner of revolution and if they get killed – well, it was the old authority’s fault anyway.

            Actually no, I stand corrected: they send their children to fly said banner. And if something happens, they have someone to blame.

        • Amazed

          I call BS. Nonsense. Wishful thinking.

          What makes people coming back here is Dr Amy’s acerbic language. We have readers here who describe how they hated her tone, how they thought her heartless, ill-mannered, you name it. But they came back without the honey you demand. And they are damned pleased they did since it saved their children from death or lifelong problems.

          In contrast, nice and competent blogs like Doula Dani’s and Sara Snyder’s (both listed in the blogroll) don’t generate half the comments Dr Amy’s does.

          Flies and honey and so on is a nice theory. Only, in this case it doesn’t work. Dr Amy’s harsh language does.

        • Siri

          What would Amy want with a load of flies?!

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I am not wedded to any specific way of attracting readers. If I could catch more flies with honey than that’s what I would do. It simply doesn’t work.

            I know to the last digit how many people visit each post and I know that the most popular ones are the “in your face” posts about what homebirth advocates say and do.

            For example, what did I do in this post?

            1. I offered an incredibly narcissistic post from a homebirth advocate insisting that she is not a narcissist.

            2. I pointed out that homebirth advocates are so determined to justify homebirth at any cost that they are forced to praise midwives for being WRONG.

            3. I offered an example of the way that professional homebirth advocates play on their followers lack of understanding of statistics to trick them.

            4. I presented an example of the hateful behavior of many lactivists who main source of enjoyment appears to shaming.

            Why are you whining about me, Kate? Why aren’t you complaining to the homebirth advocates who give me an endless supply of truly horrifying material?

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          You catch more flies with honey.

          “You can catch even more with manure.” – Sheldon Cooper

        • Dr Kitty

          “This week in NCB stupidity”
          “This week in NCB shenanigans”
          “This week in NCB nonsense”
          “This week in NCB things some people, including me, may disagree with, as is our right, but they have a right to their beliefs too”

          Yup, you’re right, traffic to the site would just EXPLODE if everything was couched in the terms of the last one.

        • Melissa

          Some of us think that strong language is needed when you’re dealing with the homebirth industry which lobbies to make birth less safe (by allowing for direct entry midwives), refuses to release statistics on their complication rates, and creates lies about things like Vit K shots which have led to dead babies. But if you’re real concern is tone then why not create your own blog and talk (in kind terms) about these things. (I can’t help but read your entire comment and think about the recent debate about smarm, aka people who complain about negativity because they can’t argue with you on the facts).

        • LibrarianSarah

          You know I am getting really tied of this “keep sweet” bullshit. It seems to be lodged against women more often than not. ORAC doesn’t seem to get half as much crap for his insolence than Amy does. Sometimes people have to call a spade a spade and if something is stupid it is best to just say so instead of pussyfooting around to avoid hurting someone’s precious feelings. It’s sexist to required women to be nice and sweet at all times.

          Amy has enough respect for her readers to tell them what she really thinks without mincing words. She also has enough respect for her opponents that she knows they won’t fall apart by having someone call them an idiot on the Internet.

          I have some issues on the word “idiot” due to its history. However, since language changes and nobody has used “idiot” to refer to the developmentally disabled in over 50 years I let it slide most of the time. Amy does use language that is racist, sexist,ablest, homophobic etc so I don’t see the big deal in saying what she means plainly.

          • Trixie

            I think you meant “doesn’t”

    • Ennis Demeter

      There is an idea out there is the birthing community, for lack of a better term, that we “can’t judge”. Meanwhile, story after story after story comes in, even on pro-homebirthing blogs, about deaths, near-death, birth injuries- all framed as inevitable, couldn’t be helped, occurences. You take issue with Dr. Tuteur’s harsh language, but OBGYN’s are routinely described as greedy, misogynist fear- mongers, there only to cut your child out of you in the emergency room if your birth plan goes awry. Well, I think harsh langauge is called for. All those bloggers who explicitly or implicitly make people doubt their doctors have blood on their hands, and someone has to call them out.

    • Trixie

      The fact that she’s not actively practicing medicine frees her to adopt an acerbic persona on the internet. She does this on purpose to generate traffic so that people actually read what she’s writing (and if you look at the facts, which she clearly cites, you can see for yourself whether she’s correct). Why does she want to generate traffic? Because then people on the fence might be prompted to make safer medical decisions for themselves and their babies.

      • Antigonos CNM

        I dunno about the business of being retired giving one license to be confrontational. I think I was just as nasty when I was working as I am now.

        There are things that should not be sugar-coated. If it is necessary to shock someone into taking responsibility for their actions because if they don’t they are putting lives at risk, then that’s what you have to do.

        A pregnant woman, even if the pregnancy is unwanted, is responsible for two lives — that of herself, AND the baby. It may not be fun to make certain decisions [not having that theoretically idyllic homebirth experience] but there is always that other defenseless being, who cannot decide anything, who must be taken into account. Whenever I hear the “but hospitals/doctors aren’t NICE” I see red. That baby doesn’t care about “nice”: he wants to LIVE.

        • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

          You would be a lot less angry if you tried actually understanding what other people are saying about hospital experiences. No one is saying ‘but hospitals aren’t nice’. You are understating the problems in order to justify ‘seeing red’.

    • Amazed

      I love people who come here criticizing Dr Amy’s tone. And I adore women who claim that Dr Amy is the reason they are now convinced they want a homebirth. Really, what a better reason does one need to put their life and heath and their baby’s life in health in danger than a retired OB writing the word “idiocy” and insulting their tender sensibilities?

      I don’t know about you but I am entirely comfortable with calling idiots idiots.

    • Bomb

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

      • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

        Or as my grandma used to say, “Don’t let the door hitcha where the good Lord splitcha!”

    • Jessica

      Yes, you’re right. We should be much nicer when discussing flawed logic that increases the likelihood of disabled or dead babies. It’s certainly not offensive in its own right. I do hope you feel superior to us. Such a nice weekend bonus for you. :)

    • fiftyfifty1

      It is idiocy though. And Dr. Amy can say it without mincing words because she is retired. Someone has to say it. There are worse sins than impolite speech–like letting babies and moms die because of this idiotic philosophy.

      What is required of doctors when they are treating individual patients is different than what is required of them when they are not. I’ll give an example from my own life: A few of my patients, typically my geriatric patients, are racists. Sometimes they say racist things in front of me. A recent example that comes to mind is “Blacks are a lazy bunch don’t you think?”. Now if someone said this to me in my real life, I would have it out with them immediately and would terminate any relationship I had with them. But when one of my patients says it in my office, I do something very different. I say quietly, in an even tone, “Why no, I haven’t ever thought that, but back to your health Mr. Smith, tell me again about this back pain that’s been bothering you so much”. I would love to tell them off and “fire” them as patients, but professionalism doesn’t allow that. Does this mean that if I have a blog some day, I have to tolerate racism? Or when somebody says something racist can I tell them up front that what they have said is idiot, wrong and exactly why? What do you think?

    • Stacey

      Don’t let the door hit you on the way out….

  • Ennis Demeter

    . Thank you, Dr. Tuteur. Sometimes it seems like your are the only person daring to dispute the notion that out of hospital birth is dangerous. I just listened to and commented on a podcast called Totally Mommy, in which they spoke authoirtativly on how pitocin is bad, and labor pain is mostly due to fear, and how we are never to judge about how someone plans their birth experience, unless someone has a planned c-section. I had to unsubscribe from the podcast because I think it is just going to make me despair. This dangerous focus on the birth experience (for the mother) is like a cult, and you are the voice of reason.

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      send them an email telling them why you unsubscribed. The only way things will change is if we make enough noise about it! I’ve seen the shift in the atheist/skeptical communities away from misogyny, and it was because of a lot of people talking about sexism and holding people accountable who spread it around. Now its the norm and a huge community. I think that the NCB myth culture can be corrected by regular people just speaking up when they get the opportunity.

      • Ennis Demeter

        I think I will. I feel sad because I love the podcaster’s other podcasts and I was really happy for them (she and her husband both have two other podcasts) when she said she was pregnant. Then she said she was going to have a waterbirth, and then she started the Totally Mommy podcast, and then she and her friend started giving medical advice.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      labor pain is mostly due to fear,

      In your comment to them, remind them that labor pain was recognized as so bad 3000 years ago that it was attributed to being punishment from God.

      That’s all they are doing now, except calling it punishment for fear.

      • Ennis Demeter

        the Bofa, I commented again on the episode and I borrowed ( stole) your remark about pain as punishment. I feel bad, because she is 8 months pregnant and I think she had no idea that the things that were said on her show were controversial.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          let us know if they respond

  • Ripley_rules

    I clicked on the link and in his blog post Mr. Brecheen asked the midwife what would have happened if his girlfriend had given birth 200 years ago. The midwife responded that the baby would have died and probably the mother too. If the mother did initially survive the baby dying inside of her, she often had to endure the gruesome procedure in which the baby would be dismembered by a wire and then the pieces of the corpse would be removed by a hook. From what I understand this is still done in some third world countries today.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “From what I understand this is still done in some third world countries today.”

      Yep, I’ve met at least one woman. This happened more than once to her.

    • Stacey

      And HB MWs have only the tools of 200yrs ago to work with, and wonder why their stats are dismal (if they even believe them).

  • Jessica

    “Is it okay to ask them why they don’t breastfeed, or when they stopped? What’s the etiquette? Any chance you could help with these questions?”

    Oh it’s perfectly ok to ask. As long as she’s perfectly ok with me responding “I mainly didn’t breastfeed because I knew you needed to feel superior. So, you’re welcome. Bitch.”

    • GiddyUpGo123

      Love love love love love

    • Antigonos CNM

      Actually, I don’t think it is all right to ask. It is none of the questioner’s business. I would probably ask her then some highly inappropriate question if I could think of one offensive enough.

      I would probably answer a question about breastfeeding if posed in a neutral fashion, but that is hardly neutral. She wants confrontation, and I am not about to be defensive about my feeding choices, which is what she hopes I will be.

      Or, since it is SO obvious when looking at a baby, I might say “How do you think I feed him/her?” and let the questioner twist in the wind.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Actually, I don’t think it is all right to ask.

        I think Jessica was being sarcastic

        • Antigonos CNM

          You’re probably right — but there probably are people, who, when faced with that kind of question, would be happy to retort with “You really are an insufferable kind of prick, aren’t you?”

          • Jessica

            Bofa’s right, I was being sarcastic. But sarcasm aside, I’m in complete agreement with you, Antigonos. It is not ok to ask b/c it’s none of their damn business. I chose not to breastfeed, I didn’t even attempt, didn’t even consider it past reading the options. I knew that it was “second best”, although I say that to be generous: on a scale of breast milk to starvation, formula is pretty damn close to best. I chose this b/c I know myself and I know how I react emotionally to new and uncertain situations and the thought of breastfeeding made me feel like someone was suffocating me with a pillow. I was scared enough to be a first time mom, I didn’t need to throw in another thing to make me feel trapped. (Btw – I very much enjoy being a mother, mostly, and love my three year old son to bits, overall. I just don’t mince words!) But even with the newness of motherhood removed, I’m still going to FF this little critter I’m carrying now (15 weeks, so long first trimester, and good riddance!) b/c it still makes me feel suffocated at the thought.

            I feel less insecure about my choice than with my first, largely b/c I have way less time to worry about such things, but a comment like the one Dr. Amy noted still can make me feel like shit. I guess that’s what I get for having a mean tone. ;)

          • Siri

            Now for some reason Disqus assigns this comment to Dr Kitty, which is patently wrong. Weird.

          • Jessica

            Weird!

          • GiddyUpGo123

            Wow I wish I’d read this before I had kids. I always say I don’t really care what other people think about me but when it came to breastfeeding, I let myself be bullied and shamed into continuing to breastfeed even though I had nipples that looked like raw hamburger and was in excruciating pain for weeks (and had to give it all up because of low supply anyway). I know you say you weren’t completely secure in your decision but you we’re secure enough to make the choice and stick with it instead of letting yourself be bullied by lactivists. I wish I’d made the same choice, I could have avoided so much emotional and physical agony.

      • Stacey

        I tell such people my DD was EBF and still BF at 2.
        Then I talk about how both my kids are so healthy and smart, and get them to agree, as they are usually together. They usually say it’s all BF because it’s magical and all.
        Thats when I say I EFF my son, because I didn’t like BF.
        Then they back pedal….. :-)
        I do the same with baby wearing.

    • sdsures

      Maybe I’m weird, but every time I see a new baby, I tell the parent it’s with that it is beautiful, ask its name, and ask about its age. How it gets fed doesn’t interest me in the slightest!

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      “I lost my nipples in the war.” bwaahaaha.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Over Macho Grande?

        • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

          No, I don’t think I’ll ever get over Macho Grande.

      • Jessica

        Love. It. I’ll have to use it in the future! :)

  • doctorsaregood

    Thank you Dr. Amy. I am in my mid-thirties and live in Southern California. I am saddened and scared for many of my friends who have chosen to take the risk of home births. I just found your site and I’m happy that I have somewhere to point them for information to help them make a better decisions. We also have a non-nurse midwife across the street (lives with her parents) and I struggle with what to say to her when she talks about her occupation. Her “friends” are all potential patients. I’ve talked to them at parties and I know of at least 5 instances (from the parents themselves) where she presided over births that were transferred to the hospital due to complications. If she keeps going I believe a baby will die in her care that could have been saved in a hospital but I don’t think she will ever take responsibility. I have decided not to be friends with her due to her choices.
    I would also like to ask why people think it’s OK to evilize Drs.? We have two children, hospital births with two different OBGYNs (due to geography). They were both friendly, caring, honest, loving people, one male and one was female. Why do NCBers think that you can’t find these traits in people with intelligence, education and experience?

    • Houston Mom

      It’s a rigid, paranoid mindset. Sometimes they’re just bonkers. It’s a good thing you are doing, pointing your friends to accurate medical information. I hope they are receptive and all goes well with them.

    • Karen in SC

      Lots of good blogs in the blog roll, too. They may already have been warned about Dr. Amy….

      • Guesteleh

        Point them to What If’s & Fears are Welcome. It’s written by a doula in the Los Angeles area who used to be a homebirth advocate but now doesn’t support it because of dangerous practices she’s seen. Also have them read this story of a homebirth death (the couple lives in Santa Monica): http://www.dreamhost.com/dreamscape/2011/03/09/wren-jones/.

        • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

          THANK YOU FOR THIS LINK!!!!

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      People don’t have to ‘evilize’ doctors, there are a lot of awful ones out there to do it for them. I also believe that a lot of the attraction to NCB has to do with getting screwed over by conventional systems/authorties repeatedly. People who haven’t had that experience are not as likely to understand why someone would do something outside of the norm.

      • AlisonCummins

        Exactly. The status quo has served me well but it would be insane to claim that it does so for everyone.

        • KarenJJ

          The status quo hasn’t served me well in the past, but nothing outside of that did any better.

          • AlisonCummins

            If the status quo has not served you well I wouldn’t blame you for trying something outside of it.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Yeah, but conventional medicine does not working does not mean that magic is going to. Homeopathy doesn’t work, no matter how bad conventional medicine fails.

          • sdsures

            Not even as a placebo effect – which is all it is?

          • Trixie

            The standard as to whether something works is whether it’s better than the placebo effect.

          • sdsures

            Measured using what objective methodology?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Conventional medicine also has a placebo effect.

          • sdsures

            Yes, but conventional medicine isn’t just a sugar pill.

          • AlisonCummins

            You’re absolutely correct. That’s a fallacy – X is false therefore Y is true – but I don’t remember its name.

            Still, “X is trying to kill me so I’ll see what happens if I join up with Y to see if that works out better” is not in itself an absurd strategy. I might even be willing to overlook the fact that some aspects of Y are demonstrably false on the grounds that (unlike X) they aren’t trying to erase my existence.

            Not all choices are rational. Human beings are not cartesian robots. I’m not going to make fun of someone who, given a different set of options to choose from than I do, makes different choices.

          • Antigonos CNM

            The sad reality is that, sometimes nothing works particularly well. Allopathic medicine doesn’t guarantee good outcomes. In fact, I’m very suspicious of anything that does promise me an invariably good and pleasurable result.

      • Young CC Prof

        Good point. There was a period in my life in which I explored various medical woo, and it was pretty much entirely because I’d gotten nothing from conventional medicine, not even an acknowledgement that I was going through a real problem. Woo provided validation, placebos and hope, which is a potent combination.

      • fiftyfifty1

        “I also believe that a lot of the attraction to NCB has to do with getting screwed over by conventional systems/authorties repeatedly.”

        Although it’s strange that the group most likely to go for NCB philosophy is the group least likely to be screwed over–homebirthers are statistically more likely to be white, married, educated, older and with money.

        • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

          You forgot that they are also *women*. The other factors do not negate that women get screwed by patriarchal systems constantly. I think the fact that they are more likely to be educated just means they are more likely to recognize the problems for what they are.

          • fiftyfifty1

            So let’s talk just about men then. Affluent, educated, entitled, dripping-with-good-health men into CAM, antivax etc. I meet them fairly frequently.

          • Stacey

            The treatment of women overall does factor into why MWs are attractive. Just not as much as she thinks. IMO only.

            The biological essentialism of the 2nd wave pushed this ideal as a way to reclaim birth and to give power to women, as women. In that time, to be a powerful woman was an anomaly, and it often meant giving up femininity, and acting like men, emulating traditionally male traits. This was because traditionally feminine jobs, and things like birth, were still seen as lesser than.

            Sadly, they grasped parts of NCB that are just as strict, anti woman, and paternalistic, but the rest made sense for the times they found themselves in.

            Today, women are still oppressed. That we have so e success in some fields, does not mean we have achieved equality, nor that patriarchy has lessened. It’s simply less obvious.

            Women still only own a few% of all land, and wealth. Our medical concerns are regularly ignored, we del with more poverty and are seriously under represented in positions of power.

            it’s not because we are inferior. it’s because of patriarchy. Just because you don’t feel it does not mean its nonexistent. WISH it was.

          • fiftyfifty1

            “nor that patriarchy has lessened. It’s simply less obvious.”

            People on this thread keep saying things like the patriarchy hasn’t lessened it has just become less obvious, or even that it has actually *worsened* in the last 20 years. This makes me wonder exactly what it would take for those that make these sort of arguments to believe that it is improving. What sort of sign or proof would be good enough for them? Or would no evidence be enough because this is about a political identity?

          • Young CC Prof

            I keep thinking about a conference panel discussion I attended about 5 years ago, on women in science. All panelists were born in the 50′s or 60′s, most of the attendees were young women.

            The panelists told stories about their struggles in college and graduate school, about bias from everyone including their supposed adviser, about being told to get out, passed over for opportunities they’d genuinely earned, etc.

            The young women just sat there, looking at one another. I wanted to say, “Um, yeah, that sucks, but I can’t recall anything like that ever happening to me. Can we talk about how I can get tenure and still have children while young enough to actually produce them?”

          • Trixie

            White, educated, affluent women get screwed by patriarchal hospitals? How? I’m all of those things and I really can’t think of a single time in my life where I’ve been screwed by a patriarchal system (if I were older, I’m sure this wouldn’t be true). Which is not to say that there aren’t people being screwed by the system, just that I’m not really one of them.

          • AlisonCummins

            She said screwed by conventional/patriarchal systems/authorities, not hospitals.

            Patriarchy did not disappear in a puff of smoke in 1974 and is arguably stronger in North America now than it was twenty years ago. While some people may equate modern education and medical care with liberation from patriarchy, others will equate them with a loss of self-determination. It’s complex. People are different.

            Dreah Louis, who comments here, was particularly interested in homebirth as an alternative to letting the white Man have his way with her yet again.

            A movement that is facilitated by the Internet will have literate participants. It’s possible that if it were promoted in ways that did not require reading and writing to participate that marginalized people would be more engaged.

            Or not.

          • Trixie

            I’ve never been screwed by the patriarchy. I haven’t. This doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist, or that the system doesn’t screw many people. Just that as a white, well educated, upper middle class woman in my mid-thirties, it isn’t screwing me. The people who use the language of an oppressed people to justify NCB tropes are by and large people like me, demographically speaking, and it’s absurd. Their definition of oppression is getting a windowless birthing suite.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            Patriarchy is stronger now that it was 20 years ago? What’s the basis for that claim?

          • AlisonCummins

            Well, a person who wished to argue that position might refer to data like this:

            http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/2/2f/Guttmacher_Abortion_Restrictions.SVG

          • fiftyfifty1

            Yes, and if that was the best evidence they could muster their argument would be considered pretty weak.

            Republicans pass antiabortion legislation as a way to throw a bone to their ever-weakening Conservative Christian base. They pass a lot of little laws that often just as quickly get overturned, or “outlaw” something that almost never happens anyway. I detest this sort of nickel and dime nonsense, but it sure wouldn’t make me claim that the Patriarchy is stronger than 20 years ago.

            Over-the-top claims don’t make people seem extra committed, they make them seem half baked and untrustworthy.

      • Stacey

        Bullshit. The major it aren’t due to personal, bad experiences.

        I know bad hospital experiences exist, and here its more likely to be due to an NCB pusher that denies epidurals, and does other nasty, pushy stuff, even assault. But yes, docs can be horrible.

        Still- The most hardcore Hb pushers here, and their minions, have never even been in one. (we have a 4.5% OOH birth rate here, and they all hang out together.) They don’t even know all the NCB stuff that’s available, and are very surprised when I tell them.

        Of course, when they hear about all thats available (free doulas, VBAMC, MWs, birth balls/squat bars,
        /birth furniture, private jacuzzis in each private room. Hep locks, intermittent monitoring, they can refuse anything (and do) etc, they move the goal posts and say NCB just cannot happen in a hospital…….

        They also ignore all the assault, neglect, and negligence of their dear HB MWs…

        Please don’t let your bad experience overshadow the fact that many have not had those experiences, I would say most. And many of those bad times were nothing like assault, but were due to being offered an epidural, or a rude nurse. Really. Its more common than you think.

  • Leica

    Birth announcement came out from someone my husband knows, and I immediately thought of this board. Feel free to read between the lines…

    “After a long and drawn-out labor at home, (mom) transferred to a hospital because of meconium in the bag of waters. (Baby name and stats) and started breathing soon after birth.

    We were supported by midwife (name), our doula (name), and student midwife (name). We brought our beautiful, singing birth to the safety net of the hospital, which perplexed and frustrated some of the hospital staff, but ultimately our wishes were honored.”

    • Guest

      They sang during the birth or is that a euphemism? How…odd. Whatever gets you through labor I guess.

      • Leica

        Not sure. My husband showed it to me and said “Whatever happened to just saying the baby’s name, baseball stats, and that mom and baby are healthy?”

        • MaineJen

          That was my thought…is this a birth announcement? Too much information.

          • FormerPhysicist

            Or maybe they don’t really know if mom and baby are healthy. Baby starting breathing soon after birth?!! What does that mean?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            My kids started breathing “soon” after birth, too. Like, very soon. As in, “immediately”

        • Young CC Prof

          By the way, what exactly is the etiquette for a birth announcement in which mother and/or baby are NOT healthy, not yet anyway?

          • Dr Kitty

            “Mother and/or baby are suffering from some complications and remain in hospital. We are thankful for the care they are receiving from their health care providers and greatly appreciate our friends’ kind thoughts and prayers for their speedy recovery”

            That kind of thing, I would have thought.

          • sdsures

            That works!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Wait until they are.

          • Jenny McLelland

            I was oddly and unhealthily efficient with sending out birth announcements for my NICU baby. He was still intubated and on the vent in the picture we put on the card. In fact, I printed them out at the Walgreens on day three when I went in post- discharge to get my vicodin for the c-section recovery. But again, I’m deeply psychologically abnormal.

          • sdsures

            I like you. I was a NICU baby as well. I don’t know what my parents did, but we have Polaroids.

          • amazonmom

            I see nothing wrong with sharing pictures of NICU babies no matter if equipment, lines, or respiratory gear may be attached to the baby. If family wants to share then they should.

    • Josephine

      I really love this trend of naming all of your NCB posse by individual and giving them praise, but no shoutout to the people who actually provided the safety net. Grumble.

      • Guest

        Yeah, either thank everyone involved, or no one. It’s only polite.

        • Josephine

          Precisely. I think it’s a bit odd to thank people on an announcement, other than perhaps a brief sentence saying the staff/doctors at (hospital) was (complimentary adjective) at most. But blatantly leaving people off a la Ruth whatsherface is just glaring to me.

          • Guest

            I don’t think I thanked anyone who was at my daughter’s birth to anyone other than the people I was thanking. They are doing their job, so they mostly don’t expect a thanks, but it’s nice to get/give one to that person. I don’t think the rest of the world cares. They just want to hear about the baby.

      • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

        is this better or worse than when people thank god instead of their doctors?

        • AmyP

          Is it offensive to do that in bed?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            “I’d like to thank you for that girl in South Bend. You know the one – she kept calling your name.” – Jimmy Dugan (Tom Hanks), A League of Their Own

    • Dr Kitty

      Singing, chanting, screaming, dancing, Yoga, prayer, silence..in my professional experience L&D staff have seen it all and are perfectly happy to let you get on with it.

      • Leica

        My first thought from hearing other stories was that it wasn’t singing that was the issue, but that they probably had a whole setup of how the birth had to go. The “ultimately our wishes were honored” implies a lot more than the desire to sing during labor.

        I am, however, very glad that they transferred when they saw meconium.

      • Aussiedoc

        I had a lady quote monty python at me for four hours. I just quoted back.

        • Trixie

          If I ever have another child I’m making that my birth plan.

          • Mishimoo

            I wanted to quote the ‘Squishy’ scene from Finding Nemo for the last one, but my brain blanked.

          • sdsures

            “I shall call him Squishy and he shall be my Squishy, and he shall be mine. DERP-bee-doobeedooo-doo-OWW! Bad Squishy! Bad!!!”

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Great. Now I am going to have “Bad Squishy! Bad!” going through my head all night. But in a good way.

          • sdsures

            Me, too! I take that pain scale to all my doctor appointments (neurology, rheumatology), and they get a kick out of it.

        • Starling

          Is it bad that my entire birth plan is based on the Hyperbole and a Half pain scale?

        • Dr Kitty

          That sounds…interesting.
          Was the Lumberjack Song sung at any point?

          • Aussiedoc

            Yeah. The whole of the meaning of life, most of holy grail.

            While in the shower holding her hand because the midwife couldn’t cope (not a python fan) ;). It was good fun actually. I was really sad, because se came back pregnant with her third right at the end if my term at the hospital. Would have loved to have been around for the net birth – she literally laughed that baby out!

          • Dr Kitty

            She sounds fun.

            NCB focuses on Drs having all our compassion and humanity and sense of humour sucked out by medical school and training (it isn’t).

            I quite enjoy the rare times I get to indulge my nerdy side with patients.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I would think that doctors would ENJOY something unusual like that.

          • Dr Kitty

            I’ve had a conversation about Cohen brother films while suturing an accidental stab wound, which made it more enjoyable than it might otherwise have been…

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      you should give the midwives a bad rating on yelp or something. I mean jeez.

      I am sick a tired of midwives leaving women to labor in inordinate amounts of time. I had to go through that, 8 hours overnight with no support or anything, just being in terrible pain and watching the clock tick in my nursery. I had to rearrange the furniture to stand being in there after that.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      Started breathing “soon” after birth? How soon?

    • Box of Salt

      T M I.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Jeez, I’ve even got to the point where I don’t bother reading those stupid christmas letters that people send any more. Not just TMI, but I just don’t care. The fact that they end up being insufferable bragging doesn’t help, either.

        (disclaimer: we used to send letters like that, but quit when I found our own shit insufferable)

        • Box of Salt

          “those stupid christmas letters”
          We’ve switched to sending out a page of pictures of the kids taken during the year – on regular paper, not photo, so the recipients can recycle the page after the saying “ooh how cute they’re so so much bigger than last year.”

          • Young CC Prof

            A friend of my mother’s draws cartoons of her family as groundhogs, doing whatever it is they did this year, and sends them out as Groundhog’s Day cards. It’s adorable, and it’s definitely unique.

        • Trixie

          I literally don’t know anyone under the age of 50 who still mails Christmas cards of any kind. I’m surprised there are still people who mail physical birth announcements — I’ve never seen one in real life in the last 10 years or so.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            I literally don’t know anyone under the age of 50 who still mails Christmas cards of any kind

            We mail about 100 each year, and we are for the time being under the age of 50.

            They are just a few pictures that show what we look like these days, for the most part.

            We get about 50 in return, I guess, with the vast majority of them being friends under 50. Heck, I would guess that, in terms of return, we get more from younger than from older.

    • Sue

      Translation:

      “Announcing the near-miss arrival of little Starshine Rainbow, who didn’t know how to be born, to Electra, whose body wasn’t designed to give birth, and who were rescued by longsuffering hospital staff who helped them despite their frustrating and disrespectful behaviour.”

    • Anj Fabian

      I don’t understand why ANYONE expects their “wishes to be honored” by the hospital staff without any discussion at all.

      You tell the staff that you want X. The hospital staff counters with options A, B and C which are preferred by the hospital. You listen politely to those options and then repeat that you want X. The staff informs you of the risks. You say you understand and that you still want X.

      What happens in FantasyLand:

      You say you want X. The staff immediately agrees and promptly does whatever is necessary for you to have your heart’s desire.

      • Kelly

        When someone has a baby at our church, they announce it over the pulpit which normally gives the normal name, weight, and length. One announcement included that they gave a home birth. I am about to give birth any day and I so want to have them announce that I gave birth in the hospital just to be spiteful. I won’t because it does not matter and I would hope in general, it would be implied. This announcement above makes me want to put every intervention and pain management strategy I will be using to get this baby out safely in our own announcement. It seems that many women who go this route have to announce how they did it and who their “helper” was when those who give birth in a hospital don’t feel the need to give those details unless the subject comes up.

        • Young CC Prof

          Probably because the majority of pregnant women, especially the ones who embrace interventions and pain management, mainly want to get the baby out safely with a minimum of damage to themselves, and don’t consider the birth process itself to be all that important.

          The ones who boast about their natural births, well, that’s a different type.

          • Kelly

            I know, it is sad. I would rather boast about my kid’s accomplishments than on how I gave birth to said kid.

          • Jessica

            Here, here! I don’t know if this makes me less of a woman to say, but I’m not crazy about the whole pregnancy experience. And by extension, I cared very little about how my baby would arrive, except that he WOULD arrive healthy.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    WAY OT: I saw today that Russell Johnson has died. I am very sad. The Professor is, to this day, an inspiration in my life, and is the reason that I am proud to be called ‘Professor.’ (ask me if I would prefer Dr Bofa or Professor Bofa (either is correct), and it isn’t even close – call me Professor).

    Russ wasn’t just the Professor, though. He was a great actor, having done countless roles, and was a human rights advocate.

    I have been sharing this with others. It is something that I wrote more than ten years ago:

    Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned from the Professor on Gilligan’s Island:

    -Don’t be concerned with appearances. Wear the same thing every day if you want, as long as it’s comfortable.

    -Sometimes, Gilligan’s ideas aren’t as crazy as they sound.

    -Take an interest in the arts. Be the MC for a talent show, or direct a musical (but leave the singing for those who can)

    -Sometimes, it helps to know a little about obscure things, like bat anatomy.

    -Don’t dwell with what you don’t have, but deal with the supplies that you DO have. If a coconut radio is what you can make, then a coconut radio is what you get.

    -”Kissing on the mouth is far from sanitary. It can lead to all sorts of bacterial transfer.”

    -Voodoo is nothing but native superstition, and the sharp pain in your back and your burning feet are merely coincidence.

    -Always be aware of your surroundings, but be cautious. You never know if the island is really sinking, or if someone is just moving your measuring stick.

    -Two words: Acetylsalicylic Acid

    -Don’t overstate your position. No one will believe you when you tell them there are no such things as zombies if you’ve just spent two weeks standing in a rainstorm while in a trance.

  • Paloma

    I was watching a youtuber today (who has nothing to do with this). She gave birth recently and shared her experience on her channel. She had a wonderful induced hospital birth, with an epidural and wanted to share with her viewers in case that helped ease anyones fear of the hospital. The funny thing is that I actually read comment of a WOMAN telling her what a horrible person she was for getting an epidural and asking why she wanted to get rid of the pain if giving birth was THE SOLE PURPOSE OF A WOMAN IN THE WORLD. Really? REALLY? Am I the only one who is incredibly ofended by something like that? Because I am a woman and I think there are MANY many more things to my life than the fact that I have a uterus capable of carrying a child.
    I know this is not that usual (thankfully) but I was just shocked to read something like that. I mean, if she still thinks that, she clearly lives in the 15th century, so how did she get on the internet? I just can’t believe it. I’m so sorry for the poor daughters that woman may have. What a great mother, I’m sure she is going to raise them to be great baby-making machines, because who would want a healthy, happy child, who is independent and able to believe in herself?

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      I didn’t notice the crossover between homebirthers/quiverfull/FLDS until it was too late, but they all share that idea about women.

    • Jessica

      I would GLADLY farm my childbearing responsibilities to my husband, if possible. :D

    • Siri

      Nah, too stupid to even be offensive. Just point and laugh!

    • sdsures

      These Oatmeal cards speak for themselves: http://theoatmeal.com/horrible_birthday

  • Trixie

    Also, from the CPM group that attended the home birth, regarding their $5,200 fee:
    “Is it worth the money?
    The average cost of a wedding is $24,000, and like birth, a wedding is only one day of your life but is a very important and emotional day. We often get to hear grandmas-to-be and sometimes even great-grandmas-to-be talk about their birth experiences, and it is very clear that birth creates a lasting impression on women that is greater than their wedding day. Women remember their births with deep feelings for their entire lives, and most clearly remember how their care providers treated them. Having been present with women when they tell us with awe how their birth changed them, we can say confidently that it is worth even the full amount out of pocket.”

    • Trixie
    • amazonmom

      My OB charges less than that for a high risk case ending in C/S. What a ripoff!

    • AlisonCummins

      My wedding cost $50 + a night in the Econo-Lodge. It was completely effective at changing my life and spending more wouldn’t have done anything but create stress.

      Then again, I didn’t go through agonizing pain and risk my life to get married. If that was what I was facing I’m sure I’d pony up for some accoutrements, and not the party-favour kind.

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      “people spend a ridiculous amount of money on weddings, so spend a ridiculous amount with us!”

      • Trixie

        Honestly, I don’t care how much of their own money people spend on weddings. It’s just ridiculous to compare the experience of a fancy wedding with the experience of giving birth. One can make you or your child die and one can’t (unless you have a skydiving wedding or something I guess).

        • DaisyGrrl

          Skydiving is safer than birth. In 2012, there were an estimated 3.1 million jumps and 19 deaths. Fatalities per 1000 jumps is 0.006 (numbers shamelessly ripped off from the US parachuting association website).

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            It’s not just 2012, it’s always been that way.

            Actually, skydiving is about the same risk as drunk driving (per incidence).

            But despite being that much safer than childbirth, life insurance companies will not cover death by skydiving.

    • auntbea

      Geez. How many children am I inviting to be born out of me at once? Do they all need the filet? Or will they take chicken? Also, what color will the midwives be wearing? I don’t want my mother to wear something that clashes.

      • Young CC Prof

        We’d better practice, so I can coordinate with the musical selection. Crowning must occur at the end of the fourth number, and the child must draw breath with the second verse of the fifth. I selected it to harmonize with his first vocalization.

        • Siri

          But have you thought how your last vocalization (ohGodohGodhelpmeowwowwowwithurtsgetitoutofmeNOW!!) will harmonize with his first? Will they even be in the same key?

          • Young CC Prof

            I’m going to sing along with the recording, so the familiar sound of my voice allows my child to be born without fear. I will not miss a beat.

          • Siri

            This will be such a healing symphony of birth. I assume it will be a vbac, and I hope you’re pregnant again by now – I’m sure your existing baby will understand why – nay, insist that! it is essential that you, his birth goddess-to-be mother, pay insane sums of money to unqualified quacks for a healing, empowering do-over…

          • Trixie

            We’ll be having a destination VBA4C. The baby will be delivered into a free range stream full of free range amoebas.

          • Siri

            Oh, I can’t wait! Can there be free range sea monkeys too, to assist the midwives?

          • Siri

            And tardigrades? Little freerange musical tardigrades playing tiny banjos while breastfeeding their babies and reciting midwifery – inspired poetry? Pretty please?

          • Trixie

            If the free range piranhas don’t eat them first!

          • Siri

            Perhaps the musical tardigrades better be equipped with flamethrowers instead of banjos; I hadn’t thought of piranhas. And they call us reckless when it comes to risk management!

          • Trixie

            I was just planning on having my midwives vaginally knit some fish nets to keep the piranhas away. It will be so healing and beautiful.

      • Josephine

        Don’t forget the band and the favors. Personally I’m doing a 25-piece swing band and little pink placenta candies in mesh, drawstring favor bags. The ribbon of the bag is color-coordinated with the scary purpley-blue of a newborn with an Apgar score of 3.

        • Trixie

          Placenta candies? How quaint. I’m handing out fresh raw chunks of my actual placenta.

          • auntbea

            I’m hand-knitting coordinating woolen hats for everyone! I mean…NOT! LOL! I slay me!

          • theNormalDistribution

            My RSVP marked “Regretfully decline” is in the mail.

          • auntbea

            Well, I didn’t want you there anyway!

          • FrequentFlyer

            Don’t you mean vagina knitting? I thought that was the only way to make hatting ok.

          • Trixie

            I sure as hell hope those hats are going to be boobie beanies.

          • Siri

            You slay me too, auntbea! This is a very high quality thread. :-)

          • KarenJJ

            I see what you did there :)

          • Siri

            :-)

          • Josephine

            Yeah? Well I’m going to be squeezing organic colostrum into each guest’s mouth during the receiving line.

    • me

      Crap. I got hitched in Vegas and spent less than $2000 (including a “reception” dinner afterward at a nearby Italian restaurant and our room on the strip for the weekend). I guess my marriage is doomed to fail since I didn’t spend enough.

      I also spent nothing on my first two children’s hospital births (including all prenatal care and well child care) and only $150 copay for the delivery of my third child (including all prenatal care and well child visits; we’d switched insurance by that time). Guess they aren’t “special” or memorable…

      Or, my husband and I made sane financial decisions for a new couple just starting out. Hmmm. Let’s take a moment to ponder…

    • ihateslugs

      Wow! This statement really underscores exactly what Dr. Amy is always saying about homebirth midwives’ view of birth as an event or performance, and not the riskiest day in an infant’s life (and for mother as well). Getting hitched (in most cases!) doesn’t carry with it the risk of permanent disability or death, and yet they compare birth to a wedding day?
      Their complete denial of the inherent risks of childbirth is the basis of why they can never be expected to change or improve their practices.

    • AlisonCummins

      This is actually very misleading (a lie). The average cost of a wedding planned by a wedding planner is around $28k. Most people do not hire wedding planners. Only the biggest and fanciest weddings need a hired consultant.

      http://www.statisticbrain.com/average-costs-of-an-american-wedding/

      I knew this had to be a lie because there is no way anyone could have known how much my wedding cost. The statistic had to come from an industry source, and the industry source would only be aware of the fancy dos, not about the weddings of the people I know.

      Right there in there promotional materials they are demonstrating that either they have no idea how to read critically or they don’t mind lying. Neither of which is a desirable quality in a health care provider.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Right there in their promotional materials they are demonstrating that
        either they have no idea how to read critically or they don’t mind
        lying.

        One of my pithy one liners:
        The difference between legitimate providers and quacks is that legitimate providers are honest, while the quacks have no qualms about lying.”

        Generally, it is in the context of cancer treatment. Remember Suzanne Sommers who said that regular doctors, they wouldn’t tell her they could cure her cancer (no, they wouldn’t guarantee success) while the doctors in her book will tell you that they can cure you!

        It’s a lie, of course, but hey, they are willing to say it!

    • KarenJJ

      The average cost of a wedding might be $24k but most of that would be on the party. The celebrant we hired was paid around $600 (nearly 8 years ago) and no one was at risk of dying. Nor did our celebrant need to do many years of training and have a hefty insurance premium. If the celebrant made a glaring mistake it’s really not a huge issue (I really think ours called me “Carol” instead of “Karen” at one time during the ceremony part – I can’t be sure though because I’m hearing impaired and nobody else has had the heart to mention it afterwards!).

      • Trixie

        Our celebrant was a judge, so he actually did have many years of training! Plus, he did it for free!

    • drsquid

      ffs, referral for whatever bloodwork you think is needed… isnt that their job?

      • PrimaryCareDoc

        No. Their job is to knit and “hold the sacred space.”

  • lucy logan
    • Josephine

      When I read that article I couldn’t stop thinking about Fischbein either.

    • Guest

      It’s so horrible when someone in a position of authority abuses that authority so badly! It’s really too bad he can’t be punished more than what he will be. That poor woman.

    • Houston Mom

      Did you notice how the couple involved decided to have their next child with midwives after their experience with this creep?

  • arimazzy

    I’m glad you picked up that grounded parents article. I tried to engage in the comments but quickly realized what a huge waste of my time it was. I know that’s a bad attitude but it feels kind of mean to point out that the baby did end up in the NICU and the c-section happened anyway so maybe the doctor who suggested the c-section had a sensible recommendation. It just chapped my hide to have an article like that associated with the skepchick network. I normally think of her as a breath of sanity.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      Something else that bothered me is he kept repeating how she pushed for 4 hours before the C-section. And how they really wanted to avoid a C-section. Ummm, why? And doesn’t anyone ever think about what having their tiny little skull bashed against the mothers pelvic bones for 4 hours of pushing is doing to the baby?

      Isn’t 80 hours of labor a lot of contractions/intermittent loss of oxygen for the fetus to deal with….or am I over stating the risks of prolonged labor on the fetus?

      For the record I had a really short labor and if I had to do it again I would rather have had a C-section.(meconium, vacuum, episitotomy after tearing in two places, LOTS of stiches, and now stress incontinence, yay!)

      • Medwife

        Fetal tolerance of labor depends on reserve and placental function. Some babies can’t tolerate any contractions, some can tolerate it for days. Monitoring is key. It can’t tell you how the mother’s pelvic floor is holding up though.

    • carovee

      Skepchicks have fallen down on the job before with regards to homebirth, IMO. I don’t know why but they seem to have fallen for the inaccurate claims that low-risk homebirth is just as good as hospital birth.

      • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

        I emailed them repeatedly about my story and no one ever got back to me. I think it is a really good example of busting the myth of ‘the midwifery model of care’. It really means “whatever your midwife decides it is that day” instead of anything concrete. Maybe one of the staff members drank the kool-aid?

        Don’t forget that it took them a few years to realize how messed up it was to sell a pin up calendar for skepchick. I’m betting in a few years they will catch on.

      • http://kumquatwriter.wordpress.com/ Kumquatwriter

        There seems to be a strain of woo embedded in skepchick. So sad. Maybe am bitter that I wasn’t accepted as a writer for Grounded Parents – strongly suspect my loud no – woo is why.

  • Trixie

    So wait. He’s halfway through explaining how sciency the midwives are, when the lady ends up having high blood pressure, so they recommend induction of labor…with acupuncture? Did I read that right?

  • Dreah Louis

    Manipulation is the name of the game
    The game is about $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  • LynnetteHafkenIBCLC

    The Alpha parent question struck me as made up by some sociopath to mislead and shame FF moms into thinking other mothers could actually be thinking this. I seriously cannot imagine a mentally healthy person thinking this way.

    • Trixie

      I was questioning whether that originated from a Poe. A rather clever Poe. Okay, which one of you was it?

  • Dreah Louis

    smh………..

  • stenvenywrites

    The appropriate thing to say to a woman feeding her baby is, “What a beautiful baby!”, duh. Did these folks learned their manners from the same place they learned their science, or are they being intentionally dense?

  • Concerned

    OT question that is probably best asked to this group. I am pregnant with my 7th child. My first child was born at 34.5 weeks, my next 3 were born at 36ish weeks, my 5th (strangely) was born the day before his due date and my 6th was born at 37 weeks. (I was hospitalized for preterm labor at 32 weeks with the first 3.) All of my children had healthy lungs and came home with me on time. #3 & 4 were both 7 lbs 11-13 ounces (at 36 weeks). #5 was 8 lb 15 oz and #6 was 9 lb 3 oz (at 37 weeks). I had PROM with #3, 5 & 6 (I was not contracting at all and was actually asleep twice). All of my labors have been fairly short with the exception of the first (less than 5 hours) but #5 was born in around an hour and a half and #6 was born in less than one hour. It was terrifying even after 4 drug free natural births.

    SO I am supposed to deliver at a hospital that is near DC and 20 miles away on I-95 (which is super traffic prone and 30 minutes away on a good day). I would really like to be induced so I don’t have a baby in my living room. I am hoping I make it to 37 weeks given my last 2 pregnancies and desperately want to be induced to avoid having a baby in my living room. My Dr says that she will not induce before 39 weeks but she WILL make sure I have a bulb syringe and know what to do (basically WHEN) I give birth at home!

    I am so flabbergasted by this!!! Is there anything I can do?!? Does medical history count for anything or is it just “policy” that matters here?!?! I have friends who had maternal requests inductions at 37 weeks (like 8 years ago but still!) and really can’t see anything wrong with my choice! I am terrified of my water breaking in some random place and not getting to the hospital in time!!!

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone

      You may want to ask your doctor why she can’t induce before 39 weeks. Unfortunately the March of Dimes and some other organizations have been really sucessful in pushing the 39 weeks initiative to prevent inductions before 39 weeks. Nevermind that those decisions should be made by pregnant women and their doctors and that “grading” OB practices and hospitals on how many inductions they avoid before 39 weeks seems like REALLY bad medical practice.
      There are many reasons (yours for instance) where pre 39 week induction might be necessary. My sister in law had to be delivered early with both her daughters because of severe pre-e.

    • MaineJen

      She’s seriously giving you a bulb syringe in case you go into labor at home??? I can’t believe that. Is there anyone else you can talk to? At the hospital maybe? Just tell them you are trying to prevent a panicked 911 call in a few weeks. I know what traffic is like in DC, and depending on the time of day, there’s a good chance your child would be born in the car or ambulance sitting in traffic. Yeesh! You’ll have to let us know how it goes…I hope you can get someone to listen to you!

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Here’s what I would do:

      I would ask your doctor to explain your specific situation to the Chief of Obstetrics at the hospital to get a waiver of department policy. I’d also insist that your doctor note you fears of precipitous delivery in your chart and that you intend to hold the obstetrician and hospital legally responsible if anything goes wrong outside the hospital. I suspect that will solve the problem.

      • Dr Kitty

        Additionally, that you intend to sue to recover any out of pocket expenses from a precipitous out of hospital birth that would not have occurred had you had a planned induction.

        Even if it all goes swimmingly, I’d imagine there might be some extra costs involved.

        • Mtbakergirl

          Getting the car detailed!

    • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

      GET IT IN WRITING. That is some seriously negligent shit to say to a patient with a history like yours. I also believe that the MD has a duty to help you find a different doctor this late in your pregnancy if you can’t work it out. Either way I would report them to the medical board, they can’t knowingly expose you to risk like that without your consent.

    • Medwife

      They could do an amnio for lung maturity and an ultrasound for estimated fetal weight before a 37 wk induction. Better than your having a 37 weeker with breathing difficulties with only a bulb syringe for equipment, on the Beltway!

    • Concerned

      Thank you for all of your advice! I am actually only 18 weeks so I have some time to get this settled (find another doctor/hospital or whatever it takes) which is why I’m bringing it up now instead of in the 11th hour. My Dr just started me on progesterone shots so she’s obviously concerned about the prematurity history which is another reason I was so shocked by her “absolutely no inductions before 39 weeks” stance. When I said, “But the odds of me making it to 39 weeks are extremely slim,” she said, “I know.” I feel like a 37 week induction is a much more reasonable goal. I’ll be exploring these avenues at my next appt. Thank you all again.

      • Happy Sheep

        This doesn’t make any sense, I am in Ontario and after my last (full term) precipitous birth, my OB said that an induction is now MEDICALLY indicated, so it could be done at 38 weeks if everything else looks ok.
        Maybe ask your OB for specific reasons why she doesn’t believe an induction in a busy city with a history of premature or early term births where there is a very real possibility of an unassisted birth is not medically justified. Then ask for it in writing and make it clear that she will be held responsible for any outcomes.

  • Elizabeth A

    Have now read Chris Beechen’s story.

    Chris seems to think it’s a story about how midwives supported his girlfriend through a long and arduous labor, helping her try every possible alternative before conceeding to a c-section.

    I see it as the story of how midwives stacked up delays and obstacles between said girlfriend and her necessary c-section, thereby arranging that said girlfriend got to recover from an 80 hour labor, an attempted vacuum delivery, and a c-section, for a baby who consequently required a potentially avoidable nicu stay.

    I am also pretty struck by the ethical vacuousness involved in peddling useless crap.

    • arimazzy

      Exactly.

    • drsquid

      plus cpm and someone named lavender for the win

  • Alenushka

    As a poly person I would like to say that majority of poly people are not into woo.

    • Elizabeth A

      Alas, there’s no anti-woo protective poly effect either. The community likes to front its intellectualism, but we can all fall prey to dumb stuff.

      • Mtbakergirl

        What killed me with his story is that the first doc was right, a csection was the outcome they ended up with. Likely mother and baby would have been better off agreeing at that time and not continuing to exhaust themselves with 4 hours of pushing. It does sound like she had not great bedside manner, but still, her advice was sound and the author couldn’t/ didn’t admit that following it would have been the best course of action.

        • Elizabeth A

          I have had a doctor stand at my side and give me a deadline for delivering a baby. She did it somewhat better – it was something like “I think, if we don’t have the baby in half an hour, we will need to plan to move to surgery.” Asufferinghalf an hour, I was making progress, and in the end, I pushed for five and a half hours and had a vacuum extraction. All of this was facilitated by an epidural that failed during transition, but got me a six hour nap, so I landed at the pushing stage well rested.

          Two and a half years later, I had an unavoidable c-section with no labor at all. It was a revelation. I felt no pain, lost very little blood, and was walking around the hospital on my own within 24 hours. i went through a ton of suffering to avoid something SO EASY. If I had it all to do over, I’d have thrown in the towel when they determined my son was OP.

          • FormerPhysicist

            My first OB told me “You can try for another hour if you want, or we can go to c/s now.”
            As I’ve said many a time here, I threw the decision back in his lap and we went immediately to a c/s.

            (He may have said two hours, but I think it was an hour. I was a little incoherent.)

        • Mtbakergirl

          Sorry, didn’t proof my comment we’ll enough! I intended to say that following the advice MAY have (not would) have been the best course of action.

        • Dr Kitty

          His point is that they needed time to process that a CS was needed and the MW supported them during that process, which was nicer for them than the Drs who continued to challenge them about the issue.

          “Nicer” doesn’t mean “right” or “safe” or “better” though.

          It is “nicer” if I agree with my patients that their smoking and drinking are perfectly safe. But that doesn’t mean I should.

          • drsquid

            it is crazy that he obstinately argues that he isnt anti science etc then gets all huffy when an ob dares make a recommendation. while i am sure the 2nd ob likely did say/ well it doesnt have to happen now, the 2nd ob also likely knew that it was still gonna end in a section but was just better at hiding it. heck a friend of mine just had a baby at that same hospital. i coulda told her she was gonna get a c section about half a day before they called it. she ended up totally exhausted and the baby ended up in the nicu

    • AlisonCummins

      As a monogamish person I would like to say that the majority of poly people I know *are* into woo. One of the most prominent in my area does aura massaging or something like that.

    • theNormalDistribution

      I think the majority of people are not into woo. Not sure what sexual activity has to do with it.

    • arimazzy

      LOL That surprised me too! You have to be REAL if you are poly!

  • Are you nuts

    The placenta placebo thing kills me. “We know it’s only the placebo effect.” OK, then why don’t you pick a placebo that’s less freaking disgusting than human organ meat??? How about M&Ms… or fried chicken… or martinis!

    Yes, someone please write a blog post about post partum women who drink martinis have an easier recovery. That’s a placebo I can get behind!

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    Tempted to respond to Rixa’s post with the following: “Being in control is important for me too. That’s why I had scheduled c-sections for all my births. I got to say when and how I’d give birth, decide on who was there, and decide what sort of pain relief I would have.” Two problems with this though: 1. It’s not true (I had an emergent c) and I’m reluctant to lie, even on the internet and 2. I’m too lazy to set up an account. But if being in control of birth is important to a woman, her best bet is not the chaos and danger of a home birth, but the controlled environment of an OR and a c-section.

    • Dr Kitty

      It is TOTALLY a big part of why I chose my CS and why I loved it.

      But my body *is* a lemon, so I don’t count as far as the NCB crowd is concerned. I wasn’t a perfect strong warrior wombyn to begin with, so I get a condescending pat on the head and *sadface* about my experiences, and they get to feel better about their choices, because they’re not *broken*.
      Which makes me ragey.

      • Houston Mom

        I’ll take the ability to think rationally and compassionately over the ability to birth vaginally any day.

  • Captain Obvious

    Rixa’s post is nothing like what actually happened at inga’s birth. Her midwife wasn’t there, the assistant showed up late, Rixa was yelling at her to get out. Inga’s APGARs were bad and needed resus, and only after nearly 2 minutes did Rixa start giving her baby breaths while the baby’s head was in a hyperflexed position. But Rixa’s recount of how she remembers the birth is so much more peaceful. I didn’t see the video link of Inga’s birth on Rixa’s side bar anymore. Did she take it down so she can limit the criticism of her delayed resus?

    • theadequatemother

      Not only that but her account of her last birth leaves the distinct impression that she wasn’t enjoying herself. I remember reading it thinking how much Bette she would have bein with an epi.

  • http://shameonbetterbirth.wordpress.com/ Shameon Betterbirth

    Well in my experience sex regularly ends in hemorrhage and blood transfusions (if you do it right), so I think the analogy fits.

    (jk. obviously.)

    • Dr Kitty

      Read The Bell Jar recently?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      So tempted to just keep adding inappropriate, unlikely, and probably highly dangerous hints to this comment…

  • AlisonCummins

    If the risk of a man having a heart attack during sex is 2.5/1M and the risk of a death during childbirth is 80,000/1M then isn’t the relative risk of childbirth vs sex 80,000:2.5, or 32,000? Not 50,000 and not a million.

    Not sure where the million is coming from?

    • theNormalDistribution

      I’m not sure why it was rounded up to 50, but if you take the low end of the range for heart attack risk, you get a 40,000 times higher risk of heart attack vs death in childbirth. But having a heart attack doesn’t guarantee death… Working backwards from a million, that puts you at about a 1 in 20 risk of dying if you have a heart attack. I have no idea if that’s right, but it sounds like a reasonable number to me.

      • AlisonCummins

        Got it, thanks!

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        Last time I looked it up, the mortality rate of a heart attack was 16%

        • AlisonCummins

          Yes, 16% sounds more realistic than 5%.

          So it’s like this:
          > Risk of death during sex: (2.5*16%)/1M
          > Risk of a death during childbirth: 80,000/1M

          Relative risk of childbirth vs sex 80,000:(2.5*16%), or 200,000:1.

          Not a million to one.

          And yet as The Computer Ate My Nym points out downthread, the risk of even a fit person dying during exertion is high enough that gyms are equipped AEDs, so one would think that upping that risk by a factor of 200,000 would be enough to make a point. Why drag in a million if it’s not warranted?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa

            Can I ask though, what are the chances of a male under the age of 50 dying from a heart attack during sex?

            Maybe 85 year olds should have sex in the hospital.

          • AlisonCummins

            I think that’s what my father is counting on. I hope it’s shortly after though, and not during, for the sake of his wife.

          • Dr Kitty

            I have had a very elderly female patient ask me, apropos of nothing, if they made an anti Viagra, because she wasn’t feeling up to thrice weekly “relations” after her hip replacement, and wondered if we could dose her husband without his knowledge.

            Yeah, they don’t tell you how to manage THAT in medical school (I suggested a nice dinner, a bottle of wine and a frank conversation as an alternative).

          • auntbea

            I worked as a runner for a pharmacy when I was a teenager and we definitely had women calling it to try and void their husbands prescriptions. One woman said, “but I was finally done!”

          • Young CC Prof

            Now I’m thinking of that scene in “All Quiet on the Western Front.” The one where the wounded soldier’s wife shows up, and they haven’t seen each other in a year and might not see each other again for a long time, so they have sex, right there in the open ward, with the men by the door keeping an eye out for nurses.

        • theNormalDistribution

          Well then. Damned if I know where the million came from!

          • Amy Tuteur, MD

            I can’t figure it out, either. On the scratch pad where I did the calculation I wrote that childbirth was 100,000 riskier than sex, but when I wrote the post I read it as 1,000,000.

            Sorry about that, but it doesn’t change the point.

          • AlisonCummins

            Nope, doesn’t change the point.

        • Therese

          I wonder if there is a higher survival rate from heart attacks that take place during sex because their partner could call 911 immediately, as opposed to the people who are alone when they have their heart attacks and not discovered right away?

    • Mariana Baca

      Not everyone with a myocardial infarction will die. I think that the 50,000 was a rounded figure, and 1 million assumes only 1 in twenty men will die from a given heart attack (dunno if that number is made up).

      • theNormalDistribution

        Jinx!

  • Mel

    Ah, Alpha Mom! Yet another example of how not to be gracious.

    Alpha Mom(s) aren’t the only people who get questions from confused/curious on-lookers. Many people with disabilities, non-traditional families and people from non-dominant cultures pop to mind. You can take the time to clear up the misunderstandings. You can walk away. Both are legitimate.

    What does Alpha Mom do? Make fun of an honest question. That’s not an acceptable choice.

  • Mel

    Another obvious problem with the analogy between the dangers of sex vs. birth: Most men are healthy enough that the chances of dying during any sexual experience is very, very low. SOME men who have cardiac disease are at a risk of having problems during any physical exertion including sex. I’m guessing that preexisting severe cardiac disease has symptoms – breathlessness, inability to walk quickly, climb steps etc. Therefore, most men who need to avoid sex for cardiac safety are aware of the fact.

    Pregnancy isn’t the same. A perfectly healthy woman and baby can become critically ill in short periods of time without previous signs or symptoms.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      True overall, but at least one condition (left main disease) does present as sudden death reasonably often. Rarely during sex, more often during exertion of other sorts. For example, I think that’s how Douglas Adams died: sudden death without prior symptoms while exercising. That’s why people are encouraged to learn what to do in the case of sudden death (call 911 right away, start CPR) and gyms and other public places carry AED to defibrillate as soon as possible. In other words, steps are taken to reduce the risk of this type of death which is much rarer than death in pregnancy.

    • KarenJJ

      An acquaintance of mine had an undiagnosed heart defect (something to do with her valve, not Marfan’s Syndrome though) and she died suddenly. She was young (40) and healthy and had three young children that were strapped in the car to drop the older ones off at school and kindy. It was absolutely shocking and devastating. One of the saddest funerals my folks had been to.

  • Happy Sheep

    To the AP commenter: it’s easy, look at the baby, smile and
    a) Walk away or
    b) Say “what a beautiful baby, congratulations”
    Anything else is not your business and you should get your santcimommy nose out of a mother’s feeding choices

    • Mel

      I think it’s an attempt to laugh at questions breast-feeding moms get from people who feel anxious when they see breast-feeding moms.

      • Happy Sheep

        I would usually assume that too, but this is TAP, where nothing about FF is funny.

        • Mel

          Except when you mock formula feeders. Mocking is totally allowed since it makes you feel all nice and superior.

  • http://Www.awaitingjuno.blogspot.com/ Mrs. W

    It’s not unlike America’s Funniest Videos – there’s just no end of material to work with.