The most powerful arguments against homebirth

Grieving family with an infant's coffin

Thinking about homebirth? These mothers of these babies were, too. Their babies are dead as a result. In one case, the mother died.

James died after an abruption

Baby Girl in Portland taken home to die due to massive brain damage when she failed to breathe at birth.

“Thor” son of author Elizabeth Heineman died from lack of oxygen during labor.

Gavin Michael died of lack of oxygen when he was more than 2 weeks overdue.

Lloyd died of lack of oxygen during labor when 3 weeks overdue.

Baby girl died due to shoulder dystocia.

Baby girl died of viral infection contracted in birth pool water contaminated with diarrhea.

Baby died in Indiana when s/he failed to breathe at birth.

Mother hemorrhaged to death during transfer to the hospital after birth.

Aminah, a second twin, died after a cord prolapse.

Sam died of aspiration nearly 3 years after homebirth left him profoundly brain injured.

Utah baby died of lack of oxygen during labor while mother attempted a VBA3C.

Michigan second twin died while mother attempted a VBA2C.

Baby boy died after fetal distress during labor, hospital transfer and C-section.

Paityn died during labor.

Baby girl died of lack of oxygen during 4 day labor.

South Carolina baby died during labor at a freestanding birth center.

Natalie died of lack of oxygen while her mother pushed for 6 hours with meconium running down her leg.

Kaiya died of lack of oxygen during labor.

Michael died of meconium aspiration after his mother attempted a VBA2C.

New Jersey baby died during breech birth.

Baby girl died of Group B strep sepsis.

Aisley died of lack of oxygen during labor.

Oregon baby died of overwhelming infection.

Second twin died in Indiana after partial delivery, transfer and hospital C-section.

Baby boy died of cord prolapse.

Baby boy died of lack of oxygen during labor.

Gianni died after his mother hemorrhaged during labor.

Jude died at a freestanding birth center.

California baby boy died during prolonged labor with maternal fever.

Sunrise died after fetal distress during labor.

Baby girl died after fetal distress in labor.

Baby girl died of “complications” after homebirth.

Titus died of shoulder dystocia.

Baby girl had a cardio-respiratory arrest after birth.

Baby boy, second twin, when his head became trapped during breech delivery.

North Carolina baby died when s/he could not be resuscitated after birth.

Idaho baby girl died after fetal distress during labor.

Idaho baby boy died after fetal distress during labor.

Idaho baby died after fetal distress during labor.

These are 40 deaths that I wrote about in the past 2 years. And only the American homebirth deaths. And only the deaths that I heard about.

Homebirth represents approximately 1% of US births. When you look at term births of normal sized babies to white women, homebirth represents approximately 1.4% births. So if you are planning to tell me that “babies die in the hospital, too,” ask yourself if you’ve heard of nearly 3000 deaths of term babies in the hospital in the past 2 years.

Homebirth kills babies (and mothers) and the only people who appear to be unaware of that fact are homebirth advocates.

Thinking about homebirth? Maybe you should think about these babies (and mother) and think again.

547 Responses to “The most powerful arguments against homebirth”

  1. Amber
    April 8, 2015 at 1:52 am #

    There is statistically far more than 3000 hospital birth deaths for year. It is of little relevance if people have heard of them or not.

  2. December 7, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    Gossip on ladies. I’m done here.

    • Karen in SC
      December 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

      Ironic that now her blog is private. Ms Louis wants comments, not “gossip” yet she has locked it down.

      • Bombshellrisa
        December 7, 2014 at 6:20 pm #

        Well, I guess that will keep someone else’s narrative the only version available, which is exactly what she said she didn’t want.

        • Who?
          December 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

          Dreah is distraught and probably regrets putting it all up in the first place. Unfortunately lashing out doesn’t help her, the baby or anyone.

          The internet does provide a forum for the anguish and impotent rage that the realisation that there will be no justice for these families or babies brings. And once it is up, it’s everyone’s.

          The lesson here is get a diary for all your feelings, and be strategic, and take advice, about what you post, when and where, if you have a goal in mind. Or just don’t post.

          • Karen in SC
            December 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

            Her blog was (is) a very good example of the complaint process, such as it is (non existent). That is a very valuable and powerful message. I’m sorry it is no longer so accessible.

          • Who?
            December 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm #

            Interesting. I can’t imagine her frustration and sadness, the whole thing is desperately unfair.

          • sdsures
            December 8, 2014 at 3:08 pm #

            I understand her want to get justice…but how would it have been accomplished? By getting some sort of legal action taken against the midwife?

    • sdsures
      December 8, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

      Personally, I’m not here for the gossip. I think that most of us on here are trying to understand exactly what happened (what the problem was). Didn’t you want your daughter’s story to be known?

  3. October 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm #

    I didn’t give you permission to put my daughters name on this site please remove it. Although there is an original blog about the birth story. Your exploiting my daughters name by speaking and making articles without my consent. I don’t care if I have put my home birth disaster story out for the world to read. I do not support your work at all. Please remove my daughters name from your list or any other forums that she is on with your work tied to it. It is disrespectful.

    • Guest
      December 4, 2014 at 1:57 am #

      YOU put your homebirth disaster story out for the world to read. Her name being listed here is no less disrespectful than your personal (and very public) account.

      • December 4, 2014 at 8:27 am #

        Whatever, please , Your an idiot for this comment.
        Go to hell

        • Guest
          December 4, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

          You posted something publicly and then complain that someone commented on it. And when your logic fallacy is pointed out, you resort to grammatically incorrect and profanity filled name calling. And you call Dr. Tuteur disrespectful?

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            December 4, 2014 at 9:00 pm #

            Is it really a logical fallacy? Her claims are just factually wrong, not illogical.

          • Guest
            December 4, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

            I was trying to convey that her logic in stating her publicly posted story was somehow still under her control and requires her consent for discussion is incorrect. You are probably better at differentiating the vast multitudes of fallacies in arguments than I am.

            The ad hominem attacks though, would almost be comical if they weren’t so sad. I tend to picture a tantruming four year old stamping her foot and calling the target of her attack a poopy-butt.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 5, 2014 at 11:08 am #

            Right, because helplessness and rage in the face of injustice is the domain of the well-spoken.


          • AlisonCummins
            December 5, 2014 at 11:15 am #

            Where is she factually wrong?

          • December 4, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

            You want to get nasty with me really because you thought my decision to home birth was stupid and you know what that’s fine but you have not right to call me out and tell me what I can or can not say to a doctor about talking about my daughter. Don’t act like you don’t know what exploitation is okay. Second of all I say whatever the hell I want to say you get the drift.

          • Guest
            December 5, 2014 at 6:38 am #

            If you don’t want your daughter’s death “exploited”, why did you publicly publish information about her death? I actually think that your decision to homebirth is fine. If you want to risk your life and the life of your child, have at it. But you must own up to your choices. Homebirth has been proven again and again to be riskier than hospital birth. You took the risk and your daughter paid the price.

            And it’s “go to hell, too”.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 5, 2014 at 11:07 am #

            Don’t be a dick. It’s not up to each individual pregnant woman to be familiar with the literature. It’s up to the person who takes money to advise her in a professional capacity.


          • December 4, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

            Yeah and by the way Dr. Tuteur is disrespectful she can go to hell to.
            But you wouldn’t have no idea about that because your a reader of her work

          • LibrarianSarah
            December 7, 2014 at 11:58 am #

            We can read your comment on this page. You don’t need to keep linking the same comment all over this thread. It isn’t that profound.

          • December 6, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

            She is disrespectful and I am not the first woman to say something about it.

      • December 4, 2014 at 8:30 am #

        typical for a person with not picture or name to same some dumb ass shit like that.

      • AlisonCummins
        December 5, 2014 at 11:14 am #

        Yes it is [more] disrespectful. Not of her daughter, but of Dreah Louis herself.

        That doesn’t mean it’s illegal or contravenes journalistic ethics. It might mean it’s unkind though.


        • December 6, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

          very unkind but on the internet people feel free to say whatever they want and do whatever they want. They judge you don’t even know you. Call you names and so on just to get a point across. These are the same women that have been lurking all over my blog. They don’t comment on my blog but they will come here and sneak diss though.

    • birthbuddy
      December 4, 2014 at 9:46 pm #

      Your permission isn’t required. You put it in the public domain.

      • December 4, 2014 at 11:15 pm #

        Isn’t required but out of respect my permission should have been thought about but you know when your exploiting women to write articles you don’t give a damn about permission.

      • AlisonCummins
        December 5, 2014 at 1:03 am #

        Dreah Louis is complaining that a white professional used something of hers without asking, to further her own agenda. And now a bunch of (white?) folks are calling her a toddler.

        Sure, permission isn’t required to quote a blog. Neither is any scrap of empathy required to be a human being.

        People here are being really being awful. You’re talking to someone who has the same status in american society as Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner — a person whose *life* can be taken by a white person with no repercussions.

        Come on, folks. Maybe the post isn’t going to be edited but y’all don’t have to be such dicks about it.

        • birthbuddy
          December 5, 2014 at 3:22 am #

          Not racism, just a fact.

          • December 6, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

            Look birthbuddy, you can’t understand a situation like this because your a reader. More like a consumer. A gossip friendly person. I understand that you feel as though me putting my disaster on the internet is free range for anyone to quote it. FINE.
            BUT if the person comes to you personally and tells you to remove it, you can do one or two things. You can remove it or say NO as Amy said. Which just lets me know that she has an exploitation behavior to her madness. I have asked other women to remove my daughters name and they had no problem. Not only did they remove it they apologized if they disrespected me in any way. You are entitled to your opinion but as the mother of the child that is being talked about I have the right to confront anyone who is publically talking about her besides me especially if I feel that it is in negative way. There is nothing you can say about that. You can have 1,000 come backs for me on here. You can call me all type of names, you can quote laws, and you can even act like I’m stupid to journalism rules but at the end of the day. I have a blog and I can be contacted many ways. If someone feels necessary to put my daughters name on a list of other deceased babies the least they can do is consider what the parent feels about it. Out of RESPECT. We are in America where people exploit people everyday for a story. Just say your down with exploitation and I will agree with you more than just saying no one has to get my permission.That is silly.

          • birthbuddy
            December 7, 2014 at 4:55 am #

            You were exploited by NCB, not Dr Amy.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

            That her permission is not required is a fact, yes. That you communicated it neutrally and that others communicated it viciously are also facts.

            The same fact can be communicated with sensitivity and kindness. Refusing to demonstrate kindness, especially when you *know* that the issue is more loaded for a black woman than a white woman and that your statuses in american society are unequal, is unjustifiably dickish.

        • December 6, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

          It just so happens that every woman on the internet talking about home birth is white women. Non black women. I don’t think that I have ran across any black women talking about home birth yet. The sad part about it white women (most) white women have no respect for black women from the jump. That’s how the immediate disrespect comes in. For these women to be on here talking about me as if Im nothing is typcial and is something that I have had to experience my life since a young girl. White wome look at your skin color and they automatically throw you under the bus. Putting the decision that I home birthed twins really put the icing on the cake for white women. Then they start calling me all types of ignorant. They start correcting my grammar as most white people do when you spell something wrong on the internet. Like the women did below. She felt like she had to tell me that I was to write “TOO” instead of to. That to me is racisit in itself but you know I can’t help racisim. Ican speak on experience when it comes to home birth education though. Im proud to be a black woman regardless of all the white women who want to disrespect me and jump all down my throat and act like them and their husband counterparts are not racist.

          • MLE
            December 6, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

            If you had been reading here for any amount of time, you’d know that MANY commenters are criticized for their poor grammar/spelling.

          • December 6, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

            Out of all the things I said that’s what you comment on.

          • MLE
            December 6, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

            Because you’re saying that’s racist….kind of serious.

          • December 6, 2014 at 9:37 pm #

            There are a lot of things that are racisit that’s just one thing that I called out.

          • MLE
            December 6, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

            Also there are black women who comment here..

          • December 6, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

            Are you black?

          • MLE
            December 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm #

            there are very few allies in this fight against misinformation, so I don’t see the point or purpose in trying to create division where it doesn’t need to be

          • December 6, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

            There is already division

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 11:16 pm #

            She asked that her daughter be anonymous like most of the other babies on the list. She’s being mocked and trivialized and now accused of creating division.


          • December 6, 2014 at 9:26 pm #

            Whatever you say.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 6, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

            And we point out Dr Amy’s errors all the time-she says thanks and fixes it.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

            Yes, but not trivially to dismiss her arguments. As a genuine contribution to improving clarity of a post.

            You incorrectly used a hyphen (-) instead of an em-dash (—) in your comment. If I draw attention to your typography I am changing the subject, not helping you improve your comment.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 6, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

            If you can tell me which button to push on phone to use the correct typography I would change it. It seems to be the only option I have to use.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 11:12 pm #
          • Bombshellrisa
            December 7, 2014 at 12:38 am #

            I do think it’s important. I like to know what errors I am making. I speak two languages and I don’t always punctuate or spell correctly. Since the language on this blog is conveyed via typing, being corrected helps me so I can communicate. I do this with my family too, somebody uses the wrong word or whatever, we correct. I don’t assume it’s because I am a woman of color that I am being corrected.

          • December 7, 2014 at 2:42 am #

            Someone needs to point out her exploitation articles also. You can point out grammar error but not when she is exploiting women.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

            I have no idea what you mean by figures, but if I did see something that was exploitive I would stop reading here.

          • December 7, 2014 at 1:24 pm #

            No you wouldn’t stop reading. Maybe you don’t understand because your not in the situation.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 7, 2014 at 1:55 pm #

            “No you wouldn’t stop reading”
            Like you could know that. This type of comment is exactly why people are biting back at you, they experience you as nasty when there is no reason to be. I would stop reading and pack up my commenting if I felt that being associated with this blog would paint me and my views in terms that are exploitive, cruel or not based in science.
            I admit I am not the one who lost a daughter, but I was a doula, home birth advocate and caught babies at home for women as a midwifery student. Trying to call attention to the appalling number of babies who died when they didn’t have to is something I am passionate about now.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

            When someone is claiming to be more educated than the OP and all commenters on the thread, the fact that they don’t know how to spell meconium is relevant. Dreah Louis is not making any such claim. She is claiming that she is being disrespected. Whether that is true of the OP I don’t know. Some commenters are grossly disrespecting her though. Spelling is irrelevant to the basic respect that any human being owes another.

            I have made many grammar and spelling errors in comments here but I have yet to be criticized for any of them. Folks here don’t seem to think they are relevant to the content.

          • Who?
            December 7, 2014 at 12:41 am #

            I get snippy about spelling and grammar when it is so poor it obscures the message the poster is trying to convey.

            Repeated, long, rambling posts full of spelling and grammar errors-particularly when the quality of the written expression is inconsistently bad ie different wrong spelling for the same word or for example ‘there’ their’ and ‘they’re’ used interchangeably (sp?) make me wonder how clearly the poster is thinking, or is used to thinking.

            And when someone is writing like that and carrying on about how only they possess the truth about supplements, garlic or the benefits of home birth over hospital birth, I’ll weigh in. Because clear thinking tends to lead to at least consistent, if not necessarily clear, communication.

          • December 7, 2014 at 1:59 am #

            So tell Guest to be the editor and point out their deficiencies also and get off my back as if she knows me.

          • Guest
            December 7, 2014 at 12:18 am #

            Every woman? Really? And every commenter here is both female (nope) and white (nope again)? If you even bothered to google something as simple as “black woman” and “homebirth” (or Latina or any other racial or ethnic group), you will find lots of information and personal (and public) stories.

            Also, correction of grammar is not racist. Unless you believe that education is racist and that black women are only capable of speaking and/or writing at the most basic level. Or did you bully your school classmates about speaking “white”? Your poor grammar and spelling have nothing to do with the color of your skin. But calling it racist to point out your deficiencies and, indeed, being proud of your ignorance, is a sad commentary on your personal thoughts of what a proud black woman should be.

          • December 7, 2014 at 1:58 am #

            I shouldn’t even give you the respect of continuing to comment because your a guest here. Meaning what you think is irrelevant. I have no deficiencies and far from ignorant so if you want to continue the conversation based on continual insult go ahead. People make grammar errors all the time when commenting in forums. It’s not the freaking final draft of a book being published. Some people type on their phones or are in a rush at times but please chill out on the insults. GUEST your irking the hell out of me because you have decided to change the direction of the conversation to a typical topic that a racist human being would focus on. It’s written all in your tone. I can smell racisim even in words.

          • Guest
            December 7, 2014 at 7:30 am #

            So you are going to continue to focus on how we are racist for calling you out on your continued belief that you were somehow wronged? Yep, racist for pointing out that both men and women post here. Racist for saying that members of many races and ethnicities choose to homebirth. Racist for stating that your grammar is not the best. Racist that everything is black versus white (since there are no races beyond those two, of course). Yep, we are the racists here.

        • MLE
          December 6, 2014 at 9:25 pm #

          When you say “further her own agenda,” does it even matter to you what that agenda is? The way you say it makes it sound like she’s profitting in some way, vs shedding light on homebirth deaths which are typically swept under the rug.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

            Amy Tuteur, MD’s agenda is to shed light on homebirth deaths which are typically swept under the rug. In this thread I am NOT taking sides on whether this is an appropriate agenda, or on whether permission or consent are required by copyright or by journalistic ethics, or on whether the original post should be changed. No, for the purposes of this discussion none of those matter.

            All I am saying is that Amy Tuteur, MD has used Dreah Louis’ story without her consent. She might be unable to obtain consent even if she asked because Dreah Louis perceives Amy Tuteur, MD’s agenda to be antithetical to her own. These are observations. I’m not drawing conclusions from them.

            Given that there is a power differential (Amy Tuteur, MD is much more likely to be heardthan Dreah Louis)

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm #

            … Given that there is a power differential (Amy Tuteur, MD is much more likely to be heard and influential than Dreah Louis) AND the history in the US of white people benefiting from taking things from black people (freedom, property, votes, lives, education, history) AND the fact that Dreah Louis is a loss mother, there is no justification for responding to Dreah Louis with anything other than sensitivity and acknowledgement.

            There is NO reason to mock her spelling. She is not here to prove that she is more educated than obstetricians, she is here protesting what she experiences as a theft.

            There is NO justification for tone trolling. She is angry about a theft. Don’t change the subject to the fact that she doesn’t use language in a way that makes you comfortable.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 6, 2014 at 10:08 pm #

            Did I miss something? I couldn’t find anything in the article that linked to a specific birth story, the only way I could have known that Ms Lewis’s story was one of the above listed was that she said it was.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

            The baby’s name is given. Not every baby is listed with a name, but Dreah Louis’s baby is named. She is asking that the name be removed.

            That’s it.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 6, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

            Got it, thanks

          • Guest
            December 6, 2014 at 11:59 pm #

            If she didn’t want her daughter’s name known to the public, she should not have posted about her in a public setting. If you share information with everyone, you have no right to claim that only some may use it.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 12:12 am #

            I’m not talking about rights. I’m not even saying her daughter’s name should be removed from the post. I’m saying that only the worst kind of asshat would choose to be nasty when they didn’t have to.

          • Guest
            December 7, 2014 at 12:26 am #

            Yes, being told to “go to hell”, being called an idiot, etc, is quite nasty behaviour, I agree. That would be Ms. Louis’s choice of words and not mine. I’m surprised you would choose to refer to her as an asshat. It is not very compassionate.

          • December 7, 2014 at 2:35 am #

            And so is unploading my daughters name to her personal blog without my permission is nasty also. By the way I can say whatever the hell I want. Especially when someone is going to disrespect me like I never asked them personally to remove my daughters name.

          • Guest
            December 7, 2014 at 7:11 am #

            Yes, I understand perfectly. You feel that you were wronged and that’s your right. And when it is pointed out that you were the one to disclose your own information (and that it was not stolen), you resort to foul language and cries of racism.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 2:12 pm #

            And yet, before posting people’s loss stories on Hurt By Homebirth, Dr T has said she got permission.

            Why the discrepancy now? Just curious.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

            Is Dreah’s story on Hurt by Homebirth? I don’t remember it ever being there.

            Dr Amy doesn’t seek permission from the parents in every disaster story she posts about on this site. She certainly didn’t seek permission from the Yeager family and I daresay it’s a good thing, or else Danielle Yeager might still have no idea what kind of “midwife” she unlucked on.

            No discrepancy here. Dr Tuteur is following the way she practices with both sites. She might have asked Dreah for permission to post her story on HbH but here, she wouldn’t seek it.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 2:44 pm #

            Oh, OK. I just wanted to be sure. No harm intended. I’ll go have a look-see on HbH, and also Ms Louis’ blog.

            I do remember that for Gavin Michael’s story, she explicitly stated she had permission from the child’s grandpa.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 2:48 pm #

            Not when she first announced the story. At the time, no one knew the identity of the couple and midwife. Given the fact that we’ve had lots of angry friends bearing down on us on behalf of distraught mothers who Dr Amy was supposedly a monster to by posting their stories without permission, I think it was just a coincidence. Gavin Michael’s grandfather actually helped her find out the identity of the individuals involved and wanted to attract notice to what happened. Had she found it without him, she would have voiced the story anyway.

            We actually had an angry mother here a couple of years ago. I don’t know whether you remember the case, but it was an UC that she kept going on with even when during the birth, it was found that she was having a footling breech. She came thundering here, threatening with a lawyer because of Dr Amy writing about the story. I am not sure whether it’s the same woman but she later became a guru of some kind, helping people achieve peace of mind that she claimed came to her because her dead son taught it to her.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

            I do sympathize with Ms Louis’ anger; the situation sucks emotionally. But it’s not illegal. The Internet has changed how copyright laws work.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

            I feel the same way. The reason I don’t have a blog revealing personal information is partly because I’d like to keep my private affairs private and partly because I know that if someone decides to use it for whatever purpose they have in mind, I’ll consider it theft and infringing. Which it won’t be. Better not tempt fate.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm #

            Even if you do want to keep a blog someday, WordPress.Org and others allow you to keep whatever posts you’d like as Private.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 3:31 pm #

            Yeah, I know there are options to keep things private in the frame of not showing them to the world. But the truth is, by keeping things private I mean keeping things private from my friends as well. Knowing how impulsive I am, I don’t think I’ll feel better if everyone following me knows how inadequately or stupidly I had taken things – when time passes and I realize that my feelings and reactions were inadequate. It might be just in the heat of the moment thing but still! It’ll be embarrassing. I share different things with different people. I have yet to meet the person I want to expose ALL of my inadequacies to!

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

            Everyone says and does dumb things at some point in their lives. I know I have. It’s nothing to be ashamed of so long as we learn from it.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

            “I have yet to meet the person I want to expose ALL of my inadequacies to!”

            So far, my husband is handling mine splendidly!

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

            My bad! I wasn’t being clear.

            Still, you don’t interact with your husband on a blog, do you? Please tell me that you don’t!

            Doing dumb things is OK. But since writing is an outlet for me, I don’t really need everyone who I am close to being aware of all of my intimate thoughts, feelings, and actions. I mean, when I’m upset with my boyfriend, I do write it down. And sometimes I complain to a friend. BOTH things at the same time, with the friend being multiplied? Not for me. And I won’t be able to stop myself should I once start.

            Just a bad idea for me overall. Give me a working computer, and I’m done.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

            LOL, no I don’t interact with him on a blog, but we did start out by internet dating across the Atlantic.

          • December 7, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

            “she later became a guru of some kind, helping people achieve peace of mind that she claimed came to her because her dead son taught it to her.”

            You are so compassionate it’s ridiculous.
            Her dead son? You have no respect. The tone in how you write things shows that you just don’t really care about the cause. Your just here.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm #

            How would you phrase it, Dreah? He was her son and he died. You don’t like babies’ names being mentioned. And she did claim exactly what I said she did.

            Is it STFU that I’m hearing? Given the fact that you were pointing out this was a blog meant for comments, it is a little bit ridiculous.

          • MLE
            December 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm #

            I see all kinds of attempts to assign nefarious motives to people in order to drive them away, when the vast majority of people here have shown through YEARS of dedication that they want to help, and have nothing but sympathy for those who have been badly used by NCB, many because they themselves were victims of it. I just have to ask WHY.

          • December 7, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

            I guess I didn’t ask nice enough.

          • Guest
            December 7, 2014 at 7:44 am #

            Her daughter’s name is listed because it was publicly disclosed. She, along with so many other innocents, was a real person and had a name and deserves to be remembered as such. Many of us here believe that her death was a direct result of pervasive NCB philosophy that kills mothers and babies. The NCB community sweeps so many of these needless deaths and the grief of their families under the rug. So we remember the deaths by name (if known) and not the anonymous and easily forgettable “baby girl” or “baby boy”.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 9:25 am #

            Yes, and that’s fine. I didn’t say it shouldn’t be given. I just said her feelings about seeing the name given here are understandable.

          • Amy Tuteur, MD
            December 7, 2014 at 10:25 am #

            Has it ever occurred to you that Dreah is complaining for the same reason other loss mothers complain: their own words reveal their culpability in the tragedy?


            You should be extremely cautious about accusing people of racism when you have absolutely, positively NO EVIDENCE that anyone is racist!

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 2:11 pm #

            I don’t see (understand) why Dr T refused.

          • December 7, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

            She said in her email response to me that she does not have to remove my daughters name because I posted my home birth disaster story for the world to see.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 4:09 pm #

            Thank you for explaining. Unfortunately, from what I know of copyright law as it pertains to the Internet, it seems she didn’t need to get your permission. It sucks emotionally, but it’s legal.

          • December 7, 2014 at 2:32 am #

            My baby’s name is given then when women click on my daughters name I get all this traffic. Then I get hundreds and thousands of people reading my home birth disaster but no comments. They just come back here and talk bad about me. I hate that it’s rude.
            I don’t want that type of traffic.
            I don’t understand why that is so hard to understand for people. People are just like, “Get over it, you posted your story for the world to read, it’s public domain, get over it. If you didn’t want people talking about your story you shouldn’t have posted it.”
            I think otherwise but like Alison said who am I? My ranking her is irrelevant. Just another mother with a dead baby.

          • Bombshellrisa
            December 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

            I think it’s an unfortunate side effect of being able to share a story via the internet. It’s not much different than confiding in a gossip or writing your story on a billboard. It just feels like it should be more private because when you are writing it down, it’s just you and the keyboard. I see this a lot and not just with loss mothers, whatever thing that needs to be talked out and written down now usually gets posted on a blog or Facebook and everyone sees it and forms an opinion. It may not be right or kind, but it’s human nature.
            Maybe those people didn’t comment on your blog, but I hope they learned something.

          • December 7, 2014 at 1:20 pm #

            I started the blog because I knew that I wasn’t going to get any justice in the matter.Honestly it’s hard for black people to get justice period in America when wrong doing is proven. I started the blog to educate women that may want to continue on a path of home birth and don’t have all the facts. What I didn’t start the blog for is for women to take my daughters name and put it on their blog. Some women don’t care I imagine about their children being listed on a blog but if the person who has a problem with it is coming to you and asking you privately first to remove it and the person says no then being nice goes out the window.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 1:50 pm #

            And how are you going to educate anyone if they are not aware that your blog exists? You want us to believe that you want to educate women but only those who find it by chance?

            Like Dr Tuteur or not, but she’s widely read even among the NCB circles. Getting traffic from here should be a good thing for someone who claims to want to save other women from losing their children.

          • MaineJen
            December 7, 2014 at 9:55 pm #

            So you started the blog to educate people about the possible consequences of home birth, but now you’re upset that people are reading it and talking about just that? Sometimes people don’t comment because they don’t know what to say, or they’re afraid they’ll say something to offend you. I don’t usually comment on the blogs of people I don’t know, because I figure they don’t want to be inundated with thousands of repetitive comments from random people. But if your blog is public, that’s who you are going to get: random people.

            Sometimes when bloggers talk about their kids, they use a nickname or initials rather than the real name. If the private information is kept private (i.e. not published on a public forum), then you’d have a legitimate gripe about someone else publishing it.

            On a personal note, I’m so very sorry about what happened to you and your child. Really sorry.

          • sdsures
            December 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm #

            This confuses me too.

          • sdsures
            December 8, 2014 at 3:02 pm #


          • AlisonCummins
            December 6, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

            Dreah Louis’ anger does NOT discredit her complaint. Lots of people here are angry, for instance about untrained midwives protecting one another when a baby dies unnecessarily. If Lisa Barrett shrugged and claimed that Amy Tuteur’s opinion on her qualifications was invalidated by her anger, nobody here would accept that.

            Dreah Louis’s complaint deserves to be addressed on its merits, kindly, respectfully and gracefully. I’m not expressing an opinion on what the outcome should be. I am asking people to accept that someone can be legitimately angry for reasons that go beyond journalistic convention — and that we are all well aware of at least some reasons any black person in the US today might reasonably have.

          • December 7, 2014 at 2:26 am #

            Thank you and my anger does go way beyond journalistic covention.

          • Siri
            December 7, 2014 at 6:16 am #

            You are leaping to someone’s defence *because they’re black*. Would you appoint yourself this person’s champion if they were white?

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 8:21 am #

            No, I am leaping to someone‘s defense because of some exceptional nastiness.

            Yes, and I have done so.

          • Siri
            December 7, 2014 at 8:48 am #

            You’re not though; you’re specifically choosing to defend them from the ‘nastiness’ because of Trayvon Martin, your friend in Alabama, and all the other examples of racism you’ve specifically chosen to mention. That’s muddying the waters. This person has dished out plenty of aggressive nastiness herself, including some views on abortion that I personally find abhorrent. Yet you advocate greater kindness and compassion towards her *because she is black*.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 9:22 am #

            Yeah, she’s angry. She has a right to be. I’m sure you can deal with it.

            A better person — more articulate, more upper-class, with a stiffer upper lip — might express her anger differently, or rationally decide it wasn’t worth pursuing. She’s who she is.

            When she expresses unfounded opinions on abortion she has (appropriately) been called out on them just as anyone else would have been.

            When she says something is painful to her personally there’s no reason to ridicule her.

          • MLE
            December 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm #

            Please explain your “better person” comment.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm #

            You have? I must have missed your comments in defense of moto when Dreah attacked her for no better reason than moto not showing her compassion the way Dreah the Teacher wanted her to. And telling her that her trying to help in the fight against racism was unneeded and unwanted.

            Of course, moto showed more class and patience than Dreah deserved. You spit at one’s suggestion to help? Fine but you lose the time to play the racism card. Unless the person judging which victim of exceptional nastiness is worthy of defense and which not is named AlisonCummins.

            Your bias is showing, Alison. We’ve read your posts when you felt Dreah was attacked and when Dreah was openly attacking people who just showed willingness to help. This isn’t the first thread with your and Dreah’s participation, don’t forget.

          • December 7, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

            This is a comment forum. I commented on an issue pertaining to my daughter two months ago. I am not looking for anything out of you or anyone else here. I asked the Dr. to remove my daughters name that is all. Look at all the women who want to jump in and give there 2 cents on the issue. Who cares what you think I deserve. I can care less about that. Actually you just recently involved yourself in the conversation. I’m sitting here trying to figure out should I even continue to respond to you. Alison did nothing wrong she just showing respect. Your mad she is talking about me in relation to how black people are treated when trying to get respect. You don’t like it.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 1:42 pm #

            This is a forum when everyone can comment, right. And I believe no one told you to StFU or if they have, I haven’t seen it.

            I don’t know how you asked Dr Tuteur to remove your daughter’s name. You might have done so in a private email but if you “asked” her through the order I read here, in this thread about two months ago, I am not surprised she refused. Then once again, she has refused other loss mothers who came thundering in the comment section – white loss mothers – so you and Alison can stop painting it as a racist issue.

            And yes, I just recently involved myself in the conversation because I generally refrain from writing things that are anything but kind to loss mothers. A flaw on my part, no doubt. In fact, I do exactly what Alison advocates: letting loss mothers get away with being agressive and unjust because I sympathize.

            Feel free not to respond to me. I doubt I’ll hear anything but whines how racist I am again.

          • Amazed
            December 7, 2014 at 7:43 am #

            I get it. Dreah is a loss mother and we should not pay attention to her foul language or the inconsistencies in her claims. What’s the explanation for your provocative use of language then, Alison? “Theft”? For real? You aren’t a loss mother, so I see no reason why such allowances should be made for you. The claim of a theft is false and you know it. Inconsiderate to Dreah? Most definitely. Cruel? That’s something everyone decides for themselves, so I won’t have a problem with it either. But theft? That’s not true and you know it.

            I get it. You’re better than any of us. AlisonCummins, champion of the persecuted blacks. Well, where I am there is no history of racism (although I believe that might be simply because there were no blacks here in the past), so you can as well not engage in trying to make me feel burdened by the weight of a huge historical guilt. It won’t work.

          • MLE
            December 7, 2014 at 12:05 am #

            Huh? Angry about language that doesn’t make me comfortable? I’m confused. What I am trying to point out is that the brush being used to paint all regulars here is pretty broad, when I can recall more than a few sensitive and supportive comments from the group. And as far as I know, this group and maybe a handful of affiliates are the only ones who actually give a shit about any of these deaths. So pardon me for trying to temper the rage with a little perspective because there are so few of us who are actively working to make a change. The only language I truly object to is yours – first “agenda” (please don’t pretend that isn’t a loaded term), and now “theft.” Wow.

          • December 7, 2014 at 2:24 am #

            Yes theft. Because of her theft in linking my daughters name there is traffic to my blog and gossip is envolved. I don’t want that type of traffic. What’s so hard to understand?

          • Guest
            December 7, 2014 at 7:05 am #

            Ms. Louis, what you continue to fail to understand is that use of something in the public domain is not theft. YOU publicly shared your daughter’s name and the circumstances of her tragic death. One cannot steal information that is publicly available to everyone.

          • Who?
            December 7, 2014 at 12:28 am #

            Experiencing something in one way or another doesn’t make it so-we were doing this on the birth rape thread last week. Which is not to diminish the experience but it is important to acknowledge what things are and what they are not.

            I don’t know whether Dreah Louis has previously asked Dr T to not refer to or repeat her story or aspects of it.

            My heart goes out to Dreah who has had a terrible journey. The hope is always that one person who is thinking of taking this path will find threads like this and pause long enough to be confident and ready to ask the questions they need to keep themselves and their babies safe.

          • December 7, 2014 at 2:21 am #

            I have personally spoken with her and asked her to remove my daughters name from the list and she said no. She actually sounds like “Guest” commenting if you know what I mean.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 9:00 am #

            Experiencing something in one way or another just means they are experiencing it in that way. We take that into account in our interactions with them.

            For instance, people who have been victims of sexual assault often treated with particular consideration when they are receiving medical care.

          • Siri
            December 7, 2014 at 6:00 am #

            But you are making one black person a symbol of all black oppression. A person is an individual, and I think we should respond to that individual rather than to the colour of their skin. Plenty of loss mothers have asked for the same things, and I haven’t seen you leap to their defence with a reference to their ethnic origins. An Armenian is not a symbol of genocide. They are a person. Ditto a Jewish commenter. I find your comments patronising.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 8:55 am #

            A person is an individual and we all individually bring our own experiences to every interaction. I’m not making anyone a symbol. An individual came with a complaint, one that we know that because of her personal experience is particularly symbolic to her. Other individuals chose to taunt her.

            When people are being unreasonably nasty, I often choose to say something, If people were ganging up on me unfairly it would be comforting to me if at least one person said something, even if I didn’t get what I asked for.

            Plenty of loss mothers have asked for the same thing. They don’t get what they asked for but typically they are treated with compassion anyway. This is the first time I’ve seen one mocked for her spelling.

          • Siri
            December 7, 2014 at 8:59 am #

            Alison, you are the one who repeatedly brought up the subject of a black loss mother, white commenters, Trayvon Martin, black people’s lack of power and status, etc etc. You are treating this person as a symbol, NOT an individual. Read your own comments.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 9:10 am #

            Dreah Louis is not a symbol. She is an an angry individual.

          • sdsures
            December 7, 2014 at 2:05 pm #

            She is also a loss mother in a lot of pain.

          • Guest
            December 7, 2014 at 9:10 am #

            You mean the only one mocked after she repeatedly insulted those who pointed out her mistakes in thinking her publicly posted info was private and then chose to respond with repeated comments insisting that those posters were idiots and should go to hell? And that they were racist, of course.

          • December 7, 2014 at 2:14 am #

            Further her own agenda means to get readers no matter what. When she uses my daugthers name it links to my blog and I get so much traffic. My blog tells me where the traffic is coming from. So then I go to where they are talking about my daugher to find out women are just gossiping. They have read my home birth disaster but decided no to leave any comments on my blog but come back here and comment and gossip about my daugher and I. That is so rude but maybe in your eyes it is not. To me it’s disrespectful because your exploiting me. My blog is there for educational purposes also but Dr . Amy doesn’t care about that. It’s rude to have thousands of page views in one day and no one comments on the blog or the post but they have no problem coming back to the forum where the name was linked to comment. That’s considered gossip to me. That’s rude. So rude. So forgive me for saying something about it because I don’t want that type of traffic coming to my blog. I asked her to remove my daughters name. She said NO so fine.

          • Karen in SC
            December 7, 2014 at 10:31 am #

            In general, I think we refrain from commenting on loss mothers’ blogs out of respect, guessing that any comments are unwanted. You give a different perspective so I am now understanding that some loss mothers do want comments and acknowledgement.

            I had commented occasionally at Midwife from Hell (in the past) since I am from Missouri and wanted to add to the discussion there.

            One last thing – other anti “NCB” blogs get few if any comments. What Ifs and Fears, Safer Midwifery for Michigan are two that come to mind. I’m not sure why that is, I’m just making that observation.

          • sdsures
            December 8, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

            What sort of traffic do you want? @dreahlouis:disqus

            Commenters can express sympathy, condolences, and god forbid that they’ve been through a similar loss of a child…but legally, I don’t know what justice we could get for you, or any other parents who have lost a child.

            It’s always easier to figure out what a person doesn’t want, than what they do want. Please keep trying.

        • Siri
          December 7, 2014 at 5:52 am #

          I’m a Norwegian in the UK, so speaking from a position of great privilege. And I don’t pretend to understand US race relations (I did like the comedian who said, ‘White people think black people are more likely to steal things. But in reality, white people used to STEAL BLACK PEOPLE!’). However, I see commenters responding to Dreah in *exactly the same way* as if she were white or they didn’t know her ethnicity. They aren’t treating her differently because she is black. To me, that’s good. That’s the opposite of racism. Commenters here can be very acerbic, and I would hate it if they selected a different mode *based on someone’s ethnic origin*. To me, what you are advocating is more racist. Although I know it’s in no way intended as such!

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 8:42 am #

            She’s asking to have her daughter’s name removed. Some people here have responded by mocking her spelling and comparing her to a four-year-old. That’s not necessary.

            When you *know* that something is a sore point with someone, you tolerate a greater reaction to prodding. If I know you’ve just scalded your hand in steam and I make you wash the dishes in hot water anyway, I will make more allowance for your tears, protests and swearing than if you aren’t in pain. I won’t mock you for your running mascara. (Actually I’d probably let you dry the dishes instead, in the first place.) That’s just ordinary human empathy, not steam-ism.

          • Siri
            December 7, 2014 at 8:54 am #

            Your analogy doesn’t make sense. You’re saying a person should be exempt from complaining about the existence of dirty dishes (and should be able to claim that the existence of dirty dishes is racist) because someone else forced other people to scald their hands by washing dishes in too-hot water.

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 9:04 am #

            No I’m not. If you think that’s what I am saying then you have been misreading the entire thread.

        • Siri
          December 7, 2014 at 7:56 am #

          Also, are you really saying that every black person has the same status as those victims of violence? Every one? Barack Obama? Bill Cosby? Oprah Winfrey? Will Smith? Or just every black person whom you choose to throw your cloak of chivalry over because they must be protected and made excuses for by the uniquely compassionate AlisonCummins?

          • AlisonCummins
            December 7, 2014 at 8:29 am #

            I’m not uniquely compassionate. Far from it. A couple of individuals here have been uniquely nasty though.

            Every black person in the US needs to be cautious. A friend of mine literally fears for his life when he goes to pay for gas in Alabama. Barack Obama said that if he had a son he’d look like Trayvon Martin.

  4. johnraywam
    April 23, 2014 at 12:09 am #

    You say, “So if you are planning to tell me that “babies die in the hospital,
    too,” ask yourself if you’ve heard of nearly 3000 deaths of term babies
    in the hospital in the past 2 years.”

    According to the CDC’s data for 2010, the death rate among term babies (both term and post-term) was 2.25 per 1000 live births. (Source: Extrapolating from the data in the report, that equates to about 7,200 deaths of term babies in the US in 2010.

    The 1% of US births you cite as home births, if we correlate to 2010 data, amounts to 40,000 home births of the almost 4 million births reported in the CDC data. The 40 deaths you anecdotally reported in the 40,000 estimated home births would actually be a death rate of about 1 per 1000 births.

    To answer your question, yes I’ve heard of WAY more than 3000 deaths of term babies in the US. How many of those were hospital deaths? I don’t know, but I wager quite a few since only 1% of babies are born via home birth.

    Can you provide evidence that home birth mortality rates are higher than mortality rates for hospital-based birth?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD
      April 23, 2014 at 12:21 am #

      You’ve missed the point. The point is that the rate at home is much higher. No one hears about all the homebirth deaths, either, but for every homebirth death you hear about, you’d need to hear about 75 hospital births if the rate were equivalent. Have you personally heard about 3000 hospital deaths. No you have not. You had to look up the total deaths in the entire country because term death is so unusual that the average person will never hear about more than a few in a lifetime.

    • Stacy21629
      April 23, 2014 at 9:45 am #

      Evidence that the rates are higher….well let’s see there’s the 2013 CDCstudy, the MANA 2014 stats, the 2013 CDC numbers. And you can use the CDC Wonderdatabase yourself.
      There’s tons of evidence. It’s just hard to read through your bias.

    • Happy Sheep
      April 24, 2014 at 1:56 pm #

      And how do we split out how many of those hospital deaths were actually homebirth transfers? Many of the tragedies listed above ended up in the hospital stats, not the homebirth ones.

      • Young CC Prof
        April 24, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

        And of course, the intrapartum stillbirths (22 in the MANA study alone) do not wind up in anyone’s stats. Nor do the preventable term stillbirths that happen due to homebirth midwives normalizing things like postdates, low fluid, GD and other risk factors.

  5. CognitiveDissonaceHurts
    April 18, 2014 at 11:19 pm #

    I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you to Dr Amy for providing a place for me to ask questions about my crunchy beliefs, and to talk to others who have worked through their questions already, or are in the process of doing so!

    • Trixie
      April 18, 2014 at 11:29 pm #

      You’ve mentioned below that one of your concerns about vaccines was side effects. What are some of your other concerns?

      • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
        April 18, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

        Side effects was the main concern. Now I am wondering about my kids who are now adults and unvaccinated. What would be the next steps forward? What dangers are the girls in? Will their children be at risk because mommy doesn’t have antibodies? What risks are there to be vaccinated as adults?

        • Trixie
          April 19, 2014 at 8:35 am #

          Short answer: The risks of being vaccinated as an adult are extremely low. Even lower, I believe, than being vaccinated as a child, although both are incredibly low.

          Your children and grandchildren are in danger of becoming seriously ill or dying of preventable disease. Measles, mumps, pertussis, tetanus are all real possibilities. Pertussis especially is incredibly dangerous and frightening for babies, and is becoming more common, which is why pregnant women in the third trimester should now get a booster before delivery, to confer some benefit to the baby until the baby is old enough to be vaccinated. If you’ve got daughters of childbearing age, they could catch diseases while pregnant that could cause serious problems for the fetus, as well.

          I’m not a doctor, so I’d say the next step is to see a doctor yourself, first, and make sure you’re caught up on every vaccination you should have. Almost certainly this will include the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis). You might also look into Hepatitis B for yourself. The most likely side effect is a sore and stiff arm for a few days from the tetanus component of the vaccine. Once you’re caught up, you should work on your kids and grandkids any way you can to get them in to a doctor or the health department. The doctors will help them come up with a plan to get fully caught up, and will be able to answer any more questions about side effects in more detail.

          Thank you so much for being open to changing your mind on this issue. It really could save lives.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 19, 2014 at 11:02 am #

            Thanks Trixie for taking the time to respond. Does anyone know if they normally check for titres first? I was fully vaccinated as a child, have had tetnus shots in the past (stepping on a nail, etc.) and I think we all had pertussis courtesy of a daughter’s overseas trip about 10 years ago (didn’t have it confirmed at the time, sadly). I’d rather not get shots for things, if I already have immunity.

          • Trixie
            April 19, 2014 at 11:11 am #

            They don’t normally check titres because there’s no harm in re-vaccinating. Pertussis immunity wanes after about 10 years or less — so even if you actually had the disease, you need a booster now anyway. Tetanus, same thing, you need a booster I think every 10 years. So just go ahead and get the Tdap. You likely don’t need MMR yourself, but of course the doctor should determine that. If you’re over 60 you should spare yourself the agony of shingles and get the Zostervax.
            Any girls and women of the proper age should get the HPV vaccine, too.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 19, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

            Blah. I was looking for infomation and came across this. I get so muddled in my thinking when I start reading the comments. What is true and what is false? I just don’t know.


          • Box of Salt
            April 19, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

            CDH, I hope to take a longer look later when I have more time, but a quick skim through this article finds the line: “But in recent years, the new vaccination
            regime, too, has been failing, with widespread outbreaks again
            occurring. . . .”

            This suggests it’s the vaccine that’s failing. That idea is incorrect. To truth to matter is that every recent measles outbreak in the US has been imported from overseas by an unvaccinated individual, and has spread because that person has infected others who are unvaccinated plus those whose vaccine failed.

            Yes, we can call this failure. But the failure is not in the vaccine itself – the failure is from people refusing to use it.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 19, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

            Moreover, the “vaccine failure” that is happening is things like, pertussis immunity wears off. Therefore, the solution to the supposed “vaccine failure” is NOT to stop vaccinating, but to vaccinate MORE to maintain our immunity!

          • Box of Salt
            April 20, 2014 at 4:18 am #

            CDH re the Lawrence Solomon Financial Times piece:

            Almost every sentence that Mr Solomon wrote is designed to mislead you into doubting vaccines. I can follow up with posts including links if that would help, but for now I would like to avoid being TLDR (but I’ll point out that I am providing pretty much the same amount of references as Solomon did).

            His opening graph is nonsense: if one wants to find out if a vaccine is working in the general population, the incidence of the disease is what needs to be tracked, not mortality.

            He is incorrect about why infants are not given the measles vaccine until they are a year old. Their immune systems are not immature; the problem is the presence of maternal derived antibodies hinders the child’s development of his/her own antibodies. Here is an FAQ reference from Denmark which spells it out:

            Solomon mentions that the MMR used in Japan and Canada was withdrawn due to concerns about febrile convulsions. He implies that the concerns were due to the measles component. However, the concerns were actually due to the mumps component, the Urabe strain developed in Japan. The MMR used in the USA has always used a different strain, Jeryl-Lynn:

            As for the comments section: insults and ad hominems have taken over. Don’t bother.

          • Box of Salt
            April 20, 2014 at 4:24 am #

            Since my mumps link failed, here’s History of Vaccines from CHOP:

          • Siri
            April 20, 2014 at 7:26 am #

            Dorit Reiss’ comments are always worth reading; she is a knowledgeable and courageous person.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 20, 2014 at 8:09 am #

            Thank you for your comments, BoS.

            I I wish I were better at critical thinking, but alas, ’tis not the case. I don’t know how to evaluate studies and when people start quoting statistics, my eyes glaze over. I am not a post-modernist. I believe in absolute Truth. I just don’t know how to find it in the vaccine debate, and keep flipping from one side “That sounds right” to the another “but that sounds right, too”. But I will keep reading the pro-vaccine material and try to understand it. Thanks again to those who have responded thus far.

            On another note, I have found my friend on facebook whose son had a reaction to the MMR , and am waiting for her response. I am starting to wonder if it was actually mumps or meningitis that he contracted. We are Canadians and this was in the late 80s-early 90s.

          • Trixie
            April 20, 2014 at 8:40 am #

            You can’t get mumps from the modern mumps vaccine, or meningitis from the meningitis vaccine.
            If you’re someone who processes information better through personal stories, you might like Voices for Vaccines. Here’s a recent essay by a brave young mother named Megan Sandlin, who left the anti-vax movement.
            And another story of a woman who grew up unvaccinated:

          • April 20, 2014 at 1:00 pm #

            It’s hard when it FEELS like the absolute Truth. I have never been in your shoes about vaccines, but I was in a cult for 5 years. And boy, could he make you believe you were hearing the Truth. I feel for you, the journey out is hard, and as my mom would say, “you get HUGE praise”

          • Busbus
            April 23, 2014 at 9:26 am #

            CDH, I definitely know from my own experience how hard it was/is to change my beliefs about homebirth. Heck, for a couple years, I told all my friends and acquaintances how great homebirth was! :-/ And I have lots of contact to NCB groups and people even today. With some of them, I have carefully broached the topic of how I changed my mind. With others, I fear that our friendship would not survive me being completely honest about how I really feel today (and those friendships are, not surprisingly, kind of fizzling out). And I’m already at a point where I feel much more in tune and strong about where I stand – which is a much nicer spot to be in than the very beginning, when you feel like everything is shifting under your feet and you have no idea what you think or believe anymore.

            About vaccines, however, I was always happy to get them. And I’d like to offer a different mental image about them: Whenever I get vaccinated, I feel strong and healthy and protected. I say, “Get it on, germs! You have nothing on me…!!!” Heh.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 23, 2014 at 9:52 am #

            Thanks, Busbus. It’s good to hear from another one who is rethinking her position and lived to tell the tale! 🙂 I, too, have many dear friends still deeply entrenched in NCB. I love them and worry now for their safety, which is a thing I was oblivious to in the past.

            I had thought of doing lay midwifery training last year, but now, when I look at the online training courses, it gives me the heebiejeebies! I watched a shoulder dystocia training video this morning – how on earth did I think that this could be handled well at home??????????????????????????

            I think I would have been fine with the vaccination issue if it hadn’t been for the unusual fact that my neighbour was damaged by the polio vaccine in the 60s, plus my daughter had atypical crying after her shots. Then when my friend’s son had something going on with his MMR shot, it just seemed to confirm all the bad things had I been reading…

          • Trixie
            April 19, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

            That article is stupid. The measles will kill 1/1,000 children even with modern medical care. My child’s elementary school has about 1,000 students. Would I send him to school if I was told that one of the students would be selected at random to be executed? I mean, chances are good that it wouldn’t be him, right?
            Meanwhile, the measles vaccine in its current form has a decades long record of safety and efficacy. Back in 2003, we had eradicated it from the US. But, because measles is the most contagious virus on the planet, all it took was one stupid Playboy model and a slight dip in vaccination rates for measles to come roaring back.
            The main side effect of the measles vaccine is a slightly increased risk of febrile seizures for a week or so after. The risk of this complication is much smaller than the 1/1,000 chance of dying of measles.
            It’s just math. Vaccines are much less risky than the diseases they prevent. Always.

          • Jessica S.
            April 19, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

            Right! And there are serious complications, besides death, that are far more likely to occur with measles. It’s not something to mess around with!

          • Trixie
            April 20, 2014 at 7:02 am #

            Just replying to make sure you read Box of Salt’s new replies below.

          • Siri
            April 20, 2014 at 7:04 am #

            My grandmother had friends who’d had to terminate pregnancies due to contracting rubella; she also had friends who carried on with their pregnancies and gave birth to very sick babies. Her generation of women would have given anything to have MMR vaccination, and would be incredulous that anyone could reject such a miraculous invention.

            My grandmother also taught in their homes or hospital beds children who had become paralysed from polio, or sustained brain damage from whooping cough, or suffered for weeks or months from diphtheria and its complications, or had meningitis after measles. Again, to those children and their parents, the idea of vaccine refusal would have been unbelievably, disgustingly obscene.

            Contagious illnesses kill, maim, ruin and destroy previously healthy fetuses, babies, children, adolescents and adults. Vaccines prevent those illnesses from wreaking devastation on the populace, and whoever says the opposite ALWAYS has an ulterior motive, a hidden agenda, and not a beneficial one either.

            My advice would be, stop listening to antivax lies, stop worrying about titres, get yourself fully vaccinated, and be very vocal about it. Set a brilliant example. Chances are lives will be saved through your actions. How great would that be?!

          • Trixie
            April 19, 2014 at 11:16 am #

            Also, here’s a convenient search engine on vaccine information that automatically filters out the quackery and woo.

          • fiftyfifty1
            April 19, 2014 at 11:59 am #

            Your situation was the same one my family was in. I had received most of my shots before my mom decided to stop vaccinating, but my younger sibs hadn’t. My younger sibs came down with pertussis that they then gave to my cousins (my mom had convinced my aunt not to vaccinate). My youngest cousin was hospitalized with severe pertussis and has permanent lung problems even now as a college student. Anyway, once my younger sibs turned 18, they decided to get themselves vaccinated and did the whole series and tolerated it without problem. A few years later, my mom changed her mind and got her Tdap too and now gets everything except flu shot which she is too scared to get (which drives me crazy because she works with special needs/medically compromised kids but oh well).

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 19, 2014 at 1:30 pm #

            And do you know what caused your mom to change her mind?

          • fiftyfifty1
            April 19, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

            I think that my cousin getting so sick was what planted the seed. She had believed the idea that the shot was worse than the illness and the illness would be mild unless you weren’t eating right etc. She saw that that was not true when my 100% breastfed cousin got so so sick (PICU sick). And then she did some questioning of NCB (we were also a homebirth family) after my older sister, who was so healthy, developed such bad, bad pre-eclampsia so rapidly. They both really would have died at home because it happened so fast. When you question one, then you can start to question the other, you know? But it took some time for the seed to grow in her. She didn’t change her mind overnight (and obviously still hasn’t completely changed it as she refuses flu shot). She still lives a lot of the lifestyle she always has: whole foods, fresh air, exercise, natural things etc so it’s not “all or nothing”.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 19, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

            Right. That makes sense to me. I never even considered questioning NCB until my daughter was recently considering a homebirth, and I wanted to see what was the latest and greatest in the NCB movement, having been out of touch with it for about 11 years. I stumbled upon this blog thanks to Google and haven’t been able to stop reading…and once you start to reconsider everything that you have cherished for almost 30 years then you start to rethink other things too. But it is difficult and scary and slow going. Some days are better than others. Some days I don’t want to think about it any more! It really helps me to hear from others who have done the same. And I think I will hold on to certain core values – I feel anxious about “turning my back” on EVERYTHING, but it’s early days still.

          • Amazed
            April 19, 2014 at 2:58 pm #

            CognitiveDissonace, what did your daughter decide? I hope she finally decided that homebirth was not the right choice for her?

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 19, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

            Yes, I can’t believe how it happened, but I started sharing stories/statistics with her, we attended NCB classes together and discussed what we were hearing. It was as if a veil was being lifted and we started understanding and hearing some of the disturbing things being presented to us. She ended up choosing a hospital birth and actually ended up needing a C-section for a huge baby that wouldn’t /couldn’t descend. We are so thankful for the medical technology that resulted in grandbaby and daughter being with us today, unlike 150 years ago, when I’d have 2 graves to visit. 🙁

          • Amazed
            April 19, 2014 at 3:43 pm #

            Well, I am happy that you and your family didn’t have to find out the hard way how little trust Nature deserves!

          • Jessica S.
            April 19, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

            “But it is difficult and scary and slow going.” It IS! It’s always hard to challenge long held beliefs, and so few people ever do. It’s remarkable that you are in this place, so give yourself a big hand or a hot fudge sundae or something – you deserve it!

          • Durango
            April 19, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

            Check to see if your insurance covers titers because they are expensive out-of-pocket. As others have stated below, you need to keep getting pertussis booster shots every 5 to 10 years–even immunity after infection weakens over time. Pertussis and measles are highly contagious, so those two shots are vital to be up-to-date with.

          • Box of Salt
            April 19, 2014 at 11:58 am #

            CDH, I think Trixie has given excellent advice. I would, however, like to add a caveat: if either of your daughters and their families live in the areas where the measles and mumps outbreaks are occurring (NYC, So Cal, Bay area Cal, Ohio, NJ), I suggest making your top priority getting them protected by the MMR (or MMRV).

            These are diseases that emptied classrooms when I was a kid, when the vaccines were relatively new and not yet in widespread use – and they still do if the classrooms have vaccine exemptions.

            As for titers – you can ask to have them checked, but to my knowledge that’s only routine when you are pregnant because of the extra risks to the fetus posed by rubella and chickenpox.

            I will add my own anecdata: I started grad school in my late 20s after the second dose of MMR was added to the schedule, and I had to get one. It was no big deal.

            Finally. I too would like to thank to for re-thinking the issue rationally.

          • Trixie
            April 19, 2014 at 12:21 pm #

            Great point about the MMRV. My dad almost died of measles.

          • rh1985
            April 20, 2014 at 12:08 am #

            I was checked for I think rubella immunity and something else pre-pregnancy (chicken pox maybe? I don’t think I have my records anymore) but my RE threw it in there as part of my pretesting before my cycle with donor sperm so I imagine most women are not tested pre pregnancy.

  6. Hush
    April 18, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    You’re forgetting the mother who died of a stroke in Arizona at a few weeks postpartum whose “midwife” ignored her high blood pressure.. I am pretty much haunted at this point.

    • Hush
      April 18, 2014 at 10:51 pm #

      I was the ONLY person who told her that her blood pressure wasn’t safe… I said it isn’t safe to have those blood pressures. I kept asking myself why her midwife would not refer her out. It just wasn’t right. I rationalized that this was a terrible midwife, and it was an isolated event.. What could I do differently in the future. I see risky shit unfold all the time in our circle. I say sometimes a watered down hey you know if it were me I would do… but it usually falls on deaf ears. This woman though she liked me. She may have listened if I’d taken her aside and said you know I think you might need a reality check. But I was afraid that she’d yell at me or tell me it was none of my business which really it wasn’t. But, I feel guilty. I didn’t say wtf are you doing?!

      • April 19, 2014 at 10:58 am #

        I’m so sorry! I’m constantly afraid I will see the same thing happen in my (former) circle. I don’t think you should feel guilty – it is really unlikely you would have been able to change her mind. And I definitely get how hard it is to say anything – even gently, carefully worded stuff. They don’t want to hear it and they shut you out entirely. I have no advice for the future, because I’ve been so rejected by that group myself that I don’t even get to hear who’s pregnant until I actually see the belly, nor do I get included in any discussions at all. I’ve given up trying at this point.

        I hate this. 🙁 I wish there was ANY advice or wake up calls that took.

      • anion
        April 19, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

        Oh, man, I am so sorry, both for the loss of your friend and what you’re dealing with. Please don’t feel guilty. Because you know, yeah, she might have listened, but she just as likely wouldn’t have, too, and if she had she probably would have asked her midwife who would have pooh-poohed your concerns.

      • moto_librarian
        April 22, 2014 at 9:39 am #

        It is so difficult to put yourself out there when your entire circle believes in NCB. You know who should be feeling guilty? The birth junkie masquerading as a midwife who didn’t refer her for treatment! This is not your fault. If you feel like you want to do something, consider passing along this information to your state health department.

      • NoLongerCrunching
        April 24, 2014 at 4:56 pm #

        I wonder if next time (and there will be a next time if this quack is still practicing), you called the MW directly and told her that if you hear anything about her not transferring when mom is no longer low risk either before or during labor, you will hold her personally responsible and make it your mission to see that she never practices again.

  7. sapphiremind
    April 18, 2014 at 7:57 pm #

    It’s been a while since I visited this blog; I’ve missed it!

    I think the AAP has made a step in the right direction with their position statement that there should be at least one person, well-trained in neo resuscitation dedicated solely to each infant at each birth (in the case of multiples, that means more people) I am an NNP and the only birth call that has haunted me is the one where we got called to the lobby – I was the first one down there and the car was just pulling up. I had no equipment – other members of the team bring that and I just got there very quickly.

    Anyway, the mother is wrapped in a large blanket, I asked if she had delivered yet, at which point she pulled back the blanket to reveal a (mostly) dead baby. There was a “doula” (read: lay midwife) hovering around, trying to say she had done NRP (neonatal resuscitation program) on the baby. No. No she hadn’t. I dove in with no gloves on a meconium and other bodily fluid covered baby, finding a pulse at the umbilicus, but it was way too slow (didn’t count, but you go to enough resuscitations you learn the feel of 60, >100) I tried to take the baby to meet the team who would have equipment, but the baby was still attached to placenta and placenta was still in mom. My attending showed up next, and I frantically told her that we needed a bag and a cart NOW and she went running while I had mom give rescue breaths to the baby. It seemed like forever to me, my hand never left the umbilical cord, even after equipment arrived, because I became the monitor to let them know if the baby was improving or worsening.

    We ended up cooling the baby and while initially he was a flatline EEG, he did recover. He went home on full oral feeds….of course, we have no idea what’s going to happen to him long term. It takes very little brain to be a baby (eat, poop, cry) but the future when they want him doing more than that….

    And all of that happened because the woman went against her CNM’s advice to go to the hospital (prolonged rupture of membranes, mildly preterm) and listened to her “doula” who convinced her it would be safe and fine and the CNM was just covering her butt. The doula was insistent (during resuscitation even) that they wanted to keep the placenta. I looked at her like she was crazy and told her that none of cared about the placenta or what they did with it, we just want to save the baby.

    I know moms like this can’t accept the truth about what happens because they can’t live with the guilt. I know that, and it’s not going to help the care of the infant if we put a huge guilt trip on them. But sometimes I really want to shake people and get them to stop being so stupid.

    • Medwife
      April 18, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

      I don’t know when this happened, but you should report that doula to her certifying body, if she had one. Not only did she help create the need for a resuscitation, but once it was under way she fucking interfered with it.

      I’m boiling reading this.

      • sapphiremind
        April 18, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

        I obviously also still have very strong feelings on this case. I didn’t file any report, but I have such little faith in their “governing bodies” to actually reprimand them.

        Her CNM (who had told her to go to a hospital over 18 hours prior to delivery, already 24+ hours after her water had broken) actually had called our hospital to tell us of a patient she was referring to us and had told to come in, giving us more details (so when the “doula” said the CNM had told them to labor at home for as long as possible, we knew it was BS)

    • OldTimeRN
      April 18, 2014 at 8:52 pm #

      My own heart was beating fast as I was ready your post. Just picturing the site of that poor baby. Oh my.
      So this doula performed the steps of NRP? Did she skip a few chapters? You know the ones about et tubes, and intubation and blended O2?
      I understand the feeling about wanting shake people, even some that deliver in the hospital but are into the woo. Why are they so distrustful of doctors? And especially nurses who do this for a living? Who want to help? Who know you need 3 pillows to comfortably breastfeed? They’d rather read it off Dr Google? A woo Mom the other day, Complete with her birth plan check off list. Non separation, no hat, skin to skin, feed on demand. OK, then. Baby’s temp gets checked and it’s borderline low. Suggested to mom she might want to wrap the baby. That we are asking an awful lot of her baby. Hold the temp, keep up the blood sugar, breathe, etc… No she wants skin to skin. Temp checked again, per protocol, borderline again. Next shift comes in temp is now low, requiring a blood glucose test(per policy) You guessed it, blood sugar is low. Baby now goes to the nursery not only to be warmed up, but to also have formula. Birth plan fail. But all could have been avoided with a few simples tips from the nursing staff.

      • sapphiremind
        April 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

        Exactly. I also missed the steps where you stop NRP while in transit. Which took at least 15 min

        • OldTimeRN
          April 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

          If the NRP book and test stressing anything it is to keep positive pressure ventilation going for as long as needed or as I like to say until someone with a bigger degree gets there to take over. VENTILATE THOSE LUNGS. Push that O2 into those vital organs.

          • sapphiremind
            April 18, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

            This. A hundred times this.

          • Susan
            April 19, 2014 at 12:20 am #

            God that makes me sick.. as I read the cord was still attached I wondered if the “genius” doula was the cord pulsating means the baby is getting oxygen stupidity?

      • Trixie
        April 18, 2014 at 9:42 pm #

        No HAT? People are seriously putting that shit in birth plans now?

        • PrimaryCareDoc
          April 19, 2014 at 8:35 am #

          Yes, no hats are the latest square on the Bingo card.

          “No hatting, chatting or patting.”

          • Trixie
            April 19, 2014 at 8:36 am #

            Oh, I’ve heard of no hatting, but I didn’t realize anyone was taking it seriously.

          • Trixie
            April 19, 2014 at 8:36 am #

            Then again, you’re a doctor, so you probably enjoy birth raping tiny newborn heads with soft knitted hats.

          • Jessica S.
            April 19, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

            Good lord, that article makes my eyes burn from the stupid. Gah!

      • Jessica S.
        April 18, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

        Unbelievable. When I had my son, this was – quite literally – the meat of my birth plan*: “You are the professionals, I’m not. I trust your expertise. All I ask is that you keep us well informed. And we’re formula feeding.” I just don’t get NOT trusting the people who are trained in these matters.

        *Which really was not my own plan but a sheet we filled in for the hospital.

        • Mishimoo
          April 19, 2014 at 6:15 pm #

          “Which really was not my own plan but a sheet we filled in for the hospital.”

          With our first, my birth plan was “I want these things, but safety comes first.”, I didn’t bother writing one for the second, but by the time the third came along, birth plans were a standard piece of paperwork. Tick your preferences (even includes maternal request active 3rd stage management) and sign at the bottom to acknowledge that things may change in an emergency and that safety comes first. I’m pretty happy with the change, because hopefully it has made things easier for the CNMs and Ob/Gyns.

          • Jessica S.
            April 19, 2014 at 9:11 pm #

            For sure! I’ll bet it comes in handy to discuss any unattainable requests before they’re in the thick of it.

    • Jessica S.
      April 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm #

      Incredible story, thanks for sharing.

    • Susan
      April 19, 2014 at 12:10 am #

      what an awful story. Do you think the the doula ever realized it was her advice that set off this horrible chain of events?

    • Anj Fabian
      April 19, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      ” The doula was insistent (during resuscitation even) that they wanted to keep the placenta.”

      I can totally believe that. I’m sure I’ve read one or two transfer stories where doula or mother was repeating over and over that they wanted the placenta – during the chaos of a medical emergency. Of course they didn’t understand why the medical personnel were all but ignoring them. After all, the baby was okay in the end so there must not have been anything really wrong.

    • Guest
      April 19, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

      Oh, that’s horrifying and hits a little too close to home. With my third son my membranes ruptured at smack-on 37 weeks. With a different mindset that prolonged-rupture-of-the-membranes-mildly-preterm baby fighting for life could have been mine. And it’s a horrible, horrible, wasteful fight because there are so many safe alternatives.
      My hospital midwife brought me in for an NST the first day. All was fine and she had a conversation with the registrar who agreed that if I was in my midwife’s care, checked my temperature regularly, and came in to hospital the following day for another NST it was acceptable for me to stay home up to 48 hours. Oh, and they booked an induction for 7am on the third morning.
      That’s professional collaboration in my view – my midwife and an ob having a genuine discussion about relative risk and my personal circumstances and coming to a decision they both thought was sound.
      In the end I didn’t have a single contraction and rolled up for my third induction. My beautiful boy was delivered by my midwife at 37 weeks and 2 days. (As an anecdote about inductions, I required no pain meds

      • MJ
        April 20, 2014 at 1:55 am #

        Sorry, that was me. My system wouldn’t let me finish the post and I thought I deleted the incomplete version, but apparently not. I meant to say my point about pain meds was for the purposes of providing anecdata against the cascade of interventions theory and highlighting just how misguided it is to avoid induction for women in these situations because it might blow their ‘natural’ birth out of the water.

  8. OldTimeRN
    April 18, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

    As I’ve said previously I work in a fairly busy birthing hospital. Outside of IUFDs and babies to young to attempt to save I think it would take me a lot of years to add up to 40 baby deaths.
    As far as that Gaskins maneuver, yeah no thanks. Has anyone ever seen a shoulder dystocia? Head hanging out, getting bluer and bluer by the seconds. The time it would take to get a mother to roll over onto her hands and knees might be the difference between a dead baby and an a stunned but alive baby.

    • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
      April 18, 2014 at 11:08 pm #

      I have been watching One Born Every Minute, the Biritsh childbirth show. There was a shoulder dyst. shown in season 3 that seriously traumatized me just watching it! If I had seen this before I gave birth I would never have risked homebirths. They were counting outloud as time went by. They had to break the baby’s clavicle in the end, and the baby was in very bad shape…I can’t get that image out of my mind, and how many staff were there to try and resolve it, and how it almost didn’t happen. What chance does a mom/baby at home have if that extreme situation arises? Obviously Not Good, as the list posted by Dr A shows.

      • Susan
        April 18, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

        Bad shoulder dystocias are nightmarish.

      • AmyP
        April 19, 2014 at 1:46 am #

        I was seeing my OB for my postpartum checkup and she asked something like, did we have to break the clavicle? (I had been a gestational diabetic and I had a 9+ pounder, so not an unreasonable confusion.)

        As it happened, that wasn’t my baby, but oh, Lord, that would have been terrible.

        • Amazed
          April 19, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

          That makes me wonder how many of those unnecessary C-sections were done because mum included the possibility of having her baby’s clavicle broken because of size.

          Of course, that would be an unnecessary C-section only according to those armchair OBs. Mom might have seen it as fully worth it to avoid the possibility of such a thing happening.

          It’s so easy to blame someone for not trusting birth.

      • OBPI Mama
        April 19, 2014 at 7:02 am #

        Well, I’ll tell you what they do from experience: After being ripped to the anus by them reaching their hands in you to try to get a finger around a shoulder and being unsuccessful, they just start pulling on the baby’s head. The midwife pulls and pulls and pulls on the head with her hands while screaming at you to “push, push, push!” No 911 yet. She pulls for minutes on end and finally pulls the head hard enough that the baby comes out as your tailbone breaks. Of course, lifeless by this point. Then she yells call 911 (which would take 15 minutes for them to arrive on seen). During that 15 minutes your baby can die or be lucky enough to be revived. If he does get revived, the midwife will tell you to call off 911, while still administering oxygen to the baby. The husband will do so shakingly because what does he know? The discolored baby will be lifted off the ground and one or both arms will drop limply (only 1 arm if he’s lucky) past his side. Midwife and assistant will guess on the amount of blood the mom lost because no one was paying attention to the mom during the 10-15 minutes it took to get baby going again. Once mom is moved to a bed, the midwife will tell her (hopefully) what her baby’s lifelong injury is and will tell Mom it will heal in 2 weeks. An Obstetrical Brachial Plexus Injury. Little does mom realize the worse the dystocia, the worse the injury usually is.

        Mom profusely thanks midwife for saving her baby’s life and midwife leaves 4 hours after this event. She sends mom the next day to get stitched up by a family doctor.

        That’s what happens at a homebirth shoulder dystocia! The midwives are trained to know what to do!

        • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
          April 19, 2014 at 7:28 am #

          🙁 Horrendous. I’m so sorry you had to experience this.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 19, 2014 at 7:33 am #

            Just another beautiful, empowering homebirth!

          • Amazed
            April 19, 2014 at 1:15 pm #

            I bet it was… for Kathy Mitchell. I bet she felt so powerful and great, this do-gooder, when you thanked her for saving your baby.

            Nothing personal, OBPI Mama… well, much personal against Kathy Mitchell… but I am back as soon as I am done being sick.


        • Trixie
          April 19, 2014 at 7:36 am #

          That’s horrifying. I’m so sorry. Kathy Mitchell needs to be held accountable.

        • Susan
          April 19, 2014 at 3:29 pm #

          OBPI is your whole birth story posted somewhere? I am so sorry you experienced that and thank you for posting your story here.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 19, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

            No, but I’m going to soon.

          • Susan
            April 19, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

            thank you and no pressure meant… I just thought maybe it might be somewhere to read. The parts you have posted are very compelling. Thank you for sharing your voice it’s a strong one.

        • Medwife
          April 19, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

          Oh god. I am incredibly sorry that such a horrific thing happened/was done to you.

        • Medwife
          April 19, 2014 at 9:04 pm #

          She just started yanking? Did she have an assistant? How did she not get an ambulance called during the dystocia?

          • OBPI Mama
            April 19, 2014 at 9:16 pm #

            Well, first she had me roll over onto my feet and try to semi-squat. After she couldn’t get her fingers around my son’s shoulders, that’s when she started pulling. And no 911 call until after she pulled him out. And then cancelled.
            1 nerve pulled out the spinal column, 2 nerves ruptured (torn apart in the middle), 1 nerve with neuromas, and 1 nerve undamaged was the damage done to my son’s brachial plexus (discovered during his nerve surgery).

      • MJ
        April 19, 2014 at 11:11 pm #

        From my sister’s experience in a hospital with a baby over 10 pound, the room fills up, everyone starts moving very quickly, all sorts of unpleasant and painful things are done, your husband turns very white, the baby comes out and is rushed over to the resus table and attended by the paediatrician who shortly announces that this little one is perfectly fine, requires no resuscitation or special care, and is promptly put into the arms of her exhausted but overjoyed mother. Within 24 hours the staff who attended her come around to mum’s room and ask if there was anything she didn’t understand about what had happened during labour. And then they offer her professional counselling in case she was feeling traumatised by the experience. Everyone goes home healthy and, in my sister’s case, happy and not actually remotely traumatised.

  9. Renee Martin
    April 18, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

    I am bad with numbers- how many deaths would this mean, population wise, based on the % of HB? And how many would there be based on MANA stats, if it was then applied to the number of HB nationally? Only Oregon keeps good enough records to tell HB transfer from hospital birth, so using their numbers would be most accurate IMO.

  10. Dr Kitty
    April 18, 2014 at 3:33 am #

    You know what, I just had a brainwave about the Gaskin manoeuvre.

    The reason why hospitals like McRoberts and CPMs like Gaskin is because of manpower.

    McRoberts needs four people.
    One for each leg, one to apply suprapubic pressure, one to catch the baby (plus ideally one to keep records and one to monitor the woman and explain it as it happens).

    Gaskin needs two fewer people because no-one holds legs.

    That is, it gives CPMs the confidence that dad and a MW or dad and two MWs can manage an emergency.


    • Siri
      April 18, 2014 at 6:20 am #

      And the 8-year-old can bleep the paeds. Hang on a mo – perhaps get her to bleep the anaesthetist too while she’s at it…

      • Dr Kitty
        April 18, 2014 at 7:20 am #

        Just get her to pull the handy emergency alarm in the delivery room that has everyone within listening distance come running…oh, wait no, those don’t exist at home.

    • Manabanana
      April 18, 2014 at 9:34 am #

      I’ve never witnessed the Gaskin maneuver alone being effective in resolving a shoulder dystocia. Never.

      In fact, I’ve seen it ineffective so much, that my first choice will be Mc Roberts. This is empirical knowledge, I know, so not really evidence-based, but the Gaskin alone has never resolved SD. Usually considerable internal manual rotation efforts, or turning mom back onto her back and doing McRoberts is what resolved the SDs I’ve seen.

      I’m embarrassed that I was once duped into believing in it. Ina May presents this technique as simple and 100% effective – and that is just not true.

      • Haelmoon
        April 18, 2014 at 11:43 am #

        There is a thought about the Gaskin maneuver that it is the moving to a new position that is helpful. In the few deliveries that I have attended with mom on all fours and had shoulder dystocia, just flipping them onto there back helped resolve it. I suspect the movement jars and loosens the anterior shoulder. It would not be my first choice though. If the first line maneuvers work, it was likely a mild-moderate shoulder dystocia. This is what most SD are. But for the serious, life threatening ones, the only way the baby comes out is with serious effort, often removal of the posterior arm, often with a fractured clavicle, etc., this is not fixed by simply rolling on to all fours. There are often the marcosomic babies that barely fit, and then we have significant repairs after. I know that SD occurs with smaller babies, but there is often adequate room and time to resolve this with the appropriate steps. But, the macrosomic babies with SD, that is hard work, and needs a whole team to achieve (including the paeds to resuscitate the baby)

        • MLE
          April 18, 2014 at 4:42 pm #

          Removal of the posterior arm??????

          • prolifefeminist
            April 18, 2014 at 4:46 pm #

            I think she’s referring to extraction of the posterior arm. At least, I hope so!

          • Haelmoon
            April 18, 2014 at 4:47 pm #

            Totally, that is what I meant. Removing the arm from being entrapped within the maternal pelvis, not actually removing the arm from the baby. Sorry.

          • MLE
            April 18, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

            It’s probably obvious to most. I have an overactive and hysterical imagination.

          • April 19, 2014 at 11:05 am #

            Given the horror shows we know about (anyone else still haunted by that genital amputation story?), it doesn’t seem like hysterical imagination to me. I made the same assumption. Luckily I read it after the clarifying comment was posted!

          • MLE
            April 20, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

            Ugh, yes! I would say more on that topic but won’t so as not to attract any parachuters who want to compare what happened with “the other c word.” Really with NCB, the grave’s the limit.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 18, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

            No! Not like that!
            Sweeping the posterior arm out of the vagina so it lies up against the head. Which might mean breaking the clavicle.

            Broken bones heal. Brain function doesn’t.

          • MLE
            April 18, 2014 at 7:13 pm #

            Phew! That makes much more sense. All sorts of horrible images were appearing before me.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 18, 2014 at 1:10 pm #

        IIRC, Gaskin saw the “Gaskin maneuver” being performed by midwives in Guatemala and described it in the US literature. Guatemala is a low resource country and the GM may be appropriate there, at least in some circumstances, because it’s just not possible to have enough trained people to do a McRoberts, much less a c-section, for every labor and doing something that works 50% of the time or even 10% of the time is better than doing nothing if that’s your alternative. However, it may be and likely is completely inappropriate to transport that lower efficacy technique to a high resource country like the US where more effective measures are available and the same limits of personnel don’t occur. As far as I know, there are zero head to head comparisons of the McRoberts versus the Gaskin maneuvers, but expert opinion certainly seems to favor McRoberts over Gaskin.

      • bomb
        April 19, 2014 at 1:07 am #

        I actually saw it work on a birth tv show. A birth story? It was an attached birth center. I saw it while pregnant and planning a home birth. It reinforced what I’d read and believed resolving SD was no big deal. Ugh.

      • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
        April 19, 2014 at 11:12 am #

        I saw a homemade video of an unassisted birth with SD or maybe just “sticky shoulders”. It was agonizing to watch. The kids were in the room. The baby’s head was out. The mom was pushing and pushing and trying all different positions. Eventually it came out and lay there on the bed all floppy. Finally it started to cry. No one seemed to be too worried about it.

        See, it is really not that big a deal, right? (sarcasm)

        That video haunted me for a long time.

  11. NatashaO
    April 18, 2014 at 3:24 am #

    We need the name of the presiding birth junkie next to each of those.

    • Renee Martin
      April 18, 2014 at 12:00 pm #


      • Houston Mom
        April 18, 2014 at 1:19 pm #

        Expectant families need to be warned. Would run into legal problems?

        • Medwife
          April 18, 2014 at 8:20 pm #

          I think an address like that invites vigilante justice. Too many gun toting crazies in this country.

          • Houston Mom
            April 18, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

            If I were putting up the site, I would choose a less inflammatory domain name but I would fear that the midwives would sue for slander, at the very least send take-down notices to the web host. The public does deserve to know their names though. Often the mothers still support their midwives or are too bereaved to speak out. How will anyone know they’re hiring a reckless incompetent? Websites like have a section for sanctions against healthcare providers but no info listed under sanctions for Christy Collins or one of the CNMs in Iowa who was doling out pain pills.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 18, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

            The midwiveswashington page links to the website where the license status and any formal disciplinary actions (and documents when available) are. It also defines the term “certified professional midwife” and lists the education and training required to be able to use that title. I would like to see a website like that, but for the killer midwives. That way the facts would be speaking for themselves.

  12. Deena Chamlee
    April 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

    I have read through this blog and the amount of stories regarding neonatal mortalities and morbidities within the past two years is astounding to me. This is in addition to the post of 40 mortalities. I remain astounded and terribly sad. I do not know how this will ever get resolved, I can only continue to pray.

  13. Bombshellrisa
    April 17, 2014 at 10:48 pm #

    OT: on the Puget Sound Birth Center Facebook page, there is a picture of a rainbow posted and the caption “there is a perfect rainbow over the birth center helping a mama have her baby. What a beautiful thing!” Because you know, the birth keepers who are “holding the space” sure aren’t doing anything useful. *gag*
    Back on topic-today’s post had me reaching for the tissues and giving my precious little three month old son extra kisses. Those poor little babies.

    • Jessica S.
      April 17, 2014 at 10:58 pm #

      Considering how close I live to PSBC, I’d likely be admiring the same rainbow and any given point. I’m tempted to post on their wall: “Stop poisoning my rainbow with your stupid!!”

      How mature would that sound. Ha!

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 17, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

        It’s actually more mature than calling someone “mama”!
        I dare you to wade through the stupid on their Facebook page. It’s like homebirth bingo cards all in a row. There is also a lot about bills the midwives are trying to get passed-one of the midwives is the president of MAWS. You can also read about their new nitrous oxide tank that they are so proud to be toting around offering to their victims , errr, clients

        • Young CC Prof
          April 18, 2014 at 12:05 am #

          Wait, they’re giving nitrous oxide to people not getting any sort of monitoring? WHAT?

          • LMS1953
            April 18, 2014 at 12:08 am #

            It comes under the general rule – if it is something they can do, it is good. If it is something only a doctor or a nurse with advanced training can do, it is bad.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 18, 2014 at 12:21 am #

            And nobody there has real training in anything, well, unless you count degrees in Asian studies and studio art

          • Siri
            April 18, 2014 at 6:15 am #

            In the UK at least, use of gas & air doesn’t call for any special monitoring apart from the standard intermittent auscultation, maternal obs etc that everyone gets (plus admission CTG trace if in hospital, no CTG at homebirth obviously). Oh, I do love me some Entonox! It got me through five labours.

          • Siri
            April 18, 2014 at 6:18 am #

            Although I must say, if I were to have another baby, I’d opt for an epidural. But given that I’m 45, that seems highly unlikely…sigh.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 19, 2014 at 11:50 am #

            Ha! I have decided to forsake the NCB woo and if I ever give birth again, for #6 it’s epidural all the way. However, like you, my age will surely mean that never happens….I HOPE (as do my children and grandchildren, I’m sure, lol).

          • Siri
            April 19, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

            Oh CDH, I can’t decide whether I long for one last baby to see me through middle age and beyond, or whether the sleep deprivation would finally kill me! It may be a moot point; I went for my Depo injection, and the nurse described it as a very large sledgehammer to crack a very small nut (namely what, if anything, is left of my once gloriously exuberant fertility). My fertility is a small nut! Boohoohoo. Still, I get lots of sleep, and there are sure to be grandchildren one day…

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 19, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

            I hear what you’re saying. A few years ago when we were expecting our first grandchild to join the family, I begged, yes begged, hubby for us to have one last go at the baby machine…much to the horror of our other children. He, however, resisted temptation. “No” “Please?” “NO.” I think it was the hormones of premenopause getting the best of me. Now I am happy to love on my grandbabies and would be pretty shocked to find out I was expecting a “Johnny-come-lately” (and would worry about birth defects and how this body would cope with pregnancy, delivery and the exhaustion of parenting young ones!)

        • LMS1953
          April 18, 2014 at 12:12 am #

          Any day now, I expect a proposal for a prospective study comparing nitrous oxide, chloroform and ether.

          • Anaesthetist
            April 18, 2014 at 5:08 am #

            I presume that they are using entonox or a 50/50 mix nitrous oxide and oxygen, one hopes! And that they have sufficient training, appropriate storage and knowlege on how to avoid delivery of a hypoxic mixture – or indeed the ability to monitor the mother for such an issue. We use Entonox a lot in the UK – for labour, for out of hospital analgesia, for burns dressing changes, Ive even used it in mountain rescue situations (which adds another layer of complications) – and it seems pretty simple but there are ways it can go wrong.

          • AmyP
            April 18, 2014 at 11:10 am #

            You are a funny guy.

        • April 18, 2014 at 1:33 am #

          I just assumed they had a lot of balloons and whip-its.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 1:45 pm #

            True story: if you order punching balloons on Amazon, your suggested items will be nitrous canisters for the next several weeks.

        • prolifefeminist
          April 18, 2014 at 5:50 pm #

          Well now hold on there a second – who are these “mamas” who aren’t good enough to give birth without painkillers? I sure hope these nitrous oxide-pushing midwives are dipping the umbilical cords into birth blood and painting scarlet F’s on the doors of the mamas who took the easy way out – you know, so no one confuses *those* women with the REAL Birth Warrior Mamas. Homebirth alone doesn’t make you a warrior goddess!

    • bomb
      April 18, 2014 at 12:42 am #

      All of my friends in Seattle (literally about 60 people) are posting that damn rainbow all over facebook. You’d think It was the first rainbow in Seattle history.

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 18, 2014 at 1:38 am #

        They even showed it on the news. Since it was so crappy today I guess everyone needed something to cheer them up.

      • Jessica S.
        April 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

        Haha – I’m so guilty of taking pictures of rainbows every time I see one, although the only shots that end up on FB or IG are those that turn out well. It rarely looks as spectacular as in person, often like a sunset. But I’m a sucker for both a beautiful rainbow, sunrise or sunset. 🙂

    • Renee Martin
      April 18, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

      There is a rainbow over that dangerous facility to encourage moms, that lost their babies to these fools, to hope for better days with a rainbow baby in their future. Lets hope that rainbow is born in a hospital this time.

    • Dr Kitty
      April 18, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

      It’s Seattle.
      I understand it rains a lot.
      The earth is curved, raindrops refract light, the sun shines.
      Rainbows happen in the part of the sky opposite the sun.
      It is physics people.
      It doesn’t MEAN anything and an optical effect certainly isn’t helping anyone do anything.

      • Bombshellrisa
        April 18, 2014 at 1:39 pm #

        “An optical effect isn’t helping anyone do anything” i know you mean the rainbow but this really applies to the midwives too-just because you see them in the birth photos doesn’t mean they are doing anything helpful. Which brings me to another pic on their Facebook page. There is a #tbt pic of one of the midwives with her arms around a naked woman who is on all fours. The caption says something to the effect of “midwife (name) doing what she does best”. The clear lack of boundaries makes me gag. If someone took a pic of an OB embracing a naked, laboring patient and posted it on Facebook you can bet there wouldn’t be lots of likes and praise in the comments

        • Dr Kitty
          April 18, 2014 at 5:09 pm #

          Nice point, well made.

          It rains a lot here.
          Most mornings in Spring, as I drive my daughter to her nursery we look at a rainbow over West Belfast.
          Because that is where the sun is shining, not because G-d loves dissident republicans, working class Catholics and Divis Mountain.

          • anion
            April 20, 2014 at 10:06 pm #

            Now, Kitty. God loves EVERYONE.


      • Box of Salt
        April 18, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

        Dr Kitty: “It’s Seattle.
        I understand it rains a lot.”
        One of the most beautiful rainbows I’ve ever seen was driving south on the I-5 in Oregon (i.e., down the coast away from Portland).

        That said, isn’t the state of Hawaii the Land of Rainbows? Isn’t that on their license plates (it was back in the 1990’s when I visited)?

        The second most awesome rainbow was one that we saw right here at home in the desert that is So Cal, over winter break a few years back. Full – on bow, with the double inverted reflection. It didn’t matter where you were in our area (different family members were in different locations when it appeared) – it looked awesome. And I am absolutely sure there were babies being born at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns under that particular rainbow, too.

        • Box of Salt
          April 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm #

          And my last thoughts on rainbow: Thanks to advertising related to the new muppet movie, every mention of the word launches the Kermit the Frog song from the first one through my head.

      • April 18, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

        Besides, it’s double rainbows that have meaning, right?

        WHAT DOES IT MEAN??!?!?!!!?

    • VeritasLiberat
      April 18, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

      The rainbow over the birth center means that some poor baby has suffocated and the angels in heaven set up a bridge to rescue the little one’s soul.

  14. LMS1953
    April 17, 2014 at 10:26 pm #

    OK, a guy takes a whizz in a reservoir in Porlandia. Maximum of a quart of urine. Tops. So the intelligentsia deems it necessary to drain it of 35 MILLION gallons. The concentration of the urine is about one part in 100 MILLION. Never mind the bird poop, minnow copulation. The excreta of a variety of fauna. Meanwhile, their neighbor to the south is trying to recover from a once in a century drought. And Portlandians proudly and smugly birth their babies in a tub of sewage, preferably at home. And stage an Occupy Protest in conditions of decadent squalor. It is spelled: c-o-g-n-I-t-i-v-e d-i-s-s-o-n-a-n-c-e.

    • Mer
      April 17, 2014 at 11:28 pm #

      I saw that too, and just rolled my eyes. But people being people I guess they feel like they have to something, it’s just to bad that isn’t just telling the public it get chlorinated anyways.

      • LMS1953
        April 17, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

        Don’t they also consider a delicacy coffee made out of coffee beans that have been passed through the intestinal tract of a mongoose? Just think of how much better it would taste made with water that had one part per million of human urine laced with cannabis and alcohol.

        • Mishimoo
          April 18, 2014 at 2:39 am #

          I’m surprised that they’re not angry at ‘The Man’ for preventing them from getting superhigh from free homoeopathic cannabis drops.

          • April 19, 2014 at 11:08 am #

            Hey, maybe we can get a stoner to pee in the reservoir!

        • Trixie
          April 18, 2014 at 7:21 am #

          These are the same people who refuse to fluoridate their water.

          • April 18, 2014 at 12:44 pm #

            According to my Eugene based dentist, they fluoridated the water here . They publicized a date that was 30 days AFTER fluoridation started. Prior to the publicized date there wasn’t a single complaint about any water related health issues. On the FIRST DAY they publicized they were completely flooded with “fluoride is ruining everything” until they relented and stopped fluoridation.

            Fucking hippies.

        • April 18, 2014 at 11:37 am #

          It’s a Luwak, not a mongoose. It’s allegedly from Vietnam and has evidently been shown as a a fraud.

          • Renee Martin
            April 18, 2014 at 12:13 pm #

            It was a civet cat I thought. But gross. I am glad it was a fraud and I hope lots of idiots lost good money on this. Some people are just too stupid.

    • Trixie
      April 18, 2014 at 7:19 am #

      No, that was HOMEOPATHIC urine! The more you dilute something, the stronger it gets!

    • Renee Martin
      April 18, 2014 at 12:12 pm #

      Like all big cities, there are always some idiots and they seem to congregate in local politics and positions.

      This is the same city where a homeless girl had her pit bull bite someone, then it attacked another innocent person minding their business. Did they take the dog and PTS right away? Of course not. They let some (random) rescue idiot, pit nutter, pay to house it, so that they could fight for this provable irresponsible, indigent persons right to own a deadly dog, known to attack. JFC.

      Homeless with dangerous dogs that they cannot control is a PNW problem, but pit nutters are all over, and are found at both extremes of the political spectrum. IMO, when extremes on both sides agree, there is gonna be hell to pay!!!

    • Trixie
      April 18, 2014 at 2:30 pm #

      You know, LMS, I saw a clip of Megyn Kelly laying into Jenny McCarthy for her anti-vax batshittery, and for once, I agreed with every single word Megyn said. That was a new experience. I thought of you.

    • MaineJen
      April 18, 2014 at 4:31 pm #

      I thought this was loony also. Especially when they followed the shot of the guy peeing into the reservoir with the shot of the ducks swimming in the reservoir. And…aren’t they supposed to treat the water *after* it’s piped out of the reservoir and into the pipes? Not before they put it into the reservoir to be shat into by wildlife. What a waste of a precious resource.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        April 18, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

        I calculated yesterday that all 600 000 residents of the city of Portland could pee in the reservoir and it would STILL be below the “safe allowable limit” for urea in potable water (urea content: 8 mg/L; limit 10 mg/L). It would actually be 10 times lower than the level (80 mg/L) where urea starts affecting the taste.

  15. Karma Kidney Stone
    April 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

    I just stumbled across the Homebirthers and Hopefuls facebook page. Am I late to the party here? That group is a horror show. Aside from the usual (Trust birth, 43+ week deliveries) all the photos of the blue dusky babies are haunting me. Babies shouldn’t be that color. Am I the only one seeing that? It’s frightening.

    • k_cayte
      April 17, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

      I hear you. My cousin had a home water birth and I thought the pics were so great and home birth might be a good option because it worked well for my cousin.

      Then I had a high risk pregnancy and delivered in a hospital and it struck me that babies aren’t supposed to be blue. Both of my babies were born nice and red.

    • Medwife
      April 18, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      Actually skin color is not what we are supposed to be looking at in terms of need for neonatal resuscitation anymore. We put on a pulse ox monitor. It is normal for a neonate to take 10 minutes to get up to 85-95% O2sat.

      • MJ
        April 20, 2014 at 2:09 am #

        Yeah, my first two were born pink. My third was born a dusky blue and I got a bit of a shock. My midwives assured me that although he was taking a while to pink up his cEFM trace had been consistently fine, his postnatal heart beat was good, his breathing was good, he was vigorous – and I think they also checked his gums and they were pinking up quicker than the rest of him (medicos, does that sound right?). Only the fact that they obviously had it covered reassured me. And for the record, he was perfectly fine and his colour was apparently one of the true ‘variations of normal’.

      • Anj Fabian
        April 20, 2014 at 5:57 am #

        “We” meaning medwives, I am assuming.

        I can’t remember a pulse oximeter ever being mentioned in home birth stories, even the ones with extended resus efforts. Even Freddy’s Story, a UK home birth which involved two NHS midwives (not independent MWs) and continuous resus from birth – did not mention any equipment.

        (Both midwives left their kits in their respective cars.)

  16. Amy Tuteur, MD
    April 17, 2014 at 7:54 pm #

    Yet another death on Monday of this week:

    • LMS1953
      April 17, 2014 at 8:00 pm #

      It sounds like yet another abruption.

      • April 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

        You forgot the scare quotes on “abruption”

        • Amazed
          April 18, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

          I am waiting for them to put the scare quotes on “died”.

          You think I am joking? I wish.

      • MaineJen
        April 18, 2014 at 4:34 pm #

        Which, as we all know, is *extremely* rare. As opposed to, you know, preeclampsia. Which no one ever has.

        • Amazed
          April 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

          They do. All those women who didn’t eat Brewer got it because, you know, they didn’t eat Brewer, or didn’t eat the right version of Brewer which only J. Jones, RN, knows.

          But you’re right, none of the women who ate truly Brewer got preeclampsia. They just got preeclampsia look alike thing.

    • Stacy21629
      April 17, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

      How heartbreaking. And preventable. 🙁
      That there is another child at home makes it so much worse for me. The idea of explaining to my son that after months of anticipation his baby sister was dead? Just the IDEA of that chokes me up. How terrible.

      • AmyP
        April 18, 2014 at 11:13 am #

        Most of us struggle a lot just with explaining the death of ANIMALS (not even pets).

        • Jessica S.
          April 18, 2014 at 11:23 pm #

          Today my 3.5 year old ran over a worm with his scooter and I thought he was going to have a stoke. I can’t imagine trying to explain why his baby sister isn’t “arriving” like we’ve planned.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 18, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

        I agree. To make matters worse, this one sounds like it could very easily have resulted in a maternal death as well. If it’s hard to tell a child that his baby brother or sister is dead, how about telling him that his mother and his baby sib are both dead?

        At least the midwife was competent enough to check BP and transport when it got crazy. If she hadn’t, this would probably be a case where the woman seized and died without apparent warning.

    • Captain Obvious
      April 17, 2014 at 9:09 pm #

      Nothing that a few interventions couldn’t fix. Maybe an elective IOL days ago before her BP got worse. Labetalol dosing to control the BP while in labor with an epidural to also help keep BP down while still trying for a vaginally birth. And if all else fails, perform a CS before catastrophe occurs. Meh, what do doctors know, women have all the parts to birth naturally.

    • anne
      April 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

      Isn’t that three this week alone? It’s horrible.

    • MaineJen
      April 18, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

      “I prayed for this” That makes me feel stabby.

  17. CognitiveDissonaceHurts
    April 17, 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    That was chilling, Dr. Amy. I had no idea before reading this blog over the last months that babies were dying like this.

    • Stacy21629
      April 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      When I was planning my first home birth, I didn’t either. I thought I was “educated” and knew the “risks” but I didn’t. In retrospect I see how I read tons of “hospital horror stories” (episiotomies, C-sections, etc) but not a single “home birth horror story” like these of dead babies at the hands of incompetent “midwives”. I was so lucky it’s terrifying.

      • OBPI Mama
        April 17, 2014 at 7:17 pm #

        The same for me as well. In fact, I was told to NOT listen to any homebirth horror stories if someone wanted to tell me about one. Any birth story that went wrong HAD to have been because of “the cascade of interventions” or the mom’s fault.

        I’m glad you were luckier than I was!

        • Jenny
          April 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

          Same here. When I was planning my home birth I had never heard of a home birth death. I thought it was so rare. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I started reading this blog and was told not to listen to Dr. Amy because she was crazy and didn’t know what she was talking about. After reading Dr. Amy for a while, it’s quite obvious that she knows way more what she is talking about than the crazy homebirth advocates who have a Google education.
          Because of her, I had my next baby in the hospital by c-section because of placenta previa. I keep thinking “what if” I was one of those people who homebirth without getting an ultrasound?

          • prolifefeminist
            April 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

            “I keep thinking “what if” I was one of those people who homebirth without getting an ultrasound?”

            For the life of me I cannot understand why people take such a foolish risk as skipping all ultrasounds. Trying to home birth with an unknown complete or even partial pre via is just…….wow. It’s 2014, not 1800.

            And Jenny, I too was told not to listen to Dr. Amy – that “horrible old home birth hater!” That only made me more curious, so I came straight over here and never left. Wish I’d found this site 7 years ago – it would’ve saved me the $4500 I paid for the home birth that never even happened (I transferred pre-labor and had a c-section…and no, no refund from the MW. But I had a live, healthy baby despite planning an HBAC and going to 42+2. I feel like we dodged a bullet and am profoundly grateful that we were lucky enough that my poor decision didn’t lead to disaster).

        • Life Tip
          April 18, 2014 at 10:24 am #

          An old friend from school, who has apparently fallen into the woo-hole, posted on Facebook asking for “positive natural birth stories” to help her prepare for the birth of her baby. But no negative stories please, because she’s trying to protect her “birth bubble”. Gah.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 18, 2014 at 11:39 am #

            Hey, tell a great story about a planned c-section at the hospital.

            I could tell the story of our second, who was a scheduled c-section. Knowing that we were going to the hospital the next morning, we celebrated our last baby free evening by having sex.

            Ah, the joy of the scheduled event.

            Take that in your birth bubble…

          • Aki Hinata
            April 19, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

            The “birth bubble” is complete bunk, but I can totally understand soliciting positive stories only. The nerves you have towards the end of pregnancy are enough without hearing every horror story anybody wants to tell you.

          • Stacy21629
            April 19, 2014 at 8:47 pm #

            The problem is that they aren’t just rejecting “horror stories” they are rejecting FACTS. I can see some wisdom in not telling a 38 week pregnant lady about a baby born blue and floppy and going to the NICU because of a midwife’s incompetence…but they don’t want to read bland boring science and statistics either. If you sent them Amos Gruneman’s paper on the CDC stats they’d delete that for bursting the “birth bubble” too.

            The flip side of that, however, is that for many former woo-ers (myself included) it was exactly those “horror stories” that were the primary drivers in changing my views on NCB.

            Echo chambers of ignorance.

          • Squillo
            April 20, 2014 at 12:10 am #

            I understand that too. It’s only a problem if you’re trying to use anecdotes as a decision-making tool, in which case cherry-picking only the positive in order to reinforce your biases isn’t a great idea.

      • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
        April 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

        Bingo! I didn’t even know there were homebirth horror stories!
        No one in our wide (and I mean very wide) circle had ever had talked about a bad outcome. It never crossed my mind that I was taking a risk. I believed that the risk was in going to the hospital to deliver.

        • OBPI Mama
          April 17, 2014 at 7:35 pm #

          It’s because those of us with homebirth horror stories are encouraged to “keep quiet” so we don’t scare other women or so we don’t “give homebirth a bad name”. `

      • prolifefeminist
        April 17, 2014 at 10:50 pm #

        Same here. I thought I was enlightened when I “did my research” and chose a home birth. The risks of another c-section were played up big time, and the risks of HBAC were completely downplayed…”oh, there’s only a 1% risk of rupture, and since the midwife will be there all the time watching and monitoring, there will be plenty of time to transfer.” I remember two things that really convinced me that home birth was a good idea:

        1) My previous c-section (for suspected abruption) took 29 minutes from decision to incision. We live ten minutes from the hospital. Seemed like there would be enough time if I needed an emergency c-section. Didn’t know that truly crash sections can be done much faster than 29 minutes at a properly staffed hospital. Also didn’t know that my midwife (a CPM) actually did NOT have the power to call ahead and have a whole OR team ready upon arrival, as she implied. Not to mention, the hospital I was registered at where my backup OB practiced was half an hour away. Pretty useless in a true emergency.

        2) There was some bit that I read somewhere that since my home birth midwife would be by my side the whole time, she would be able to notice that a dip in the baby’s heart rate coincided with a “twinge” of pain – the early warning signs of a uterine rupture. And that if that happened, of course we’d transfer right away (whaaat? yea…I seriously doubt that now after all the stories I’ve heard of midwives waiting way, way too long). After learning more about CEFM, and how the ACTUAL early signs of fetal distress can only be picked up by CEFM, I realize that this too was a total crock meant to downplay the risk of uterine rupture and make it seem like being attended to by a home birth midwife was actually SAFER than being in a hospital. Yes, that’s what I actually believed. Because on top of all this, I never even imagined that home birth midwives would blatantly lie and mislead a client. Who would lie to a mother over something as serious as birth?

        I was so naive. After reading here for nearly three years now, I am no longer naive but I continue to be horrified and left speechless at the risks CPMs will take with moms and babies’ lives. It has to stop.

        • Busbus
          April 17, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

          I didn’t know any bad homebirth stories either. However, now I think that at least part of this was unacknowledged willful ignorance on my part. A simple google search of “homebirth dangers” would have been enough to draw up any number of bad stories, studies, etc. But I didn’t do it. Why?

          Don’t get me wrong. I really was in a bubble and had no idea of the extent of it. I went to NCB childbirth classes at the most highly regarded mother-baby-center in our liberal college town, and about 20-25% of people there were having home births, and the general attitude was one of almost admiration and praise towards the homebirthing mothers. Yes, my mother was very nervous, and my (distant) cousin who is an OB told me she would never do it after what she had seen at the hospital, and one of my previous OB’s played the “dead baby card”. I dismissed my mother as being, well, my mother; I dismissed my cousin because as a hospital OB “she had never seen a truly natural birth” (I know, it burns); and I changed providers to an OB that my midwife recommended. Yes, I didn’t see – but not because it wasn’t there. I just saw what I wanted to see.

          I also thought that no one would actually lie or distort the facts. All these “established” NCB websites – they couldn’t *all* be wrong, right? I was never completely woo – I always vaxed and was increasingly critical towards other woo topics. But that wasn’t enough to make me realize how unscientific all these NCB promotion sites were. When my husband was nervous about waterbirth, I followed the links from the birth pool manufacturers and read Barbara Harpers explanations of why babies don’t breath underwater, and I was mollified. Plus, everyone raves about waterbirth, right? How could it be bad?

          • Young CC Prof
            April 18, 2014 at 12:04 am #

            Natural childbirth woo is nearly unique in its penetration among the general population, including the media, books, and generally low-woo individuals. THAT is why it’s so dangerous.

          • LMS1953
            April 18, 2014 at 12:16 am #

            It is as if we wandered into a forest of Henri Rousseau paintings.

          • Allie P
            April 18, 2014 at 1:53 am #

            All the woo I picked up during my pregnancy started in the magazines sitting in my OB’s office waiting rooms. I figured if they were there they must be approved. In retrospect, I’m sure the doctors had NO idea they were supposed to vet every article in every issue of that crap.

          • Stacy21629
            April 18, 2014 at 3:04 am #

            I’m a vet. There’s a reason we don’t run Animal Planet on the lobby TV or have Cat/Dog Fancy magazines out to read. (PetMeds and that little old lady can bite me).

          • Houston Mom
            April 18, 2014 at 9:14 am #

            But what if my dog’s illness is sasquatch or ghost related?

          • LMS1953
            April 18, 2014 at 9:05 am #

            No we don’t. Thanks for the heads-up!

  18. Stacy21629
    April 17, 2014 at 5:33 pm #

    So…I have a friend, 41 years old, planning her 2nd birth center birth with CPMs (first baby at 38). This birth center is in a town with just a little community hospital. Any “real” emergent obstetric care is a 45 minute drive away, as is the level 3 NICU. Her first labor was “3 days” she says and the baby needed oxygen (flow-by or Ambu I’m not sure) when she was born. I’m terrified for her…and really want to talk with her about the risks she’s taking because she really has no idea. What’s the best way to go about that? Is there a best way? I don’t know if anything would have reached me in my woo-ness 5 years ago…but I feel like if I say nothing I will hate myself forever if something goes wrong. 🙁

    One thing I’m glad for though is that her first baby came “2 weeks early” and at her first US at 12 weeks they moved her EDD up 2 weeks based on measurements (she wasn’t sure when they conceived). So hopefully a horrific post-dates baby is less likely at least… :-/

    • Young CC Prof
      April 17, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

      I suppose asking her WHY she wants to deliver in the birthing center instead of the hospital might be a good way to start. Is she afraid of the hospital? Maybe you can address some of those fears.

      Heck, maybe the hospital has some kind of class or something. If you can get her into the building in a neutral attitude, it might make life easier for her.

      Has she seen an obstetrician or a “real” CNM at any point? Or just the center’s midwives?

      • Stacy21629
        April 17, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

        “Has she seen an obstetrician or a “real” CNM at any point? Or just the center’s midwives?”
        Pretty sure just the midwives.
        “Why” is a good place to start…

    • BroccoliSoupTown
      April 17, 2014 at 9:51 pm #

      Is she a friend of yours on Facebook? You could post a news story about a death at a birth center and hope that she sees it, assuming she isn’t the sensitive type who’d take it as a passive aggressive swipe at her. A birth center near me got shut down a few months ago after a baby died a needless death, and it turns out the center had a history of births gone wrong. It could open her eyes to the possibility that birth centers aren’t safe – when I was planning my first birth at a birth center, I had no clue CPMs weren’t real midwives and that my baby could die there (I ultimately developed complications and delivered with OBs in a hospital, though).

      • Stacy21629
        April 17, 2014 at 11:04 pm #

        “Is she a friend of yours on Facebook?”
        No, she’s a real friend in real life. ;-P
        I actually don’t Facebook at all, so it would have to be the old-fashioned way – a phone call or face-to-face meeting.

        • Busbus
          April 18, 2014 at 12:23 am #

          Could you talk with her about what made you change your mind about homebirth? Maybe while stressing that when it comes to her decision, you will be there for her no matter what?

        • Susan
          April 18, 2014 at 1:21 am #

          I don’t know what would have changed my mind when I was into it all way back when. Real education is what changed mine. I don’t envy you there. Makes me think of the difficulties of talking someone out of a cult.

        • former wooist
          April 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

          I didn’t get a clue until 2.5ish years after I had my baby in a freestanding birth center with a CPM – a waterbirth, of course, because WOOOO. Sigh.

          An online friend with an identical birth plan to mine lost her baby during labor (at a totally different FBC than mine) 24 hours after I gave birth, a cord accident that could only have been prevented by CEFM. I, too, felt like I’d dodged a bullet, and knew immediately there was NO good reason why *her* baby died, and *my* baby lived. It was horrific “luck” and both of us buying fully into the woo. It could’ve gone either way, it could’ve been both of us with stillborn babies. I guess the one difference between our births was that she trying for a VBAC, and I was not, but that didn’t actually impact the birth, as far as she knew. Neither of us knew we’d be having macrosomic babies (I’d never even heard of that word until I came here) with my baby being almost ten pounds and hers being over ten pounds.

          What I hate is that this friend, I don’t believe she was there because of her ego. I think she was really and truly led down the primrose path of “this is SO MUCH BETTER for your baby!!”, whereas I know I was there almost entirely for my own ego. I’d had two amazing hospital births, and the only real reason to stay home (my real intention) or use a birth center was to show the world I was quite the champion birther. I went with the birth center bc it was 5 minutes from a hospital vs 45 from our house, and I actually thought we were safer in a birth center vs. our home, regardless of the location. It seemed so … “official”. I even saw the back-up doctor
          there for two or three appointments. (SMH)

          My midwife was very no-nonsense, very authoritative, and either had was working on getting her BSN – she actually seemed … less wooish than the standard approach. Not your warm fuzzy TRUST BIRTH accolades. I think there were some things about my birth that made her nervous, and I think she did some things (like break my water w/o asking and pretending it was an accident) because of those concerns. I look back and I’m actually somewhat thankful for the rather … not rude in manner but dictatorish in her management of my labor approach she took. I know she was rushing me because she had class that day, but it was at least in part because she felt like she needed to be the one there, not just her back-up. That used to irritate me – now I see it was because she gave a damn, and wanted us to live.

          That being said, with the concerns I know she had, I look back and wonder why she didn’t send me straight to the hospital the day before… I want to go into details. I think, having presented myself as a militant homebirther who was giving my unassisted childbirth dream up not for concern for my child’s safety per se (but because the house we were living in was newly purchased and in need of a lot of work) and that she was afraid I would not go to the hospital and just try to have the baby alone at home with my husband and kids. I like to think I would’ve listened to her, but I really don’t know if I would have.. terrifying.

          My woo was neck deep… I don’t know how my baby and I got out of that cesspool of BS alive. (Literally or figuratively, considering we had a waterbirth!)

          ANYWAY – sorry of the length – my point is: one thing that convinced me pretty much upon arrival at this blog was the infant mortality rate vs. the PERINATAL mortality rate. I’d never even heard of the perinatal mortality rate, and was one of the people who talked about how lousy the infant mortality rate in the US is… I still can’t believe I gave birth three times without ever hearing the words “perinatal mortality rate”.

          I wonder if you could, out of your very genuine concern, tell your friend you read some statistics online, and while you know she’s probably only interested in positive information, you’re wondering what research she did that convinced her of the safety of her birth plan? That you had previously (even if this is bs) thought it sounded great, but then you stumbled upon the difference between infant mortality vs perinatal mortality rates, and the significantly higher risk of women over 40 losing their child to stillbirth? Those were the two things that just made me gasp – I’m not an over 40 birther, but I know ppl who were, and I just wonder if they even knew. I think maybe if you couch the whole conversation in concern, support, and your own (fictional) cluelessness, she may be able to see things in a different light.

          Perhaps she’s a mother like my friend who lost her baby, misinformed if not downright lied to.. maybe she’s not an egotistically, willfully ignorant moron like I was, refusing to even look for the bad news.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 18, 2014 at 2:19 pm #

            thanks for your story.

            Did you at the time know the difference between CNM and CPM, and, if not, would it have made a difference? I suspect not (since you were contemplating UC), but if you are going to go with a midwife, would it matter to know that your midwife has basically no medical background?

          • (Loquacious) Former Wooist
            April 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

            I really didn’t know the difference until I started reading here. I looked online to see whether the birth center midwife was a cNm or cPm after I started reading here, and it kind of blew my mind in light of all that I was belatedly realizing in regard to birth. It didn’t occur to me to really investigate that at the time – they were in two different states, and I don’t remember if I gave that two thoughts one way or the other. The birth center birth felt very “official” for lack of a better word, since I had “let go of the uc dream”, and I’m sure that that would not have stopped me. She had YEARS of experience, (and an exam table with stirrups!) as both a homebirth and birth center midwife, and I was just looking for someone who would let me do what I wanted. I didn’t want a “medwife” but in retrospect, I think she was one! Kind of thankful for that. And I had it on good authority that she was NOT on friendly terms with most local HB midwives. Didn’t read too much into that, as she told me what I wanted to hear.

            I just very childishly wanted what I wanted.

            This is giving a bit much away, (if she reads here, she’ll know for sure it’s me now, if she doesn’t already – which doesn’t matter… we’re not in touch and I don’t even live there anymore) but it’s relevant: when she told me she was taking nursing classes, she asked me to keep that a secret – she didn’t want her patients realizing that she was only just now becoming a nurse. Though to be clear, she never in any way gave me the impression she had more training than she did. She worked with a lot of low income families – she took medicaid – and I think she realized that most of them just assumed she was medically trained.

            Now I’ll go change my name to (Loquacious) Former Wooist…

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

            Considering she was just taking nursing classes, that would mean she must have been a CPM, I figure.

          • Former Wooist
            April 18, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

            Yes she was only a CPM. Sorry, I thought I made that clear.

          • Former Wooist
            April 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

            Further… my amazing hospital births? Two different states, two different doctors, hospitals, etc. BOTH incredibly supportive of my desire to go “natural” med-free, with wonderful nurses that just repeatedly surprised me with how encouraging and willing to work with my birth plan they were. During my first birth, my OB, bless his heart, stopped at the gym on the way to the hospital because he didn’t believe I’d have my baby soon as I did. A resident came flying in, scanned my birth plan, declared it brilliant, and did everything I’d asked – this in comparison to my OB who was nice but not terribly receptive to my birth plan. I mean… if your friend has only heard nightmares or is scared of hospitals, perhaps she only needs to hear that there are truly wonderful hospital birthing centers out there. I even labored in a tub with my second birth – they wisely didn’t allow water births. And my CNM… couldn’t get there in time! My nurse was delighted to catch my baby – she’d never had the chance to do that.

            My FSBC birth was in NO WAY superior to my hospital births. In fact, knowing my midwife had class, and that the back-up was going to be there while we recovered made me feel uncomfortably rushed out of there that day. No hospital left me feeling like I needed to pack up and leave.

          • Jessica S.
            April 18, 2014 at 11:34 pm #

            Your story is very interesting*! Thanks for sharing!

            *I mean that for reals, not like “interesting”. It’s such a weird word that way! 🙂

          • AmyP
            April 19, 2014 at 2:28 am #

            Yeah–the fact that birth centers rush you out doesn’t get enough weight, I think.

  19. Deena Chamlee
    April 17, 2014 at 5:14 pm #

    The homebirth consensus summit just released transfer guidelines. These guidelines are more directed toward hospital personnel regarding a collaborative environment. When I practiced in Portland we bent over backwards to be culturally sensitive to homebirth. But what isnt addressed to mismanaged high risk transfers and how these transfers absolutely ruins collaboration of in hospital personnel. Why is the issue about cultural insensitivity and not about poorly educated attendants managing high risk pregnancies in a high risk environment? Until those two key issues are acknowledged and addressed how can collaboration become harmonious.

    • LMS1953
      April 17, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

      So, I suppose the transfer inquiry: “What the hell is wrong with you, you fncking idiot? Are you TRYING to kill the baby or do you just have sh!t for brains.” Is not in the approved “guidelines. Nor: “If you morons had to carry malpractice insurance you would never dream of managing your “clients” this way. Thank you for keeping me on an uncompensated retainer so I can assume vicarious liability for you.” Nor: “Where exactly in your labor management protocols does the value of a live born infant with intact cerebral function comes into play?”

      • Young CC Prof
        April 17, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

        That would be both accurate and satisfying. I suppose they’re trying to encourage mothers and midwives to feel comfortable transferring as needed, but is cultural sensitivity actually working?

        • LMS1953
          April 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm #

          Cultural sensitivity? Of what “culture” – the Cult of Woo? For millennia, women have dreamt of the day when they could give birth in a safe, pain-free environment. So now we have to appease a cult who aspire to birth orgasms and encapsulated placentas. There just seems to be something inherently unethical about the expectation of having to cater to abject stupidity.

          • Mishimoo
            April 18, 2014 at 2:49 am #

            “There just seems to be something inherently unethical about the expectation of having to cater to abject stupidity.”

            That sentence is the most beautiful thing I have read today, thank you.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            April 18, 2014 at 11:02 am #

            I do think it’s important to be aware of the mindset of these patients and to adjust our language to make them feel heard; this is not catering to stupidity, but rather developing rapport so they trust your recommendations. This is critical whether you’re dealing with woo or with traditional cultural beliefs. Anytime you’re dealing with changing people’s deeply held beliefs, it’s essential to make the patient feel respected, listened to, and capable of evaluating what you’re telling them.

            Some woo can’t hurt and might help (probably not, but it’s their money); other woo is dangerous but still requires developing rapport before a mother can accept your warning of the risks. For example, if a mom were to tell me her CPM is planning to cut her baby’s frenulum, I would say “It’s great that you’re thinking outside the box for ways to help your baby latch; let’s talk about the risks and benefits of this procedure, and discuss all the possible ways we can minimize risk while still reaching your goal to help your baby latch.” Once I got her in a frame of mind where she’s not feeling defensive and judged, I would let her know that there is a large blood supply to the tongue, which could have catastrophic results if a practitioner does not have surgical training. While some CPMs may have performed occasional surgery (yeah right), they do not typically have thousands of experiences doing neonatal oral surgery under their belts and would most likely be unprepared to deal with excessive bleeding. I would ask her what she thinks about what I am saying, because I would really like to know if she has taken to heart the information I have given her. Then I would curse HIPAA for not letting me get on facebook and post a rant to my colleagues.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm #

            Oh god, are you talking about that creepy naturopath who is also a CPM and performs frenotomies? Ugh.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            April 18, 2014 at 2:03 pm #

            Omg that’s a real person? I was just dreaming up a dangerous scenario.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 2:20 pm #

            Whatever woo you can dream up, there’s a CPM who’s already done it in real life. It should be a new Internet Law.

          • Bombshellrisa
            April 18, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

            She has privileges at Puget Sound Birth Center-the woo is pretty much standard here in the Seattle area. Notice she is also a “doctor”-a naturopathic doctor! Bastyr’s best right there.

          • MaineJen
            April 18, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

            Every time I think I might enjoy living in the Pacific Northwest, I hear things like this… 🙁 Then again, I’m pretty sure I’m done having kids, so I guess I’m in the clear.

          • Joy
            April 20, 2014 at 7:07 pm #

            The UK allows LCs to cut tongue ties. My LC cut my baby’s and I never thought twice about it since they all do it here. She did make sure my baby had a vitamin K shot though.

          • NoLongerCrunching
            April 20, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

            What kind of training do they get?

        • LMS1953
          April 18, 2014 at 9:19 am #

          I wonder if the PC crowd would advocate that the same “cultural sensitivity” be extended to the Home Birth Cult as was given to the Branch Davidian Cult in Waco and by the BLM to the Bundy family ranchers. Would that the Feds extend the same concern and protection to the intrapartum fetus as they do the painted desert tortoise and snail darter.

  20. anan
    April 17, 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    Sadly there have been MANY more deaths in Idaho and Nevada in the last 2 years. 🙁

  21. MamaBear
    April 17, 2014 at 3:50 pm #

    How did the mother in Michigan get a home birth? I didn’t think CPM could practice here. Why wasn’t it on the news? Most people I know wouldn’t consider a home birth. I know there are some parts of the state that are pretty crunchy, but I never thought it would happen here.

    • Karen in SC
      April 17, 2014 at 4:17 pm #

      Check out the blog to the right “Safer Midwifery for Michigan.” You can read Magnus Snyder’s heartbreaking story and learn about the legalities (or not) of midwifery in that state.

      • MamaBear
        April 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm #

        I read it. It was a very tragic situation that should not have happened. I still feel bad for his parents.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa
      April 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm #

      How did the mother in Michigan get a home birth?

      By not going to the hospital?

      I know that sounds snarky, but this is why you can’t really “outlaw” homebirth. As Yogi Berra would say, if a woman doesn’t want to go to the hospital, how can you stop her?

      • yugaya
        April 17, 2014 at 4:59 pm #

        You can’t and you should not. What needs to be stopped is unqualified midwives legally or “alegally” in absence of law and regulation attending these homebirths and providing women with false sense of security.

        You wanna homebirth with one, two, five or more high risk factors? Fine.

        Just know that the person you hired to help you if it is a CPM or any lay midwife is not a healthcare provider and medical professional, and that your baby has the same chances of surviving your birth at home with a lay midwife as a baby delivered at the side of a road by a taxi driver.

    • Manabanana
      April 18, 2014 at 9:38 am #

      I’m pretty sure CPMs can do whatever they want in Michigan.

      Except bill insurance and Medicaid.

  22. C T
    April 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

    Dead baby card? That’s practically a deck there. 🙁

    • Susan
      April 17, 2014 at 8:45 pm #

      That’s got to win for today’s best comment.

      • C T
        April 17, 2014 at 9:32 pm #

        It took just hearing of only one acquaintance’s homebirth loss and seeing her terrible pain to turn me against homebirth. How can anyone see 40+ preventable losses like this and still not admit that something horrible is happening with lay midwifery in the USA?

        • C T
          April 17, 2014 at 9:33 pm #

          Oh, and her loss happened in January just over 2 years ago and was never made public news or put on this blog. It would show up as a hospital death in the CDC stats because the baby was (far too late) born by C-section.

  23. Poogles
    April 17, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    And, of course, let’s not forget all the children (and mothers) who were permanantly injured during homebirth and have to live with the consequences of that for the rest of their (potentially very shortened) lives, like Miss Charlie:!/pages/Miss-Charlie-My-Little-Fighter/324135711017628

    • deborah
      April 17, 2014 at 6:00 pm #

      I just read through the blog about Charlie (the mylittlefighter blog) and the mom, about halfway through, insists the same thing would have happened with a hospital birth, or even could have been worse with the induction and Pitocin and all that.

      • Amazed
        April 17, 2014 at 6:34 pm #

        IIRC, this mom is a friend of Poogles’ who vouches that she’s a wonderful mom, just brainwashed since her own childhood.

        Good to have this confirmed because when I first read Charlie’s story somewhere in the net, the mom was explaining that even if it was true that Charlie’s issues could have been avoided by a hospital birth, she still wouldn’t feel guilty, maybe just a little sad.

        Frankly, I found this comment downright asinine. Just how brainwashed should one be to make it? I can only hope there’s lots of denials in play, as well.

        • OBPI Mama
          April 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

          Charlie’s Mom is really good with Charlie and she is a great mom. We had the same midwife (in fact, my son was born only a month or 2 before Charlie was born). Then a couple months after Charlie was born, the midwife oversaw another traumatic birth with the baby having very, very similar outcomes as Charlie. Sigh. And she is still so revered by the homebirthers in our county… Hard to tell on “it would have happened in the hospital too” stuff because our midwife told me “Oh, it could have been so much worse in the hospital because of this and this and this” and I’m sure she used that line with other trauma mamas. When we are told that over and over again at very rough times, it can be the denial that makes us feel better.

          • Amazed
            April 17, 2014 at 7:46 pm #

            Oh my, three bad outcomes in a few months in a single community with a single midwife?

            OBPI Mama, I really don’t want to be rude or anything but I really don’t understand. Presumably, those outcomes were not secret. Other mothers knew about them – and they still hired her? You didn’t mention that she had difficulties finding clients so I guess she didn’t have those. What on earth is going on with brainwashing where you live? It doesn’t look even normal to me. Normal self-preservation should have kicked in. I mean… three bad outcomes in a few months, just how brainwashed should one be to hire her?

            I am sorry and I suppose that makes me a terrible person but I really feel that anyone willing to hire her knowing this fact is stupid. Yes, they are also brainwashed, overconfident and so on but at the end, they come out really, really dumb.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

            3 bad outcomes in 6 months… yep. 1 severe OBPI (my son), 2 very SEVERE cerebral palsy kiddos (brain cooling and all). During that year she also had a baby die due to the baby being deformed (intestines and all outside of body). But she had a death (seems to have been preventable from the accounts I hear) a couple years ago.

            She has absolutely no problem finding clients. Most of my friends still use her, even knowing about all these babies. Even watching my son struggle for his movements. I have no words for it… I think it’s brainwashed type stuff. That’s my only explanation for it. That and they trust birth sooooooooooo much.

            I didn’t have any prior knowledge of her homebirth trauma mamas and babies before picking her (she had told me that my birth was her first really traumatic one). After my bad homebirth, one of her assistants did tell me she had a baby die to do GBS+.

          • Amazed
            April 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm #


          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 8:17 pm #

            The midwife is Kathy Mitchell (not the one that works at a hospital in the county… they have the same name, unfortunately). I don’t know what she is… She is sweet… like you want her to be a doula or a grandma, but she is a horrible midwife… who lies and omits the truth so homebirth doesn’t “get a bad name”. She still confuses me after all these years…

          • Trixie
            April 17, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

            That was a big step, is this the first time you’ve given her name?

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm #


          • Trixie
            April 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

            Good for you!

          • prolifefeminist
            April 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm #

            I agree!

          • Amazed
            April 17, 2014 at 9:50 pm #

            I remember you being so stunned by meeting her that you even let her hug you. That was how deeply imprinted your one time trust in her was.

            You go, girl. Keep making those steps. It’s good to have a name attached to the damage she wrecked. And you were one of the LUCKY ones… Shudders.

          • Jessica S.
            April 17, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

            I echo this 100%! OBPI Mama is on the right side of history here. 🙂

          • OBPI Mama
            April 18, 2014 at 6:48 am #

            Yes. And I did end up sending her a letter asking her to ignore me next time she saw me and the reasons why. And then I added that I don’t think she is a safe midwife because of a,b,c… I mentioned I wasn’t bitter, yet still confused, and it’s just easier for me to go through our family’s journey without her interacting with me when we bump into each other.

            I mentioned some of the lies homebirthers believe and what I learned about Mana’s stats and mis-stated world statistics and I want to thank everyone on here for helping me understand them!

            I tried to be firm, but not mean-spirited. It was written from a genuine spot in my heart. Felt good to send it.

          • Amazed
            April 18, 2014 at 4:21 pm #

            I am happy for you, then. I only hope it won’t give you trouble with more “natural” minded friends. She wouldn’t dare make comments about you, right?

          • Jessica S.
            April 17, 2014 at 10:30 pm #

            Go with your bad* self! She has her message to preach, and you have yours. 🙂

            * bad meaning “good”, here. Never sure when I’m dating myself with certain phrases. Ha!

          • PrimaryCareDoc
            April 17, 2014 at 8:13 pm #

            Regarding the baby who died with a deformity- gastroschesis and omphalocele are not, but any stretch of the imagination, lethal defects. When diagnosed in advance with ultrasound, proper delivery and prompt attention leads to a good outcome in these kids.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 17, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

            But were are warned against ultrasounds, so that could have been why they weren’t ready to deal with the deformity, right?

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

            Right… from what the midwife’s assistant told me there was an ambulance transfer, but the baby did die. 🙁

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

            I’ve seen a few of these kind of births on the British show One Born Every Minute, and they wrap the baby’s abdomen in saran wrap and take them right up to NICU, but they are prepared for them ahead of time due to the ultrasound.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 17, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

            It has made me think about the fact that I didn’t have ultrasounds and if something had been wrong with my babies, I wouldn’t have known until after the homebirths, and then what would have happened…? 🙁

          • Medwife
            April 18, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

            I’ve seen several procedures at various stages of repair. It’s a long haul but the surgeons are amazing.

          • RN who has seen too much
            April 17, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

            That’s such bullshit. We have gastroschisis babies at our hospital occassionally, and they don’t die at birth, they go to the NICU and they have ways of helping them get the intestines back in. It’s NOT a lethal deformity. That makes me so sad!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 18, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

            That’s absolutely amazing.

            I heard a bit on the radio (Ok, Dr Radio on Sirius/XM, so not random radio) that was like, “There are more adults running around now with congenital defects than there are children with them.”

            Yet, how quick are the HBers to discount the deaths due to congenital defects? Again, these babies LIVE in the hospital.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 8:22 pm #

            See, ultrasounds are evil and must not be used… Didn’t anyone teach you that?

          • Mishimoo
            April 18, 2014 at 3:01 am #

            I actually had a discussion about this today over brunch. My best friend’s mum is anti-medicine, and was telling me how she’d met a child that has recently had another operation to deal with making sure his internal organs were where they belong and how terrible it was, etc. She then went on to say that no one should have ultrasounds ever, and my immediate reaction was: “Are you an idiot? No, seriously… Exactly how stupid are you?”

          • (Loquacious) Former Wooist
            April 18, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

            I didn’t even ask about transfers or previous bad outcomes. I was go go gadget super birth girl, and things like that wouldn’t happen to me!

            I can’t tell you how much I hate that my ease of giving birth led me to encourage other women that birth was “easy and exhilirating!” without having any clue about their history or health – I definitely trusted birth sooooooooo much. I can’t tell you how much I hate that a child dying is what finally got me to start thinking things through. (Obviously nowhere near as much as that child’s mother hates it.)

          • April 21, 2014 at 9:45 am #

            Mine lied to me too

          • Poogles
            April 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

            Didn’t know we were in the same neck of the woods OBPI mama! 🙂

          • baileylamb
            April 18, 2014 at 9:31 am #

            Wow we live in the same area irl. I had googled that practice group after watching BoBB (although I wasn’t convinced about home birth from that movie, I just wanted to check out lower cost options including going to Canada). In googling options this site and Hurt by Homebirth came up, scared me straight. Plus I remembered a really well publicized bad outcome in Indy.

            Good luck to you, and it is a really small world.

        • Poogles
          April 17, 2014 at 7:48 pm #

          “this mom is a friend of Poogles’ ”

          Well…we were friends in high school and I had a little contact with her after that (through social media), but we are no longer on friendly terms (from her POV) because her situation has been discussed here and I agree with most others here that her daughter’s injury was most likely preventable, the delayed cord clamping did not help her daughter and that being in the hospital would have almost certainly resulted in a better outcome. She absolutely believes her daughter would’ve been more harmed, possibly dead, if she had been in the hospital and that being at home was the best place she could’ve been – and that she would choose it again for that birth, even knowing what she knows now.

          She has been immersed in the “all-natural” woo crowd her whole life, though, and she is definitely a wonderful Mother to both of her children (well….except for the anti-vax bit).

          • Amazed
            April 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

            Oh god, I really hope she won’t choose home for any next child of hers because hell no, that wouldn’t mean she’d be a wonderful mom for that third child.

            My sympathy for people’s delusion has its limits.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 7:58 pm #

            I had talked with her one time and she said she’d choose the hospital if she’d ever have more babies. That was a number of years ago.

          • Amazed
            April 17, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

            Actions speak louder than words. No matter whether she admits it or not, she isn’t going to put another baby at risk.

            As long as she doesn’t try to convince other women just how safe homebirth is, I think she is entitled to her own denial.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 8:05 pm #

            She did her share of convincing other mamas of the safety of homebirth, just like I did for awhile. I stopped once the truth smacked me like a ton of bricks. I, honestly, don’t know if she’s stopped or not.

            Actually, it was because of Charlie that I started reading this blog… I was so mad at Dr. Amy!

          • Amazed
            April 17, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

            The more I read you, the more clear it becomes to me just what kind of a cult life we’re talking about. It isn’t just a cult mentality – it’s literally a cult life. People live among like-minded people until the outside world starts feeling unreal where certain views are concerned.

            What an ominous babble.

            You seem to have escaped it, OBPI mama, but I shudder at thinking that nowadays the world is so big, yet there are pockets of people that keep cutting it down until it becomes this small.

    • Trixie
      April 18, 2014 at 7:33 am #

      I used to read a forum that woman is on. She still actively tries to persuade others to have homebirths.

  24. no longer drinking the koolaid
    April 17, 2014 at 2:49 pm #

    Current article making the NCB rounds is a MI study of women who chose home after a hospital birth. It is published in the current JMWH, so a CNM had to be the lead author.

    Any one know of the number of women who have had a home birth and chose hospital for the next?

    • Young CC Prof
      April 17, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

      Well, in terms of outcomes, home after hospital are better than women who choose home birth first (as long as they aren’t HBAC).

      • April 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

        I know one mom who had a homebirth for her first and chose hospital for her second…. I imagine parity matters a fair bit. Ironically, I think a larger portion of first time moms consider home birth as an option. The experience of birth and motherhood has a way of changing ones views on the same.

        • Young CC Prof
          April 17, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

          Statistics show that only a quarter of homebirth mothers are first-timers. (And over 10% are grand multiparas. Again I say it’s astonishing how few maternal deaths there are.)

          • yugaya
            April 18, 2014 at 9:12 am #

            If only they trusted homebirth more and did not chicken out and transfer, I am sure there would be a high number of maternal deaths too. But you know, those bad places called hospitals are so surprisingly good at saving mothers. 🙁

          • Young CC Prof
            April 18, 2014 at 9:57 am #

            Actually, I think one difference is that when the mother is at imminent risk of death, it’s usually apparent even to a layman. For the baby, not necessarily.

          • Amazed
            April 18, 2014 at 10:49 am #

            That’s an example of homebirth that works! If it doesn’t… sue the attending physician. And it’ll be a hospital death anyway.

    • Stacy21629
      April 17, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      I had a home birth with my first and planned a home birth with my second (transfer for decels). That’s not what *I* wanted though. Hubby was dead set on home birth. I was SO GLAD to have a reason for transferring. It’s what I wanted all along. If we have another I will absolutely refuse an out of hospital birth and I will tell the midwife that from day one as well. No way.

    • Susan
      April 17, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

      Well, I have taken care of quite a few of them. Many of them say they want an epidural, some have changed mind re safety, some too have a new father involved not interested in homebirth, many just appear to be saying “older and wiser”, a few for insurance reasons too. I have seen it quite a bit in my career. Oh yes, and I was one too with my third. I was in the “no longer drinking the Kool Aid” camp… like you!

    • Deena Chamlee
      April 17, 2014 at 9:38 pm #

      I think the ACNM is addressing the issue with US MERA. It is not an easy fix. ICM standards must be implemented by 2020. That is actually a huge step.

    • Manabanana
      April 18, 2014 at 8:25 am #

      Talking to the women who made the switch from home to hospital birth would balance out the discussion, wouldn’t it?

    • Manabanana
      April 18, 2014 at 8:26 am #

      And, yes, I know women who have done this.

  25. Ennis Demeter
    April 17, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Off topic: a Podcast I love, called The Longest Shortest Time, has really disappointed me. The last two episodes were about the podcaster’s traumatic birth, which involved a difficult labor and an episiotomy that resulted in fairly bad complications. She stated she has wondered for years whether a c-section would have been better, but in podcast #27 she interviews a midwife who says the c-section would have been way worse because of [insert every possible complication from c-sections and anesthesia]. The midwife, named Saraswathi Vedam, then states that if she had had home birth, she would have had attendants much better prepared to deal with her complications (acupuncture is mentioned) and everything would have turned out better because it was all pitocin/ epidural’s fault anyway, and the posterior position of her baby meant she had a superior body for childbirth anyway. This is treated as conclusive, and the podcaster states at the end and on her blog that homebirth would have been the better choice. Episode #28 is an interview with Ina Mae Gaskin. I didn’t listen.

    • AmyP
      April 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

      Saraswathi Vedam has what the British cop shows call “form” (i.e. prior offences):

      • Ennis Demeter
        April 17, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

        I figured she had to be discussed on this blog somewhere.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa
        April 17, 2014 at 2:43 pm #

        That page refers to the “homebirth consensus summit”

        I am wondering, is that the summit that concluded that there needed to be a set of standards for HB, that led to the creation of the HB standards list based on the common standards for HB among internating MWs that the domestic MWs immediately disavowed?

    • Medwife
      April 17, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

      Saras is held in fairly high esteem but there’s a reason she jumped ship to Canada. I believe some outcomes here in the US were catching up with her.

      Acupuncture… Screw her.

  26. April 17, 2014 at 1:59 pm #

    I count eight that should have been straight up risked out of home birth (twin, breech, VBAC, post-dates)…and then there’s probably an equal number or more that would have benefited from clearer guidelines around transfer of care (meconium, prolonged labour, prolonged pushing, etc.)…

  27. Deena Chamlee
    April 17, 2014 at 1:22 pm #

    So how many were attended by CNMs? Would integrating out of hospital with the larger healthcare system with only graduate prepared midwives with admitting privlages and appropriate MD backup make a difference? No one knows because it doesn’t exist. INA MAY and her leadership of attending high risk obstetrics in an out of hospital with poorly educated attendants has lead to these tradgedies.

    So yes she indeed has blood on her hands and this is my reality . Yes change must occur but is a 3 year midwifery school enough to educate midwives for out of hospital births? I say no because every midwife needs to be able to obtain MD backup and hospital privlages in order to gain the skill set needed in a high risk setting. And that is the sad truth to our American Midwifery saga.
    Will any of us live to see the day remains to be seen. This fight is not about sisterhood it is about public health and safety.

  28. Amy M
    April 17, 2014 at 1:07 pm #

    What also makes me feel sick is the insistence by so many NCBers that these deaths would have happened in the hospital too. I get that that is the only way they can sleep at night, but can they really be that obtuse? THESE are the cases where constant EFM saves lives. Would they have been more likely to have had Csections? Sure. But so what, when that would have led to a live baby and mother? How many of these babies suffocated because they had no monitoring or insufficient monitoring? Saying “Well, that study showed no decrease in CP from use of EFM, so we can skip it” is like saying “Condom use doesn’t have a 100% success rate for preventing pregnancy, so let’s just pull and pray.”

  29. ngozi
    April 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

    “Natalie died of lack of oxygen while her mother pushed for 6 hours with meconium running down her leg.”

    Okay, I am going to go out on a limb and say this, even though it may be taken as very insensitive…

    If the person/persons who were attending Natalie’s delivery were daft enough to let her push for six hours, then were they competent enough to know that it was meconium? Did they think she just was “pooping” herself during labor?

    • Bombshellrisa
      April 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm #

      In homebirth woo world, six hours isn’t a rare amount of time to push. This happened with a couple friends of mine, the most upsetting time was when the midwives let my friend go two weeks overdue, let her labor at home for 36 hours and let her push for six hours before they even talked about transferring. Same friend chose homebirth with same scenario the next time (this time she opted to stay at home and deliver “in the water”

    • OBPI Mama
      April 17, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

      I think that length of time is just a variation of normal to these homebirth midwives… I was allowed to push 4-1/2 hours with meconium stained trickling (it trickled the whole labor and midwife remembers it turning to a greenish trickle and then it came out in a massive vivid green gush when my son got pulled out)… Ugh.

    • anion
      April 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

      Natalie’s mother was crying and begging the midwife to call 911/take her to the hospital, especially when the meconium started running down her leg–if memory serves, that didn’t happen immediately. The midwife kept refusing and insisting everything was fine and “she could do it.”

      It is an absolutely horrifying story. That midwife should be prosecuted not just for negligence/negligent homicide, but for false imprisonment (or whatever they call it when you hold someone against their will). And torture.

      (Yes, I’m being a bit hyperbolic there, but I cannot bear to think of what that woman went through.)

      • The Computer Ate My Nym
        April 18, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

        Yes, I’m being a bit hyperbolic there

        No, you’re not. Not really. One of the things I’ve always hated about the NCB movement is the denial that childbirth hurts. Labor pains are hellish for at least quite a lot of women (not 100%) and that should never be dismissed or downplayed. Certainly not by a movement claiming to be feminist.

        • anion
          April 20, 2014 at 10:13 pm #

          I meant re false imprisonment charges, but yeah, point taken. I don’t think it’s a lie to call refusing to allow women in labor to have pain relief “torture.”

  30. April 17, 2014 at 12:50 pm #

    This made me actually almost vomit. All those babies suffocating. Makes it hard to breathe myself. Poor babies. Poor families.

    Not poor midwives though. THEY got paid. THEY got sympathy and love and support from the homebirth community. THEY are alive, unburdened by grief for these babies that were meant to live. THEY go on to let more babies die in their incompetent hands.

  31. The Computer Ate My Nym
    April 17, 2014 at 12:48 pm #

    These are 40 deaths that I wrote about in the past 2 years. And only the
    American homebirth deaths. And only the deaths that I heard about.

    I couldn’t get data for the last 2 years, but using no limits at all except for term infants in 2009-10, there were 111 deaths of out of hospital infants–about 3x the rate of deaths of term infants in hospital, despite in hospital carrying an association with higher risk demographics and concurrent illness. If we pull the infamous “remove congenital malformations” trick, the risk is nearly 4x for out of hospital births (79 versus 1624).

  32. OBPI Mama
    April 17, 2014 at 12:41 pm #

    Reading reason after reason for death is really astounding. So many of these baby dying could have been prevented. It’s heartbreaking. Heartbreaking.

  33. Susan
    April 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    That is very powerful. What also stands out is how many breech, twins, crazy post dates and VBACs are on that list. If they would just institute reasonable risk screening many lives would be saved.

  34. Trixie
    April 17, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Reading that list makes me feel sick.

    • Manabanana
      April 18, 2014 at 8:37 am #

      I know of more home birth deaths “through the grapevine”. Probably a dozen or so – in my regional area. I know this because I know midwives, and they do discuss these deaths, in hushes and shushes, among themselves.

      There are no blog posts, newspaper stories, or lawsuits to reveal these outcomes. But there are more deaths than what are listed in this blog post. Usually I only hear the reason: Infection, uterine rupture, eclampsia.

      I believe instituting conservative home birth guidelines would eliminate many of these deaths. I know that many here would like it outlawed completely- I would be happy with the insanity of high-risk birth at home ending.

      • Young CC Prof
        April 18, 2014 at 9:55 am #

        I would also be happy with guidelines alone, although I would personally continue to discourage people from doing it. Most of the deaths we hear about would have been prevented by the types of risk-out and transfer guidelines that every other homebirth program in the world uses.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          April 18, 2014 at 11:32 am #

          I’ve said it many times – IF hb midwives had any standards at all, and took a conservative approach, this blog would not exist.

          It is because they are running around out of control that makes them the menace that they are.

      • Busbus
        April 18, 2014 at 10:24 am #

        That is so crazy. Also, just reading the hurt by homebirth stories and other stories of homebirths gone bad shows how many of those babies ultimately die in the hospital after a belated emergency transfer, which means that they will be counted as hospital deaths in the statistic. It must be aorund half the stories, no? Which would mean that the CDC statistic might be undercounting homebirth deaths by as much as half… 🙁

  35. April 17, 2014 at 12:17 pm #

    And how many of these families would now dare to conclude that a cesarean is “the worse that can happen” or that a hospital transfer is “the worse that can happen” or simply that some babies “are not meant to live”. How many of these mothers have now been shunned by the community that they belonged to after paying the ultimate price for membership?

    • Young CC Prof
      April 17, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

      You’re right. Let me draw another comparison to the anti-vaccine movement: Any news article about vaccines draws comment wars, but articles about children who died of vaccine-preventable disease draw the ugliest comments from the anti-vaccine side. They can’t stand the cognitive dissonance. They see the ultimate cost of their false beliefs, and while some make the hard choice to change their minds, others lash out in rage, blaming the death on anything or anyone except the true cause.

        • ngozi
          April 17, 2014 at 2:36 pm #

          Her medical degree is from where?

          • LibrarianSarah
            April 17, 2014 at 3:03 pm #

            Google University of course!

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm #

            Nah, she got it from the School of Life. See, she has an Indigo Child no wait autistic child no wait not really but still, so she knows all about vaccines.

            Actually, more seriously (as sad as that is), do not forget that her pediatrician is none other than Jay Gordon, and a lot of what she spews is in line with the nonsense that he peddles. So that is where she has learned a lot of it.

      • no longer drinking the koolaid
        April 17, 2014 at 2:53 pm #

        Cognitive dissonance would also be the ACNM promoting licensure of CPMs ( see the new MERA position statement) while also promoting the vaccine rate of women.

        • Manambanana
          April 18, 2014 at 8:54 am #

          Over the course of three pages of blather, it appears that the ACNM is not endorsing the apprenticeship model of training midwives/CPMs. I wish they would come out and say it instead if beating around the bush. If that is, in fact, what their latest position statement is saying.

      • OBPI Mama
        April 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm #

        I have to say something… today I worked up my courage (after years of believing total lies) and took all 4 of my children to the health dept. and started getting them caught up on vaccines. I feel incredibly lucky that they are healthy children and incredibly guilty for allowing them to go all these years with only DTAP in their system… especially as my father had polio as a child and was paralyzed for weeks. Some of us do change our minds, even after being upo our necks in lies and conspiracy theories.

        • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
          April 17, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

          I am still struggling over the vaccine issue. Can you point me to resources to help wade through what I have always held as the truth? My children and grandchildren are not vaccinated.

          • Stacy21629
            April 17, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

            Any of Paul Offit’s books are wonderful.

          • anion
            April 17, 2014 at 7:14 pm #

            What are your specific concerns/fears about vaccines? I don’t ask to be difficult or snotty, but in hopes of finding sources that will be especially relevant.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 17, 2014 at 7:26 pm #

            One concern among many would be adverse side effects. My neighbour was severely handicapped as a result of his polio vaccination when a baby (he went into a coma after his shot). It was medically documented. My friend’s baby got measles from the measles vaccine. One of my children had an adverse reaction to pertussis. (High pitched screaming and fever) Sigh. This was enough to make me fear injecting poison into their little bodies and making them sick on purpose.

          • Karen in SC
            April 17, 2014 at 7:33 pm #

            Check out two blogs on the right and search for the vaccination posts : Red Wine & Applesauce and Married to Medicine. Both well researched and foot noted.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 18, 2014 at 6:55 am #

            Thanks for the recommendation. I am reading through their posts on vaccines.

          • Karen in SC
            April 18, 2014 at 7:12 am #

            If you enjoy history, you might like the movie “The Life of Louis Pasteur.” It’s not on dvd yet, but there is a seven part series on Youtube. He was amazing! I recently saw it on cable and I was riveted!! I was so pumped up I couldn’t sleep.

            It’s not about vaccination per se, but in his work about diseases he created two of them! The part about germ theory and childbirth was of interest to me, too. It did confirm what the NCB movement claims, that doctors introduced germs into the “childbed” BUT once his theory gained acceptance, procedures changed!! Because that is what scientists do!

            I keep looking for the dvd to come out since I want to buy several copies and give as gifts 🙂

          • Stacy21629
            April 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

            1. How old is your neighbor? What type of vaccine was used? Is that the same type of polio vaccine currently used?
            2. “Got measles from the vaccine” – how was this documented? What type of vaccine was administered? What type of measles vaccine is currently used? Many/most/all (not exactly sure…) of current vaccines are component vaccines – they contain only a tiny piece of the whole virus. Meaning it is biologically impossible to CAUSE the disease they are vaccinating against. Meaning if that baby got measles around the time they got a component vaccine then they actually got the disease from somewhere else and it was a correlation of time but not causation.
            3. Pertussis – what vaccine was used? What is the current vaccine? Prior pertussis vaccines were highly associated with side effects. But the current vaccine is not a whole cell vaccine, it is a component vaccine and side effects have dropped dramatically.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 17, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

            The polio vaccine – this was in Canada in the late 60s, so not sure what type of vaccine was used then.

            The measles – her son was allergic to eggs and the vaccine had eggs in it (does that sound right? I’m searching my memory here) so he had a huge allergic reaction and then came down with measles. This was in the late 80s.

            Pertussis reaction was in the mid 80s. I was furious after the fact because I hadn’t been told there were ANY risks at all, other than a slight possible fever.

          • Stacy21629
            April 17, 2014 at 7:51 pm #

            One “good” thing about the anti-vaccine movement is that it has pushed the creation of safer, component vaccines. And vaccines that don’t have common allergens in them (they aren’t “in” them so much as they are used to culture the virus initially – they have to grow it IN something in the lab before they can isolate the parts and put them in the vaccine).
            This is a glaring omission on the part of anti-vaxers – much like home birthers telling everyone that they are going to be forced to get an enema and be shaved if they go to the hospital they tell people the risks of reactions of vaccines from 20-30 years ago. Those risks simply do not exist any more. Vaccines are made differently and safer.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 18, 2014 at 6:54 am #

            That’s an interesting point that I hadn’t really considered before. But is it wrong to be bothered that they had to learn from the death and disablement of children in the past to make the vaccines safer?
            If you have trouble trusting the medical establishment or Big Pharma, this might not help.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:09 am #

            It wasn’t a conspiracy, it was just the advancement of science, which is constantly trying to improve itself. No one wants to see children harmed less than a vaccine researcher.

          • AllieFoyle
            April 18, 2014 at 7:23 am #

            Is it wrong to be bothered? Yes and no. Adverse reactions are regrettable and of course tragic for the people involved, but you have to look at the big picture. Vaccines were developed to help people avoid the very real adverse reactions from getting the actual illnesses. These illnesses caused far more death and disability than any vaccine. Science is not perfect; it advances incrementally. There’s nothing wrong or sinister or negligent about their development — they were designed to address a great human need — and they have, absolutely and on a grand scale. With time, scientists have been able to make them safer. Vaccines, even the older ones with a higher rate of adverse reactions, led to a great improvement in health across the population. Adverse effects exist, but are rare, and people are working to make them even less likely. There’s no conspiracy.

          • Mishimoo
            April 18, 2014 at 8:27 am #

            If you think about it, all medical advances have involved learning from morbidity and mortality. As for Big Pharma, well, I’m not so convinced by the people who claim that it’s all about the money as there is more money in drugs and nutritional supplements than there is in vaccines. Wouldn’t it make sense for Big Pharma do to something like convince people to not vaccinate (which is done only a few times) and to take expensive supplements every day instead?

          • Young CC Prof
            April 18, 2014 at 10:08 am #

            Other than a handful of vaccines that are still under patent, there’s basically no profit in vaccines. Pennies a dose. There have been times when the government had to step in to make sure that a vaccine stayed available.

          • Mishimoo
            April 18, 2014 at 10:18 am #

            Indeed! I keep being told that “doctors are paid to sell you vaccines” and well, the anti-vaxxers seem a bit crestfallen when I point out that it doesn’t quite work like that in our country thanks to the socialised medical system we have here.

            I have also had some yell “You’re crazy!” and storm off when they try that line and my reaction is to ask: “If that is true, why can’t I easily access the vaccines I want to have, such as the smallpox vaccine?”
            Apparently, being concerned about bioweapons is less plausible than believing that a group of corporations is out to get us.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

            But is it wrong to be bothered that they had to learn from the death and
            disablement of children in the past to make the vaccines safer?

            It depends. There are tradeoffs.

            For example, in many cases, the safer vaccines are less effective vaccines. So when you are in the midst of an epidemic that is killing and maiming a lot of people, you might want to start with the most effective vaccine you can give, even if it has more side effects. Yes, you could (assuming one exists) use a safer but less effective vaccine, but when disease is high, the sacrifice you make in terms of vaccine effectiveness is going to cost lives, too. So in that situation, it makes perfect sense to use a more effective but less safe vaccine, until the disease is back under control, when you can back off on effectiveness, rely more on herd immunity, and have it safer. Ultimately, if you eradicate the disease completely, you can forgo the vaccine completely.

            And we’ve done that. We don’t get small pox vaccines any more. Why? Because they are unnecessary.

            How do you explain THAT with a “medical establishment/big Pharma can’t be trusted” position?

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:48 am #

            I don’t think the anti-vaxers get credit for that. Vaccines have gotten safer because everyone wanted vaccines with lower side effects.
            I blame the stupid anti-vaxers for killing the human Lyme vaccine.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:12 am #

            Egg allergy or not, you can’t get measles from the vaccine. You can get a mild rash, occasionally, that looks like a measles rash, but it’s not contagious or harmful. It’s a known side effect that’s disclosed right on the sheet they give you. My friend’s daughter had that reaction, no big deal, the parents still fully vaccinate her.
            ETA the polio vaccine given today in the US and Canada CANNOT cause polio. It’s an inactivated virus.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 18, 2014 at 10:44 pm #

            This was 20 years ago and I’ve lost touch with that friend, so the details are somewhat hazy. But I do remember that her son was very sick and it was somehow related to his immunization and allergy. Was the vaccine used back then different to the one that might cause a rash?

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 11:00 pm #

            Is it possible that the illness was unrelated? The vaccine has always had the potential to cause a rash. Egg allergy is not considered to be a contraindication for MMR.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 18, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

            I wish I could find my old friend and clarify the details. I have always been under the impression that there was a definite link between the shot and his illness.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 11:27 pm #

            I hope it’s clear I’m only expressing skepticism because of your statement that you ran in woonatic circles. Vaccine injuries are real, and were more common in the past, but they’re so rare that it’s highly improbable that you personally would know so many people with vaccine injuries. It’s more likely that at least some of these incidents were unrelated, but blamed on the vaccines.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

            One thing I liked about Dr. Sears book is that he broke down the risk of having adverse side effects (from mild to severe), the risk of having the disease, the risk of having complications from the disease. It really eased my mind quite a bit!

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:06 am #

            I’m glad it changed your mind, but it’s still full of innacurate information.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 18, 2014 at 7:33 am #

            I’m going to borrow one of Paul Offit’s book from the library… hopefully that will give me a better book to recommend!

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:42 am #


          • Young CC Prof
            April 18, 2014 at 10:04 am #

            Paul Offit is my freaking hero. He invented the rotavirus vaccine. Every time I think about that vaccine, I remember my little brother in the ER from dehydration (before that vaccine was invented) and I see the same thing NOT happening to my son. And NOT happening to some child in a poor country who doesn’t have the option of a hospital and must get well or die on his own.

          • Young CC Prof
            April 17, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

            That was probably the oral polio vaccine, which is a live virus. Roughly one dose in a million does have that effect. Non-endemic countries now use the injected dead virus. It’s a little less effective, but it can’t cause paralysis.

            Feverish and unhappy babies, unfortunately, are a relatively common side effect of many vaccines.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:05 am #

            They’ve changed the pertussis vaccine to an acellukar version that’s much, much less likely to cause side effects.
            My children are fully vaccinated and have never had a reaction other than a bit of soreness for a day or two from the tetanus, and maybe a touch of mild fever with their first MMRV.
            This website is a fascinating read:

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 18, 2014 at 11:46 am #

            One concern among many would be adverse side effects. My neighbour was severely handicapped as a result of his polio vaccination when a baby

            I can believe it (there are known complications), however, the question I would ask is, why do you assume the same (or worse) would not have happened if he caught polio?

            Maybe the reason he had a reaction like that is because he is extremely sensitive to the polio virus and variants, to the point where, if he got the virus, it would have hammered him a lot worse?

            That is actually a good way to think of things like fevers associated with vaccines. OK, the vaccine caused a fever. But if that is the case, imagine what the full blown disease would do!

          • SarahBee
            April 18, 2014 at 2:17 pm #

            Hey CognativeDissonaceHurts! I read your comment and for a minute I thought “My mom reads and comments on SOB?!?!?!” 😉

            In ’85 I had a bad response to a pertussis shot. High pitched screaming, fever, and loss of muscle control (I actually looks like a downs baby for a bit with low tone eyelids). It was documented by my pediatrician (who my mother claimed told her to never vaccinate me again) and is unfortunately the reason most of my younger siblings are not vaccinated.

            Now I’m grown and since I work with newborns decided to catch myself up on my vaccinations. I did the research and tried to help work though my mother’s fears so I could get my medical records from her. I did the shots in a doctors office so I could be observed, and had absolutely no responses to anything at all. No fever, no rash, nothing. It helps that they have changed the DPT since I initially got it. I know it was a huge fear of my mom’s that I would have a response and that wasn’t the case. I hope this helps!

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 18, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

            Hi SarahBee, thanks for sharing your perspective. As a mom, you can’t imagine how scary it is to know that your baby is so sick because of something you chose to do. So I understand why your mom didn’t vaccinate your siblings. We made the same choice. But I am willing to look at the issue again, even though it is very difficult and makes my head hurt….

          • Busbus
            April 17, 2014 at 10:39 pm #

            I liked Seth Mnookin’s book “The panic virus”. It documents the rise of the anti-vaccine movement, and covers a lot of other things, too. He’s a journalist and the book is hard to put down.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 18, 2014 at 6:50 am #

            Thanks. I will look into that.

        • Stacy21629
          April 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm #

          I have changed my mind too and desperately want to have my children vaccinated…but my husband is still vehemently 100% anti-vaccines. I honestly think he’d divorce me if I took the kids to be vaccinated. I’m going to try to bring up vaccines with the pedi at our daughter’s 1 year visit..start with tetanus…but of course we’re using an anti-vax pedi because that’s what we sought out when we were both woo-infested so I don’t see that going well either. 🙁

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 7:29 pm #

            I know this is controversial, but “The Vaccine Book” by Dr. Sears really changed my mind on many of the vaccines.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:00 am #

            But, it’s full of lies.

          • OBPI Mama
            April 18, 2014 at 7:32 am #

            That’s what I was afraid of.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:40 am #

            I linked you further down. Dr. Sears is a lying weasel getting rich off the fears of the AP and NCB movements. His delayed vax schedule is a lie. He’s one of the reasons CA is having measles outbreaks. He also way overstates the risks of vaccines.

          • Stacy21629
            April 18, 2014 at 8:07 am #

            “His delayed vax schedule is a lie.”

            Yea, he just flat-out makes stuff up. There is no scientific evidence for any of of his “schedules”. He just picks dates and vaccines out of thin air and writes it down and voila! Here’s your schedule. Leads to many more kids that are UNDER-vaccinated, which is still completely unprotected.

          • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
            April 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

            What caused you to change your mind?

          • Stacy21629
            April 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

            Paul Offit’s book: Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All.
            It’s an equivalent of the “Hurt By Homebirth” blog and the home birth horror stories you or I never read before having a home birth.

          • Stacy21629
            April 17, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

            Here’s a interview he did:

          • OBPI Mama
            April 17, 2014 at 7:49 pm #

            That must be so hard! We’re a very traditional family where the husband is the head of the household and I am happy to be a submissive wife (it works for us). What is easy for me is that my husband basically leaves most of the children and home decisions upto me… vaccines was one of those times too. I actually wanted his input because I didn’t want to be the only one “to blame” incase… (how I feel about my son’s birth injury, though my husband doesn’t think that. I do). But my husband wouldn’t give me any input! “Do what you think is best”. Sigh. I did do DTAP (though only 1 child has had all the doses) because we farm and are around rusty metal. Now comes the daunting aspect of getting them all caught up!

          • Stacy21629
            April 17, 2014 at 7:53 pm #

            “We’re a very traditional family where the husband is the head of the household and I am happy to be a submissive wife (it works for us).”
            This is us as well. 🙂 It works for me too…except in this area. I am terrified for my children. I take (sick) comfort in “herd immunity” and I just hope that I can innoculate their minds against the woo, even if I can’t innoculate their bodies.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 6:59 am #

            I’d rather be divorced than have a dead child. That would be my hill to die on.

          • Siri
            April 18, 2014 at 7:18 am #

            I agree 100%. What would happen to your marriage if one of your children died of a VPD? Would you ever forgive your husband? Or yourself? And how loved do you feel by a man who’d divorce you over doing the right thing by your children? Sounds more as if you’re being held to ransom. Go on, be brave. Vaccinate your children before it’s too late for them, or for someone else’s child. Don’t hide behind ‘submissiveness’; you owe your children access to proper medical care much more than you owe your husband obedience. Good luck.

          • Trixie
            April 18, 2014 at 7:29 am