Watch this video, and you’ll never feel the same about homebirth again

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The death rate of homebirth with American homebirth midwives is appalling. Indeed, it is so appalling that the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), the organization that represents homebirth midwives, hid their death rates for 5 years. When they finally released those death rates, they refused to compare them to the death rates for comparable risk women giving birth in the hospital, because that would have shown that homebirth midwives have a death rate 450% higher.

This is part of the homebirth campaign to bury babies twice, first in tiny coffins in the ground, and then again by erasing their existence from websites, blogs and message boards and by refusing to accept responsibility for those deaths.

Enough is enough! Several months ago, Jan Tritten, the editor of Midwifery Today crowd sourced a life and death situation among her Facebook friends while the baby was dying; then she deleted the thread and any mention of what she had done. The #notburiedtwice campaign was started in response. There’s a Facebook page, numerous tweets, and now, courtesy of doula Danielle Repp, there is a YouTube video. The video includes mothers of babies who have died at homebirth and other women who care passionately about babies who didn’t have to die.

Watch the video. When you do, you will never feel the same way about homebirth again.

Please join our campaign to make sure that the babies who die at homebirth are #notburiedtwice.

  • ducky7

    The part of the video when you see the mothers with their photos and mementos of their babies was just so powerful. Well done. I’d like to see another video with more from the moms and their stories. A link to hurtbyhomebirth would be good, too, so many of the stories on there need to be heard and it makes it more real to read moms on that blog and see them in the video.

  • Karen in SC

    The video is up on Baby Center and Dani has requested anyone with accounts there please chime in with some support.

    http://community.babycenter.com/post/a50327812/such_a_powerful_message

  • DoulaGuest

    Wow this video brought tears to my eyes. I am so very in awe of doula Dani for putting this together. I must confess I feel saddened by myself for not participating, working with an OOH CNM. The bravery of this community and their strength is inspiring and has left me lots of food for thought and self reflection. I really hope that this goes vial.

  • araikwao

    Wow, that was goosebump-inducing. FWIW, I thought you did a great job with the non-professional footage, Doula Dani :)

  • http://www.antigonos.blogspot.com/ Antigonos CNM

    OT Pending Grandchild update: Daughter is 36 wks by dates, between 37-38 weeks by ultrasound. Estimated fetal weight [as of today] is 3.2 kilo. The Amazing Granddaughter was 2.7 kg at the same gestational age, but my daughter had a C/S for primip breech, not macrosomia. Daughter says she “feels this baby is much bigger”, FWIW.

    So, the question of whether to try for a VBAC or not is becoming more relevant. The one thing Daughter doesn’t want is “a long trial of labor that winds up in the OR” so I think that if an ERCS is offered, she will probably take it. While she doesn’t have complicated pregnancies, she does have quite difficult ones, and she and her husband won’t have more than one more child after this one. She will have a repeat ultrasound [by a top specialist in the field, who has offered to do it for free -- he gets a discount on auto parts at my son-in-law's store, a very Israeli way of doing things] this evening, and then we will [hopefully] will have some more data to base a decision on.

    Stay tuned.

  • deafgimp

    Geeze, how I wish people would caption the videos they make in an attempt to reach people. Which are all of them, but videos like this one have an important message vs some guy getting hit in the balls. I really want to know what is said when it is said. The programs to do it are free, they just take up someone’s time and effort.

    And while I appreciate it, I don’t really want someone to tell me alone what is said in the video. I would be happier if the message were available to everyone, including those who have to watch videos with the volume off because they are at work.

    • http://whatifsandfears.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-business-of-being-misled.html Doula Dani

      The words are written in the description of the video.

    • Stacy48918

      Geeze, how about “may I make a suggestion that you add captions or make a captioned version so the message reaches more people.”

      Same request. Less rude. It wasn’t a personal assault or deliberate ommission I’m sure.

  • auntbea

    The little urn is just the worst.

  • yentavegan

    So much pain and anguish… yet it is important to spread the word..thank you for this heart felt video..keep up the good work and fight the good fight.

  • Ob in OZ

    Well done. Moved to tears. Hope we can make a difference for all these women and their families

  • CanDoc

    Bravo.

  • CrownedMedwife

    The wave of emotions watching this video was intense. Wonderfully done and pulls so hard on the heartstrings seeing the heartache in mothers’ voices and the pain on their faces. I don’t know how anyone can NOT think twice about the risks of homebirthing after watching it just once. I’ve watched it several times today and the meaning in the voices and their messages just gets stronger. Well done.

  • bomb

    I’ve been entrenched in 4 flame wars over this video now. Turns out lots of pro science folks still have this particular wool over their eyes. You’d think someone that graduated from MIT would be able to suss out this info, but no.

    I just keep linking to all the pertinent information and they just keep calling me names. Sigh.

    • Karen in SC

      Keep at it, bomb! Way to go!

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    OT:

    Unbelievable! Check out MANA’s explanation of fractions.

    https://www.facebook.com/MidwivesAlliance/posts/845212678842111

    • Bombshellrisa

      This explains why they don’t understand that their death rate is appalling

      • Young CC Prof

        In all seriousness, there are two kinds of quacks, those who believe their own nonsense and those who are flimflam artists. Among the believers, I’ve noticed quite a few folks who appear to have a severe math-specific learning disability, like literate, well spoken people who need a calculator for basic arithmetic with small numbers and have trouble even translating the problem well enough to put it into the calculator.

        I think you’ve put your finger on it: MANA’s rank and file is incapable of understanding the study. Now, the people who wrote it did some very clever deceptive things, but most of ‘em? No idea.

        • Amazed

          “as you’ve seen, Midwives Alliance of North America rarely deletes comments and only when they violate our community guidelines (posted above).”

          Can you believe the audacity of them?

          • Trixie

            Sadly, I can.

          • Amazed

            I am indeed asking answers, aren’t I?

    • Amy

      That is really appalling. Reduction of fractions is something taught in the fourth grade generally.

      • Rabbit

        My just finished second grader learned equivalent fractions this year. I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to do it with larger denominators, but he was. I wrote down 5/1000, and asked him what number would go in the numerator to make an equivalent fraction if 200 was the denominator. He had to think about it, but he was able to figure out that the answer was 1. He was then able to tell me that those fractions were also equivalent to 2/400, and 3/600. Then he got bored and asked if he could play Minecraft.

        • FormerPhysicist

          About the same with mine of the same age.

    • Trixie

      Because the CPM they recommended upthread to the OP surely has the appropriate training in medicine and statistics to fully explain why 1/200 (sorry, 5/1,000) isn’t that big of a deal.

    • Trixie

      Also, there’s something horrible about the way they phrased, “1,000 subjects were necessary to find those 5 deaths.”

    • Captain Obvious

      That’s stupid, it would take at least 10,000 TOLAC to find 50 deaths.

    • auntbea

      Then they posted something about DNA that sounds like it was written by someone on a bad trip.

    • MLE

      Even as an American, I am completely gobsmacked.

    • wookie130

      Whoa, even my own mathematically-impaired brain can spot the error made here.

  • anh

    Well done! Excuse me while I go and hug the crap out of my 21 month old

  • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

    Great video.
    The audio quality is a little distracting and could do with some work though:

    - normalise the individual snippets so all the people are at the same volume
    - gently compress and eq so the voices aren’t so tinny
    - filter out the background noise and hum (0:08-0:10 is particularly bad), wind sounds etc.

    Most video editing programs will have these functions – I’ve found VirtualDub pretty straightforward to use, and it’s free.
    I’m no expert in this though, maybe someone with more experience can chime in.

    • Trixie

      She did have a friend who’s a professional edit the video, and that’s the best audio she could get.

    • http://whatifsandfears.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-business-of-being-misled.html Doula Dani

      No one was using professional equipment. Camera phones, iPads, etc etc…. we both worked on the sound issues for hours…. my friend, Nick, adjusted the volume on each clip many, many times trying to get as uniform as possible. I used a low white noise over top after each clip was edited. We did our best!

      • auntbea

        My husband is an audio engineer and has done this kind of voice work before, if you want him to take a look at it.

      • Hannah

        Dani, I think that it is fine as it is. It comes across as exactly what it is: a variety of women from different places who are enraged by babies dying unnecessarily, a variety of mothers from different places who are mourning babies who shouldn’t have died. If the sound distracts people from that message, I doubt they were really listening anyway.

        • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

          If the sound distracts people from that message, I doubt they were really listening anyway

          As someone who works in social media, I encounter this attitude quite often yet it still frustrates me.
          We live in an attention economy and, while the devotees may not care, the fencesitters – the people that you really want to reach – will balk if you don’t make it easy for them.

          I’m only suggesting cleaning up the audio not some kind of ‘slick’ reality show makeover.
          So within reason, what steps can be taken to maximise the effectiveness and reach of this video?

          • Hannah

            Sorry, I don’t agree. And I have worked as a digital strategist in grassroots political campaigns, so I am not just shooting my mouth off here. Not only that, I worked on campaigns that literally changed the face of political campaigning through the use of social media. I simply don’t agree that in this instance the sound quality is distracting from the message.

            It’s also not helpful when Dani has reiterated that professional sound engineers have in fact done their best with the material these women kindly and bravely provided to them. It’s out there, let’s support it. As the movement grows then the options for a higher quality product will no doubt present themselves.

          • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

            I should leave this alone but I’m in a self indulgent mood and I can smell your bullshit from a mile off.

            I have worked as a digital strategist… I am not just shooting my mouth off here
            Yes you are. Saying you have “worked on campaigns” as a way to establish your professional bona fides is a bit ridiculous, especially when we’re discussing technical issues.

            In what capacity were you working on these campaigns?
            How involved were you in the editing process?
            Do you have a technical background in multimedia?

            Dani has reiterated that professional sound engineers
            Firstly, she never ‘reiterated’ anything, she posted it once in response to my initial suggestion.
            Secondly, she never stated it was a “professional sound engineer”. And with all due respect to her friend, that is not a professional standard of work.

            It’s out there, let’s support it
            How is offering constructive criticism not supporting it?

            All this aside, I’m finding your chest beating over a straightforward suggestion just a little bizarre.

          • Hannah

            I haven’t bullshitted anything. Your self-indulgence seems to have broken your hypocrisy meter, too. The only person chest-beating here is the person acting like I need to be interrogated for disagreeing.

            You said you work in social media to justify your ‘constructive criticism’ by saying it would impact reach (not a technical issue, really). I simply pointed out that having worked on successful grassroots campaigns in social media myself, I too have experience in the strategy area and still do not agree with you.

            My roles were varied over the years. I haven’t asked for your resume, have I?

            As for how involved I was in the editing process – again, it varied over the years – at two points I would film, edit and release videos online at least weekly – it wasn’t always easy even with adequate equipment, let alone a bunch of iPad clips. Not sure how it’s relevant anyway considering you yourself admitted that you aren’t an expert in sound engineering.

            I apologise for saying ‘reiterated’, I thought she had posted twice about it. Others did reiterate her point and it seems to have been no consequence to you, anyway. It was Trixie that said it was a professional who edited it. But nice job on yet more ‘constructive’ criticism.

            Constrictive criticism is one thing but it was delivered in a patronising manner from the outset and when people dared disagree with you, you responded by saying you knew about social media, and I replied saying that with experience…I don’t agree in this instance. It’s not personal.

            Like I said, it’s out there and no doubt as the movement grows, opportunities for higher quality output will present themselves. If you’re that worried, maybe you can give up some of your time for the project?

      • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

        We did our best!

        Absolutely, and you can do even better by using the collective expertise of this forum.
        I suggest you take auntbea up on her offer – a good audio engineer can rescue even the worst recordings.

        • auntbea

          Not necessarily. Sound recorded on a non – professional mic is hard to work with. The filters that take out the background noises can also make voices sound strange or muffled. It’s a trade-off.

    • Karen in SC

      I think the fact that it was obviously created by passionate women and mothers makes this video all the more powerful. We don’t need a slick production to “sell” our message like Ricki Lake and those other clowns.

      • http://whatismyreferer.com/ MikoT

        slick production

        Ehh? What I’m suggesting is very basic stuff, and addressing a technical issue that impedes the message you’re conveying is just common sense.

        • http://whatifsandfears.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-business-of-being-misled.html Doula Dani

          Thank you for the feedback. At this point, we can’t make any changes as it is already live.

  • Amy M

    Excellent. That is very moving. Where else is this posted, so lots of women can see it and learn the truth? I mean, will it come up easily if someone types in “homebirth” in the search bar on YouTube?

    • Karen in SC

      We are trying to get it to go viral. If you are on FB, could you share from Doula Dani’s page? Comment on Youtube? Like wherever you can, and add the video to any related comments on homebirth articles.

  • FormerPhysicist

    Beautiful and sad. I cried. My sympathies to all of the families there, and all of the others.

    If anyone would like to share links to individual stories mentioned in the video, I think that would be valuable. I know many of them exist, but having them all here might be good.

  • Maria

    This is really good! Thank you for doing this Doula Dani!

  • Amazed

    So lovely and so sad. Great job, Doula Dani! And kudos to you for staying so polite to the Ebil Dr Amy whiner on NGM website – a feat that I cannot achieve, I’m afraid. Really, I wonder what’s wrong with people like her. The fact that someone can watch such a video and see only Evil Dr Amy Who Should Not Be Endorsed, Too Bad for the Tiny Little Bodies is beyond me.

    • attitude devant

      Her line about Notburiedtwice being Dr Amy’s cash cow is particularly absurd

      • Amazed

        Oh yes. But then, what about this kind of posts isn’t? For Pete’s sake, we’re talking about babies dying so MANA and killer midwives can line their pockets and they are talking about a cash cow for a retired physician… A monumental break of communication. We live on different planets. I like to think I am the one inhabiting the Earth but reading such posts makes me wonder – they sound so ridiculously convincing.

      • moto_librarian

        The ACNM needs to quit pretending that CPMs/DEMs/LMs will ever accept the accountability required for them to practice safely. We don’t need all of these credentials for midwifery when we have the CNM and CM (I think that pushing more states to license the CM is far preferable to the CPM). MANA has made it clear that they don’t give a shit about outcomes. The only way things will improve is if they are compelled by the law to do so. Enough with this “sisterhood” bullshit!

    • Amy M

      What are you referring to here? Is this something on facebook?

      • Amazed

        NGM facebook page. While admiring Doula Dani, the poster claims – and presumes to speak of the name of her colleagues, midwives with education, IIRC – that she cannot take part in the demeaning of homebirth midwives which is Dr Amy cash cow.

        • Bombshellrisa

          She is woo-tastic and currently a student CNM. Google U shows that she is a twin mother who “insisted” on giving birth to twins vaginally, although she was scheduled for a c section

          • Amazed

            Thanks. Why am I not surprised? *snark*

          • Amy M

            How are her twins? Both alive and neurologically normal? (I hope so,for their sakes, but of course she’ll then use their birth as “proof” that what she did was a good idea.)

  • MaineJen

    That was absolutely beautiful.

  • Karen in SC

    Can we submit this video for an award? It is incredibly powerful in conveying the message. Thanks Dani!

  • wookie130

    Well done! I was in tears toward the end, when the mothers were holding pictures of the precious babies they lost to homebirths gone wrong.

    • NoLongerCrunching

      I found Mary Beth’s gravestone particularly poignant.

  • http://whatifsandfears.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-business-of-being-misled.html Doula Dani

    Thank you for writing this post, Dr. Amy! Thank you for starting the campaign and for all of your dedication to raising awareness and seeking justice for the many, many babies that didn’t need to die.

    • attitude devant

      Terrific job, Dani!