Latest homebirth harvest of death

Homebirth reaper

Regular readers may have noticed that I haven’t provided an update of homebirth deaths since late April (Welcome to another edition of homebirth death watch).

It’s not because there haven’t been any deaths or disasters. I’ve been informed about quite a few. It’s because even I’m finding it depressing to reel off a never ending list of babies who died while their mothers were “empowering” themselves, while clueless physicians like Dr. Neel Shah are extolling homebirth without knowing anything about it, and while government entities don’t merely put an end to these tragedies, they keep licensing the faux “midwives” at whose hands these babies die.

But even though it depresses me, I still feel an obligation to publicize these preventable deaths of innocent babies in the apparently vain hope that someone, anyone, will give a damn.

Without further ado:

[pullquote align=”right” color=”#413a3f” ]Just wanted to post quickly in here that I got my HBAC!!! We’ve been in the NICU due to our sweet son not breathing for some time after he came earth-side.[/pullquote]

April 28:

A mother and her baby died after she collapsed during labor at a private clinic in Unity, Wisconsin. According to information on a community message board, she was transferred to the hospital where an emergency C-section was performed but it was too late to save either of them.

The community message board noted that there was a stillbirth at the same clinic in the previous week.

May 7:

The Village Midwife, Jennifer Rector, LM, CPM, DEM, shared this hideous update on Facebook:

If y’all are keeping count, that’s 5 sweet families that have been shaken to the core…since April 26th. Ten days. My heart is aching for them all. When we say that our jobs as midwives are full of great joy and deep sorrow THIS is what we mean.

Years ago I remember driving home from a stillbirth and screaming at God, “why why why? Why do I have to give this news to a family? Why? Why didn’t you just give me a chance to fight for this baby?? You didn’t even let me get my hands on him!” I was devastated for the family, for the siblings, for me. As I was praying and yelling in my car I clearly remember God saying, “anyone can do life”.

Some of these losses may have been miscarriages, but Rector does not elaborate. Apparently another disaster occurred on May 24, when Rector posted this:

Prayers and positive energy please for a mom and dad needed. Things have turned in a direction that none of us thought would happen for their birth.

On June 1, she noted:

Prayers for a sweet family whose baby grew Angel wings today.

Unclear whether this is a reference to the disaster on May 24 or yet another infant death.

Sure, an extraordinary number of babies appeared to have died in this practice, but don’t worry, to generate new business they offer discounts to those who carry guns.

The Village Midwife will cut 20 percent from its charges to people who carry a gun or provide a concealed-gun permit, co-owner Sean Rector said. Under the standard $3,000 fee for home birth and prenatal care, he said, gun owners would save $600.

May 28:

It was revealed that in addition to presiding over the entirely preventable death of mother Caroline Lowell, Gaye Demanuele presided over 2 neonatal deaths within the 18 month period that encompassed Ms. Lowell’s death. According to The Age:

Home birth advocate Gaye Demanuele was the senior of two registered midwives at Caroline Lovell’s fatal home birth in January 2012 that is the subject of a current coronial inquiry.

A directions hearing in the Melbourne Coroners Court heard on Wednesday that Ms Demanuele, and the more junior midwife Melody Bourne, were involved in a home birth where a baby boy died in his mother’s womb in July 2011 – six months before Ms Lovell’s death.

Fairfax Media has also learned that in March 2012, just two months after Ms Lovell’s death, Ms Demanuele was present at another home birth in western Victoria. The baby, also a boy, was born with severe brain damage as a result of a lack of oxygen and died seven months later.

The Age noted:

The revelations raises serious questions about how the midwife was able to attend further home births following the first death in 2011 and how midwives become deregistered and still involve themselves in home births.

That’s an understatement to say the least.

June 4:

Jury: Death of baby at Fort Mill birthing center was homicide:

The newborn’s cause of death was meconium aspiration, according to Dr. Craig Hart of York Pathology Associates. He told jurors that meconium, or the first stool from an infant, was around the fetus in the uterus and was also in the newborn’s stomach and airway…

The birthing center’s website indicates the last birth at the facility was Feb. 28. It had previously been shut down in 2013 after the death of another baby there.

Other news reports note a third death that also occurred at the birth center.

June 14:

From a Facebook HBAC group:

Just wanted to post quickly in here that I got my HBAC!!!

We’ve been in the NICU due to our sweet son not breathing for some time after he came earth-side. Please keep us in your prayers.

R brain damage

According to subsequent posts, it appears that the baby has sustained permanent brain damage.

June 16, from the ICAN Facebook page:

I’ve enjoyed following ICAN over the years and have been encouraged by the stories and support. My first baby was a c-section due to being breech, and my second baby was a perfect, successful, med-free VBAC at a free standing birth center. 2 weeks ago I was almost 39 weeks pregnant with my 3rd daughter. I went into labor after a few days of pre-labor… I suffered a catastrophic uterine rupture while we were still at home. We didn’t know at the time that it had happened- my body was already pushing and we were just trying to get to the birth center in time. When we arrived we found our baby had no heartbeat. We transferred to the hospital where the rupture was discovered. I had an emergency c-section turned hysterectomy when they discovered how bad the rupture was. I had 6 blood transfusions and was told that it’s a miracle I’m alive.

And that’s only the deaths and disasters I’ve heard about in less than 2 months. There were undoubtedly more.

Addendum: Someone reminded me that she had sent me information about this death. I don’t know how I forgot, because the picture was horrific. The baby was born on May 27. Apparently this was an unassisted homebirth.

Freebirth May 27 3

He seems to be having shallow/grunty breaths … when should I be concerned? His little face is quite bruised so I can’t tell if he’s purplish looking because of that, or the breathing?

This was the picture that the mother posted to show the “bruising.”

Freebirth May 27 2


She thought asking her Facebook friends was an appropriate response to the baby’s respiratory distress.


Freebirth May 27

The baby died:

Freebirth May 27 4

Another baby dead because his mother cared more about her bragging rights than about his life. Disgusting!