The pace of homebirth deaths appears to be accelerating. When I first started the predecessor of this blog back in 2006, I heard about a few homebirth deaths a year and wrote about every death I heard about. Gradually the pace picked up to one or more a month. Earlier this year I acknowledged that there are so many homebirth deaths that I can no longer keep up with them. As recently as last month I reported on multiple homebirth deaths that took place in the space of 6 weeks (Latest homebirth harvest of death).
Now I’m horrified to report 5 6 7 homebirth deaths in the past WEEK! [Edited after readers of this post shared information about two additional deaths. See below.]And those are only the confirmed homebirth deaths; there may have been more. There were additional cases of injury as well.
Why the dramatic acceleration in homebirth deaths?
I suspect part of the increase may reflect the reported increase in homebirths. I am hoping, however, that the dramatic increase in deaths in partly a reflection of the fact that as this blog has become more popular, and as other homebirth safety groups have sprung up, I’m simply receiving more reports than I have received in the past.
In the past WEEK:
1. July 23 Baby Boy C.
Born in a CPM attended birth center. Birth announcement removed from the birth center’s page. Cause of death unknown.
2. July 24 Baby Boy C.
Everyone… Please pray for my friend L…she just delivered her first baby boy this morning and he started having trouble breathing…. they did CPR on him while waiting for the paramedics…. got baby to BGH and airflighted him to SHM NICU…. He’s struggling to survive… his body keeps overheating and he’s had 2 seizures.
Later that day:
PLEASE PRAY RIGHT NOW… He is fighting for his life…. on a cooling pad (bc his body keeps overheating which is causing seizures) and he is on a breathing machine but taking a breath here and there on his own…as well as being “hooked up” to many other things…
Baby C. has an MRI test to medically confirm any brain stem activity but it takes 48-72 hrs for him to go thru the warming and cooling process…. His heart is very strong but that seems to be the only part of his body working on its own…
July 29th (after warming completed)
Last night they received the MRI test results from their doctor. The MRI test confirmed with the other test results… This is very devastating and so very sad and we ask for you to pray for their Comfort…
Baby C. went home to be with Jesus at 11:30 last night.
3. July 25/26 Baby Boy
Unassisted pregnancy, unassisted birth after a previous premature birth at 30 weeks.
Our best friend and his girlfriend lost their baby boy during home birth last night. This was their second child. With her first her water broke 10 weeks early and their daughter was a premie. This pregnancy had gone without event but also without any prenatal care. It is her belief that pregnancy is natural and requires no additional monitoring if everything goes well. This is not his belief, but he wasn’t able to convince her and decided to support her choice ultimately.
I do not know any more details at this time…
Prayer warriors, I’m upset by God’s tactics today and it’s really throwing me off. Maybe I just need to share this with you…
Our friends abruptly lost their infant son during labor and delivery this weekend. There are no words you can say when a parent must face the loss of a child. My most eloquent scripture and our entire ability to love seems utterly meaningless, right now. Their hearts have been on mine without wander today.
Our friend who lost her son, she made pregnancy her job. She did countless hours of research into understanding every facet of her job as a mother. I have watched her nurse a preemie to bounding health, their first daughter. She was born for this job, being a mother, and she’s GREAT at it. Why is she asked to shoulder this?
4. July 26 Baby Girl E.
Attempted unassisted homebirth. Stalled at 9 cm. Mother’s friend crowd sourced advice on Facebook. Ultimately transferred to the hospital with a live baby. Baby appears to have died during further labor.
5. July 27/28 Baby gender unknown
Grand multip attempting HBAC. She had had multiple previous successful VBACs. Transferred for abruption. Mother developed eclampsia with seizures. No fetal heartbeat on admission to the hospital. Emergency repeat C-section for a baby that appeared to have been dead for at least an hour.
6. July 26 Baby Girl A
Born at home before noon after what appears to have been an HBAC. Baby immediately transferred to the hospital “due to complications of labor.” Baby died before midnight.
The mother details the first time she was able to see the baby after her hospital transfer:
An eternity passed before I was able to see her, or at least that is how it felt. She had so many wires and tubes and pokes and pricks. I was able to touch her forehead and her hand. We were told she had a cooling cap on her head to cool down her brain. We were told to hope and pray for a seizure, because then we were know there was a least a little brain activity. This was the most absurd thing I have ever been told. I remember being so angry at the doctors for telling me to hope for such a horrible thing, but then it sank in how bad this really was. My daughter had NO brain activity, none. She had machines breathing for her, she would never do that on her own. She wasn’t clotting. She was anemic, acidotic and brain dead.
7. July 30 Baby Boy M
Today we delivered our M. He wasn’t breathing and never responded despite all attempts by us or the medical team after transfer. We lost him officially at 3:30…
There are two other babies born at home/birth center who are currently fighting for their lives (one with group B strep pneumonia, another baby with a severe brain injury).
If 5 6 7 dead babies in one week is not enough to convince women that homebirth is extraordinarily dangerous, I don’t know what is.