Ruth Rodley thinks dead babies are “hickups”

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Homebirth advocates are panicking. At least 7 babies have died at homebirth in the past weeks.

Although homebirth advocates are excellent at denial, even they are having a tough time explaining this away.

Consider Ruth Rodley, an administrator of one of the most dangerous and notorious homebirth Facebook groups. Here’s what Ruth had to say about the 7 deaths in one week:

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…she is so anti homebirth, that she will find ANY story about homebirth that may have had a little hickup [sic] and totally throw it out of proportion. There may have been a few deaths, BUT please be aware that we know even in the hospital that wouldn’t have been avoided. it was out of anyones control …

Really, Ruth? A DEAD BABY is a “hickup” in your view? How can you be so utterly heartless?

Really, Ruth? A dead baby is a “hickup” in your view?

Ruth’s ugly statement gives me an opportunity to expound on the difference between ignorant homebirth clowns like Rodley and real medical professionals.

1. Obstetrics is preventive care.

Just about every test, intervention and procedure is designed to prevent dead babies. We can argue about whether a particular test accurate, whether a specific intervention might be avoided in a specific case, or whether a particular procedure was require in the circumstances. We cannot and should not argue about the value of preventive care.

A woman has the right to forgo hospital birth, just like a woman has the right to ignore a doctor’s advice about smoking, drinking and obesity. But in both cases, what she’s really forgoing is preventive care. Claiming that a baby who dies at homebirth would have died in the hospital is like claiming that the 400 pound woman who smokes two packs of cigarettes a day currently residing in the ICU after her heart attack would have had a heart attack any way even if she hadn’t been an obese smoker. Sure both are theoretically possible, but unlikely.

When you forgo the preventive care that was designed SPECIFICALLY to prevent death during childbirth and then your baby dies, you can’t expect anyone to take you seriously when you claim it would have happened anyway even if you’d had preventive care.

2. Obstetrics is always trying to do better. Homebirth advocates never try to do better.

Doctors and real midwives take bad outcomes very seriously. They are crushed by deaths. They are always trying to do better; that’s why we collect childbirth mortality statistics in the first place. You will NEVER hear an obstetrician or real midwife dismiss a potentially preventable death as inevitable. At the very least, the obstetrics department of the hospital will review the case and offer suggestions for better managment. If the death is the result of a system wide failure, new policies will be put in place. If the death is the result of not acting fast enough, the entire obstetric department will drill on responding faster or a special emergency team might receive extra training as first responders.

Homebirth midwives automatically absolve themselves of responsibility for doing better by pretending that nothing could have been done to change the outcome. There will be no root cause analysis for fear that the root cause is the decision to give birth at home; better not to look than to find that out. There will be no hospital review. There will be no new safety policies because there are NO safety policies at all. No one will drill on preventing future disasters because that would mean that they might have prevented the present disaster.

3. Obstetricians take responsibility. Homebirth midwives and advocates do everything in their power to deny and avoid responsibility for their own actions.

Homebirth advocacy depends on the willful belief of several fundamental fictions: the fiction that childbirth is inherently safe; the fiction that the key to avoiding a bad outcome is “trusting birth”; the fiction that homebirth deaths are always unpreventable.

I wouldn’t want a pilot who refused to take responsibility for a crash; I wouldn’t want an architect who refused to take responsibility for a bridge collapse; I wouldn’t want a doctor who refused to take responsibility for a potentially preventable death. Why would anyone willingly choose a homebirth midwive who will never accept responsibility regardless of the type and magnitude of the disaster that occurred at her hands?

4. Obstetricians will fight fiercely to save your baby and you. Homebirth midwives and advocates will dismiss you and your dead baby as “hickups,” a nuisance to be casually dismissed while proceeding merrily on their way to self-actualization. An obstetrician cares profoundly whether you and your baby survive; a homebirth midwife or advocate couldn’t care less.

Ruth Rodley and her ilk are contemptible creatures whose self-esteem depends on hood-winking other women into risking their babies’ lives and then refusing to accept responsibility when those babies die.

To all those homebirth advocates parachuting in here and on Facebook in a desperate attempt to deny that homebirth isn’t merely deadly, it’s obviously deadly:

Don’t waste your time.

I’m as likely to believe you as I am to believe the 400 pound smoker in ICU who claims her heart attack was unavoidable.

To Ruth Rodley:

Do the babies of the world a favor and shut up! Stop luring women into risking their babies’ lives to boost your self-esteem. Find another hobby like gardening. That way if anything dies as a result of your advice, it will be an expendable plant, not another woman’s precious baby.

And if you have anything to say to or about me, come here and say it so I can publicly eviscerate your desperate lies.

  • Immerito

    I really don’t understand the mindset that a baby is a prop or an object to make one’s self or one’s cause look better. That’s what is behind her remarks. She can’t use dead babies to support her cause, therefore they are “hickups” (sic).

  • Nichole Mariyah

    Oh I was well aware when I had my hbac and went to the hospital. Give these women some credibility. My midwife didn’t lie to me, and I’m not an idiot. I did my research. But it was the mistreatment from the obgyns that made me want to have an hbac. So maybe if people didn’t have such traumatic hospital experiences they wouldn’t feel like having the baby at home is worth the risk.

    • Cobalt

      Please, tell me what the risk of a baby dying at HBAC is, and the risk of a baby dying from repeat cesarean in the hospital, and the risk of the baby dying in a VBAC at the hospital. Cite STUDIES, not opinion pieces.

      Then explain why that increase in risk of death was worth avoiding the hospital.

      If you have a bad hospital experience, address it. Ask questions. Find out why the staff did what they did. File complaints if they did something wrong. File a malpractice claim if they put you or your baby in any danger.

      To decide that you’d rather just deny your baby basic medical care rather than address your issues with the hospital is immature at best.

      I cannot imagine a hospital experience more traumatic than living with the fact that you let your baby die inside you rather than seek appropriate medical care.

      • Roadstergal

        “If you have a bad hospital experience, address it. Ask questions. Find out why the staff did what they did. File complaints if they did something wrong. File a malpractice claim if they put you or your baby in any danger.”
        Jeebus, THIS. If hospitals are not living up to compassionate care, make them live up to it. Don’t throw the baby out with the kiddie pool water.

      • No more lies

        So what about Brazil? They cant reduce the maternal mortality rate and doctors blame that to the excess of c-sections.
        Or what about the babies that die or are brain damaged at hospitals because moms were induced without consent or medical need? Those babies doesn’t count right?
        Deaths caused by interventions are so easy to hide when a mom is ignorant…
        “We had a complication and they couldn’t save my baby”
        In the insert of pitocin.. not aproved by FDA by the way it says that possible consecuences are brain damage or death.
        Who is accountable for that?

        Appropiate medical care is when you have an intervention ONLY if its needed.
        Elective inductions are not supported by evidence because of the risks of a brain damage or death and post partum hemorrhage.
        To make things worst, most of those “elective inductions” are not he mom’s choice.
        The doctor “elected to be at home for dinner”.

        • Daleth

          what about the babies that die or are brain damaged at hospitals because moms were induced without consent or medical need?

          Please point me to even one single case where induction caused the baby to die or be brain damaged.

          I ask because induction just means prompting the uterus to contract, which is what it does anyway to deliver the baby. You can prompt using medications or manual techniques (stripping the membranes…). Either way, if induction works the uterus starts contracting.

          So explain to me how causing a full-term pregnant woman’s uterus to contract kills or brain damages a baby???

        • Mariana

          Reduction of maternal mortality rate is acomplished by more than just reducing the number of csections, especially in a vast developing country such as Brazil. Public health care, while universal and free in Brazil, is profoundly unequal (some regions have much higher standards than others) and incredibly under-funded. It is not uncommon for equipment to be broken, medication not to be available, or sometimes even a lack of beds and rooms. Also, public hospitals don’t usually do maternal request csections. Maternal mortality in Brazil could be reduced by reducing economic inequalities, providing good medical care for the entire population, and making sure hospitals are fully staffed and funded. After all of that is done, we can worry about csection rates…

          Private hospitals in Brazil will do maternal request csections, which a lot of women want. So yes, csection rate in private hospitals is quite high, but maternal mortality rate for middle class women with access to prenatal care and good health care might not be high.

          Im not a public health scholar, nor do I have hard numbers to show. But I do live in Brazil and had 2 kids here. (And yes, I know that does not make me an expert)

    • Daleth

      Nichole, did you know when you chose the HBAC that the risk of your baby dying in an HBAC was at least 1 in 200? Did your midwife tell you that? Oh, and that’s the risk if you had only one CS, no other prior uterine surgeries (like fibroid removal), and your prior CS used a low transverse incision. If you had more than one prior uterine surgery or a different type of c-section incision, your risk would have been even higher. Did your midwife tell you that?

      If she didn’t tell you, then she lied to you.

      And compare that to a hospital VBAC baby death rate of, at worst, 1 in 2200. Eleven times less likely to kill your baby. The risk of rupturing is the same in the hospital and at home, but if you rupture in the hospital, your baby will survive 91.5% of the time, vs. virtually 0% of the time at home (the incredibly rare stories of babies surviving rupture in a home VBAC nearly always include permanent brain damage for the baby).

      And of course the death rate from a full term elective repeat c-section was 0 in 200, 0 in 2200… just plain 0.

      Did your midwife tell you any of that? If she had, would you have thought attempting an HBAC was worth the risk?

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Research? How many scientific papers did your read in full? Zero?

  • Nichole Mariyah

    Wow you are such a bully. As someone who has had now two caesariens I have gotten nothing but tremendous support and guidance from this lady. Im sure you are using her private posting without her consent. You’re really really desperate aren’t you? Go back to you filthy hole of a low life you live in. You’re a vile human being.

    Home birth or hospital birth who cares. We are one of a very few countries who have obgyns deliver babies and one of a very few who think birth needs a hospital. To each their own. I would assume any and all home birth moms are aware of the risk they’re taking. Just as those having a hospital birth. I was horribly mistreated with my sons birth by the obgyns that I feared the hospital so bad I ended up shaking, vomiting and with a rapid heart rate just going back again.

    death happens by the hands of obgyns too. But that won’t help your argument.

    What a woman does to give birth is none of your business. Get over yourself. If you want to promote hospital births and speak against home births there is a classy, respectful way to do it. THIS is not one of them.

    • Daleth

      The reason we care about home birth vs. hospital birth is that in the US, home birth increases the risk of a dead baby by about 450%, and it multiplies the risk of a brain-damaged baby by about 16 times. And no, women planning a home birth are not “aware of the risk they’re taking,” because home birth midwives reassure them that it is as safe as hospital birth. Which is not even remotely true.

    • Inmara

      “We are one of a very few countries who have obgyns deliver babies and one of a very few who think birth needs a hospital.”

      Really? REALLY? To make this statement true, you definitely mean that these ‘few’ countries are developed ones, as opposed to numerous developing countries which simply don’t have resources to maintain OB/GYN care and accessible hospitals for laboring women (and they pay for that with much higher perinatal and maternal mortality than in developed countries).

      • Daleth

        Let’s list a few of those “very few” countries that promote hospital birth: Japan, the UK, France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, etc. etc. etc.

        On the other hand, home birth is big in Somalia. Only because they don’t have enough hospitals, but hey, maybe that’s because they “trust birth” and decided they didn’t need any! (Sarcasm over.)

    • Roadstergal

      “death happens by the hands of obgyns too.”

      And sober drivers crash.

      “I would assume any and all home birth moms are aware of the risk they’re taking.”
      Nope. My UK friend has let the midwives and NCB people there convince her that HB is always safer than hospital birth, even for a VBAC, and cite the Birthplace study as support – which is actually not what it shows. Ideology over information.

    • OBPI Mama

      When I had my homebirth, my midwife assured me how safe it was, discussed the risks of a HOSPITAL birth quite a bit, but discussed no risks of homebirth (and certainly never discussed preventable injuries/death at home… and she still never discusses the preventable injuries and deaths that she has accumulated over the years since my son’s birth as well). She discussed the horrendous-ness of hospitals so much that she frightens many women (not just me at the time) away from them, many of whom have never even been in a hospital or met an ob/gyn.. It stays in your brain, seeps into it so much, that she allowed me to thank her when she endangered my son’s life, injured him for life, and injured me for years… why did I thank her? Because she told me, “You would have been a C-section at the hospital.” At the time that sounded like a death warrant, like prison, like it would be worse than my son dealing with a birth injury for the rest of his life. When I got my wits about me after that brainwashing ordeal, I went on to have 4 C-sections that resulted in healthy babies. What was I most shocked about when I had my second child? The kindness, individualized care, and compassion that the hospital staff showed me! Is recovery ideal? Not always. I’ve had some hiccups… and not dead babies when I say that. Actual hiccups like incision issues, a spinal headache, and the like. Is it 2 months of my life vs. the lifetime of my child/the life of my child? Yes… and I can live with that happily! -If I had an issue with the hospital’s treatment of me, I would contact the hospital, file a complaint, and address it instead of run away and take on the risks of an hbac. I had to write about some issues I had with a different hospital one time… they called me back the next day, had an inservice day for their nurses to discuss the issue, did some new training days, and ironed out the issue promptly. I’ve never heard of the same complaint from anyone else again. Hospitals take issues seriously. Homebirth midwives just brush them under the rug and move on.

    • Chi

      Are you denying that she said what she said? Are you saying she ISN’T trying to sweep these dead babies under the rug? That she’s trivializing the grief of these parents by saying that the deaths of their children are just “hickups” [sic]

      And as an OBGYN, Dr Amy certainly does have the right to care about how and where women are giving birth. Especially when home birth is such a dangerous option that babies are DYING. Babies that would probably have had a really good shot in the hospital if they’d had timely interventions.

      And by the way, America is NOT “one of the few” countries who thinks birth needs a hospital. Most of the developed world has most (I’m guessing in excess of 90%) of their babies delivered in a hospital. I know here in New Zealand, the hospital birth rate is about 95%.

      Hospitals aren’t the devil. If you had a bad hospital experience, that was probably the exception rather than the rule. And labor is stressful enough, so that it’s very easy to see medical urgency as undue pressure and even ‘rushing’.

      The problem is the midwives. If it were OBGYNs delivering the babies at home, then maybe there’d be a drop in baby deaths. Lay midwives don’t have the experience or training to recognize emergency situations, such as uterine tear or rupture, prolapsed cord (to name a couple) and so aren’t quick enough to transfer. Thus babies are arriving at hospital either dead or severely brain damaged, when a timely c-section or forceps delivery might have saved them (I say might as nothing is guaranteed but the odds are better in a hospital).

      So yes, it’s entirely her business. And she has the RIGHT to publish these stories, so that people KNOW about these children before the midwives complicit in their deaths try to sweep them under the rug again.

    • yugaya

      ” We are one of a very few countries who have obgyns deliver babies and one of a very few who think birth needs a hospital.”

      99% of women who die in childbirth every year are dying in countries where they never get the chance to have an OB deliver their baby and where majority of births takes place outside of hospitals. You are a fucked up birth bigot every time you use their misfortune as an excuse to glorify your own privileged choices.

  • KL

    For me the single most important job I have as a parent is to always do my best to ensure my child’s survival and well-being. If I birth at home and something goes wrong I cannot say that I have done my best to prevent any harm that comes to my child. To me it is that simple. Do your best. If you’ve somehow convinced yourself that your baby is safe enough at home you are not doing your parental duty and anything that happens is on your conscience as a parent.

    Cue the shit-storm of angry posts calling me a victim-blamer….

    • Daleth

      Are you blaming the dead and brain-damaged babies? No? Ok, then you’re not a victim blamer.

  • RMY

    I think she awkwardly was trying to say the signs you recognized as symptoms of pending problems are “hiccups” which they ignore. At least that’s how I read it.

    And that seems to be how things go. OB’s react to prevent the worst when it looks like there’s a chance something bad may develop. This saves the percentage who would’ve died without intervention, even though in some cases it ends up being unneeded. Given how technology doesn’t allow doctors an exact picture if something will lead to death or other horrible complications, they would rather aire on the side of caution, where lay midwives would rather aire on the side of how ‘in most cases it’d turn out okay’ because the lack of interventions in how they sell themselves to expecting parents.

    My cousin had a c-section for failure to progress. This scenario is often a something HB advocates say is an unnecessary intervention and proof that doctors just want to cut you up. Now there are undoubtedly cases where a woman goes from failure to progress to delivering a healthy baby. However, in my cousin’s case, the cord was wrapped around the baby’s neck multiple times and was too short to allow him to descend. If she had tried to continue to labor for a natural delivery, there was no way it would’ve ever worked without him being strangled by the cord.

    The doctors didn’t know how short the cord was until they delivered him. That technology to detect that isn’t in place yet. When technology is able to determine 100% of a c-section is necessary or not, the rate will probably go down. But until then, it’s a % risk trade off. OB’s really hate dead babies, so the advocate for the risk to be as low as possible. HB lay midwives hate interventions, so they wait until the risk is obviously a very high percentage to transfer.

    • fiftyfifty1

      “lay midwives would rather aire on the side of how ‘in most cases it’d turn out okay’ because the lack of interventions in how they sell themselves to expecting parents.”

      Actually homebirth midwives err on the side of doing nothing because they CAN’T ACTUALLY DO ANYTHING.

      • RMY

        They can transfer care to real medical professional. And that should.

        • yugaya

          In most cases a layperson as birth attendant will dial 911 sooner and transfer when needed than a quack homebirth midwife does. And when shit hits the fan like it so often does in homebirth, you are expected to help cover everything up and enable your quack midwife to remain legally and ethically not responsible in any way for her actions.

          Ask yourself: am I really giving birth “as safe or safer than in a hospital” if I am giving birth with someone who is not only a fake HCP, but a person illegally practicing medicine: “In states in which midwifery is illegal, you must do everything in your power to protect your midwife from prosecution. This may mean not giving her name to certain doctors, not putting her name on the birth certificate, not mentioning her name to friends and relatives who do not support your birth choices, and more.”

          http://www.midwiferytoday.com/articles/midwiveswant.asp

          • RMY

            That’s scary and just goes to show how cultish home birth midwifery can be.

      • Sue

        That’s it!

        IF they can;t alter the outcomes, why pay for them to be there?

    • rh1985

      Exactly, I’d rather have a provider that over intervenes over one that under intervenes. Because the consequence of over intervention is a c-section that maybe possibly could have been avoided. The consequence of not intervening enough is a dead or permanently brain damaged baby.

      • RMY

        That’s how I feel too. As long as the risks of the c-section are lower than the risks of not having one – it seems only logical. At least if a live and healthy baby is your goal in this entire deal.

        The midwives are technically correct that there is no risk-free option, but pushing the idea that receiving an epidural or c-section is a bad outcome on par with real problems leads to very bad decision making.

        • Amy

          That’s exactly it. They consider a c-section to be a bad outcome, full stop. Not an intervention/procedure that has a longer recovery time than a vaginal birth in most but not all cases. Then they go around and promote that view to pregnant women AND those who’ve already had a c-section.

          • Chi

            What does my head in are the home birth advocates who fear-monger by calling episiotomies and c-sections birth-rape, and tell you that if you use drugs, it’ll make your labor longer, and GUARANTEE you an unwanted intervention, plus apparently the drugs also prevent you from bonding with baby, prevent your milk coming in etc etc etc.

            And they’re ALLOWED to get away with it. In order to extend their client base, to basically glorify a woman’s suffering for their own sense of twisted narcissism.

            Ugh, just ugh.

          • SporkParade

            I was asked this morning why I always need to be so “controversial.” This was because I told a woman planning a VBAC that she should ignore the ignoramuses claiming that having an epidural would cause longer labor and a higher risk of C-section. Then again, maybe they were upset that I blamed natural childbirth courses for spreading that type of misinformation. Or that I said that Ina May Gaskin let her own baby die and calls women who needs CS for medical reasons “lemons.”

    • guest

      Exactly. I had a c-section because one twin was having heart decelerations that weren’t rebounding fast enough after contractions. Would she have survived vaginal delivery? Possibly! But she also might not have, and the mfm advised a c-section because at that point, a section was more likely to result in two live births than a vaginal delivery. And so it did. I didn’t want to have surgery, and I will always kind of wish I had been able to experience vaginal birth, but I don’t for a second regret consenting to surgery to give us all the *best* chance of health.

      • KeeperOfTheBooks

        This reminds me very much of what my OB said to me when we were discussing my then-somewhat-wooish birth plan: “I’d rather have you wishing the birth experience was different than have you wishing that something bad didn’t happen during it.” I’m paraphrasing, but that’s about it. Smart man. And, for the record, my DD’s CS was just about the most beautiful, wonderful hour of my life.

        • Daleth

          That’s it, isn’t it. What else is there to say?

        • Taysha

          My MFM pulled the plug on my pregnancy a little after 37w because with my medical history and the fact that I had twins (breech/transverse) he decided he preferred me going early and having two live kids than waiting any more and risking disaster. I agreed.

          Text book c-section. Both kids were perfect. NICU was at the ready anyway (they felt cheated, they had nothing to do)

          • KeeperOfTheBooks

            Something tells me that NICU staff absolutely LOVE feeling “cheated.” Unlike, say, CPMs.

    • Daleth

      The cord length thing is a huge issue that I knew NOTHING about (despite having spent hundreds of hours while pregnant researching my options–actually researching, I mean, like on PubMed). After my twins were born, it turned out their cords were both extremely short–9″ and 10″, or shorter than about 95% of umbilical cords. I’d had ultrasounds every two weeks from 16 weeks on because they were mono-di twins, and no one ever noticed that the cords were short. Current ultrasound technology doesn’t permit accurate cord measurement.

      And with me having anterior placenta, the laws of physics would have had to be temporarily suspended for them to get out vaginally safely. If I hadn’t chosen a c-section, and INSISTED on it in the face of doctors repeatedly trying to persuade me to try for a vaginal birth, the birth of Baby A would have pulled off the placenta, leaving Baby B in there without an oxygen source. BEST CASE scenario, I would have needed a crash c-section for Baby B, and I would’ve had BOTH types of childbirth to recover from instead of just one. Worst case scenario? I don’t even want to imagine it.

  • Mel

    Do you want to take medical advice from someone who can’t proof-read well enough to realize that involuntary contractions of the diaphragm are called “hiccups” not “hickups”?

    Also, the term “hick” is a derogatory term for poorly educated people who live in the country in the USA. Is this a Freudian slip about the educational standards of CPM and/or a jab at women who UC?

    • Cobalt

      You know, I get AutoCoWreckeded sometimes, but I don’t know what would let “hickups” through. Maybe her spellchecker gave up?

      • Bombshellrisa

        Remember the home birth midwife who write a whole ebook about “social morays”? Came across this the other day (click view)

        • Sue

          (To the tune of Dino’s”That’s AMore”)

          WHen the eel that you feel
          DOesn’;t feel like an eel

          That’s …a moray!

          • Who?

            Nailed it!

          • Sue

            Thanks, but I can’t claim credit. I just keep it up my sleeve for (rare) opportunities!

          • libbycone

            When two screens are manipulated,
            Unless otherwise stipulated,
            That’s a moire!

          • SporkParade

            Here is the original, complete with image of a social moray. http://www.skepticalob.com/2014/09/birth-whats-in-it-for-you.html

    • Sue

      Freudian slip?

    • SporkParade

      See, I’m eating crow now because I thought it would be funny to correct her spelling to hiccough . . . without recognizing that she misspelled hiccup in the first place.

  • DelphiniumFalcon

    I don’t understand these people… They just seem so unfeeling and dismissive of any sort of pain, mental or physical. Especially if they’re the reason for said pain.

    The OBGYNs I’ve known have been so loving to their patients. I know that’s not always the case but they always seem to care so much for the women and children they’re responsible for.

    When a coworker of mine had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy that she only survived because she was literally working IN the ER, the OBGYN was extremely protective of her. Our boss wanted her to come back to work the next day. He called our boss up when he heard and reamed her up one side and down the other and laid out that my coworker needed x amount of recovery time and he’ll fax the doctor’s note down as they’re speaking. And if she tried to cause problems for my coworker he would raise unholy hell.

    I don’t know ANY midwife, holistic medicine practitioner, and whatever out there that cares even one a fraction as much about their charges as that OBGYN.

    I saw the ER staff and the other doctors including the OBGYNs walk out of the hospital in a daze after they came in voluntarily to try to save another doctor’s baby that was born with complications. It was one of those cases where there was absolutely nothing they could do. But they tried anyways. I know I saw at least one nearly in tears. This baby wasn’t even this OBGYNs case. Or the CNM who was devastated that despite everything they tried the baby wasn’t going to make it. Not her case either. The one who was over the case was beyond saddened by what had happened.

    Why do I hear of all the “cold, unfeeling” OBGYNs? Everywhere I have been between Oregon and Utah I see OBGYNs and CNMs with walls of pictures in their offices either holding a healthy pink baby smiling like the baby was their own, or looking at a new family with a healthy baby like an aunt or uncle who naturally belongs there. Pictures of children they delivered covering more walls in their offices as they reach their miles stones like walking, first lost tooth, first day of kindergarten, or high school graduation in some cases. So many messy little drawings mothers give them as souvenirs when they ask if they can have one or the kid draws them one themselves in the waiting room or kid’s play center.

    As soon as the mom is out of the birthing pool or the baby is taken off the mother’s breast, midwives don’t care. Their high is over and they start looking for the next woman they can play God with. She’ll care about that women again if she brings another baby to her to govern life and death over. Where are their walls of children reaching their first milestones? Drawings from those children their mothers bring in and they ask if they can have one? The haunted look of despite doing everything up to and including Lifeflight for a baby, they know that baby is dead. Knowing they have to pull it together for their other patients but never forgetting those dead children and going over and over again what they could have done differently. Knowing they aren’t some all powerful birth God and medicine has its limits. Trying to expand those limits so they don’t have to see another family grieve a life that hadn’t even lived.

    The OBGYNs I have known have been so humble in the face of potential life and death knowing they cannot tell nature to obey their commands. All the midwives I’ve read about, seen, or met have a God complex that seem to believe they can dictate nature to do their will.

    I know which one I trust more.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      Beautifully written. Hear, hear.
      My OB is one of the kindest, humblest people I’ve ever met. He’s also–at least according to information volunteered from virtually every labor/delivery/postpartum nurse I saw at the hospital–one of the best in his field, hands-down.
      The man’s been an OB for thirty-odd years. His waiting room has album after album after album of the babies he’s delivered. When I saw him for my six week postpartum visit and gave him a copy of the selfie we all had taken after she was born as well as a thank-you note, he teared up and gave me a hug. He must get a dozen of those a week, but mine still was a Big Freaking Deal to him.
      Hell, the first time I met him, he was distracting a *very* active three-year-old boy while his mom finished up paperwork. How? By singing the “Spiderman” theme song and bouncing him up and down. Seriously.
      He is *awesome.* I have no doubt there are docs out there who think that “MD” stands for “Medical Deity,” but I never did meet one while DD was being born, whether my OB or his partner.

      • Allie P

        My OBs are the same. I recently asked mine when she was planning on retiring. She said, “Never. I love catching babies.”

    • mostlyclueless

      This isn’t nearly on the same scale as the losses you’re describing, but I had a miscarriage last week, and every OB I interacted with was so kind to me. It’s an experience I’ll never forget, sadly, but for as long as I remember it, I will always remember their kindness and compassion.

      • Who?

        I’m sorry, miscarriage is difficult to go through and move on from. I’m glad you were well cared for.

      • Mishimoo

        So sorry about your miscarriage. They are terrible. It is wonderful that you had kind OBs, it makes an awful situation just a little more bearable.

      • momofone

        I’m so sorry for your loss, and so glad you had such compassionate care.

      • DelphiniumFalcon

        I’m so sorry. 🙁 It doesn’t matter how early the loss is it still hurts. I’m glad you have a good support network to help you through it. I hope all goes well for you while you recover.

      • Medwife

        I’m very sorry. It’s a terrible experience. I’m glad you have/had good support.

    • SporkParade

      My OB is kind of mean, but I like that about him because it shows that he actually cares and respects his patients enough to talk straight with them.

    • Laura

      The OB who diagnosed my ectopic pregnancy last summer was so kind through the whole thing. That meant the world to me.

  • yugaya

    Ruth Rodley is actually the admin of both the lethal HBAC group that killed the UBA3C baby that dr Tuteur wrote about in April: http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/04/homebirth-death-watch.html and the Unassisted/Freebirth group that killed baby Atlas. She became the admin of the unassisted group after she went in there and claimed how those deaths were fabricated too when the blogs from here were shared and people started asking questions. Women from these groups who were parachuting to parrot how baby Atlas was not real were genuinely surprised when they were shown that the mom is the member of their group and that baby Atlas is really dead.

    Ruth Rodley is a psychopath, but luckily she doesn’t know shit about online communication. Her lies are not working this time, there are too many dead babies whose blood is on her hands that are now known by name for her to be able to cover it up in any of her groups.

    No one believes her anymore, and with this latest piece of inhuman denial people are openly disgusted by anything she has to say and even in her tighly controlled echo chambers they are daring to call her out.

    • Kq

      We can only hope.

      • yugaya

        She is already in full panic mode and she is being badmouthed and ridiculed by people from her inner circles all over the boards. Even the most hard core homebirthers do not appreciate that she thinks they are stupid enough to believe what she is saying right now, how all of these babies are “made up” by the ebil dr Tuteur. Especially since many of them know who these babies that died are.

  • TsuDhoNimh

    “There will be no root cause analysis for fear that the root cause is the
    decision to give birth at home; better not to look than to find that
    out.”

    Exactly. The root cause is encouraging the decision that put mother and baby minutes to hours away from life-saving technology, encouraging the refusal of prenatal observation that could make a timely intervention possible.

    And all for ego and profit.

  • sdsures

    I noticed a typo in the article, Dr Amy. “Homebirth advocates are panicking. At least 7 babies have died at homebirth in the past weeks.”

    Isn’t it meant to be “in the last week”?

    • Mattie

      I think it’s because it’s 7 that we know about this week, so ‘at least 7’ in the past weeks, assuming a similar death rate every week it would be much more than 7 in the past weeks. Maybe?

  • Megan

    These people make me sick. That’s all.

  • Trixie

    Ruth knows that evidence-based care saves lives. She delivered all of her children in the hospital, by cesarean section.
    If Ruth were to take up gardening, it would go like this: she’d use modern hybrid plants, properly apply chemical pesticides and herbicides and fungicides and fertilizers as necessary, and harvest living, nutritious vegetables at the end of the season.
    Then, she’d go online and host a forum where she handed out advice on biodynamic agriculture a la Rudolf Steiner. And when everyone else’s plants were destroyed by nature, she’d shrug her shoulders and tell them they weren’t trusting nature enough.

  • Kq

    Why do they keep playing this “she’s not allowed to practice medicine” stupidity? It’s easily disproven. And the persistent whine that Dr Amy is retired means she knows nothing at all is beyond stupid. She clearly keeps up with all current obstetrical research, writes extensively and cites her sources and has been repeatedly asked asked to speak at ACOG panels/events.

    “Doctor” indeed.

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      And who cares even if it was true? Then she would have just as many qualifications as them…meaning none.

      • Anj Fabian

        I enjoy pointing out that I have no qualifications at all.

        You don’t need to have degrees or certifications to grasp concepts and be able to discuss them. Anyone with brains and the willingness to use them can do it.

        It takes more than parroting whatever you heard someone say or reposting a meme.

    • Megan

      It’s because they fear her. They know that her credentials mean something to most reasonable people. So they try to discredit her rather than deal with the issue. They know they cannot go head to head with Dr. Amy on obstetrics or medicine so they deflect.

    • Roadstergal

      Especially as she has the only qualification the HBers care about – unmedicated vaginal births…

    • Who?

      You’d think they’d love Dr T if they really thought she was unqualified, since that seems to be a mark of pride in that world.

      • The Bofa on the Sofa

        I don’t understand the connection between “she is not even allowed to practice” and “she is so anti-homebirth.” Even assuming the former were true, what bearing does that have on the second?

        And, as if they’d like her if she was licensed and practicing?

        That is classic poisoning the well fallacy.

        • Sue

          Exactly! Like resuming obstetric practice would suddenly make her happy for babies to die unnecessarily? Especially if she were then on-call when some HB stuff-up arrived, and had to battle all night to achieve damage control?

          These people have no idea about how the real world works.

    • Bombshellrisa

      Not sure what that whine is about, since they don’t hold Dr Biter “or would that be “Dr” Biter?) to the same standard.

  • Quality care demands a better approach than what home birth midwives are willing to give at this time. They say they want evidence based care – but they refuse to actually look at the evidence – the tiny lifeless babies and shattered families that stand in their wake. This is not compassionate care, this is not quality care – this is an ideology, a belief system that demands unreasonable sacrifices.

  • Rodley needs to be called out on her assertion that Dr. Amy ” is no longer allowed to practice OB” which clearly implies malpractice and/or malfeasance on Dr. Amy’s part when nothing could be farther from the truth. dr. Amy decided to let her active registration lapse to devote herself to her family; she can reactivate her licensure at any time, although, depending on the laws of MA she might have to do a refresher, I don’t know. In fact, implying that Dr. Amy has done something so dreadful that she has been (in the British phrase) “struck off” is nothing less than libel.

  • Fallow

    Here’s the deal, Ruth Rodley, you psychopath: You can’t claim the moral high ground over doctors and definitely not Dr. Amy, when you openly call dead children “hickups”.

    One more thing, Rodley, you abominable asshole: When you say things like “we know even in the hospital these deaths wouldn’t have been avoided”, you’re straight-out admitting that doctors are more competent than homebirth midwives, and that hospitals are safer place for babies. You’re hedging that these children’s cases were so extreme that “even” a hospital couldn’t save them. Your phrasing DOES give away that you DO know deep inside, that hospitals are safer and hospital practitioners have better outcomes.

    And to say “we know”, is to appeal to the supposed secret, forbidden knowledge aspect of being in a cult. “WE know. THEY don’t know, but WE know.” It’s subtle, but it’s there.

    So to recap:

    1. You’re a heartless sociopath for calling dead children “hickups”.
    2. You are perfectly aware that children and mothers have better outcomes in hospitals, as evidenced by your phrasing.
    4. You’re willing to brush off the deaths of babies as “out of anyone’s control” to start the process of erasing those babies’ existences.
    5. You topped it all off with a cult doctrine callback.

    Conclusion:

    You know what the hell you’re doing. You are complicit whenever anyone in your cult dies a preventable death or suffers a preventable bad outcome. There isn’t just blood on your hands, there’s meconium.

  • The Computer Ate My Nym

    we know even in the hospital that wouldn’t have been avoided

    Um…nope. Most likely every one of the deaths reported could have been avoided in the hospital. As far as I can tell, all these babies were term infants without major congenital anomalies. If a hospital lost a baby like that it would be facing a major, probably unwinnable, lawsuit. They only died because their parents decided, for whatever reason, to reject the medical help that would have saved them.

    • Susan

      Very true. I can’t recall a homebirth tragedy where the midwife or parents ever said ” if we had been in the hospital this might have been avoided”. I like Dr. Amy’s analogy about the obese smoker but I think that most of the crunchy crowd will fail connect the dots. It’s always disturbed me, the universal response of “it would have happened anyway” and “babies die in hospitals too”. Because there is an element of truth, that’s perhaps why its so frustrating. Yes, theoretically, we never know what would have happened if we had made another choice. But do people who make unsafe choices always console themselves with … it could have happened anyway? Maybe so. Especially if they make an unsafe choice for their child. I have been face to face with a parent grieving a loss and if they made a choice that put the baby at risk. Frankly, I don’t think I would want to break through that denial. Except that you don’t want them to make the same bad choice again. I often wonder when reading these stories online where the parents so often say, “the doctor said it would have happened anyway” … what did the doctor really say? Because I suspect it’s more like the obese smoker, theoretically, yes, but probably not….. denial is such a powerful thing and I can guarantee from experience that parents in such circumstances often hear something very different from what the doctor said… just clinging to that tiniest bit of hope or doubt.

      • Roadstergal

        “I would have crashed even if I had been sober.” Theoretically possible, but not the right take-away.

        Every time one of these HB advocates addresses preventable deaths, I am reminded of:
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=jKGjOE_7bYI

      • Azuran

        When faced with a grieving parent who just lost a child, asking if things would have been different if they had birthed in a hospital, I expect doctors will give and open answer. They’d say things like ‘There’s no way to know’ Deep down, you know that it’s like 99% probable that it would have made a difference, but can you really say that to their faces?
        Whenever pet owners ask me if things would have turned out differently if they had came in earlier, I can’t tell them the truth to their face……..and I’m treating dogs and cats. I can’t imagine doing this to grieving parents.

        • Allie P

          If I were a hospital careworker facing grieving parents, I ABSOLUTELY would hedge my answer to try and give them some peace.

          • Azuran

            But it’s still only hedging. That still leave an open door for the parents to decide it’s not their fault. You’d go with ‘maybe’ ‘it’s possible’. You cant just say: Yes, your baby would still be alive.

      • EllenL

        I’ve noticed that whether or not grieving mothers come right
        out and say that home birth was a factor in their tragedy, those mothers invariably choose hospital birth the next time around. I can’t remember one who didn’t. It’s a tacit acknowledgement that, yes, hospital birth is safest.

        The saddest thing is that no one helped them to see that in
        the first place.