Milli Hill shows that natural childbirth — like all cults — cannot tolerate criticism

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I’ve written before that the philosophy of natural childbirth is the philosophy of a cult.

Like most cults, has its own mythology, in this case a mythology that is both racist and sexist. The cult was started by Grantly Dick-Read, author of Childbirth Without Fear, and a eugenicist who was preoccupied with visions of “race suicide” as non-white people became an ever larger part of the population of first world countries. Dick-Read thought that white women of the “civilized” races were being diverted by the quest for economic and political equality, when they really should be home spitting out babies. He believed that it was fear of the excruciating pain of labor that discourage these women from having more children. He fabricated out of whole cloth the bizarre notion that “primitive” (read: black) women gave birth without pain because they didn’t fear childbirth and understood that their primary role was to reproduce.

The vicious response to those who question the principle of natural childbirth advocacy.

To this day, natural childbirth advocates fantasize that they are emulating exotic brown foreigners and becoming better at birth than they are themselves. There is no historical basis to the claim that unmedicated vaginal birth is safest, and no scientific basis for the claim that it is superior in any way to childbirth with pain relief. No matter; cult membership requires belief regardless of inconvenient facts.

The fundamental principles of natural childbirth advocacy are cultural constructs:

  • Birth is depicted as inherently safe though it is actually inherently dangerous.
  • Birth is depicted as an individual achievement thought it is purely a matter of luck.
  • While historically a bad birth experience involved a dead baby, dead mother or both, a bad birth experience is now depicted as one in which a mother’s birth plan was not fulfilled in all details.

In other words, natural childbirth is a cult. As defined by Google, a cult is:

a system of religious veneration and devotion directed toward a particular figure or object.

In the case of natural childbirth, the object of the cult is unmedicated childbirth without interventions. Unmedicated vaginal birth is understood by cult members to be venerated with trust, worshipped with affirmations, and often viewed as more important that the ostensible purpose of childbirth, a live, healthy baby.

And, like all cults, it reacts viciously to criticism.

How else to explain the nauseating, gut churning cruelty of natural childbirth advocates toward James Titcombe?

James and his wife Hoa lost their newborn son Joshua to midwifery negligence followed by a brazen attempt at cover up. Throughout his multi-year quest to learn the truth about Joshua’s death and hold the midwives accountable for it, James was subjected to vicious attacks by the natural childbirth community.

His sin? He dared question the cult of natural childbirth.

You might think his status as the father of a dead baby would protect him; you would be wrong.

Despite the fact that James was fully vindicated and received a royal honor from Queen Elizabeth for his relentless quest on behalf of victims of midwifery negligence, any time he questions the fundamental principles of the natural childbirth cult, he is subjected to viciousness from natural childbirth advocates.

The latest example occurred over the past few days. Apparently James dared to question the notion that vaginal birth is empowering.

Professional homebirth advocate and author Milli Hill responded by accusing him of being an enemy of women and their choices:

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What had James done to arouse Hill’s wrath?

He had dared question the notion that vaginal birth is inherently empowering when he pointed out, commenting about a VBAC birth story, that babies die when their mothers ignore medical advice for C-section in pursuit of a vaginal birth.

The mother who wrote the story, Michelle Quashie, did feel empowered by her vaginal birth and she’s entitled to feel whatever she wants. But, there is every reason to question a cult of birth that privileges process over outcome and leads to preventable deaths of babies as a result.

For that matter, a woman who fits into a size 2 dress is entitled to feel proud that she can do so. That doesn’t change the fact that there is every reason to question the cultural constructs that women should be judged by their weight, that thinness is superior, and that leads to women starving themselves literally to death to meet these cultural “achievements” set by the fashion and entertainment industries.

My invocation of empowerment through weight loss is deliberate. For many years, the fashion and entertainment industries turned a blind eye to the harm they did to women by setting arbitrary standards of beauty through thinness. Ultimately, though, they began to understand that the drive to achieve thinness could lead vulnerable young women to death through anorexia. There is a growing effort to temper the cultural message that thin is superior, and emphasize instead that different weights are healthy for different women.

But cults like natural childbirth cannot even tolerate questioning, let alone criticism.

Imagine if a father who lost his daughter to anorexia was subjected to taunting by the fashion industry that his efforts to prevent future tragedies were efforts to efforts to harm women.

Heartless, vicious and ugly are just a few word that come to mind to describe such behavior.

The same words — heartless, vicious and ugly — describe Milli Hill’s taunting of James Titcombe.

Women are entitled to their feelings, but the rest of us are entitled to question the cultural constructs on which those feelings are based. And no one is more entitled to question those cultural constructs than those who have lost precious children as a result.

Grow up and grow a heart, Milli Hill, and stop taunting James Titcombe.

If you want to argue about the principles of natural childbirth advocacy, feel free to argue with me — but apparently you don’t get as much joy out of intellectual debate as you do from heartless cruelty.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    Oh look the men’s rights activist is back to tell us poor little women how we should be ignoring the big, bad Lady Doctor.

    • Dr Kitty

      I can’t recall- is this the one with the broken penis or the one who hates women because he can’t get a girlfriend?

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        I’d imagine both have trouble in the latter category

        • Dr Kitty

          I kid…
          Isn’t that description applicable to literally ALL MRAs?

          Who cares enough about them and their sad little lives to try to tell them apart.

          • itry2brational

            You’re both just angry because I have more rights than you. Kiss my patriarchy. lol :p

          • Who?

            No thanks.

            I know exactly where it’s been.

          • itry2brational

            Patriarchy is everywhere! lol

    • itry2brational

      Do you actually believe you “poor little women” have fewer rights than the big, bad menz? If so, which one(s)? Where do you keep your shackles of oppression stored? 😉

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        There’s a difference between rights on paper and rights actually observed. Granted, I’m white, so more of my rights are observed than for women of color.
        But people have explained this to you many times and you do not listen.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          A recent survey found that a slight majority of Republican men think that it is better now to be a woman than a man. Overall, men underestimated the extent of discrimination faced by women, but Republican men were in such denial that they thought it was better to be a woman than to be a man. Poor, persecuted men!

          (saw a comment the other day – when you are used to looking from a position of privilege, equality looks like persecution)

          They make me think of this guy (sorry about the video quality)

          https://youtu.be/k4NYbsgmWuI

          • Roadstergal

            I don’t even have to click on that to know what it is and giggle. 😀 I have a weak spot for Zucker movies.

  • itry2brational

    Agreed. People bent by ideology, like people of cults, cannot tolerate criticism of said ideology. Feminism/feminists are no exception.

  • D/

    OT rant:
    Recently, I’ve been mostly out of sorts. My household is a tiny blue dot in a sea of down-South red, and I have with *great* restraint witnessed almost all of my co-workers and family carrying on for months on end now about their virtuous and absolute anti-abortion values, their saving of the Republic by voting their faith, and many of them filling my newsfeed since the election with vicious gloating over all of the cry-baby liberals ‘losing’.

    Today, though, has brought everything to a head for me. Yesterday my next-to-be grandchild’s anatomy scan revealed anencephaly. My daughter is understandably upset, as I am for her. She is working through making hard decisions that I will support regardless of her choice. To add to the already-difficult-enough day one of those virtuous folk feels the need to drag me off into the absolutely absolute weeds of her world and check that I plan to influence my daughter to make the ‘right’ decision! My “fuck you and that very high horse you ride on” seemed to catch her a bit off guard, and I expect our next interaction to be strained at best.

    To clarify here. I haven’t cried even once (and won’t) about the deep shit our fine Republic is wading off into and seriously, fuck them all! Today … I am completely out of sorts, and now I’m going to go cry for a bit.

    • kilda

      I’m so, so sorry about your grandchild. And furious that anyone would think they have a right to stick their nose into one of the most personal and painful decisions imaginable.

    • moto_librarian

      I am so profoundly sorry about your grandchild. I am so glad that you daughter has you there to provide her with love and support not matter what her decision is.

      And seriously? You were absolutely right to tell that jackass relative to fuck off.

    • namaste863

      I can’t tell you how sorry I am about your grandchild. I will send good thoughts to you and yours. “Fuck you and the very high horse you ride on” is far more polite than I would have been.

    • Dr Kitty

      I am so sorry you and your family are going through this.
      Your daughter is lucky to have someone who is unconditionally on her side and supportive, no matter what she decides.
      Be kind to yourself.

    • Heidi

      I am so very sorry about your grandchild. I hope you are able to take all the time you need to grieve about it.

    • momofone

      I am so sorry about your grandchild. I am glad your daughter has such wonderful support in the midst of such an awful thing.

    • LaMont

      I am so sorry. And I will echo – fuck these “right decision” people right in the eye. When they drag things like anencephaly into the mix, we see them for the vile cretins they are. There is no public good in forcing decisions in these cases, none. Only private intrusion and pain. If one’s god is so powerful as to bring miracles, he should be powerful enough to prevent the problem in the first place. But I suspect it isn’t even about that, just about making sure that women surrender to whatever their bodies throw at them. Not about personhood or right to life at all. Fuck these people, again. You and your daughter deserve better than their judgment and they deserved far worse than your very minor outburst. Hugs from the skeptical corner of the net 🙁

    • mabelcruet

      I’m so sorry about your grandchild-it’s going to be a difficult time for your daughter and everyone. What should be a private family decision and a private family grief shouldn’t be any one else’s business. I hope that no matter what she decides, she gets the support and comfort she needs for her healthcare, your support and love for her has shone out from every word you wrote x

    • Montserrat Blanco

      I am really sorry that your family is going through such a difficult time.

    • Sean Jungian

      Add my thoughts for you and your daughter and family. So terribly sorry.

      Also, fuck those assholes indeed. Unbelievable. You gave the right response.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      i’m sorry that sucks

    • LibrarianSarah

      UGH Why can’t people mind their own fucking business. I congratulate you for not slapping them. Good on you for doing the right thing for your daughter and supporting her on the difficult choice that she is going to have to make. I am sorry for your family.

    • Daleth

      I’m so very sorry about your grandchild, and so glad your daughter has you to help support her through this.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      You and your daughter have my deepest sympathy. A good cry did me a world of good after the election. Before I was frightened and depressed. After I felt angry enough to fight back. I hope the both of you get the support and love you need to get through this.

      p.s. As for the overly sanctimonious people who like to judge others, whenever I encounter them online I have found it helpful to post these stories in reply to them because they explain why abortion needs to stay legal at all stages and why pro-life is really anti-woman & anti-child hypocrisy.

      http://jezebel.com/interview-with-a-woman-who-recently-had-an-abortion-at-1781972395

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_of_Savita_Halappanavar

      http://pix11.com/2013/01/28/catholic-hospital-contradicts-life-begins-at-contraception-when-sued/

      http://www.prochoiceactionnetwork-canada.org/articles/anti-tales.shtml

      http://www.rightwingwatch.org/post/anti-choice-organizer-defund-planned-parenthood-because-its-sexual-ethic-is-corrupted/

    • MaineJen

      Fuck them. Not their body, not their business.

    • D/

      Thanks for the kind words. They’ve been a bright spot in a most overwhelming day.

      I’ve gotten an up close and personal look at the delivery of health care the way it should be and while no decisions have been made, all options have been discussed compassionately and appropriately. Unsurprisingly despite living within 45 minutes of all manner of other first-rate health care options, if my daughter chooses termination, we will be forced to travel 4+ hours for such services. I hate to imagine how much less accessible comprehensive reproductive care is likely to become in the current political climate.

      As for virtuous folk, it seems if personally called out on it, they don’t intend to come across as such and meant instead that my support would be important for my daughter in making the decision that’s right ‘for her’. This message doesn’t complement the opinionated rants bleeding through into my newsfeed for months on end, and I’ve said as much. Profuse apologies and prayers were volunteered. After repeatedly asking what she can do for us and seeming so disappointed that there’s nothing we need beyond privacy and space, I suggested a donation in our name to the National Women’s Law Center or Planned Parenthood in support of women’s reproductive rights.

      Again, thanks to all.

  • Susan

    Not totally off topic–I just watched the Today show interview of the man who managed the space of that tragic fire. As devastated as he was there was a familiar hubris to me as he talked about the artist community he created and that it was where his own children slept. It reminded me of Amber teething necklaces and Homebirth. The idea that the beauty, hip and cool factor in any way makes something “safe”. It really is a cult like mindset and it’s a dangerous one.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      “Safe” in this case meant a place where trans and gay people would be welcome and accepted.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    OT by the way, can anyone tell me what a rainbow baby is?

    • Gene

      Baby born after a miscarriage

    • Young CC Prof

      Baby after a loss.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Ah, Thanks to you and Gene. Guess that means my sister and are are both rainbow babies. Mom’s first was an 8 month stillbirth and my sister was 3rd and only live of term triplets. Gram said she was born in the hall because the staff thought Mom was done
        ed to add I’m eldest living

        • indigosky

          I’m a rainbow baby too. I think my mother had 6-7 losses before she had me, her one and only.

  • Empress of the Iguana People

    I mean, geez, why can’t he just get over it? /sarcasm
    What the hell is wrong with these people? Little Joshua lost his life because the midwives screwed up big time, and now they spend their time defending themselves and mocking his parents?

  • Melaniexxxx

    The amount of fuckery he gets on twitter is HORRIFYING. Really shows the true nasty underside of NCB/HB/MW movements

    • Gatita

      I’m continually astounded by the comments he gets and his grace in dealing with them. I don’t know how he does it.

    • mabelcruet

      Even Bill Kirkup, the author of the report into the Barrow in Furness Hospital failures, raised concerns publically about the level of vitriol directed at Mr Titcombe. Did Sheena Byrom and her cohort apologise, back down, or stop? Nope-she publically accused Mr Titcombe of bullying and victimizing her, and then published the biggest load of self serving, pathetic crap on her blog about how she wouldn’t let this bullying get her down and she would emerge stronger. She is a disgusting embarrassment to the field of midwifery. Her Twitter feed is full of self congratulatory posts and retweets in between bouts of ‘can we stop talking about dead babies now James, it’s getting boring’, and ‘getting out of bed in the morning has risks, James,’ nastiness, and she actually has the gall to lecture on use of social media in health care!

      I work with very many superb midwives who I am proud to call colleagues, and who I know would do anything and everything humanly possible to help parents and families. They are being badly let down by midwife ‘leaders’ who continue to push the ‘normal’ birth agenda at the expense of safety.

      • moto_librarian

        Sheena Byrom blocked me on Twitter after I called her out for being a terrible person to Mr. Titcombe. I quoted her directly, and she claimed that I was “harassing” her and taking her words out of context. Neither of those things were true. She is a truly awful person, and as far as I’m concerned, lacks the empathy and professionalism to be a decent midwife.

  • mabelcruet

    Has sagefemme started putting the boot in yet? She’s normally not far behind Milli Hill.

    • moto_librarian

      She blocked me, so I don’t know. But she almost certainly will start piling on because she is predictably awful.

      • mabelcruet

        There’s another one of her followers (i would call them a coven, but I try not to use gendered slurs) getting stuck in-shes called Quashie, and she’s demanding an apology from him, and saying he has no right to comment or have an opinion on birth because he’s male, so obviously he’s irrelevant.

        • moto_librarian

          I just submitted that James Titcombe is the one owed an apology.

          • mabelcruet

            It’ll never happen. In their own little bizzaroworld they are the ones being picked on, bullied and harassed, and he’s just a misogynist because he’s putting safe birth first rather than the midwife’s desires.

          • moto_librarian

            Oh, I know. Milli was complaining that c-sections cause higher rates of maternal mortality. I asked what the perinatal mortality rates are with VBAC. She declined to answer, and accused me of only caring about babies and not women. Countered by asking her to discuss the morbidities of vaginal birth. I’m sure I won’t get an answer.

          • moto_librarian

            I am about to be blocked by the lot of them. The best part was milli mocking 4th degree tears because no one dies of them (she was confusing morbidity and mortality), complete with a laughing emoji and #whatawaytogo as the hashtag. But I was twisting her words when I called her out for it.

          • Heidi

            What the actual f? Who mocks or laughs at that?

          • mabelcruet

            They’ve tried the primary school ‘if you’re friends with HER then you can’t be friends with us’ line I see. Bullies, immature, thoughtless, witless, callous bullies. I’m going to channel my inner 6 year old and say…..

            Poo-poo heads! They’re dirty, smelly and can’t afford a telly!

          • AA

            Please screenshot and share, moto.

          • moto_librarian
          • Heidi

            Is that even true? I mean, I’m not a doctor, but I imagine fistulas and such could, if let untreated, cause sepsis? Even maybe in rare circumstances cause death even with treatment?

            Either way, they pretend to be all about dignity, or at least a lot of them claim that, but where’s the dignity in incontinence and horrible pain caused by a strict adherence to vaginal birth?!

          • moto_librarian

            It does kill women in the developing world. It also causes them to be disenfranchised from their families and homes. And it’s a pretty damned awful thing to deal with even if you have excellent medical care.

          • MaineJen

            In 3rd world countries, yes you absolutely do. What a horribly callous person.

          • moto_librarian

            Good thing I capped it. This appears to have been deleted.

          • momofone

            She sounds a lot like Anna Perch to me.

          • kilda

            well since woman generally want their babies alive, it seems to me that your goal is to help both.

            and if there is a hypothetical woman who actually doesn’t mind if her baby dies, then yeah, the hell with her.

        • corblimeybot

          The guy held his wrongfully dead child in his arms, but he’s irrelevant because he didn’t expel the child from his own body. They are such pieces of shit.

  • corblimeybot

    OT: Thought everyone could get some sighs and eyerolls out of this. http://ask.metafilter.com/303420/Do-you-have-experience-with-a-home-birthing-tub

    • Heidi

      Even if I was completely ignorant to the safety concerns of a homebirth, the sheer prospect of emptying gallons of poo, pee, blood and other goo-filled water, would send me to the hospital!

    • Sean Jungian

      Second floor home water birth – because if you even have a contingency plan to get out quickly and transfer to hospital, you’re telling the universe you don’t really want your magical home water birth.

    • namaste863

      So much for the “You’ll save money” argument. Whatever money he saves by not going to the hospital, he’ll spend 10 times that rebuilding his second floor when it collapses.

    • Sean Jungian

      You know what was a great antidote to this kind of bs? Reading the Amazon reviews of Push Back and seeing how many women Dr. Amy has helped. I read several today from “reformed” NCB cultists and it was refreshing.

    • StephanieJR

      There’s some kind of irony in wanting to be safe with a huge pool of water on a second floor, and not at all concerned about the baby.

  • Sarah

    Milli Hill is an infected boil of a human being.

  • Mel

    OT: I am so very grateful for medical science kicking Mother Nature in her fucking teeth.

    On Thanksgiving night, I had a stomach ache that wouldn’t quit. When it started showing cyclic pains and stops, I called my OB at 2am who told me to go to the hospital to get checked out. I went, but was mentally expecting to be sent home after once the pains were shown to be gas.

    Long story short: My blood pressure was sky-high, my platelets were terrifyingly low and my liver enzymes were 10x higher than normal. I had developed pre-ecclampsia with HELLP syndrome with an atyptical presentation. (I did develop halos in my right eye a few hours after I was admitted. I never got a headache and never had any upper right abdominal pain….). The resident OB told me that if they could stabilize me they might be able to push off delivery 48 hours to give our son two doses of betamethasone – but she would honestly be surprised if we could wait 24 hours let alone 48 with as bad as my labs were.

    Well, between the betamethasone, magnesium sulfate and a slew of BP drugs, we managed to get a 28 hour delay before my son was delivered by CS. Since my platelets had risen to 98 from 44, I was able to have a epidural and be awake during the CS. My OB had blood products and anti-hemorrhage drugs in the OR and was ready to have me recover in ICU. Turns out I lost less than 400mL of blood and needed none of them.

    Spawn was born healthy and squirming at 26 weeks, 3 days. It took a few tries to get him out of my uterus; apparently he was attempting to shove a foot into a Fallopian tube to prevent them from pulling him out. Honestly, I didn’t know he had been delivered until I heard them ask my husband if he wanted to cut the cord. I teared up because Spawn had to be doing ok if the NICU team thought Nico could cut the cord – and he was. I even got to see him and give him a kiss before they took him up to the NICU while I was being closed up. I told Spawn the truth: I loved him, I was so glad he was safe, and that I would do the previous 28 hours again without hesitation because he was worth it.

    Spawn’s nine days old now and is doing great. He was 1 pound 12 oz on delivery and 12 inches long. He’s 1 pound 6 oz now, on room oxygen through a ventilator, feeding 7mL of milk per feeding and is getting his first blood transfusion today. He received antibiotics because he had a blood glucose and white blood cell spike – and it must have worked since he’s back to normal readings and they’ve never found an organism in the cultures.

    I was in the hospital for a week. My BP decided that it liked being in the 170/110 – 150/100 range and that labetalol had no response. (One of the darkest funny moments was the second night after the CS where my BP was in the 165/110 range and the nurse had to run 4 units of labetalol in like 30 minutes. When she retook my BP 15 minutes later, it had gone up higher. They switched drugs after that.)

    You know what? I like being alive. I like cuddling my teeny, tiny, robust little boy. I started crying in the hospital when they told me I had HELLP because I realized that an equally likely outcome if I hadn’t gone to the hospital would have been my husband coming home from work and finding me unconscious or dead – and I couldn’t imagine how devastated he would be if he lost Spawn and me……

    And if anyone ever tells me that I didn’t give birth, I’m taking one of our 16 gauge needles and giving them the same massive bruising I have on my arms, back and thighs right now from having non-existent platelets while getting blood draws, an epidural and apparently bruising from people moving my body. Oh, and having them donate like 3 liters of blood to simulate the anemia-based exhaustion that is kicking my ass right now.

    • Nick Sanders

      Congratulations on beating Mother Nature and coming out alive and with a healthy baby! May he grow up to be a wonderful and healthy man.

    • MaineJen

      Mother Nature can GTFO. You are one strong lady! And you have one strong little boy. You absolutely gave birth, in the safest and best way anyone could. Congratulations!

      • Mel

        My OB was explaining to me the morning I was admitted that because I was so early that she would need to do a vertical/classical incision of the uterus to deliver Spawn and that I would unfortunately never be a candidate for a VBAC.

        I looked at her and said, “So there’s a silver lining to this thundercloud after all” and gave her my Cheshire cat grin.

        She blinked and asked what I meant.

        She’s my mom’s OB too so I reminded her that I knew the sheer number of surgeries my mom had needed to repair her pelvic floor after three vaginal births – and that I had no interest in pelvic floor repair if I could get CSs instead.

    • Sean Jungian

      Congratulations on your healthy son and taking care of business like a goddam boss.

    • Heidi

      Congratulations on the birth of your son! I’m so glad you called the OB and she had you go to the hospital!

    • Dr Kitty

      Congratulations on the birth of your son!
      I’m sure the next few weeks will be physically and emotionally draining for you, keep us posted on his progress and let us know if we can help in any way.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      That explains why you’ve been quiet lately. Congratulations! And here’s to Mr. Early Spawn continuing to do well

    • Jessica

      Congratulations! Here’s to a speedy recovery and bringing your sweet little baby home as soon as possible.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Wow! I am so glad you are okay and that your son is doing well!!!! Congratulations!

    • momofone

      I am so glad you’re both ok. Congratulations, and welcome, baby Spawn!

    • Amazed

      Welcome, human calf! So glad you’re both fine!

    • An Actual Attorney

      Mazal Tov!!!!

    • Montserrat Blanco

      Congratulations!!!!! I am really glad you and Spawn are doing fine.

      Rest all you can, get all the help you can and whenever it feels like hell (it will and is perfectly normal) just repeat to yourself that it will pass, because it will pass.

      You are the best mom ever. You risked your life, wellbeing and health just to deliver Spawn safely, and that is something that only great moms do. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise.

      My BP took about three weeks to get back to normal after HELLP. Do rest enough. I really felt HELLP took a toll on me and I needed a lot of rest and time to get back to myself again.

    • Mishimoo

      You are an amazing mum and I am so glad you went to the hospital! Congratulations on bub’s arrival, I’m so glad he got out safely and I hope his stay in NICU is as much of a breeze as it can be.

    • namaste863

      So glad you and Spawn are safe. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

    • cookiebaker

      Congratulations! So glad you and your little spawn are happy and healing! I hope you both have a smooth recovery.

    • AirPlant

      I am sorry that things didn’t go as planned but I am so happy you and the baby are doing well! Congratulations!!!

    • mabelcruet

      Congratulations-I hope Spawn gets home soon once he’s chubbed up a bit, sounds like he’s doing great! With HELLP, it’s honestly far safer out than in for the babies, even if they are going to be premature.

      • Mel

        I believe you.

        When we reached 24 hours, my OB and I had a talk about possibly delaying delivery longer.

        I had realized a few hours earlier while staring at the ceiling that my mental construct that I was more than willing to trade some risk of organ damage for me for more time for Spawn to get exposure to betamethasone had a massive problem: Spawn and I didn’t have unique, non-overlapping organ systems. As my liver shut down, Spawn would be exposed to toxic metabolic compounds. The high BP could cause an abruption or I could start bleeding and both of us could be sharing too little oxygen to keep our brains safe. Getting him out early while he was still at an optimal health would help his survival and his outcomes even if he got less steroids.

        She had decided to give me the second dose of betamethasone 90 minutes before 24 hours was reached.

        We both agreed that my labs were doing much better, but we had no idea how long that would last or just how bad the HELLP would get when the honeymoon period from the drugs came back. Better to get him out sooner than later.

        Plus, I do believe patients have some responsibility to their health care providers. A higher platelet count meant a form of anesthesia that gave my OB more time to remove Spawn safely and a lower chance of having to manage excessive bleeding. IOW, I didn’t want to be that CS that everyone needed debriefing from even if I and Spawn survived.

        • BeatriceC

          We were kind of on a minute by minute basis with YK. Since he was just barely 24 weeks and this was 14 years ago, they were trying to get some extra hours with no hope of days. It’s such a difficult choice when they’re that early. It sounds like your doctors were really on top of things. I’m really glad you were in such good hands.

        • mabelcruet

          Placentas are amazing, wonderful, remarkable pieces of biological and biochemical evolution, but when they go bad, they go very, very bad.

          Wishing both of you a speedy recovery (and please tell us you’re going to give him Spawn as at least a middle name!)

          • Mel

            Alas, Spawn is merely an internet alias until he reaches the age of majority. He has a very nice real name that will go well on business cards and resumes – but Spawn is what my family calls offspring so he’s technically the Spawn of Mel.

            And I do call him Spawn affectionately already so who knows? Maybe he’ll be that kid that when the teacher calls his name on the first day of class he’ll say “I go by Spawn”.

    • Who?

      Congratulations, look after yourself as well as the little one.

    • Azuran

      Congratulation on your little bub. I hope everything will turn out ok ^^ Take care of yourself.

    • Young CC Prof

      Wow, crazy time! So glad you got there in time and they were able to manage things well, and I hope your tiny one grows fast!

    • Madtowngirl

      Congratulations! I am so glad you had a good outcome.

    • RMY

      Congrats! I’m glad everyone is doing well!

    • KeeperOfTheBooks

      I’m so glad that you and the Spawn (who I’ve mentally christened Calf :D) are doing pretty well! Please, please keep us updated!
      Oh, and if anyone suggests you didn’t give birth after all that, don’t you DARE set Spawn down for even a minute to deal with them. Instead, send them to your friendly neighborhood SkepticalOB combox. I think we can promise to donate the tattered remains to science once we’re done…*grins evilly*
      Now, go snuggle your baby, and consumer ungodly amounts of your preferred comfort food in order to build yourself back up.

    • BeatriceC

      Congrats! I’m so glad both of you are doing well now. I can commiserate with you a little bit. YK was born at 24 weeks for Pre-e and HELLP progressing quite quickly the full blown eclampsia. I’ve been where you are. It’s a difficult yet amazing experience. I’m extremely happy to hear he’s on a room air vent! That’s spectacular!

    • MI Dawn

      Congrats on your baby boy and glad you are both doing well. I had severe pre-eclampsia (with my second pregnancy – go figure), BP wasn’t bad, little protein, but 4+ reflexes, clonus, photophobia and RUQ pain. I was 36 weeks though.

      • Mel

        I had 4+ reflexes, too – but my “normal” reflex is 3+ with clonus on my right side due to CP so I just felt like I had drank a ton of caffiene or was on an adrenaline rush…..

    • fiftyfifty1

      Best wishes to you, Spawn and your whole family.

    • nomofear

      Congrats!

    • Chi

      I’m am SO glad that they were able to figure out what was wrong and intervene in a timely fashion and that you both had a good outcome ^_^

      Congratulations. I hope Spawn continues to thrive and do well and you can take him home soon ^_^

      And (not to hijack your thread but) I would also like to say a hearty hurrah for medical science.

      As some of you may remember, I donated my eggs to one of my dear friends in the hopes that we could get her pregnant. After 2 rounds of IVF we were successful in doing so (giving me the bragging rights that I knocked up my best friend) and she found out in June that she was expecting.

      She quickly learned that she was not well-suited for pregnancy as she had horrible morning sickness for most of it. Plus then the doctors found out that the baby wasn’t growing as well as it should be and was 2 weeks smaller than it should have been. They suspected the umbilical cord wasn’t transferring oxygen as efficiently as it should be. So she was on bed rest and twice weekly scans at the hospital.

      Then her amniotic fluid levels dropped and so she was rushed to the neonatal unit at our capital hospital. Thanks to the miracle of science, Ms Malaika was delivered at 28 and 4 and is doing well.

    • Inmara

      Congratulations to safe arrival of Spawn! Your story should be in front pages of all pregnancy-themed books and magazines, to show how risky business is any pregnancy and how amazing it is that we have modern medicine.

    • anh

      HUGE congrats and HUGE cheers for medical science!

    • guest

      Congrats! Being a NICU parent is no fun and I’ve been there – if anyone tells you you didn’t give birth I’ll punch them in the eye.

    • moto_librarian

      Oh, Mel! I’m so glad that you and your baby are doing well. I hope that he continues to thrive and will be home with you and your family very soon.

    • mythsayer

      That’s terrifying! I’m so glad you are all okay!!

    • StephanieJR

      I’m so glad you’re both alright. Congratulations.

    • Roadstergal

      What a story! I’m glad you and your little one had such good care and made it through!

    • SporkParade

      Congrats! And a quick recovery for both you and Squirmy.

    • Sue

      Congrats – what an adventure!

      Best wishes to all of you!

  • Cyndi

    They have enough hubris to claim they know more than physicians and to torture and humiliate parents who have lost babies to their cult, but they never seem to have enough hubris to debate you, Dr Amy. Please let us know if she takes you up on it; I’ll make the popcorn.

    • Platos_Redhaired_Stepchild

      They don’t debate Dr Amy. They do, however, occasionally troll.