Another baby grievously harmed by homebirth; another mother desperately pretending it’s not her fault

32573564 - patients monitor in neonatal intensive care unit

Imagine reading about a baby desperately injured after being ejected through the windshield when her mother’s car was hit. Imagine that the mother had failed to buckle the child into a car seat because she didn’t “believe in them” for short trips like the one she was taking to the grocery store. Now imagine that the mother insisted that doctors told her her baby’s serious brain injury had nothing to do with choosing to forgo a car seat.

Yeah, I wouldn’t believe her either.

That’s the reaction I have to the latest story of a child grievously injured by homebirth. I don’t have to look for these stories; as homebirth has become more popular, they’re all over various  health communication and crowd funding sites (when parents are trying to raise money to cover hospital expenses or funeral expenses or both).

If the mother had given birth in a hospital instead of at home, the baby almost certainly would not have sustained a devastating brain injury.

This mother’s chief impulse seems to be to avoid accountability.* On the CaringBridge site she writes:

Due to several factors involved at the time of her birth (but not related to the birth itself), M was born not breathing and unresponsive.

She reiterates the same claim when telling the birth story on the “Awesome” HBAC [Homebirth after Cesarean] Facebook group:

Enlight57

Finally going to share my story, but before I do I must make it known that doctors have all agreed that baby’s birth in and of itself played no part in the trauma that followed.

That’s absurd.

Before we delve into what happened, let’s review how giving birth outside of a hospital could be dangerous for a baby:

  • The baby might be deprived of oxygen during labor.
  • The baby might need an expert resuscitation with intubation immediately after birth.
  • The baby might have inhaled meconium.
  • The baby might be in a dangerous position like breech.
  • The baby might become infected with Group B Strep, a bacteria that is particularly deadly for newborns.

What happened in this case? Everything listed above!

The mother ruptured her membranes at 2:20 AM.

At about 2:20 PM, the mother was having contractions every 6-7 minutes and noted light meconium.

At 5:30 PM, the mother noted moderate meconium.

At 8:30 PM, the midwife arrived.

At 10:30 PM, the midwife performed an exam and discovered … the baby was breech!

As 1 AM approached:

Enlight58

…Baby’s heart rate remained stead and strong, but meconium was super thick (as is typical with breechlings, so we had no worries… Then the strong pressure of head coming and the sudden relief of it passing thru. I did it! Another breech baby …2hba2c!

The mother is so proud of her “accomplishment,” but what about the baby?

That’s when things took a serious turn for the worst.

The baby was born unresponsive and not breathing. In other words, as in most homebirth disasters, a nearly dead baby dropped into the hands of a totally clueless midwife.

Enlight59

Midwife suctioned, started CPR and oxygen and best friend called 911. Midwife continued to let the cord pulse while doing those things … when the ambulance arrived they told her to do what she needs to, clamp the cord, and pass baby off. She milked every last drop of blood from that cord that she possibly could into my baby (I firmly believe that is what saved baby’s life). Cut the cord, passed baby to EMT, he ran out the door with my baby and husband, and I and my teen daughter (who had been there the entire labor and delivery with me) collapsed on the floor sobbing…

The mother noted:

Enlight61

Doctors feel like it was a mixture of meconium aspiration and group b strep hitting super hard that made M not breathe/repond at birth. She was without appropriate oxygen for 10 minutes.

Of course the mother had declined testing for Group B strep before birth.

The baby was born a little over 3 weeks ago. What’s her prognosis now?

Enlight62

… they still can’t be certain that she won’t have issues such as low muscle tone, learning delays, and they don’t know if/when she will get suck/swallow/gag.

She’s having a gastrostomy tube placed because she will be unable to eat by mouth any time soon.

Obviously this entire disaster, and the horrible brain injury that the baby suffered, are entirely due to the decision to have a homebirth. The baby was oxygen deprived during labor, aspirated meconium, and was infected by Group B strep. All of these things could have been prevented if the mother had had an elective repeat C-section.

Did any doctors really say “that baby’s birth in and of itself played no part in the trauma that followed”? I doubt it. I suspect that what they said was that the actually delivery of the breech baby was not the cause of the problems since it wasn’t. It was the undiagnosed fetal distress, meconium aspiration, Group B strep infection, and inability to provide immediate expert resuscitation that led to the baby’s brain damage … all things that could have and almost certainly would have been avoided in a hospital. If the mother had been more concerned about the baby’s health than about her “achievement,” and consented to an elective C-section, the baby would almost certainly be perfectly healthy today.

Remember the thought experiment of the baby ejected through a windshield because her mother failed to put her in a car seat? That mother could claim that it wasn’t failure to use a car seat that caused her baby’s injury; it was the fact that her baby went head first onto the pavement after being ejected through the windshield. I wouldn’t be impressed with that claim either. In both cases a baby’s brain damage is the direct result of a mother’s negligent choice … no matter how desperate this mother is to pretend otherwise.

 

*Edited to correct a very serious error on my part: CaringBridge sites are not fundraising sites. The mother is NOT try to solicit money. I regret my mistake.

 

  • Madtowngirl

    Holy shit. Holy shit. Holy shit. So many enormous red flags, but no, let’s continue to labor and deliver at home.

    Holy shit.

  • logicalmom

    And when I found out I was pregnant, I found an OB that delivered at a Level IV NICU just in case something was to go wrong. He was a great doctor, just not the most warm and friendly. But he had the best track record around for being able to do the impossible when birth goes wrong from years of experience. Because I give a shit about my daughter and her health I would rather be with Dr. No Personality that actually makes sure everything is going swimmingly at every prenatal appointment and during the birth then an incompetant but “caring” midwife.

    • Life Tip

      While it’s nice to see someone with a pleasant personality, I’m looking for a doctor not a new bestie. Competence during a crisis is the main priority. I don’t need to pay someone to pat me on the back, tell me to eat kale, and call me a warrior earth mama or whatever.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      Mine’s a sweetie, but he’s also very competent. Both are helplful when you’re high risk and your pregnancy hormones make you severely depressed. He’s had privileges at all 3, because he used to work for a provider-providing insurance company. Now he works for one of our big hospitals.
      All 3 of our big name hospitals are Level IIIs, but that could be because we have 3 in one town; they may cover the full range between them. The Cleveland Clinic and Case-Western Reserve’s University Hospital (Rainbow Babies and Children) are just down Euclid Ave from each other.

    • Daleth

      Because I give a shit about my daughter and her health I would rather be with Dr. No Personality that actually makes sure everything is going swimmingly at every prenatal appointment and during the birth then an incompetant but “caring” midwife.

      Seriously! If you want someone to hold your hand and reassure you, get a doula.

  • PrimaryCareDoc

    It takes some serious cognitive dissonance to tell that story and STILL insist that this birth had nothing to do with the outcome.

  • Guest

    Wait, why are these homebirth mothers against medical intervention during pregnancy and labor, but totally FOR medical invention AFTER birth? Their babies aren’t treated at home with natural remedies. No, they go straight to the NICU!

    Like, somehow a C-section and a handful of painless diagnostic tests are too traumatic for mom, but it is perfectly OK to subject a tiny, fragile baby to extreme life-saving measures that are far more risky, invasive, and painful. How does that even make sense?

    Not to be too blunt here, but from a practical perspective, it is much easier to fix a damaged adult woman than it is to fix a broken neonate.

    • Guest

      Also, massively brain damaged baby aside, this particular mother’s description of the breech birth experience does not in any way sound less physically and psychologically traumatic than an emergency caesarean section.

      I mean, jeezy petes, I’m six months pregnant and I’m going to have nightmares about that…

      • Mac Sherbert

        I’ve had c-section for a breech baby it was NOT that bad. All the women I have talk too that had breech births before they started doing sections for them has told me they wish they had been given csections. One of them and the baby almost died and it was only like 5 pound something baby. (Same mom later 8 babies normally with no problems!). They say the babies were beat up too. One woman said the baby a footling breech and after delivery she wasn’t allowed to hold the baby because it was so bruised.

        • Mishimoo

          It bears repeating: my Mormor (grandmother) was a footling breech. Her mother was labouring at home, as they did, and as soon as that foot showed up that was it. Her father helped her mother down the stairs and they raced to the hospital expecting a dead or dying baby and potentially a dead mother. Instead, she miraculously turned and was born safely. My Mormor tells that story to everyone to remind them how grateful she is that we don’t have to live like that any more.

          • Vee

            So…she pulled her foot back up,inside and flipped around? Wow. That’s…something.

          • Mishimoo

            It’s nearly unbelievable, but she was one of the younger children of 9, so presumably this helped accommodate the late stage position change. She is so lucky to not have had any noticeable ill effects from her arrival.

      • Juana

        I found it interesting that she wrote (kind of dared to) that it was really painful, but still has to put in quotation marks as if it wasn’t really like that – probably to cater to her peers’ beliefs that it’s not supposed to. 8 births under her belt, and still she doubts her own experience about the probably most accepted fact in human history since time immemorial – that childbirth hurts.

    • Gene

      Same thing with parents who don’t vaccinate. If you don’t trust me when I recommend vaccination, why do you trust me to provide emergency care?

      • Amy

        Oh, I can answer that one. The line that gets tossed around is that that’s what you all are trained for. In some natural circles, doctors are lumped in with plumbers– totally unnecessary except in emergencies.

    • Azuran

      I think it’s the ‘not gonna happen to me’ mentality.
      Not being in control is scary, and birth is probably one of the moments of your life where you have the least control. Overall, you control practically nothing. And thinking about everything that could go wrong is scary, especially thinking about risks that you can’t control.

      The natural child birth movement sells control and safety. They tell you: If you do x-y-z, everything will be fine. You can control the outcome if you do what they say, trust birth, and buy their stuff of course.
      Of course, to make this work, they also have to prevent you from seeking real medical advices, because if you have info, you might decide not to ‘trust’ birth. And they can’t make their money.

  • 1personvoice

    Yes. Immediate expert resuscitation at the hospital and quick antibiotic treatment saved my baby from an unexpected strep infection (a rare strand not found during pre-test) which caused lung failure in infant immediately after birth as well as sepsis. Your baby deserves every fighting chance and the best available medical care for the unexpected!

    • Heidi_storage

      I’m glad your baby did well!

  • Gene

    “…Doctors have all agreed that baby’s birth in and out itself played no part…”

    Err, yeah. As one of those docs who has spoken to parents regularly about bad outcomes and death… we are NEVER going to tell a family member that their loved one’s outcome was their fault. Well, unless it was a non accidental trauma (child abuse). Seriously, if I have a dead asthmatic, I’m not going to say, “well, she wouldn’t be dead if you stopped smoking around her” or “you know all that drinking during pregnancy, well your child’s fetal alcohol syndrome is yo fault!” or after you drove drunk and wrecked and killed your son I always say “he felt no pain”.

    Meconium aspiration and GBS infection with prolonged oxygen deprivation? “This could have happened anywhere*”. *a campground, side of the road, hotel, your home, etc etc etc

    What we know and what we tell a family member are often two different things. We aren’t cruel.

    • RudyTooty

      There’s the unspoken part in the response to the question, “Is there anything we could have done differently?”

      Unspoken: “Besides hiring a real medical professional and giving birth in a location with appropriate technology, staff and resources?”

      Spoken: “Well, no, there is really nothing else that could have been done.”

      Unspoken: “Once it was belatedly apparent to the lay people attending your birth that it had gone horribly sideways and they figured out they needed assistance.”

    • ChickyDee

      And yet, from the description of the infant’s recessitation, I’m pretty sure that at my *school (it is a school with a number of children with significant medical needs) could have done a better job. “Heart rate strong at 122… Started CPR… Started oxygen”. Has the midwife not been trained to a health care provider level of basic life support? Did the midwife not have a bag-valve mask with her? Oxygen doesn’t do much good if you don’t have a way to get it into the person.

  • manabanana

    C’Mon! Not related to the birth itself?!
    MANA even has horseshit stats for breech birth.
    Their own data support the increased risk of death and injury with breech birth at home with a ‘midwife.’
    So much delusion.

  • Gatita

    Due to several factors involved at the time of her birth (but not related to the birth itself), M was born not breathing and unresponsive.

    http://i.imgur.com/AnlQZJs.gif

  • Mel

    On the mom’s actual FB page, she mentions those little things that get in the way of crowing on a homebirth page like
    -The fact her daughter was so compromised that the local hospital nearly refused to transfer her to Fargo since she wouldn’t survive the flight – yes, life-flights have certain criteria that patients have to meet which should be discussed when planning to have a hospital rescue of your homebirth disaster.

    – The kid was on a ventilator without spontaneous breathing for over a week.

    – She needed three days of cooling to limit brain damage.

    – The kid spent a great deal of time on anti-seizure meds – because of those pesky seizures.

    -Oh, the number of EEGs – and the number of whining, self-pitying posts about how hard it was not to hold her daughter for 4-6 whole hours! (Cry me a damn river. )

    – Nothing like having a failed PICC line insertion and spinal tap in your newborn period.

    – Doesn’t want to get a procedure to prevent vomiting to reduce the likelihood of aspiration at the same time as the g-tube is placed. Because the potential downsides of not being able to vomit at some time in the future is totally worse than repeated episodes of aspiration pneumonia in the pumpkin’s already damaged lungs….

    Just wait. The fun is only starting. The neurological delays will take several months to years to see if they develop. Caring for a medically complicated infant is just plain hard – and she’s got a large family on top of that.

    Hope pushing that kid out in the bathroom at home was worth the world of hurt that’s just starting.

    • Amazed

      There is a reason why I don’t go to these birther’s pages anymore.

      Does she at least mention how her teen daughter is faring so far? Or has the kid lost its place as a birth accessory, now that mom has a new birthing film in which she can be the hurting mama star (hurting for the wrong reasons, it seems)?

      • Mel

        I didn’t dig around that far. The teenager looked exhausted.

      • Guest

        I feel so badly for the teenage daughter who had to witness this.

    • BeatriceC

      They were in such a little hospital that Fargo was considered a good option? Unless there’s been some serious improvement in the NICU that took care of a coworker’s baby in 2011, I wouldn’t trust that hospital to take care of a baby doll, let alone a live, medically fragile newborn. And the other hospital isn’t any better. While my main reason for traveling to Minneapolis/St. Paul for medical care for OK and YK was that there wasn’t a suitable specialist in Fargo, I wasn’t entirely too upset about it because the quality of the hospitals was pathetic and I wouldn’t have felt comfortable there even if there had been a suitable specialist.

      • RudyTooty

        What state did the birth occur in?
        Minnesota (voluntary midwife licensure state), or
        North Dakota (no licensure state)?

        Not that it matters, but curious.

        • BeatriceC

          I don’t know. Mel did the digging around, and I moved out of North Dakota in 2012, so if there’s any local news on the baby, I’m unaware.

          • RudyTooty

            There is a St Francis hospital in Breckenridge, MN. Which is right on the MN/ND border. There is a strong likelihood that this could have been an unlicensed midwife – not that that really matters. Licensed midwives pull this same kind of crap, too.

          • BeatriceC

            And I went digging. The baby was most likely born in ND. The mother lists a hometown that’s right on the ND/MN state line about an hour drive away from Fargo. Baby is currently at Sanford in Fargo. Poor thing. I’m not impressed by that hospital in the slightest. So many times I’ve said how thankful I am that my very sick babies were born in Miami, with access to not just one, but four level 3 NICU’s. My oldest was born in NC and had to be lifeflighted to Winston-Salem. That sucked, but at least the NICU there was great.

          • RudyTooty

            I think this baby would be faring much better had she been born in a hospital – ANY hospital – and likely without the need for an NICU at all.

            That hospital might not be the best in the world, but the midwifery care and home birth that this baby was subjected to is the root cause of her problems.

            And the condition that the baby was in at birth, I wonder what kind of prognosis the baby would have even *with* access to a larger and higher level NICU.

            But – let’s back up – no OB unit would ever let that debacle of a birth unfold as it did. NEVER.

            So sad and unnecessary.

          • BeatriceC

            Oh, hell yes, I agree on that point. Even that hospital would have done everything in its power to keep this train wreck from happening (because the mother could have still refused all interventions, but at least there would have been immediate and expert resus).

    • Ozlsn

      I… have absolutely no words. 3 weeks with no spontaneous breathing. Refused the fundo. The LifeFlight nearly refusing to carry her. Anti-seizure meds.

      This mother is so far in denial it’s painful to see. This is not a child who is going to come out with no long term issues, MRI or no MRI.

      I kind of understand why she’s holding on to her justifications, because the guilt at knowing this was a result of choices she made would be terrible to live with. I had trouble dealing with feeling guilty that the placenta was failing and I couldn’t keep my son in utereo longer, and that was something I had literally no control over. I don’t want to imagine how bad it would be if it was something I could have controlled, or something I’d actively chosen.

      “and the number of whining, self-pitying posts about how hard it was not to hold her daughter for 4-6 whole hours! (Cry me a damn river. )”

      Yeah, that kind of had me wondering if the hospital staff didn’t think the child would survive the night and wanted to give the mother an opportunity to hold her while she was still alive. Because at the hospital we were in it would be uncommon to move a very unstable baby for kangaroo care otherwise. And nothing about this has read “stable” to me.

      And with you on the river, seriously. Get a grip FFS. Seriously this child’s first weeks are among the worst I have heard of – and I talked to a *lot* of mums in NICU. I know it’s early days and the full reality won’t hit for a while, but she seems to think that her daughter is going to go home after her stay and just be a healthy term baby. And I’m really sorry, but I doubt that will happen.

  • Amy Tuteur, MD

    I want to point out that I made a serious error in the post and I’ve noted that in the correction at the bottom. I mistakenly thought that CaringBridge websites are fund raising websites; that’s wrong. The mother was NOT trying to raise money, just notifying others.

    • Mel

      So far. She may well need the money soon if the kid has as many long-term issues – even just as an infant – as her posts suggest.

  • MaineJen

    I was also GBS+ for my 2nd, but she came so fast there was only time for 1 bag. :/ Oops! No infection, luckily.

  • MaineJen

    Think how differently this would have turned out if the midwife had urged the mom to go get checked out at the hospital when she first noticed meconium. Which is, you know, NOT normal to see when your water first breaks. My water broke pre-labor both times, and both times the first question I was asked was “Was the water clear?” Because…duh.

    Isn’t that what a good midwife is supposed to do? Recognize problems and know when intervention is necessary? Not continue to blithely reassure the mom that all is well, long after things have gone pear shaped.

  • namaste863

    I would be willing to bet money- a LOT of money- that if you asked these clowns about the details of their own births (By which I mean the day they, themselves were born. The day they give birth is their child’s birth, not theirs.) most of them would say they couldn’t give less of a rat’s ass what “Interventions” were involved as long as they were born alive and healthy and that their mother was alive and healthy, and if their mothers didn’t have the “experience” they wanted, that was just too damn bad. Will anyone call my bet?

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      most of them would say they couldn’t give less of a rat’s ass what “Interventions” were involved as long as they were born alive and healthy and that their mother was alive and healthy

      I don’t know about that. I honestly think that they’ll blame their births for all sorts of problems that they have in life. Any chronic physical or mental problems that either they or their mothers have, as well as any relationship issues they have with their mother or others. It’s just easy to blame them on having a c-section or not being breastfed or whatever.

      Considering that everyone has something about themselves they don’t like or otherwise could be better, these are the type of people that will blame it on their childbirth/breastfeeding.

      It’s what narcissists do.

      • Zornorph

        My sister once blamed her poor relationship with our stepmother on characters in the movie The Sound of Music. Seriously.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I mean, Liesel messed up with that Ralf guy, but then again

          1) Even her dad wanted to trust him,
          2) Liesel is one of the greatest names of all time, and
          3) She is adorable so it’s hard to be too mad at her

          but other than that, what’s to blame? Although I never liked that Kurt. I think he reminded me too much of Augustus Gloop.;

          • Zornorph

            Well, my mum died when we were teens. She compared my mum to the Julie Andrews character and my stepmum to the Baroness (my stepmother was German). Obviously a very different set of circumstances, but if you are looking for logic, don’t talk to my sister!

          • Ozlsn

            Baroness: “I’m AUSTRIAN, darling.”

      • namaste863

        You have a point. Imwas going on the theory that at the end of the day they are motivated by self-preservation, but if they are so damn special, the possibility of their own deaths probably wouldn’t enter their minds.

      • Kq

        Wow, I never even considered blaming my mother having a c/s for my touchy stomach as an adult. I merely blame her genetics since her stomach is just as touchy as mine in all the same ways…

      • Gæst

        This. I even briefly fell prey to it when I first started hearing about how breastmilk was so much better than formula. It was like, wow, could it be that my health problems all could have been avoided if my mom had only breastfed me? I didn’t get mad at my mother, because she didn’t “know” and everyone was using formula back then.

        And then I breastfed my own kids. Hey, guess what? My son has the exact same allergies and asthma I do. Breastmilk didn’t do shit – his issues showed up at an even younger age.

        • Mishimoo

          I did too – though mine was more “if my mother had been more attached (followed Attachment Parenting), she wouldn’t have abused me.”

          Unfortunately, she’s just an awful person.

          • Gæst

            I’m sorry that your mother abused you.

          • Mishimoo

            Thanks, it’s more frustrating than anything at this point. I nearly fell into the homebirthing and hardcore attachment parenting stuff in an attempt to avoid inflicting intergenerational trauma. It’s thanks to Dr. Amy and the community here that I realised that those things wouldn’t have made a bit of difference to my upbringing, and that I am a good mother.

        • Tigger_the_Wing

          Allergies are prevalent in my family, too, even though we were all breastfed. Two of my own babies had to be switched to formula because they were allergic to my breastmilk.

          Breastmilk is just food, not magic.

          • Dr Kitty

            My grandmother, mother, uncle and aunt (all VB,
            exclusively breastfed) have allergies- variously anaphylaxis to penicillin and cypress pollen and a Cow’s milk protein allergy.

            I (CS born, breastfed for less than 6 months) have allergies to multiple antibiotics.

            My daughter (CS born, exclusively breast fed for over a year) has a mild skin allergy to Triclosan in anti-bacterial soaps, but no other food or drug allergies that we know of.

            My son (Cs born, BF for 6 months, then combo fed until 1 year) has absolutely no allergies of any kind that we know of.

            It’s almost like the genetics have a much bigger impact than mode of delivery and feeding method or something…

      • desertrose

        Bwahaha, my mom drank a pot of coffee everyday and smoked through her whole pregnancy with me. You know what? I don’t blame her for that. That was just “normal” back then. But you know what? She would step in front of a bus for me, even now, and I’m old enough to have my own adult children. I see these women worrying so much more about themselves and their “experience” than their babies, and I just don’t understand.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          I just don’t understand.

          Yes, that is the problem. You are viewing this from a reasonable person perspective, as opposed to the self-absorbed narcissist.

          You can’t understand their perspective. Be thankful.

        • Heidi_storage

          My husband was puzzled, too, and wondered how you could put yourself in a position where you might have to live with yourself knowing that your poor choices had killed your baby; how traumatic! I mentioned Janet my-stillbirth-was-less-traumatic-than-my-birthrape Frazer, and his expression cleared up; “Oh. They’re just crazy.” Yup.

      • Casual Verbosity

        I was a vacuum and forceps delivery and I believe my mum had some of the happy-gas too, yet somehow I’ve managed to excel in a number of areas. Then again, the exclusive breastfeeding is probably what did it.

  • Fulcrum

    Here’s how this would have gone with a proper midwife.

    She would have been offered a gbs test —> she would have been given antibiotics during labour

    She would have been assessed during pregnancy and it’s likely they would have known ahead of time that the babe was breech —> she would have risked out for homebirth

    She would have been assessed when her water broke —> if meconium was present she would have been transferred to the hospital. If there were heart rate issues, she would have been transferred to the hospital. None of this matters because upon discovering that the baby was breech at this stage, she would have been transferred to the hospital.

    The midwife should also be able to intubate a newborn.

    If people want homebirth to remain an option, then they need to be more responsible.

    • But this is precisely why this woman didn’t have a “proper”, professional midwife. She didn’t want any of this “unnecessary”, “intrusive” stuff. She knew better, and she was going to stick it to the medical establishment!

      A midwife who acted as you suggest isn’t a REAL midwife, she’s that abomination, a “medwife”.

    • The Bofa on the Sofa

      I just think, what if it had been me. Or, in this case, my wife.

      1) We would have had GBS testing, and known she was positive
      2) We would have known the baby was breech

      When the water broke at 2:20 am, we wouldn’t have sat around home, and would have gone to the hospital. Contractions or no, if the baby was still breech, we would have had a c-section, probably by noon or so. By 2:20, we would have been in post-partum with a new baby, and not worried about “heavy meconium staining,” and any pooping the baby would do would be in a diaper.

      Yeah, tell me again that we would have had the same issues she had? Right….

      BTW, I’m not speculating on the time line. This is indeed what happened with our first. My wife’s water broke about 2 am. The only reason we didn’t go to the hospital right away was that it wasn’t obvious that her water broke, because it was a mere trickle. She had mild contractions through the night (about every 10 minutes) but we went to the hospital when the front doors opened at 7 am. Despite the fact that her contractions had more or less stopped, she was in the OR at noon, baby was born at 1 pm.

      • Gæst

        I didn’t even get to the standard GBS test – I had a GBS UTI in the first trimester, and that was that – if my water ever broke, I was going straight to the hospital for antibiotics.

        • Heidi_storage

          Yeah, for my last two pregnancies my urine tested positive for GBS, meaning I was “highly colonized” and I’d better make sure I got those antibiotics. (Which I did. No GBS illness.)

        • Kq

          There’s also regular not GBS bacteria – I was GBS negative but quickly developed an infection during labor. ABX for baby and me and we never had any other problems. They caught it so early because they monitored us so closely

    • Mac Sherbert

      Well, in all fairness they didn’t know one of mine was breech…but they did eventually figure it out and confirmed it with an ultra-sound.

      • Tigger_the_Wing

        They didn’t know in advance that either of my breech births would happen. I was already in hospital with my second baby when he did yet another somersault overnight, and was therefore breech when I went into labour early the following morning. No scans in those days, so it was only when his feet came out that anyone believed me that I’d felt him turn.

        In the second case, it was the second twin who turned sideways as soon as his brother was born. They managed to turn him so he was at least lined up properly, but he too came out feet first.

    • Mel

      I don’t know if a single midwife working alone would be able to resus a newborn adequately regardless of training. Intubation of newborns is tricky to start with and a protected airway can’t do much if the problem is with fluid and meconium in the lungs themselves.

      I was present two times when my son managed to “spontaneously extubate” himself while on a ventilator. He did great – but that was mainly because of the three RN’s, two respiratory techs, and two neonatologists who swooped in within a minute to replace his tube while keeping him breathing.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        Your Spawn is going to be a handful as soon as he’s mobile!

        • Kris

          Also, your Spawn is tough. That’s awesome.

      • BeatriceC

        YAY! Another mom in my strange child club! YK managed to spontaneously extubate himself multiple times over the two months he was intubated. I’ve never heard of another baby doing that until now.

        • Mel

          Spawn had two skills. He loved to move – head, arms, legs, started doing pelvic lifts before he reached 36 weeks gestation – so he was a bit ahead in terms of either moving away from his tube or yanking on it. His other skill was enthusiastic efforts when it was time to poo. Both times that he coded and the near-code were when he was pushing so hard that the ventilator couldn’t inflate his lungs to start with…and then he moved just right to pull his tube out of place – but not enough to clear the airway.

          The nurses had to fill out a form titled something like “Analysis and Review of Unplanned Extubation Event by a Neonate” – which caused me to giggle a lot. I told them the teacher name for that would be “When babies try to kill themselves accidently”.

          • BeatriceC

            YK’s thing was trying to get his fingers in his mouth. He was single-mindedly determined to get most of his hand in his mouth and as a result, he kept yanking the vent tube enough out of place to cause it to be ineffective. His nurses had to fill out a similar report, though I have no clue what it was called. And you are oh, so correct about what the teacher name for such a form would be.

  • Clarene Wong

    well this is why hearsay isn’t allowed in court, it is really hard to get an accurate account of what was said without talking to the source. I don’t know how a kid with no suckling or swallowing can be said to have no brain damage.

    • Mac Sherbert

      I suspect saying learning delays is also a way of saying brain damage. The doctors are trying to be kind to her.

  • There are a number of problems with the way the labor and birth progressed, according to the story the mother told. She obviously thinks she’s very educated about birth but really is a walking advertisement for the old adage “a little knowledge is dangerous”. However, I’m going to skip over all the inconsistencies to concentrate on one point: she herself says the baby was without oxygen for 10 minutes. Brain cells begin dying after 4. [I am also wondering about this “pulsating cord” with a breech birth. The cord, in a breech, is pressed between the baby and the pelvis once the baby’s body has been born, and no blood goes through it. That’s why you have only 4 minutes, once the body has been born, to get the head out]

    • Tigger_the_Wing

      I’ve had two breech births (both in hospital) and yes, there is a panic to get the baby out ASAP.

  • Erin_the_Ethnographer

    These nightmare-tales these women have… how utterly selfish do you have to be to not put the baby first, and eliminate every possible potential risk before doing something as complicated as giving birth??

    I had three vaginal, pain-medicated, hospital births, with OB-GYNs that had actual medical training. Because I stand on *science*, and modern medicine, and not putting my desire for a crunchy, “my Facebook group approves of my birth plan!” head-pats before the health of my wee ones.

    • It may sound very callous, but for the mother, it’s a win-win situation. Either she lucks out and the baby’s OK, despite the horrendous risks that were taken, or the baby’s a basket case, and the mother can dine out on stories of her martyrdom, caring for a severely disabled child, for the rest of her life.
      [I know a woman who sent all her friends notes about how “blessed” she was to have a handicapped child “who smiles at me at last”. The child was in her teens by then]

      • rox123

        I don’t think most mothers of disabled children have to much to win. They might get compassion or score sainthood points, but at the end of the day they’re still the ones that change the diapers on their adult children or spoon feed them. This is my greatest fear being pregnant right now .. having a baby that turns out to have a disability.

        • jaia

          While it’s certainly better not to have a disability, it’s also not the end of the world. I have cerebral palsy and use a wheelchair. I also have a PhD in ecology, work at UCLA and train Brazilian jiu jitsu. I hope your baby gets the simpler route in life, but many people with disabilities live full and happy lives.

          • Sarah

            Absolutely. There are disabilities and disabilities.

          • rox123

            I didn’t mean anything offensive, I am sure a lot of people with disabilities can achieve successful fulfilling lives, but as you said, it’s about getting the easier way in life. Thank you for your wishes 🙂 .

          • jaia

            No offense taken. 🙂

        • BeatriceC

          A disability isn’t the end of the world. Two of my kids have a rare genetic bone disorder. They are disabled. It sucks in a lot of ways. But in most ways they’re normal, amazing kids/young adults. Granted nobody wants to deal with endless doctors visits and hospitalizations, but if it does happen, it becomes your new normal and just another part of life. You teach your kids to succeed in spite of their limitations, instead of using them as an excuse not to try.

          I think the key distinction between this and what Antigonos CNM is saying is that these people make deliberate decisions that result in a high likelyhood of creating a disability that didn’t have to happen, and then they act like they deserve sainthood for raising a “child like that” (and let me tell you how much I hate that phrase), and loving them as much as a normal child.

          Now pardon me while I go puke. That last line was awful to write out.

        • Clarene Wong

          I think we all fear having our children’s lives being more difficult than they have to be. I also know many disabled people who subscribe to the social model of disability, meaning that a lack of accommodation from society is a much bigger problem than the physical component of disability. Things do not have to be so hard for mothers of disabled children, or disabled children, trying a political means to address those problems could be an awesome way to use the anxiety you are experiencing about it. I have always wondered what it would be like if there was a network of mothers that vowed mutual support for an hour or two a week in some fashion.

      • Sarah

        Erm, I think that might be a bit of a stretch. I’ve seen what that looks like at close hand, and frankly my parents wouldn’t describe their experiences as dining out on martyrdom. And this is with a disabled child who isn’t in pain and genuinely does have a good quality of life.

        • There is a huge difference between families who, despite every care and the best medical care, have a child who is disabled, and one who in effect has suffered grievous bodily harm at the hands of a mother who allows risks from a false ideology. I think that families in the former situation are some of he most courageous people Iknow, because everyone is affected tremendously.

          • Sarah

            Either way, I’d say dining out on martyrdom is often in rather short supply for parents of disabled children. That is not a picture I recognise.

      • Charybdis

        Basket case or Casket case?
        Gallows humor…..

  • I really don’t get the GBS thing. It’s not an invasive test, the treatment is simple, and the potential consequences of skipping it are so dire. Is it just a warrior mama merit badge, like skipping the gestational diabetes test?

    • Azuran

      I think it’s about the ATB you take if you are positive. They think it’s going to mess up the microbiome or something like that.

      • Oh good lord, the microbiome thing. These kooks had me convinced that the sugar water and formula my first had in the NICU were going to destroy his “virgin gut.” Even at the time I thought “well, it’s better than starving”

        • Azuran

          There’s also the whole ‘cascade of intervention’ thing. To have ATB you need an IV, you have an IV you get IV fluids, you can’t move around as much, so it’s more painful, so you get an epidural, so labour stalls and you have an unnecessarian because the OB wants to go golfing.

        • Kerlyssa

          it’s spread into other stupidity. came across a person who thought that intractable c dif infections could be dealt with only by fecal transplants… from a baby that had never eaten anything but breastmilk.

          i mean, is the next solution to take the offending stool and submerge it stumpwater during a full moon?
          >.<

          • swbarnes2

            I smell a business opportunity here…Not just for C.diff, who can say for sure that they wouldn’t benefit from a little infusion of good bacteria from a “pure” source?

    • Sue

      “I really don’t get the GBS thing.”

      Because those EBIL ANTIBIOTICS might destroy the baby’s gut flora – a fate much worse than death!

      (Pro-tip – baby gut flora is literally, and metaphorically, a “moving feast” until they are established on a solid diet)

      • Yeah, literally “worse than death” in their eyes. They would rather have a dead baby than take antibiotics. I just can’t get my mind around what it must be like to live in such a state of mistrust and paranoia.

    • Mad Hatter

      Antibiotics are evil and an unlicensed midwife can’t administer IV antibiotics anyway. I thought I wanted a homebirth with a midwife until I got pregnant and started doing some research. I went with a hospital birth and OB thanks in part to this page. I tested positive for GBS. Found out afterwards that the midwife I had planned to use would treat gbs vaginally with hibiclens. That was only if the mom knew she was gbs+ as she didn’t advise moms to get tested.

      • Wasnomofear

        I’m like you, except they got me on my first baby, nearly eight years ago. This site may not have even existed then. They run their mouths about informed consent, yet I (while having read some midwifery books) hadn’t even heard of GBS til I came here. Much less shoulder dystocia, which I was at risk for with a large-on-sonogram baby. Fortunately, I was one of the lucky ones who got out mostly unscathed, but I was only able to recognize it as luck, not proof of safety, after reading the blogs and comments here.

      • In Israel, at any rate, even CNMs cannot prescribe antibiotics. A woman who is GBS positive should not even think of a homebirth. [IMO, no woman should, but that’s another issue]

        • MI Dawn

          I can’t speak for all states, but in New Jersey, CNMs can prescribe most medications (although strong narcotics only in the hospital he/she works in with the MD backup). Home birth CNMs can prescribe most medications, including antibiotics, but no narcotics.

    • Empress of the Iguana People

      the precious gut biome which since no one’s sure what it does or if it matters, quacks assume it must be spectacular.

  • NS

    My daughter was born before routine testing for GBS. A short time after delivery, *I* became septic with a fever over 104 and shaking chills. I didn’t care that I was sick, all I cared about was that she was OK.
    I do NOT think I’m exceptional, I think that 99% of mothers feel the same way. I truly do not understand the ones who put their “experience” before the health of the baby.
    When I was pregnant, any time the conversation turned to vaginal vs Caesarian birth, my answer was that I didn’t care if the baby came out of my nose as long as she was OK. (That tended to shut down the conversation…)

  • BeatriceC

    We need a jaw dropped in speechless shock reaction. I have no words.

    • Amazed

      It’s logical, in a sad twisted way. If she manages to convince others to follow her lead, her own choice would not have been stupid and damaging but a stellar one (if so many women followed it!). At the moment, she might be a suffering mother (or not, as she seems to be in happy denial) but she’s also a walking menace. As cruel as this might sound, at the moment other babies are just a means to her to prove that she did not cause her daughter’s injury.

  • The Bofa on the Sofa

    She’s having a gastrostomy tube placed because she will be unable to eat by mouth any time soon.

    Well, now that just means that if there are any problems, they will be due to a lack of breastfeeding.

    • Wasnomofear

      She’ll pump.

      • But it’s getting the breast milk via the mother’s nipple that’s crucial! [sarcasm] I don’t quite know why a gastrostomy tube is essential; an nasogastric tube would do just as well, IMO.

        • attitude devant

          Yes an NG tube is adequate. For the short term. My read was they were expecting a long-term situation. The mom is not honest with the group.

          • Ozlsn

            I actually don’t think the mother has grasped how serious it is. She’s taking the MRI as indicating no problems, and hasn’t really understood that if they are placing a peg then they are expecting long term issues with feeding. My son came home with a peg rather than an NGT not least because he managed to hiccup the NGT out of position and aspirate milk – due to respiratory issues he hadn’t learned how to suck, so it was obvious that he was going to need tube feeding for a while until he was old enough to eat solids and drink without needing the sucking. Fortunately we were able to teach him how to eat/drink, and we did a tube wean when he was 3.5 years old. We were lucky that he didn’t have issues with swallowing, or bad oral aversion.

        • Mel

          They don’t recommend using an NG for more than 4-6 weeks at home. The chances of misplacing the tube are pretty high for non-medical professional when done repeatedly. My husband placed Spawn’s in his trachea once and watching your kid freak and turn blue is not fun. Plus, taping an infant’s face is not fun for the parent or the infant.

          Spawn used an NG for a lot longer than that – but the best guess for everyone was that he was going to be at all oral feeds within 4-6 weeks.

          I’d have gotten a g-tube in a heartbeat if we had known Spawn was going to be a NG baby for around 3 months at home.

          • MaineJen

            Plus NG tubes are seriously traumatic…at least that’s what my husband said, he had one inserted after his surgery, and he said it was worse than the surgery itself. (Though in his case it wasn’t for feeding, but for draining, as his digestive system had decided to back up)

          • Mel

            The funny thing with babies is that they seem to dislike the process of having someone attaching Duoderm followed by surgical tape followed by Tegaderm far more than they mind the actual placement of the NG tube itself.

            I don’t know how much of the difference is the length of the tube, either. Spawn’s tube depth is around 30cm which I can do in less than 15 seconds from when I put it in his nose until I’ve reached the taped mark depth. It’s like threading a needle, but a whole lot easier.

  • Casual Verbosity

    I wish I could say that was surprising.

  • *blink* What’s the reasoning on that? I did something stupid and got burned, so what’re the odds it’ll also work out badly for you?

    • CSN0116

      She says the odds are super low and not to be scared.

      No shit. Not kidding.

      • I have no words.

        • Charybdis

          Oh, I have PLENTY of words. Ones that would make a sailor proud and my mother wondering *where* she went wrong.

      • Mad Hatter

        Sure the odds are super low until the baby gets a strep B infection and then its really really bad.

        • NS

          Yeah, everything’s always fine…until it isn’t.

    • Azuran

      Because encouraging people to test themselves for strep B would mean acknowledging that she is responsible for what happened to her daughter.

      • Sheven

        Ding ding ding, we have a winner. It’s like the mom who wrote that her kid bled into his own guts because she refused him a vitamin K shot. He went to the hospital and had many long, painful procedures to save his life. She then said that she had “done her research” and was convinced that she would refuse the shot again with her next kid. Changing your behavior means acknowledging that something you did needs to change. And that just can’t be.

  • attitude devant

    I can never understand why preventative care BEFORE delivery is bad, but NICU care (with all the invasive tests, the procedures, and the medicines) is so eagerly sought when the preventable disaster happens.

    • Casual Verbosity

      I would venture it’s because by the time they reach the NICU it’s undeniable that there’s something very wrong. Prior to that stage it’s easy for them to assert that the procedures will do more harm than good simply because they don’t believe there’s anything wrong (or that anything could go wrong for them).

      Perhaps I’m being too understanding but I have to wonder whether those who really buy into the “trust birth” rhetoric are actually more afraid than those who “trust modern medicine”. Providers who assert that birth is inherently safe are more reassuring than those who speak the truth about what can go wrong. It’s avoidance taken to its most destructive extreme.

      • swbarnes2

        Once the baby’s out, any problems with the baby are it’s fault, not Mom’s. “Some babies aren’t meant to be born”, remember? Not mom’s fault.

        • attitude devant

          yes. whatever happened was ‘incredibly rare’

      • Amazed

        I don’t think you’re too understanding. As far as you don’t say it’s modern medicine fault that these women (which are the tiny minority, no matter howloud they are) are scared, all suggestions are fair. I’ll cite Zelazny here – explanations are a good thing but at the end of the day, you’re left with the facts and all explanations do is help you understand why the person is such a son of a bitch. Same thing here. We can make all kind of reasoning but at the end, it was the mother’s choice and the mother’s doing.

        I have a particular loathing for “mothers” who avoid interventions to the very end, end up with a dead or disabled baby and then trot over to the hospital to have interventions for themselves before waxing poetics of their lovely homebirth and gratitude for their incompetent midwives but none for the staff who, in their heads, was there only to serve Their Homebirthing Highnesses hand and foot. It doesn’t read like scared women for me. Rather, narcissists. Scared or not.

        • Valerie

          I think it’s the mother’s newfound capacity for “unselfish love” that allows her to overcome her aversion to western medicine and seek care for her child. When the baby is born, the mama bear instincts are actualized.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            not always. sigh

        • Casual Verbosity

          Oh it’s certainly not modern medicine’s fault that some women are scared. The medical establishment is just less likely than woo peddlers to pander to people by telling them that birth is all sunshine and rainbows as long as you invoke the right vibes with positive thinking. Understanding why something happened doesn’t absolve responsibility. However it can go some way to preventing it from happening in the future.
          I certainly see narcissism playing a role in many homebirths. That being said, I don’t think narcissism and fear are mutually exclusive.

  • namaste863

    Well, if the MRI didn’t turn up any brain damage with any luck she will suffer no permanent ill effects. Not that I’m saying that it makes what this woman did is OK. Far from it. She acted like a spoiled, entitled teenager. This little girl doesn’t deserve to pay for her mother’s stupidity. Hopefully all these problems come down to a rocky start and will resolve themselves.

    • swbarnes2

      If the baby can’t suckle at 3 weeks…doesn’t that suggest serious damage, no matter what the MRI does or does not show?

      • namaste863

        I honestly don’t know; I am not a physician. I’m not qualified to make that call.

        • kilda

          The lack of clear abnormalities on the mri is not really that surprising in an infant this young. The mother is taking it to mean there IS no damage, but it mostly means she’s still too young, and the damage too fresh, for it to be obvious. Absence of the gag and sucking reflexes is a very ominous sign.

          • swbarnes2

            Apparently, the concept of “false negative” was not covered in what I’m sure was ‘extensive research’ into homebirthing.

    • Tigger_the_Wing

      I’m not sure how sensitive MRIs are for detecting damage, nor how plastic babies’ brains are. My third son, who was born deaf, had a brain scan which showed massive black areas where there should have been brain. The pædiatrician warned us that he might have learning difficulties, and he couldn’t tell how severe they would be.

      He had an operation at four months old to insert grommets in his ears, which gave him some hearing in his right ear. The first time he reacted to sound was a joyful occasion. A subsequent brain scan showed perfectly normal brain structure. Whatever excess fluid had been inside his head had drained out, and the brain had sprung back into shape. Apart from being partially deaf – and autistic (which is our family’s normal) – he had no developmental problems whatsoever, and when the school tested his IQ when he was ten, it came out as 183. He’s now 24, and lives independently (well, he’s currently sharing a flat with his twin brother) about twenty miles from me.

      I hope that baby girl recovers completely, despite her mother’s reckless and self-regarding behaviour.

  • Azuran

    I absolutely believe her that the Doctors didn’t outright tell her that her choice to have a homebirth is responsible. Most Doctors wouldn’t have the nerves to say such a thing and would instead say things like ‘we can’t know for sure’ ‘could happen anywhere’ blablabla. I know because I do it all the time.
    There isn’t a day where I don’t see at least one case where the owner is directly or indirectly responsible for their pet’s sickness and I don’t have it in myself to bluntly tell them to their faces that this is entirely their fault and that it absolutely could have been avoided if they had used their brains a little. You generally expect that deep down, they know it’s their fault, and they don’t need you to add to their guilt by kicking them while they are down.

    • attitude devant

      Remember the breech/breech twins born in Portland? Baby B had a depressed skull fracture from the extraction and somehow the dad was convinced that the idiot midwife had SAVED his daughter’s life by avoiding a c/s. A c/s, he said, would have killed her. He claimed the neurosurgeon told him this. Go figure.

      • Azuran

        From experience, I usually take almost everything most owners say about their animal’s medical care with about 1 kilo of salt.
        I mean, sometime they don’t recognize me and think their previous appointment was with another vet, and they outright badmouth me to my face, saying that I told them some extremely outrageous medically false thing that I know is nowhere near what I told them.

        People often hear only what they want to hear.

        • BeatriceC

          I’m so glad I have a good relationship with my vet. I can’t even imagine setting myself up to have my vet dislike me by lying to him. I *need* my vet. Without him, I risk dead birds. Now granted, he’s got a bit of a soft spot for me because I will take in badly behaved and/or physically disabled birds and give them as good of a life as I can (he adores Charlotte). It probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve spent over $5000 in just vet care/lab work/hospital costs (no food/toys/other merchandise) just this year alone, but still, I wouldn’t dream of lying to him. How can he treat my birds properly if he doesn’t know their whole history?

          • Azuran

            Technically, I don’t think they are lying, they absolutely believe what they think I told them. that whole ‘only register 20% of what you hear’ didn’t some from nowhere.
            I’m more troubled that they are talking in my back. Even if I wasn’t the first vet they saw, they are still badmouthing my colleagues to my face. Sometimes, they even badmouths vets to the technicians or the receptionist. As if they think we don’t talk to one another.
            I sure as hell am not going to take it out on the pets, but you sure as hell aren’t going to be liked or have a good relationship with anyone that way.

          • BeatriceC

            Did I tell you I made a vet intern cry a couple weeks ago? I didn’t mean to, but my regular vet told me about it a few days later.

            I currently have two sick birds. Goofy the amazon, A.K.A. the Evil Attack Parrot ™, and Oscar the goffins cockatoo. Oscar got sick first. About a week after he got sick, Goofy also got sick. MrC was out of town and it was 11pm, so off to the emergency vet we went.

            Now, the EV here is pretty awesome. Like most ER’s, they staff overnight with an intern and have a fully practicing vet overseeing, though not necessarily in the building. In addition to that, my vet and his office partner work with them on an “on call” basis in case a bird comes in. What I didn’t know is that just a half hour before I arrived, somebody else arrived with a badly behaved African Grey, and when she called my vet she completely fell apart at having to handle two cranky parrots. I didn’t mean to make her cry. I’d told her that he was cranky, but I could manage him if she needed me to. Apparently that was enough to blow her confidence. *sigh*

          • Azuran

            XD Poor her. Don’t feel too bad, it’s not like you meant to or did anything wrong. If anything, I’d be super happy if anyone who came in with a huge bird was also able to handle him. Most of the owners I see can’t even handle their lovebirds.

          • BeatriceC

            I’m trying to make myself feel better by telling myself it was better to warn her he’s a jerk than let her assume he was nice and get bitten. He’s a yellow nape amazon. They don’t play when they bite. And while he and I aren’t exactly friends, we do have an understanding. He does cooperate with me, but he makes it clear he’s not happy about it. You know how parrots are with pair-bonding. He’s MrC’s bird, and has been for 20 years. But when I moved in with MrC, I set a goal to be able to manage Goofy in the event that either MrC was unable to care for him, or an emergency happened while MrC wasn’t here. I really can’t understand why people would have animals they can’t manage. That doesn’t make sense to me.

          • Azuran

            You should see small dog owners XD
            Those damned miniature poodles could get away with murder.

            Not everyone knows their way about birds. And often, smaller birds aren’t raised by hands or manipulated as babies and spend months in pet shop without ever being manipulated. People have no idea how much work and time it takes raising birds and pet shop sells them like they are hamsters…..and they often don’t even take care of hamsters properly.

          • Empress of the Iguana People

            I seem to see way more small dogs growling and snarling than the bigger ones. A nasty chihuahua might be less of a problem than a nasty wolfhound but they are not cute when they growl.

          • BeatriceC

            Very true. I always thought chihuahuas were horrible dogs until I met my brother-in-law’s dogs and realized that they could be amazing little boogers if they were properly trained and socialized. My BIL always has a large breed dog and a couple chihuahuas around. He typically adopts them from shelters them as middle age to older dogs because he likes being more of a retirement home than dealing with puppies. But he trains the little dogs pretty much the same way as he trains the big ones, and the little ones are quite wonderful little dogs after a couple months in his care. They just needed to be taught manners. (Full disclosure, my BIL is pretty much the reason I got not just into animal rescue, but into rescuing older animals, and eventually, when furry animals weren’t an option because of allergies, I turned to rehabbing parrots with issues.)

            And the state of pet shops and small birds is horrible. Most of the large chains in the US have stopped selling everything but budgies, so strides are being made, but there are still thousands of “back yard breeders” of budgies, lovebirds, cockatiels, and even the smaller conures. I did break with my usual habit of rescuing older birds and I got my youngest son a juvenile budgie and a baby lovebird (long story how exactly that happened), and then worked with him to teach him how to tame and train the birds. I’m gonna have a hard time letting him take his birds with him when he moves out. Those little birds are every bit as wonderful as the big, flashy birds everybody thinks are better. 🙂

    • Casual Verbosity

      I’m inclined to agree. At the time of crisis there’s not much point telling people that the crisis is their fault. You need them to act and move forward in the moment, and sending them deeper into despair by telling them that their actions may be partially or wholly responsible is going to be counterproductive. However, I hope that once the dust settles somebody sits this couple down and explains the situation for what it is – especially if they plan on having another baby. Of course, even if that happens, the guilt and trauma of having caused the death of your own child is so debilitating that such a conversation is likely to be met with denial.

      • Daleth

        You need them to act and move forward in the moment, and sending them deeper into despair by telling them that their actions may be partially or wholly responsible is going to be counterproductive.

        It could also be productive, in that if she realizes the midwife was wrong and the doctors were right, she will hopefully start listening to the doctors more when it comes to recommended treatment, tests, etc. for the baby who’s still in the hospital.

        And surely there’s a very sympathetic way to say it — something along the lines of, “This happens a lot with these home-birth midwives, they don’t tell you the truth about your risks, sometimes because their training is so bad that they don’t even know the truth themselves…”

        In other words, not “you are a stupid evil mother,” but “Poor you — you were lied to by someone you liked and trusted, though perhaps even she isn’t evil, since she may not know the truth herself.”

    • Daleth

      Why don’t OB’s tell the truth? It will be devastating for that family, but it could save the life of their next child, and those of others who would have chosen home birth.

      • attitude devant

        Believe it or not, it doesn’t come up. You’re there trying really hard to do your best for this mom, and in these moments you’re not a political animal. She’s often sick herself and you’re addressing what her needs are right then. You don’t know what’s going to happen with her baby any more than she does. And usually the midwife has lied to you about what really happened, or ‘forgotten’ mom’s records, so you are in the dark about half of what happened.

        If, and I do mean IF, she comes to see you for follow-up care (because they usually follow up with the midwife, not you) she generally has made up her mind about what happened. Very rarely (and I’m thinking of two or three women over 30 years of practice) you’ll get someone who is willing to examine the course of her care and labor and grapple with her own complicity. These people are rare.

        • Wasnomofear

          I’m one! This site opened my eyes to the lies.

          • Amazed

            But you were also one of the lucky ones. You know I like you and I appreciate your input but with all due respect (and joy since we don’t have many of you, to come here with their mind changed solely by evidence), you had no tragedy to overcome, thankfully. It’s easier to have your eyes open when you scold your child for eating chocolate before dinner, instead of having a child who can’t feed themselves.

            I can’t imagine the guilt. I think it takes an extraordinary amount of bravery to accept your own part in killing or damaging your child – and I am too chicken to tell a mother that it was HER who did it. Accepting my own part if I brought up such a tragedy on my family? As unflattering as it is, I don’t think I’ll EVER find the courage to face it.

      • Azuran

        Not saying that’s the best solution, but I guess it’s all about human nature and trying to have empathy.

        Like I said, you say it in a roundabout way and expect them to be able to connect the dot (since any half reasonnable human being would be able to). When I ask someone if their sick puppy is vaccinated and then tell them their puppy has a vaccine preventable disease, and that next time they have a puppy they should come for puppy vaccine, I expect them to be able to realize their puppy died because they didn’t vaccinate him. And usually, the vast majority of people get it that way. I just don’t feel the need to make 99% of people feel even more like crap by twisting the knife in the wound for the 1% of idiots, who most likely, wouldn’t believe me anyway.

        And if you want to be really crude about it, what if she harms or kills herself after you told her that she killed her baby? You’d be responsible for that.

        • Amazed

          But do you tell them that their puppy’s death had NOTHING to do with lack of vaccines and the puppy would have died anyway even if they had been vaccinated? It’s a fine line but I don’t think a doctor should EVER lie to a patient. I find it hard to believe them when they say, “The doctor said my baby would have died in the hospital, too!” Of course, there could be some doctors who took the “do no harm” principle too hard and resorted to lying to their patients outright but if I am to believe that every doctor said to every such mother that homebirth had nothing at all to do with it… well, I don’t.

          • Azuran

            No I don’t, but like I said, I don’t think the Doctor told her that. I think he said more neutral things like ‘We can’t know for sure what could have happened either way’ and in her mind it became ‘it’s absolutely not because of the home birth’ People will often twist what they are told until it fits what they want to hear.
            And honestly, even if the doctor had flat out told her it was her fault, it probably would have only caused her to double down on her belief that OBs are evil and to seek reassurance with her echo chamber.

          • Amazed

            That’s what I meant. The doctor says one thing and they hear another. Doesn’t mean at all that the doctor said, “It has nothing to do with anything you did!”, no matter what they heard.

            It’s not a doctor’s job to be the voice of justice or something. Not lying – not the same as saying, “No, no, it wasn’t YOU!”

            It’s interesting, though, how these doctors are not good enough for homebirthers to trust and go to in the first place but the moment tragedy strike, they become the ultimate authority when they say anything that can be construed as absolution. Not that homebirthers thank them for saving their lives. They reserve their gratitude for the midwife whose actions led to this tragedy. But they recognize the doctor’s authority the moment they need something of them.

            The disconnect is stunning.

      • Wasnomofear

        They don’t see MDs as credible. You gotta go to the school of hard knocks. And lax regulations.

      • They may well have done so. The mother, consciously or unconsciously, refused to hear. Selective listening is very common in these situations, and denial is very powerful. Of course, the mother can also just be lying, in order to exculpate herself.

      • Amazed

        But what’s the truth? Is it that homebirth killed this baby? Yes, it is. Is it that the problems could or would have happened in the hospital, too? Yes.

        I can totally see the doctors opting for the second truth, sparing the detail that while the problems THEMSELVES were/might have been unavoidable, the TREATMENT that would have saved this child was available and ready at the hospital. Perhaps later, months and years later. But I really can’t see myself telling a new parent that their previously perfectly healthy baby is now dead or injured because they couldn’t be bothered to put a little mental effort or concern about the baby’s health in pursuit of their birth goddess status.

        Which is, of course, a long-winded way to say that I am a coward. I could not do such a thing to anyone and I can totally see why doctors choose against it as well. But long-term? I am not sure I’d have the guts to do it even then. And I suspect that a good deal of the doctors who DO find the guts are met with a wall of denial because by then, the parents have convinced themselves – with the loving help of their supportive facebook group – that it was unavoidable and evil doctors are there to get them.

    • Heidi_storage

      Azuran, this is OT, but I saw this article on Cracked:

      http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2520-why-are-so-many-veterinarians-killing-themselves.html

      Now, this is a comedy web site, but many of the personal experience articles are interesting. What do you think?

      • Azuran

        It’s absolutely true.
        The part about online hate mobs is real, we deal with it regularly. Two years ago, someone who wasn’t even one of our client decided that her cat’s death was our fault. We woke up one morning with a very hateful messages on social medias about how we refused to help her and let her cat die a horrible death because we are monsters who only think about money and how we shouldn’t be vet and liked torturing animals.
        It got a lot of traction, got shared over 5000 times just in our city, people swarmed our facebook page with hate messages, death threats, calls for boycotts, People who weren’t our clients left 1 stars rating en mass, they wrote fake stories about how we killed their pets, let them die, or outright abused pets. They replied to old comments left by owners thanking us for humanely euthanizing their terminally ill pets to tell them we were monsters. People called us to insult us.
        We had to close our facebook page. And then fake ones started to pop up and people kept insulting us on them.

        It lasted about two weeks before people moved on (the fact that it happened around Christmas probably helped a lot, people had other things to worry about and local media didn’t pick up on it) Financially, it didn’t hurt us, because we are by far the largest clinic of the region and it has been around for 40 years. But a smaller, newer clinic might not survive such a thing.

        Two years later we still don’t have facebook. There are still very twisted post or ‘half'(more like 10%) truths against us that pop up on spotted about once a month that will get about 40-50 hate comments on them. And even if we wanted to defend ourselves (we don’t, because we know it’s pointless and only makes things worse), but even if we wanted to, we can’t, because of professional secret. So we just watch as people post ridiculous things about us.

        Anything you read online about vets is about as true as that woman who claims the Dr. told her it absolutely wasn’t because of homebirth.

        • Empliau

          I’m sorry that happened to you. There are bad apples in every barrel, but all our vets (several moves, necessitating changing doctors) have been absolute angels. Luckily our pets are not biters or scratchers, which helps!

          • BeatriceC

            All of mine are biters. *EEK* But they’re birds, so that’s different. And they see an avian specialist, so he knows what he’s doing. He’s also pretty much the most amazing vet I’ve ever known. Yet still, I read comments on Yelp and occasionally facebook and people still leave nasty comments from time to time. I cannon reconcile the man I know with some of these comments. Let a pet die? Ummm, one of the half dozen visits of mine to the vet in the last month, I sat there for two hours while he worked furiously to save the life of a bird that had been attacked by a dog. The injured bird came in unexpectedly right after we’d been put in an exam room. That’s his normal behavior. Granted, his personality takes a little getting used to, but he’s a damned good vet, and widely recognized as one of the best avian/exotic vets in the US, and possibly the world. And he’s not heartless. Right now he’s basically giving me his services and charging me very little over cost for supplies and lab work because I’ve already spent $5k plus in his office this year alone. He works with me so my birds get the best care they possibly can without bankrupting me. And he does that for everybody. It’s just the way he operates. Yet people still complain and say nasty things about him.

            People are stupid. If they don’t get exactly what they want, even if it’s impossible, they blame the messenger. I’m gonna guess the person who started the hate mom against Azuran’s practice was told something like “I’m sorry, we’re already closed for the day, but there’s an emergency vet at ABC you can go to.” and the person didn’t want to hear that, or pay the higher cost of the EV, and then blamed the regular practice.

        • Heidi_storage

          I had no idea! That’s really rough. My brother-in-law (ish) was a vet, but now works for whatever the animal equivalent of the FDA is, approving new drugs for pets. I wonder if all of this craziness got to him? He keeps his hand in by working at his old place once a month, but goodness, I can appreciate why he might’ve wanted to retire from full-time clinical practice.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa

          In the town where my wife works, one of the competing clinics sent a client over with a cat with some random problem, pretending to be just a random client. They got the diagnosis and treatment plan, and then went over to the other clinic where they claimed the cat had XY and Z and my wife’s clinic (not her but another doctor) missed all these diagnoses and that they are incompetent.

          I don’t know and my wife doesn’t even know what the cat has, but then again, we do know that the person dong this is not just an independent client, and is the daughter of the receptionist, or something like that. So, um, take that for what it’s worth.

          We do know that other clinics in town have had corporate takeovers, and the competition is ramping up. I don’t think the clinic in question has been bought out (yet; the owner has been diagnosed with cancer, so he probably will sell soon, though), but my wife’s clinic has been exceptionally successful in the last year or so, and it is pissing off the others.

        • StephanieJR

          What is wrong with people! That’s awful. I’m sorry they were so horrible, and I do want to thank you and all the other vets for their hard work.

      • Azuran

        I mean, just look at the comments XD
        Veterinary medicine isn’t thightly regulated like human medicine. There is a standard of care, but there is a LOT of leeway when the owners can’t or don’t want to pay for adequate treatment.
        For example, someone commented about how the tip of his cat’s tail was necrotic.
        His first vet recommended amputation. The owner claims the vet did so because he was an unethical money hungry vet. But tail amputation absolutely was the right recommendation.
        Now the owner didn’t want to pay for the surgery, so he went to see another vet. Clearly, since it was obvious the owner didn’t want to properly treat the cat (or else he wouldn’t be seeking a 2nd opinion) the 2nd vet offered a low cost option. But letting a tail rot off isn’t ‘proper’ treatment. It can be painful (cats are VERY good at hiding their pain) and it can result in self mutilation or infection, which could cause septicemia or even incontinence if it goes up far enough. Sure, if amputation isn’t an option, you can try something else, but that doesn’t mean it was the ‘proper’ thing to do, it’s just better than dying without trying anything.
        So basically, the first vet is being bashed online for offering proper medical treatment.

    • Mel

      Plus, the NICU has to work with these parents for the foreseeable future. Reading the mom’s FB page makes it clear she’s not always amenable to what the doctors think is best so sometimes you have to take one for the team….or the critical infant.

  • mabelcruet

    Thick meconium is normal for ‘breechlings’? Er, no.

    • “Breechling” makes it sound like the baby is a hobbit. There is meconium with breech birth, but only at the end.
      Obviously, no one even thought about the considerable risk of prolapsed cord when her membranes ruptured, btw.

      • Empress of the Iguana People

        meconium is always at the end (snicker)

  • moto_librarian

    I’m going to venture that this poor child is going to deal with some significant impairments since she still has no swallow/gag/suck reflex. But I’m sure that this little girl won’t be the least bit bothered once she figures out that her mother got her HBA2C, right? And don’t forget that we have another shit “midwife” who was so incompetent that she didn’t know that the baby was breech, failed to transfer when it was clear that there was mec in the fluid, and didn’t think that testing for Group B strep was a problem To those irate cheerleaders who will no doubt parachute in to call Dr. Amy a big meanie, look up the definition of malignant narcissism and get back to us.

    • The midwife should have been arranging for transfer to hospital the minute after she determined the baby was breech. I suppose she should been given credit for being able to determine the baby’s presentation.

      • Mad Hatter

        But breech is just a variation of normal! I would have thought the meconium staining would be enough to get the midwife to show up, if not go to the hospital. When my water broke at home with my first, I double checked to make sure it was clear. But I went to the hospital immediately since I knew I was GBS+ thanks to actually getting tested. I couldn’t feel any contractions either until they started pit.

    • Life Tip

      It’s almost like these women don’t realize these babies will grow up and become thinking adults who will know what awful thing their mother did to them. Imagine living with a narcissistic mother who has no critical thinking skills and knowing she was the one who directly caused all your disabilities.

      I have a wonderful relationship with my mother. She’s such a beautiful person. I want a good, life long relationship with my own kids. I can’t imagine throwing that away for some stupid homebirth bragging rights that no one in the real world really cares about anyway.

      • Kerlyssa

        if she’s lucky

    • Mel

      That was my thought, too. That kidlet had to have taken a pretty solid hit during delivery or during her 10 minutes without oxygen to lose control of swallowing, gagging and sucking.

  • Jessica Nye

    A baby’s trajectory if the car was rear-ended would be towards the rear window, not the windshield.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      You’re right! Fixed it.

    • Kerlyssa

      ? think i need a diagram here, not understanding why that would be

      aaand 30 seconds more of thought had me figuring it out.

  • BeatriceC

    Typo alert. You have an extra word in this sentence:

    Now imagine that the mother insisted that doctors told her baby’s serious brain injury had nothing to do with being choosing to forgo a car seat.

    • Amy Tuteur, MD

      Thanks! Fixed it.