Thank goodness I chose homebirth for the shoulder dystocia that nearly killed my baby


I’ve always believed that there is no limit to which a homebirth advocate will not go to rationalize her decision to have a homebirth. Now I’ve had that belief confirmed.

A woman whose son suffered a severe shoulder dystocia, was born lifeless, waited 25 minutes for an ambulance and had to endure cooling therapy to preserve his brain function and may have sustained developmental impairment is actually crowing that it was the decision to give birth at home that saved his life.

When I first got examined by a midwife at home when my contractions started I was just 1cm dilated. I was in alot of pain but as this was my first baby obviously we all thought I would have hours and hours to go until things moved along.

… [O]ur homebirth midwife went off to do her Christmas shopping while we waited for things to progress.

So much for one on one midwifery care.

… just 10 minutes after rose had left my waters broke. Daniel had noticed mec in the waters which meant I would need to go to hospital to give birth. He rushed downstairs to call the midwives. I had started to get the urge to push and couldn’t stop. Ten minutes later a midwife arrived to examine me and saw that I was pushing Freddy’s head out. Rose arrived and they both realized that this baby was coming and coming fast! They told Daniel to call an ambulance.

Then disaster struck:

… Freddy’s head was out, he was stuck and he was lifeless. An ambulance from Sandhurst was dispatched and on their way. Sandhurst was over 30 minutes away.We were on our own.

The midwives struggled to deliver the baby for 5 minutes and finally he was born.

All of a sudden I felt release. The pain had gone and I felt a them place a lifeless 9lb 2 Freddy on my tummy just 28 minutes from when I got out of the bath. one of them shouted. The cord is snapped clamp it clamp it.!!!!!

Then for 15 minutes …..silence. I had my eyes closed. I felt the panic but I truly can’t remember alot.

In those 15 minutes Karen had scooped the mec out of Freddy’s mouth with Daniel’s T-shirt… Rose and Karen began to perform CPR on Freddy. …….Nothing. He was gone. They kept going and going and going. ….Nothing. I was laying on the bed crying, bleeding and in shock while they pressed on my precious baby’s chest and blew air into his tiny mouth.

The EMTs managed to resuscitate the baby. At the hospital he was subjected to hypothermia (cooling) therapy to preserve as much brain function as possible.

In a spasm of blithering idiocy, Freddy’s mother believes that the homebirth saved his life.

If we had opted for a hospital birth-

I would of got out of the bath, gone upstairs and my waters would have broken.

Daniel would of tried to move me as he knew I would have needed to got to hospital but I was in so much pain pushing I could not be moved. He would have called the ambulance……..No ambulance.

It would have been up to Daniel to try and deliver Freddy. There would have been no midwives to perform the McRoberts maneuver, to clamp Freddy’s cord, to perform CPR on him for 20 minutes.

Daniel would of tried to get him out. He would have told me to keep pushing. He wouldnt of known his shoulder was stuck. He wouldn’t know how to release it. Freddy would have still been inside me apart from his head when the ambulance arrived. He would have died and I would have probably died too.

It’s as if someone who was ejected from a car while driving drunk and unbelted shortly before the car burst into flames were crowing that it was the fact that he was drunk and unbelted that saved his life. Yes, that he was ejected and was not in the car when it exploded may have saved his life, but it was the decision to get into the car in the first place that nearly ended it. The assumption that the crash would have occurred in the absence of being drunk is completely unwarranted.

Similarly, it was the decision to choose homebirth in the first place that led to the events that nearly killed the baby. If Freddy’s nother had opted for a hospital birth she would have headed to the hospital when she began experiencing severe pain. Since her labor progressed so quickly, she would have been far along in labor by the time she arrived at the hospital. Had the mother been under the care of a remotely competent provider in a hospital setting, it is quite possible that the shoulder dystocia would have been resolved more easily, the resuscitation started sooner, the need for cooling therapy averted, and the as yet unknown long term damage to this child’s brain would never have happened.

Once again a mother who chose homebirth for no better reason than her “experience,” risked her baby’s life, nearly killed him, subjected him to prolonged oxygen deprivation and may have sentenced him to a lifetime of developmental disability is now trying to justify that choice. Pretending that it would have been worse if she had chosen hospital birth is like pretending that it would have been worse to drive sober and belted. In both cases, there is every reason to believe that the disaster would have not happened in the first place had a different choice been made. It defies comprehension that anyone could pretend otherwise.