#yesallbabies are threatened by American homebirth


A midwife in Utah allegedly presided over the death of a very premature baby after insisting that homebirth would be fine, interfered with an ambulance crew trying to rescue a hemorrhaging mother, lied on medical records, may have multiple dead babies buried on her property, and, nonetheless, homebirth advocates are supporting her; they’re raising money for her legal defense and even holding a benefit concert.

Why should we care?

We should care because it demonstrates that there is no will among homebirth midwives or homebirth advocates to institute ANY safety standards of any kind.

We should care because it demonstrates that homebirth midwives will NEVER hold each other accountable for even outrageous behavior, let alone simple negligence and malpractice.

We should care because #yesallbabies are treated as nothing more than props in the mothers’ and midwives’ view of homebirth.

We should care because #yesallbabies who die at homebirth are treated as unimportant collateral damage in the quest for “birth freedom.”

We should care because #yesallbabies are put at risk of death by the blind eye that homebirth advocates and homebirth midwives turn to the growing pile of tiny dead bodies.

We should care because American homebirth advocates and homebirth midwives are fundamentally unethical, promoting ignorance, arrogance and negligence.

But most importantly, we should care because anyone who has a heart cares about #yesallbabies who didn’t have to die.

Mason Cottam

Please speak out wherever you can and make sure that the babies who die at homebirth are #notburiedtwice.

  • Anonymous

    Wow that was fast, they already deleted your comment Amy.

  • ForgetfulGuest

    There’s no end to the disturbing things this midwife allegedly did, so I’ll just pick out one: How does one even interfere with an ambulance crew trying to rescue a hemorrhaging mother? You’d have to be so brazen… physically aggressive maybe… verbally abusive… I can’t even. I know ambulance crews cop a lot of abuse and aggression, but when a situation has become that dire, I can’t imagine anyone with half a functioning brain trying to stop them from doing their jobs and not recognizing that there comes a point where you have to step back. What a giant ego this woman must have. Unbelievable.

  • Deena Chamlee

    Sorta OT but nonetheless shows the abuse and exploitation of those in power who are trusted. So horrific. 800 babies buried in septic tank in Ireland home for unwed mothers.

    • Amy M

      Baby farm, like someone mentioned earlier or yesterday. That is so sad and awful.

  • Jessica S.

    Seriously, it really is like a religion or a cult or something. How else can you explain people eagerly supporting her in the face of what appears to be strong evidence of wrong doing? Only people steeped in the dogma of a given ideology can so doggedly stick to it even in plain view of said ideologies failings. If you already have your mind made up, no amount of reality will change it, it appears. And they say *we’re* close-minded.

    • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa


      Ask them, what would it take for them to NOT support a MW with a bad result? What would the MW have to do to not warrant support?

      • KarenJJ

        Show support for Dr Amy would be my guess. They can support high risk stunt births, support a midwife blocking access to emergency services, support negligence that causes death/disability for mothers and babies – but heaven forbid you suggest publicly that maybe, just maybe, Dr Amy has a point that all that is not good maternity health care.

        • Young CC Prof

          Help their clients get ANY desired birth experience, whether a water birth at home, an unmedicated hospital birth with her help, a medicated induced hospital birth with her help, or going out and finding an OB to perform MRCS if that’s what the client wants.

          • MLE

            Random OT: I think “Young CC Prof” would be a grata name for a rapper.

          • MLE

            And by grata, I mean great. DYAC.

          • Young CC Prof

            Heh. I have a mental image of a CC professor, complete with collar and khakis, rapping with a group of urban teen students as backup. About course material, of course.

            Now I want this thing to exist. Doesn’t everything exist on the Internet?

          • Susan

            Love that!

          • MLE

            Instead of a gold/platinum grill, your teeth could be ink stained. The khakis would have to be low riding of course.

          • NoLongerCrunching

            Something along these lines?

          • KarenJJ

            There should be a “shit NCB providers DON’T say” meme.

            MRCS – sure, how can I help you? Here’s some obgyn recommendations and hospitals that have a 24hr well baby nursery that can help with recovery.

            Don’t want to VBAC – sure! Here’s some tips on how to cope with the physical recovery of a c-section while caring for your other kids.

            Epidural – safe pain relief – causes no problems to baby and issues with low blood pressure are straightforward to fix for mum.

            Formula feeding – here’s a free sample and some info on good bottle feeding practices.

            Homebirth – well you’ve already had a c-section/chronic condition/complications – here’s the details of some fantastic obgyns at a level 3 hospital with NICU.

  • Trixie

    Did anyone read the testimonials on Sorenson’s page? http://birthandhealth.com/testimonial.php
    “When the day came to deliver they were right there through my entire labor supporting me in every way making my entire labor a wonderful and glorious experience. I had a nine pound baby and when his shoulder became stuck they instantly knew what to do making a situation that could’ve turned bad into a situation that was resolved in a matter of seconds delivering my Baby safe and sound. I knew in that moment that I was where I needed to be and was very grateful for their knowledge. I was also able to take my baby to the Chiropractor to have his shoulder looked at without having to leave the building, which was very convenient and he was very wonderful with my baby.”

    • Young CC Prof

      There ought to be a name for that particular breed of anecdote, the “I’m so glad I wasn’t in the hospital when I had my complication” story. Do they teach midwives how to implant the various versions?

  • manabanana

    In this situation, the midwife is unnamed, but nonetheless there is a ‘legal defense fund’ for her. The midwife attended a VBAC OOH and is being investigated by the board of medical practice. No mention of how the baby fared in this circumstance. Can only speculate, here. But I don’t smell a ‘good outcome.’


    • Mac Sherbert

      “It has been determined repeatedly by midwife reviews as well as physician review that this midwife acted within the Standards of Care.”

      So VBAC OOH is considered to fall within the Standards of Care?

      “VBAC has been proven to be a safer option than a planned repeat c-section for mom and baby.”
      Uh, no it hasn’t! Especially, when done OOH.

      • manabanana

        VBAC attended by licensed CPMs is NOT prohibited in MN.

        Also, Minnesota has voluntary licensing for midwives, so anything that does fall outside of the licensed midwife’s scope of practice can be attended by an unlicensed midwife.

        Just like Utah and Oregon.

      • Jessica S.

        I hate it when VBACs are distorted like that. It’s only “safer” (by a small amount) in retrospect, that is if the VBAC is successful. And actually, it would only count as safer for mom – my understanding is that in all situations, planned CS is safer for baby (I’m sure I’m leaving out exceptions).

        • Young CC Prof

          If you are a reasonable candidate for hospital VBAC, and you attempt HBAC instead, the probability of losing the baby as a result of that choice is approximately equal to the probability of a baby who is healthy at birth dying from any cause at all during the first 18 years of life.

      • The Bofa, Being of the Sofa

        So VBAC OOH is considered to fall within the Standards of Care?

        When you don’t have any official standards, then nothing goes against them.

        In fact, we’ve actually heard that exact argument. That a midwife’s behavior is not outside the “standard of care” _for midwives_. Now, if a doctor tried it, they’d be committing clear malpractice, but since midwives have no standard of practice, you can’t commit malpractice.

        And there have been midwives who have advocated against standards _for this very reason!_ That if there are set standards, then that puts midwives at risk of committing malpractice if they don’t follow them. So the best approach is to not have them.

        How f’d up is that?

  • Dr Kitty

    Woman has FTP (70hrs of contractions and never made it to 10cm) after post term induction ending in emergency CS of a 5.1kg (11lbs7oz) baby…and she’s upset she wasn’t left to labour longer or get her unmedicated waterbirth.


    Yep…because fewer interventions would have been better…

    • Mac Sherbert

      I cannot fathom wanting to birth an 11lbs7oz. baby let alone have it be unmedicated!

    • PrimaryCareDoc

      The story is kind of poorly written, because she really comes off like a vaginal-birth-at-all-costs person.

      However, if you read her responses in the comments, she makes it pretty clear that she would have preferred to have a scheduled c-section in the first place. Rather, she felt dicked around by the midwives telling her that it wouldn’t be needed, she could do it, etc, etc…allowed to labor for 70 hours…then WHAM emergency section.

      I feel badly for her.

      • lawyer jane

        Yes, I agree. I read this story as woman legitimately upset and confused that she was not better educated and cared for in labor. As a side note, I’m normally a stubborn person, but stories like this make me glad that I “caved” after only 2-3 hours of contractions and got the epidural! It amazes me that some women make it 10, 20, 30 hours and more.

        • Lion

          I don’t think pain levels are the same for every mom in every labour. I’m just guessing this though. I had en epidural with my first baby, after about five hours I was so sore I couldn’t cope. I asked for it at 36 weeks, but my doctor said that was too early, I should be in labour first (we were joking around). With my second baby, I wanted one when it started getting a bit unpleasant, but when the nurse refused to call the anaesthetist, I just took a few breaths and got on with it. I did have a lovely doula with me who offered to phone herself, the nurse said the anaesthetist would shout at her as it was two in the morning. The pain was bearable though and I coped. If the situations had been reversed and I had been denied pain relief the first tine, we might have had a dead nurse (not seriously, I would have made a huge fuss though). My mom had four if us before epidural so existed, she said she thought she would die from pain with me, but with my siblings says she only had real pain during transition. Some people seem to go hours coping fine and others are in agony far sooner. My little theory is that pain levels differ. Is there any research on that?

          • Lion

            What does actually affect pain in labour? I know what I felt did so for me and what I felt lessened it, but that isn’t objective. I found lying down hurt, moving around hurt less, being in a bath was soothing, sitting on the toilet felt relaxing. I only intended to cope until I wanted an epidural. My babies were both the same weight and length, and both in whatever the correct position is (sorry I am not from a medical vac ground, LOA or something keeps wanting to pop out)

          • Mac Sherbert

            No medical background either, but I will say it may depend on the strength of the contractions plus the position of the baby? … In both my pregnancies I was walking around at 3cm dilated for a week or two like nothing was going on…and some want an epi at 2cm. So many variations. My friend that works for an RE is fond of saying aren’t women’s bodies strange no two are exactly alike!

          • Busbus

            Based on my two unmedicated labors, I would say that in the beginning, certain things tended to help or make the pain worse (such as certain movements or positions). But towards the end of labor, nothing mattered – it just hurt like a motherf… no matter what. Moving at all was practically impossible.

            I also have to say that the personal support I received during my second labor was better (ie, the midwives were friendlier and I was less scared), but that didn’t have any impact on my pain levels, which were equally bad both times.

            I am sure that there are differences between women and between different labors when it comes to pain. That is true for every other medical problem or procedure as well, so why not in labor?

          • araikwao

            I couldn’t have moved during contractions, the pain was so bad, and then in between I was half-asleep!( I learned in a lecture from an anaesthetist (aka anesthesiologist) that it’s the endorphins that make you sleepy.)
            I just sat on the edge of the bed leaning forward, which felt like it took some pressure of my back, and also let hubby apply all the counter pressure he could muster!

          • Jen

            My two labours were quite different. First was an induction, I had pethidine a few hours in, not so much to take away the pain, but to help me relax. I asked for an epidural just before I started pushing, the midwife told me that there wasn’t time, so I just got on with it. And when I started pushing it really didn’t hurt.

            Second was completely unmedicated. Contractions were fine, but when I started pushing it freaking HURT. I was shocked! But I just got on with it, too late for any drugs.

            So yes, I would say every woman, every labour, is different.

      • Dr Kitty

        I didn’t read all the comments.
        So, badly written, or badly edited, because that POV doesn’t come across at all,

  • Trulyunbelievable2020

    Not sure if anyone has noticed this, but Vickie Sorensen was already listed on the “Sisters in Chains” website because she “had her home and office raided in an attempt to seek prosecution” back in 2013. Anyone know the details?

    • Amy M

      Probably in reference to this case, which happened I think at the end of 2012, or early 2013, but someone correct if I am wrong, i am forgetting the details.

  • OldTimeRN

    Just a simple question but it could mean the difference between life and death. Are these unlicensed CPM, NRP certified? Performing CPR on a newborn is vastly different then performing it on any other age group. Or does no one bother to check or care if they are or not?

    • Young CC Prof

      All of the above. There are accounts of midwives successfully resuscitating newborns. Some are trained in NRP. I imagine there are even a few who go for retraining every year, though if they don’t work in a hospital, they can’t possibly have the relevant experience.

      And then there are probably some who took an infant CPR for parents class and think that resuscitating a 6-month-old who choked is like TOTALLY the same thing. There’s no good mechanism for distinguishing between them.

      • Durango

        I’m always shocked at how callous they seem to be about getting it all correct. They seem to think their minimal knowledge is enough to save a baby, and if it isn’t, then that baby just isn’t meant to live. I would lose sleep if I knew that i would be attending an ooh birth, simply by going over all the things I would have to remember in order to keep people safe. and how few resources would be available. They’re so casual about NRP, and it is literally a matter of life and death.

      • Susan

        There is actually a teacher who specializes in NRP for out of hospital providers. So definitely some are trained. There is what looks like a bit of woo on her website but since she is an approved NRP instructor I would guess she is teaching appropriate stuff. Karen Strange is the name of the instructor.

  • attitude devant

    If you’re as disgusted as I am, please consider donating to help a victim of midwife malpractice, Abel Andrews. His family needs an accessibility van for him. They are the nicest people in the world, and his midwife left him severely disabled: http://www.gofundme.com/7p5y6s

    • Renee

      Please do. That this fundraiser has to be done is the saddest thing in the world.

      • The Computer Ate My Nym

        If the same thing had happened in the hospital because of an incompetent provider and lack of care by regulators, the family would at least have gotten a big settlement to help care for Abel.

  • OldTimeRN

    We should also care because it’s ever so slowly leaking over into the hospital settings. Not necessarily by the doctors but by hospital administrators who are trying to cater to a select group of the population.
    The majority of moms want a safe delivery of their baby. They want epidurals. They want to sleep with their babies well cared for in the nursery. They want their babies to have a bath. They want their babies to be checked out and wiped off before they do skin to skin. They want to be able to give their baby a bottle of formula because a nurse or a doctor tells them it’s the right thing for the baby, or hell just because they damn well feel like giving it to them. The majority of mothers don’t want or need all of the above and wouldn’t feel less then if they didn’t have it. So why are we doing it? Where is all this evidence to prove all the above is needed or not needed?

    • The Computer Ate My Nym

      At one time there was a regular commenter who had lost her newborn in a hospital because the hospital was trying to decrease its c-section rate and made her continue to push long after was recommended and either without proper monitoring or ignoring the data (I can’t remember which). As you say, this sort of thing leaks over.

      • I think it was Jenny – she’s Canadian, her story is chilling. I’m really put-off by the focus on CS rates and reducing them – it can have some very adverse consequences.

        • Mac Sherbert

          It is creeping in everywhere. I have friend that had a 10 lb. baby. They had her push for 3 hours! Finally, did have it vaginally, but is now searching for a new doctor and asking me about C-section recovery. (Wonder why she wants a C-section?…I didn’t ask, but I’m sure you all can imagine.)

        • Amazed

          Jennifer G. Got an inexperienced nurse (or midwife, maybe), who couldn’t understand what the monitors were screaming at her. When they finally did the C-section (I think it was a c-section), it was already late for Emily. The hospital lost the coveted vaginal birth anyway and Emily lost her life.


      • Hannah

        My cousin had a 10lber a few weeks ago. They let her push for four hours, the baby nearly died and she ended up with the dreaded c-section anyway. It is horrifying.

        • Young CC Prof

          I am so sorry that happened to her. Are they doing OK now?

          • Hannah

            Fortunately, they are fine. It was close though.

    • Young CC Prof

      Several socialized medical systems are using this ideology as an excuse to cut costs, deny epidural access, and call it better care.

      • Lion

        Isn’t that the reason traditional Chinese medicine was pushed so heavily in China decades ago? The promise of free or cheap healthcare or access to health care by close proximity was made, and to meet this, woo was offered as the health care?

      • Hannah

        Yup. It’s happening in Canada and Australia. It’s appalling. I would never, EVER give birth in the public system in Australia unless I had no choice at all financially. And I am, in general, a huge fan of universal healthcare and have experienced nothing but good in Australia’s public system.

        It seems to be the only sector of socialised medicine where it is okay to deny people pain relief and choice in ‘treatment’, too. Funny that women’s health is the one area that is going backwards fast in these systems when everything else seems to advance.

    • UsernameError

      It’s sneaking in to everything. My husband recently was studying for his neonatology boards, and the practice questions were a woo-fest. Stuff about delayed cord clamping, home births, and so on. This is supposed to be about critically ill newborns, and they’re worried about delayed cord clamping. At least the actual test was more in line with what these guys really do, but the practice tests are written by other doctors and some of them have a clear woo-agenda.

    • Young CC Prof

      And let’s not forget the fact that labor induction has turned into some kind of moral panic, rather than a rational decision to be made based on each individual woman’s medical and occasionally (oh horror) other needs.

      “Oh, my, how can you even THINK of inducing three days before your due date, just because your brother is about to be deployed? Just because you live an hour from the hospital and have a history of precipitous labor?”

      • Jessica S.

        Or because you feel as if you’re going to split in two? Oh wait. I still have 6 weeks to go. Carrying a baby estimated at 6lbs 11oz already. :/

      • Busbus

        I completely agree. After reading here and other places and understanding that inductions at term are really ok, even if there is no underlying medical reason, I have decided that should I have another baby, I would ask to be induced at 39 weeks or so because that would make it possible for me to have my mother around. She lives a continent away, trips have to booked in advance, and she can’t take too much time off. So for her to come at that time really only makes sense if I can say with certainty that I will not end up going 2 weeks longer. I would have given anything to have her there when my last baby was born (she came when he was 2 months old.)

        Who would have thought that after 2 homebirths, I’d be contemplating the benefits of a scheduled induction with an epidural right away…! (And that this prospect makes me really happy.)

        • FormerPhysicist

          Yay for empowerment! For being able to do what YOU want and believe to be best for YOU (in consultation with an actual medical professional)

          I wish I knew how to write “actual medical professional” (trademark). lol.

          • Busbus

            Thanks, FP! That’s exactly how I feel. 🙂

      • Mishimoo

        Exactly! I wish my hospital did ‘social’ inductions, then I would have had more of a chance to spend time with my Granddad while he was still lucid.

    • Jessica S.

      “They want to be able to give their baby a bottle of formula because a nurse or a doctor tells them it’s the right thing for the baby, or hell just because they damn well feel like giving it to them.”

      When a friend of mine was in the hospital with her third baby, she just wanted to sleep and wasn’t having any luck getting her boy to nurse (she pumped exclusively with her other two and planned the same with the third, she just wasn’t into the breastfeeding part) she asked the nurse for formula. The nurse started in with the whole “well, let’s call in the lactation consultant first. He probably just wants to clusterfeed” (she says to the mom who JUST told her she wants sleep!). My friend looked at her plainly and said “Either you can bring me formula or I’ll send my husband to the store for it. I don’t care how it happens, but I’m getting formula.” 😀

    • Hannah

      Or in the case of Australia, Canada and the UK, woo is a convenient method to try to cut costs (even though research has clearly shown that long term treatment of birth-related pelvic injury ends up leaving VB and CS to be about the same cost to the system) based on midwife dogma.

      I now have four cousins from one public hospital in Australia who have been in labor for days and had to have cesareans in emergent situations. In every case, they were cared for by the public midwife program and an obstetrician was pretty much unaware of the situation until it was dire.

      Getting a choice in a woo-infected system is so difficult and there is little in the way of avenues for recourse when they screw up. Here’s one such case in Sydney:


      How this is okay is beyond me. Don’t even get me started on ‘baby friendly’ hospitals that take away choice when it comes to nursing.

  • What’s sad is that in the name of “Birth Freedom” they are effectively condemning women and children to suffer the ultimate harm: death or long-term disability. This isn’t about “Birth Freedom” – which would mean that women would be entitled to informed consent and access to adequately qualified providers and medical resources, this is about “Midwife Freedom”. Freedom from regulation, freedom from accountability, freedom from training, and freedom from ethics.
    If this is freedom – it’s Orwellian – as it seems to shackle those whose rights should matter: Women and babies.

    • Jessica S.

      Exactly! *They* want freedom. They want to put their clients in chains. Quite literally from the way Vicki’s story reads.

  • Amy M

    Well, at least we can hope that all this negative publicity will significantly reduce the number of people who will be duped into believed that Sorenson and her ilk are competent care providers. If a family continues to employ her and/or her accomplices, even after hearing about this disgusting story, I would have a lot less sympathy for them (not for the baby, the baby obviously has no say in the matter) if it all goes to hell.

    Most of the time, when Dr. Amy reports these stories, I feel nothing but sorrow for the families—they clearly appear to be victims, who were convinced by the wonderful NCB marketing machine that homebirth was a safe thing to do, and who believed that the LMs and CPMs they hired were actual care providers. They were counting on those LMs and CPMs to be able to handle any such crisis that arose, or get them to a hospital in a timely manner. And it’s really hard for women to get the truth about these midwives, obviously they aren’t going to mention any disasters that occurred on their watch. But, when a disaster like this is made public, I hope it would show families interested in home birth that there are no guarantees w/regards to competent care outside the hospital, and maybe convince them that home birth isn’t so safe after all.

    I imagine it helps—this story has gotten out there, and undoubtedly, some people’s minds will be changed. They will be horrified at the negligence and unprofessional qualities shown here and find an OB with hospital privileges toot-sweet. How anyone could even consider hiring this psycho now just blows my mind. I guess time will tell—the “sisters in chains” can fund raise all they want, but it’s going to be hard to find clients who are ok with this craziness. Her only chance, if she avoids jail, is to move far, far away, change her name and hope no one realizes who she is. I hope she goes to jail, so that can’t happen, otherwise, there’ll be more dead babies and/or mothers in the news before long.

    • laywer jane

      I wonder about what’s really going on in the Utah cases … are her clients people who are trying to avoid going to hospitals for legal reasons? Is she preying on a community that does not have access to the internet or other forms of information because of language barriers or because they are being controlled by their husbands or other religious authority figures? This seems different from a crunchy metropolitan artisanal mom who is besotten with Ricki Lake.

      • Amy Tuteur, MD

        In my view, it doesn’t really matter why Sorensen and the parents did what they did. My point is that other homebirth midwives and homebirth advocates are supporting her. This is about the refusal of homebirth midwives and advocates to take responsibility for preventable death.

        • Renee

          It really does not matter. One death that was particularly egregious WAS caused in part by a so called MW that was off her meds with a real mental health issue. But, the other attending MW was not mentally ill and did not object. She participated in the death and defended it as firmly as the ill one did. What was her excuse for such horrible actions?

          And the mentally ill killer, that can’t seem to stay on her meds? She went on to get a real CPM and is still taking patients!

      • Renee

        I am sure the moms are just normal parents. You don’t have to be totally full of woo, or out there to fall for this, mainstream leaning moms do too. Her behavior isn’t even that unusual for HB!

        Shahzad Sheik was killed when MWs trapped his mom at home for a WEEK, sent away her friends that came to check on her, took her phone way, then delivered a dead baby covered in green mec. They pretended it was all normal.

        Magnus Snyder was murdered when CNMs in a birth center talked mom Sara into a BC breech birth. No one told her anything but how it was great, they were experts, etc. She thought CNM meant they knew what they were doing. Her son died when his head became entrapped.

        Wren Jones was killed by an idiot MW telling mom that garlic was OK, that GBS did not require antibiotics. He was born alive, but died shortly thereafter because he was so infected with GBS, his breathing stopped.

        NONE of these families were over the top into woo. A little here and there, but not all the way in.
        Margarita wanted a lotus birth, her online friends told her HB would be empowering, and HB is so common here and she never heard of a bad one, she thought it was safe.
        Sara just thought this was a safe and healthy option, who would think a birth center would be so deadly and irresponsible?
        And Tweeny did not know anything about GBS dangers, why would she? They thought it would be like “whole foods for birth” according to her husband.

        Again, all were not totally into woo. The issue is that the woo crept into mainstream places and seemed credible.

        • Busbus

          In my case, I was unaware that I was running risks with my second homebirth (42 weeks, almost 10 lbs baby) that placed me squarely outside the low-risk category. I believed that I was the “ideal candidate for homebirth.” I trusted my midwife and the other people in my community who supported homebirth without ever as much as mentioning risks. While I was quite into AP in the past, I was never into the woo otherwise.

          Looking back, I think there are several signs that show that I did know, in some dark part of my mind, that there might be risks I wasn’t willing to look into. But to about 99% of my conscious mind, I was making an eminently reasonable choice (though I did get worried at the end and would have had an induction scheduled at 42+2—much too late, I’d say today, but it was all with the blessing of my back-up OB and therefore seemed okay.)

          Anyway, sorry to be rambling—I just think that it IS easy to get sucked into it, and the more mainstream homebirth appears to be, the more reasonable it seems.

          • Busbus

            Also, I don’t know what my back-up OB actually thought about all those things because he never told me. When I declined the GD test (with my midwife’s blessing,) no one so much as shrugged. Again, I don’t know if that’s because he really shares the midwife’s beliefs, or because of a mistaken idea of patient (or midwife) autonomy. But looking back, I wish he would have told me if he thought I was running a risk.

      • Allie P

        It is nearly impossible for non-medical personnel — even well-educated ones — to parse what these homebirth advocates are saying. When I was pregnant, I found natural childbirth woo in the magazines sitting in my OBs waiting room. My OBS job is not to comb through these magazines and make sure, but when you see that stuff in a waiting room, written by some journalist who doesn’t have the first idea about medicine but knows that saying “your baby is in danger from XYZ” is good headlining… it’s difficult. The NCB community is an echo chamber and the second they have your attention, they sow seeds of distrust of anything a doctor might tell you. I cannot get a satisfactory answer from my completely insured friends as to why she wanted to have a natural childbirth. She is smart and well-educated, she is “green” but not against modernity, she is not religious but she was willing to spend thousands of dollars on hypnobirthing and woo and doulas and all manner of crap for reasons she has never been able to explain except that the NCB community keeps a steady drumbeat that natural childbirth is a moral good. And no matter what else, she thinks she’s BETTER for not having had pain meds for childbirth. That is a weakenss and a failing. And there’s no rationality behind it at all.

      • Serenity

        I’m a Utah former homebirther (hospital transport, c-section, healthy baby) 14 years ago, in nearby St. George. I’ll try as best as I can to describe the culture.

        Among mainstream Mormon Utahns (not culty polygs) who are into woo, you have the normal attractions to woo that mainstream people have. In addition, the homebirth woo taps into parts of the Mormon experience: connection with pioneer foremothers, self-reliance, emergency preparedness. LDS women have a lot of their identity wrapped up in motherhood, which carries over into birth. LDS women often have more children than average, so avoiding c-section can be important for those who want a big family.

        In addition, Mormons think they can tap into special God-given wisdom from “the Spirit.” The same spirit that tells us if the Church is true can also warn us about danger–this much is doctrinal. However, my midwife (and probably other local midwives) taught that that same Spirit would warn about childbirth emergencies in enough time to transport. (For example, her quote here http://www.birthinginzion.com/p/midwives.html: “Good prenatal care, careful monitoring of both mother and baby, humble prayer and listening to inspiration WILL assure a good outcome.”) Though I am sure the Spirit/intuition helps often, there is no doctrinal promise that the Holy Ghost will back up every out-of-hospital birth, so I believe my midwife was preaching false doctrine here. Mormons believe in good medicine and doctors; one of our General Authorities is/was a top heart surgeon. I think most Mormons would agree with the old joke about the guy who was sure God would save him from the flood who turned away the rowboat and hurricane.

        In addition, when babies die religion gives people meaning and purpose in the death. Maybe that, combined with emotional closeness with the midwife and feelings of personal unrighteousness because of the bad event, confuses women who would otherwise feel victimized.

        When I wound up transferring (and thankfully getting a healthy baby thanks to my midwife’s greater emphasis on safety than other local midwives), I did wonder if I was just unrighteous. I didn’t feel the Spirit saying we should transfer. Luckily my midwife insisted on it. She had other problems (manually dilating the cervix without my consent because of a long prodromal labor and lack of progress), but I will forever be grateful that she valued live babies.

        I am not close with the culty polygs, so I can’t give insight on how they live. But they probably value living lives similar to their great-grandmothers, who probably suffered the deaths of many babies. They probably also gain a lot of their identity from how well they are able to birth babies, which maybe makes them less likely to ask for help. When I lived in St. George, we did see polygs in the maternity wing of the local hospital, so I suppose the hospital wasn’t strictly forbidden, but probably impractical since the Colorado City polygs lived over an hour away.

        • Jessica S.

          Thanks for sharing your perspective, very interesting. Btw – I’ve been to St. George and it’s beautiful!!

        • Susan

          Interesting thanks for the insights!

  • attitude devant

    And lest anyone think these midwives are outliers, remember that Ina May let her own premie baby die

    • Renee

      This killing of preemies really burns me up. I cannot imagine it.

    • Hannah

      Whenever I point this out to people who tell me to read Ina May’s book and how they’re ‘so prepared’ for birth as a result of reading them, all I get is the proverbial ‘la la la’. It is enraging.

  • Trixie

    These people are disgusting.