A baby died, a group imploded, and home VBAC proponents utterly miss the point

Combat pineapple grenade and a hand

Meg Heket is holding a pity party for herself and her friends.

Writing in Whole Woman, Heket, an unassisted birth advocate and sister of Janet Fraser (My dead baby was not as traumatic as my birth rape), addresses women she believes destroyed a large, private Facebook group of unassisted birth and homebirth advocates.

[pullquote align=”right” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””]One of THEIR administrators became distraught at the endless parade of preventable deaths.[/pullquote]

You know who you are. You’re sitting in your ivory tower laughing and high-fiving one another. You’re saying JOB WELL DONE! You think you saved a bunch of women from themselves and each other, but your greatest achievement to date is actually showcasing your cult like hysteria on the world stage.

You must seriously be unhinged to think that taking over a large, happy group and dismantling it in this way is an acceptable thing to do. Unhinged, and deluded. Who died and made you the crusaders for the world?

Those 12k women didn’t want you to save them. They wanted to be amongst friends to talk about their pregnancies and births, the good, the bad, and the varicose veins. They had that right, and you did NOT have the right to interrupt them in this narcissistic, grandstanding way…

You may think that this is a giant win for your posse, but actually it is a really convincing nail in your coffin. People everywhere, even many who supported your cause, are utterly disgusted and disillusioned by this. They don’t think you’re brave, they don’t think you saved anyone, they don’t think you had any INTENTION of saving anyone. They know exactly what you are though. You’re all thoughtless, gutless cowards. That’s what cyber-bullying is. It’s gutless and cowardly. You can hide behind your keyboard avidly typing away, never having to face up to the victims, but remember your own important memories on the internet and how easily they could vanish?

What happened?

To be honest, I don’t really know. Contrary to what many natural childbirth advocates believe, I’m not omniscient or omnipotent. I’ve been otherwise occupied publicizing my book so I was not following the drama as it unfolded in real time. I only found out about it afterward when I was publicly blamed for it.

As far as I can determine, a number of safe birth advocates (many, perhaps most, of whom are my Facebook followers) infiltrated a private group supporting unassisted homebirth, home VBAC and unassisted home VBAC. The group is notorious for the steady stream of infant deaths. There are so many deaths that I can’t keep track, but it appears that the group averages several preventable infant deaths each month. In one week last summer there were 6 (!!) deaths.

Nearly all these deaths occur because members ignore the advice of medical professionals and are encouraged to so so by group members and administrators. Babies die and their deaths are subsequently expunged or rationalized (“babies die in the hospital, too”). If all else fails, members resort to shrugging their shoulders and insisting that dead babies happen, the homebirth equivalent of “whatever!”

Earlier this week yet another baby died. In the wake of this death, an administrator of Meg’s* group made one of the infiltrators an administrator, too. She tried to ban medical advice; other administrators tried to ban her and the group imploded and has been closed.

The mother had been encouraged by group members to “rock her home VBAC waterbirth.” She was still being heartily encouraged when she started labor at 43+ weeks.

She was supported throughout her “beautiful” labor and birth by a homebirth midwife (CPM) and doula, both utterly clueless that the baby had died during labor.

The doula posted this:


Hey mamas! REALLY need some encouragement. I just attended the most beautiful n saddest birth! Mothered laboured perfectly, baby sounded healthy, heart tones strong! This was her VBAC moment!!! An hour upon delivery (Mam pushing) we started having a hard time getting a good FHT reading, got it a few times then everything sounded normal — 150’s. Got it again 2 minutes before birth, upon coming out the baby had no heart rate … And even with the amazing crew who worked on her we lost her!…

One can never forget those images of a baby born into this world and taken to another in a moment … she never took her first breast! … There was no sign of distress … just one moment here … and one moment gone …”

Not exactly. The baby almost certainly suffocated and died during the last hour of labor. She wasn’t there one moment and gone the next. She suffered for a long time, but the midwife failed to recognize the signs since there was no fetal monitor to show them.

What does Meg Heket have to say about this baby’s death? Absolutely nothing, of course. She’s far more concerned with what she believes was stolen from her than the life that was stolen from that poor baby.

Who stole Meg’s group? She and other supporters of unassisted homebirth and home VBAC have utterly missed the point of what happened. One of THEIR administrators became distraught at the endless parade of preventable deaths and sought to stop it by changing the leadership of the group, hoping to end the shockingly ignorant medical advice, the mindless cheering of dangerous stunts, and the deliberate efforts to bury dead babies twice, once in tiny coffins in the ground, and again by being expunged from the memory of the group.

I regret that the group was destroyed in the process. That is not my way. If you know anything about me at all, you know that my way is confrontation. I want to confront the lies, not censor them. That’s why I’m constantly offering to debate those that disagree with me.

Meg Heket and her colleagues may be irresponsible, but they are entitled to private support groups even when those groups are echo chambers for ignorance and dangerous medical advice. I don’t blame Heket for being angry, but, as usual, she is missing the point.

The issue is not the women who infiltrated the group. The issue is that the group is enabling preventable infant deaths, so many that even stalwart members are sickened. Yet that’s not even on the radar of Heket and her colleagues.

She ends her article with this:

To the women who love VBAC. You are not alone. You will regroup. You will find your feet, and your voices, and you will be bigger and better and stronger than ever before. Your network may be scattered, but it isn’t gone, I know this because you are working, driven by kindness, not a deranged craving for control and power, flying under the false banner of bravery and care. You are the ones who will rise from these flames…

You stole VBAC, but you wait, it will be back, and you will fade angrily, hopelessly, into insignificance.

I don’t doubt that the irresponsible VBAC group will be back, although those who opposed it will not be fading into insignificance. Their voice is growing. The irresponsibility of Heket and colleagues is being made manifest and we can hope that THEY will fade angrily, hopeless, into insignifance. When that happens there will be fewer dead babies and that can only be a good thing.


*Clarification: Although Meg has been an administrator of some VBAC groups, she was not an administrator of this particular group, just a member.

285 Responses to “A baby died, a group imploded, and home VBAC proponents utterly miss the point”

  1. InfiniteSovereign
    April 25, 2016 at 2:54 pm #

    OT: I have a tangentially related question. I am an ex home birther (what brought me here ultimately). I have one son, who is 3 now. He was delivered via cesarean after a home birth transfer. I had been in labor for 58 hours at the time of his delivery. I never progressed past 4cm. My CPM told me it was due to cervical scar tissue. She was doing “cervical massage” during labor (not a fun “massage” btw–more painful than any other part of my labor). I had had a cervical biopsy and ECC seven years prior to my son’s birth. Eventually with my labor stalling she called out her back up midwife, a CNM. The CNM checked my cervix, AROM’d me without my consent then lied about it. She told me there was “light” mec staining in the fluid. At this point I became worried. I was already discouraged by my lack of progress. My discouragement and complete exhaustion (no sleep for over 2 days) was making it very difficult to cope with the pain, even in the birth pool. I wanted to transfer. At no point did either of the midwives so much as drop a hint I should transfer. I had to make the decision on my own, with my husband crying and begging me not to give up. (We were both very much sucked into NCB). I am horrified when I wonder how long my CPM might have let me go without saying anything about transfer. She had been checking my son’s heart rate with the handheld doppler and said it was good. I do believe her because when we got to the hospital and they hooked me up to the EFM, his heart rate was good. He did have swelling on his head, poor baby, but we were not treated as an emergency transfer or c/s at any point. After an epidural, pit, and a couple of hours with still no progress, we had the c/s. It was a truly awful experience overall, but I thank god every day that my baby is ok. His apgars were 8 and 9. He does have autism and a speech and language impairment and I have felt guilty and wondered if it could have been related to the birth, but I don’t think it is. I do feel bad for taking risks with his life and for not researching home birth as thoroughly as I should have and not examining contrary views on it. So we finally arrive at my question: How long should a woman labor before transferring? As it turns out, my cousin is an admin at the hospital I ended up transferring to. I heard from her that this midwife has a reputation for “safety issues” there, but she said she wouldn’t elaborate, I can only assume because of HIPAA. However, the midwife has not been formally reprimanded by the board; there is nothing on her record. Although, I know there are no set standards, I am just wondering how long she *should* have “let” me labor before suggesting transfer.

    • Deborah
      April 25, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

      Thankyou for sharing your story with us and welcome. Your story is very typical of a CPM led labor, thankfully without a death at the end.
      I would say that you were not a candidate for a homebirth from the start as anyone with any kind of cervical damage or scarring is at risk of cervical dystocia. The cervical “massage” you were subjected to sounds horrific and on par with the “birth rape” narrative that so many NCB adherents claim happened to them during a medicalised or hospital birth.
      The fact that you were not progressing was a clear indication that transfer was required as was the presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid. You were exhausted, sleep deprived and in pain – all good reasons for transfer to any midwife who has the least amount of empathy and concern for the woman in her care and who understands how these basic things have a huge impact on a woman’s ability to cope and can be the cause of her complete unravelling, both at the time of labor and long after it is all over.
      The fact that you had to come to the decision on your own shows that it is unlikely you would have been transferred at all, or they would have waited until it was too late and either one of you was at death’s door.
      Good on you for having the strength, even while in the middle of such a horrible ordeal, to insist on transfer – it quite likely saved your son’s life.

      • InfiniteSovereign
        April 27, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

        Thank you. I am so grateful to be alive and have my son with me unharmed. We are very lucky. I am also lucky that I recovered from my c/s beautifully with no complications. I don’t plan on having anymore kids. You hit on something very real–I did unravel completely. I experienced some pretty awful post partum depression which continues to this day. I punished myself trying so hard to exclusively breastfeed through low supply. I took Domperidone for 2 years at high doses. I couldn’t make enough milk without it. I did this as a SAHM with a developmentally delayed in an unfamiliar state with no family or friends to help or support me. My marriage is destroyed. It was not a very nice initiation into motherhood to say the least. One thing I do know is that if I ever do get pregnant, I will definitely not risk my child’s life with an HBAC. My homebirth experience has opened my eyes.

    • no longer drinking the koolaid
      April 26, 2016 at 11:18 am #

      Your question asked for information regarding what should have been done by your midwife. What you experienced was an obstructed labor. It is the cause of more than 500,000 maternal deaths each year. The World Health Organization is trying to teach Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs/ lay midwives/ in the US they are CPMs)) how to identify and properly manage this complication to prevent maternal and fetal death.
      This link is to a pdf that WHO uses to educate and train student midwives. The information that will answer your questions begins on page 24.
      You will have more questions. Come back to us and someone here should be able to answer them.

      Perhaps the biggest question you will have is why your midwife did not follow these protocols in your and your baby’s care. My simplistic answer is that CPMs and other lay midwives in the US will happily quote WHO when it supports their myths, such as the ideal C/S rate, but ignore the evidence based information that does not. I have no explanation for this wanton ignorance other than it being part of the culture of NCB in this country.


      • InfiniteSovereign
        April 28, 2016 at 10:50 am #

        The link didn’t work for me, but I would really love to read this document. is there any other way I can access it?

        • Chant de la Mer
          April 28, 2016 at 1:56 pm #

          It opens up a pdf so if you open it on your phone it might not work. If you have an iPhone you can tell it to open in iBooks, and probably do something similar in an android phone.

      • Roadstergal
        April 29, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

        That’s a great resource, very clear and concise. Man, looking at the mechanics of the process – it just looks so brutal.

      • Felicitasz
        April 29, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

        Thank you for this material, thanks a million.

  2. DelphiniumFalcon
    April 25, 2016 at 10:53 am #

    Between my sister and I we had hippohotimus, binocerus, and lop-ster.

    There’s a joke on my husband’s side of the family with his dad and how he hasn’t completely shaken the “Joisey” accent he had when he was younger. He can’t say certain words without it coming out full force. Which leads to this exchange:

    “Hey Dad! Say drawers!”
    “Fuck you!”
    “That’s a funny way to say drawers.”

  3. Amazed
    April 24, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

    Actually it’s up to women to contact their care providers. Who takes advice off the internet!? I know I don’t!

    That’s it, boys and girls. You think it’s your hardcore Amazed blaming women again for, you know, not listening to their care providers? No. Whole Woman agrees with me right here.


    AnnaLee Ura is fighting a valiant battle. A lost one, I’m afraid. She learned the hard way, by losing her baby. Anyway, I want to believe that women seeing how the advisors distance themselves from the advice they disperse will see the light. If they don’t, I’ll be confirmed in my belief that there are some people who, in this case, happen to be women, are just too selfish to be taken seriously. Really, a woman reads this, goes ahead with her glorious homebirth plan and if she loses her baby, we’re supposed to believe that she was lied to? Where is the lie? They’re getting more insolent by the minute. They aren’t even pretending anymore!

    Wake up women! Come on, wake up!

    At the end, it comes to this again: if any of the bints commenting there loses her baby in a VBAC, I won’t feel any sympathy at all and neither should any of you. Those aren’t some poor deluded moms. Those are monsters. The Meric thing’s reaction was particularly telling. She called AnnaLee’s behavior disgusting? This creature had the temerity to treat a loss mom this way? And I’m supposed to feel sympathy if it becomes a loss mother itself? No. Freaking. Way.

    • Chi
      April 25, 2016 at 3:31 am #

      Um…isn’t Whole Woman Meg’s blog?? I fail to see how she has it right when she was the one who was giving dangerous advice…

      • Amazed
        April 25, 2016 at 7:09 am #

        But she’s saying women should not listen to it, so why do they? Those who read her backpedaling and still listen to her do so on their own peril, knowingly.

  4. BeatriceC
    April 23, 2016 at 3:29 pm #

    OT: I finished “Push Back” last night. Overall I’m thrilled with it. I only have one major gripe, and that is that in the iBooks version, theres some really awkward page breaks. Technical editing aside, I went back through several sections after I finished it because I wanted to memorize them so I could repeat them if necessary. The one section I really, really liked was Dr. Amy’s discussion on the real purpose of pain in labor. I really liked the theory she discussed (I can’t remember know which bioanthropolgist she was quoting), and think that’s probably the best explanation I’ve ever heard.

    • AA
      April 24, 2016 at 4:36 pm #

      Why would one assume labor pain has a purpose, though? Contractions are painful. We don’t say that that uterine contractions during menstruation has a purpose. So the uterine contractions are painful. Then a large object is expelled from a small opening. kidney stones/gallbladder stones also cause pain through a similar mechanism. I don’t see why there’s a need to speculate why labor is painful–a GIANT object is being forced through a SMALL cavity!

      • guest
        April 24, 2016 at 5:20 pm #

        I don’t know about assuming it has a purpose, but some sort of sign that labor is happening is necessary. Why it couldn’t have been an intense rush of euphoria instead of pain, I don’t know, but in general we feel pain for a reason (to alert us to potential danger to the body), so I can see how people extended that to labor pain.

        Still a fan of medicating the pain away, though. Just because it serves some minor function doesn’t meant that “nature” gave us *intense* and *unbearable* pain for a reason. We evolve imperfectly sometimes.

        • CharlotteB
          April 24, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

          My theory is that it’s pain so you get medical attention. If it was a rush of euphoria you’d be less likely to get help. I know people claim that you need peace and quiet for labor, but I felt exactly the opposite–I wanted lights and activity, people (strangers, if they could help), etc.

          • guest
            April 25, 2016 at 9:55 am #

            That makes sense, but evolutionarily speaking that help would probably have been “people to keep the predators away” or whatever.

            I was annoyed when I was induced starting at 8 PM and the nurses just left and wanted me to turn the lights off and sleep.

          • Irène Delse
            April 26, 2016 at 12:10 pm #

            And that makes sense. Contractions start, terrible pain: “OMG, baby’s on its way! Get mom to cover, stay with her to keep evil spirits (and cave lions) away.”

          • Poogles
            April 28, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

            “but evolutionarily speaking that help would probably have been “people to keep the predators away” or whatever.”

            That and there is also the “awkward” way that human babies exit due to the way our pelvis is shaped that allows us to walk upright, which in turn makes having another person assist in the birth a very good idea:

            “Human infants are also almost always born with assistance from other humans because of the way that the pelvis is shaped. Since the pelvis and opening of birth canal face backwards, humans have difficulty giving birth themselves because they cannot guide the baby out of the canal.”

      • MI Dawn
        April 25, 2016 at 11:00 am #

        Pain does have a function, as Dr Amy points out. Labor pain is a warning: labor pain increases (and moves) as the head descends, so, as I see it, a woman and her helpers can prepare for the delivery. Sudden unexpected decrease of pain? Very bad sign (the one uterine rupture I saw the woman said ‘labor really hurt then all of a sudden it stopped hurting after one really bad pain’ – no, the baby didn’t make it.)

        • Azuran
          April 25, 2016 at 8:00 pm #

          For most of humanity, we had no way of helping any women who developed any king of complication. It didn’t matter how much it hurt, if your uterus ruptured, you died, if you hemorrhaged, you died, if your baby got stuck, it died and maybe you died with it. Therefore pain probably didn’t actually have any kind of evolutionary advantage. Birth is also painful in animals even though they get no help so it clearly serves no purpose for them. Both humans and animals will also usually experience physical changes that are not painful in the hours before the birth, which will let them know they are about to give birth. They will get ready long before it gets painful, so it’s doesn’t have any warning function either.

          It’s just pain. Because of course having a baby go through your vagina is going to be painful.

          • Irène Delse
            April 26, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

            “It didn’t matter how much it hurt”

            Not if the woman has a ruptured uterus. But if the baby is stuck, there is the option (gruesome, I know…) of dismembering it and saving the woman. Something you could do even with Stone Age tools.

            Even without going to such extremities, a knowledge of when to really push can help the woman save her strength, I suppose.

            BTW, I’m not totally on board with the idea that labour pain was ever adaptive, but it does seem to function as a signal, as in any other kind of pain. And I suppose we could have evolved a rush of endorphins to take care of the pain, had it been totally disruptive.

      • BeatriceC
        April 26, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

        The theory Dr. Amy quotes in the book goes back to primitive days and pain being part of the body’s way to alert a person that he or she needs to get help. So labor pains would cause a woman to seek somebody to help her through the process. Now that attended childbirth is almost never questioned, the pain has outlived it’s usefulness. It’s an interesting theory. She goes into far more detail in the book.

  5. Green Fish
    April 23, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

    These people don’t normalize birth, they normalize babies dying.
    That’s the only explanation on why they can be so callous and ignorant when writing about those dead babies.

  6. Amazed
    April 23, 2016 at 8:28 am #

    And here you have it, folks. Melissa Osgood Devoe stood here with her name in defense of her friend. Makes a strinking contrast with all those visitors who fly in to rage and threaten us, claiming that we’re using a tragedy for our own gains and insisting that they’re “friends” of the mother in question. Almost inevitably, they turn out to be internet friends from the same insane group and they’re here to defend the group and themselves, not the mother.

    The difference is amazing, isn’t it? And it’s a difference in purposes. Melissa cares about her friend. They care about other things.

    • Sean Jungian
      April 23, 2016 at 9:02 pm #

      I noticed that as well. Usually the true believers parachute in and give us the “tsk tsk have you no SHAME??? A baby died! Too soon to talk about it! Have some respect!”

      I have nothing but sympathy for the mom in this case. I’m so sorry she lost her baby, and that her so-called supporters are ready to throw her straight under the bus rather than allow the truth to taint the image of their precious NCB.

      • Who?
        April 23, 2016 at 11:26 pm #

        At the risk of bringing in another lot of parachuters, it’s exactly the same MO as the NRA after a mass shooting: ‘its’ too soon to talk about it, show some respect’.

        Just as shameful.

        • Sean Jungian
          April 23, 2016 at 11:30 pm #

          Absolutely. I see it in Orac’s blog as well, when he writes about a person who eschewed SBM for woo cancer treatments and died.

          People are fanatical about protecting their (cult of) woo.

          • Who?
            April 23, 2016 at 11:38 pm #

            Oh true, actually, the ‘cancer cures’ are classic for that, and for saying the treatment didn’t fail, but the person using it didn’t believe in it enough.

            On which topic, one of my friends sells supplements and such, and suggested I should buy some of her cream to deal with my menopause symptoms, which, she assured me, would go away completely on regular application of this ointment. I asked what was in it, she said ‘progesterone’; at which I expressed healthy skepticism because surely one needs a script for that, and I though it was eostrogen I needed.

            So then I said that the symptoms came and went, so how would I know what was the cream and what was natural fluctuations. And she told me if I was going to take that kind of attitude there was no point trying anything. And (warming to her topic) that if I wanted to be on hrt for the rest of my life, like her mother, that’s fine. Considering her mum is 94 and strong as a horse, and takes two tablets a week, it hardly sounds like a problem.

            Sigh. I need to not mention it to the crazy friends.

          • Azuran
            April 24, 2016 at 12:12 am #

            I’m wondering, why are menopausal women prescribed topical cream with hormones in it instead of pills?
            I’ve had multiple cases of puppies with abnormal sexual development because their owner used those creams and touched their dogs. That probably can’t be good the children around.

          • Who?
            April 24, 2016 at 12:55 am #

            I rather think it depends where you apply it.

            There are some applied inside the vagina with an applicator, so touching that and then touching the dogs (or really anything) without some hand washing going on in between raises a whole lot of boundary and personal hygiene questions I don’t know how to frame.

          • demodocus
            April 24, 2016 at 11:29 am #

            giggle-snort. But then how long should I wait before I snog the spouse? He’s feminine enough!

          • Who?
            April 24, 2016 at 6:08 pm #

            I don’t know what is comprised in ‘snogging’ but let’s just say kissing on the mouth will be no problem 😉

          • demodocus
            April 24, 2016 at 7:37 pm #

            I was understating 😉

          • Azuran
            April 24, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

            I have very limited human knowledge, so maybe dogs are just super sensitive to it.
            My guess is that most women do apply the cream somewhere unexposed, like their belly or upper legs, but then often don’t think of washing their hands properly.

          • CandiO
            April 24, 2016 at 9:43 am #

            Because not giving HRT orally bypasses the first pass mechanism of absorption.

          • demodocus
            April 24, 2016 at 11:27 am #

            I probably shouldn’t use any creams then when I hit menopause, considering I’ll probably start before my kids are teens.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 24, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

            I quite agree that one probably *should* require a prescription for progesterone, but progesterone cream is widely available in health food stores. (What can I say? My local one has the cheapest, best fruits and veggies. Also, awesome oatmeal raisin cookies. Don’t judge me! :p)
            And yes, best to stay away from the crazy. 😉

          • Who?
            April 24, 2016 at 6:13 pm #

            Well that’s disturbing. No judgement here, great to find a good f&v shop. With baked treats!

            I don’t think that particular friend will be mentioning it again any time soon…I buy some cleaning products off her because I really like them but flatly refuse to buy the supplements etc.

          • Monkey Professor
            April 25, 2016 at 2:41 am #

            I hit up health food stores all the time – I blend my own gluten free flours and it’s the best place to find the component flours. I side eye the rest of the stuff pretty hard though!

          • Nick Sanders
            April 24, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

            Oh true, actually, the ‘cancer cures’ are classic for that, and for saying the treatment didn’t fail, but the person using it didn’t believe in it enough.

            If I’m being treated for anything more serious than a boo-boo, I want something that will work the same regardless of whether I believe in it or not. I mean, can you imagine?

            “I’m sorry, the stitches didn’t hold because you just didn’t really trust them.”

            “The surgeon removed the appendix, but he was under sedation and unable to be confident, so he got sepsis anyway.”

            “You didn’t really believe in the quinine, deep in your heart, so you still have malaria.”


          • Who?
            April 24, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

            Exactly. I’ll take the stuff that will work whether or not I take an interest in it.

            Quite happy to eat right, do some exercise and have way fewer food and alcohol treats than I’d like, check before I cross the road and wear my seatbelt, but any treatment should really be able to stand on its own two feet.

  7. Michael Ray Overby
    April 23, 2016 at 12:57 am #

    Play with Fire, & you Burn your Fingers. The sheer weight of Reason is what Shattered that group. Good riddance, to Toxic Rubbish.

  8. CSN0116
    April 22, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

    This Meg woman got into all of this shortly after she lost a baby, right? Was that baby lost in home birth? Could she just be manifesting some very severe mental illness and exhibiting it via all of these sick things that she does? Like some “by proxy” experience from watching all of these babies die and parents suffer? She appears to be a cyber serial killer of sorts, so I would try to understand her using that lens, quite frankly. It seems curious to me that the reckless, homicidal behavior began within the year that her baby died.

    • Trixie
      April 23, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

      Meg is Janet Fraser’s sister. (Search her name here if you aren’t familiar). Meg had a stillbirth due to listeria that was her first VBAC. After that, she had an HBAC.

      • CSN0116
        April 23, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

        Holy shit. Listeria? That’s crazy rare. Well then I’m running with my “Angel of death” serial killer complete then. I learned it on Criminal Minds or done shit. I think she gets off reliving the suffering and loss. And she gets to see it all play out in slow motion, post-by-post, as these women plead for real time help and guidance.

        • Trixie
          April 24, 2016 at 8:41 am #

          Doesn’t stop her from advising others to eat possible sources of listeria contamination while pregnant, either.

  9. shay simmons
    April 22, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

    Six fatalities in one week? Six? HOW EFFING CLUELESS DO YOU HAVE TO BE?

  10. sdsures
    April 22, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

    In NCB circles, why are all the mothers referred to as “mamas”? Is it a hippie thing?

    • Sean Jungian
      April 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      I assume it’s the same reason they all call their children “littles”.

      For the sake of the cutesy-poo.

      • sdsures
        April 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

        OK, I like cute babies as much as the next person, but there’s a limit…isn’t there? Especially when you’re discussing people or their kids that you’ve never met. I’d be inclined to be respectful rather than gushy. But that’s just me: I’m introverted. It doesn’t sound like many people who live-blog their kids’ homebirths are introverts.

        • Sean Jungian
          April 22, 2016 at 8:56 pm #

          @BeatriceC lol well I know BDSM has made a lot of strides into the mainstream in the past 10-15 years, but I don’t think it’s quite THAT mainstream as of yet 😉

          @sdsures I’m not so into the cutesy-poo mama dada bebe talk either but I hear it now and again. I have a friend whom I love who insists on calling me “Mama” and I just grit my teeth silently lol my own child hasn’t called me that since he *really* learned to talk. I’ve always been Mom.

          • sdsures
            April 22, 2016 at 9:01 pm #

            From what I remember I was told (we live on opposite sides of the Atlantic), my sister and her husband didn’t use baby-talk at all with their twins. The kids are 6 now. 🙂

          • Sean Jungian
            April 22, 2016 at 9:09 pm #

            My mother gave birth to my youngest sister when I was 13 years old, so she was a special “pet” of mine. My mom would go ballistic on us if we spoke babytalk to her – “SHE’LL NEVER LEARN TO TALK IF YOU DO THAT!!”

            NOW, that said, I have to be straight-up honest and confess that I talk babytalk to our dog and sometimes our cat. Mostly the dog, though. She’s just such a kootie-wootie-pwincess ‘oo doesn’t wuv widdle Wu-Wu?? (she’s a 100#+ goofy german shepherd dog) LMAO

          • Sue
            April 22, 2016 at 10:26 pm #

            I sometimes talk baby talk to our cute little doggies, and they’ve never learned to talk (at least, not in English).

            Your mother must have been right!

          • BeatriceC
            April 22, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

            Goofy says a few words and regular English and a few words that’s more “baby talk”. But he’s a parrot.

          • Sean Jungian
            April 22, 2016 at 10:33 pm #

            My mother was right about something?

            Mind: Blown

          • Who?
            April 24, 2016 at 12:57 am #

            Perhaps that’s why my dog can’t talk, though I swear he does say ‘nononono’ when I make him come in after barking at some other dog who has the temerity to be on a walk outside our house.

          • BeatriceC
            April 22, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

            My philosophy is that toddlers will learn to speak in whatever manner you speak to them, so I always used regular English and often times used “big words”. The result is now they have a very large vocabulary and a very well-honed ability to figure out the meaning of new words from context. My friend the Ph.D. level linguist has fun trying to use obscure and arcane enough words to stump them, but hasn’t managed it yet.

          • Charybdis
            April 23, 2016 at 11:43 am #

            Both my parents were teachers and Dad was also a coach, and they did not use baby talk. Sometimes, sure, but as an every day sort of thing? Absolutely not. DH and I didn’t baby talk DS and generally did not dumb things down for him. He has quite the vocabulary as well.

            Now, some of the mispronounced words from various family members’ toddler years have made it into the family vocabulary. Stuff like jamammas, mazagine, amapance, Yew Nork and “I can’t know how”. We must sound deranged to average folks.

            I do tend to baby talk the dog some, but she gets the same general talking that DS did when he was a toddler. She is developing a pretty good vocabulary as a result.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 23, 2016 at 12:24 pm #

            I still refer to my wife as Baba, because that’s what the older guy called her when he was little

          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

            Wassanuts. It’s now in a second generation as it was my older sister’s todder mispronounced “elephant”.

          • demodocus
            April 23, 2016 at 3:05 pm #

            Our toddler pronounced “Daddy” “Dadly” for months. I’m still amused. Actually, my real nickname is what my toddler sister dubbed me. It’s one that ages well, fortunately. (Ironically, she learned to pronounce my full name before I did, despite being younger)

          • Poogles
            April 28, 2016 at 3:49 pm #

            “Actually, my real nickname is what my toddler sister dubbed me.”

            I also have a nickname that came from a mispronunciation of my name by the first of my toddler brothers – I love having an affectionate nickname from those who hold a very special place in my heart (it’s only used by my 4 younger siblings, my mom and a few close friends from high school who overheard my siblings using it and adopted it).

          • Michelle Singleton
            April 24, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

            Onies = onions

            Peepa = pizza

            We still use those. I used to harp on their pronunciation and word structure. I stopped this last fall. It dawned on me that they are about to be out of single digits and become big girls and the weird way they say things are the last vestiges of being a little girls. Examples: “I founded it.” “Sissy gotted it.”

            Of course they have started having cramps and what seems an awful lot like PMS. Yesterday K-Bug was sitting on the couch and our pit jumped up next to her or walked by her. Instead of saying “Idris, go lay down!” She says “If you get up here I *will* cut a bitch!”

            At that point I literally threw a piece of chocolate and the appropriate dose of midol at her.

            (It was/is a running joke that Superman started. When PMS was really bad he’d hide behind something and throw midol and chocolate at me. He’d also make pit stops on the way home from work and get me mini chocolate donuts. The Boyfriend dutifully picked up the cause..)

          • Kelly
            April 24, 2016 at 8:05 pm #

            We do that too. My first child had really good pronunciation and so rarely would have cute words for stuff and so I would hold on to anything she actually said wrong. Wanteen was yogurt, lasterday for yesterday, and bmember for remember. I got really sad when she started to be able to say those correctly. There have been a few things that have driven me nuts and I have made a point to correct her. We don’t baby talk our kids although we do have the high sing song voice when they are babies. I did have a very intelligent and well educated friend talk for her baby in baby talk to me. It was super weird and it really freaked me out.

      • BeatriceC
        April 22, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

        I wonder if they realize that “littles” has another meaning in the BDSM community, and they’ve been using it for far, far longer.

        • sdsures
          April 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

          If they do, they’d never admit it.

        • demodocus
          April 22, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

          I first heard the term when subbing some 12/15 years ago. (refering to small children, no idea what the BDSM term refers to)

          • BeatriceC
            April 22, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

            Brief Kink Lesson:

            One of the main types of kink is called a power exchange. This is where a Dominant type and a submissive type agree that the Dom will have all the power and the sub will yield it. There are a few ways this can occur. The most typical is what you think of when you hear about D/s. It’s just two people where one calls all the shots (in reality, it’s actually the sub, because all the details including limits and what can and cannot be done are hashed out in rather excruciating detail before any “play” ever happens, and the sub can always safeword out if a scene gets too intense.) But there are variations. There’s Master/slave, which is a more extreme version of D/s, Top/bottom which is a lighter version, and then there’s all the various other version. There’s Daddy/daughter, Mommy/son (and Daddy/son, Mommy/daughter, for same sex couples), and pet play (horses, cats, dogs, where the sub assumes the persona of the animal). In the Daddy/Mommy/daughter/son dynamic, the sub can take on a persona of any age. The subs that take on the persona of small children are called “littles”.

            This is not my kink, and to be honest it creeps me out, but one of the rules of the BDSM world is “your kink is not my kink”. If it’s between consenting adults and nobody is getting hurt (more than they want to be), then we don’t judge.

          • demodocus
            April 22, 2016 at 9:56 pm #

            hmm, Educational. Not my cup of tea, either, but whatever floats their metaphorical votes.

          • demodocus
            April 23, 2016 at 10:06 am #


          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

            I can’t even begin to understand that particular kink. Our dynamic is straight up D/s and bedroom only. But they’re grown, consenting adults, so ykinmk.

          • SporkParade
            April 24, 2016 at 6:14 am #

            In the context of this discussion, it might be less confusing to use the full term, “substitute teaching,” as “subbing” has an alternative meaning.

          • demodocus
            April 24, 2016 at 11:41 am #

            lol, you’re right of course.

          • Deborah
            April 24, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

            Lol – I was completely confused 🙂

        • Rachele Willoughby
          April 23, 2016 at 1:06 am #


          I picked up the term from a fantasy series I read when I was a young teen. I never knew.

          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 3:04 pm #

            Oh, I never doubted the term was in use in other sources as well, I just thought it was funny that’s it’s used in the kink world.

          • Rachele Willoughby
            April 23, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

            I just… that’s awful. Like when I found out the alternative meaning for “carpet shark”.

          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 11:32 pm #

            I don’t judge. It’s not my thing, and as I said before, creeps me out, but it’s between consenting adults and nobody is getting hurt. “Your kink is not my kink” is a huge deal in the kink world. I like a lot of things that vanilla people would be horrified by. I like the fact that I’m free to indulge in them with a willing partner.

          • Rachele Willoughby
            April 24, 2016 at 10:28 am #

            Oh no, I don’t mean the kink. I could care less what your kink is. I just meant it’s awful that I’ve been terribly naive again. See above “carpet shark”.

          • MI Dawn
            April 25, 2016 at 10:51 am #

            I know Mercedes Lackey used “littles” to refer to young children in her very first book published in 1987 (and many subsequent books). I’d seen varients (little ones, for example) in older books, but not “littles” on its own.

            I don’t think I’ve encountered it in anything written earlier (but my kink collection isn’t that old, either…)

          • Rachele Willoughby
            April 25, 2016 at 2:56 pm #

            Wow, I thought I was the only one who ever read those books! (That I didn’t force to read them, anyway.)

      • Kelly
        April 23, 2016 at 10:37 pm #

        I call mine little monsters or the hellions. I think it is way more accurate.

        • BeatriceC
          April 24, 2016 at 12:33 am #

          I tend to call mine urchins even though they’re all man-sized now.

          • Charybdis
            April 24, 2016 at 10:37 am #

            I use PITA. “DS, stop being a PITA about asking for those custom Nikes!!!!”

            PITA = Pain In The Ass.

          • Kelly
            April 24, 2016 at 7:59 pm #

            I called my second one that when I was pregnant with her because she would kick and send shooting pain down my butt.

          • Michelle Singleton
            April 24, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

            I call mine Buggies. We have A-Bug and K-Bug. It’s a way for me to talk about them on social media and on my blog without actually naming them.

          • Kelly
            April 24, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

            Oooo. Good one. I am adding that my list.

    • BeatriceC
      April 22, 2016 at 8:49 pm #

      It pisses me off because I no longer enjoy my children calling me “mama”, which is a common term in the American south.

      • sdsures
        April 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

        It’s the plain old word for “mother” in Russian. Even adults use it.

        • BeatriceC
          April 22, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

          My kids have switched to “Merm”. I have no idea where they got it, but they all use it, and I like it.

          • sdsures
            April 22, 2016 at 8:54 pm #

            Fan of Garfied? (Nermal?)

          • BeatriceC
            April 22, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

            Not really. They’re aware of Garfield, but not really fans. 🙂

          • Sean Jungian
            April 22, 2016 at 9:10 pm #

            Kinda sounds like when my son calls me “Mehhhhhhhmmmm” like Cartman on South Park lol.

          • Amy M
            April 23, 2016 at 2:05 pm #

            Like…Ermergerd!! Merm!1 Sterp it!!

          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 2:59 pm #

            Lol. I didn’t thing of that meme. They don’t use that tone ever, so it didn’t cross my mind.

        • Bombshellrisa
          April 22, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

          Same for my father, he always called his mom “Mama”. She was Austrian/Slovenian, I think it was cultural. The woman won owned the adult family home that my grandmother lived at was Polish and she called her mom Mama too.

      • MLE
        April 22, 2016 at 10:39 pm #

        I know, I love being Mama and Daddy, and I hate that Mama has become some kind of infantalizing, faux-empowering term.

    • Michelle Singleton
      April 22, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

      I want my girls to call me Mama, but with the UK pronunciation, Ma-Ma. Think Jane Austen… My sister called our mother Mama (hippy version). Having been raised in the South, Mother is a better way. Which is what I call(ed) her.

    • Marie
      April 22, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

      I HATE being called mama. The only people I know who call me that are hippie NCB types, and it usually is a compliment on my supposedly awesome breastfeeding skills because I have a huge baby. It’s just…weird. I’m hoping my son will just call me “mom.”

      My one exception that doesn’t bother me is that my own mother will sometimes call me “mama” in relation to my son. Her family is from the south and it has nothing to do with weird crunchy stuff.

    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      April 23, 2016 at 1:09 pm #

      There is precisely one person in the world who has a right to call me mama if she so choses. Being a newly minted teenager, she mostly calls me “mooooooooom!”

      • BeatriceC
        April 23, 2016 at 3:02 pm #

        Complete with the rolling eyes and “you’re an idiot” look?

      • MI Dawn
        April 25, 2016 at 10:54 am #

        It gets better. My kids went through the “mooooommmmmm” stage, with, as BeatriceC notes, rolling eyes and all. Now the eldest calls me mom, the youngest generally uses “momma” (and texts that way, also!)

    • demodocus
      April 23, 2016 at 3:01 pm #

      My hippie mother went by Mom to a large segment of neighborhood. Her southern born mother also mostly goes by Mom. (Gram moved to Grandpa’s home town in New England after he was discharged from the Marines)

    • Deborah
      April 23, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

      Dr Amy has done a commentary on that somewhere – I can’t remember where I found it now but the gist of it was that the term infantilises women. Made a lot of sense. I’ll have a flick through and see if I can find it.

      • Deborah
        April 23, 2016 at 7:05 pm #

        If you type the word mama into search on this blog there’s a post entitled “Our unwitting surrender to sexism enshrined in a single word: Mama”
        It’s not the one I was thinking of but it still hits the nail on the head.

      • guest
        April 23, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

        Yes, I remember that one too. I stated then (and I guess I’m doing it again here, now) that I also hate being called “Mama.” I didn’t even like my kids to call me that, although they did at first. I preferred “Mommy” or “Mom.” Mama doesn’t bother me if you’re from a region or culture where it’s the norm, but to me, it’s infantilizing. And NO ONE besides my children should be addressing me as any form of “mother.” One of my colleagues did it when I came back to work and I told him I’d start calling him Dad if he didn’t stop (and he’s about old enough to be mine, so it would have been weird indeed).

        • Cody
          April 24, 2016 at 12:33 am #

          In my region L&D nurses and OBs refer to their patient as “Mom” or “Mum” all the time.

          • Sue
            April 25, 2016 at 8:03 am #

            I have to admit to calling the parents of sick children I;m treating in ED Mum or Dad – generally when I’m focussed on the child and haven’t registered the family name. I don’t think the parents get offended, if we’re working to help their child.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 25, 2016 at 8:26 am #

            I do that too.
            I’m terrible with names, and unless the parents have introduced themselves to me (most don’t), or they’re frequent attenders and I know them by sight, I go with “mum and dad”.

            My default greeting is “hello, I’m Dr Kitty, this must be X, and who have you brought with you?”

            Which gives the parents an opportunity to say “Please call us Jo and Sam” after the kid says “my mummy and daddy”, but few do.

            I rarely opt for Mr and Mrs Surname, often because the child will have a different name from at least one of the parents.

          • demodocus
            April 25, 2016 at 8:33 am #

            i don’t mind in these cases. heck, at this point he’s still trying to figure out that Auntie is Cousin’s mommy

          • guest
            April 25, 2016 at 10:08 am #

            I can dislike how you address me even if I’m grateful that you’re caring for my child.

          • FormerPhysicist
            April 26, 2016 at 8:42 am #

            If you are working on saving my child in the ER, you can call me whatever you want*. I honestly can’t recall what I’ve been called in those circumstances.

          • Cody
            May 13, 2016 at 11:31 am #

            In that context I think it might feel different to the parents because you are caring for the child and that’s how the child refers to the parent. It’s different in the L&D setting because you are caring for the mother as well.

          • guest
            April 25, 2016 at 10:07 am #

            Mine too. And I did not like it. I still have a name, even if I’m in labor. And I’m sure it’s easier to just call everyone mom than to try and remember everyone’s name when there are so many patients, but that’s exactly why it bothers me – I don’t like losing my identity.

          • momofone
            April 25, 2016 at 10:55 am #

            I truly don’t mean this in a snarky way, but does it really mean you’ve lost your identity just because someone doesn’t know your name? I’m curious because as I’ve thought about what changes my identity, it’s not what other people do, but what I do. I realize this may just be me, but it’s got me thinking about it.

        • Old Lady
          April 24, 2016 at 1:07 pm #

          My kids call me mama mostly. It’s the therm I prefer. I find mommy whiny and mom is used derogatorily so I don’t care for it as much. Like in “Your mom” jokes, mom-mobile etc. Mama is used as a source of pride so I prefer it. Mother is also nice but a little overly formal for my kids. It’s not infantilizing like calling women girls or baby but it can be reductive. I’m not ashamed of being a mother, so it doesn’t bother me to be called mama. If you are used to being respected for your career or education it can be seen as a step down, but I think being bothered that way is somewhat arrogant. For some people who have had very little previous respect, motherhood can potentially give them more. I never was upset about my “loss of identity” when I became a mother because I didn’t lose who I was, even if other people saw me as “just a mother” it wasn’t much of a change since I never had that much respect culturally anyway….no career, not much money, and not very educated.

          • momofone
            April 25, 2016 at 9:47 am #

            Where I live, Mama is the most common name for mothers, and I assumed/hoped it would be what my son called me, but he chose Mom. I’m fine with that, but couldn’t tolerate Mommy–like you, I find it whiny-sounding. I also am put off by people who refer to themselves as mommies, especially to other people (“I’m a mommy”/”I’m so glad to meet another older mommy”/etc.). I love being a mother, but a mommy I’m not.

          • guest
            April 25, 2016 at 10:02 am #

            It’s not infantilizing if your kids call you Mama. But when you go to buy nail polish at the store and you have your baby with you and the clerk says “Here you go, Mama” or a senior male academic you work with greets you multiple times with “Hey Mom” when come back from maternity leave, it absolutely is. Why should I be demoted from Professor just because I had a baby?

          • Old Lady
            April 25, 2016 at 2:51 pm #

            You missed my point. The fact that you consider it infantilizing says something about your negative opinion about motherhood as their attempt to undermine your authority.

      • sdsures
        April 24, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

        Thank you!

      • sdsures
        April 28, 2016 at 7:13 am #


    • The Computer Ate My Nym
      April 25, 2016 at 9:43 am #

      Note that the original post referred to “mama’s”. Dr. Tuteur corrected the grammar. I don’t know why this bothers me–it’s certainly not like I’ve never made a spelling and/or grammatical error in my life–but it does.

    • no longer drinking the koolaid
      April 25, 2016 at 2:16 pm #

      As an old hippie I ask that you don’t blame us for that.

      • sdsures
        April 28, 2016 at 7:12 am #

        My most profound apologies. I couldn’t think of an appropriate comparison beyond the fact that NCBers seem to want to embrace (at least superficially) some aspects of the hippie culture.

  11. Melissa Osgood Devoe
    April 22, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    As a very dear friend to “Angie” the mom at the very center of this story, I am saddened to see such heartless things being said. I actually saw a post from one of “the group” admins who said point blank that she thought Angela had lied. Shame on her and shame on anyone who would discount the death of a baby to further their own agenda. I can tell you that the death of my dear friends baby is very real and very tragic. I’ve taken to a personal mission to defend Angie and to let people know that she was not a troll and did not fabricate a pregnancy and loss just to take down a group.

    • Trixie
      April 22, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

      Please extend our deepest sympathies to your friend. I was “watching” her post about her labor online and was absolutely terrified and disgusted at how she had been misled by this doula and midwife team. She’s been victimized twice, as these internet ringleaders now try to claim she isn’t even a real person. And they’re sad about losing a Facebook group.

    • Mom2Many
      April 22, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

      I’m so sorry that your friend is going through this hell of baby loss. Please support her the best you can, and give her and her loved ones my condolences. A loss such as hers is devastating and it is such a difficult and surreal time.
      Despite all of the hoopla surrounding the FB group, now is a time to focus on getting through the next few days and weeks and grieving the loss of this precious little one.
      I’m so so sorry, and your friend is lucky to have someone like you to defend her while she and her family cope with the reality of losing a loved daughter.

    • Tiffany Aching
      April 22, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

      I’m so sorry for your friend. That kind of loss is beyond words.

    • mythsayer
      April 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

      I’m assuming those things were said in that group? That she made the pregnancy up and lied about the loss? Because I hope you know we would never say something like that here. We are horrified and saddened by every loss and the things we read from women who supported vbacs and homebirths only to turn on the loss mothers when something goes wrong are horrific and hateful.

      I’m sorry she lost her baby and I’m sorry for all the horrid things that have been said.

      • Melissa Osgood Devoe
        April 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

        No, I know those things were not said here. I appreciate this blog and the condolences to angie. She’s suffering so much and too have women she depend on for support shun her in her time of need disgusts me to my core

        • CognitiveDissonaceHurts
          April 22, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

          When she is ready, I hope she will come here. There are other loss moms here and, like myself, former Natural Childbirth advocates whose eyes have been opened to truth that was hidden from us. It is a painful process to realize that you did not have all the facts when making birthing decisions.

          I offer my heartfelt condolences to Angie and her family and friends during this terrible time of grief.

        • BeatriceC
          April 22, 2016 at 8:50 pm #

          Unfortunately, this is straight from their typical playbook. I’m heartbroken that your friend has had to live through it. If she’s ever up to it, those of us on this side of the fight will support her any way we can to help her tell her story.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 22, 2016 at 9:24 pm #

            Unfortunately, this is straight from their typical playbook.

            Yeah, this is what I was going to say. One of the things that really pisses me off about this is that the story is so damn common. These people manipulate expectant mothers, and totally mislead them about risks, and then when something does go wrong, they completely turn on them. It happens all. The. Fucking;. Time. They take babies that have died and they bury them again, by denying them and shunning the loss mothers.

            Melissa, we see it so often that Dr Amy has started a movement, “Not Buried Twice”, to bring recognition to those babies that have died due to the actions of folks like that, to prevent them from being buried again. Make no mistake, we will NOT let Angie nor her baby be cast aside as a sacrifice at the altar of home birth or VBACS.

            You now see how mothers and babies mean nothing to these people. They are merely props in their show. It is just sad that you have had to see it first hand, affecting someone you know and care for.

            As I said, we’ve seen it before, lots of times. And the victims are pushed aside, and are not allowed a voice. Rest assured, they have that voice here. We will listen, and we will not let anyone forget why this tragedy occurred.

          • Melissa Osgood Devoe
            April 22, 2016 at 10:13 pm #

            I had another Mommy from a loss group give me the Not Buried Twice facebook page. I’m just stunned because before today I didn’t even know this problem existed

          • BeatriceC
            April 22, 2016 at 10:22 pm #

            That’s pretty much what the NCB cult is counting on. That’s why we’re so aggressive in telling and retelling the stories to the extent that we can, in the hopes that no more women will ever have to go through this again. Again, please extend my deepest condolences to your friend.

          • Amazed
            April 23, 2016 at 8:25 am #

            That’s the problem. They bury the babies so well that unless you specifically search for them, you won’t even know. And even if you look for them, usually you’ll find them only if someone like Evil Dr Amy has gotten a wind of it and spread the word. This way, people often don’t know until it’s their own baby/their friend’s baby that is dead and buried twice, so other people wouldn’t know about him/her either.

            I am so sorry about your friend’s loss.

          • Bambi Chapman
            April 23, 2016 at 9:47 am #

            The thing is, when you lose your baby, these people/pages/groups will remove any mention of your child. You have to be willing to be extremely vocal and endure the abuse that they hurl at you. Some choose not to speak up because of the treatment that they know they wil endure. Some of us, we will fight regardless of what these people say and do. I wish your friend wasn’t a part of this isolating club, but please know she is far from alone. We have her back and will do anything in our power to support her in this whether it’s just an ear or should she decide she wants to stand up. Either action is ok.

          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

            Bambi, I’ve told you this on Facebook, but I will say it again here. You and the other mothers who have been victimized by the NCB cult who choose to stand up and fight back have my utmost respect and admiration. I wish I had half the strength you ladies have. Thank you for speaking out.

          • Michael Ray Overby
            May 2, 2016 at 3:54 pm #

            Be completely Assured the problem exists, at near-Epidemic levels.

          • Trixie
            April 23, 2016 at 1:20 pm #

            Interestingly, just before being dissolved, the VBAC group in question was renamed “Not Buried Twice.”

        • Sean Jungian
          April 22, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

          @melissaosgooddevoe:disqus so very sorry for Angie’s loss.

          You are a good friend.

        • yugaya
          April 23, 2016 at 3:21 am #

          Melissa she is not alone. We have seen this happen to moms over and over again. Please if you can tell her to reach out to Gavin Michael’s mom Danielle who is a beautiful soul that will understand and know how to help because she herself has been through losing her baby to ignorance of illegal homebirth midwife and being denied she was real in the aftermath:


    • Amazed
      April 22, 2016 at 7:06 pm #

      They haven’t learned a thing. Each time a baby dies, they go with the same old script – a troll, not a real baby, no one died, let’s move on.

      I am so sorry for the way your friend was misused.

    • Christina Maxwell
      April 22, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

      Melissa, please believe that there are many, many of us who absolutely believe that Angie and her baby are very real indeed. Speaking for myself I am heartbroken that your friend is going through this nightmare and wish there was a way to adequately convey my deepest sympathy to her. You will find that the vast majority of people commenting here feel the same way. Many tears have been shed and none of us condone the behaviour of these admins in that toxic, now closed group.

    • momofone
      April 22, 2016 at 7:18 pm #

      I am so sorry.

    • April 22, 2016 at 9:06 pm #

      I am so sorry Angie is going through this horrible bullying bullshit from women she trusted. The loss she’s going through is so epic and terrible, and to have the same support network turn on her like this is horrific. You are a good friend to defend her. I hope you’ll pass on the condolences and grief you see from this site – there are many mothers who have gone down this same tragic path – and every one of us grieves when we hear of another.

    • yugaya
      April 23, 2016 at 3:12 am #

      I wish those people were not so sick and that they did not need to lie to themselves how her pain and loss are not real. Please hold your friend and be there for her and her family. I’m so, so sorry.

    • rh1985
      April 23, 2016 at 8:40 pm #

      I am so sorry for your friend’s loss. It’s sickening that these women lie about the risks and then when a mom loses her baby, they shun her and pretend it never happened. Yet it happens time and time again. It’s awful. 🙁

    • April 25, 2016 at 9:30 am #

      I’m so, so sorry for Angie’s loss.

    • MaineJen
      April 25, 2016 at 10:42 am #

      I am so, so sad for this loss. 🙁 I don’t know “Angie” but this is not the first homebirth death I have heard of. The details are sadly familiar. No one here believes for one second that her story is not genuine; the only people perpetuating that lie are the ones who want to cover up her loss. I am absolutely sympathetic toward her; she thought she was doing what was best, and instead received the worst kind of bad advice.

    • MI Dawn
      April 25, 2016 at 10:52 am #

      My very sincere sympathies to “Angie” and her family. Certainly, I’m sure she didn’t lie and make things up. You are the best kind of friend.

    • moto_librarian
      April 25, 2016 at 10:54 am #

      Melissa, I am so very sorry for your friend. I was not involved with this FB group (I’ve never had a c-section or VBAC, so I don’t join those groups). This type of victim-blaming is standard operating practice for hardcore natural childbirth advocates. They have no problem telling women to ignore medical advice, to trust their bodies, etc., but when things go wrong, they accept absolutely no culpability for their role in it. They are morally culpable for the death of your friend’s child, and their behavior merely proves it. I am so, so sorry.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      April 25, 2016 at 11:00 am #

      I’m so sorry she has to deal with so much loss when she needs support and kindness the most. I’m glad she has someone to stand by her in you..

      If she wants, and it’s still such a raw thing that it’s understandable if she’s hesitant, she can come here. It’s hard enough to disconnect yourself from such deep rooted beliefs and even worse when it’s a tragedy that causes it.

      I hope she is able to recover physically and emotionally in peace and that those that deny her baby’s existence will leave her be.

    • Daleth
      April 25, 2016 at 11:33 am #

      I’m so so sorry she’s going through that, and so sorry for her little baby who died. It’s an absolute tragedy.

    • Margarita
      April 29, 2016 at 2:52 pm #

      I am so saddened to hear of another homebirth loss. I lost my son during a homebirth in 2011. This group took me in and I was grateful for it and the connections to other loss moms that were made. But sadly, my story and Son Shahzad were used and when we weren’t needed anymore, we were tossed out and left out of campaigns such as not buried twice.

      Advice for your grieving friend is to be cautious of connections she makes going forward. Someone here suggested Danielle’s In Light of Gavin Michael page. Yes, that’s a very good one. Please make sure to share Liz P’s “From One Loss Mom to Another” article with her. You can find it online and it is really helpful and walks the reader through everything they can expect to face now that their baby has died.

  12. Marie
    April 22, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

    “To the women who love VBAC”

    WTF?! I love my child. I also love any future children I may have way more than I could ever love VBAC. VBAC is a process, not a person. Seriously…I can’t even. Disgusting.

    • Squillo
      April 22, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

      The baby is just a prop.

      • chemist mom
        April 22, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

        I always really, really hope that isn’t true at the deepest level and that they just aren’t taking the risk seriously. But, the only way to “prove” it is for one of them to lose their baby or for them to be desperately ill and I just couldn’t wish that on my absolutely worst enemy.

        • DelphiniumFalcon
          April 22, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

          I think the baby is a prop to the midwives that know what the risks are and continue to practice anyways. I can see a naïve person thinking they can make a differencing and thinking being a midwife is the answer to a problem. But I also see that once a birth goes that horribly wrong they drop that notion entirely. Which for some reason doesn’t happen.

          • Nick Sanders
            April 22, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

            Sunk costs fallacy, maybe?

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 22, 2016 at 6:50 pm #

            More like indoctrination I think. Once you’re surrounded by all these people that absolutely will not let you have another opinion and brow beat you for even daring to question the philosophy, I think most humans because of our social conditioning fall back on the “if so many people are saying it then it must be true” thing. But when you’re sucked into this black hole that consumed so much of your life that you really can’t have any other interests or friends outside the “group” it’s hard to reorient your reality away from what has become your reality through pressure. So you.can’t ever wake up to what’s really going on until you’re removed from it altogether.

            At least speaking from my experiences with what I semijokingly call The Cult of Grandma.

            Kq could.probably explain it a bit better though.

          • BeatriceC
            April 22, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

            I’ve said before that trying to fight pseudoscience with facts and reason won’t work. We need to start looking at it like a cult, and use cult deprogramming techniques to work against it.

          • sdsures
            April 22, 2016 at 8:52 pm #

            A very good documentary on cults, for those who are interested. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYrP0s7VwtQ

          • chemist mom
            April 22, 2016 at 7:51 pm #

            Especially the ones who have experienced losses with other clients and just move on.

        • Amy
          April 22, 2016 at 8:48 pm #

          There IS a lot of circumstantial evidence, though. The number of signature files for posters at MDC and the ICAN list where women list their kids by birth dates and method of birth, and talk about their “healing VBAC,” the women who talk about wanting to have another baby JUST FOR THE VBAC, is kind of scary.

          When I think about how I used to look up to those women and how close I came to being one of them, it goes from kind of to really scary.

          • Sean Jungian
            April 22, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

            “the women who talk about wanting to have another baby JUST FOR THE VBAC”

            That is horrifying.

          • Cartman36
            April 22, 2016 at 11:19 pm #

            I agree

          • Hillary
            April 23, 2016 at 12:10 am #

            I used to be in an ICAN group bc I had a difficult time dealing with my first C-section. But, the more I read what they posted the more I was shocked at how blind they were. It almost seemed like a cult.

          • Amy
            April 23, 2016 at 10:07 am #

            Same here– wonder if we were in at the same time! That’s how I discovered Dr. Amy; they were complaining about how mean she was.

            Left when they all dogpiled on a mom who’d lost a baby after a rupture in a VBAC attempt.

    • Who?
      April 22, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

      It’s like ‘loving’ the far less dangerous practice of having kids roll around unrestrained in the car: if anything goes wrong, the outcome is catastrophic, and you don’t arrive where you wanted to go, or at least not in good order.

      How many homebirth hobbyists would support children being unrestrained in a car because it is so much more ‘authentic’ than strapping them in?

      • Marie
        April 22, 2016 at 7:31 pm #

        I do find it funny that many of the NCB crowd also condone extended rear-facing car seats.

        • Amy
          April 22, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

          Condone? How about using how long your kid is rear-facing as another measure of maternal quality, along with extended breastfeeding and the family bed?

          • Hillary
            April 23, 2016 at 12:07 am #

            I just don’t understand why they have their own set of “rules” to determine who can be the best parent???!??!!

          • Charybdis
            April 24, 2016 at 11:12 am #

            Because they feel all empty inside and are looking for something to fill that void. My cynical theory is that this is a result of the “everybody wins, nothing can be framed in a negative fashion, let’s do everything to build the child’s self esteem, they are such *special snowflakes* that we can’t bear to crush them under the word “no” or that, heaven forbid, they not get to play on the sports team, or that the team lose” sort of bullshit that has become so rampant these days. I mean, in a lot of kid sports, they don’t keep score because “there are no losers”. Which is a load of crap, because even little kids know that someone wins and someone loses. Why have playoffs and championships if “everybody wins”?

            We are seeing the first kids reared under those philosophies now having kids and they are *so* used to everything being framed as positive affirmations, ego stroking and always winning (or nobody ever really losing), that they now look for ways to win.

            Plus, one-upping someone else helps to fill a void in your own life and gives you a way to flaunt your choices (EBF! Baby-wear 24/7! Organic cotton, hand-woven baby wrap! Breasts as pacifiers! Cloth diaper! Organic cloth diapers hand washed in a mountain stream! Baby-led weaning! Nurse until kindergarten or later! Ad nauseaum). Plus, there is a touch of martyrdom and sado-masochism thrown in. (I know Kid is 4, but he still NEEDS the breastfeeding. I not only wear my baby 24/7, constantly breastfeed and bed-share, but I grow all my own organic veggies, make my own soap and cleaning products, make my own baby food for the toddler, milk my own goats, home-cook every meal, no screen time for kids, etc, etc, etc) So when someone states “I don’t know how you do it! You are amazing!”, you can then respond with “I know it is hard, so very hard and demanding, but you know, I only want the best for my kids and for them to have a special, fulfilling, totally organic life, so I do what I have to do”, which is a humblebrag. Because if you *really cared* about your kids, you would be doing these same things.

            That is the gauntlet that is thrown down, and the basic competitive nature of humans insures that someone will try to outdo the standard.

          • demodocus
            April 24, 2016 at 11:34 am #

            My kid has definitely heard the word “no” (in the last 5 minutes) but his parents are “old” so…

          • Charybdis
            April 24, 2016 at 11:58 am #

            Yeah, we are “old” parents too, so DS has heard the word no in all it’s variations: “No. NO! OH HELL NO!! Absolutely not! Not in this house! Nope, nope nope. Got a bag full of no over here just for you!”

            And he has also heard the completely maddening “Because I said so”, “I don’t need to explain the reason why not” and “I am the parent, I make the decisions and the rules”.

            We’ve tried to teach DS that life itself is not fair and nobody can make it totally fair for absolutely everyone all the time. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you fail spectacularly. But you have your pity party then get back on track. Learning to deal with failure and adversity (grit, is what they call it now, I think) is a valuable skill and it seems to be falling by the wayside in leiu of the NCB/AP/woo mindset.

          • demodocus
            April 24, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

            and it helps if you start learning it before 3rd grade.

          • Nick Sanders
            April 23, 2016 at 1:44 am #

            Of all the things to turn into a pissing contest, that’s gotta rank right up there with “tightest ziplocking” and “most colorful diaper” in terms of utter irrelevance to a child’s development.

          • Nick Sanders
            April 25, 2016 at 12:43 pm #

            And now, I just had a friend post on face-book that she wishes she’d rear-faced her son longer, even though she had him rear-facing until after he was 2.

          • Amy
            April 25, 2016 at 3:59 pm #

            You never know. Maybe when he’s in high school he’ll get a couple of Cs on a report card, and would have made the honor roll IF ONLY he’d been rear-facing that much longer.

    • sdsures
      April 22, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      I suppose you could say a dentist loves root canals, but in that process, he is making his patient feel better, not using them as a platform for their political views.

    • FormerPhysicist
      April 26, 2016 at 8:50 am #

      One can prefer one process over another. But, the baby needs to be first in priorities.
      My OB admitted she loved doing surgery. She wasn’t going to push it if it wasn’t needed, but she was good at it and enjoyed it. I wanted a repeat c/s, so I was thrilled to hear her.

  13. Ex-Sheepie
    April 22, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    Please know not all women in these groups KNOW or accept the risks. We are not told the risks. We are told the risks of homebirth are less than the risks of a section. We are told endless horror stories of hospital births (many of which are true) and endless perfect beautiful homebirth stories – including the much championed “stunt” births. The poor outcomes are deleted or explained away – “that would have happened in hospital too” “babies die in hospitals” etc – no-one tells you 85% of the babies dying in hospitals are micro prems. Honest Midwife has a great series on her blog – that last few entries talk about the HOW and WHY women get fooled into this stuff and continue to believe they are “crusaders” in repeating it to others until mantras become truths. It hurts so much as a loss Mother to have people say “we knew and we didnt care” – its not true. Every Homebirth loss Mother I know truly believed that she was safer at home. The guilt and regret is suffocating. We want to speak out – but we won’t if we are blamed because its just hurts too much on top of everything else.

    • BeatriceC
      April 22, 2016 at 6:36 pm #

      Welcome, ex-sheepie. Those of us on this side of the fight don’t blame you. We blame the birth junkies and the cults they have formed with their lies and fairy tales. We scream from the top of every mountain and continue to tell the stories of the babies who have paid the ultimate price so that they are “not buried twice”. We understand that you are riddled with guilt because you made those choices, but we also know you made them from a foundation of lies spewed by people who have worked hard to create an air of legitimacy so that you will fall for their lies. You made the best choice you thought you could make based on the information you had, and it was not your fault that the information was so tragically wrong.

    • DelphiniumFalcon
      April 22, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

      That’s the biggest problem right there. The ones who are saying they are protecting a mother and her child are hiding those risks. Whatever the reason I can only begin to guess (money, power, having a human being in one of their most vulnerable moments depend on them, I really don’t know) but the worst part is that when everything goes wrong from the risks they intentionally hid from a mother doing what she believed was the safest choice for her and her child they aren’t the ones who suffer.

      The mother who wasn’t informed of the risks in a realistic way and told it was all.going to be rainbows and puppies and the baby that doesn’t get a choice are the ones who bear the consequences while these false “medical professionals” run off to dupe another mother. It makes me sick that someone would do that to not just one but two human beings. One of which can’t object. To intentionally mislead someone to the point where serious injury or death happens.

      I don’t blame the mothers who were lied to and fed the mantras that they were damaged by their previous births, that “the body knows how to give birth”, and that a transport to a hospital if things go wrong will fix everything. They’re the victims in this and I can’t even really fault them on the whole ” do your research” thing because the internet is so enamoured with home birth and all things natural that it’s hard to separate the truths and the lies.

      I blame the people who as it’s put on this site bury babies and mothers twice. It’s bad enough to to lose someone. It’s horrifying to see their killers try to bury the truth and pretend this trauma didn’t happen to their loved ones so they can go on to do the same thing to another unsuspecting victim.

      The medical profession isn’t perfect and change does need to happen as society’s expectations of care change but going to an untrained self declared midwife isn’t the answer.

    • Amazed
      April 22, 2016 at 7:02 pm #

      I’m so sorry for your baby’s death. Be sure that no one here thinks it’s all women in those groups who know or accept the risks. There are undoubtedly some mothers who, IMO, do know and accept them because they’re explicitly told by doctors what the risks were, even if they later turn and sue the doctors because they didn’t manage to save their baby when they finally made it to the hospital with their baby already dying. Some of the other commenters don’t agree with me. They feel that it isn’t true knowledge if mothers didn’t believe the risks were real. But anyway, those cases are indeed quite rare.

      No one here thinks that the majority of women in these groups truly knew and didn’t care. But somewhere along the way, a line must be drawn. It’s the internet and everyone can write anything they want there. I think giving such advice should be criminalized but I can’t see any way it could be done. At the end of it, it’s us who make the decision to listen to the internet for this or that. I admit that I find it hard to fathom why adult women who are otherwise rational and well-rooted to this earth choose to go with a bunch of women whose only qualifications are that they have given birth over professionals who had made it their job to navigate the perilous path of birth. But that doesn’t mean that I (and mind you, I am one of the hardliners here. Other people are much kinder than I am) think every homebirth loss mother knew and didn’t care.

      I have no doubt that many of you want to speak out and I can only imagine the pain you all are experiencing. But I really can’t understand why you – generic you – would isolate yourselves from true information and only listen to the Meg Hekets of the world. The information is here. It’s been hidden for many years but it’s here now. I don’t think the majority of homebirth loss mothers felt anything other than a deeply seated conviction that they were safe at home – but I really can’t understand how it came to this. The studies are all there. If you truly want to speak out, IMO that’s one of the explanations that might resonate with many women.

      Once again, I am so sorry for your loss.

      • Tiffany Aching
        April 22, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

        I get your point and agree with you in many ways but we shouldn’t underestimate the power of these cult-like groups. It can really insulate you from reality – the group dynamics, the made-up facts that are repeated like a mantra, the whole narrative of the natural birth, confiscated by evil male doctors… It has an internal coherence and can obliterate common sense.

        • Amazed
          April 22, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

          Oh yes, I do realize that. It’s frightening. But how does one fall in their trap anyway? I get it that in a cult-like group, common sense dissolves rapidly. What I don’t get is how one allows themselves to become entangled into a cult-like group and use common sense before they get swallowed. I mean, it’s quite obvious that a woman who has had a HVBAC isn’t an obstetrician but a mother who has had a HVBAC and her baby didn’t die. We don’t apply this line of thinking in any other aspect of our lives. When we get disappointed with an electrician, we find a new one, we don’t insulate our houses ourselves. Why is it so different with birth?

          • Tiffany Aching
            April 22, 2016 at 7:48 pm #

            I’ve watched a friend fall headfirst into the natural birth thing . Fortunately she still had her baby in a midwife-led unit in a hospital – home birth is very rare here in France, but that wasn’t easy : a very long labour, she pushed for hours, and had a giant 4,3 kg baby (she refused to be tested for GD, well…). She teaches humanities at the university and is very bright, if maybe a little bored. I think that the appeal of natural birth was the narrative : “you’ll conquer what the evil and sexist medical establishment stole from women” felt much more sophisticated than “what you want is a normal, uneventful birth, which is what happens most of the time, but you don’t really have any power over that, and if things go awry your best bet is to rely completely on the doctors you secretly despise a little because they aren’t as well-read as you”.
            It was not for lack of intelligence that she was led to believe all that : it was on the contrary maybe too much and definitely ill-directed thinking that landed her there. She really preferred the theories that she elaborated endlessly about birth to the reality. I think that happens a lot : it is no coincidence that natural birth proponents are such prolific writers.

          • Amazed
            April 23, 2016 at 8:10 am #

            Hmm, the idea of her being more than those doctors who aren’t well-read. I also have such acquaintances. I define them as “intelligent fools”. A truly intelligent person would know that just like they’re experts in one area, others, doctors included, are experts in others. And it takes a special case of self-enchantment to fail to notice that while doctors might not be as well-read as you, a good deal of your new gurus aren’t this well-read either. A good deal of all natcherel moms are just bored housewives who might have graduated an uni but sure as hell don’t teach in one. I guess their allure is their sweet song of, “You’re so amazing!” while doctors see you as someone who is no better and no more important than your next unemployed Jane who can’t write a longer word without taking a break. I guess that could be a blow to someone who’s proud of their education and the sacrifices they made to gain it.

            Plus, I sincerely doubt that your friend is as well-read as she thinks herself. Either that, or she’s forgotten much of what she’s read. No one teaching humanities can fail to notice all those mentionings of women and babies dying for more than twenty centuries before doctors, as evil as they are, took over. A well-read person would know about Queen Anne’s terrible obstetric history or at least Henry VIII’s wives. My guess is that many of those who fell for natural birth cult prefer to believe made-up explanations because else, they’ll have to admit that it’s a good thing that medicine took over our God/Nature’s given power to give birth to our children always safely and empoweringly.

          • Tiffany Aching
            April 23, 2016 at 9:02 am #

            ” I guess their allure is their sweet song of, “You’re so amazing!” while doctors see you as someone who is no better and no more important than your next unemployed Jane who can’t write a longer word without taking a break.”

            This is very, very true.

            My friend is not of the most fanatic kind, so she is willing to admit that modern obstetrics reduced perinatal mortality – as you say, it is a little difficult to deny when you know a little about history – but I think she finds the idea of a female knowledge (midwifery) destroyed by the men so appealing that she buys it nevertheless. As it happens, midwives have a history of being rather well trained in France since the end of the XVIIIth century (there was a state sponsored program run by midwives who travelled everywhere to properly train lay midwives). I really think that once again the fact that she is very well-read makes her see the shift from a midwife-led care to a doctors-led care only from a cultural point of view, and makes her oversee the actual benefits of medical care. I’m not sure I am very clear, but I really think that the ability to elaborate sophisticated (and historically accurate, from a certain point of view) theories can lead you to believe that everything is a narrative, which is quite a common affliction in social sciences and humanities. My husband, who studied history of science often says “history of science is a history of cultural shifts and changes of paradigm, but at the end of the day, the plane flies, so the science behind that must be accurate regardless of the cultural context, and a lot of historians forget that”. Well, I think she is this person who thinks that reality is what she thinks it is.

          • Amazed
            April 23, 2016 at 9:21 am #

            You are very clear. As someone whose bachelor degree is in cultural studies, I can only agree – and imagine that it’s worse when you’ve kept adding degrees in the area, sinking more deeply into this cultural paradigm. I suppose it’s easy to go all cultural and looking at it from a theoretical PoV when you’ve grown up safely into the result of evil medical establishment taking over. You just take health for granted, so it’s all fine to criticize and tear EME apart, safe in the knowledge that nowadays, no one (at least where you are) dies from a thing as simple as a rusty nail scratching your finger. And death in childbirth? Please! It’s so old time!

          • Michael Ray Overby
            May 2, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

            You have an insightful husband.

          • Amy
            April 23, 2016 at 10:19 am #

            I don’t think it’s insulting to say that a university professor in the humanities is likely better-read than a doctor. I’ve got a graduate degree in mathematics and am a prolific reader. I know I’m better read than a lot of professionals in the physical and life sciences. And equally, I know I’m nowhere near as well-read as a friend of mine who failed math in high school and is now a professor of English at a fairly prestigious university.

            Like you said, it’s about respecting different areas of expertise. I don’t expect my GP to know anything about Fermat’s Little Theorem or Fourier series or elliptic curves (and she’s made it clear that she took her required 1-2 semesters of calc to get into med school and that was it); I DO expect her to diagnose and treat my illnesses and chronic conditions, and she does an excellent job at that.

          • Amazed
            April 23, 2016 at 10:38 am #

            But it’s insulting for a university professor on anything to despise people for not being as well-read as them. I expect of any people with a modicum of intelligence, let alone a professor, to realize that no one can be an expert in anything. I think I can safely say I am better-read than your average electrician but I still don’t despise them for not having read as much as I have. And I certainly call them whenever I can’t turn my light on and a simple change doesn’t help. The safest way for me to get out of this on my own, without any lowlier creatures involved, would be to make a fire with all my diplomas and my books to make light and warmth – but I suppose my neighbours from above and under would have something to say about this!

            I have personally seen the faint disdain that Tiffany Aching is talking about. In my experience, it generally comes with having put much effort into getting your degree, so it’s a part of your reward – to feel superior to someone. Not nice for the generally nice people like this that I know but no big deal. When it starts playing into your decision, though, it IS a problem.

          • Amy
            April 23, 2016 at 11:27 am #

            Oh, 100% agreed.

          • Dr Kitty
            April 23, 2016 at 2:46 pm #

            What do you mean by “well read” though?

            Reading the Booker prize short list every year?
            Reading broadly from any genre?
            Sticking to the classics- Shakespeare, Austen, Dickens, Proust, Tolstoy, Hardy Etc?
            Reading literary criticism?

            I think it is a bit much to get sniffy about a medical professional for not reading Camus or whatever, if you’re not reading the Lancet…or worse, assuming that just because someone is a Dr, they won’t be “well read”.

          • demodocus
            April 23, 2016 at 3:12 pm #

            I may have thousands of books and I’ve read nearly all of them (still working my way throught that byzantine history), but they are fantasy, mystery, and history. (with a few exceptions). I’m not calling myself well-read in the sense of thoroughness, ‘though i do call myself a serious bookworm!

          • Amazed
            May 2, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

            Have you ever chanced upon Ioannes Karayannopolous’ works? He’s an expert in Byzantine history. I am not quite sure as to the English translation, but one of his books, roughly translated as “The political doctrine of the Byzantines’ is a great insight into the inner workings of the political mechanisms of this long era.

          • demodocus
            May 2, 2016 at 9:14 pm #

            Not yet. Sounds interesting.

          • Amy
            April 23, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

            Obviously, “well read” is subjective. I don’t think someone is smarter because they read more books that are generally accepted as quality literature, nor did I once say that any given doctor is NOT well read. I’m not even the first person who brought it up.

            What I said was, I don’t think it’s reaching to assume that the average university professor in the humanities reads more than the average MD. And that such an assumption is in NO way a judgment on someone’s intelligence. And I stand by that. As I said, it applies to me as much as anyone else– I’m not a university prof, I’m not in the humanities myself, and I don’t think I’m less intelligent than my friends who are in the humanities and more likely better-read than I am.

            I didn’t think all that much about a precise definition of well-read, considering how subjective and open-ended the term is, but thinking about it, to me it would have to encompass breadth (a variety of genres and time periods, fiction and non-fiction), quantity (self explanatory), and quality (I don’t care how snobby it makes me, but if the highlights of your reading list are Fifty Shades of Grey and the Clan of the Cave Bear series, that’s not well-read). I don’t think that’s any “sniffier” than doctors rightly assuming that they’re by far the experts in health care compared to a humanities professor.

          • Michael Ray Overby
            May 2, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

            Jean Auel ROCKS though… I see your point, yeah but thought I’d mention…

          • Dr Kitty
            May 2, 2016 at 7:14 pm #


            Jean Auel was fine when I was 12…

            Not so much now.

          • Michael Ray Overby
            May 2, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

            IDK if Camus would be all that well-received by the average physician. Just sayin.

          • Michael Ray Overby
            May 2, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

            Now, this is an interesting issue. These people, IMO, take their limited knowledge & Create these Ad Lib explanations. It engages the “Nipple vs. Washing Machine Wringer” effect, from time to time, for them.


          • Michael Ray Overby
            May 2, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

            The word ‘Subversion’ seems suggested.

          • DelphiniumFalcon
            April 22, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

            That’s the million dollar question with cults though. How do they get their claws in so deep to begin with?

            My husband and I had a discussion about this and for issues that are medicalized like birth, the infant male surgery that shall not be named lest we get parachuted, and anti-vaxxers is if the idea doesn’t appeal to the person from the get go, they rely on convincing the person they or their child are irreparably damaged and they should feel guilty.

            Guilt is an extremely.powerful.tool for those.who wield it whether with finesse or like a bludgeon. Your baby won’t bond with you because of your interventions. They are damaged and it’s.your fault. Your.kid is autistic. Did you get them vaccinated? They’re damaged and it’s your fault.

            Or just inciting anger. Anger and logical thinking don’t go.well together. Keep them riled up.and angry and they’ll never see the truth. Bad sex life? Did you have surgery-that-will-not-be-named? Your parents damaged you. You will never be whole. Have medical issues? We’re you vaccinated as a child? It’s from the vaccines. You are damaged and you had no say. You felt out.of.control at.your hospital birth and had a c-section? You AND your child are forever damaged.

            But then they offer the solution only they, the ones who have had the scales drop from their eyes, know how to heal you! You’re.not.part.of the dumb masses, right? Let us share our.secrets! Chelation therapy! Homeopathy! Chiropractors! Home birth! Water birth! Skin stretching! We can heal you (of the problem you didn’t know you had until I.told.you so).

            There’s enough grains of.truth for it to not.sound completely outlandish. Men who do have problems with their sex lives directly related to it. Women who were treated abysmally at a hospital while.giving birth or.even died! Children who can’t be vaccinated because of adverse reactions like anaphylactic shock.

            With doctors, depending on the area you’re in, you may have dozens to choose from or there may only be the couple doctors and you have had terrible.experience with both. For the latter, what they’re saying will ring more true.

            Just my.theory anyways. Convincing someone they’re damaged or they have.damaged.someone else turns off a lot of logical thinking and then emotional thinking takes over.

          • demodocus
            April 22, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

            One of our regular parachuters was in this morning adding a few comments to a 4 year old post about the surgery.

          • Michael Ray Overby
            May 2, 2016 at 6:32 pm #


          • Amy
            April 22, 2016 at 9:00 pm #

            As someone who was into the woo for a few years (though never really deeply– my financial circumstances were such that I couldn’t afford to quit my job, so the fact that the super-crunchy crowd never fully accepted me ended up saving me!), I can explain a little.

            You have people like me, who prefer natural foods because they taste better and for social justice/economic reasons. There is, of course, a lot of commercial rhetoric as it is promoting the whole “natural is better” line. And then we get pregnant. In my case, my mom had nursed me and my sisters well into toddlerhood, so naturally I gravitated towards publications by La Leche League and other pro-breastfeeding media. There’s also a weird overlap of far-left and far-right political agendas in the natural movement. I love love love my copy of “Our Bodies, Ourselves,” and overall it’s SUPER liberal and feminist, but the chapter on birth has a lot about the benefits of natural birth, using doulas, and the “too high” c-section rate. So you’re pregnant for nine months reading all of this, and trying to navigate your way.

            And now there’s also the internet. And it’s all so intersectional. You look for information about breastfeeding and you get the NCB woo, and the antivax woo, and the chiropractic and essential oil and homebirth woo all mixed up, and you start to buy into it incrementally. And you start to befriend other expectant and new mothers in the same position. And the “in crowd” are the mothers at the far end of the crunchy spectrum. It’s like junior high, but instead of needing Uggs, a North Face jacket, and trips to Starbucks for your skinny vanilla lattes, you’re rocking the mei tai, the unschooling co-op, the GoodMama™ cloth diapers, and a home birth. Women planning VBACs are enthusiastically welcomed as either “victims” of the system or “reformed sinners” who initially believed the mainstream side but have seen the error of their ways.

            So the example woman you mention, who’s had an HBAC with a healthy baby to show for it? She’s seen as MORE of an expert than the doctors. She’s the rock star of the group, someone to be admired. And if the whole point of their line of thinking is that natural/home birth is safer *when you trust birth and do everything right,* then this mother’s success is evidence of her doing everything right.

            And that’s why they hate Dr. Amy so much. She points out the truth that a lot of women do NOT do “everything right” and still have natural births. That what they’re bragging about is nothing more than good luck.

          • Amazed
            April 23, 2016 at 8:02 am #

            Thanks, Amy! You and Tiffany really did give me some idea. I guess my disbelief comes with embracing “natural” so fully. How can anyone accept it so unconditionally, I wonder, but perhaps what I am missing is that that longing for natural is more prevalent among people who live in cities and buy their food from the store, even if it’s a natural food one. Sure, I prefer natural whenever possible for the simple “tastes better” reason. But my “natural” isn’t their “natural”, or at least they don’t know it’s one and the same. Natural apples? Are you kidding me? If they had been left to nature to take care of them, they’d had never made it to the market. There would have been too few of them to sell. They would have all gine to the farmer’s own family and in many cases, there wouldn’t have been enough even for said family. I don’t care what this ad says, those aren’t “natural” apples, no matter what you think. Not the same as “Those apples will poison you as surely as Snow-White’s did her.” Farmers have been fighting Nature since forever and they’re the greatest supporters of treating their stock with evil meds and “vaccinating” their crops against anything. I’ve seen a whole vineyard go to the ground when a hailstorm hit, just when the family had come over to pick the grape the next day. I remember the old man crying. Perhaps I am more aware than most just how cruel “natural” can be, so I fail to see just how strong the appeal of natural could be among those who have just this romanticized idea and nothing of real life to counter it. And from there, one step at a time, the road is paved.

            Still, I can’ fathom the mechanism that lets grown-up women enter high school again. I thought high school mentality is something that we overgrow. Honest to God, the high school me was a fool who wouldn’t have survived in real world for long. I thought it’s just a stage of life that we leave behind as we experience real world. Rock stars and groups, oh my!

    • Anna
      April 23, 2016 at 2:43 am #

      I am so very sorry for what you had to go through. IMO what they speculate on is the fact that birth can be really traumatic. Both vaginal and c-section, both in hospital and at home. Like many I used to think that vaginal birth is less traumatic by default. Well, now I know that both can be traumatic and both can be not. However, horrible things do happen and what these people do is speculate on fear. Like at home you will be 100% safe, no one is going to cut you or anything. As if that was all that mattered. Anyway… most pregnant women know SO little about birth, I remeber myself, I knew virtually nothing. It’s pretty easy to sell anything to a scared first time pregnant woman. They sell the illusion of control.

    • Bambi Chapman
      April 23, 2016 at 9:51 am #

      I am so sorry for your loss.

      You are spot on! I had no idea of the risks of homebirth, but I was surrounded by other homebirthers and had a midwife that I trusted. I knew what the studies said (just didn’t question or look indepth). If you need anything, I’m happy to listen.

    • Charybdis
      April 24, 2016 at 11:49 am #

      Welcome! I think the thing that I cannot wrap my head around is the fact that those on the NCB/home birth side seem to outright REFUSE to acknowledge the facts on the medical side, or view them with disdain and disgust because “babies die in hospitals too”. So how can you (general you) truly believe that you would be safer at home, with no monitoring equipment, no access to emergency personnel, medications and equipment? The fact that women “won’t allow” cervical checks is beyond bonkers to me.

      The view that the NCB/home birth side has of hospitals is out-dated and damn near antiquated. There is no twilight sleep, no routine enemas or shaving and no pushing of medications/epidurals on women who don’t want them. Epidurals don’t affect the baby, as it is localized in the mother’s spine to the nerves involved. A lot of them now have a lot of the things that appeal to the NCB crowd: birthing balls, showers, jacuzzi tubs, dim lighting, will let you bring music/DVDs, and, I think, are moving to wireless fetal monitoring so you are not confined to bed. Or are open to discussing intermittent monitoring (15 minutes every hour or so, but the minutes need to be consecutive), fewer cervical checks, etc. But these things are not even mentioned by the woo side. It is all “Shaving!! Enemas!! Forceps!! Vacuum extractors!! Labor on your back only!! Strapped to the bed!! No moving at all!! Medications given without consent!! Baby taken from you and removed for medical experiments and display behind glass until you are leaving!! No breastfeeding!! Doctor’s schedule things for their convenience!! (I find this one HILARIOUS because there are a lot of stories where the midwife isn’t present during a lot of the labor and even the actual delivery of the baby) Medical people don’t know anything about the sacred space of birth!!”

      And being ignorant of the risks of homebirth or of how hospitals/medical deliveries actually occur these days only takes you so far. This quote from Black Beauty sums it up very well:

      Only ignorance! only ignorance! how can you talk about only ignorance? Don’t you know that it is the worst thing in the world, next to wickedness? — and which does the most mischief heaven only knows. If people can say, `Oh! I did not know, I did not mean any harm,’ they think it is all right.”

      I am truly sorry for the mothers’ losses. That sort of pain is nearly impossible to describe effectively. But while it is the fault of those who willfully mislead them, they made the final choice of where to have their baby. So they are not *totally* blameless. Taken advantage of, manipulated, mislead and outright lied to- absolutely. It is terrible, it is horrifying and it needs to stop.

    • moto_librarian
      April 25, 2016 at 10:59 am #

      We know, Ex-Sheepie. The women who get no sympathy from me are people like Janet Fraser who continues to state that her c-section was worse than her homebirth that resulted in a stillborn baby. Fraser and Heket are ringleaders, encouraging reckless behavior that is resulting in more tragedies like this most recent one. They then try to cover it up and blame the parents. It is sickening.

      I am sorry for your loss and those of your friends. Know that you are in good company here.

  14. Megan
    April 22, 2016 at 5:59 pm #

    Just gave both of my daughters big big hugs. Love for them trumps my birth experience any day. I would die for them, so sure, I’ll have a CS, a repeat CS, have fetal monitoring, get pitocin, get an IV, fast during labor, drink gross soda syrup and get a million blood tests…whatever, you name it. I’d do it for my daughters. SMH…so sad.

  15. Roadstergal
    April 22, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

    “I am also 20 weeks pregnant and really afraid this’ll happen to me, I know thats none sense… but it makes you realize how quick things change…” [one big overarching sic]
    Oh, they come so close to realization, but they have too much riding on believing their myths for them to ever get there.

    A baby suffocated to death – preventably. I can’t get over that.

    • yugaya
      April 23, 2016 at 3:26 am #

      She can – she was having a picnic the day after to boost her energy.
      I hope the mom has kicked her to the curb and that she will forever be stained with what she did.

  16. Nick Sanders
    April 22, 2016 at 4:53 pm #

    This person who talks like a parody of a self-help speaker was some poor woman’s only medical support during labor? Maybe even more than one? How is this conscionable? In what sort of world do we allow something like this to happen?

    • yugaya
      April 23, 2016 at 3:27 am #

      “This person who talks like a parody of a self-help speaker”

      You know, I’ve been looking for a perfect definition of Heket for a while, and all I could come up with was a much longer version of that.

      • Nick Sanders
        April 23, 2016 at 7:29 pm #

        Actually, I was referring to the anonymous doula.

  17. chemist mom
    April 22, 2016 at 4:45 pm #

    I made the mistake of going to the WW site and reading some of the comments on that post. It scares me to read women saying that “yeah, sure, we know the risks, we know it is OUR fault if our babies die, we wouldn’t blame the doctors or some facebook group. Are the women whose babies died coming on here blaming us? NO!” I feel like that is a degree of loss that they are just not comprehending. I nearly lost one of my twins shortly after bringing him home from the NICU (had to give him CPR when he turned blue while feeding) and whenever I think about it I reach out and grab him and hug him tight even four years later. The thought of knowing I had potentially brought that on myself and that I was willing to accept that risk — sure, great, I get to blame myself and not anyone else! Yay?

    Also, I think the strong crusaders are missing the point that THEY may be aware of the risks but some women just really aren’t but are being led to believe that they are minimum.

    I hesitate to jump into this because I have no desire to get in the middle of the fray, but it just makes me so incredibly sad. The loss these families have felt is incomprehensible to me and shakes me to my core.

    • Karen in SC
      April 22, 2016 at 8:32 pm #

      The ones that say they accepted the risk have survivor bias. It didn’t happen to them. It’s the rare mother who accepts the death of her baby as the cost of avoiding the hospital. And those are probably brainwashed to believe it would “happen in the hospital, too.”

  18. namaste863
    April 22, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

    At least there was one responsible person who noticed that their ratio of dead babies to living ones sucked. How the hell do these people not grasp the fact that a lot more babies die amongst their group than in hospital, or even in other home birth groups that aren’t fraught with the risks of a HBAC? Anyone with half a brain and a modicum of sanity would catch on and act accordingly. Unless they’re serial killers who’ve figured out how to do it legally (For the record I’m NOT arguing that fetuses should have legal rights).

    • Bambi Chapman
      April 22, 2016 at 4:22 pm #

      They don’t have fully functioning brains. That’s the problem.

      • Christina Maxwell
        April 22, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

        I think it’s a lack of functioning consciences and moral compasses that is the real problem. As I said earlier today; I would rather be accused of ‘stealing’ a Facebook group than stealing the lives of babies.

        • The Bofa on the Sofa
          April 22, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

          My amateur psychologist analysis is that they see it as all a game. It’s about scoring points and passing levels. To get to the next level, you have to have enough merit points.

          The problem is, this isn’t Candy Crush. You don’t get to reset your lives after two hours and try again. These are real life decisions, and some can be life or death.

          That’s not a game. It’s serious. But it’s all behind the computer screen, so it’s no different.

          It’s basically WarGames, with Matthew Broderick and Ally Sheedy, but with babies.

          • Charybdis
            April 22, 2016 at 5:36 pm #


          • chemist mom
            April 22, 2016 at 6:34 pm #

            I’ve had times in my life where I have desperately wanted an “undo” button. This would rank above all others.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 23, 2016 at 1:34 pm #

            I’ve had plenty of times where I wanted an “undo” button. However, I don’t make life decisions acting as if there IS an “undo” button.

            “Hey, I’ll just do this, because even if it doesn’t work out, I can try it over using a different approach.”

            That works fine in Mario Brothers,*** but not in life.

            ***Or whatever video games you young people are playing these days

          • chemist mom
            April 23, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

            Very true.

            (I’m so far behind the current video games. As soon as I figure out what my students are playing, they’ve left it behind for something else.)

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 23, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

            Angry Birds Star Wars

            I’m not quite sure what it entails

          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 4:44 pm #

            Angry Birds Star Wars is so last year.

            Black Ops, Dark Souls, Fallout 4 and GTAV are the hot ones right now according to my 16 year old.

          • The Bofa on the Sofa
            April 23, 2016 at 5:38 pm #

            Probably but my kids are 5 and 7

          • BeatriceC
            April 23, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

            Ahhh. That makes a difference. Unless something changes, the next game is “Minecraft”, and then the type of games I listed above. I’ve joked around before that Angry Birds is the gateway drug.

          • Charybdis
            April 23, 2016 at 10:06 pm #

            Yep. Minecraft next. Then Steam, a Steam wallet, Rocket League, Starcraft, CS Go, and several more I can’t think of right now.

            My least favorite is the one where you spend REAL money for skins for weapons, etc in the game. And not like a little bit of money. DS was telling me about a knife that was something like $200; real money.

          • KeeperOfTheBooks
            April 23, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

            Oh, there are several of that kind of game (pay-for-cosmetics, that is). I have to say that I kind of like that system, in that it generally allows for those who want to play for free or little money to have the same abilities as those who are willing to lay out $200 to look purty while doing the same thing. 😉 If someone else wants to subsidize my gaming habit, who am I to argue? 😀

          • chemist mom
            April 23, 2016 at 10:31 pm #

            Does seem to be the trend!

          • chemist mom
            April 23, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

            My nephews are those ages and definitely are into angry birds Star Wars. My 4 year old twins have yet to hit the “hard drugs” of real games, yet. So far we’ve managed to convince them that the silly educational games on my iPad are the real ones. I have a feeling that will go away when they spend more time with their cousins.

          • Gatita
            April 24, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

            Mario Brothers are still a thing but in games like Nintendoland and Super Smash Bros. Minecraft of course is huge. My son is also really into Roblox right now.

    • MaineJen
      April 22, 2016 at 4:40 pm #

      That’s why part of me thinks that they’re not surprised when a baby dies. They expect it. It “just happens,” especially when you forego all preventative measures. They hide behind platitudes like “it would have happened at the hospital too,” neglecting to mention that if it had happened at the hospital, the baby would probably have lived.

      It sounds more and more like they subscribe to a sick kind of “survival of the fittest” mentality: your baby will be just fine, but if she’s not, then she just wasn’t meant to live.

  19. yugaya
    April 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm #

    “Who died and made you the crusaders for the world?”

    In that group? Baby Aurelia Jane just died.
    Baby Isaac died just last month: http://www.skepticalob.com/2016/03/the-unspeakable-callousness-of-a-homebirth-loss-mother.html

    Don’t even start me on Heket’s group death toll:
    Baby Garlen: http://www.skepticalob.com/2015/04/homebirth-death-watch.html

    All post term, all HBACs, all cheered on.

    Who else has to die before Heket and her fellow psychopaths Ruth Rodle, Kuki et al are no longer allowed to spread their deadly ignorance online that kills real babies in real time?

    • ArmyChick
      April 22, 2016 at 4:19 pm #

      “Who else has to die…” These women are sociopaths. They have no empathy and no remorse. No matter how many babies die, they will keep doing what they’re doing because they don’t care.

    • Melissa Osgood Devoe
      April 22, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

      Thank you for acknowledging Aurelia, I wish her name was not part of this list :'(

      • Trixie
        April 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

        Me too. I wish Aurelia’s mom had been given access to real information and statistics about the risks she was being led to take. I wish she hadn’t been lied to.

  20. Trixie
    April 22, 2016 at 3:39 pm #

    So, to clarify, the reason this VBAC group was ultimately taken down is because Facebook rules won’t allow any other admins to remove and ban the group’s founder. The group’s founder wouldn’t allow everyone else who had just been made admin to continue to run the group — she would add back her old admins and delete the new ones. So the original goal was to keep the group open and just ban laypeople from giving medical advice and instead provide evidence based information. When that plan proved to be impossible, the only alternative was to remove all the members so the group could be closed.

    • BeatriceC
      April 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm #

      That about sums it up.

    • Trixie
      April 22, 2016 at 5:42 pm #

      Ruth was also not an admin although she followed the group closely and spoke with and advised the admins frequently.

  21. Trixie
    April 22, 2016 at 3:35 pm #

    It’s confusing, because there are so many bad, awful groups. Meg (who now goes on Facebook by “Morag Fraser”) was a member of this group, but she didn’t comment on this mom’s particular thread, and she wasn’t an admin. She’s stayed away from the post-dates HBAC threads since the last time you wrote about her.

  22. yugaya
    April 22, 2016 at 3:31 pm #

    The group that was nuked was not owned by Heket, she was just a rather influential member there and her lapdogs Kuki and Ruth were among admins. The original group owner was contacted by these “evil trolls who stole VBAC” while baby Aurelia was still alive to try and get her to stop the deadly cheering. After the death was confirmed and the only admin with conscience stepped down and opened the door, the group owner had this to say:

    IOW, they are all birth psychopaths of the same kind, never too quick to wash their hands of any responsibility and victim-blame the loss on the mother because she listened to deadly unlicensed medical advice that they all dispensed:

  23. lilin
    April 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm #

    I have a question. Are there any instances when a baby in the hospital transitions from alive to dead just at the moment of birth? Because I doubt that’s purely a homebirth phenomenon. Maybe if we could go through what a baby would actually go through during births like this (what you would see them going through with hospital equipment versus the “I swear I heard the heart tones just moments before birth!” crap that everyone insists on because parents can pretend the kid didn’t suffer) we might chance minds. Some mom considering an home VBAC might see it and realize that she’s not just risking death, she’s risking inflicting horrible suffering on her kid.

    • Poogles
      April 22, 2016 at 4:25 pm #

      “Maybe if we could go through what a baby would actually go through during births like this ”

      Here’s a post Dr. Amy did that describes how a baby dies from lack of oxygen in utero:

      “what you would see them going through with hospital equipment versus the “I swear I heard the heart tones just moments before birth!” crap ”

      Here’s a post about electronic fetal monitoring versus the type of “monitoring” available at home:
      “The midwife may be intermittently listening to the baby’s heart rate, but unless she is listening for long enough AND frequently enough AND exactly at the right times AND can distinguish subtle changes in heart rate, she will be blissfully unaware that a baby is dying right in front of her.”

      • J.B.
        April 23, 2016 at 9:03 am #

        Those were eye opening, and now I think I know what happened the first time I gave birth. During which I got oxygen and they wanted the baby out out OUT (which happened quickly because apparently I have great birthing but not so great for walking hips.)

      • Azuran
        April 24, 2016 at 12:02 am #

        I just came out of a cardiology class today. the cardiologist told us that the heart rate calculated by the vet during auscultation was the actual heart rate only 30% of the time. And that’s just heart rate, forget trying to hear subtle changes.
        They now recommend a 3 minute long ECG to get proper heart rate and rhythm when doing follow up of cardiac cases.

  24. lawyer jane
    April 22, 2016 at 3:18 pm #

    Wow, her final words really illustrate how she literally worships VBAC like a deity. Creepy!

  25. AA
    April 22, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    Heket again?!? Readers, if you are unfamiliar with Heket, you can search this blog by her name. Nothing will stop her from promoting UC and HBAC.

  26. Amy
    April 22, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

    I don’t get it. Why can’t she just create a new group, add all the members of the old one that she remembers (obviously that wouldn’t be all 12K), and ask them to spread the word about the new one? This kind of thing happens all the time on Facebook with groups.

  27. BeatriceC
    April 22, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

    I did watch the whole thing unfold in real time. The fallout is still happening. There is a silver lining to the group imploding. While they have already formed new groups, the groups are small. They are no longer the top hit in facebook’s algoritm when a person searches for VBAC. Their ability to reach new people has been greatly diminished. Additionally many of the members of the old group have found their way to a different, evidence based group because of those very same algorithms. We now have the opportunity to get the truth about the real risks out there to those women who have found us. It’s a bittersweet win, but it’s still a win.

    • Prudent planner
      April 22, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

      Can someone any affiliated admin change the description of the closed group to “after more than 10? years of VBAC stories that included a great many preventable deaths, this group is closed. Seek medical advice from certified nurse midwives and doctors, not random people on a forum.”

      • yugaya
        April 22, 2016 at 3:56 pm #

        This was the last known description of the group after it was taken over:

        We will NOT tolerate the advocating of dangerous practices. It has resulted in far too many preventable deaths.

    • lawyer jane
      April 22, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

      Has anyone ever brought this to Facebook’s attention? While I appreciate Dr. Amy’s principled approach, at a certain point you’d think that Facebook would want to step in where it is becoming a conduit to actual harm.

      • yugaya
        April 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm #

        I doubt that can happen until one of the moms who was a member of these deadly groups and gaslighted into losing her baby brings forward a complaint and requests for a specific group to be shut down.

      • Nick Sanders
        April 22, 2016 at 5:06 pm #

        Facebook seems to take a very hands-off, uncaring approach, so long as the subject matter isn’t actually illegal or generating negative press for them.

  28. CSN0116
    April 22, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

    How do people infiltrate a private FB group? You need to be let in. Did the renegade administrator herself let them infiltrate? And who shut it down, FB? I’m not sure of FB’s rules, but it might be in their best interest to stop allowing people to give medical advice using their platform. They have other rules (like no breastfeeding pics, hehe), surely something prohibiting this should be in order?

    My next point: women do get traumatized from birth. The process is traumatizing no matter how well it goes. It’s a fucking intense thing to endure. It’s made even more traumatizing when you might require painful procedures to save you or baby, or when you’re sold a bill of goods that it will be OK, and empowering, and beautiful. It’s really none of those things. The dose of reality hits hard and is more upsetting to women who buy into this garbage.

    Anyway, I think it would be in OB’s and CNM’s best interests to offer childbirth debriefing to women (very quickly) postpartum. Perhaps this could be done in a more lay-manner, but allowing women the opportunity to discuss with their care providers what went bad and good, having the provider legitimately listen and respond, and then make referrals to MEDICALLY/SCIENCE-supported counseling groups where women can come together to heal from what scared/continues to scare them. I think this could reduce PPD while getting women BACK in the hospital to give birth with subsequent pregnancies, instead of at home or some other crazy environment. Many women want to engage in these actions but need prompting from their doctors to engage. Just my .02.

    • BeatriceC
      April 22, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

      One of the admins had a change of heart and reached out to a few people from the evidence based group. As Dr. Amy said, they initially tried to simply change the group’s direction. When it became obvious that the group owner wouldn’t allow it, they decided to mass delete everybody and delete the group. It may not have been the most eloquent way of doing it, but it did the job of drastically limiting the reach of these dangerous ideologies.

    • lawyer jane
      April 22, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

      I like the idea of debriefing. That’s a great idea.

    • EmbraceYourInnerCrone
      April 22, 2016 at 3:53 pm #

      Can someone at the hospital(any one that does deliveries) sit in some of the childbirth classes and make sure the instructors are not giving out bogus information? Also how about a class that’s actually realistic about childbirth and the immediate postpartum days? I think instructors that bully people about their feeding and diapering choices are the opposite of helpful.

      • CSN0116
        April 22, 2016 at 4:06 pm #

        Totally agree. I’ve seen women devastated after giving birth and tearing, requiring stitches and a lengthy, painful recovery. Or babies who do not descend well and require emergency cesareans. Or the emergency use of forceps.

        Science has given us ways to cheat nature, and that’s awesome, but often times these cheats are painful and just not pleasant. Hell, a “smooth” labor is unpleasant (excruciating pain that breathing does not help, shaking, vomiting, screaming, bleeding, defecating …all normal).

        A more realistic expectation could really reduce a lot of the post-trauma.

    • KeeperOfTheBooks
      April 22, 2016 at 5:19 pm #

      I agree wholeheartedly with this, and have been saying it myself for some time. The fact is, birth CAN be scary. Things that happen during birth can be really freaking scary, and there often simply isn’t enough time to discuss them with the patient while they’re going on.
      However, having a sit-down with the patient afterwards, perhaps as part of the PP visit, might go a very, very long way to putting those fears into perspective and giving them a proper framework:
      “Yes, I understand entirely why it was so traumatizing and painful to have me manually remove your placenta. I did it because you were bleeding out rapidly, and your uterus wouldn’t contract properly to stop the bleeding until your placenta was removed. Unfortunately, the only way to do that was for me to put my hand up there and remove it myself. I did have the nurse administer some morphine to help with the pain, but I’m sure it didn’t have enough time to kick in fully before I did so. I am sorry you went through something that painful and frightening; believe me, I would only put a patient through that if it was truly necessary, and in your case, it was. If you’re interested, I can offer you some information on a couple of local support groups for women who are dealing with stress relating to difficult or traumatizing births and/or a referral to Dr. Smythe, who specializes in therapy for postpartum women, if you thinking talking about it more might help you.”
      Yes, it takes a bit more time, but much better that than mom feeling like she has nowhere else to go but these groups, which will inevitably Monday-morning quarterback the whole thing and paint a picture of a sadistic doctor who was just angry that a retained placenta was interfering with his golf schedule.

      • CSN0116
        April 22, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

        Round of applause!

      • Ceridwen
        April 22, 2016 at 7:32 pm #

        I had a small piece of retained placenta with my second birth (and a history of PPH with my first birth that I’m sure made my doc extra concerned about the retained piece) and my doctor had to manually remove it. Thankfully, I had a very good epidural in place at the time and felt nothing but pressure. Afterward the sponge count was off and they had to do an xray to confirm that it wasn’t in my uterus. I was really impressed that at my 2 week followup visit my doctor went over with me both the reasoning behind him needing to manually remove the piece of my placenta and the reasoning behind the xray to confirm the sponge was not inside me. Both things had been discussed at the time of the birth, but it was good to have him repeat them to make sure I understood what had gone on in a calmer setting. I’m not sure if he does that kind of thing with every patient but I hope so.

        • KeeperOfTheBooks
          April 23, 2016 at 3:26 pm #

          Yes!!!!! This is exactly the kind of thing I’m talking about–by all means, explain once the drama has settled down, but then bring it up again in a couple of weeks when mom may have had time to formulate more questions and thoughts about what happened. Good on your OB!

    • RNMeg
      April 22, 2016 at 6:05 pm #

      I really would have liked this after my first birth. My emergency c-section (after a 32-hour induction and labor) ended up requiring a vertical extension on my low transverse incision, and my doctor never really gave me any explanation as to why it was required. I asked at my 2-week postpartum visit, but it felt like he thought I was questioning his judgement..I wasn’t, I just wanted to know what happened. I even read my operative note later, but it didn’t give a clear explanation either. A debriefing would have helped my understanding a lot, I think.

    • SF Mom & Psychologist
      April 22, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

      I love this idea but assume most doctors would be avoiding liability and sticking with limited information. I say that as someone who loves and trusts doctors fully but knows the litigious environment they practice in (my parents are doctors.)
      My SIL recently had some version of this, although it was a couple of months after her traumatic birth. I honestly don’t think she could have managed the process immediately after the birth, as they were trying to bond with their NICU baby (after head cooling), establish breastfeeding, heal physically, etc. But I was glad they did get the opportunity. It wasn’t all that satisfying, but it was a first (not last) step.
      To summarize, she had a traumatic vaginal birth (55 hours with 6 hours of pushing) and her baby was dx’d with HIE. According to SIL and her husband, no medical provider ever suggested a C-section. Her NICU docs were incredulous about this. So they requested an inquiry, and the hospital had a process in place for it – run by a mediator.
      In short, it felt to SIL like the docs were covering up and minimizing their risk. The OBs claimed she only pushed for 4.5 hours, which is considered normal at that hospital. Meanwhile, the L&D nurses and doula all claimed 6 hours, and our text-message trail showed 6 hours… Baby showed no signs of distress in terms of heart rate or “gasses” (?), so they had no reason to suggest a C-section. SIL did ask for guidance on how to avoid this next time, and the OBs suggested an induction at 38 weeks (SIL is teeny tiny, husband is a giant, baby was big) or scheduled C-section.
      I think their next step will be a similar process with the NICU team. Apparently they still have questions about the HIE diagnosis and treatment. Nobody seems to be able to tell them when or why the baby suffered oxygen deprivation.

    • SF Mom & Psychologist
      April 22, 2016 at 6:52 pm #

      Me again. One other thought… I had a very minor version of this for a non-traumatic birth. The day after my last vaginal birth, I asked my regular OB (who did not attend the birth) where my tears and stitches were. This appeared to be a very novel question, and she seemed sort of intrigued that I was asking. In the end, she got the info, drew me a diagram and explained it all clearly. It was really helpful for me (I get skeeved out by tears and stitches), but I could tell it was an unusual request. A little info and explaining can go a long way in reassuring patients.

      • Kelly
        April 23, 2016 at 10:59 pm #

        I do wonder where my stitches were the first time around too.

    • Michele
      April 22, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

      I doubt FB cares unless they get a lot of protest about it. They’ve been pressured into changing the rules regarding breastfeeding pics to the point that you can be in panties with both breasts fully exposed as long as there is a baby attached to one of your breasts.

  29. Daleth
    April 22, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

    Meg asked the women who made her Facebook group implode, “Who died and made you the crusaders for the world?”

    Um… THE BABIES DIED, you psychopath.

    • Who?
      April 22, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

      I spotted that too-interesting choice of words.

    • Box of Salt
      April 22, 2016 at 7:23 pm #

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      It shows a complete lack of sensitivity for others.

  30. April 22, 2016 at 2:37 pm #

    In the world I live in, healthy babies don’t die at a rate of 36 (3 x 12) babies per 12,000 women during childbirth.

    I worked with pregnant teenagers for 8 years.
    I have 8 aunts who produced ~30 of my first cousins and have a healthy number of first-cousins once removed.
    I know 500 or so women of reproductive age from high school and college.

    No one I know has ever had a baby who was healthy at the start of labor die in the middle of labor. Babies who had severe congenital abnormalities have survived or died during labor, babies who were ill at the beginning of labor have had some close calls, but no one has had a living, healthy baby up and die in the middle of labor.

    I suspect this is because I’ve known ONE woman who does home births. The other thousand women I know give birth in hospitals.

    • Amy
      April 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm #

      Same. I know hundreds of women personally. I know ONE whose baby died at birth, because she was VERY VERY premature. But it wasn’t a during-labor death, it was after a few days.

      • Kelly
        April 23, 2016 at 11:04 pm #

        Me too and most of my friends and Facebook friends are of child bearing age and are having babies.

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