Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Home Births are dangerous too!

Hi everyone out there. My name is Amber and I am a college educated stay at home mom from North County San Diego(San marcos) Ca. I am writing my first ever Blog to tell you of my midwife led homebirth experience that went terribly wrong. I write this only to tell the "other side". This type of story was not out on the internet when I chose to Birth at home and is still not one of the first 10 popup ups on the net. My hope is that someone considering a home birth will read this and become as informed as possible to be the strongest advocate possible for themselves and their baby. I want to be clear that I support the ideas behind midwifery and natural childbirth and that I liked my midwife as a person. While I feel she made some critical errors in judgement, my goal is not persecute but to educate.
My first child was born at a hospital that used midwives and doctors in a team approach, I loved their philosophy. I ended up with a three day labor that involved a OBGYN I had had negative run-ins with, he had no bedside manner at all. I also had many typical invasive procedures that come standard with hospital deliveries in the U.S. I had an Epidural( but still was very uncomfortable) Pitocin for a non progressive labor, stripping of membranes, and an episiotomy. But at the end of the day I had a healthy baby boy.
With my next pregnancy I was searching for something more.I really wanted to be the best mom I coud be and have the best birth experience possible. I knew that I didn't want to take drugs this time, if that was at all possible. I wanted to have a water birth for the natural pain relief of warm water. I took hypnobirthing classes that I enjoyed that supported natural childbirth.
To achieve my water birth I had limited options . We had HMO insurance which does not cover home birthing. I could drive to a birth center 45 minutes away, i could take my chances on a hospital that has tubs(that they rarely let people use), or I could hire a midwife and birth at home. My choice was pretty easy. I had done my research(having read dozens of articles) all of which state that a pregnancy with no prexisiting complications was not only as safe as birthing at a hospital but potentially more safe and less harmful for the baby and me! The Out of pocket cost($4,500.00) was not easy to come up with but seemed a fair price to be able to deliver safely in the comfort of my home.
I found a local team of midwives and chose the first one I interviewed. She had a masters in nursing along with being a certified midwife. My experience was much warmer and almost etheral feeling compared to my prenatal care with an obgyn. One thing I found interesting was that the midwives did not routinely use ultrasound to determine positioning of the baby. If I wanted an ultrasound I was told I could drive to sandiego and pay our of pocket for one as I was no longer under a physicians care. Instead, they would palpate my abdomen to determine the position It always took a while and seemed like a guess as to the position. As I got closer to term(at 39weeks) I started to take homeopathic labor "encouragers" because if I went overdue I would have to drive far and pay out of pocket for non-stress tests. So a couple days before my due date I started to dilate. On my due date I measured 4-5cm dilated and after trying some stronger "homeopathic" inducers and with no progress, we mutually decided to break my bag of water. We were all set up at home by now, my husband was with me , and we were set up for a dream birth in the water. (I am getting flushed and nauseus now as I relive this moment) When my bag of water was broken, there was a look of total shock on Angel's face. She asked for her partner to come examine me and confim that the baby was full face presentation and transverse. They went to talk to each other for a minute and came back to tell me that while it would be a more difficuly labor, it was stil completely safe to do at home. But we now could not deliver in the water, because the baby might aspirate the water. So there we were, concerned, but we trusted these women and they gave us no cause for concern, so we did as we were advised. Because of the hypnobirthing i was able to stay very calm over the next few hours, even though i was in excruciating pain. I only attributed the pain as normal child birth pains, as I had had an epidural with my firstborn. I was stuck between 8-9 cm for about an hour when the baby released meconium and then we were told that we needed to transport to the hospital. We didn't want to wait for an ambulance, so my husband drove me there.(very fast!) when I arrived it seemed like an eternity before they had me on a table with a doctor present( It was about twenty minutes). In the mean time all of the nurses were in an uproar over the midwife that had tried to deliver a face presentation at home. In all of their opinions, it was completely unsafe. Aterwards I did research about "full face presentation deliveries" and most doctors indicated a ceasarian section was called for. When the doctor checked me I was 10cm and I needed to push the baby out. I got my natural (no drugs) childbirth.After two pushes the doctor gave me a full episiotemy to ease the pressure on the baby's(her name is Jewel) face. Her eyes and mouth were swollen to three times the normal size. But she came out and her apgars were good and she had not aspirated any meconium. We were all okay and so very happy. My midwife came by to see how we were and everything seenmed fine. About 10 hours after Jewel was born one of her legs started rhythmically flexing. She also started having bouts where she would tense up hold her breath and would turn blue. These symptoms happened for about six hours and we told multiple nurses(and a doctor) who said it was normal. We were about to take Jewel home when a lactation consultant witnessed the behavior, and we were brought immediately to see a doctor. This is when we entered into hell. Our perfect baby was by that night determined to be having seizures and we needed to stop them and find out the cause. The were able to stop the seizures within a day, but she spent the next seven days hooked up to machines and having many invasive tests including a spinal tap. After all know tests had been run they were going to release her to us with out knowing what had caused the seizures. Before we left they did a follow up MRI which showed some very grave news. Jewel had a massive stroke of the entire left hemisphere. They determined it occured sometime shortly before, during, or after birth. But they had ruled out every cause including genetic,clotting disorder, virus etc. We were told that 30% of infanile strokes go undiagnosed. I asked if birth trauma could be a cause, and they said yes, but they weren't convinced that jewel suffered enough birth trauma to cause a stroke. To me, it sounded as if they didn't want to get anyone in trouble.
Jewel is now alomst two and we still have not been given a reason for her stroke. To me it has always been obvious. My second stage of labor lasted longer than it should, jewel released meconium because she was in distress. It was indeed completely unsafe to deliver a face presentation baby at home without constant monitoring and hospital facilities.
I thought at the time, that if complications came up, we would transport to the hospital and everything would be okay. Well it wasn't and I risked my baby's life. I tooked for granted the miracle of life, it is not simple and easy for all deliveries and your baby's very life is at stake.
I still believe that birth should take place in a peaceful environment, with as little intervention as possible. But I think Midwives and doctors should work together and combine the best of both worlds, nature and science.
My daughter Jewel is a Miracle. She has not shown any major physical or mental disablities from her stroke to date, which for the size of her stroke is very rare. The not knowing has been very hard, but i have to focus on being blessed that she is alive. She had to be on anti seizure meds for her first seven months, and there is a possiblity of reoccurence. For anyone interested, infant stroke happens to one in five thousand births. Many babies do not present with seizures and so many children go undiagnosed for years, please visit kidshavestrokes.org for more info and to know the signs.
Thank you for reading our story and I honestly hope to help someone make a more informed choice about homebirthing. If anyone has any questions please feel free to email me at chadandamber@cox.net
Amber A.


Amber A said...

in my fury to get my story out, i ommittted part of it to save time.

en route with hubby driving to hospital, i told him he had to drive fast( here i am kicking myself again for being so stupid as to deliver at home). it was around 9pm, and we were about ten minutes away. he was speeding at close to ninety MPH when we heard police sirens wailing behind us. hubby asked if he should pull over, i of course shouted hell no get me there! we continued in a highway pursuit that called for back up with 3-4 cars tailing us. we puuled off our exit and stopped to deal with the police. they came to us with guns drawn, and we pleaded our case, showed my belly and told them i was about to deliver. The lead officer then gave us an escort to the hospital and let us off the hook for speeding, he said we should name the baby after him. yeah right.

Highland Midwife said...

Hello Amber,

It sounds like a pretty awful experience. I'm glad that you both came through it as well as you did.

Why, though, did you decide to fuel the fire of rabid anti-home birthers by making it sound as if the location of birth was to blame for it? (I can think of at least one "doctor" who uses rare stories like yours to make points, then calls anyone else who uses thousands of success stories "unscientific" and far worse. She is not exactly honest, to say the least, and is a prolific front-person for ACOG. She will probably chime in now.)

Malpresentation is a definite contraindicating factor for most home births, and I would have transported you right away under the conditions that you described here (but I am direct-entry, not a nurse-midwife, so perhaps we are more cautious?). Of course, I probably would not have ruptured your membranes either at that point, just because you wanted it to happen faster. Faster is not better.

However, please tell me; how in the world would being in a hospital on monitors have made any difference?

Would being put on your back so the EFM could be used have improved your baby's prospects for turning to a better presentation? No, definitely not, it would have done nothing but reduce the pelvic outlet and cause more trauma.

Would rupturing your membranes to attach an IFM have helped? No, the results would have been identical, excpet that she might have had an electrode screwed into her face.

Would being on pitocin (or, God forbid, Cytotec) have done any good? No, and that may have caused far more serious injury by increasing the strength of the contractions that were pushing her face into the pelvic inlet.

In fact, how would being monitored have prevented your baby from being face presentation, with the resulting trauma? It would not have. The monitors would only have possibly (very probably) shown a change in fetal heart rate AFTER your baby went into distress from the trauma of her face being jammed into the cervix. And why do you make it sound as if monitoring cannot be done at home just as well as in the hospital? It can. Standard hospital EFM has been proven to be of no additional value over intermittent ausculation, and results in more unnecessary surgeries. Even ACOG recommends that it only be used on higher-risk patients (although the hospitals typically ignore this evidence-based recommendation), and until you were ruptured and the face presentation occurred, you were not high risk at all.

I have never seen a hospital do an ultrasound on a mother in labor to determine the presentation of the baby, even when I thought it was indicated! This is not routine by any means, and if the baby was vertex (and yours was, and this is almost always determined by palpation in early labor since position tends to change after 37 weeks anyway) there is not much consideration given in hospitals to presentation until it is discovered to be impeding the labor and is used to justify a C-section, and even then it is rarely if ever confirmed by ultrasound. By that time, the damage was already done to your little sweetheart, so how would being in the hospital have changed anything?

The location of the birth was not what was dangerous. The simple fact is, birth comes with risks in any location. Many of the rare and unpredictable risks cannot be changed by any location or even by any provider, we (midwives and doctors alike) can only respond to them when they happen. So the face presentation at the time of rupturing your membranes was the danger. Where it happened was irrelevant to the risk - the damage was from it happening at all.

So don't be so quick to either blame the homebirth location or blame yourself. Being in the hospital would not have kept your baby from being injured by the face presentation. Since you would have been highly likely to be on pitocin, it may have even made it worse.

Hugs to you and Jewel,


Safe Baby Partners said...

Woah ...

I agree with you, Grandma, and let's back the bus up here.

Everything in a couple's lives prior to conception, and conception itself, and gestation create the dynamics of the impending birth as the family barrels down road of life -- love, stress, etc -- towards birth.

There is a whole theory of how the conception through gestation experiences CREATE the dynamics of birth in the prenatal and birth psychology field -- not for here. Doctors and midwives both have no control over anything that leads to the multitude of possible issues that do happen. However, they are responsible for the outcome.

This story says more about the total lack of support for a woman's choices than it does about this woman and her baby.

Amber took responsibility for her second birth. She CHOSE and STUDIED the option of homebirth and did everything right to move towards that, BECAUSE of the previous hospital birth. Pitocin, epidural, membrane stripping, and episotomy - a "normal birth", by medical standards that a woman is expected to just accept. But Amber knew better and she clearly had loving support from her partner. The financial choice is no small matter. Most people will go do whatever their insurance covers even if it is non-effective or traumatizing. She doesn't say, but I'd bet that the first baby was medically induced.

The most important issue in this story, is the contribution of a broken obstetric system to the lack of support for women to have a natural, peaceful, intervention-free birth. Most women choose homebirth to avoid unnecessary medical interventions. THIS is the problem.

Is it a collaborative effort between hospital and insurance companies? Like most Americans in need of ANY kind of health care, the important decisions were dictated for Amber by her HMO, not her. Often, very important medical decisions are not even made by one's physician who went through fifteen years of training. They are made by a insurance company employee with maybe a bachelor's degree.

Left with minimal options for what HER needs were -- to protect her baby by not being in that hospital environment without choice and control -- Amber had to make THE BEST decision she could, and that is what this whole birth debate is about. WHERE to best give birth safely, peacefully, and respectfully when the OPTIONS SUCK -- big time. Not one meets the needs of the laboring and birthing mother and baby.

1) She could go to the HMO approved hospital knowing what she knows, and wants to avoid.

Having the PRIOR birth experience she did and responding (correctly) to it as she did also made her a PSYCHOLOGICAL high-risk wherever she went unless she did the emotional, psychological work around that first experience. There is not a social value for a woman to process this "normal birth" experience of traumatizing interventions.

Society, including MIDWIVES, doesn't promote the healing of a previous birth either before conception of the second one or during pregnancy. Doctors ignoring the impact of what they do is part of this stupid debate that perpetuates the system.

2) Her second option is a forty-five minute drive to birth center -- which always scares a mother-to-be. Even one who has a three day labor will fear not getting there in time. Working in a birth center I observed the only time this is not true is in the case of a woman, like Amber, who had a long, protracted, painful labor in the hospital. At home she doesn't realize she is in labor and progressing so easily, so she waits too long, waiting for the intensity she experienced before that is "normal" with medical birth, but not with natural birth.

3) Amber made a good choice in choosing homebirth with a professional birth caregiver, a CNM, a team, within safe driving distance to a hospital. Sounds like the best option to me. (btw, same as the doctor drives to arrive to catch baby managed by an RN or CNM -- what's the big difference really?).

THIS DEBATE needs to SOMEDAY address how it is that women can work equally with birth care providers, insurance providers, and expect evidence-based care where ever it is. Hospital birth is not evidence-based and the means (for doctor's schedules and litigation avoidance) do not justify the end.

This particular CNM made a judgement call to not go earlier when she saw the malposition. Probably not a wise one. WHY didn't she? Why do midwives often wait too long? I have observed for awhile now that this is a complaint of the obstetricians and the nurses. And, I have a theory.

The conditions and attitudes of medical caregivers TOWARD midwives and the woman who chose homebirth and transports PLAYS A HUGE PART in the CO-CREATED problem and the lack of partnership between midwives and doctors. WOMEN and BABIES are the ones harmed by the fervent control of birth by medical profession and disregard for midwifery care. I have heard many, many times by obstetric residents the sentiment, "That's your choice to have homebirth, but expect us to clean up your mess." The "messes" of homebirth are never greater than the ones in the hospital.

Midwives, unless they have a good relationship with the doctor or hospital, can be very affected in their decision-making by what they know will happen at the hospital --how she and the mother will be treated.

Highland Midwife so elogently says -- the location was not the problem. This same situation happens all the time in the hospital. So, sometimes the midwife delays in transporting. Why? Lots of reasons. Just like a physician will respond to a situation based on recent experience, perhaps she has just experienced a previous similar situation, she knows who is on call, etc. A thousand reasons.

I have known homebirths that went for days, ended with a live baby with APGAR of zero, but it was at home. I have issue with these homebirth doctors and midwives who have then proceeded to use hospital lingo, "Baby was juuuuust fine." NO ONE -- midwife or doctor at home or in the hospital -- wants to admit that the means don't justify the end. No one wants to believe that they have profoundly affected that baby.

NO ONE wants to ask the baby who had a 3 day labor with every intervention exception extraction or surgery or the homebirth attempt that ended up "just fine" without interventions, or ended like sweet, baby, Jewel's.

Like Amber, I support a blending of nature and medicine. I believe we need to participate in birth with awareness that everything we do profoundly impacts the baby. I agree with homebirth opponents that birth should not just be about the woman healing her body --after a surgerical or traumatic birth. It should be about the baby. It's the baby's birth.

There is so much good in Amber's story. It is great testament to the power of a woman to make choices, be responsible for her body and birth, and to labor without drugs and stay focused on her labor and her baby. Mother and baby undrugged, whatever they go through is the most ideal.

Finally, and this is a CONSEQUENCE of the HMO, the lack of GOOD options, and the need to satisfy the needs and timetables of others -- Amber began induction of the baby in order to satisfy others' time frames and needs. One can call it "encouragment" but it is still induction - for the needs of others besides the baby. WHENEVER ones uses ANYTHING to induce the baby's labor, it is INDUCTION. Herbs, castor oil, accupuncture, and homeopathy are natural and do not have the total effects of pitocin (such as the central nervous system effect of creating false sense of trust in the caregivers), but it is still induction and a disruption of the baby's innate biological, physiological impulse to begin labor when he or she is ready. CLEARLY, the baby was not ready and not in the right position for birthing. I suspect the first baby was also induced.

Would the baby have ever turned to the ideal, correct position? Who knows? Baby does. Baby knows why she was in that position as she prepared for birth. She may have physiologically needed up to two weeks (average gestation) and then would have had time to move. Many times in healing work there is a very good reason for baby to be in a certain position until labor sometimes -- comfortable position, cord could be compromised.

COMMUNICATION with the baby in utero is the best but least used form of supporting a baby to prepare for labor and birth -- by physicians for sure, and even midwives. When it is medically necessary to induce conscious, respectful interaction with the baby is very effective.

Any way I look at it, the bottom line is that baby Jewel's labor and birth was that Amber was "induced" and "disrupted" by the medical establishment before they even got to the intersection of labor and birth.

Amber, Jewel, and daddy have every right to be feeling whatever feeling they are -- the whole darned spectrum from joy to anger.

I have a particular interest in the father's experience in the medical machine (that includes insurance dictates, hospital policy dictates, the anti-midwifery sentiment). I am touched by his obvious support of his wife to make the best decisions possible for his children, and the financial sacrifice he obviously made. I acknowledge the powerless a man feels in witnessing the first birth and how our society does not honor his internal God-given impulse to protect his partner and child. My regards to an amazing man and dad.

What an unfortunate addendum here about the trip to the hospital. I wonder if the good doctor would see this as NOT affecting this child, as she refuses to even consider that everything that happens at birth in the hospital is insignificant to the laboring and birthing baby.

The baby is unaffected by what happens at the hospital but is everywhere else, and yet prior to admission in the hospital drugs are bad, but they are good in the hospital. So confusing.

Thank God for the new understandings of the brain and healing, so that whatever happens in birth we can mediate and heal.

Blessings to Jewel and her family,

Mama Liberty said...

Hi Amber,

Thank you for sharing your story. I agree with your sentiment that the best combination is nature and science. I am curious, though. Do you actually blame the location or your care provider for what went wrong? Your story is terrifying, but after personally experiencing a hospital birth gone wrong, I can't help but wonder what would have happened had you been in the hospital. My baby was born with meconium aspiration and they did deep suctioning (which they have found out now can make things worse). One thing you were lucky with was that your baby didn't aspirate the meconium. Had you been on pitocin, you might have had that problem to contend with as well.

I hope you don't think I am trying to discount your experience. I am not. I just think we need to ALL be honest with the fact that birth doesn't always turn out perfectly. Perhaps my son's birth would have turned out better had I been at home. Perhaps your birth would have turned out better had you been at a hospital. Perhaps not. This is just life. We are not fortune tellers. Just mothers, making the best decisions we can.

erinr said...

I don't see how this has anything to do with helping "someone make a more informed choice about homebirthing". This has nothing to do with homebirth. Sounds like you tried to run your labor as those who choose hospital birth do. The reason I choose homebirth is so that I never have to worry about objecting to breaking my water over and over again (as I did in the hospital). It didn't take very much research at all for me to realize that AROM is one of THE. WORST. THINGS. you can do. I would never in a million years "mutually" agree upon such a thing. The other reason I choose homebirth is so that I won't have to worry about the pressure of inducement. I had to fight off the OBs like crazy with my last birth and even went AMA b/c I refused induction. Never would I take all those herbal inducers. Never. Bad decisions were made here, but not related to homebirth. These sound like the same type of bad decisions that are made in hospitals. I thought the point of homebirth is to do things differently than in the hospital??? So yeah, don't choose homebirth if you are going to try to manage your labor as if you were delivering in the hospital with a staff of OBs.

john said...

Amber, many women have delivered face presentating babies just fine at home. In fact, I specifically remeber a photo of a woman with a full face presentation crowning at the farm in Ina May's book. What would monitoring before you got to the hospital would have done for you. Could you elaborate on that? What makes you think you would have had constant monitoring if you had chosen planned hospital birth? Or better yet, what makes you think the hospital staff would have noticed anything on the monitors. Studies have repeatedly shown that CFM does not improve outcomes. I also wanted to add that ACOG does not recomend the use of ultra sound to detect fetal positioning. OBs should not be doing so if they are following ACOGs guidelines. They should be using palpitations which are never a 100% guarantee to be accurate, but I think we can agree that MWs are usually better since they have more experience with it. If you had chosen an hospital birth you should not have had an ultrasound other than early on in your pregnancy for dating if necessary (according to ACOG) unless there was a medical problem that required an ultra sound.

I don't understand why you think your labor caused the stroke, nor do I understand why you state that you your second stage of labor lasted longer than it should have. You do not describe it as long at all. You have not described any reason for us to believe that your 2nd stage of labor would have been any shorter had you chosen a hospital birth. You had a very fast transfer at the first sign of mec. What do you think would have been done in a planned hospital birth that would have made your 2nd stage any shorter? As it was the hospital staff did not believe you needed an emergency c-section.

It sounds like your daughter unfortunately had a rare disorder. I'm sorry. The hospital had no reason to want to protect your MW. IF there was any reason to suggest that a prolonged 2nd stage was to blame they would have tried to pin that on her for not transferring you sooner. Trust that.

Highland Midwife said...

I feel honored. I think "Dr." Amy just banned me from her blog after I asked her another question that she can't answer. She was already frothing at the keyboard about the last few questions, so I think she went over the edge now.


If anyone wants to seriously (and politely) discuss or debate homebirth or anything else about pregnancy and birth, they are welcome to do so on my site http://highlandmidwife.blogspot.com where I do not sell anything and care not one iota about "site traffic".


Heather B. said...

I am sorry that you had this bad experience. Your midwives should not have attempted to deliver a transverse baby. The medical and midwife community as a whole agrees that transverse baby is an automatic C-section if ECV and positioning cannot be used to turn the child.

As for the stroke I see no proof that it was the result of of the birth, considering what a stroke actually is. There is no telling if with another midwife, or at the hospital, the outcome would not have been the same in that area. It could be the result of the midwives' actions; who is to say?

I just want to make the statement that your midwives did make the wrong choice but that not all midwives are so careless. This is the reason why one needs to be educated and ask midwives questions about how they would handle situations such as this, then research their answers to decide for yourself if it's true, check out their reputations--just research, a lot. You are absolutely right that people need to be informed. :)

Marcia said...

Hi Amber--thank you for your brave attempt to help others. I'm so sorry if any of these comments have contributed to the negative feelings you have from the mismanaged birth of your daughter.

It may be anecdotal, but I have twenty years of experience in neonatal nursing. You are entirely correct in that what happened to you was unnecessary.

It would have been that way in a homebirth or in a hospital birth, though. As a nurse I'd like to say that giving birth in a hospital would have prevented what happened, but unfortunately my experience does not guarantee that.

Here is what I would preach to any woman about to give birth: Know Your Practioner. There is nothing else you will ever do which is more important.

Highland Midwife said...

OK, I'm a little confused. I guess it is time for some BS control here.

How could the baby have been a face presentation and transverse? Since any vertex or breech position is automatically NOT transverse (transverse is a position which would present some other body part to the cervix, like a shoulder or back, not a head or butt), then how could this have been both? They are mututally exclusive.

Don't confuse position with presentation. The position (of which transverse is one possibility) indicates the basic orientation of the baby's spine in relation to the pelvis (head up, head down, or sideways), and if your baby was transverse then she would not have come face-first or been born at all without a C-section. So a face presentation is not a transverse baby.

If they meant that her face was transverse, then this was a different type of presentation, not transverse position like Heather B naturally assumed in her post. I am puzzled, so please tell us what station the baby was at when this was determined. Midwives generally do not rupture membranes until a baby has descended well into the pelvis. So by transverse, do you mean that her head had not yet rotated into OP or OA? You said she was "full face", so I am assuming that she was not asynclitic (crooked). If she was at a low enough station to make AROM safe, rotation has often started already, and that should have been determined prior to AROM. If her head was already so far down that this was not an issue, the birth should have been imminent and you also should have been more than 4-5 cm.

Also, full face presentation is not an automatic C-section, and only a quack would ever tell you that. It does not increase the circumference of the presenting part at all; the average diameter of the head in full face presentation is still 9.5 cm and delivers vaginally just as easily as the preferred optimum fully-flexed OA presentation, which is...9.5 cm. Check some OB texts.

So the more I examine this story, the less about it is making sense. Was this just posted to add to "Dr." Amy's anti-normal-birth furor and disinformation campaign?

Feeling cynical this morning; I better have some more coffee.


Amy Tuteur, MD said...

Mentum transverse!

Look it up if you don't understand it.

Highland Midwife said...

Ah-Hah, I knew it! Up pops Amy, of all people! Yep, Amy, someone you banned also thought this blog was a bit suspicious. She was so right.

Gee, it sure is funny that YOU, not Amber, are able to clarify what Amber meant by transverse, when other folks in this thread hadn't even caught on yet to the obvious fact that what she said was contradictory unless she was using the wrong terminology to refer to the orientation of the face presentation (because what she said made people assume it was transverse position), and when I point it out, guess who wasn't there at the alleged scene but thinks she knows anyway? Gotcha, Amy, and all I had to do was not come right out and name the presentation, but describe it in lay terms instead. That was an easy boobie-trap, and look at that - I caught one! How many alts do you have out there, anyway, all aimed at disinformation?

That's it, no more time wasted on trolls. Better conversations can be had on the "hospital birth debate" blog.

Grandma, with better sense.

Amy Tuteur, MD said...

Highland Midwife,

I gather that you are not actually a midwife. That explains a lot. Do you have any clinical experience at all? Have you taken any courses at all? Why do you misrepresent yourself in this way?

Highland Midwife said...

Yes I am, Amy, and I work with OBs. Real ones, not like you.

Your trademark kindergarten insults don't make you look any better.

Aspiring Midwife said...

Thank you Highland Midwife. I reread "Amber's" story and saw what you were talking about. Interesting. I didn't catch it when I read it the first time. Thanks for catching Amy in the act. What a response from Amy. Petty insults that mean nothing. Keep blogging!

Aspiring Midwife said...

"Instead, they would palpate my abdomen to determine the position It always took a while and seemed like a guess as to the position."

As I reread this part it seemed kind of odd to me. When I was pregnant with my last son and used a midwife they also would palpate the baby. It only took a minute and she was able to show me how to do it. She also didn't do it every time. If Amber's midwife was experienced in homebirth I would think she would have this skill and it wouldn't take forever or seem like a guess. JMO

Domestic Slackstress said...

I had two of my three children at home in bed with a midwife and doula. My heart goes out to you. What you went through embodies my worst fears materialized. I'm so sorry that it went so horribly wrong. I don't push anyone toward home birth. It was a personal choice ... just for me. I never even suggest it to my closest pregnant friends. I wouldn't want to be responsible for suggesting a birth style that might potentially go so wrong. Again, I'm sorry for your experience. Please update us about Jewel soon.

Amber A said...

Now i know why i don't post . i had just responded to my attackers and lost a lengthy post because my conpute paged back somehow! crap.
here are some fun facts.
#1 My midwife had been one for over 5 years and had a masters in nursing. i thought her to be very qualified. she also had an assistant midwife to help her at the birth.
#2 It was her idea to give me natural "inducers" starting around 38 weeks because if i approached 41 weeks i would have to drive forty minute to get nonstress tests........
i have to continue tomorrow because it is to late. goodnight

Amber A said...

why does my lap top page forward or backward when i pause over the keys? bollocks(the english really have the best slang words)
back to my defense.
#3 It was midwives idea to break my bag of waters at 8cm, not mine.
I hadn't progressed in two hours(past the one hour rule)she was my trusted medical source and i agreed to her suggestion.
#4 I hadn't had a ultrasound since 28 weeks when i left my OB's care.
my midwife did not have access to an ultrasound, and saw no need for one. for my last three weekly appointments, my belly was palpated and my midwife would "have difficulty determining the baby's position" and say "i think she is head down....."
to be continued

Lauren said...

wow a lot of heated words over somones PERSONAL story. It has been great to hear a different view of home births. In fact it may have convinced me to have one. Before this it all sounded too good to be true.

so perhaps Ambers difficulties may still have occurred in hospital, perhaps not, at least it is not another "holier than thou" moral debate she presents, just her understanding of her experience.

I have searched for home birth views that are not underscored by a personal ideal but rather tell it like it was. This is the closest i have come.

stephanie said...

Im sorry to hear about your story..it's sad that you have these people who have only but nasty things to write....all i have to say is...the only way i found your blog was to google when home birth's go wrong...so im assuming that Grandma had to do the same. So.......she is out there to look for these stories and turn them against the one who published trying to make sure there is no bad stories about home births. Hey things happend at home or hospitals..get over it!!! i hope more stories are out there like this for people to read....and make sure you make the best choice when it comes to birthing your child. Im more towards going to the hospital then home just in case something goes wrong...But you can just have your midwife and doula with you at the hospital..saves a trip incase something goes wrong.


Amber A said...

Me again, just checking in on my first blog ever. I sure was crucified in the beginning...lol that hurt a bit. But I appreciate all empathy given recently, it means alot. I realize that complications can happen at home or in the hospital. All I can say is I have learned that the gift of life is sooo Precious and not be taken for granted. I am so blessed that Jewel survived and is thriving. She will be three in february. I love her dearly, even if she is such a pain in the butt.
she is in preschool and is average or abouve average in all areas. and she has a one thousand watt smile and laugh.
peace be with you all

CappuccinoLife said...


But this story did not make me believe that homebirth is dangerous.

If it scares me away from anything, it scares me away from premature intervention, induction attempts and breaking the waters. I wonder if PROM might have had anything to do with the malpresentation for the baby??
And I don't understand why NST's were even a consideration until at least 41 weeks. Or why cost/convenience was more important than allowing the pregnancy to continue until the baby was actually ready to arrive?

missy said...

i think this story is actually a very strong case for legalizing midwives, having insurance cover the needed non-stress tests... if the tests had been covered, then she may have been left alone long enough for the baby to get into the correct position...

Amber A said...

Great point missy. I wish instead of all the divisiveness between midwives and OB's, there could be a coming together of skills for the best interest of babies.
I want to be clear to all, that i wanted a natural, non invasive home birth. that is why i took hypnobirthing, chose a midwife and to birth at home. all of the "invervention" and natural labor "inducers" were at the suggestion of my midwife.

so instead of this divisiveness, where is the group of leaders who are working to bring midwives and science together? I would wholeheartedly support that movement. the two fields of ob and midwifery, should be able to give a little to each other so that we might be able to meet in the middle. science and nature. our minds and our hearts.

Leslie said...

I have to say that the whack-job named "Grandma" has discouraged me from ever considering a midwife. What kind of person is so self-righteous and hateful? I can't imagine someone like that ever getting beyond their own narcissistic ego to be supportive to a woman. That goes for most of the "supposedly" calm soothing midwives on here. What a load of B.S.

fairygirl13 said...

leslie, a lot of us are like this because of how we constantly have to defend homebirth soooooo much, when it is so good.

about the blog now.
Amber, in one of your comments on this, you said "#3 It was midwives idea to break my bag of waters at 8cm, not mine." this goes agent what you had said in your story, in your story you said "On my due date I measured 4-5cm dilated and after trying some stronger "homeopathic" inducers and with no progress, we mutually decided to break my bag of water. We were all set up at home by now, my husband was with me , and we were set up for a dream birth in the water. (I am getting flushed and nauseus now as I relive this moment) When my bag of water was broken, there was a look of total shock on Angel's face. She asked for her partner to come examine me and confim that the baby was full face presentation and transverse. They went to talk to each other for a minute and came back to tell me that while it would be a more difficuly labor, it was stil completely safe to do at home. But we now could not deliver in the water, because the baby might aspirate the water. So there we were, concerned, but we trusted these women and they gave us no cause for concern, so we did as we were advised. Because of the hypnobirthing i was able to stay very calm over the next few hours, even though i was in excruciating pain. I only attributed the pain as normal child birth pains, as I had had an epidural with my firstborn. I was stuck between 8-9 cm for about an hour when the baby released meconium ....." so whiich was it? water broke to try to get labor going at 4-5cm, or was it she broke my water at 8cm, which by then, im pretty sure your labor would have been going already. you went on in your comment to say "I hadn't progressed in two hours(past the one hour rule)she was my trusted medical source and i agreed to her suggestion." with MOST midwifery care there is no "time limit" as far as a 1 hour rule, that is something that hospitals and ob's have so that they can "actively manage" labor, and start pit, to speed things up, so that labor i on their terms, not the babies or bodies. and 2 hours in not a long time to not progress. i had no progression after 6 cm for 8 hours, went from 6-10 in 20 minuts once my body decided to remember it was in labor and was suposed to open something when it was contracting, i tell people my body had a duh moment. Another thing as far as the why dont midwifes work together with ob's, and technology, blah, blah, blah, well that is because technology does not belong in normal birth. and the midwifes are not the problem to non-colabrative care. the ob's are. and the ACOG. everyone is so quick to say "but the ACOG says this" and "these ob's say that" no one gets down to the fact that the WHO has been telling the USA to return to a midwife based maternity care system since 1980.
the other part about this blog that gets me, is the same thing that others have said. home or hospital would not have made a difference in the stroke. i just want you to know that, so you are not ever blaming yourself. if you had of started in the hospital, and she presented the same way, you would have been on pit to make her come faster, which would have resulted in MORE stress to her, as the contractions are much more intense, this would have still caued the mic reaction that she had when you decided to go in, but in the hosptial, you most likely would have been sectioned right away, but if the stroke in fact happened in your second stage (which seems like you are trying to get at the most, since they dont know when) then it would have happened before any c/s the hospital would have done, because that would have CAUSED the c/s so the damage would have been done, and they still would nothave noticed it any sooner, since you made it seem like no one cared until the LC said something in the first place. along with this, the stroke could have been a lot wose if you would have been in the hosptial, because you would have had a ton of meds on board, and most likely had a epi placed, so she would have had a lot of drugs to slow down her respers, and hr and drop her b/p, and all of that would have been stacked up agenst her to start.
also, the position was NOT as much of a big deal as you like to think it was. as John said, there is a full pix of a full face baby when it is crowning, and they deliver that all the time, there are positions to try to make the baby rotate, and lots of things that can be done to help, but the fact that the hosptial did not section you as soon as you got there, tells me that the position was NOT a big deal.

i am sorry you and your girl went through this, but please take time to research each thing on its own, because as much as you did when you decided on a homebirth was not enough, the fact that you feel it was where you birthed that contributed to what happened, tells me you did not do enough, cause it would have happened either place. the only things i could see changing this, were NO induction stuff, (screw it, i would rather dirve, and pay out of pocker for a NST, than force my baby to come out not fully cooked.) NO AROM, espically at 4-5 CM, that is just stupid. position changing, pelvic rocking to encourage turning, these should have been done also.
i think thats all i have to say, its 4am where i am at, and i have to go back to work now.

Mama said...

It seems the trouble started because of the ARM?

K-Rae said...

Thank you, Amber, for sharing your story. The title of your post says it all in that things can go wrong even when you try to do everything "right". I am outraged at the attitude of the midwives that commented on your post. I have encountered this same attitude in the midwives I have interviewed (I am expecting in Dec.) and it is the reason I have chosen to have an OB manage this delivery. Again, thank you for sharing your story and shame on the individuals who chose to point fingers instead of appreciate the delicate process of childbirth.

Dylan said...

Thank you for sharing Amber. Don't let folks get you down for just stating what happened.

I'm still onboard with having a home birth but your post gave me some good questions to ask and discuss with our midwife.

Joyce said...

Home-birth will likely never be an option for me since I have a pre-existing condition that will make any pregnancy I am lucky enough to be blessed with a high-risk pregnancy. However, I don't think I'd have one even if I could. Like you said, life is precious, why take the risk? I can understand wanting to have a natural birth (no drugs) but that can also be done in a hospital, and if something, God forbid, goes wrong at least the option of an emergency c-section is available. As they say, it's always better to be long the option than short it.

I agree with all the other commenters who are shocked at the attitude of the "midwives" posting here. As another woman here mentioned, the only way I was able to find this story was by googling "homebirth dangers" so it definitely seems like those "midwives" must be trolling looking for people with other experiences to berate.

Thanks for sharing you story Amber and I'm very glad to hear your little Jewel is happy and thriving.

stefanie said...

My cousin died during her home birth, she bled to death while she was in the ambulance to the hospital. Home births seem so wonderful and perfect, but I would never have one and I would advise others not to, it is too risky. Now my cousin's children don't have a mother and her husband is a widower and she could have been saved if she had been in a hospital.

Rebecca said...

There is dangers to homebirth AND hospital birth. Some, inherent. Life is not without risk. Some, different risks. It is those set of choices that individuals have to make for themselves and accept what happens with it, good or bad. I agree with username "safe baby partners" the most. If you look at the big picture, this is about the broken system and our birth culture beliefs regarding when baby should come out (when the baby is ready should be the answer, for the most case).

Amber, I agree with you that there is the other side of homebirth as well. Homebirth doesn't always turn out great, neither does hospital birth. I'm glad you daughter is not only okay, but thriving.

Best of luck to you.

By the way, I was doing my assignment for my Women's Health class. I'm writing a paper titled, "public perception of homebirth and midwifery." And I googled "dangers of homebirth" because I wanted to include spectrum of views. I'm an aspiring midwife, hoping to do CNM route, but wanting to learn as much or more from homebirth midwives. Midwives are humans (doctors, too, in case someone forgot). There are all different kinds of midwives. We all make errors sometimes and we get angry, and ecstatic over birth issues. Just saying. Let's not pretend like practitioner of one kind is better humans than other kind. We are all humans, full of mistakes and regrets. Just learn to learn from your mistakes, right?

Peace out.

Matilda Scouvenor said...

I have read about 4 responses, and I am wondering. Why is a natural, peaceful, etc etc birth looked at as the golden standard that only the most educated and studious women choose? What if you're not interested in that? Does that mean you've been brainwashed by ob/gyns or what? God, so WHAT if you get an episotomy if you might not have needed it. You bleed, you ache, you get the hell over it. Furthermore, statistics are so complex and there are so many variables to all types of birth this mystery "research" that all women who choose home birth supposedly do (uh, on internet chat forums? Ricki Lake's book?) may easily be misinterpreted.
Don't get me wrong, I am an advocate of womens' rights, and I think that women should be allowed to labor and birth in any way that they think is best. If you want to give birth in a tub replete with your own body fluids and fecal matter GO FOR IT. That needs to be the reverse as well. If a women wants a team of 5 OB/GYNS to give her Pitocin, Stadol, Epidurals, flat on her back tethered to a monitor and a foot long episiotomy that's no problem either.
This isn't speaking to Amber...just in general. I'm tired of hearing modern medicine poo-pooed like it's something unnecessary being forced upon weak women. Advances are accepted in ALL other areas of medicine EXCEPT birth. Which I find incredibly odd.

Anonymous said...


How could a bunch of homebirth zealots come and attack a woman who is sharing her story of a homebirth gone wrong? Like she said, it is very hard to find out about negative aspects from a first-person account. The web is overwhelmed by advocacy sites spewing verbatim the same facts and "facts" as every other site.

I liken this to a cult. When you're in and drinking the Kool-Aid, everyone is quick to support you. Nevermind her unfortunate event, you dare to attack her for challenging homebirth. Show some of the love you are claiming to have for babies.

I'd imagine the expression of community would be much greater for someone who wasn't allowed to play her Hypnobirthing CDs during labor or someone who got a drip of Pitocin than someone who actually experienced a loss or negative homebirth outcome.

Let's look out for the health of our babies. Babies are all about continuing the species and making a better future. A healthy baby is well worth the risk of missing out on some semi-religious birth experience.

cheaptaste said...

I thought that I was so smart compared to all of the hospital people and read everything I could about home birth and also enjoyed the calm prenatal visits with my midwife. We were prepared and educated and ended up in a nightmare! I ended up at the hospital with a c-section that should have happened sooner, but my midwife had to try things the homeopathic way first. In the end, my baby was finally in the world and safe, but the midwife had bullied her way into being at the hospital with me when I no longer needed her, so I was stuck with her full bill and the hospital bills. Leaving out details, her judgement was like kids pretending in a playhouse.

~* Aria *~ said...

I had a face-presenting baby at home yesterday with a midwife. It was hard, but the alternative, at least early on, would be a c-section, which also carries risks. Being routine doesn't eliminate this. Also most face-presenters via ultrasound self-correct during labor.

Your birth not going as planned doesn't mean that homebirths are unsafe. There are risks, no matter where birth happens. And trusting doctors, who get paid to do c-sections, when they say you should have been seeing them is like taking advice from the wolf on how to build the hen house. Sometimes they're good and right, sometimes they'll be biased by what benefits them.

When making a decision on how/where to give birth, women need to have all the facts as well as multiple birth stories from both sides. I'm sorry your birth didn't go as you had hoped (mine obviously didn't either), but it's really inappropriate that the tone of this post is that homebirths are always dangerous, and women need this alert to avoid homebirths. What would you suggest, avoiding the chance of anything going not as planned by everyone having c-sections, which also can end in things going not as planned?

Also, how can a face-presenter, who is head down, be vertex, which is head-up?

I'm glad your baby ended up all right in the end, but don't go around advocating everyone always go to hospitals. (Likewise, I can't stand when people say that all women should go with a home birth.) There are times when each is, without a doubt, the safer option.

Amber A said...

Hi friends,
I don't visit thsi blog often, but I am always incredibly touched by the positive comments, and get my feelings hurt by the negative ones.
So to all of the wonderful empathetics out there, god bless you!! I have been contacted by many privately, of whom my story has helped. And that was my only intent. To provide another look at a complicated choice each couple makes on their own. Hubby and i have been trying to have a third child for 1 1/2 years but no luck. Where would we have birthed after experiencing to very different births? Ideally in a fabulous birthing room in a hospital where mid wives lead the births and OBs are on hand for complications.
I do know of a very midwife friendly OB in encinitas, ca. if anyone needs a refrral, let me know.

Anjali said...

Thank you for leaving your experience about home birth vs. hospital birth. I know dangerous things can happen in hospitals too- but the negative, defensive attitude that most of the home judgmentally to a woman who is simple describing her experience is not compassionate or empowering, the main qualities that people associate with homebirth. Living in a progressive area, I decided to go with a hospital birth due to pre-existing conditions and felt guilty and sad that I could not go with home birth. What convinced me that I made the right decision was not just the experience described in this blog, but the harsh attitudes reflected in the midwives' comments about this post. My sympathies with Amber for her tragedy and glad her child's outcome has improved.

Cyndalie said...

Thanks for sharing your story Amber.

Shauna said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I am considering a home birth for our 2nd (I had our 1st at a birth center - which was basically like being at home) and while your birth doesn't sound like it went as you planned, it doesn't really sound like the location was the problem. It sounds like your midwives were a bit anxious.

Why would they be so concerned to induce you when you weren't even late?? I think more often than not a baby knows when to come and our bodies know what to do when that happens. It sounds like your baby wasn't ready.

I'm sorry you went through this traumatic experience and I wish the very best for you. I mean no harm in my comment.

Serena said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It reminds us that nothing is perfect and that even if home birth is good for a lot of families. It is not the right choice for other families. Many people make it seem as if child birth is easy as pie, and that modern medicine has nothing to offer people. It's very romantic to think that everything was great before hospitals and pharmaceuticals, but an objective look at history shows that not to be the case.

Serena said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It's good to be reminded that nothing is too good to be true and often home birth proponents make it seems as if it is the perfect choice for everyone. It's very romantic to think that life was better without modern hospitals and pharmaceuticals, but an objective look at history shows that is not the case. Home birthing is not the right choice for everyone.

ruth said...

Amber, I agree with Dylan. Your post just opens my eyes to other questions I need to ask to select my midwife. Thank you for being brave enough to put your story out there despite the potential (and resulting) backlash from people who have undoubtedly become hyper-defensive due to our medical culture.

BrooklynGurl said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story. You are right there are very few stories of at-home-births going wrong. At home birth Moms and communities can get very hung up on the ideal of a perfect birth. The reality is, that sometimes they end up great success stories and other times they do not. One of the scariest aspects of birthing is not knowing how things are going to end up. You did provide some helpful information about what kinds of questions you should ask midwives and doctors. Not to mention, your instincts as a mother are usually correct... if something doesn't feel right, it probably isn't.
However, I must add that I'm very surprised that your doctor said that full presentations are an automatic c section, because I was born naturally with full presentation by my mother in a hospital decades ago. Her doctors never even mentioned a c section, and they allowed her to walk around and labor in central park for a few hours and come back to the hospital when she had progressed more. Therefore, I encourage all Moms to do research about full presentation babies. (Maybe something has changed in these last few decades). Secondly, I sadly too also have a cousin in my family born with a fetal stroke. He was born in a hospital and the doctors could not have done anything to have prevented it. His mother had a healthy pregnancy and birth before and after him. He unfortunately ended up with learning disabilities and a limp left hand and arm that he is unable to use. Sometimes, these things do happen no matter where or how we decide to birth. I hope that you aren't blaming yourself for what happened. I wish you and your little girl all the best!

BrooklynGurl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarah said...

Hi Amber,

That sounds like a very traumatic experience. I have had 4 children, all of them in hospitals. The first one was a military hospital and I'm not kidding when I say I would rather have a baby in the middle of the woods by myself than go there again. I was treated horribly and as if I had no choice over certain interventions (long story).

I chose a different hospital the next time around and it was a huge improvement. I have gone without any pain medication for all of my births and done it my way, wrote up a birth plan and how I expected to be treated (within reason) and it was very positive. I have a few friends who have used midwives at home and one thing that concerned me - they become exhausted and can't stay for the entire labor. If I go to a hospital, a nurse is with me the entire time to monitor my baby and they change shifts if it is too long. One friend was told she would come back when things were progressing more, but her husband ended up catching the baby! She also ended up with a huge tear and of course no discount for the services (the midwife came back to stitch her up).

During transition, my doctor never went far and even helped me with my pain management. She also uses oil to prevent tearing. No tearing with my last three and I trust her judgment. The hospital where I delivered has the lowest percentage of complications in the state.

Still, some complications can't be avoided and I think when things go wrong, people want to pin the blame on someone. Childbirth has always been and will always be risky business. I love the idea of being surrounded by the comforts of home, but if my baby needs to be delivered by c-section immediately, only a hospital could provide that. By the time a woman makes it to the hospital, it could be too late.

It's a very personal decision. I have respect for whatever a woman decides, but we definitely need to do our research and assert ourselves. I did a search because my cousin's wife just delivered a beautiful baby girl at home and she aspirated fluid. She has a serious infection and can't breathe on her own. I was wondering if it could have been prevented at a hospital and don't know what led to the problem. Very sad. :(

I'm glad you daughter is alive and well despite the things that went wrong.

Rain Clair said...

Hmmm, transverse & a full face presentation? That's not even possible! You must be confused? However, I can tell you your daughter's condition was probably the cause of her presentation and not the other way around! Many babies who present face first do so because there is something wrong with them and they are unable to correctly position themselves like a healthy baby will. I do not think your story would be any different had you birthed in the hospital except you wouldn't have had that traumatic car ride. Perhaps they would have realized she was presenting face first in time to perform a c-section and maybe not. However, the medical staff not wanting to get anyone in trouble most likely had nothing to do with no blame being placed. No blame was probably placed because no one did anything wrong. Most ob/gyn staff love an opportunity to blame a homebirth midwife and if they could have blamed yours I'm sure they would have! I'm glad your daughter is doing so well!

Rain Clair said...

Also, I don't think the homebirth advocates are giving you a hard time because you posted your story. I think they're giving you a hard time because of the inconsistencies in the story which makes them suspect this story is a fake meant to disaude would be homebirther. For example, as shown above you contradicted yourself by saying breaking your waters was not your choice when you clearly stated in your story that it was a mutual decision between you and your midwife. Also, saying you're baby was both a face presentation and transverse. Finally, stating without any medical proof that your daughter's stroke was somehow caused by your labor. People do post fake, scary stories & that's why homebirth advocates are so on edge.

I personally also wish we could have the best of both worlds & I also wish babies didn't die in home or hospital births. My first wish may someday come true, but my second wish is an unavoidable part of life. Sometimes babies die no matter where or how they are born. How wonderful your daughter didn't & your story did have a happy ended when all was said & done!

KeaLynn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bauerpower said...

i just wanted to say that i found this blog by googling "water births at home". i have had 3 great home water births, so i wouldn't have googled "home births gone wrong".

youngsjess said...

Hi Amber,

I stumbled onto this blog entry by accident a well.

I am saddened by a number of the previous comments. The petty insults flying back and forth, people commenting on how others' attitudes have solidified their birth choices for them (how on ERTH could you allow someone else's attitude about something impact such an important choice?!)

I think the defensiveness on the part of the homebirth advvocates is due to the tone of the entry. The intent may have been to present the "other side" of homebirth, but it's hard to read it that way. There seems to be alot of misplaced blame, though I don't fault you for that. Birth trauma is VERY serious.....the emotional kind, that is. It's hard to be objective when you've experienced emotional trauma. But I tried to be objective when reading your account of what happened.

I'm terribly disappointed to hear that your midwives made some choices that do not sound as if they are consistent with the midwifery model of care that *I* am familiar with. I fear that that is where your troubles began. Which hasn't a thing in the world to do with HOMEBIRTH. The location is irrelevant, it's the care rovider who is the problem.

You made what you believed to be a prudent choice when you chose her as your care provider, but unfortunately she led you down a dangerous path. I think a lesson could be taken from your unfortunate experience. However, it's not that "homebirth is dangerous!" Come on, everyone knows that complications can occur anywhere.

The truly valuable lesson that could be taken from this, the one that could greatly benefit others, is that avoiding interventions is the safest way to bith.....and just because a homebirth midwife recommends it, doesn't mean that it's somehow less invasve than if an OB had. Midwife-vs-OB is also irrelevant, if the midwife is recommending risky invasive procedures too, ya know?

So I HOPE that people who read this understand and can grasp that. Your misfortune had nothing to do with your planned location of birth, it had to do with a caregiver who, it would SEEM, put you and your baby right into harm's way.

I hope this doesn't offend you. I just also hope that the bent of this blog doesn't unfairly sway uninformed readers into misplacing blame and thereby deter them from even looking into other birthing options.


youngsjess said...

"Most ob/gyn staff love an opportunity to blame a homebirth midwife and if they could have blamed yours I'm sure they would have!"

LOL....all other speculations aside, this is usually true! I've heard 1000 different stories of hospital staff making great leaps to place blame on midwifery practices when there is even the SLIGHTEST possibility that circumstances of labor could have contributed to a complication. I've never heard of medical staff attempting to protect a homebirth midwife with whom they shared no liability.

Heck, if anything a hospital staff can protect their OWN libility if they can find a way to blame the midwife. If records can be drawn up to reflect a mistake on the part of the homebirth midwife, then it lets the hospital staff completely off the hook for whatever might have happened once she arrived!

Not that it matters now. I personally suspect that the midwife made some less-than-ideal choices, myself. But I highly doubt that the hospital staff would go out of their way to cover her butt. The thing is there is just no way to know what caused what, or what could have been done differently to change it (if anything.) If medical staff won't pin down an explanation, then you KNOW it's up in the air. They're usually more than eager to....

Robin Baker said...

wow, well...I think this is a very unfair title of yours. the choice that was poor here was to "break the bag of water" - why in the world would you want to induce labor? That is the worst thing to do for a natural vaginal birth. The baby comes when ready and in a good position. obviously your baby was not in her good birthing position yet. It is always best to let the baby decide when to start labor, so blaming this experience on home birth seems ridiculous to me.
Glad the baby is ok though! Just fyi, worse outcomes than this happen in the hospital every. single. day. Due to their interventions that are unnecessary.
I really hope this blog post doesn't turn away someone considering a homebirth from having one.

Mary Ann Steinacker-Grimm said...

Thank you so much for sharing this traumatic story that shows the 'other side' of home births!

Mary Ann Steinacker-Grimm said...

Thank you so much for sharing this traumatic story that shows the 'other side' of home births!

Dovemi said...

I suspect, in my opinion, that your baby would have had a stroke whether at home or at the hospital.

~*Aria*~ said...

I agree with Dovemi. Strokes aren't caused by the method of delivery but by blood clots. That is a problem the baby had. Unfortunately being in a hospital doesn't mean he would have lived. Being in a hospital doesn't even come close to meaning that the stroke would have been prevented.

For low-risk women, a home birth wit a QUALIFIED midwife is generally SAFER than delivering in a hospital with all their rules and regulations and requirements that include signing consent for the hospital to act for you, such as starting piton without telling you first.

MeredithCarpeDiem said...

The mistake that your midwife made was sweeping your membranes. Birthing a face first baby at home can be done with no problems. Her face-first presentation may have been due to "being rushed". Babies come when they are ready. You said you are not a fan of intervention, but this is major intervention.
I feel for you and can't imagine how scary that all would be, having put your total faith in someone. So glad the story has a happy ending! Thanks for sharing.

Nelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
~*Aria*~ said...

A midwife at a hospital nearly killed a friend of mine last month and, in addition to her error that nearly cost my friend her fertility in addition to her life, she and the doctor authorized piton WITHOUT her consent. How the fuck is this the safest thing for women? To be surrounded by people who will make decisions on your behalf without your explicit consent, decisions that often benefit the hospital more than the patient? Doctors and even midwives in hospitals can, and do, harm more women and babies than properly trained midwives in home births. Statistics show that women who have planned home births, and their babies, tend to fare better than low-risk women in hospitals and their babies. If you're going to say that, because this one woman's home birth went wrong means that we should all be in hospitals, first off, fuck you because no hospital was going to allow me to have a vaginal birth (I was so high-risk for a c-section they only gave me a 50% chance of living though it, but it was less liability), but second, if one case makes the difference, then look at the cases where women are forced against their will, using court orders, into c-sections who then die.

Before being stupid and narrow-minded enough to say that the safest thing or all women is to be in a hospital where hospital rules and regulations severely extract our choices and where we may be laboring and delivering in rooms with strangers also delivering and their families, being forced to stay in bed on our backs (the US is the ONLY country in the world to still insist on this position for delivery, despite the FACT that it's the worst position to use routinely), take a look at the facts. Take a look at the record of the person doing the delivery. Find out the c-section rate, the rate of transfer to the hospital (in the case of midwives), and you might be dismayed to find out the average doctor has a 33% rate of c-sections while the average midwife has a transfer rate of about 8% with the vast majority of those being after birth just to make sure the mother hasn't lost too much blood. A good midwife will also transfer at the MOMENT it seems like something may go wrong. More mothers and babies, by percentage, again counting just low-risk hospital births and planned home births, die in hospitals. Amnesty International has called it a crisis. We have one of the highest rates of maternal and neonatal deaths in the developed world despite having the highest rate of hospital births and one of the highest c-section rates.

ThomasJr said...

I think so. It is better to give birth to the midwife clinic than at home. Thanks for sharing your article, me and my Arizona personal injury lawyer likes it.

Amy and Cameron said...

I agree with "Jason". Sometimes women get caught up in what THEIR "birthing experience" will be like while taking HUGE risks with the safety of their baby and themselves. That is an extremely selfish thing to do.

It would be ideal to deliver at home as it has been done for years. Yes, birth is a natural thing, and it has been happening for thousands of years, but there was high mortality rate for moms and babies.

I have delivered three babies, all with pitocin, all vaginally, all in a hospital under an OB's care and they were all fine, but my goal is to get the babies here safely so I can have life experiences with them for years to come, not dwelling on whether or not their births were semi-religious, completely natural experiences.

My last baby, by the way, was a full face presentation, which surprised my OB but he was delivered vaginally just fine. My OB did say that face presentation has higher c-section rates, but maybe because it was my third vaginal delivery, he knew I could push him out just fine? He was pretty swollen in the face for a few hours but now he completely healthy. Birth has risks no matter where it happens, I just prefer to be in the hospital where there is emergency care in minutes, rather than risking my baby's life for my "experience". That's my personal choice. We can all argue about the statistics, but it comes down to a personal decision.

I think that in the end, women need to be fully educated about both birthing locations. They need to consider if they are okay with a possible c-section if needed if they deliver in a hospital. For women considering home birth, they need to consider what their plan is if something major goes wrong in a home birth. Is the life or health of you or your baby worth the risk of being far from emergency care?

I wonder if there are not many negative experiences written online about home birth because women are embarrassed that they decided on home birth and it didn't turn out like they dreamed it would. Maybe some pride issues on their part? Or extreme anger that they didn't use the medical care when it was available and are suffering for it?

bumblebeemiranda said...


I stumbled across this blog whilst researching my birth options. I live in England where hospital births are the norm. Home births in the main are raved about as more natural, peaceful environments - however a large study released a month or two by our royal college of gynos & midwives has shown that home births particularly for first time mothers are without doubt more dangerous. From memory I think the chance of a long term negative outcome to the baby was double that of a hospital birth. Given that only low risk mothers are even supported to have home births this is alarming.

That said - the chance of a long term negative outcome is still in itself (here in the uk) ex extremely low anyway.

Finances do not come in to it as obviously here whether home birthing with midwives to support or in hospital or in a midwife unit all are free & should be in any civilised country. But anyway politics aside, in the uk midwife led birthing units are becoming very popular. £30m has just been spent on one in my town that I am very enthused about. It is a unit run solely by midwifes - the rooms are gorgeous & look nothing like hospitals - there are birthing pools for those who want - gas & air - lots of funny shaped chairs & sofas etc to encourage women to move around (no beds!!) the midwives do not leave your side & are trained to administer essential oils also. But the best part...is that as it is attached to the hospital - should the worst happen I know the midwifes can transfer me within 7 minutes. 45 minutes would not even be accepted in this country as it is too dangerous.

Our midwives are highly trained to spot problems which means 50% of home births & 30% of midwife unit births end up transferred to hospital. Time is everything in these situations. The high transfer rate along with lack of certain options such as epidural etc is why I am torn between unit & hospital.

Oh and I have never heard of anyone here being forced to lie on their back or have intervention against their will. I find it shocking that not only are you expected to fork out so much for a basic part of being part of humanity but even then you don't sound in control! But I realise the views above may be biased against hospitals.

You need to stop attacking someone for sharing a story regardless of inconsistencies. The terminology for most is completely new & I don't understand why the above has turned into a slanging point scoring exercise. One of my closest friends is about to have her 2nd home birth & clearly I am far more comfortable in hospital - yet not once have we resorted to the above sort of behaviour. It saddens me that I end up having to search 'uk only' when researching to try & avoid the above sort of behaviour.

Grace said...

Bumblebee, UK statistics don't work in America. The c-section rate here is much higher, and c-section come with a higher risk of death. Also the latest UK statistics factor all out-of-hospital births on one lump, including the when who went into labor early and on their own and women who used untrained midwives.

In America, factoring out the unplanned homebirths and the homebirths that didn't have a properly trained midwives, the chance of death is greater in a hospital than with a midwife because of the great push for interventions including everything from Pitocin (which increase the chance of seizures in the baby during birth) to c-sections (which increases all kinds of problems).

America has a higher hospital-birth rate, including a much c-section rate and a much higher rate of infant and maternal deaths in the US. That's right, despite our higher percentage of hospital births, a woman and baby are both more likely to die in America than in the UK.

It's shortsighted to expect the stats from one country to transfer directly to another without considering the different stats regarding interventions, and with regards to out-of-hospital births, to not even consider than a planned homebirth with a fully trained midwife isn't the same as a planned homebirth with an unqualified midwife or even a birth that happened in a car on the way to the hospital.


Grace said...

You are better off giving birth in the UK, and should thank your lucky stars that you have all the options available to you. Many women here who have homebirths without qualified midwives so it because they don't want to be at the mercy of a doctor in a hospital. Unfortunately it's common here for hospitals to require women to lay on their backs because it's easiest for a doctor to see that way, even if it's harder on our bodies and more likely to lead to a c-section. It's also common for women to be forced into interventions without their permission. It's so common for women to be given Pitocin without being asked that out tv shows about labor and delivery in hospitals show it happening, doctors ordering it and the women saying later they didn't know they were being given the drug. The overwhelming majority of birth in hospitals here use drugs that aren't safe for babies. Once born, you can not give these drugs to babies in any amount, yet they're used during birth because only the risk to the mother is considered. Also doctors in the UK are paid by how many hours they work. Here doctors are paid for how many babies are delivered into their hands as well as extra for ordering interventions, meaning there's financial incentive to use incentives and order c-sections to increase the number of babies born during their shifts. This comes are a greater risk to the lives of the mother and the baby. You're lucky your doctors don't get bonuses for using interventions.

Doctors and hospital administrators have also gotten emergency court orders forcing women into c-sections. In one famous case, the pregnancy was only 25 weeks along, but the mother was diagnosed with cancer. The doctors themselves didn't want to do the c-section, but the hospital administration got the court order, so the baby was delivered by c-section at 25 weeks, and both mother and baby were dead within two days. There was a local woman who didn't want to be forced into a c-section, but her doctor wanted one since she hit 40 weeks without labor starting. She went into hiding and there were police at her door to arrest her and take her to the hospital for the c-section (when you're under arrest, you have no legal right to make decisions regarding your own care). Her baby was born with a midwife as a friend's house a few days later, and both were, and still are, just fine. But imagine the women who can't afford a qualified midwife and so do it along or with an unqualified midwife.

Childbirth in the US and childbirth in the UK are so drastically different that there's just no way to say that because homebirths there have a higher rate of death than in the hospital that this holds true for the US. My suggestion for you is to look at stats for your own country and ignore the US. We've got the 2nd highest rate of maternal an infant deaths of all developed countries in the entire world. Something's gone wrong here, so ignore the US, unless you want to use the US as an example of what to not do.

bumblebeemiranda said...

Yes I agree that the US system sounds an example of what not to do - but really my point is that in a developed country hospitals should actually be your safest option. If they are not - something is very wrong with your hospitals.

Historically you are right about the statistics, but the latest uk statistics do not lump all out of hospital births in one lump & split between hospital / midwife unit / supported home birth & unsupported home birth. Supported only includes those with 2 NHS midwives present. They found lots of advantages from home birthing including lower amounts of tearing etc which mean hospital conditions / pressures need to be looked at - but unfortunately the chance of long term negative outcome for baby was still 2 or 3x higher for first time mothers. (difference much much lower for 2nd time onwards not sure why - possibly because some more 'risky' conditions picked up from a 1st birth mean the same woman does not qualify for home birth 2nd time onwards?)

What needs to be remembered is that birth choices are extremely emotive & people's individual experiences should be respected. But I cannot think of anything worse than a hospital where doctors are incentivised by getting a baby out of me ASAP & as for drugs without permission - I am really shocked that the US system allows this - its barbaric! It's learning things like that that make me very grateful to live where I do!

bumblebeemiranda said...

I've just googled this & found a newspaper article claiming save the children study has shown America has worst maternal death rate of any industrialised nation & lags behind 30 developed countries for maternal well being! 7x as likely to die from maternity related conditions as Ireland & maternal death rate 15x that of Greece!

I am really quite shocked by what I've learnt here along with what I've now read - but I'm guessing some in part is due to women in us choosing to opt out of a lot of care for various reasons. Only 58% enrolled in pre school seems peculiar - education for children is not a parents choice here. Also perhaps obesity makes pregnancy & birth more dangerous in US? I can't believe it can be all failing on the part of the services?? Then again I recently read (no idea if true) that US employers are not forced to hold women's jobs open for them (here they must hold them open for a year) or pay them 9 months living allowance? Maybe a complete overhaul needs to take place for your women to feel comfortable that a Doctor with specialised skills & knowledge is an asset to a birth & not there to take over!

bumblebeemiranda said...

As for forced c sections & police at the door to whisk you away - I am so shocked by that I don't even know how to respond!!

~*Aria*~ said...

MIranda, the latest UK study I could find also included the unplanned homebirths in their raw statistics. Could you please link to the one you found? Since IP addresses are taken into consideration when doing a search, even with a country listed in the search, it can still skew results, which is aggravating.

In the US homebirths are less recommended for first-time mothers because a lot of first-time mothers aren't fully prepared mentally for the pain and what to do, and so are more likely to panic. However babies here still stand a better chance, especially when there is a hospital within half an hour. It takes a surgical team about half an hour to prepare for an emergency c-section anyway, so if you're less than that away, you just may arrive before they're even ready.

You called the US system barbaric, and you're right. It's incredibly bad here. Health care is still a privilege in this country, and we are treated like chattel. It's a sign of how bad it is when A Baby Story (one of the more popular birth shows) really does show doctors ordering drugs for mothers who were very up front about not wanting drugs at all and without asking them. It's called an industry here for a reason. There's a lot of money to be made, and as been said, doctors are paid by the baby born into their hands, and worse, they make MORE money for doing a c-section. So there's all the incentive in the world to do a c-section at the end of a shift. The most common times for c-sections are at the end of shifts and right before dinner time and right before 11pm, since most doctors go on call after 11 and don't want to be waken up. That's right, they can go to sleep, and most hospitals have rooms for them to sleep in.

Police showing up at the door...yep, that happens. While our babies have no rights as people until they are entirely out of the mother's body, we also don't have rights regarding our labors and deliveries.

The US has some of the best medical advances in the world, but most of those advances aren't within reach for the average citizen. A lot of medical care is too expensive here. I speculate that one reason that planned-with-trained-midwife homebirth outcomes here are better is because these women have the privilege (how sad is that, privilege) to have prenatal care of some sort, and most midwives only take mothers who aren't overweight, don't smoke, and don't have diabetes or other risky medical conditions. For poorer women and those who can't afford medical care (insurance can easily be a THOUSAND DOLLARS A MONTH out of pocket), they can apply for government-paid coverage, but to do so, they have to prove they're pregnant. A home pregnancy test doesn't count. So if you can't afford insurance, how do you prove you're pregnant? It's common for uninsured women to get no medical care until they're halfway through their pregnancy, and the worst-case scenario here is you don't get any prenatal care and go to the hospital when labor starts since they can't turn you away.

~*Aria*~ said...

Oh, and pre-school. I don't know how it works in the UK, but here our kindergarten used to be pre-school. School used to start in the 1st grade, and then you go for 12 years. Kindergarden used to prepare kids for 1st grade, and 1st grade starts at 6 or 7 years of age. Then standards for what kids that age should be able to do before starting 1st was increased and so kids started going to pre-school before kindergarten because kids needed two years of schooling before official school started to learn all they needed. Kids in some school districts are expected to know the difference between a rhombus and a parallelogram.

Yet somehow our school kids have some of the worst test scores in the nation. At the local elementary school to me, fewer than half the kids can do math and read at their grade level.

Also the #1 reason parents here don't send their kids to preschool is because it's not free. It's over a thousand a month for one child where I live. I looked into it last week. The government pays for pre-school in a couple states, and that's all. Parents are on their own to foot the entire bill here.

A thousand a month for medical insurance, a thousand a month for pre-school...where's the money left to pay rent and buy food?

~*Aria*~ said...

Also, another word about insurance. The cheaper plans have what's called a deductible. The premium is what you pay each month. Let's say you have perfect health, absolutely perfect, never a medical problem in your life, and you don't smoke and aren't overweight and are male (women pay on average 50% more for medical insurance here), and manage to get a rate of $500 per month ($6,000 per year) as your premium (if you're overweight, smoke, are a female, or have a pre-existing medical condition, expect your premium to be over $1,000 per month). You pay that every single month, and on top of that, you will probably have that deductible. What it is is an amount you must pay before insurance will pay anything. Say your deductible is $5,000. You must pay that, NOT COUNTING your premium, every year before insurance will cover anything. So you're paying $11,000 a year out of pocket every year before insurance covers anything. Chances are at that point your insurance will cover a percentage of your care, usually 80%, leaving you 20% still, even after you've paid $11,000. If you need $20,000 in medical care in a year, $11,000 of that is on you right away between premium and deductible. Of the $9,000 left, they'll pay $7,200 and you'll pay another $1,800. So you're paying $12,800. If you can't afford your deductible on top of your insurance, then you can't get medical care, even if you paid your premiums.

I personally had to cancel my insurance when I was pregnant because I couldn't afford medical care because I couldn't afford my $8,000-deducible on top of my insurance premiums. I cancelled my insurance so I could save the money to pay for the medical care I needed out of pocket. This is the #2 reason people here don't have insurance. They can't afford medical care because they can't afford the deductibles. The #1 reason is they can't afford the premiums.

Also most private plans (meaning your employer doesn't offer a group plan you can get your insurance through, which usually costs a little less for you, but not all employers offer it, and even with our new health plan in this country, it's going to be cheaper for employers to pay a fine each year than to offer insurance since employers who do have to pay part of the premiums) don't cover prescriptions, so you've got to come up with the money on your own for those too. Medications can be very expensive, for some people hundreds of thousands a month.

This, by the way, is for a single person. If you've got a spouse or kids, expect these costs to double or triple.

I''d give anything to pack up my family and move to the UK. Your national health system isn't perfect, I'm not under any illusions that it is, but it's superior to what we have here. There may be waits for chemo and hip replacements, but in the US, people die because they won't get those things at all. Life is a privilege here. What do you expect of a country that executes people.

Jessica said...

Hi Amber,
Thanks for sharing your story. I'm not able to take the time to read all the comments, but I've birthed two babies, both in the hospital. The first was an intervention filled birth, just like yours. The second, I labored at home and had no vaginal checks until I arrived at the hospital and was dilated to a 10. Turns out, my second was full face presentation. With my first, the doc broke my water and it was horrible. I know I'm not a doctor or nurse or midwife, but I've never, ever heard of a midwife breaking your water. That's one of the main things that causes stress on both the mother and the baby during labor. The bag of water protects the baby and helps the mother to dilate and efface more smoothly. I'm incredibly surprised that your midwife even offered that. My water didn't break until I was at the hospital and had started pushing and I think that's why I was able to deliver my face-first baby naturally without any complications. Anyway, I just wanted to put my two cents in there since I've had a similar experience. I'm thinking it probably wasn't the face presentation that caused the trauma, but the breaking of the waters. Thank you for sharing your experience and I'm glad your daughter is safe!

Mom To Many said...

I am sorry things did not go as planned for you. Your midwife should not have broken your water, but I actually know five women who gave birth at home to babies who were face up with zero complications. Of course doctors and nurses in a hospital are going to tell you how unsafe it was, because they do not like home birth, as it takes business and money away from them.

Was your daughter vaccinated for Hep B after birth? If you research that vaccine, know side effects are seizures, neurological disorders, strokes. This very well could have been the cause, and nothing to do with her birth. I highly highly suggest you look into Hep B vaccine reactions.

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luvmythree said...

Face-up, as you put it, is much different than a face presentation! Face-up babies can be born safely, this is not the case with face presentation. VERY different.

luvmythree said...

Yes, SOME strokes are caused by blood clots, but not all. And actually, the head trauma from birth can cause the delicate vessels in the infants head to rupture and clot off...therefore causing a stroke.

Michele Putman said...

The doctors can tell what position the baby is in ahead of time. I was pregnant with twin with Baby A being transverse breech and baby B being transverse head down. I went into labor at 36 weeks. I already knew I was going to have a c-section from the ultrasound that was done a few weeks prior. I will never recommend a home birth to anyone.

schnitzelbank said...

Hey Grandma- Sorry, you're a moron. Had she been having ultrasounds prenatally, her baby's position would have been known. I can tell you that my 2nd baby was engaged head-down, then turned transverse at 38 weeks. I was monitored until my scheduled c-section at 39 weeks. As I was being prepped for surgery, my baby was continually monitored. He kept twisting and turning. One last ultrasound before the surgery to determine position-- he had turned head down again! I was quickly given Pitocin and the baby was monitored very carefully. I had a binder around my belly through most of my labor. I gave birth within hours to a healthy 6.2 lb boy. I thank the heavens for modern medicine. I just do not understand how women think that birthing babies isn't precious, dangerous work. It is! It is not meant for your bedroom. Have a team of experts standing by in a hospital!! Sheesh!

Any updates on Jewel? Hoping she is well!

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Jason and Lindsay said...

This was so interesting I read almost every comment. I only found this blog because I recently watched the season finale of the tv show greys anatomy and they made a big fuss about how a face presentation automatically called for a c section. I had a face presentation baby vaginally, unmediated, in a hospital, no doctor because he didn't think it was time to come in. I think it would have been fine except his hand was in there too and and he had shoulder dystocia. Got a little stuck.

But, I was in a hospital and within seconds of my nurse calling for help there were half a dozen more nurses in the room to help. Physically, they forced my legs back which must have opened the pelvis up.

Doctors from NICU were there right after birth which I was thankful for.

My point is that I get it. That drive from your house to the hospital must have been the most frightening car ride you've ever been on. Of course if there is any chance of needing those hospitals with there expensive equipment and trained professionals you would want to be there immediately. The only way to do that is give birth in one.

Finally, you made a choice to give birth at home because you thought it was best for you and your baby. You are a good mother. The mom who chooses any other way? She is a good mother too.

I'm glad to hear you are both doing well. My son is now three and fine too.


Roxanne said...

Thank you for sharing your story. Unfortunately I do not think that your daughters stroke would have been prevented had you been in a hospital or had been transferred earlier. I myself had a very similar experience with my 3rd child, born in a hospital with induction, water bag manually broken and epidural. I have always attributed her stroke to a traumatic birth and the MANY interventions that were forced on me during labor and delivery. The RN on duty, I believe but was denied by the doctors, nicked my bag of water when placing an internal monitor on the baby causing a slow amniotic leak. I saw the look she gave the other nurse when it happened, I have no doubt this happened.

After the baby was born she was having strange movements. I tried to show the nurses, but they said it was normal and sent me home. It was not until we went home and took video of the seizures to her pediatrician that we were sent back to the NICU and went through verbatim your description of tests and diagnosis and treatment.

The point is that being in the hospital did not change this outcome in any way. Home birth is VERY safe. Statistics show it is as safe as hospital birth with a trained midwife. I think it is dishonest for you to paint home birth as dangerous or unsafe when the exact same experience could have, and probably would have, happened had you been in a hospital.

UnSuperMami said...

So the lactation consultant noticed that the baby's symptoms were troubling and warranted attention? Not the many hospital nurses or doctor? That's so scary! That specific lactation consultant was brought into Jewel's life that day for a reason. Glad all ended well!

Elaine Mingus said...

My sister had two attempts at homebirths. The first one was so traumatic that I think it really impeded her second one to be successful. I was there for both and homebirths can be REALLY scary for many reasons...but so can hospital births. Because of her experiences she wrote a blog about how she thought she would homebirth perfectly and how the c-section experience really humbled her . She's still pro-homebirth, but now she also pro-hospital birth. She started OpenArmsChildbirthEducation.com to help educate women on the downfalls and benefits of both practices.

Elaine Mingus said...

My sister had a similar experience, which she shared in a blog postHomebirth Pride, C-Section Fall. She swore she'd have the "perfect" homebirth and then it went terribly wrong. Her second birth was again a "attempted" homebirth. But she was so emotionally scarred from the first birth that she ended up at the hospital (fortunately with a VBAC...yay). I was there for both births...homebirths can be scary...but so can hospital births. Education IN BALANCE is definitely need on BOTH sides! She began OpenArmsChildbirthEducation.com in order to inform woman on the BOTH sides (with a Christian perspective). She's still pro-homebirth, but has decided (for her) to have the rest of her births in the hospital.
In the end, a healthy baby is the POINT of birth! I'm so glad your baby is okay. I have five children...the NICU is NO FUN!

Lisa said...

My friend had a "nornal" hospital delivery. Their baby was gealthy and checjed out well. As they were preparing to keave two days later, he turned blue and had, what the doctors later determined, a major stroke, left hemisphere. They still don't know why. The sweet biy us 5 now. He is actually in the hospital this week to induce seizure to see if he us rligibke for a surgery to correct the epilepsy he has as a result of the stroke. Whike I am not sure your midwife made the correct decision with regard to the full face presentation, I am not sure what happened was necessarily caused by homebirthing. I am not saying it couldn't be...I am grateful for your sharing. I have 7 kids, some birthed at home and some at hospitals and birth centers. I am grateful all of your sweet kiddos are healthy now, despute such difficulty in the delivery.

Lisa said...

My friend had a "nornal" hospital delivery. Their baby was gealthy and checjed out well. As they were preparing to keave two days later, he turned blue and had, what the doctors later determined, a major stroke, left hemisphere. They still don't know why. The sweet biy us 5 now. He is actually in the hospital this week to induce seizure to see if he us rligibke for a surgery to correct the epilepsy he has as a result of the stroke. Whike I am not sure your midwife made the correct decision with regard to the full face presentation, I am not sure what happened was necessarily caused by homebirthing. I am not saying it couldn't be...I am grateful for your sharing. I have 7 kids, some birthed at home and some at hospitals and birth centers. I am grateful all of your sweet kiddos are healthy now, despute such difficulty in the delivery.

Lisa said...

Sorry for crazy typos, sheesh tablet writing...

Emma-Louise John said...

I am also from the UK and like the other lady said, had no idea labour health care was so "barbaric" in the US! I wanted to add that I think your labour is always influenced by the health professional looking after you on the day. I have 3. I was rushed to hospital in 2nd stage with my 1st (for a planned hospital birth) as I was waiting for the labour pains to get so bad I needed an epidural! The midwife who arranged me on the birthing table (on my back, in stirrups) did not believe i was in 2nd stage until I started pushing. After examining me and allowing me to push she pressed a button and the room filled with people all yelling, "push! push!" followed by an episiotomy. after my son was born, they draped a sheet over me and left me for 2 hours before coming to stitch me up (due to shift change).
with no 2, I decided on a homebirth as the home bit of the last one had been fine. when labour started I contacted the midwife unit at the hospital as instructed in my notes and was repeatedly told to ring back in 2 hours which happened 5 times! again I went into 2nd stage. my mum and my husband prepared me for delivery with my poor husban yelling into the phone "we need. a midwife. now!" 5 showed up just in time to watch her being born. my labour notes read, "5.50 called to house for woman in labour. 5.55 female infant born"!
my 3rd I went homebirth again. this time I was in a small pro homebirth town where 1 of the 2 midwives was always on call. she spoke to me directly on the phone and came at the right time. she assessed the baby at intervals and monitored my labour through my contraction behaviour - no internal investigations. she called for back up when she could see I was nearing the end and the whole thing was lovely.
my sister had her first baby and homebirth 7 months later. I was there from very early on and the midwife on call was unencouraging, impatient and very keen on internal examinations. at 7cm, the midwife insisted on her standing up for the next 2 hours to speed labour along in spite of my sisters desire to lie down. at the end of 2 hours she was examined again and was still 7cm but with thickening on the cervix where the baby's head had been pressing. shortly after, the midwife thought she saw meconium (actually remainder of the show) and had her ambulanced to hospital where, thankfully, the truly lovely midwife she'd seen for her antenatal care was luckily on duty. she was calming and caring but even so my sister needed a forceps delivery as by that time she was to exhausted to push effectively.
in summary, it sounds like the midwife just wasn't right and I think we're all somewhat at the mercy of whoever we get at the time. between us we had a 1 out of 4 "perfect" birth irrespective of where We'd chosen to have it.

Kim. said...

I googled the term "home birth" and this popped up third in the search.
Reading the comments has been quite astonishing.
Grandma and other midwives attacking everything this mother says and clearly not understanding medical terms - I would be very wary of trusting an American midwife if that ist he level of education.
I see someone mentioned mentum transverse - here is a link to what that is http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/262341-overview as I see that none of the midwives and home birth proponents have heard the term before.
I'm amazed that those who support home birth claim that the tone of this mothers blog post where she sadly relates what happens is picked on just because they don't like the information she shares.
If nothing else, just the attitude of "grandma" would give me pause before considering home birth.
I've had two natural births in hospitals. I laboured in water, there were birth balls, I had a doula present, monitoring was intermittent, but if there had been a problem it would have become continous - because that is the point of monitoring - to detect a problem so that something can be done before it is too late, and being in hospital means the doctors and operating theatres and life saving equipment is right there. Most births are problem free, but when something goes wrong it happens in the blink of an eye, and if real medical help isn't close by, it might be you writing a blog post just like this one and being attacked by those who told you how safe home birth was before. I took birth plans to the hospital, which I'd discussed with my OB beforehand, in my country, a midwife provides care in the hospital and the doctor is called if a problem is suspected, or a problem occurs or once you reach transition (because of course during the actual birth there is the risk of a shoulder getting stuck, a head being too big, a cord prolapse, or just after the birth there is the risk of severe bleeding or the placenta not coming out whole - retained parts). I felt sad reading this blog post, I felt horrified by the attitude of home birth midwives on reading the comments. Remember, you're not doing your research unless you're also reading the home birth stories that went wrong and proper medical opinion on them, not just the opinion of people who can't work out what a mother is saying about her birth as they have never come across the situation before.

Shannon Duane said...

So, to clarify, the baby was mentum transverse and the pro-home birthers here have never heard of that, and instead of looking it up, proceeded to question the story.

The fact is that no one knows why jewel had the stroke, but mentum transverse position is not safe to attempt at home and could have resulted in the damage.

I love how pro home birthers are willing to speculate all over the place about why their c-section was unnecessary or why pitocin caused all these bad things to happen but then get all huffy if someone else speculates that home birth caused damage. I know I'd rather be near emergency equipment, including blood for transfusion, if something like a severe PPH occurs than at home praying the ambulance gets me to the ER in enough time. So yeah...location DOES have a lot to do with safety. How do you guys explain away dead babies because of abruption or cord prolapse? Sure, the baby might still die in the hospital. But you've got a much better chance of saving the baby IN THE HOSPITAL.

And THAT is why homebirth is more dangerous. And no matter what anyone says, they'll never be able to provide me with stars that show otherwise.

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