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I say this like once a month, but I need to stop reading your blog. It's makes me so f'n angry that I want to punch a hole in my screen. That first story, for example, is my son. That has me in tears. He survivied his infections because alert, knowledgeable nurses noticed that he was a little lethargic, especially with our attempts to breastfeed. They didn't lecture me on my technique or tell me to give it a few days... rather, they took him from us to test his temp and blood sugars. After a few more tries with the breastfeeding (which looked fine to us - and I guess to women like those who killed the first baby), hell broke loose and they rushed him to the NICU. This was all within the first hour or two after his birth. We were frantic... but I now know that if it hadn't been for PEOPLE WHO KNOW WTF THEY'RE DOING with delivery and newborns, my son might have died.The women in today's post... I can only shake my head and shed tears for the dead and injured. In at least one of those cases, I hope that the police are investigating.
I should stop reading it too. I've gotten to the point that I respond the birth/death narratives at literary documents: what is the structure, what are the themes, etc. I just have gotten so inured to all of the grief and the loss. I want to scream at people to open their eyes and SEE what is all around them and I am sure I reach and convince.....no one.
That's my frustration too (see my comment lost somewhere below). But... there has to be a way to reach people. There has to be. The midwifery lobby pounded away and pounded away, and finally, they made inroads.
I've always wondered if maternity units weren't better designed, more welcoming, more attractive, more positive, whether women's attitudes wouldn't change towards hospitals and OBs. I've always suspected that deep down, the original, hard-core, homebirthers and vaccine regjectionists were terrified of hospitals, and especially, of losing their control over a situation. These people are very difficult, if not impossible, to reach or influence. However, the "softer" homebirthers and vaccine rejectionists are more influenced by trends, and by their propaganda. By making the maternity wards less cold, purely functional, and depressing, maybe it would sway this "softer" group. Make maternity wards attractive and comfortable, and they will want to stay there.
I dreamed up a way to make it happen at the hospital I gave birth to both my children in -- it was a horrible experience each time. Most (not all) of the nurses were nice, my doctor was great (but apart from the c-section saw him for -- 12 minutes max), but the experience itself was awful... Torn curtains, noisy neighbours, tiny private room not big enough to move around in, scratched scraped walls painted sad colours, no art, lousy food... We can do better! Appeal to sponsors to hire innovative designers and feature interesting products -- add a few happy colours, some artwork, and for pity's sake, GOOD, NOURISHING FOOD!. There is so much that can be done...
I know it's not a new idea, but it has never been fully applied. Since the mantra these women usually spout is "childbirth is not a disease", make the part of the hospital they will find themselves in less intimidating and more attractive.
What you've described what you want for materinity wards in the US is pretty much what we're striving for here in Germany.
Here's an article on it and the comparision to homebirths in Germany (at 1,6 % of all births, and only with midwives with something akin to a CNM credential) (articles's in German though...maybe someone has a good translattion programm? http://www.spiegel.de/gesun... ).
My birth expereince here in Germany at the hospital was great. Docs, nurses and midwives were kind, helpful and competent, food was plentiful, I could room-in (which was great for us, since DH roomed in too and could help with a ton of stuff ranging from diapering the kid to getting breakfast), food was plentiful, the birthing suites were in cheerful colours with soft beds, pezzi balls and you could change positions, epidural if you wanted one, or not, and nobody gave you grief for either, medical monitoring, music (either your own or what was on the radio), soft lights, a tub with warm water to relax in during contractions, nurses helped with breastfeeding and pumping...or with bottle-feeding, depending on what you wanted, if you got too worn out and wanted some rest, you could leve the kid wit the nurses....it was a really, really wonderful birthing experience and we were immensely well taken care of.
In a hospital.
Ummm....Guest from Sussie was definitely not describing the maternity wards I'm used to here in the U.S. Even the smaller hospitals where I live have nice private delivery and postpartum rooms. No torn curtains, peeling paint or old furniture around here just nice big updated rooms with all the advance medical care/equipment one would expect. Plus, nice supportive staff.
Most of the hospitals even offer a special meal for Mom & Dad after the baby arrives.
My hospital was awesome as well. Everything was new and tasteful, except the food, which was tasty. I especially remember the chocolate lava cake I had with my first meal after giving birth (sweets had previously been forbidden due to GD).
Chocolate lava cake?! Not in our healthcare system!
Interior design and food are considered unnecessary "extras", and don't receive adequate funding.
You in the UK, Guest from Suisse?
Noooo... Canada. Ottawa to be precise.
The maternity ward I gave birth in was declared Dutch territory during WWII so that the Dutch queen could give birth and have her child be a royal. There is a little plaque in a tiny, grotty waiting room commemorating that fact. The Dutch royal family sends us tulips every year -- the basis of our tulip festival -- but I'm a huge fan of Dutch design, and would much rather see them make the maternity wing Dutch -- that is, designed by Dutch designers featuring Dutch products (I've seen a pretty nifty Dutch maternity ward!!!). You know, Tord Boontje, Marcel Wanders, Moooi, and products such as paints, real linoleum, etc.
It was an idea that came to me as I lay there studying the scarred and depressing walls after giving birth to my first child...
As for the NHS not fostering good design, well, you'd be surprised... (in Canada, we are so frugal that good design is never even a consideration)
Take a look...
A far cry from the sickly green and broken linoleum tiled floor I experienced!!
That looks like a hotel!
Where I have my babies, the furniture is pretty neutral, but it serves it's purpose. I wasn't forced an epideral or any other treatment I didn't want except that they did insist on the iv. After I had baby, rooming in is standard. The only time your baby is not with you is if YOU request a break. They help with feeding the baby, as well, but breast feeding is encouraged but your not made to feel wrong there if it doesn't work out. I also didn't object to the monitoring. Please make sure my baby is doing fantastic i'm okay with that. I was allowed to walk, I was fed during labor. It was pretty much up to me, very considerate. With a hospital staff there. I didn't like the food, but i'm fussy. I should also mention, I didn't like my OB for my first two births, but the nurses made up for it. This time I LOVE my Ob, it didn't seem to make a difference to my experience just that i'm happier to see one of them! I'm also In Canada
Babies can go from "fine" to dead pretty quickly if they're infected. I'm glad you had people who recognized this and responded appropriately, even though it sounds like it must have been completely horrifying to go through. I hope your son is now doing ok?
Thank you for asking and thanks to posters above for your kind comments. Yes, our son is totally fine after his week in the NICU. (God bless Georgetown University Hospital and staff!!!) We just celebrated his 3rd birthday, and there's zero sign of effects from that scary experience. Well, effects to my son... It might be worth adding that I had severe PPD after his birth, triggered in part b/c of a very long, difficult labor/delivery and in part because of the stress of the NICU stay, etc. Those moments and the following hours and days were some of the scariest of my life (and my husband's life) - and unlike story #1, I had a joyous ending. My PPD doc says that I still exhibit signs of PTSD; I can't even imagine (don't want to) what that would be if it had been worse. I am so thankful that I was in a hospital, with professionals who were capable of recognizing the problem and who had the ability to act immediately to save our son. (I know that infection in a 41 weeker is not as horrible as alot of things that can happen, but to us, it was terrifying. Story #1 makes that very, very real. And here come the tears again...)Last thought: I should have written that once a problem was suspected, the staff was constantly monitoring our son's blood sugar and temp while they were trying to use the breastfeeding to see if he'd perk up. It wasn't feeding alone but rather expert, trained, competent, caring hospital/medical attention that caught his illness before it turned into something tragic. We're lucky - but that's in part because we made the safest choices to start.
hurricane, my daughter was hospitalized at 12 days old with an infection, and I understand exactly what you went through. I didn't develop PTSD, but I had panic attacks for years afterwards, sometimes out of the blue, and always when she had a fever. She's seven now, and I think I'm mostly over it. I still occasionally get panic attacks when of of my girls get very sick (or I'm just afraid that she's very sick), but I can talk about Nina's hospitalization without crying. Mostly. :-) Big hugs though. It's hard.
This must have been so horrifying to read.
"The nurse caring for her had obviously been crying."In 1965, my then-22 year old mother began work as an L&D nurse in a large hospital in downtown Toronto. She has crystalline recollections of witnessing her first intrapartum death; a stillborn baby boy with dark hair, fair skin, IUGR, and Down Syndrome.The nurses wept as they bathed him, wept as they clothed him, wept as they comforted his shattered mother. In 1965, there was no way of knowing that this baby had Down Syndrome until he was born, and because of that, there was no way of implementing measures that may have saved his life. Here in 2012, and we have a small segment of women who insist on delivering like it's still 1812. And sometimes, their babies die entirely preventable deaths.Do they ever think of the nurses? The doctors, the CNMs, first responders? Do they understand that these people do this job, by and large, because they care for other people? That witnessing the death of a baby who didn't have to die, the brain injury of a baby that didn't have to happen or could've been mitigated, it affects them deeply?My mother eventually became the head L&D nurse at that hospital, and still talks, when asked, about some of the ones who didn't make it.
My son had HIE III from a traumatic birth injury. I will never forget seeing the tears from one of his night nurses. The one night that she was on shift, she made us a beautiful card with his hand and footprints on it. You can see the care she took in making it.
I have the utmost respect for L&D and NICU nurses. They are good people.
I'm sorry to hear of your boy's injury.
So much for the heartless medical system.
I've told this story before, but when I renewed my BLS certification a few years ago the class was taught by a NYC paramedic. He'd been through a lot, responded to a lot of really bad calls, including both WTC attacks. He said the one, single time he ever thought of just quitting was when he responded to a call where a baby had died. It was SIDS, no one's fault in particular, but still the pathos of a dead baby is pretty bad, even when you know you've done all you can for the child. I can't imagine someone shrugging it off as "some babies weren't meant to live."
The oxygen tank wouldn't work at first?HB MWs are a parade of clueless, ignorant, know nothing birth junkies. They talk a good talk, but showing up to Hb with a non functional O2 tank? I have heard this one many times. And twilling a mom not to go to the ER when a baby is having breathing issues? Oh, telling mom that 4 days of labor without pain meds is better than just going to the hospital?How anyone can defend these jokers, I just do not know. Here in Eugene, Darby Baby Killer Partner is out advertising her MW services again, and NCBers think she's just great. even after killing Shazhad, WHY can't these people be stopped?
They probably didn't know how to turn it on. In the hospital the nurses turn on the bassinet warmer, turn on the oxygen, and test the bag and mask, and the suction all before the baby is even delivered. It is too late to get things and turn them on after the sh*t already hits the fan. Chance favors the prepared mind.
God help Darby Partner if I ever meet her in real life. I will not mince words.
Story no. 2 leaves me feeling particularly enraged. So many of the fundamentalist NCBers like to talke about "birth rape," and here we have a victim of real sexual assault subjected to an experience that sounds an awful lot like powerbirthing. I'm sick of hearing that midwives are more compassionate than doctors. How many of the stories with bad outcomes hint at coercive or abusive behavior on the part of the midwife? How exactly is this suppsed to be an improvement?
And if you're going to reply to my comment with the ole "there are bad apples in every profession" bulshit, don't even bother. I firmly believe that ALL healthcare providers need to be held accountable for their actions, yet too many supporters of HB think that midwives are being "crucified."
Yeah, this poor woman...it sounds like she WANTED to get to a hospital and her midwife kept talking her out of it. I don't blame the mom. She was in a vulnerable position and had a careprovider giving her really, really bad advice.
Whether it is an OB or a midwife, I think careproviders could use a LOT more education on how to work with women who are survivors of sexual abuse. Childbirth particularly can bring up a lot of issues for them, and women deserve to have compassionate treatment around this.
I think it would be interesting to study the percentage of survivors of child sexual abuse in the home birthing population ( both in women AND their "midwives") I reckon it would be significantly higher than the general population.
IIRC, the women in that second story is considering a planned c/s for her upcoming birth, and MDC has been reasonably supportive of that.
The midwife in question makes me realy mad. That story is awful.
I'm glad she is choosing CS, I hope she has a healthy, happy baby and an easy birth.MWs are NOT more compassionate- in fact, I think they are often much more callous. I have heard countless stories of MWs yelling at the moms, treating them like wimps, ignoring their pain. How is this caring and empathetic?
Remember that midwife that was accused of slapping a laboring woman because she was screaming? Also telling her that she wasn't hurting that much, this is a natural process? When I hear about midwives like that, I wonder why NCB types refuse to talk to OB's or CNM's on the basis of them being "too clinical".
That first story just makes me angry. Really angry. The midwife was ok with the idea of a baby "passing out" from low blood sugar?!?!
These are just heartbreaking.
Yes these are heartbreakingly horrible. The comment that stands out to me in this dreadful litany of unnecessary deaths is this one...
We were left alone with her. I tried to resuscitate her, my partner softly told me to stop. I stripped off and laid her on my breast, I thought if she could feel and smell her mummy’s milk she would do something to try and wake up.
Her resuscitation attempt shows that at some level she was stll thinking " I know better than doctors" and her believe in the powers of breastmilk shows how deeply indocrinated she is in the woo.
That's the saddest thing I ever heard. I'm sure it was just hope and grief, not woo. I cannot imagine.
I don't ascribe much to that or expect her to act rationally. My mom lost a baby at 10 days old to meningitis. After she was buried my mom kept feeling that she left her baby in the graveyard. Like she'd abandoned her and needed to go get her. She was not a victim of woo.
Although to be fair I'm not sure she can be held to rational standards at that moment in time.
There is a story on YouTube about a woman from Australia who gave birth to a micropreemie. The doctor declared him dead at birth and left the parents to grieve. The mom was doing skin-to-skin and the baby actually woke up, but the doctor refused to come examine the baby. Eventually he did and it turned out that the baby was alive....it was amazing. One of those really rare things, but it does happen.
They encourage NICU moms to do kangaroo care with their babies, it aids in breathing and keeping the baby's body temperature constant.
When my son was taken off life support, the first thing we did was do skin-to-skin with him. You don't know what people will do in that moment of pure, traumatic grief.
I was absolutely flabergasted with that bit too!
Parents allege failure to inform about dangers of home birth.
ContemporaryOBGYN, feb 2012 pages 20-21.
"A New Jersey woman went to a midwife for prenatal care and delivery of her child. She delivered vaginally after 2 hrs and 47 min of pushing. The child suffered brain damage and the woman and her husband sued the midwife for malpractice. They claimed that the midwife was negligent in failing to send the patient to the nearest hospital after she had been pushing for 2 hours. A $1.9 Million settlement was reached.In this case, the parents had signed a detailed home birth consent form prior to delivery. They had agreed to a homebirth without the use of electronic fetal HR monitoring and the consent had advised them that emergencies could occur during the delivery and that the level and type of care provided at home would be less than given at a hospital. Based on the parent's informed consent and their desire for a birth without electronic monitoring, the midwife claimed no negligent care was rendered to the patient during L & D. The parents argued, however, that the specific dangers and possible subsequent complications to the infant associated with the lack of electronic FHR monitoring were not fully explained to them, this allowing them to claim lack of informed consent in the decision to forego the electronic monitor."
Informed consent is not a signed paper, but truly a discussion about the risks, benefits, alternatives, and sequalae that may occur.
Welcome, Midwife, to the world of Professional Responsibility.
This is not a game, nor a hobby.
This is what real professionals face all the time.
And I'm sure the parents told everyone who expressed doubts about the safety of a homebirth that they'd done their research and knew EXACTLY what they were doing. What good is an informed consent paper if the parents can sign it and still say they weren't informed?
I don't doubt they were told, but just figured it wouldn't happen to them.
Oh, I do doubt that they were told. I'm sure that they were presented with the paper with a tone of, "this is what I legally have to do, but it's silly." I'd bet money that the midwife said things like, "Some people say this" or "the state requires that I tell you this," then add "but lots of studies show that homebirth actually has better outcomes than hospital" or "the risk is so very, very low; far less than with risky interventions."
"I love that you touched on that it’s NOT just about having a healthy baby in the end. It is about having a good birth experience and getting what you wanted."
WHAT THE F***. What. the. F***. I never swear, but what the actual f***!
Because apparently "what you wanted" isn't a baby, right? ...I'm not being very compassionate I guess, but what. the. f***.
I did get a baby. I got a beautiful baby. No, she's not perfect, but she's mine and I love her. Should I love her any less because she has brain damage? Of course, having a healthy baby is ideal, but life isn't always perfect. I'm sorry you don't agree with me...maybe you would feel differently if you ever met Sadie.
Did Sadie get what she wanted? After all, this is her birth we're talking about. Isn't it reasonable to assume that she would have liked to come out of it as perfect as she went into it and that her wishes are important?
I am offended that you would even suggest this about Sadie. She absolutely got what she wanted, loving parents who care for her every need and who protect her from horrible people who don't think she's perfect just the way she is. She doesn't know any different, she thinks everybody rides in a wheelchair and eats through a tube when they're 2. She is a happy little girl, and I hope nobody ever fills her head with lies that she is NOT perfect just the way God made her!!
I'm sorry - I used your language. I replied to the post where you said she's not perfect. Personally I think 'perfection' is a silly word to apply to any babies but I was trying to be respectful of your language.
My question stands though - you claim that your experience and what you want is important in birth, so is Sadie's experience and what she wants important? Or to generalise, is a baby's experience and what they want, presumably to be safe and healthy, important?
@Deb My second child was born June 2009 and everything was perfect and wonderful I got to the hospital at 8cm no time for anything and he was delivered 45 min after we got to the hospital at 9:40pm and scored 9 on both APGAR test. It wasn't until the following day when we started having delayed breathing and needed to be monitored and then a few hours later was sent to the NICU and was there for 11 days before we were able to go home. He was diagnosed with congenital CMV and had extensive brain calcifications, enlarged liver and spleen, 2 holes in his heart, low platelets, and was on o2 until we got to go home. He is an amazing little 3 year old who has CP, seizures, feeding tube, considered legally blind, and mild hearing loss in one ear.
If I would have had him at home the SAME thing would have happened! Being at the hospital didn't take his brain damage away. It would have been there no matter what. Of course you want a safe and healthy baby and I guess in your statement the baby would want to be safe and healthy but having a baby at a hospital doesn't change that in any way. If that were the case then my son would be perfectly healthy in every way cause we went to the hospital. HELL NO!!!!! God chose for Seth to be the way he is and for us to be his parents. It would not have changed either way.
I think you're misunderstanding here. The fact that some outcomes are inevitable whether you're at home or hospital doesn't mean that home and hospital are equal in safety. Some outcomes can't be avoided by being in hospital (like yours), but being at home adds no benefits in terms of protection. If your child had been born at home, would the outcome have been better? No. And it may well have been worse. That's the point that's being made here- that if you want to optimize your baby's chances of a good outcome, you'll deliver that baby in an environment that has access to skilled medical personnel and to facilities like a NICU.
Yes, the issues from a CMV infection would have occurred regardless of place of birth. Prenatal ultrasounds can diagnose the neuro and gastro calcifications. A planned hospital birth and neonatal follow up immediately after birth could have occurred. And I doubt God wanted your baby to have congenital CMV.
We don't live in a world where we get everything we want. Sadie knows what Sadie experienced and she has no basis of comparison. Ideally, it's always best to have a safe and healthy baby, this was not the case for us. We can argue all day what if this and what if that, but the matter stands that what happened happened and we cannot go back in time and change it...to me it's silly to dwell on it at this point.