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Can we talk about taking responsibility? - Page 2

post #21 of 51
I've been thinking more about this; I think you'd enjoy reading chapter 5 of my dissertation, which is about the concepts of "Safety, Risk, and Responsibility" in unassisted birth.
post #22 of 51
I had an unplanned UC. My HB midwife showed up almost an hour after the birth and after us bringing some things to her attention, was told our baby was fine. Our baby wasn't fine.

In our case, our baby would have survived had she been born in the hospital. The things we brought to the midwife's attention all added up to something serious and our baby needing medical help. If I knew anything about the condition, I could have sought medical help myself.

When you tell people that your baby died because of the fact that she was born at home, you are looked at like you are a murderer. Some people will commiserate with you while others blame you. On top of what others think, you have to live with yourself. Not a day goes by that I don't think about the roll that I played in my daughter's death. It's a hard pill to swallow. I know I blame myself and am harder on myself moreso than anyone else. Some days, it's difficult to just breathe. If I could go back in time, I would of gone to the hospital while I was in labor. I know some people choose to think that some things just happen. BUT, the reality from not only my case, but the cases of others, is that this happens because we made the choices we did. I understand some moms want to think that this would of happened regardless (true in cases for extreme prematurity and genetic anomlies). This, to me, seems like a cop out. I accept full responsibility for what happened but I do also blame the midwife because she was the person who was supposedly trained and experienced. I trusted her. My pregnancy had red flags that I was told were normal. Aside from birthing in the hospital, I should of been seeing a high risk OB. She saw the signs that I would have a premature baby. I trusted her advice and guidance. There is more to the part she played that I won't share here.
post #23 of 51
Remembering that this is a UC board...

Mommato5 - what happened with you, and your daughter was completely tragic and I am very sorry it happened. I cannot (no one can really) begin to comprehened how you feel, but know that nothing I (or probably anyone) every says is meant to make you feel guilty or to snark on you. It is merely how I feel.

Taking responsibility in a UC/UP is completely different than having an unplanned UC. The unplanned UC isnt really taking responsibility because as was stated your midwife found things that should have been concerning and told you about it. The responsibility for your care (and inevitably your daughters) was with the midwife. Taking responsibility in a UC/UP is about understanding (and yes, accepting) that 'burden'. If any UC'er had any red flags during her pregnancy she wouldnt just let those slide (just as we shouldnt let a midwife let those things slide, or an OB if we feel an uneasiness)..she would seek out answers (from whatever method she felt comfortable) until she had reassurance. Or (and this is a big or and I dont claim its the right or) some UC'ers believe that we shouldnt interfere in the process at all, and if a baby is meant to pass shortly after birth (even from something that could be saved at a hospital) than it is meant to pass.

I am not faulting anyone for the death of a child; it isnt my place. All Im saying is, in taking responsibility we must take it back from MW's...or if we have placed some responsibility in them (or OB's) and we feel something is off we must fight to figure it out, or find a provider that will figure it out...
post #24 of 51
Mommato5, I am so sorry for your loss.

However, I have to agree with the PP, an unplanned UC is not the same as a well educated planned UC. Though there is nothing wrong with it, you gave the responsibility over to a caregiver, a MW, and she let the ball drop.

I DO get prenatal care, but don't really listen much to the OB's because it is always "standard" care stuff. But I UC my babies and also UP myself.

With my last birth, I noticed "something" was not "right". I educated myself and did tons of research. My OB did not catch the early warning signs, but I did.

I called it to the attention of the OB, since they just saw me as numbers and one in the heard. I knew the steps I needed to take BEFORE I even called her.

I then went to the office, was instantantly sent to be induced (which I had known would happen), and ended up having a hospital induced birth. This is all BECAUSE I took responsibility for myself and educated myself to cause/effect, signs/symptoms, and complications of pregnancy.

IF I had continued to UC, I would likely have died as would my son. But even when I went to the hospital, I retained all the responsibility. I had a plan, backed up with educated research, and kept my mind clear and focused.

I take full responsibility for my outcome, no matter how good or bad it was. That is how I take every birth. I refuse to hand over that responsibility to someone that will go home at the end of the day and not have any vested interest in the well being of me or my child.

I still support UC and will plan one again if/when I ever concieve again. And now I have an entirely new set of information that I have to incorportate into my UPing.
post #25 of 51
I am a homebirth mother of 2, and going to have my first UC in July. Anyway, here are my thoughts on this:

I totally trust my intuition on this one. I really like I am being "called" to have a UC. I have no other way to explain it. It is like this great cosmic force has overwhelmed me and is saying that this is the way to go. And the way I figure it is this: If I was meant to have a birth a different way (whether it be through homebirth midwives again or in a hospital), I really feel that my intuition would let me know about it ahead of time.
post #26 of 51
you know... I was thinking a lot about this. when a child dies in the hospital and looking back we see how much likelier the baby would have been to be okay if it were born at the hospital (MRSA, RSV, other various bacterial issues, prolapse b/c of ealry AROM ect ect ect) would we not feel just as badly?

the perception may be that if you birth at home then you're totally responsible for the outcome, but if you birth at the hospital it's proof that you did all that you could and are not responsible for the death of the child.

but it truly isn't that way. as parents we're responsible for our children either way. whether we decide hospital or home (or the woods for that matter) to be the healthiest choice for our baby, there is NO guarantee.

and blaming a midwife? well sadly this is what happens if you hand over the keys to another person. you stop thinking and start relying on ANOTHER'S intuition. but if you feel something is wrong, it's not up to the midwife to act, but you.

I'm not saying this meanly or unkindly at all! just the opposite!

the question then becomes: who's fault is the outcome of this birth!? who caused my child to die? and it's just so easy to take on the blame or assign it to another person. but the truth of the matter is so much of life is a mystery. we do the best we know how. and no matter how much we want to do the best thing in every situation and never ever loose anyonewe love - it happens. we make mistakes. we see clerly in hindsight... ect. but you know? that is not anyone's fault. we are imperfect beings. we don't have the answers to all of the life's questions and we can't prevent all tragic outcomes. we just can't.

we can all look back and see mistakes we made - even though we were well meaning. we can see tragedy narrowly escaped. that car we almost hit when we looked back to see if our baby was sleeping in the backseat. that time we almost dropped the baby because we were so sleep deprived... and sometimes... sometimes we do hit that car. and sometimes we do drop that baby. and it is so hard for us to understand. so hard to comprehend how something went so very wrong. and it hurts us to the core. and we say "we should have known better!" or "it was that person's fault b/c I trusted them". but really it doesn't matter... because it hurts so deeply either way.

mommato5 - my heart goes out to you. I can't imagine the sadness yourheart mustfeel I do hope you are able to not blame yourself for this. I hope you can embrace your daughter's life for the short time she was with you. and I hope you can begin to heal. :
post #27 of 51
It is true that you can not know what will happen, and can only do what you think is best. And when something happens that is not perfect, in hindsight you may be able to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, where you could have made a different choice, maybe even the exact moment things took a turn for the worst. But in the heat of the moment, it is near impossible to do this.

As I look back at my daughter's accident, I can name a hundred, no a thousand things that I could have done differently that would have averted this. But I can never go back and undo it. It was horrible. It was tragic. But it was an accident. Could it have been prevented? Yes. Could I have changed things if I had known then what I know now? Yes. Can I do anything now? No. All I can do is to live and learn, not blame myself, not blame someone else, accept it for what it was.

And although I accept full responsibility for the accident and her subsequent injuries and death, I do no "blame" myself. I also do not "blame" anyone else. It was an accident. It happened. I am now smarter, stronger, more careful, and much more educated than I was then.

So, just remember, that accepting responsibility does not mean to "blame" yourself. There is no changing the past. All you can do is to learn from it and move on. It is not always easy. But it is necessary.
post #28 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by homemademomma View Post
this is not to be construed as criticism, as i know this forum is "support only."
I just want to note, this forum is *not* "support only"

This forum accepts disagreement people just have to be nice about it.

They cannot start calling people names, making accusations or telling people they are "going to kill their baby" but people can address individual situations if they are polite.
post #29 of 51
First I want to say thank you for everyone who has shared so much wisdom, compassionately in this thread. I find this topic very important to discuss and it can be difficult to find the safe space to talk about this.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Pirogi View Post
This is an interesting topic, and an important one! It is also difficult to discuss, especially for those of us who have never suffered a loss, because it is so emotionally charged for those who have.

I agree with you. I feel that it is important for the rational part of our brains to "remember" the inherent risk involved in birth for the motherbaby that generations of women understood before the current technocracy emerged. There is a point at which too much technology produces its own problems, and we have reached and surpassed that point in obstetrics in the US, IMHO. We will never defeat death, never. It is there waiting for us all.

I choose to embrace the unlikely possibility of death as part of the birth process, for both myself and my child. My personal beliefs allow me to accept that the spirit continues, even while those still living mourn. I do not feel that this is irresponsible or unfair or criminal. Birth sometimes includes death. Ultimately no one can foretell how a birth will play out. Insistence that all births are safer in the presence of technology is both incorrect an dishonoring of the spiritual knowledge women hold of their bodies, their babies, and their births.
This is ultimately my situation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by poiyt View Post

Mommato5 - what happened with you, and your daughter was completely tragic and I am very sorry it happened. I cannot (no one can really) begin to comprehened how you feel, but know that nothing I (or probably anyone) every says is meant to make you feel guilty or to snark on you. It is merely how I feel.

Taking responsibility in a UC/UP is completely different than having an unplanned UC. The unplanned UC isnt really taking responsibility because as was stated your midwife found things that should have been concerning and told you about it. The responsibility for your care (and inevitably your daughters) was with the midwife. Taking responsibility in a UC/UP is about understanding (and yes, accepting) that 'burden'. If any UC'er had any red flags during her pregnancy she wouldnt just let those slide (just as we shouldnt let a midwife let those things slide, or an OB if we feel an uneasiness)..she would seek out answers (from whatever method she felt comfortable) until she had reassurance. Or (and this is a big or and I dont claim its the right or) some UC'ers believe that we shouldnt interfere in the process at all, and if a baby is meant to pass shortly after birth (even from something that could be saved at a hospital) than it is meant to pass.

I am not faulting anyone for the death of a child; it isnt my place. All Im saying is, in taking responsibility we must take it back from MW's...or if we have placed some responsibility in them (or OB's) and we feel something is off we must fight to figure it out, or find a provider that will figure it out...
I think it is extremely important that we all begin to take responsibility regardless of whether we have an attending dr or mw. When we take that responsibility I think it lends us to having more confidence in hearing, listening and acting on our intuition. We are the number one expert for ourselves and our babies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kidzaplenty View Post
It is true that you can not know what will happen, and can only do what you think is best. And when something happens that is not perfect, in hindsight you may be able to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, where you could have made a different choice, maybe even the exact moment things took a turn for the worst. But in the heat of the moment, it is near impossible to do this.

As I look back at my daughter's accident, I can name a hundred, no a thousand things that I could have done differently that would have averted this. But I can never go back and undo it. It was horrible. It was tragic. But it was an accident. Could it have been prevented? Yes. Could I have changed things if I had known then what I know now? Yes. Can I do anything now? No. All I can do is to live and learn, not blame myself, not blame someone else, accept it for what it was.

And although I accept full responsibility for the accident and her subsequent injuries and death, I do no "blame" myself. I also do not "blame" anyone else. It was an accident. It happened. I am now smarter, stronger, more careful, and much more educated than I was then.

So, just remember, that accepting responsibility does not mean to "blame" yourself. There is no changing the past. All you can do is to learn from it and move on. It is not always easy. But it is necessary.

kidzaplenty....such wise, wise words. Thank you so much for speaking so clearly and eloquently. Thank you for sharing your experience.

mommato5-I know nothing I can say can make anything better. I truly hope you are able to find peace someday. What a beautiful baby.
post #30 of 51
[QUOTE=HennyPenny;13221523]

and blaming a midwife? well sadly this is what happens if you hand over the keys to another person. you stop thinking and start relying on ANOTHER'S intuition. but if you feel something is wrong, it's not up to the midwife to act, but you.

I can relate to this................ as a Doula in Uk I am not 'legally' allowed to attend a UB. However, I am often asked if I will do so especially if there are siblings to take care off or they feel they would like some support with general household duities, both before and after the birth.
They can however, 'invite' me to be there as opposed to 'booking' me.
There are times when a UB in a very rural area without ANY mod cons, so to speak, miles from civilisation and emergency support would, I feel, benefit from the support of a Doula, if only to take the pressure of the couple so they can concentrate on birthing their baby.
A dilema indeed as I know of a situation where with a UB in this situation the baby did die ( a premature birth) and although the parents 'accepted' the situation and aportioned no blame on anybody, it was noted eventually that a registered Doula had been 'invited' and ended up in alot of trouble.
My opinion is that if the parents have decided that UB is for them and the responsibilty is theirs, then 'invite' a Doula for whatever reasons they need one, then this should be the business of nobody else. Surely if I can play a small part in supporting the birth then this can only make for a safer more harmonious birth.

: mum of Meg
post #31 of 51
Kidzaplenty, I'm so sorry for your loss. Would you mind sharing what happened? I understand if you don't want to.
Rebecca
post #32 of 51
Thread Starter 
OP here, back to thank all for their input. I have been offline since I moved across the country, but was pleased to come back and see my thread still going.

I have enjoyed reading what everybody has to say. I feel pretty strongly about what I have said in the past, and, of course, it's very validating to read that there are others that see my position. Of course it's not for everybody, only a select few have what it takes to UC, and all the good and bad that comes with it.
post #33 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by poiyt View Post
Remembering that this is a UC board...

Mommato5 - what happened with you, and your daughter was completely tragic and I am very sorry it happened. I cannot (no one can really) begin to comprehened how you feel, but know that nothing I (or probably anyone) every says is meant to make you feel guilty or to snark on you. It is merely how I feel.

Taking responsibility in a UC/UP is completely different than having an unplanned UC. The unplanned UC isnt really taking responsibility because as was stated your midwife found things that should have been concerning and told you about it. The responsibility for your care (and inevitably your daughters) was with the midwife. Taking responsibility in a UC/UP is about understanding (and yes, accepting) that 'burden'. If any UC'er had any red flags during her pregnancy she wouldnt just let those slide (just as we shouldnt let a midwife let those things slide, or an OB if we feel an uneasiness)..she would seek out answers (from whatever method she felt comfortable) until she had reassurance. Or (and this is a big or and I dont claim its the right or) some UC'ers believe that we shouldnt interfere in the process at all, and if a baby is meant to pass shortly after birth (even from something that could be saved at a hospital) than it is meant to pass.

I am not faulting anyone for the death of a child; it isnt my place. All Im saying is, in taking responsibility we must take it back from MW's...or if we have placed some responsibility in them (or OB's) and we feel something is off we must fight to figure it out, or find a provider that will figure it out...
:
post #34 of 51
I went through the same process. I think sometimes hospital birthers tend to abdicate their responsibility for their births. It's like we must assign fault for everything, and it's very important that if something goes wrong, WE are not the ones to blame. I decided that if something did go wrong, people would blame me and I would deal with it, but that I made the best choices I could for my family. I figured if something awful happened, I'd feel equally miserable regardless of where I gave birth.
post #35 of 51
Okay, I've been thinking long and hard about this, and here is the upshot of where I'm at, personally, at the moment.

If I ever get pregnant again I would be strongly considering UC. All things being equal I probably would UC. If there were no other consideration I would have no problem taking responsibility for my birth. I hold myself responsible for the trauma I, and my DD, suffered during a homebirth transfer last time, even though there probably wasn't a lot I could have done differently in the situation I was in. So, just by dint of going to the hospital, or having a HB, I don't believe that that relieves me of any responsibility. If I weighed all the pros and cons and decided that overall I believed that UC was the best choice for me and my baby then I would be at peace with the outcome of that, even if it did happen that my baby died because of an unlikely complication that we couldn't get assistance for quickly enough because of being at home. I would be heartbroken, but I think I would accept that as a risk I took and understood, weighed against the all-too-likely risks of terrible things happening in a hospital birth.

But what stops me here is that I'm not living in a vacuum. It's not just me involved. If I had a hospital birth and my baby died as a direct result of my choice to birth in a hospital, I would feel exactly the same responsibility and grief as if my baby died at home as a result of that choice. But in one instance I would be surrounded by people full of sympathy and compassion who would allow me to grieve, hold me and support me. In the other I would be viewed by the vast majority of the people in my life as having directly caused my baby's death, and so undeserving of sympathy or support. Not that the people in my life are so horrible, but honestly that's how they're taught to think. I doubt I'm alone in feeling like this. Anyone else?

And to those who have UCed, how did you get past the fear, not of a terrible outcome per se, but of being blamed for that outcome by your community; family, friends, neighbours, colleagues... ?
post #36 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Relynn View Post
Kidzaplenty, I'm so sorry for your loss. Would you mind sharing what happened? I understand if you don't want to.
Rebecca
I don't really mind sharing.

My daughter's accident was not a result of UC or birthing at all, she was a year old. However, the concepts are the same, which is why I share my experience in this thread.

No matter how you look at it, you take risks every day, in everything you do, every choice you make, every decision you make, and every action you do, as well as actions you choose to not do.

When the unexpected happens you have two options, you can either deal with it or not deal with it. And then you have to choose to accept it or blame someone else so you don't have to. Granted, there are times when others are to blame, however, I have found that in most of the time there are choices we personally make that could have changed the outcome, and very few times are we truly and completely not responsible in some, even if small, way.

When things go wrong, it is very difficult to accept that we did something (the best case senario) not so great that allowed it to happen or (worst case senario) something totally stupid and completely irresponsible. So we like to be able to pass the blame along to someone else and remove ourselves from the resonsibility.

But, when it all comes down to it, we have to live with the consequences one way or another.

For example, in my daughter's case, the accident was preventable. But it was not irresponsibility, just an accident. And though I can think of so many ways that it could have been prevented, I can't change it. And though there were other people "closer" to the accident than me, I don't blame them, I can't. I accept the responsibility for the choices I made that contributed to her accident, and have released and forgiven all other from any contributing factors.

It was a simple drowning accident in a tiny little ornamental pond, which was near where all the children were playing, at Grams house that we were visiting that day. An ordinary day, a normal activity, a safe place, supervision abundant...a single moment that changed our lives forever.
post #37 of 51
Birth and death are not that far from each other and during pregnancy and birth death is always a possibility and something to ponder and come to some kind of acceptance of.
Its a matter of deciding on the setting that is least likely to result in death. I believe that a normal pregnancy is safer at home with a midwife if she is desired or alone if thats what a woman feels most empowered doing.
I have had a c-section and I knew I or my baby could die from the surgery or complications ect.
I have had a hospital vbac and knew that I could die from infection or a mistake or a cascade of interventions that might have been forced upon us.
I have had a birth center birth and knew that we could die from uterine rupture or cord prolapse.
I have had an unassisted homebirth and new that we could die from uterine rupture, placental abruption, hemorrhage, ect ect.
I knew with the homebirth that I did everything I could to plan for our experience and if a death were to occur I wanted it to happen in my home since it would more than likely be of causes that would have happened at home or in a hospital regardless. I knew that I would know when I needed to call the EMTs if that were in the fates and I took full responsibility to listen honestly to what my body and baby were telling me.

But each time I was either handed or birthed into my own hands a healthy baby and I beat the odds with determination, wisdom and trust in my body.
Life was never so sweet as it is in the moment of new life entering the world.
I take full responsibility for that as well as if something were to happen where I would have had to accept a passing.
post #38 of 51
"But what stops me here is that I'm not living in a vacuum. It's not just me involved. If I had a hospital birth and my baby died as a direct result of my choice to birth in a hospital, I would feel exactly the same responsibility and grief as if my baby died at home as a result of that choice. But in one instance I would be surrounded by people full of sympathy and compassion who would allow me to grieve, hold me and support me. In the other I would be viewed by the vast majority of the people in my life as having directly caused my baby's death, and so undeserving of sympathy or support. Not that the people in my life are so horrible, but honestly that's how they're taught to think. I doubt I'm alone in feeling like this. Anyone else? "

I have been thinking about this as well. I had a UC with my second son. When my mother found out she reacted more negatively than I had anticipated. She really felt that what my husband and I had done was akin to leaving our son in a dumpster. This is with a great outcome. I can't imagine what she would have done had something gone wrong. It does concern me the stigma that would go along with a dead baby at a UC birth.
I haven't read any stories about what happens when a UC baby dies. What does happen? What is the public's reaction? Does CPS get involved?
post #39 of 51
It occurred to me after reading Kidzaplentys posts that I am afraid as much now that something unforeseen and awful will happen on a daily basis as I was during pregnancy and giving birth. I guess its an ongoing daily acceptance of my impermanence. Its funny how unaware I was before having my children.

I am so very sorry for your loss Jenny. So very sorry. I could not imagine. My heart goes out to you and your family.
Angela
post #40 of 51
Kidzaplenty, I am sorry for your loss.

When I was 32wks pregnant with my 3rd (planned up/uc, with midwife back-up) I attended a hospital birth in the capacity of doula (I'm trained and experienced.) I was not working at the time, but the parents are my longtime best friends. I attended them early at home, but when it was time to go to the hospital, I did not go (being so vastly pregnant myself, I'd encouraged them to hire another doula.) It turned out to be a long labor, and on the second day they needed some fresh energy. I went. Well, to cut it short, their baby suffered some undefined, undetected trauma during labor or birth, and only lived for a few days.

You know it wrecked me. The two year anniversary is coming up, and still, my peace is tenuous and fleeting.

After their baby's birth and death, I still had the task of bringing my baby safely into the world.

Responsibility weighed very heavily on me.

What I came to is that even if I had handed the decision making aspect over to a third party, I would still have held the responsibility for making that choice, and ultimately, I would still be responsible for the outcome.

So, as I prepared for birth, I had that visceral memory of failed resuscitation very clearly in my mind. If the state of maternity care in the US had been different (specifically, more evidence based,) I might have made a different decision. But, as it stood, I evaluated the risks and benefits and made a new commitment to my decision to uc.

Birth, like life, is not without risk. I accepted the responsibility of a damning set of risks in order to decline what I perceived to be a greater set of risks to which no reasonable person would hold me accountable.

Plainly, it was a choice between lower-risk, high accountability and higher-risk, no accountability.

To me, with that baby, the choice was obvious.

edited to add:

Quote:
"But what stops me here is that I'm not living in a vacuum. It's not just me involved. If I had a hospital birth and my baby died as a direct result of my choice to birth in a hospital, I would feel exactly the same responsibility and grief as if my baby died at home as a result of that choice. But in one instance I would be surrounded by people full of sympathy and compassion who would allow me to grieve, hold me and support me. In the other I would be viewed by the vast majority of the people in my life as having directly caused my baby's death, and so undeserving of sympathy or support. Not that the people in my life are so horrible, but honestly that's how they're taught to think. I doubt I'm alone in feeling like this. Anyone else? "
Yes. I posted with this in mind, but I hadn't fully digested it.
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