Km, I'm very sorry to hear about your heartbreak and I do not doubt that what your family has been through truly has brought you to the limits of what you ever imagined you could withstand. The treatment you have described from your midwives is shocking and I'm so sorry that this has happened to you. I can't believe they could be so cold. Your son is adorable, by the way, and I applaud your effort to get the word out about his disability. I wish more people understood that CP is not the end, that many of these kids are incredibly bright and capable people who carve out lives for themselves that are fulfilling and meaningful and that they are not to be pitied.
But I have to echo what Joy has stated above me. I know three children who share your childs disability(two young children and one of them now close to being an adult). All three of them were hospital births...one of them a repeat c-section (the mothers third c/s). What do we tell those mothers? Who do THEY get to blame? They are heartbroken too, but they don't have to deal with the culture of "blame" because they all went to the hospital, they all did "everything they could" to ensure the safety of their babies. None of these children are disabled as a result of homebirth, so their stories are not supportive of the "hospital birth is safer" narrative....but, how come when a kid is born with injury/problems in a hospital, it doesn't create or contribute to a "hospital birth is DANGEROUS" narrative? When a homebirth mama has a healthy outcome, it's "luck"....when she has a bad outcome it's "Evidence of the dangers of homebirth" - when a hospital birthing mama has a good outcome it's "of COURSE! She was in the hospital" - but when she has a bad outcome it's "well, she did everything she could by being in the hospital" or it's simply NOT talked about....but it never seems to equate to "the hospital is a dangerous place".
I think the truth is: Home is "A place" to give birth. The hospital is "A place" to give birth.....and danger, can visit ANY place. You have to choose.
I know it's very convenient and sounds shallow and callous for the mother of two healthy children to say...but I do not feel comfortable pretending a world where there is ALWAYS someone to blame or some thing that could have been done to prevent poor outcomes and even death. Some people try to say that "if you haven't lost a child, or had an injured child, you don't know and you can't even talk about it" - BS. That would be like saying that only women who have had lifesaving treatment from a hospital are allowed to talk about the quality of a birth experience in the hospital. I haven't lost a child. I can't imagine the torture of enduring that. I wish nothing but peace and kindness for women who are working through grief....but we cannot let child loss take THE place of prominence in the discussion about birth choice and birth safety.
People die every day. Some of those people are babies. Plans turn sour and things go wrong and someone isn't always to blame. I know that those are a couple of really intensely callous sounding sentences...but I think that if a conversation about birth is going to be honest...we have to come to a point where we can openly state that sometimes babies are going to die. Sometimes they die in the womb, sometimes they die during birth...sometimes you make it through a perfect pregnancy and birth and then your baby dies in infancy or childhood or when he's thirty. In my circle of friends, two babies have died this year. One to a horrible and extremely rapid moving case of meningitis that came out of *nowhere* and the other to brain cancer. Both of these babies were six months or under. Those aren't the only babies I know of who have died this year. In my outter circle, there is an infant who also died of cancer and a five year old girl who they are "keeping comfortable". What the hell do we get to tell THOSE mothers? Who should we instruct them to blame? How do we make sense of that?? We can't. There is nothing those mothers could have done. There is no one to blame....because babies, while they are the BEST of what "people" can be, with all of their perfect newness...are still people...and people die. Every day. We don't ever want it to be OUR babies. But babies are going to die, it is the nature of life, that life ends, and sometimes it ends far sooner than any of us want.
If we mandate that ALL BABIES must be born in hospitals....we;re not going to see infant mortality rates drop to zero. Even amongst the "low risk" crowd....babies are still going to die sometimes. Even if we stopped the insane interventions in the hospitals and women were allowed to birth PERFECTLY naturally, in zero intervention, perfect birth habitats with the MOST skilled birth attendants and all the soothing music and birth tubs and anything you could think of and an OR right down the hall....we would STILL not see the infant mortality rates drop to zero. Kids would STILL be born with injuries that may or may not be birth related.
Babies die and are injured in hospitals....and babies die and are injured in out of hospital births as well. I don't hide from the figures. I don't shield myself from that truth. Do I think homebirth is safer than hospital birth?? Well...it's like anything in life....there are trade offs. The hospitals use of intervention, medication and their seemingly being completely unable to just chill the hell out and let birth happen...has led to an enormous amount of birth injury/maternal injury (which ranges from "ooops, we ended up having to take your whole uterus, the surgery that you needed because of the drugs we gave you because of the stopwatch we had you on from the second you walked in the door went wrong, sorry ----- all the way to women who suffer extreme damage to their pelvic region due to insane epis that turned into fourth degree+ tears) and death over the decades. When I view it in that light....home birth seems the far safer option. But then....when you consider some of the rare, but definitely possible, complications which can arise in the course of a birth.....it doesn't get much safer than an operating room down the hall, does it? For all of the ways in which homebirth allows for safer birth, by allowing for more natural birth and allowing the body to do it's perfect work....there will always be the "c-section card" - and at the end of the day, it can't be argued with very well (except in spiritual words....because there ARE people who genuinely believe that if a baby is meant to die, it's meant to die, and that they would rather that happen at home than in a hospital - but that is not a very popular discussion so we'll skip it).
So. Anyway. That's my own take on that. Informed consent. I live in the middle of the woods, at least thirty minutes from a hospital (in good weather with no traffic) and I'm a proud homebirther. I've had a water birth, a kitchen birth and this time will be in my woods in a huge teepee. I wouldn't do it any other way, unless my gut told me to. I've been through some pretty terrible things in my life. My childhood is pretty sickening and I try not to think about it too much, so I know that sometimes it's not about what you do, but the path you are here to walk. The experiences you are meant to have etched in your soul in this lifetime. I feel comfortable with my decisions, because I am open to this lifetime unfolding as it must. It's going to do that, unfold, no matter how open I am.....and some events in my life will be wildly loving and fun and some will be so heavy and dark, that they will seem to crush my bones and break my spirit...but I will get up again, and keep walking. If I could do it as a little girl, make it through impossible pain and mistreatment...I can do it again...and I probably will. Because it's a part of life. I hope that the dark parts to come don't have anything to do with my children, because that I think would be the very hardest thing to endure....but I can't control that. Things just blossom, they just unfold. This life around us is just a ride. I happen to think, one of many. I remain open, I remain loving, I hope for the best, I attempt to make decision that will lead to happiness and stregth...and I learn, instead of blaming, when things blow up and are horrendous.
I truly respect any mama who decides that she can't take the idea of responsibility for homebirth or just doesn't want to have a HB and goes to the hospital to give birth. But just like I think it's foolish for a woman to say "teh hospital is teh devil and is completely unsafe, nothing bad can happen to me at home!!" - I think it's just as foolish for a woman to think "I will go to the hospital where nothing bad can happen to me or my baby, mothers who give birth at home are irresponsible experience junkies" - those are both slanted, wrong headed ways to look at it. There are many places you could give birth...and none of them is completely perfect or without danger. Danger, death, injury and "bad luck" can visit you anywhere you go, at any time.
As for this crazy doctor...the blog posted above is sickening. The woman shouldn't be allowed to call herself a doctors. "Dead babies piling up" - "Death bringer midwives" - "Homebirth makes for dead babies" - that is fear mongering rubbish and filth. I wish I'd realized what that blog was before I opened it, because that is exactly the kind of hateful BS I try to avoid while pregnant. In her article about the Oregan "death bringer" Midwives, she cites the NINETEEN deaths in the past DECADE as evidence that midwives there are "out of control" and that homebirth is "clearly unsafe".
19 deaths? Really? 19 deaths in ten years is evidence that birthing out of hospital is unsafe? Gee, I wonder how many babies have died in hospital in Oregon during that same period of time. A far cry more than 19, I'd be willing to bet. But here's the tricky thing hospitals get to do.....they get to say "yeah, but those were HIGH RISK situations" - and people all nod their heads "yes, yes, that's right...high risk" - but wait a minute.....what do they get to call high risk? Anything from twins to over 35 to "didn't have the right color underwear"....I'm obviously being facetious with that last one....but truly, the ways in which they "sneak" certain women, situations, etc into a high risk category to twist the statistics around and make it seem like out of hospital birth is SO dangerous is disgusting. "Pre-existing condition" - could mean ANYTHING...if you actually cracked the ladies case, it could be something that ABSOLUTELY caused her bad outcome....or it could be something as ridiculous as "suffered depression in her twenties" - but it doesn't matter....her bad outcome is still factored out of the statistics because she is "high risk"...so her infant death doesn't "count" toward shining light on the fact that the hospital can experience danger and bad outcomes in normal birth situations too.
I KNOW there is such a thing as a bad MW......but there are ALSO bad OB's. But when an OB gets sued...the hospital insurance policy picks up the tab and part of the settlement reached, includes a contract that says that the family can't talk about what happened. OBs bad outcomes are protected, hushed and swept under a rug statistically...midwives are thrown in rivers to see if they drown or not.