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Considering Homebirth? Think Hard.... - Page 5

post #81 of 159
What can you do when people only research one side of things and have one set of statistics? It is not pervasive in the US culture to think for yourself. You are taught to the test and it is a small group of people that writes and answers those tests!

It's the freedom of choice based on liability - you can choose any hospital you want !!!

I can almost guarantee that HB families put more time in selecting their birth support and attendants than hospital birthers - heck you get whatever Dr. is on call. I know my MWs stats - she was much more willing to share than any ob I asked - and with better outcomes. But, she is also one of the few that provides this service in my state and therefor is very cautious about her clients and their health.

I hope that this thread has the opposite affect the OP intended and maybe it seems to be so. Maybe the OP should have selected a different place to try and instill fear.
post #82 of 159
Thread Starter 
All-

Those of you who may have been reading this thread may have noticed that I didn't feel comfortable elaborating on the experiences that that lead to my opinions about homebirth. I didn't feel comfortable using the experiences of others to bear the standard for my own attitudes. After talking a bit with the person, I'm a bit more free to do so.

A close friend had a homebirth in a state where homebirth isn't covered by insurance. To make a very long story short, the midwives botched the delivery. They were well intentioned, and I'm sure quite knowledgeable, but they made a mistake. Despite fetal distress early in the delivery, the midwives first delayed taking her to the hospital, then transported her improperly. This resulted in oxygen deprivation during the birth process. The mother was blessed with a beautiful child born with cerebral palsy.

The baby is certainly a blessing- but the mother, now having expensive educational and medical needs to meet, is unable to work. The father, unwilling to cope with his new responsibilities, is nowhere to be found. The silver lining in all of this is that mother and child love one another to death. Love conquers all.

The midwives, who should have had the dignity to try to atone for their well intentioned negligence, dismissed this case as "one in a million." Unfortunately, these women are still practicing in our town. The midwives were never forced to own up to their role in the process, for the following reasons:

1- The full impact of CP is hard to assess at birth. In order to press charges against the midwives, the mother would have to spend years documenting the "damage" done to the child. This is a difficult battle for a single mother with very few resources and a new baby to undertake;
2- Because the midwives were uninsured, lawyers were reluctant to take the case, fearing a long, drawn out legal battle with little potential reward;
3- Since the midwives had convinced our friend that prenatal scans were excessive, there's very little information on how the baby developed over the course of the pregnancy;

So, in the end, this story will never be told. Our friend, her daughter, and this birth, aren't reflected anywhere in the statistics. Mistakes made by someone else's hands that most likely caused, and certainly compounded her condition will cause a lifetime of implications for both our friend and her beautiful daughter. Fortunately, our friend has risen to these new challenges very well, and my wife and I are both impressed by her. Hopefully, the next person harmed by these people will have the resources to take them to task.

This isn't to say that midwives are bad, evil, or homebirths are bad or evil, or even inherently more dangerous than hospital births. It is to say that birth CAN be a complicated, and risky business, which I'm sure everyone understands. Because it is risky, the people that practice it have an ethical obligation to be adequately covered in the event of an accident or poor judgement on their part.

I have insurance on my car- not to protect myself, but to give someone I may harm as a result of an accident adequate protection to cover their care should they need it as a result of my mistake. That's not paranoid, nor does it mean that I let liability rule my life- it merely means I'm trying to do right by the people I may hurt. I can't understand why someone would expose their child to that risk.

For those of you that are reading this list looking for objective info- remember the vitriolic tone of many of those that responded to my postings (which echo the tone of many hospital birth advocates). Please consider that a reactive tone usually reveals an underlying prejudice or insecurity that certainly taints objectivity.

Both of my children were born with a midwife present, and we were extremely grateful for their help and support. My first son was born by C-section after a long labor and our midwife told us she thought it was best. (Not because her partner was unsupportive, as someone suggested earlier.) Thank god we were in the hospital! Our daughter was born in a hospital without any intervention- although our midwife was present for only the last hour of labor. I still believe that the best birthing option is in a hospital with a clear birth plan and a midwife or doula serving as your advocate.

Perhaps, if our friend had been in a hospital, things could have turned out differently- who knows? I'm sure she'll be thinking about that for a long time. But, in the end, she was blessed with a beautiful baby, and that's all that really matters.

Flame on...
post #83 of 159
Yes, CP is just awful. How sad for this mother.
John Edwards, VP candidate has made a career out of seeking suit against OB's that have mismanaged births resulting in CP. It is a true risk of having a baby- just as real as maternal death, infant death. An unbelivable amount of CP cases come out of American hospitals everyday! The remedy for this is of course choosing cesarean over vaginal birth. Not choosing hospital over homebirth. Do you see the inaccuracy of the comparison?

I still don't see your point about homebirth being unsafe. Life is unsafe, birth is a normal biological risk of both mother and baby.
post #84 of 159
For every bad outcome from homebirth, how many hundreds more are from hospital birth?

Why is it that the countries with the lowest infant and maternal mortality rates also have the lowest c-section rates, and highest homebirth rates?
post #85 of 159
Guvly,

This is a tough situation. It really has to come to where the mother feels the most comfortable and safe birthing. Risk happens everywhere. It's difficult to know from your story if the midwives were "responsible" for your friend's baby having C.P. It's always difficult to know who or what to blame, but I do know from experience that most people just want to blame SOMEONE.

My daughter died last year during our homebirth. Would the outcome have been different at a hospital? I will never know and will think about it for the rest of my life. The medical examiner, ER docs, midwives...everyone concurrs that no, the outcome would have been the same no matter where we birthed. No one expects or wants anything to happen to their beautiful baby. Luckily, I don't have feelings of anger toward or want to blame our midwives. They were all very skilled and loving - and you can't ask for more. Unfortunately there are some untrained women out there calling themselves midwives - which is why it's so important to be self-educated and really get to know the people you select to assist you with homebirth. (The same is true of a practice for a hospital birth.)

I trusted the midwives we used for our first pregnancy and they gave me a drug, not even FDA approved for induction, which caused us to need an emergency c-section. This was a difficult lesson, but I take responsibility for it, because I chose them to work with.

I'm planning another homebirth for our current baby due in January. But because I have concerns about how my own emotional state will be when I'm in labor, I've chosen to be with midwives who also have hospital privileges - that way I can give myself the best of all possible situations, and decide what's best when the time comes. We all have to take responsibility for our choices - and how wonderful that we have them.

I guess my main concern here is that I think I'm sensing you trying to use fear to dissuade women from homebirth. No good decisions are ever made from a place of fear. Just this past weeked, at a birth discussion group being held at a women's fair, a CNM tried to use my daughter's death as a scare tactic. She had no information about what actually happened during my awesome labor and birth. My husband and I feel it's so important to share our story because like it or not, we're an example of what CAN happen at a homebirth and at a hospital birth, that you never plan for or expect. But we would never do it in a scary way. Death, birth defects, etc...these are all NORMAL, NATURAL outcomes of the birth process. This is expecially difficult to understand when it happens to you and those you love.

Respectfully,
Mary
post #86 of 159
It doesn't really matter if the midwife has malpractice insurance or not - if a state feels that a midwife acted irresponsibly (and hindsight is always 20/20), they will not hesitate to take criminal or civil action against said midwife. Trust me on this.

There are also plenty of attorneys that are chomping at the bit over cases like this.

I don't think it's an issue that homebirth is safe / is not safe. CP and fetal distress and mismanagement also occur in the hospital.

What I take away from the story is honest communication with the care providers. That couples need to choose providers that they respect and trust, but also allow the parents to still be the true experts in their care with choices and individuality. It sounds like this couple have some serious issues with the way their birth was handled, and I would encourage them to seek out a mediator to discuss it with the midwives.

Then again, we're hearing one side of a story - a story that is tragic and obviously could have some serious emotional clouding of the facts.

I'm sorry that happened to that family. Definitely.

However, as others have posted, it does not mean that hospital birth is not without these sorts of risks (because it is) or that homebirth is not safe (because it is for many low-risk women). We all have decide the risks in our life - and what we feel comfortable with.

Each family has a responsibility to be proactive in their care and not assume that any care provider is without human misjudgement or human error. Putting care providers in a role of being the "all knowing expert" or "godlike" is what has created the level of litigioius fear in our culture. And it's this fear of malpractice litigation that has created an unsafe atmosphere for low-risk women to birth in - at home and in the hospital.
post #87 of 159
A baby is MUCH more likely to be injured by an OB in a hospital than by a midwife at home. Knowing this, why would I expose my baby to the risk of a hospital?
post #88 of 159
Gruvly, I am questioning your story a bit here.

First, baby had heart decels. Could happen at home or in the hospital, although in my experience as a doula who does all kinds of births, decels are common in hospitals because of stress and intervention whereas they are very rare at home. In both situations, a good caregiver would have mom change positions, take in some oxygen, and listen again. Sometimes these things disappear after a few simple natural remedies. How did they "transport" her wrong? I've never heard of such a thing. Unless the cord was presenting first, in which case the hands-knees position should be taken while the midwife holds the baby's head off the cord.

I can say from experience that all of the things that go "wrong" in hospitals usually don't happen at home. And sorry, but your CNM sounds like a "medwife", not a midwife. Good midwives know that labor CAN last days, and it's all within the realm of normal. If you're at home, you can sleep, eat, drink, run errands, take a hot bath, have a glass of wine...... and cope with it fine. A long labor doesn't = cesarean unless you're working within the medical model of childbirth.

Some ppl want to make sure they can sue if stuff goes wrong, and that's fine. Some ppl would rather remove most of the risk of childbirth in the first place, and that's fine, too.
post #89 of 159
If you're interested, there are a TON of studies done about the safety of home vs. hospital birth; a lot of it is done not by some hippie-dippie folks wanting to prove a point but by the World Health Organization itself. They have declared our model of ob-attended hospital birth a CRIME that is doing great harm to mothers, babies, families, and to society at large. They recommend that we adopt midwives and home birth as the cheapest, safest way in which to birth. The Netherlands ranks #1 in the world as the safest country to birth...... where you have to pay out of pocket to see an obstetrician if you are low risk. Over 1/3 of women birth at home. 95% use midwives.

Here, we rank 24th.

'Nuff said.
post #90 of 159
My first child was born in the hospital emergency c-section. Why the emergency c-section? Because I had a very short cord wrapped numerous times around my sons neck and it was strangling him with every ctx. My body knew this as I had NO ctx until I was put on pitocin to induce labour after my waters broke on their own. I had NSTs and U/S from 40 weeks on all resulting in the medical staff telling me my child was fine. I on the other hand told my OB at 37 weeks something was wrong and would need a c-section. A close friend went through the same thing with one great exception - she lost her baby and tests told her if the baby had survived the baby would have suffered immeasurable brain damage.

Everything has it's time and place but to think that the medical profession and its tools are infallible is incredibly misleading.

Now I must run to get DD - 7 weeks old - born at home safely and peacefully.
post #91 of 159
5 pages later and I find this thread. I'm shaking my head and laughing. I guess in Guvly's world cars don't work for transfers from home to hospital when there are complications that can't be handled at home. And I'm sure going from L&D to the operating room is instant and safer with ever present doctors who never need to be paged. And of course those germ infested halls at hospitals are oh so much safer than your home full of germs that your body is resistant to. And of course, there are no wristband safety check systems in place at home to make sure no one steals your baby. HOW UNSAFE!
post #92 of 159
Oh yeah. I just wanted to add that homebirths are covered by ALL insurance companies in my state. Washington state law.
post #93 of 159
Speaking of germs! A friend of mine went to the hospital for the birth of their son (open adoption) and HE ended up hospitalised with a staph infection. The guy was only visiting the bio mom and baby - not staying!
post #94 of 159
I just found this thread. Very interesting!

I have PERSONALLY experienced a hospital birth (my 1st) and a homebirth (my 2nd) and I KNOW that the hospital caused the "problems" I experienced during my first birth.

My husband was amazed at the difference in my two births and my mom will never forget seeing the OB at my first birth cut deeply into my vagina with scissors to eliminate the risk of tearing. Thanks to her my perineum will never be the same.

My husband and I know homebirth is right for us. Intellectually. physically and emotionally. I spent hours and hours researching. Don't assume I just decided one day to fire the OB and squat on a pile of leaves on the backyard and chew the umbilical cord with my teeth when it was time to birth.
post #95 of 159
I must have missed this thread last time. How interesting hat it was bumped up today. Yesterday, on my son's 10th birthday and the 10th anniversary of my first homebirth, I finished reading Midwives, the 1998 novel by Chris Bohjalian. Powerful but unsettling, with sad echoes of Judy Wilson (http://www.friendsofjudy.org/).

Fresh from this experience, I find I am so sad and sorry that so many people in this world feel that safety and security comes from liability insurance and "trusted experts."

But I am so glad that I live in a state and a nation and a time when I have this power to make this choice.

And I am so proud that I gave my children a safe birth. Safe from the germs, drugs, knives and machines of a hospital. Safe from impatience, safe from arrogance. Home is a place where I am in control, where only those I trust are present, where fate can harm my children, but no human hands.

guvly, I'm there may be women who think homebirth is a romantic idea but who will be chased away by the fear of risk. It is possible that there are women who would choose how to birth based on who they could sue. If you would like to talk to those women, I wish you the best in finding them. I don't think you will find them here.
post #96 of 159
Thank you to all you moms who have responded to this - it is so amazing to read about women who believe in themselves and are unwilling to give up their strength and power.

From my husband - he refused to go back for a hospital birth because he had to fight with them to see our child and it wasn't until 6 hours after my c-section that I was able to hold my son. UNACCEPTABLE.
post #97 of 159
I'll admit I've only read the first and fifth pages of this thread, but I'm bothered by some assumptions.

First of all, I've had two homebirths in two different states. Both births were covered by my insurance. Each birth was attended by a CNM who was licensed in her respective state (CA, VA). So, not all homebirth midwives work under the radar without insurance, etc.


Quote:
Originally Posted by misfit
...I find I am so sad and sorry that so many people in this world feel that safety and security comes from liability insurance and "trusted experts."
Misfit said it very well. There are no guarantees in life, and most certainly not with birth. The story of your friend with a daughter suffering from CP is very sad. Could her daughter's condition have been prevented? Who knows. All I know is when I made the very personal decision about where I will birth my own children, I very carefully weighed the risks and benefits before making a decision.

I think you'll find that most women who have decided to homebirth have not only fully researched all the risks and benefits, but are more in touch with the fact that there are no guarantees and unfortunately some tragic outcomes cannot be avoided.
post #98 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by kavamamakava
Oh yeah. I just wanted to add that homebirths are covered by ALL insurance companies in my state. Washington state law.
Could you please call Great West and tell them that? They spouted some kind of something that says they are outside that b/c of something...I dunno, I was pregnant with placenta brain. They were saying something about it needing to be with a CNM who has an OB overseeing care or some such nonsense...


I am bolding this b/c I think it's important. Guvly is NOT talking about health insurance covering the birth. He is talking about midwives having malpractice insurance. I've read all his posts in one sitting, and that's what he's talking about.

I personally wanted to seek out a midwife withOUT malpractice insurance this time, because only withOUT malpractice insurance can a midwife practice freely. If s/he is bound up in fear over losing her malpractice insurance (as my midwives ultimately were) then she won't give the best care, and his/her patients (like me) will suffer.

Unfortunately, I felt uncomfortable asking those I interviewed if they had malpractice insurance, being worried that they would think I was expecting trouble and wanting to be able I could sue them and get lots of money, and I chose the wrong women. Next time I'm going with someone who is free to practice true midwifery.

Or I'm going without a birth attendant.


By the way guvly, are you aware that the recent evidence is showing that CP is NOT caused by birth problems, but is caused by unknown happenings during pregnancy? Hey, I want to blame someone (personally I like to blame OBs for every problem while you want to blame midwives) as much as you do, but the evidence is showing that it's not something that's being caused by the birth attendants.

So as much as your friend wants there to be someone to blame, the likelihood is that there is no one to blame, it was just life/fate/what-have-you that caused this.
post #99 of 159
Quote:
Originally Posted by mollyeilis
Could you please call Great West and tell them that? They spouted some kind of something that says they are outside that b/c of something...I dunno, I was pregnant with placenta brain. They were saying something about it needing to be with a CNM who has an OB overseeing care or some such nonsense...

...

I personally wanted to seek out a midwife withOUT malpractice insurance this time, because only withOUT malpractice insurance can a midwife practice freely. If s/he is bound up in fear over losing her malpractice insurance (as my midwives ultimately were) then she won't give the best care, and his/her patients (like me) will suffer.

Unfortunately, I felt uncomfortable asking those I interviewed if they had malpractice insurance, being worried that they would think I was expecting trouble and wanting to be able I could sue them and get lots of money, and I chose the wrong women. Next time I'm going with someone who is free to practice true midwifery.

Or I'm going without a birth attendant.
...
What did your midwife have to say about insurance denying the benefits? I have only lived here for 9 months so I may not have my facts straight. But that was my understanding. I had a very difficult time finding a midwife with the experience and philosophy to match my own. I asked the one I finally chose why there were no experienced midwives around. She told me that it's because of the situation with insurance covering midwifery which mandates that practicing midwives MUST have malpractice insurance. She said it can be very expensive and prohibitive to staying in practice as a homebirth midwife. So good luck finding someone WITHOUT malpractice insurance :/ There may be some wise and experienced underground midwives out there but I don't know how to find them. At least the one I found has been attending or delivering babies since she was a teenager. She got her state license and WA state practice set up only a few years ago in 2001 though.
post #100 of 159
"Perhaps, if our friend had been in a hospital, things could have turned out differently- who knows? I'm sure she'll be thinking about that for a long time."


'It is ironic that the more personal responsibility you assume in this society, the less responsibile you are percieved to be...if birth results in death or injury in the hospital, no one will come to you and say, "See what happens when you have your baby in the hospital?" People may encourage your to investigate or sue, but the basic view that the hospital was the best choice will not be questioned. However, if the problems arise at home, you will be questioned about the wisdom of homebirth again and again.'
Anne Frye

Why are people not allowed to take full responsibility for thier decisions, especially regarding thier bodies and health?
Don't you do this to her as well, guvly. She did NOT make a "mistake" by taking responsibility - she chose to LIVE and not be governed by fear.

And why is it that this woman who lives in the richest in country in the world - can't get the care her child needs?!?
THAT'S the real question.
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