Tell me if this would tick you off (sorry, long) - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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OK, my DP's stepmom (who I've met one time, about 4 weeks ago), sent me the below email in regards to our decision to have a homebirth. She is a nurse in a hospital.

Am I right to feel angry about it? I know she is only doing it because she cares, but I feel like she is basically telling me that my baby, or myself, are going to die if I go through with a home birth.

Also, I'm not sure how to respond to an email like this!

EMAIL BELOW:

I wish I would have really made the time to take you and *** to our birthing center at the hospital. I am very proud of the birth experience we offer to families. Not all hospital births are like the ones depicted in the Business of Being Born documentary.

You guys never really asked my opinion, but I think I want to share it with you now. I have concerns about a first time mom giving birth at home, especially with the challenges you face based on your past history. What I want to say is please get all the information before you make a decision on your birth plan. Please think through what you are about to do very carefully, because the risks are great, even though birth is a "natural" experience and we have been doing it for thousands of years without hospitals. But we used to lose babies and mothers that are saved now.

I would have lost my first baby *** if I had given birth at home. To the surprise of everyone, he weighed nearly ten pounds. He got stuck on the way out...his head was born, but his shoulders were so big he was hung up on my pelvis and needed a skilled doctor to rotate him, and vacuum extract him (shoulder dystocia). Sam's fetal heart rate was in the 80s (normal is 110 to 160 bpm) for five minutes and dropping. At that point I would have transferred to a hospital with my son's head born, but not his body. How long could he have tolerated that? I ended up with a fourth degree tear all the way to the rectum. The tear extended deep into the muscles. After birth, my bladder was full, I had to pee so bad, but I could not pee. My skilled nurses catheterized me, relieved me, and then ultimately helped me to pee and poop again. I stayed in the hospital for a couple of days because of the tear and the help I needed. *** was fine!

When you were here I went to a talk by a perinatologist who came down from Anchorage to speak. She said two chilling things about home births. First, she said something like, if you want to have mortality rates of the early 1900s, then have your babies at home like everyone used to do. Meaning, of course, that we are now able to save babies who would have died at home because we have hospitals and medical interventions. She also told a tale of a 14 year old girl with a postpartum hemorrhage who birthed at home, lived two blocks from a hospital, but bled out on the way there and didn't survive.

That is some heavy stuff; I don't want to scare you, but it is reality. What kind of risk are you willing to undertake to have your baby underwater in your apartment? This is a human life we are talking about, one that you have already come to value more than you ever thought imaginable. What kind of risks are you willing to take with your baby and yourself to have a home birth experience?

I went to your midwife's website and I feel that she is using scare tactics to support home birth, with no scientific references to back up her claims. I'm sure she's a nice lady (after all, her kid is named ***!), but really, why does she have no backup? Is it just her or all the midwives in Oregon that have no backup? If there isn't a doctor around who feels they could support this midwife, what does that tell you? They don't want to take the risk? Think about what the risk is and the possible outcomes.

If you are transferred, who is going to deliver your baby? From my take after going to ***'s website, it will be someone you never met before and let's face it, it will probably be a man. Would that be OK with you?

Anyway, just my thoughts. Please feel free to toss them to the wind. I know that ***** is a very strong personality and a very caring person, but how much of this is her desire for your birth experience and how much is your actual desire to do this at home? I will also go out on a limb with the risk of pissing everyone off and say that her and ****'s decision to birth ******* in a cabin in the woods 20 miles from town was irresponsible in the way that if things had gone wrong.....well, you know the rest. In my language, you don't want to f**k around with something like this.

Let me end by saying that I ultimately respect your decision to birth at home, but I hope it is really YOUR decision and that you are 100 percent committed and comfortable with it. Please go to some birthing centers in your area and see "the other side" and make a fully informed decision for yourselves, not based on watching Ricki Lake's documentary and opinions of relatives (myself included).


I am sooooo mad right now I can't stop sweating!!!
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#2 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:33 PM
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I wouldn't say you're wrong to feel angry at all. However, maybe this should be a learning experience when it comes to sharing personal details with family members and with others in general. You could probably guess she might have a bias given her profession. So I wouldn't take this reaction as a surprising thing at all. Maybe in the future, less information shared would be better.
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#3 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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We got a similar email from my soon to be MIL about, using a midwife.

My DH replied by saying that we love her and we are glad she is so concerned that we have and will continue to closely examine all of the options available to us. And ultimately the baby and mothers health is the most important factor, we will pick the safest option.

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#4 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:41 PM
 
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I'd just ignore it. If she brings it up, say thanks for your opinion and refuse to discuss it further.

But, you aren't allowed to post an email here without the author's permission. Mods are gonna ask you to remove it.
You might want to paraphrase.

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#5 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:52 PM
 
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If it's a free standing birth center with LM's, it's the same as a homebirth they just bring their equipment to you. If it's a birth center in a hospital, then it's nothing more then a fancier name but still a hospital birth.

I do understand her wanting to voice her concern but if she continues to bring it up your husband needs to tell her to keep her mouth shout.

Your body, your birth, your baby!!!!!!!!
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#6 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:53 PM
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Wow, that would really upset me too. Especially since you hardly know her. I'd probably just ignore it. It's unlikely she's going to change her mind and you have to do what right for you. I'm in Eug too - who's your mw?

J, mama to H (8/05) and F (3/09)
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#7 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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My mom is an RN, and she wrote me a letter very similar to this one, even though I saw her in person every single day. She had no experience with home birth, and didn't understand that nearly all complications are prevented by not going to the hospital in the first place. Your partner's stepmom, for example, probably wouldn't have had the same difficulties if she had been allowed to push in a variety of more biologically appropriate positions.

Birth experiences are very, very emotional for many people. Everyone wants to believe they made the best choices with their own circumstances, and everyone wants the people they love to be safe, whatever their own perception of that is. My mom was a complete wreck until she saw me with my perfect baby girl a couple hours after the birth, and realized how much more energy we both had than any mother or baby she had ever seen in the hospital. This time she hasn't said anything negative at all, but she had to get to that point on her own.

In the meantime, I think the best thing is to just make the topic off limits for discussion until the baby has arrived.
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#8 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 06:58 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ObamaMama214 View Post
When you were here I went to a talk by a perinatologist who came down from Anchorage to speak. She said two chilling things about home births. First, she said something like, if you want to have mortality rates of the early 1900s, then have your babies at home like everyone used to do. Meaning, of course, that we are now able to save babies who would have died at home because we have hospitals and medical interventions. She also told a tale of a 14 year old girl with a postpartum hemorrhage who birthed at home, lived two blocks from a hospital, but bled out on the way there and didn't survive.
I would probably not respond. Or just "agree to think about it" and then just ignore her. I'm sure she really does care about you, and is just trying to show that, but there's no need to try to scare you (because despite what she says, I think that's what she's trying to do). And if she mentions the mortality rates of the early 1900's again, you could remind her that in the last 100 years (mostly male) doctors have learned to wash their hands before delivering babies, so its probably not a fair comparison.

Stay strong, mama. You know how to do what you think is right.

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#9 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 07:12 PM
 
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Well... Yes and no. I thought she was relatively respectful in presenting why she thinks homebirth is not a good idea-- and even advocates of homebirth point out that there are risks (they just also understand that there are risks of being in a hospital, as well). I think she was saying what she had to say out of a place of caring, but was a little arrogant in assuming that her showing you the birth center at her hospital would have made a difference in your choices (I, on the other hand, would have assumed that you considered all of your options and made what you think is the safest decision-- but, come to think of it, I'm not sure that would be my response if you had decided to have an elective c-section... hmmn, maybe we all have our own biases? ).

I would also be a little ticked that she seems to assume that you haven't considered the risks and thought about what to do and how you would feel if an emergency arises. I would be tempted to email back with a list of research articles about *planned* homebirth and midwife outcomes and to explain that one of the points of having a midwife is to have someone there who is skilled in identifying issues that might necessitate transfer to a hospital and who knows how to deal with shoulder dystocia, post-partum hemorrhage, etc. (But I would also point out the the rates of complications-- fetal distress, post-partum hemorrhage, etc. are much lower in midwife attended home births than in OB attended hospital births).

It sounds like, from the end of the email, that you have a friend or something who had a homebirth at a cabin and she thinks that that person is unduly influencing you? If that's the case, I would also be ticked that she assumes that I haven't done my own homework and came to a decsion that me and my partner feel comfortable with and feel is safest for our baby.

If I did decide to respond, I think I would say, "I respect your right your opinion, but I have to admit I am a little insulted at all of the assumptions you are making." And then I would go on to address the assumptions. BUT, I would also make it clear that you are just responding to her email, not inviting her to debate you on this.
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#10 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 07:12 PM
 
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I am having a hospital birth but TOTALLY respect everyones choice on how and where they want to birth. She mentions everyone was SUPRISED by her 10lber... why didnt these skilled DRs have a better "guess" My OB was able to give me a good size estimation by feeling my boys . Anyway I would probably respond back saying something like Thank you for your opinion. That way she will know you got her email and you read it.
Its your body, baby , partner and life.
: I hope you have a wonderful home birth ( or which ever birth YOU choose to have)

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#11 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 07:28 PM
 
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She is a nurse. Of course she thinks that. She is obviously not informed about the safety of home birth. MOST women in the US have babies in hospitals. With OBs. And the US has a HORRIBLE mortality rate for both mothers and babies for such a developed country.
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#12 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 07:32 PM
 
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She is a nurse. Of course she thinks that. She is obviously not informed about the safety of home birth.
Hey now, I'm a nurse, too. And a NICU nurse, at that-- being a nurse doesn't automatically make you a slave to the hospital mindset.
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#13 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 07:41 PM
 
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Well, what kind of relationship does your dh have with his stepmom? Given that you only met her a few weeks ago, her email is really presumptious.

However, if she has a caring relationship with your dh, I can understand where she is coming from. I would actually love to have someone lay out their concerns in an intelligent manner. But then, I am a debater, and I do my best communicating in writing. I would respond to her email point by point, and give references to scientific studies. I would tell her I am not a sheep and do not make decisions based on what Rikki Lake or any celebrity or even friend does, and I would lay out all the research. Her points would be pretty easy to counter. But that's just me.

You certainly don't owe her or anyone an explanation.

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#14 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 08:02 PM
 
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Hey now, I'm a nurse, too. And a NICU nurse, at that-- being a nurse doesn't automatically make you a slave to the hospital mindset.
True. (While I am not a nurse yet, all of my nurse friends are totally homebirth friendly.)

I'd be irritated by the email too. I actually don't find it to be very respectful -- while it professes respect for "your birthing choices," it's full of scare tactics and unsubstantiated claims (that perinatologist from Alaska? Show me some numbers, mmmkay?), and the very thinly veiled accusation that you're putting some desire for a "birth experience" ahead of your and your baby's lives.

In short, yeah, it's a well-worded load of crap.

That said, this is exactly the kind of thing that most homebirthers can expect to hear from those around them, be they medical folks or not. And this is a good reason to have a canned response ready, something like, "We've considered our decision carefully, and it's not up for discussion" or "Mm-hmm. How about some bean dip?"

My general feeling is that it isn't worth it to engage these folks by responding in kind -- odds are against changing any minds, unless you want to just send a huge stack of articles with a post-it on top that says "Let's talk when you've finished these!" It only makes the argument more legitimate if you respond.

But that's just me.
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#15 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 08:07 PM
 
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I can understand why you would be surprised to get her e-mail considering you just met her a month ago, but to be *that* mad over it? Nah, I don't see the big deal, really.

I mean, her e-mail was worded very nicely. She's genuinely concerned for you and the baby. Yes, she's uninformed and feels strongly about her stance, just as you feel just as strongly about yours.

I'd simply thank her for her concern and tell her you'll consider all she's said. I think that's all she really wants. Well, I'm sure she's hoping to change your mind as well. Maybe once she sees the success of your home birth, it will help change HER mind.

You don't want to have friction in your relationship with her, especially since she's your DP's stepmom and your relationship is new. Just keep your reply simple and sweet. Coming off defensive and angry will only give the impression that you're insecure about your decision rather than confident of it.
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#16 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 08:13 PM
 
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Originally Posted by leerypolyp View Post
My general feeling is that it isn't worth it to engage these folks by responding in kind -- odds are against changing any minds, unless you want to just send a huge stack of articles with a post-it on top that says "Let's talk when you've finished these!" It only makes the argument more legitimate if you respond.
Now that's a very tempting response ... but, I think she's right, it would be hard to make any headway because...

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Birth experiences are very, very emotional for many people. Everyone wants to believe they made the best choices with their own circumstances, and everyone wants the people they love to be safe, whatever their own perception of that is.
Your stepmom has a reason to be invested in believing that hospitals are safer... because she sees her situation as her baby being saved by the doctor, instead of possibly endangered in the first place by having an epidural or by being restricted in what position she birthed in (which are assumptions on my behalf, I don't think she said anything specifically about whether or not she had an epidural or whether or not she was required to push in the lithotomy position).
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#17 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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I agree with Ilovebabies. I can imagine an advocate for homebirth writing something similar about hospital births for someone she/he cares about. It seems pointless to stress about it.
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#18 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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I'm not sure who your midwife is but my midwife, here in Salem, has some excellent info including medical studies that support homebirth.

http://midwifemama.com/homebirthwhy

I'd direct her to that website. I'd also ask your midwife if she is willing to speak with your family.

If your dp's step mom is a medical provider it would be to her benefit and the benefit of her patients if she understood the safety of homebirth.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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#19 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 08:48 PM
 
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I can understand how that would get under your skin. It really does seem to come down to a fundamental difference of opinion. It does seem like she cares and I would leave it at that. Perhaps reply stating kindly but simply that you were touched that she cared enough to write such a thoughtful note and that's all.
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#20 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 08:56 PM
 
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It sounds to me that she's writing this out of love for you and your young family, even if she's only met you the one time.
If you were my best friend, I would suggest that you receive it the way it was given, out of concern and from a place of wisdom and experience. You don't have to agree with her at all, but you can appreciate the care and attention she's given your situation.

When people tell me all about how their baby would've "died at home!!!" I listen to their story -- because it IS their story -- and then I thank thme for their concern and tell them that we are comfortable with our decision to do a homebirth and will not change our minds.

When you've had your smooth homebirth, maybe she'll start to rethink things!

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#21 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 09:14 PM
 
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Sorry but anyone who is so ignorant about homebirth that she doesn't know people transfer for emergencies doesn't have an opinion worth considering. And just because her ignorant friends happen to be doctors doesn't make their opinions carry any more weight.

If I might suggest:
"Dear Stepmother,

Thank you for your concern. Perhaps you would be less anxious about the topic if you spoke with people who have had actual experience with homebirth rather than relying on the baseless assumptions of people as ignorant on this topic as you. Your email held a great deal of fear and no real information."

But then, I'm assuming you wouldn't mind getting her angry
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#22 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 09:37 PM
 
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I personally would brush it off.

Obviously, even if you don't know her, she still cares enough for having taken the time to write that really long email.

I'd send a reply email thanking her for her concern and assuring her you all options are being considered very carefully.

Then go on your merry way and have a fantastic homebirth.
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#23 of 65 Old 08-28-2008, 10:22 PM
 
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She's scared for you and cares about you. I would say that it's very sweet that she's so concerned but that you have made the choice you feel is best for you and baby. I would go on to reassure her of the safety nets I and/or the midwife have in case of emergency and whatever "crash plan" ya'll might have in place. But only because I'm very close to my MIL and care about her and respect her feelings concerning her grandchild's safety. I think she just wants to be reassured that you considered both sides and the risks of each equally and didn't make your decision rashly. It's ok for her to feel the way she does. It's natural. I'm not saying just do what she says and forget what you want. After all, it's your decision. I think her letter was a caring gesture and would take it as that.

Quote:
I know that ***** is a very strong personality and a very caring person, but how much of this is her desire for your birth experience and how much is your actual desire to do this at home?
I would be offended though at the emphasis and implication that your midwife has somehow brainwashed you into doing things "her way" and that you are at her mercy and incapable of making your own decisions. That's the only part that rubbed me the wrong way. But I'd let that slide since really it came from a caring place and she prolly didn't mean it in a bad way.
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#24 of 65 Old 08-29-2008, 01:01 AM
 
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I agree with those that say they would take no offense at this email (sure you could find "insults" in it, but I honestly don't think it's meant unkindly, just maybe a little arrogantly. I think it's meant out of genuine, misguided concern. I would take one of two options:
1) send her a short note thanking her for her concern and information and informing her that you will consider her words and continue to do your research -- then never talk about again
2) inundate her with research articles, send her a copy of the book "Pushed," and politely make it known that you are willing and able to advocate for the safety and appropriateness of home birth

relax, take a warm bath, drink some tea, whatever it is that calms you down. this IS a very personal topic and i hope you can feel peaceful towards your birth choice and also peaceful toward this family member once you are able to look at the situation more peacefully.
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#25 of 65 Old 08-29-2008, 07:03 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ilovebabies View Post
I can understand why you would be surprised to get her e-mail considering you just met her a month ago, but to be *that* mad over it? Nah, I don't see the big deal, really.

I mean, her e-mail was worded very nicely. She's genuinely concerned for you and the baby. Yes, she's uninformed and feels strongly about her stance, just as you feel just as strongly about yours.

I'd simply thank her for her concern and tell her you'll consider all she's said. I think that's all she really wants. Well, I'm sure she's hoping to change your mind as well. Maybe once she sees the success of your home birth, it will help change HER mind.

You don't want to have friction in your relationship with her, especially since she's your DP's stepmom and your relationship is new. Just keep your reply simple and sweet. Coming off defensive and angry will only give the impression that you're insecure about your decision rather than confident of it.
:
And if she brings it up again firmly say that you and your husband make those informed decisions together and invite her to change the topic.
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#26 of 65 Old 08-29-2008, 08:59 AM
 
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Just ignore it and it she keeps bringing it up make your dh talk to her. She is most likely not trying to be mean, but she should have left out all the scary stories and just stuck to how wonderful the birth centers were if she really felt she had to send a letter. I understand being angry though, that is exactly how I felt when I recieved an e-mail telling me how horrible it was I was having a c-section. But I calmed down, realized they were doing it out of concern, and just hit delete.

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#27 of 65 Old 08-29-2008, 09:49 AM
 
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I would be furious.

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#28 of 65 Old 08-29-2008, 09:59 AM
 
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i can see where you are coming from, but as an outsider to your family i think the email was actually about the nicest one i can imagine from an anti-homebirth medical professional relative to a homebirth-planning first time mom. she does seem genuinely concerned about you and feels that she has information you may be unaware of which might change your perspective. i got the sense from the tone of the email that she would actually be receptive to some better studies of homebirth and an explanation of how you view the risks associated with home vs. risks associated with hospital. even if her background prevents her from being very open to suggestions that hospital policies cause women to die who would not have died at home, she would probably accept that there is a real risk to your newborn (and you) from the nastier bugs that run around in hospitals vs. at home. and she would probably take on board an explanation that homebirth in 2008 is NOT the same as homebirth in 1900 for many many reasons including advances in midwifery, hospital transport, nutrition, and screening out of high-risk mothers.

if you value your relationship with this woman (which it sounds like you should), i would try to tamp down my emotions and talk about it. you don't have to have one big talk, you can just casually respond to a few things as they come up. or write an email back, if you prefer. but if you do that, don't press send immediately, reread it a day or more later and try to make sure it sounds at least as respectful as hers did (and preferably more!)

you can try to address some of her anecdotal concerns. midwives have a lot of tricks for dealing with shoulder dystochia and as far as i understand it they are generally gentler and safer than vacuum extraction. i also think that midwives do carry forceps just in case. as for not being able to pee - my midwife inserted a catheter for me during labor (because i requested it, feeling that i had to pee but couldn't) and i barely felt it. properly trained midwives can do a whole LOT of what they would do in a hospital, is what i'm trying to say, and most people don't understand that. the only things they can't do are give you serious drugs (but they do have pitocin for possibly hemmorrage - why can i never spell that word??), perform surgery, or give you a blood transfusion.

as for the 14 yo dying of blood loss on the way to the hospital, i would say it's impossible to say much without more information. i know some midwives would consider a mother that young to be too risky for a homebirth, but i don't know if blood loss is a specific risk of being young.

anyway, i think you have a potentially great relationship ahead with this woman, really. she sounds reasonable and caring. my mil was not happy about the homebirth (although she was pretty quiet about it) until afterwards, but she came around and the issue has not been a problem in our relationship.

good luck!

Wife to the man I never expected, DS born at home '07, '08, baby girl born at home Oct '09!
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#29 of 65 Old 08-29-2008, 01:51 PM
 
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Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post
It sounds to me that she's writing this out of love for you and your young family, even if she's only met you the one time.
If you were my best friend, I would suggest that you receive it the way it was given, out of concern and from a place of wisdom and experience. You don't have to agree with her at all, but you can appreciate the care and attention she's given your situation.

When people tell me all about how their baby would've "died at home!!!" I listen to their story -- because it IS their story -- and then I thank thme for their concern and tell them that we are comfortable with our decision to do a homebirth and will not change our minds.

When you've had your smooth homebirth, maybe she'll start to rethink things!
:
I have to agree, even though it feels negative, it seems more concerned. I don't think you owe anyone an explanation though. In your shoes I might send back a short reply, that you understand that like all things in life there are risks, you know what they are, you accept them. You appreciate the concern but it is not up for debate and you hope she can support your decision, and if not, at least keep her negative feelings to herself. And good luck with your HB, hope it is a beautiful experience for you.
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#30 of 65 Old 08-29-2008, 02:09 PM
 
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I think the email comes from a position of caring.

Mom of two girls.
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