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#31 of 57 Old 09-08-2010, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love hearing all the details of your births--with your growing understanding of how things work for you, given your body, and what kinds of help you may need. It's so amazing and wonderful! I've had the privilege of working with some women like you--had a number of babies, learning from each experience, becoming very much their own expert on things (even if needing or just desiring 'outside expert help'). Hey, if you're going to make several babies, then it's a Big Work in your life--you might as well give it that kind of attention and thought, honoring yourself and babies and this important work in a way that no one else really can (even if others can be helpful in some moments)

The more I think about a Reconciliation Circle, the more I like the idea. Your thoughts on it resonate for me: when I consider some births I was personally involved in (whether a mistake was made by anyone, or disappointments were unavoidable), hearing people out, and being able to speak my own piece, had the effect on all of making us more mindful and connected with the impact of our own and others' interplay with birth. For myself--pushing me to be sure I know enough (including my limitations and when to seek outside help), really am in good sync/good comm with families, and also am present enough in each situation to read it right--rather than judging the present in light of the past, the textbooks, etc. For families--leading them to understand the importance of really good communication throughout, really knowing their own wishes and listening to their own intuition, taking responsibility to the highest possible degree in the way that's appropriate for birthing families. Feel like I'm casting about here--does this make any sense? I'm talking about the kind of de-briefing that Lunarlady mentioned w/her mw--one on one w/her mw, of the sort that I have also participated in w/clients.

A few people immediately spring to mind....those who (whether mama or provider) seem to need it most, but also seem least likely to show up...but particular individuals can't be the reason for doing/not doing such a circle. In fact, anyone's troubled feelings about particular individuals (and the negative part played thus far in the community w/respect to this issue of complaints/healing) would probably fade very much in the light of good work done by willing others in such a circle. And the good feelings, healing, and forward motion that might be gained, could certainly have a positive impact on anyone in the community, whether they eventually chose to become involved, or not. Would impact the functioning of the community on the whole...potentially over time, introducing a new ethic, a new way of approaching and working with the relationships involved, right from the outset...KWIM?

Anyone else have thoughts on this?
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#32 of 57 Old 09-15-2010, 09:48 PM
 
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My first birth was an unnecessary cesarean without fully informed consent. I had written a birth plan for a natural birth, taken the hospital birth classes, chosen a practice with female OBs, was going to have my sister in the room with me who had birthed naturally twice. I even read some of the Bradley book after I discovered it in my 8th month. I thought I had my bases covered. Well... I didn't know I had bases to cover, really.
At 38 weeks I was told my baby was getting too big to birth vaginally, and if I wanted a chance at natural childbirth, I'd have to be induced. I agreed. I went into the hospital the next morning, and another doctor was on-call. She ordered an u/s (my 7th that pregnancy) and told me to birth vaginally would risk... including death, and she felt I needed a cesarean. I cried as I signed the consent form. How did I fail before even trying?? What other choice did I have?? Birthing her would be very dangerous.
In the OR, I was mocked while I cried. "Why are you crying? It's your baby's birthday." They made jokes when I asked if an epidural would be bad given through my tattoo. I had to be sedated twice. I was so out of sorts, when one doc remarked my baby's head was the size of a bowling ball, I thought he said that she was a boy.
My baby had troubles. She had to have enemas. Her stomach had to be pumped. She choked and sputtered so much. When my breasts became heavy with milk and ached, I could not help my baby latch. I asked repeatedly for an LC and none was ever available for me. Finally, an older nurse told me I had inverted nipples and plopped some nipple shields onto my bed. When I needed a pump to try to relieve my soreness, I had to go search one out myself. Then, we had to figure out how to use it on our own.
No one ever came in to check that I was up and moving around. I was hurting so bad (I wasn't stapled... only taped), and was so depressed that I didn't want to move. I became short of breath, and only then did I hear that pulmonary embolism was a risk to cesarean. I stayed in the hospital for 5 days... being cleared through tests (no embolism).
When I cried again, I was again asked what for by a nurse who seemed taken aback that I was so sad. I hurt for what me and my sweet DD went through. It was even worse when about an hour after she was born, I began accepting the fact that I had been wronged. I didn't have proof, just my heart.
When I was able, I began to study. Communed with a local ICAN chapter. I received confirmation from another OB that my cesarean was unwarranted. I had my medical records sent, and was hurt all over again when it read "she had a change of heart and really desired a cesarean section". Lies!
I have written several letters to that doctor over the years, but have never mailed them. I don't believe they would be read. Cast aside as was my birth plan. It wouldn't change how she practiced. What I have done that has helped is to become a childbirth educator and doula. That is where I feel I can help the most. If I had had a doula (even knew what one was), I don't believe I would have consented to surgery. Not because she would have been my bodyguard, but because she would have reminded me of my birth plan, and that there was time for waiting, and questions. Just spreading the word of choice to women, and giving them the space to make them.
I have also written a work of fiction about birth stories both with happy and not so happy endings. That helped me put my experience into the big picture. Planning my second birth was a tremendous healing experience for me as well. So was experiencing labor. Oh, it was joyous to me.
I believe it will be women who will initiate the change in our birth culture. Informed women, who know their rights, choices, and who demand respect.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#33 of 57 Old 09-16-2010, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks so much for telling us all of that, eastkentuckygal--wow, what a story. Too often do I hear of young moms being talked out of even trying to give birth on their own, with this 'big baby' card.

I am so glad that you took your feelings and translated that energy into positive action for yourself--and all women who are interested!

I love this: "I believe it will be women who will initiate the change in our birth culture. Informed women, who know their rights, choices, and who demand respect. " You are so right! 'Good birth--normal birth' cannot be given to us (and clearly *won't* be given to us by today's OB care)--we have to ask for it, insist on it, demand respect as you say. We can help so much by sharing our stories and information about our rights, the possible choices and the importance of self-empowered care instead of giving away all the power to care-providers.

As I have been thinking lately--we can give all responsibility for knowledge and actions to care providers, empowering them to make the choices for us. We might even be able to 'hold them responsible', legally and philosophically, for outcomes of care. But care providers will not live with the results of that care--only WE do, women, babies and our families. We are the ones who will be 'responsible' in real life--the only ones who will live forever with the results of care (physically and emotionally), the ones who will be forced to find or create the 'ability to respond' every day to what happens at our births.

So--empowering care providers really doesn't work. The 'safety' this confers to us is so questionable in this era anyway, as birth becomes more and more tech-and-provider-controlled, with less evidence to support that trend and mounting evidence against it. But our empowering of providers is such an illusioin anyway--because in reality, we are the ones responsible (able to respond) in our daily lives for dealing with the aftermath of giving up our knowledge and choice to someone else during birth.

Thanks for posting! While I believe that something like Reconciliation can help women to heal--and might even touch an offending care provider in a useful way--I agree that taking responsibility for being informed, and making pro-active choices into the future, is even more important in changing the birth scene on the whole.
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#34 of 57 Old 09-16-2010, 11:42 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MsBlack View Post
As I have been thinking lately--we can give all responsibility for knowledge and actions to care providers, empowering them to make the choices for us. We might even be able to 'hold them responsible', legally and philosophically, for outcomes of care. But care providers will not live with the results of that care--only WE do, women, babies and our families. We are the ones who will be 'responsible' in real life--the only ones who will live forever with the results of care (physically and emotionally), the ones who will be forced to find or create the 'ability to respond' every day to what happens at our births.

Thanks for posting! While I believe that something like Reconciliation can help women to heal--and might even touch an offending care provider in a useful way--I agree that taking responsibility for being informed, and making pro-active choices into the future, is even more important in changing the birth scene on the whole.
It is me who will live with how my daughter was brought into the world, but not because I failed to try to inform myself. I read what I knew was available to me. I had attended a natural childbirth myself at that point as labor support. I looked diligently for a midwife and found none. I took classes that were provided to me through the hospital. I did prenatal yoga. I thought I was ready. But, I didn't know about the "machine" that is modern obstetric care. I had no clue, and the sources of educating women about this were not very apparent. I was living in a relatively large city at that time, with many doulas, homebirth midwives, and childbirth educators, but I saw no advertisements. I knew no other mothers who birthed in the area. I was lost. Really lost. There was nothing more I could have done for myself, even with all of this available to me. It wasn't until I tuned in with other mothers who parent in the AP style that I even learned about any of these things. At a point when my heart, mind, and soul was telling me what was best for my baby and me, my hands were tied in providing that for myself.

This is where some care providers abuse us. She knew my ignorance. She knew she was the OB and I could be her 4th cesarean of the day at 2:31pm, and I wouldn't question it. She knew it because she played on the part of me that was protecting my baby with that 3 page birth plan I had written. Writing to her at this point, wouldn't be anything, though I do want to sometimes. She'd likely not remember me, and would soon forget my letter, because you are right. She doesn't have to live with it. I do. I'm the one who has to watch my DD suffer with eczema that was likely triggered by her birth. I was the one who got an infected incision site that tore open because it was only taped shut - just by trying to be the one caring for my baby. I'm the one who did all I could to be a healthy mother, only to have to give birth via the most invasive option, just to be told that I should be happy because my baby is healthy. She was not healthy (not as healthy as was possible to her). She was not over 10lbs. as they had said. I am not a small woman. I was not over or under weight. There was no medical basis in what happened to me, even by ACOG standards.

I can be angry at care providers, but I'm not. I am angry at the OB who did this too me, but not like I was before. Especially after reading Pushed, I realize that there is much more to this than people being mean to one another. Education is the key. Education and respect for choices when choices are able to be made. I'm sad for everyone who practices midwifery or obstetric care under this cloud of blame, guilt, and consumerism, and all the women who have to birth under such circumstances. Our society can't continue to choose not to know the information, and we can no longer withold it from women. Like one woman said in the movie... The Business of Being Born... as a culture we put more research in the decision of buying a car or house than in birthing a child. So, the system is set up that way.

Appalachian mountain woman, radical homemaker, homeschooler, childbirth educator, and doula loving her DH and three powerful little femmes. Deladis 8-4-05, Ivy 4-28-08, and Gweneth 7-21-12 HBA2C! hbac.gif  -  blogging.jpg ribboncesarean.gif

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#35 of 57 Old 09-17-2010, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I absolutely agree that even an informed, empowered mama can have a terrible birth experience--for all the reasons you mentioned. It can be hard to find alternatives in birth, even if they are all around you but somewhat 'underground' or at least, not mainstream. And the medical system is just so very accustomed to having all the power, and knows so many ways to keep appropriating that power if we resist--your story of your OB is a good example: seeing how dedicated you were to your baby's safety and health, she simply used that against you to get the results SHE wanted, with your 'permission' (not really with your fully-informed consent, however).

At times, it seems that empowered mamas who are most pro-active can have the worst time in medicalized care. Partly because their empowered attitude is so uncomfortable for Drs accustomed to having all the power-- these women may attract a greater-than-usual amount of 'bullying attention' (however 'kindly-and-gently' phrased) from providers. And partly because of a woman's chosen ideals--when the mama experiences a birth so far different than what she'd worked for, her feelings of disappointment/trauma can be so intense.

I appreciate your comments about being angry about your experience, and at the surgical OB--also your saying how sad it is for all professional birthworkers in the present climate. I would add too, that it's pretty infuriating and sad as well for birthing women! Of course you know that firsthand (like most in this forum), I just appreciate that you see the quandary--and struggles of all involved in birthwork right now.

And I totally agree--in spite of the backlash some have experienced, the way forward will be continued by women and families willing to empower themselves. Only you in need of birth services can get the services you seek by learning what you need to know about healthy birth options, and being fully engaged with making birth-care choices. This is 'managing' our own care--even if we may give limited empowerment to medical or other care providers from time to time. Rather than exclusively empowering care providers to know all, and choose all, for us, we have to let care providers know what we want in care--and what we don't want, and won't accept, as well. We have to work with those whose safe-birth vision best matches our own, and we have to avoid services we see as unnecessary or possibly harmful for ourselves and babies. We have to re-imagine our births, speak them to power, and walk toward their realization ourselves.

This is how things will change for each woman, and for more families all the time, IMO--and for birth professionals as well. What if there was an 'overmanaged birth service' and nobody came? By using their right to Informed Consent Or Refusal of services, by serving their own health with good daily choices--a family can live out their vision of a healthy and happy-enough birth. They can safely manage all aspects of their own care, including possible co-care, limited empowerment of providers in special circumstances, and all that safety requires.

And I for one think that the world of Birth Professionals couldn't help but change quite a bit for everyone, in response to people's choice of self-empowerment. Even the seemingly teflon collective ego of the demi-god HCPs couldn't help but respond to offering services that fewer and fewer seek out, I think But still, 'changing the care-providers and the system' has to be secondary to changing ourselves...first we must be the change we want to see in our world.
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#36 of 57 Old 09-23-2010, 03:11 PM
 
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I had a horrible experience with a doula and I am a doula myself. I was in my very Christian, "forgive and foget" phase at the time and it took be about 3 years to finally write her a letter and lambast her about her "care".

I suppose I was extra-reluctant to deride her character because she is the exact face of doulas that anti-HB/doula mainstream society would expect. She literally did nothing to help me and actually left me to take a smoke break while I was in the hospital. Completely incompetent and I wouldn't even say her name if I did start to vent about her because I think I felt some wierd loyalty to her since she and I shared the same profession/calling and know a few of the same people.

Since I started feeling comfortable saying her name along with the complaint I've heard about 90% similar feedback. The 10% positive feedback is from moms who happened to have uncomplicated, easy births. I just hired a different doula for baby #2 and mentioned my awful doula and she asked if it was her. She knew exactly who it was before I even mentioned her name. She is very close with several L and D nurses and OBs/MWs in the area and my awful doula now has a horrible reputation as a dangerous and nasty HB MW. Very aggressive with hospital staff and keeps moms at home even when it would be medically prudent to transfer.

I want to kick myself for not making a formal complaint, as she is clearly continuing her behavior. But who would I complain to about a doula...?
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#37 of 57 Old 09-23-2010, 09:29 PM
 
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I hear what you say about loyalty. Although I would never birth with my MW again, I have a hard time telling people NOT to birth with her. I feel some sort of loyalty. But I was at a moms group and mentioned I had a HB. A woman asked who with, and I told her my MW. She asked what I thought of her and I said I wouldn't birth with her again ( no details) . She said " that seems to be what I hear about that MW all the time." That mom was a doula, so hears a lot about HB in the community. So now I feel both annoyed about my birth and wishing other moms had stepped up and said something about the MW so I could have gone to somebody else. Everyone always hedged and said " she seemed competent" or " it went fine". I guess I could have read between the lines (everybody gushed praise for the MW I had with DD1) but I wish they had just stepped up and told me flat out that they wouldn't use her again. Sigh.

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#38 of 57 Old 09-24-2010, 10:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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shellnurse--is this doula/mw certified through any of the doula orgs? If so, then you could complain to her org. Also--if she is doing midwifery work, even in an unlicensed state, there is probably a state midwifery org to whom you might send a complaint. I don't know how much good it will do--but you never know until you try.

By the way, good for you in finally unloading on your doula! Forgiveness is a very good thing--but due feedback is another very good thing, for everyone involved. Sometimes I think ppl forget that it's normal to be angry, to grieve, to be upset/distressed along our way to forgiveness...that there is a positive purpose for these things ('For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven'...right?). Personally, I think forgiveness for the more difficult things in our lives comes HARDER, when we try to jump straight to forgiveness without granting that due season and time for the purposes....

As for people talking about their personal experiences with a mw or doula--this is a tough one. Yes, many seem to hold their tongues, even for what can be 'good reasons'...they think maybe it was just a personality clash, or just a bad time of life for the mw/doula in general, maybe they don't want to give mws and doulas a bad name in general....KWIM? And some are just shy/non-confrontational about everything.

It's a great idea, when asking for info about a care provider from those who've used her, to ask "were you really happy with her?" "would you hire her again?" "would you recommend her to friends and family?" Their answers to these questions could tell you a whole lot! If they say no, you might ask if they can tell you any specific thing to explain why not...even very small specific things can be helpful to know as you make a decision about hiring care providers.
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#39 of 57 Old 09-27-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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Speaking from MY experience, the organization that is SUPPOSED to oversee the midwives in our state is a joke. We were given a hard time by them, as if they didn't want to do anything for us. The midwife I had has had multiple run ins with the law here and they let her just walk. The police wanted to charge her with Negligent Homicide, but didn't want to "go on a witch hunt". NOBODY would help us. The most I can do is use word of mouth (or the power of the internet). There HAS to be something out there for those of us with bad experiences. I know I certainly had no clue about all these infant deaths going in and knew nothing until a family member of hers filled me in 6 months after my daughter's death.

The midwife kissed my butt for two days until she learned that other midwives were discussing my story and talking about a possible arrest. She was here on my door step waiting for me after the funeral, angry over what was being said. I had no clue anything was being said!! Then she began butt kissing again. When she found out that we had the death certificate, she flipped her lid as she had been telling people my daughter died from this and that. The newborn exam papers were in three different versions (ie we had one, police had one, and then the police and I had another version when we confronted her on the lies). My records were changed. It was a huge mess. What bothers me is I had no clue that she was such a liar and so crappy. What kind of midwife doesn't realize that a newborn is in distress?? Really?? Every concern was blown off, every single one. We felt like we were just being paranoid because she kept telling us Mary was healthy. She's a midwife and knows what she's doing, right?? They are so well trained and educated, right?? She shattered every opinion I had of midwives and homebirth. I HATE hearing the whole "trust birth, DR's are evil" stuff that is so prominent in the NCB community. I got 5 healthy kids thanks to using DR's! My homebirths ended in one healthy baby and a dead one. I'm still very angry and nothing in this world will ever resolve the horrid guilt that I feel. It wasn't worth it. Furthermore, I am villified if I admit that homebirth played a part in what happened. I'm to the point that I don't care about people's opinions, esp those who are just looking for a reason that it had to be my fault (and it happens a lot through the NCB community). I use to cry when reading people's opinions about her death, but my skin is thicker these days. I'm tired of us parents, who don't have happy outcomes, being silenced when we try to share. I'm angry that I was blindsided by this midwife. I'm angry that more women with bad outcomes aren't speaking out so we can learn who these midwives are. Why are they protected?? I know I use to value my midwife's friendship and didn't want to hurt her feelings. So, I understand that some women get this way. BUT these are our kids and they come first. I wasn't going to just say "Ok, please help me figure out why she died although the coroner (a real dr) has a diagnosis". She doesn't know more than a dr! The emails showed me just how guilty she knew she was in Mary's death. When my ex-friend delivered, this midwife almost missed one of her births AND let this mom go over a month past her due date! Why didn't I figure out what kind of person she was?? Oh, because nobody tells you the bad stuff and you are told that baby's cook as long as they need. Sorry, but 44+ weeks is getting into dangerous territory (hence why other states who actually regulate them have rules about gestational length). I have had to give up my desire to become a grief counselor because I can't even deal with my own ****, so how can I help others? This loss has taken everything from me and there is nothing I can do, nothing.

I don't even know if I'm making sense anymore, so I'll just leave it at all this. If you made it this far, thank you.

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#40 of 57 Old 09-27-2010, 07:07 PM
 
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Mommato5, I am so so sorry for your loss. I could be wrong, but I believe that I've seen your story on the Daily Beast as well as on a website I think we're not supposed to mention here?

and prayers for your family. I hope you are able to find some recourse against the malpractice that caused your daughter's death.

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#41 of 57 Old 09-27-2010, 07:17 PM
 
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You got me!

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#42 of 57 Old 09-28-2010, 09:09 AM - Thread Starter
 
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mommato5--

this thread, and seeing other discussions about birth loss involving provider mistakes or incompetence...and just from a particular loss in my own life (not a baby, tho)...I know that some losses are REALLY really hard to heal. The loss itself is hard enough to bear. Yet when you pile on mistakes/incompetence and further, feeling barred from justice of some sort, and even further, having to deal with so much resistance/disapproval from others (strangers and even some erstwhile 'friends')--well, this can complicate our acceptance/healing from the loss. The one in my own life, now 9yrs 'done', haunts me at times still--not so much the loss itself, as all those other factors that impacted events and ongoing stuff on so many levels.

I guess I just want to say...from my own experience, healing is possible--and necessary if one is to live life fully into the future. Any loss has it's own course of healing--in your case as in mine (tho different types of loss), that course IS more complicated and the feelings can be bottomless and so lingering. But healing is still possible; we just have to want that more than anything else, we may have to really work at it...again and again. At least, I know this is how it is for me. And I know now that my healing is needed for ME--it is a gift I can only give myself and must do so if I am not to live the rest of my life in the shadow of the past that only hurts me and my loved ones in the present.

One thing that comes clear to me from this and other stories of birth trauma and loss: there is some very awful stuff going on for some. With drs in the hospital, at home w/midwives...doesn't matter. There are going to be providers who operate mainly on ego and are not able to make good decisions at birth and after. There are official and unofficial systems in place to protect those providers--all for the sake of the 'profession at large', even if others see the incompetence/ego of one practitioner.

I guess we can complain--or otherwise take action such as helping to change hospital policies or midwifery laws, with or without making complaint. And we have to live with the fact of provider and institutional ego, incompetence, mistakes....it seems to be a fact of life.
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#43 of 57 Old 09-28-2010, 01:52 PM
 
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Mommato5, I so sorry for your loss. And I'm sorry that nothing has been done by the authorities to stop this person from practicing.

I delivered both my kids in a freestanding birth center with CNM's. With my first, I had a 3-day labor and then a postpartum hemorrhage. I didn't realize that blood spurting against my thigh = not normal! They quickly got me up on the bed, and I received an excruciating but necessary manual placenta extraction, 7 IV sticks due to my flat veins from all the blood loss, and then finally a bolus of IV fluids after the student midwife managed to get a butterfly into my AC. The bleeding eased up after the placenta was out, and I received IM pitocin and a liter of fluids.

The midwives and birth attendants waited around until I was stable, then left me in the care of a postpartum nurse. I was well aware by then that I had hemorrhaged, so I expected to be kept overnight, rather than the usual 6-8 hours. However, at 7 hours after delivery, I was surprised to see that I was going to be sent home within the hour. I was too agreeable to argue, so I just went along with it. I hadn't even peed yet, and had to remind the nurse of this. My BP was slightly below the parameters for sending home, so she took it 2 or 3 times until she got an acceptable number, then sent us home 8 hours out.

I bled quite heavily for the first couple days, passing what I now know were larger than normal clots. Although I was pale and too weak to even stand up for long enough to change a diaper for the first couple days, no follow up labs were ever done to determine how low my hemoglobin had dropped, and the word "hemorrhage" was carefully avoided at pp visits. I felt like I had been hit by a truck for the first 6 weeks, but thought that was normal since I didn't know any different.

I told everyone that I was very happy with the experience, as I felt that I probably would have gotten a c-section had I delivered in a hospital (which I still believe is true, considering my daughter's extremely short cord and the fact that I was at 9.5 cm for 8 hours before delivery).

I chose to deliver at the same birth center with my second child (different CNM this time). I was an RN by this time. At about 32 weeks, we started talking birth plans, and I mentioned that I wanted a saline lock this time just in case I had a repeat hemorrhage. She looked puzzled and said, "What? You didn't hemorrhage." I said, "Uh, yeah I did!" and described the whole experience: the bowl completely full of blood, chux completely soaked from corner to corner in blood, manual extraction, IM pitocin, liter of LR with pitocin, feeling like complete **** for weeks and barely able to stand for days.... The new CNM got very quiet for several minutes and paged through my records. She then said that everything had been recorded just as I said, except for the odd fact that only 300 ml blood loss was recorded, when I clearly lost what the new CNM estimated from my description to be 800+ ml.

After finding out this MAJOR lie in my charting (seriously, why would they have done all those interventions if I only lost 300 ml?!), I thought of transferring care, but felt like I was too far along to switch. So, I delivered my 2nd child at the birth center, and everything went great this time. I stood up after the birth and raved, "I feel soooo good!" I couldn't believe how normal I felt, having delivered w/o a pph!

Looking back, I feel like they did manage my labor and PPH very safely, but I think that once they saw that I was stable, they chose to pretend that I was fine all along, and to chart much less EBL than what I actually had, so that they could go home to the birthday party and such. I don't know that I necessarily needed a transfusion or to be transferred to hospital, but I think I definitely would have benefited from being kept overnight with some more IV fluids to tank me up! I also think it was pretty bad follow up to not even draw a CBC to see how anemic I was afterward. I thought I was a wuss for feeling so weak for so long afterward, until I had a normal birth and felt totally normal afterward.

I never did complain about the lack of follow up, since I didn't realize it was even an issue until 3 years later. And I was very happy with the CNM who delivered my 2nd child. However, if I have any more kids, I plan to deliver at the hospital where I currently work, as I have seen firsthand how natural childbirth-friendly this place is. The nurses are always sooo excited when someone wants to avoid the epidural, and the OBs go along with it since the nurses pretty much unofficially call the shots around here, in low risk deliveries anyway.

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#44 of 57 Old 10-01-2010, 09:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, what a story! I'm so glad that you and baby made it through in spite of the lack of attentive early postpartum care. Sounds so....hmmm....'off'...to me, that they neither gave you increased pp attention, nor even charted your pph. The first seems unsafe, the second, unethical for many reasons.

When I see that a mama has lost more than the usual amt of blood, at least IF she is acting at all weak/woozy, then I definitely want to be watching her for a longer period after the birth than usual. And not just watching her, but also making sure she is drinking plenty, and getting a lot of wholesome food to eat. With that, I would give very specific instructions to family about the best ways to rebuild blood fast, warning/danger signs to watch for, when to call me or 911--and I'd probably be in contact a lot, with the family (later that same day, visit next day possibly followed by a later ph call that day). I want to know that bleeding is now reducing fast enough, that wooziness/weakness is reducing, give reminders about how much food/drink/supplements should be taken, along with rest. And I want families to understand that this is so important, because 'bleeding can easily lead to more bleeding'.

This means that if you lose enough blood, then you are not going to be able to carry as much oxygen to cells; without good oxygen supply, the uterus will not have good strong contrax to shrink itself back down rapidly--and that can mean more bleeding still. It can become another hemorrhage, without due caution, as late as 2 + wks after birth.

Anyway--so glad to know your next birth went better! I wonder if it might be a good idea to register a complaint now, about the charting issues and the lack of safe followup with your first...?
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#45 of 57 Old 10-04-2010, 04:30 PM
 
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I have been lurking on this thread for a while and finally have the courage to post.

As some of you know I gave birth almost 18 months ago at home with a midwife. The birth was the most amazing empowering experience. I don't want to go into detail of what happened after but I ended up with a massive Step A infection and almost died. I was told by my Dr's that Strep A after child birth was what killed women after birth in the 1800's before Dr's knew to wash hands between mothers.

The doctors who treated me wrote a letter to the council in my state about what happened. The Midwifery Council started a investigation agains my midwife. It ended with the Midwife voluntarily surrendering her license. From what I can gather I am not the only women who has had a negative experience with this midwife. I found out a year later that she was also found negligent in 2008 for loosing a baby.

I am grateful that I live in the state that has an active council that looks out for mom and baby. But I feel they need to publicize this info better. If I had know that she was negligent before I would have gone with another midwife.
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#46 of 57 Old 10-05-2010, 09:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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liqdsnk2--

Thanks for posting your story--I do remember reading earlier about your terrible postpartum infection

You bring up a good point about publicizing info on mws who have had complaints brought against them, or have been asked to stop practicing. It seems that this 'lack of full info' is a problem whether the mws are licensed or not, in one's home state. Just the same is true for OBs/other docs--this lack of blanced information about any care-provider makes it hard for families to make informed choices.

What do we do about this? The way things seem to work, it can be very hard to discover some very important things about our care-providers. I have heard about, and experienced so many instances where people only find out after their own disaster, about other, similar disasters involving certain birth or health providers. It does not seem we'll receive informed-enough choice in care by relying on care-providers and their professional organizations to give it to us.

Making complaints is definitely one way to get some action, and I'm glad that some of you have gone that way for sure. And I wonder--what else can we do, toward safe informed choices? We have to find ways to discover that balance of information about care providers and care choices, so that we have fewer complaints to make! And happier experiences to report.
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#47 of 57 Old 10-11-2010, 11:42 PM
 
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Oh dear...I've seen how this can be a problem in homebirth--have heard some families and mws both talk about this. Families complaining about a mw doing this, mws complaining that their clients 'don't want to be there for me, though I give so much'...oy. And I've seen myself do the same at times, catching myself going on about me if I'm under stress. At least, if it has something to do with the world of midwifery. No one has complained--and have hired me again. For me, it's been something I would catch myself doing and stop, turning back to mama's care with 'nuff about me, sorry!' I think since the topic was the midwifery world, it was more ok than if I'd just been talking about messy divorce or something...they are generally interested in the world of midwifery and know that it can be stressful at times (legal, medical, or community issues that can arise; mws are few, and fams want to help keep it available however they can). But while I've been grateful for my clients' indulgence, I know it's still not ok and have worked to eliminate it. Your comments were a good kick in the patootie for me!

Just wanted to clarify, if my midwife had been talking to me about midwifery stuff, I would have been interested in that. I think the mutual exchange of information is one of the things that sets a midwife/client relationship apart from an OB/client one. But, the midwife should still remain somewhat professional about what she's discussing. My prenatals were spent hearing about my midwife's nights at the bar, what kind of underwear she wore, and her sex life. Along with that came the shirts that revealed way too much clevage, heavy perfume, long fake nails, etc.
It was a very unprofessional situation all around.

Christa
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#48 of 57 Old 10-12-2010, 09:13 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Just wanted to clarify, if my midwife had been talking to me about midwifery stuff, I would have been interested in that. I think the mutual exchange of information is one of the things that sets a midwife/client relationship apart from an OB/client one. But, the midwife should still remain somewhat professional about what she's discussing. My prenatals were spent hearing about my midwife's nights at the bar, what kind of underwear she wore, and her sex life. Along with that came the shirts that revealed way too much clevage, heavy perfume, long fake nails, etc.
It was a very unprofessional situation all around.
I appreciate the clarification...and feel a bit less guilty because well, at least I've never gone THERE!

Easy to see why this was not so great for you. I'm kind of blown away--I've heard various things from ppl about 'unprofessional stuff' their mw did/said, but never anything quite like this. Wow.
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#49 of 57 Old 10-17-2010, 09:34 PM
 
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I had my third baby nine months ago, after two sections. I had a GP and was overseen by an OB, who felt that it was ok for me to have a "trial of labour". I was clear about a few things I wanted - no hep-lock, no constant monitoring, and a few others. They had me sign a waiver about the hep-lock, and seemed to have no problem with the other things.

As we got closer to the birth, the OB became less helpful - constantly going on about how my pelvis was narrow and that caused the dystocia in the other births (which wasn't the issue anyway) and how I likely would end up with another section. Bla bla bla.

I went into the hospital after about 10 hours of labour because I was vomiting and shaking, at about 5 cm, and things were going well. The intermittent monitoring showed things were fine, I was handling labour well with help from my doula, etc. The only thing was she and I thought the baby might not be in the most advantageous position, because I was having back pain and feeling like grunting, even though I was not anyware near second stage.

Well, suddenly the OB and Gp swooped in, and told me that the OB had to go, and so the Chief OB would be in charge, and he said I had to have a hep lock and internal monitoring, or he would send me on an hour long trip in the ambulance to a bigger hospital. They implied that I could die, and the OB said I had a 10% chance of death, and on and on. They actually yelled at me while I was having contractions. Yada yada.

I yelled back a bit. But in the end I just gave up I told them to do another section. I think about it all the time, and all the things I could have done instead, but I was tired and it just seemed easier. I'm not really brave about labour, and that was too much for me.

Anyway, I have thought about complaining to the College of Physicians and Surgeons about the OB and Chief of Obstetrics. (The GP apologized, and I am willing to accept that - I also think she was probably put in a difficult spot.)

I haven't because I am scared of being told that I am stupid, or that they did the right thing, or not being able to support my thoughts about why it was wrong. Also, I am not sure that it is really the right forum for this complaint. Or that nothing will come of it. I am not good at confrontation when I have a lot of emotions, and this would kind of be the epitome of that.

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#50 of 57 Old 10-18-2010, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh Bluegoat--I'm so sorry you had to go through that bullying, and needlessly be forced to give up your birth to that bullying!

I hope others will chime in, but for myself, I do hope you will complain. That sort of bullying is simply UNACCEPTABLE! It is not necessary, and as you well know it only makes things worse for mamas starting their journey with a new baby. I can see how you would not complain about the GP--you are likely right that she had no control over events at that point. But the OB who bullied you definitely needs to know how hurtful he was. And the hospital needs to know that they should do something to prevent such bullying in future.

Take your time, and maybe seek some help from people who might be able to assist you in forming the words for your complaint (in writing, to avoid face to face confrontation) and figuring out where it needs to go. It can be so valuable to a mama to speak out about her abuse....and nothing will change in the medical world if no one ever does speak out.

Sending you healing thoughts, and all the best as you consider what to do about this issue.
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#51 of 57 Old 10-18-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Ms Black,
Love the thread!!!
Although I live in a state with regulations, certification, and a separate council, there doesn't seem to be a way for prospective clients to receive full disclosure on a midwife's stats. I would hope that people would be honest, but we all know that this doesn't happen.
And I cringe to think of the number of "incidents" that need to take place BEFORE action is taken. It burns my butt to hear a midwife being described as a "loose cannon" (by her peers)... of the midwifery community KNOWING that sketchy behavior going on, but no one doing anything. It is more than sad that babies must die or moms almost die, before anything is done to curtail dangerous midwifery.

On another thought, I have heard women praise a midwife who "didn't care if they went past 42 weeks" or "didn't care if she'd had 2 c/s and wanted to VBAC" because the mom thought that this meant she was a good midwife, trusting birth. A midwife who doesn't CARE about this and other things, needs to be looked at more closely. A midwife needs to be upfront about protocols, scope of practice and show a willingness to work within the community standard of care. A good midwife must be able to EXPLAIN why or why not a certain situation is worrisome, etc.

I hope all women/families who have a complaint about the care they've received to let their midwife know... and if there is no resolution, to bring it to the attention of the certifying body where they live or state midwifery organization. This information should be readily accessible in your chosen midwife's informed consent agreement. In the event of significant morbidity/mortality, it is especially important to write down everything that happened, in your own words.. using a timeline if possible.
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#52 of 57 Old 10-19-2010, 07:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ms Black,
Love the thread!!!
Although I live in a state with regulations, certification, and a separate council, there doesn't seem to be a way for prospective clients to receive full disclosure on a midwife's stats. I would hope that people would be honest, but we all know that this doesn't happen.
And I cringe to think of the number of "incidents" that need to take place BEFORE action is taken. It burns my butt to hear a midwife being described as a "loose cannon" (by her peers)... of the midwifery community KNOWING that sketchy behavior going on, but no one doing anything. It is more than sad that babies must die or moms almost die, before anything is done to curtail dangerous midwifery.

On another thought, I have heard women praise a midwife who "didn't care if they went past 42 weeks" or "didn't care if she'd had 2 c/s and wanted to VBAC" because the mom thought that this meant she was a good midwife, trusting birth. A midwife who doesn't CARE about this and other things, needs to be looked at more closely. A midwife needs to be upfront about protocols, scope of practice and show a willingness to work within the community standard of care. A good midwife must be able to EXPLAIN why or why not a certain situation is worrisome, etc.

I hope all women/families who have a complaint about the care they've received to let their midwife know... and if there is no resolution, to bring it to the attention of the certifying body where they live or state midwifery organization. This information should be readily accessible in your chosen midwife's informed consent agreement. In the event of significant morbidity/mortality, it is especially important to write down everything that happened, in your own words.. using a timeline if possible.
Thanks for posting, Christine4kiddos--

You raise some good points, although I'd like to address a couple of them.

one is, it's very hard to receive full disclosure from any care provider, anywhere--not just hb mws. Heck, I went into my local hospital a year ago in search of some stats--csec, epidural and induction rate generally (for the hospital, not for any particular OB, even) and was given a runaround with high suspicion. Basically "who are you and why do you want to know?" What? Does that matter? Are not these issues pretty much public information? Apparently not. I was conveniently given the ph number of 'the person in charge of that' who refused to return my calls. I didn't try all that hard to make contact--for me, the message sent was pretty clear: we don't want people to know, we have our reasons for concealing this info from the general public.

In fact it's starting to look to me like the hb midwifery world is taking more and more cues from the med world in this respect. I mean, if docs and hospitals don't give full disclosure, why should we? Not that I like this, not by any means. Just trying to provide some balance of perspective here.

Also--as for 'my mw doesn't care if I go past 42wks, have had 2 or more csecs...etc': I think that families might express it that way, but it doesn't necessarily mean that their mw put it that way to them. A mw might not be particularly alarmed by postdates or multiple CS, for example-- if she is aware of the research and knows how to monitor elevated risk in such situations, has good backup, etc. That is, NOT practicing 'blind trust' but 'informed trust' in birth. As long as her clients are being informed and making their own choices, this by itself should not be a problem...but families might say 'my mw doesn't care about those things' only as a form of shorthand, when in fact quite possibly their mw DOES care, very much--only that she practices evidence based care with individual women/babies, rather than applying 'general stats' to everyone in a blanket way.

To me, the difference is important. And I very much DO urge families to know that difference and make sure they know their mw's (or OB's) thinking and study on 'higher risk' situations. I would no more want a care provider who ONLY goes by the 'accepted guidelines' (usually too conservative in a blanket way, rather than examined case-by-case), than I'd want one who soothed me with 'I trust birth' noises while ignoring risk. KWIM?

I think it's true that too often, midwives and midwifery orgs practice too great of a protectionism of the questionable practitioners--tho I have seen this just as true of the medical world. Of course, I don't care as much what the med world is doing, as I care about the midwiery world! But I have seen that in some areas, the mws and their orgs do not take complaints seriously enough--and this really irks me no end.

Still--in any situation, the most power lies in the hands of the families, IMO. If families will make their stories known to the providers AND to their overseeing orgs, changes can occur. If families don't complain, nothing will change. For various reasons, making complaints occurs too seldom--and poor OB or mw practice is allowed to continue by silent complicity.
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#53 of 57 Old 12-22-2010, 03:47 PM
 
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I was just thinking about my birth today, for the umpteenth time.  I am nearly 10 months PP with my first DS.  I'm glad this thread existed.

 

I had planned a homebirth with a midwife whom I thought would be very supportive.  I was 11 days late.  She had scheduled a trip which she claimed was a "contractual obligation" with another client out of state.  As luck would have it, my water broke 6 hours after she flew out of state.  In her place she sent 2 doulas, both of whom I had met, neither of which ended up being qualified in any way.   

 

I labored on my own for 7 hours.  I had gone immediately into hard labor.  I know this because I had been having false labor for weeks.  Finally the doulas showed up but they acted like they didn't want to be there.  I had the instinct to lean back.  They kept telling me not to.  When my son was finally born (in the hospital, we transferred and he was born 100% naturally) his head was really molded, as if he had been stuck for hours.  If they had let me follow my instincts I might have been better off.

 

I was furious at the neglect I experienced at the hands of this midwife.  She was incredibly flippant about my safety and the safety of our son.  I shudder when I think of all the things that could have gone wrong.  Thank God she has moved out of state so I never have to deal with her again.  I did write to her and tell her how I felt about 3-4 months PP.  She wrote back and said: "I could argue with you on many points but I am not going to" and that was the end of it.

 

I never confronted the doulas.  Up until today I was friends with them on Facebook, but frankly I just don't want to deal with them at all.  Maybe I do need to tell them how I felt.  


Loving wife to a wonderful and Godly man, hug.gif  and SAHM to two beautiful boys, DS1, natural hospital birth (2/2010) and DS2, beautiful homebirth (10/2011) cd.gifnursex2.gif

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#54 of 57 Old 12-25-2010, 05:26 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So sorry you had to experience that, PsuedoDiva!

 

I really really  hope you will complain to whomever is appropriate--the care providers themselves, for sure--but also any board that oversees them.  Even if your mw moved out of state, it might not be too late to make a complaint to her licensing board in your state.  The doulas may also have certifying orgs that will want to know of this birth.  And by the way, if you paid your mw in full, then she totally owes you $$ for failing to provide a trained mw to take her place after she left.  The fact that she left you in that position, and then had the nerve to blow off your complaints as well, seems just wrong to me.  Now I don't know what agreements you had together, what contracts or payments were made--but all of that is something to consider.

 

Are you still in CA, as indicated here?  Was your birth in CA?  If so, then the licensing board will surely want to know of this malpractice and violation of the mw laws.  If not, but you and mw were both in another state that licenses mws, the same would hold true.  As a hb mw and a mom who had 3 unassisted births, I can tell you that I know birth works just fine most of the time, with or without a trained professional in attendance.  But I can also say that how moms feel about their birthing situation makes all the difference!  If you'd planned a UC with only a doula in attendance, things would be different.  But having planned for a mw, then be attended by doulas only, would be likely to make any mom more stressed during labor --when her own and baby's health so relies upon mom being relaxed and confident.  And it does seem very possible that these doulas contributed to your birth difficulties by not respecting your birth instincts with respect to positioning--seems they were going on 'usual tricks and methods of the trade' without being in tune with YOU, in YOUR labor. 

 

Anyway...I do hope you'll complain somehow to someone.  The worst of this continues at home and hospital, primarily because families find it so hard to sound off when their care was abusive or lacking in some necessary way.  We can only cause this to change by telling others what is not ok, what our complaints are, and not letting anyone blow us off.  I know mws who also refuse to hear out client complaints with an open heart and mind--try to blame the client, or do as your mw did--claim that even if she may have been wrong, SHE also has complaints about you.  But this amazes me totally.  I have found that by listening, owning any errors I may have made, hearing out a client's feelings and affirming them somehow, we are usually together able to find a way to resolution.  I don't get many complaints, and none have been this serious (as yours)--but I try so hard to acknowledge families, to work through the  issues and feelings with them, take them seriously.  Most go ahead and hire me again--because they appreciate my honesty and concern--and see that I work to learn from every experience.  But I hear far too many stories like yours--and of course, I hear them as a family's new mw--they are certainly not going back to the one who betrayed them somehow, and are not telling their friends good things about that other mw!  Still, it is hard to know that most of those families never do complain about their care (except to me, and I can't do anything about it but sympathise)--because by not doing so, they are allowing the lack of good care, and the lack of professional integrity, to continue. 

 

If you are willing to consider making a complaint, I am more than happy to support you in tangible ways as I am able to.  PM for more info.

 

And may your next birth be much happier for you and LO both!

 

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#55 of 57 Old 12-29-2010, 10:30 AM
 
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I'm going to PM you...


Loving wife to a wonderful and Godly man, hug.gif  and SAHM to two beautiful boys, DS1, natural hospital birth (2/2010) and DS2, beautiful homebirth (10/2011) cd.gifnursex2.gif

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#56 of 57 Old 01-02-2011, 03:20 AM
 
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Interesting thread.
Major_momma 11 I wanted to comment on this. "The midwives and birth attendants waited around until I was stable, then left me in the care of a postpartum nurse. I was well aware by then that I had hemorrhaged, so I expected to be kept overnight, rather than the usual 6-8 hours. However, at 7 hours after delivery, I was surprised to see that I was going to be sent home within the hour. I was too agreeable to argue, so I just went along with it. I hadn't even peed yet, and had to remind the nurse of this. My BP was slightly below the parameters for sending home, so she took it 2 or 3 times until she got an acceptable number, then sent us home 8 hours out. "


In my state, in order to keep patients for a certain number of hours total, institutions have to qualify as a certain type of care facility , birth centers try to keep just under that deadline so they don't have to become a hospital or nursing home with all that intails , and I think that they would have had to transfer you to the hospital in order to keep you longer. I would encourage you to talk to or send a note to the attending midwife for that birth, she needs to revise her protocols for post hemorrhage care, like a second assessment before release to go home, and maybe even figuring out how to keep someone longer or set up some home visits, and/or RX a postpartum doula...
Take care
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#57 of 57 Old 01-02-2011, 01:55 PM
 
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Good. Now we need to get the rest of the negligent ones off the "streets".


Mommy to ds12, dd11, ds8, ds6, dd4, ^dd^ HB Loss, and dd 1
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