Attention Homebirth Advocates

LB

Unregistered midwives leading child births face jail or $30,000 fine under new SA laws.

That’s right. South Australia has passed a law to keep rogue midwives from killing babies. The law is apparently named after Lisa Barrett, who is responsible for the deaths of five  (FIVE!) infants in the last few years. On her website she recounts — with pride — birth stories full of high risk scenarios and obviously questionable judgement, ranging from… twins whom she allowed to deliver more than 48 hours apart (Story comes complete with a google search whereupon she came back to inform the expectant parents that the average time between delivery of twins is FORTY SEVEN DAYS. Even though most reputable sources and common sense report it as being 17 minutes.)… to a 35 weeker who didn’t begin breathing until TEN MINUTES after she was born… to a HBA3C with a previous vertical incision. Pictures of limp, blue babies abound. Instead of decrying these practices and discussing about why so many homebirths attended by Lisa Barrett end in tragedy, homebirth advocates invite her to speak at their conferences.

If you truly valued the “right” to homebirth, you would be speaking out against midwives like Lisa Barrett, because without her, this law probably wouldn’t have a chance.

A side note: may I point out the irony of Kelly Vincent’s idiotic statement, “I fear it could drive homebirthing further underground, and could result in free birthing – a practice that must be monitored very carefully.”  

 

Attention Big Medicine: I’m Still Waiting for my Check!

Ever since I heard that I was in the pocket of Big Medicine, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of my payoff. Sadly, it hasn’t yet arrived. Anyone have any ideas on how I can collect what’s due me?

 

Of course, the comment was meant to be insulting, but it’s so ridiculous and hysterical I can’t help but be grateful she made it. The LULZ enough make up for the slight.

And, just to comment on the rest of the insultcomment…Diane Goslin was charged with practicing medicine without a license after the death of an infant in her care. It’s doubtful she and any of the other midwives in Pennsylvania being “harassed” by the authorities are receiving this attention without reason. I have no idea if she was found to be negligent, but she was breaking the law, an infant died, and she got the support of the midwifery community for it.

Oregon Legislator Julie Parrish Responds to Moms Hurt by Homebirth

On February 16, several families who have been hurt by homebirth and their supporters came together in protest at the Oregon statehouse. What were they protesting? Oregon lay midwives who were holding a rally at the same time. Yes, Oregon homebirth midwives are beginning to worry that their free reign in Oregon may be coming to an end. People are starting to realize that it’s ridiculous that you need a license and training to paint someone’s  fingernails in this state but not to declare yourself a midwife.

So the midwives are stepping up their rhetoric. They pay Alan Tressider around $2,000 a month to lobby for them in Salem. Missy Cheney, chair of the Oregon Board of Direct Entry Midwifery (the entity, I might add, that is supposed to be REGULATING licensed midwives), is re-writing bills on behalf of the midwives and crowing about it in Oregon Midwifery Council newsletters. And then they have their annual rally day in which they gather on the statehouse steps to pat themselves on the back and then head inside to meet with their legislators.

Much to the shock of the counter-protesters, one of the pro-lay-midwife speakers at the rally was none other than Representative Julie Parrish, who has been appointed to a 3 member house sub-committee on midwifery. She spoke about how lay midwives were going to save the state so much money and co-opted the language of choice to refer to midwifery care.

Following the protest, several of the mothers hurt by homebirth midwives in Oregon took the time to express their concerns to Parrish, which they have shared with 10Centimeters.

K. wrote:

I was disturbed that a representative was at the rally for midwives on February 16, 2012. Did you see the opposition? Did you wonder about the 38 names on the balloons that represented the loss of life or injury? Did you speak with any of the grieving families? Did you bother to ask about the financial burden a midwife can cause and leave a family, while eluding any sort of responsibility for their ineptitude? My midwife first gave me a financial agreement for $4950. I never signed it. She switched the paperwork and asked me to “sign this real quick”. She changed the cost to $6500. After my emergency transfer and c-section due to the medical incompetence of my licensed, certified midwife, my bill now totaled $30,000. The midwives billed my insurance $11,000 and received $7,000. All without even delivering my son. I filed a complaint with OHLA. It took them 7 months to even call me for an interview. It has now been 17 months and I have heard nothing. My midwife lied, forged medical documents and apparently did not have the proper education. 

Please ask, look and listen to the families of the dead, injured and financially strapped due to a midwives negligence. Midwives do not save Oregon money if they continue to cause harm. We need proper education, OHLA to actually regulate on the behalf of the consumers, accountability for their actions and responsibility in the form of insurance. Ask MANA to release the information, we need transparency. How can you form an educated opinion on such a subject without looking at both sides? Please open your eyes to the families that continue to suffer. We only want safety for our mothers and babies. Midwives should want the same.

Thank you for your time. 

And C. wrote:

Dear Representative Parrish,

My friends tell me you supported midwives wholeheartedly at their rally last week. I was unable to attend, as I am recovering from pelvic reconstruction surgery and a hysterectomy due to severe prolapse caused by certified professional Oregon midwives’ destruction of my perineum (performing episiotomies and one repair – over two births – that I later learned they had no idea how to perform). 

I urge you to look into the hidden side of midwifery in Oregon: The high cost of caring for the babies and mamas that CPMs (severely undertrained – even the most experienced of the lot!) endanger and harm. The cost to Oregon – and to victims like me – is much greater than any money they appear to be saving anyone!
…During my first birth in 2007, a CPM who later didn’t report my scar tissue performed an episiotomy (talking my husband out of the hospital transfer he was requesting, which I would have supported) that included scissors slipping. That’s okay when you’re cutting felt, but not perineal tissue. Then she missed that I tore into my rectum – again, I should have been risked out of midwife repair, but she hadn’t the education to do that. Then I waited for hours until my second CPM sewed me up – grossly crooked and overlapping. Perhaps unfortunately, even though standard of care dictates laceration repair is to be concluded within three hours of the laceration, I did heal completely – but that crooked and overlapping repair set the stage for my tragic second birth, in which my child was thankfully unscathed but I endured a double episiotomy that was, frankly, violent. My third midwife involved in all of this, the owner of the birth center, wrenched and sawed. I am not exaggerating… I lost two liters of blood. And remember that three-hour-repair standard of care? That was news to this midwife, too, only this time I did *not* heal completely. The last part of my repair (completed after my transfer to Legacy) fell apart, and left me with a gaping vagina and a millimeter – maybe two – between vagina and anus. The double episiotomy was necessary because the baby could not get past the overlapping repair job from my first birth – there just wasn’t enough room, and that scar tissue would not stretch. 
I’m not even telling you everything that happened. CPMs did so much wrong in our births. The midwife recopied my second birth’s labor notes (illegal – and also common during poor midwife-attended outcomes, I have found). After the second birth, my midwives actually wanted to get me back into the birth tub (I birthed on a bed nearby) per my wishes, as I had no idea how bad my condition was, and would have let me had I not fainted on the way. There is more. And I could go on about the physical and emotional ramifications this ordeal has had for me and my family, and the thousands of dollars all this has cost, but I want to emphasize what got me here: Repeated cavalier carelessness combined with inadequate training. Every single one of the other midwifery malpractice victims I have met has experienced the same thing. There is a disturbing trend at work here. And Oregon is leading the way, because women travel from all over the country to attend Birthingway College of Midwifery!
Families need to know what they’re choosing when they choose a midwife. Midwives need to be not just licensed, but required to carry malpractice insurance as a condition of licensure. Training and oversight needs vast improvement. (OHLA still hasn’t gotten back to me about their investigation into my midwives. It’s been months and months … several months ago, I was told a decision was coming soon. No word since. I’m almost afraid to ask. I fear I don’t really want to know what little OHLA has done about my midwives’ negligence!) Reporting needs to be thorough and unbiased – and available to the public! 
Both women received the exact same response:

Thanks so much for your email. I’m sorry to hear of the complications from your birth experience.

Yes, I do support midwives, and people’s right to choose how to have their child. My personal birth choice for all three of my children was to have them in hospitals. I believe in people’s personal liberties to make the choices they see fit for their families. And yes, I do know that there have been complications for women attended by midwives. And when those happen, they are tragic to be sure, but because of the stigma around home births and midwivery as a choice, they also become more pronounced in the media.

I’ve sat now through a few hearings about midwivery practice in Oregon and when I asked the officials from the state about statistics around mortality rates for infants delivered via a midwife, I was told that there were five deaths in 2010. When I asked for the same statistic for hospital mortalities [sic], I was told they don’t actively track that number.

The night I had my first child, I went to the hospital to be induced. Another couple we knew had the same doctor and was also being induced that evening. One of us went home with a child, the other didn’t. Clearly, bad outcomes happen in hospitals too. Ironically, the doctor who delivered my first child serves in the Oregon Legislature with me.

Birthing babies is definitely not what happens in the movies. It can be scary, and dramatic, and yes, tragedies do happen. My support of midwives has less to do with cost savings, and more to do with a family’s right to make a choice that serves their family. That choice also needs to be an informed choice. All the laws we write won’t mitigate the inherent risk of having a child.

If a midwife is performing outside of their scope, that’s something to be looked at to be sure. Ensuring a midwife is safe in his/her practice is critical. But I will continue to support birth choices for families, and hope that each family will weigh the pro’s and con’s of a midwife/home birth over a more traditional hospital birth.

Again, I am truly sorry that your own experience had an unfortunate ending around what should have been a joyous occasion for your family.

Best,

Julie Parrish

That’s right, Loss Moms: Babies die in hospitals, too. Straight from a legislator near you. And once again, the co-opting of the language of choice. Are pro-choice advocates working for women to be able to choose a back-alley abortion with an unlicensed and untrained provider? No, just the opposite.

Not only that, she claims that hospital death numbers aren’t tracked. Um…you can get the hospital data from the CDC Wonder database. It is true that vital statistics data is compiled very slowly, and the most recent information available to the public is from 2007. But it exists, and will eventually have the 2010 data, so to say that it isn’t recorded is the epitome of baloney. For the years between 2000 and 2007, the average hospital infant mortality rate in Oregon 37 weeks and beyond is 2.3/1000. This is for all care providers, including MDs who take on high risk mothers and babies. The average rate for CNMs in Oregon, which is the group to which we should be comparing homebirth midwives, is 1.7/1000. Homebirth midwives other than CNMs in Oregon averaged 735 births per year between 2002 and 2008. If you are generous and assume they had 900 births in 2010, the five deaths she mentions would be a death rate of 5.6/thousand. That rate is (drumroll please…) 3.3 TIMES the average CNM rate of death.

If you have something to say to Representative Parrish, you can contact her using the following information:

Her email is rep.julieparrish@state.or.us.

Her office address in Salem is:

900 Court St. NE, H-386
Salem, OR 97301

Her district office address is:

1980 Willamette Falls Drive #120-312 West Linn, Oregon 97068.

Guest Post — Getting Over the Guilt: NCB is Not Easy to Shake

Please welcome guest blogger and raptor extraordinaire, Lisa Miller.

On different parenting sites we’ve all seen quotes like this:

“At the moment we decided on the transfer, however, was the moment I felt the most guilty and as though I had failed.”

“ [I] Was so ashamed and embarrassed to have gotten the epi[dural] after 26 hrs of horrible back labor, I somehow had myself convinced I did something wrong for it to hurt so bad…”

“Even though I KNOW that I want an epidural this time, I occasionally catch myself thinking that I should just tough it out again and see if it’s better”

“I was not strong enough to make it. I pussed out.”

“I remember feeling immense guilt and failure for several months after Anna was born.”

“I knew I wanted the epi[dural] with #6 but felt weird about it all at the same time.”

“I still feel guilt over not nursing Elijah as long as I did the others and feel that it’s my fault he has had so much to deal with health wise.”

“ I do remember – however – feeling worried about posting my birth story on Babycenter (haha, why Lord, why?) because it ended in a c-section and I felt like I failed at birth (siiiiiiigh) that first week or so after the surgery.”

A Confession to my Closest Friends:

Common as these types of conversations are, this is not a collection of quotes from Birth Without Fear or Baby Center. These are selections from a conversation the Raptors were having just this morning. Yes, all these women are the rational ladies who support a woman’s right to choose drugs for labor and to formula feed and see nothing wrong with either. Apparently we do not extend such courtesy to ourselves.

How deeply do those of us who were steeped in Natural Child Birth still feel guilt over making the choices we did in labor? I feel so guilty that I have been lying to you all for the past year. Yes, I’ve told this lie so many times that it just seemed natural to tell it to the hordes of new best friends I have made over the last year. You all know that I got an epidural with my second birth, but you didn’t know I also got one with my first.
Why would I do such a thing? I know that getting pain relief in labor is a fine, safe, and perfectly acceptable option. Why the lie?

The first thing I am going to do is to rationalize my lie to you, because I STILL feel the need to defend it. With both my kids I was pushing within 30 minutes of getting pain relief—thus I still feel like I earned the title of Natural Birther, because I did all the hard stuff without drugs. This does not matter one bit. But it still does to me. Why is that?

The Natural Child Birth Does Me Wrong:

I had not been able to unclench my jaw since my daughter had been born. The pain from the clenching had caused my teeth to ache. I went to the dentist where he filled my teeth and gave me Vicodin. The only time I felt OK was when I was taking it. Soon enough I could not get any more narcotics and the pain from my jaw had moved to my neck and was making its way down my back. I was frantically borrowing pain killers from friends and family, scared to ask for some from a doctor because I feared they’d think I was a drug addict. Something was wrong.

Nine months pass and I can no longer get out of bed without help. I ache like a 90-year old-woman. The Doctors test all come back fine. They occasionally see some inflammation but they test me for everything under the sun. It’s not Lupus, it’s not Lyme’s. In the mornings I load my kids up in the car. We buy lunch at fast food places and we drive until I can’t afford anymore gas. It is the only way I can take care of them. At least when they are strapped in I don’t have to walk or move much, which causes me too much pain. I have resorted to buying pain pills from a sketchy guy that comes into the place where I work for $5 a pill. And they don’t help much. This is not the mother I wanted to be.

When my legs start swelling and I get fevers of 101.1, I break down in a doctor’s office. I tell her about everything, the pain, the pills, being an awful mother. She places her hand on my knee and looks over my record. “Honey, you have Fibromyalgia” She says as she rubs my shoulder.

And finally I have a name. Fibromyalgia is a disorder of the central nervous system that screws up the bodies pain receptors. It tells your brain that you are in pain when you are not. In people with fibromyalgia, as many as 35% have also been diagnosed with PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. When my doctor asks me about what was happening around the time the disorder started, I wrack my brain.

“If it was some type of trauma” She began “It would be something that you’ve replayed over and over, almost obsessively. Perhaps something that causes you nightmares?” Well, now that you mention it…

I had been having the dream since the day of my labor–the first one starting in the hospital. I see my husband– his usually calm and collected face looking at me in terror—eyes wide, head slightly shaking, and this scares me. He is the strong one and here he is falling apart. It scares me to death. And the pain, I can feel it like it was actually happening. Most people forget the pain of childbirth almost as soon as it is over, but I wake myself up having another dreaded contraction, only to find that it’s not real. I am clutching a deflated belly with not so much as a cramp.

My son’s labor was just long. Twenty two hours, with back labor and Pitocin and I got just got tired. The epidural helped to relax me and he was born soon after.

My daughter’s labor was 6 hours start to finish and was frantic. I remember trying to walk in the parking lot outside the hospital but every step caused a contraction and each one was worse than the last. When I actually got into the room, I went from my hands and knees, to the tub, to the ball to the bed and could not get a break from the pain. It hurt so bad that I remember looking down at my knuckles, which were white and griping the bed sheet and wondering how I could kill myself quickly. I didn’t ask for the epidural so much as I demanded it, and then begged. I cried knowing that it would take an hour for them to get a bag of fluids in me and then to get the actual drugs. I don’t like remembering this. Some folks might say that it was the epidural that caused the fibro to flair. To them I say: I didn’t have nightmares for months about getting pain relief. But I still have guilt.

So I did it to myself. I have given myself a life-long disorder for a belief I would later come to realize was not even real. The medicine they have me on has allowed me to be the mother I have always wanted to be. I still have bad days but I have a life. Having this condition has taken so much from me and once it is released, no amount of getting over my birth will make it go away. I am currently pregnant with our third child, taking a risk to be on the medicine while I am pregnant. Fibro has taken so many things from us, I refuse to let it take the family that my husband and I always dreamed of.

This labor, I plan of trying to be induced so that I know I can have an epidural as soon as possible with no waiting time. I have not a bit of guilt in that, and yet I still have guilt and shame from the epidurals I got in my other labors. I still feel like I failed at some goal I had set for myself. My rational mind knows this is insane, yet the guilt is still there.

So to my Raptor friends: I apologize for lying to you. And I am also sorry that I still have the need to offer further explanations (I have a pelvis that turns my babies’ sunny side up and makes labor very painful). But knowing that many of you still carry around the guilt makes me see how powerful this business of NCB really is. I see how it can get into your head and make you crazy with thoughts and insecurities. So here is to getting over it, moving on and not forgiving ourselves…because we’ve done nothing wrong.

OHLA Direct Entry Midwifery Board is a JOKE (and a hazard to your health)

What is the purpose of a board of … whatever? When it comes to licensing boards, it is to protect the public by ensuring basic levels of competency. For example, the Oregon State Board of Nursing, which licenses Certified Nurse-Midwives, says

The Oregon State Board of Nursing safeguards the public’s health and well-being by providing guidance for, and regulation of, entry into the profession, nursing education and continuing safe practice.

The Oregon Medical Board, which licenses MD’s and DO’s,  also has the same mission:

The mission of the Oregon Medical Board is to protect the health, safety, and well being of Oregon citizens by regulating the practice of medicine in a manner that promotes quality care.

In addition to its licensing functions, the Board conducts investigations, imposes disciplinary action, and supports rehabilitation, education, and research to further its legislative mandate to protect the citizens of Oregon. The Oregon Medical Board is also responsible for the scope of practice of First Responders and EMTs.

What does the Oregon Board of Direct Entry Midwifery and the Oregon Health Licensing Agency do? Well, the stated mission of OHLA is

The Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) protects the health, safety and rights of Oregon consumers by ensuring only qualified applicants are authorized to practice. OHLA establishes, communicates and ensures compliance of regulatory standards for multiple health and related professions.

That, however, is far from the truth when it comes to licensed midwives in the state of Oregon. In reality, the BDEM and OHLA have…

  1.  Failed to remove the license of a midwife who abandoned a woman with a retained placenta.  Seriously? Someone who’s read one book on childbirth knows that a placenta that doesn’t come out within a couple of hours of the birth of the baby is a serious problem. And a midwife who leaves a woman in that situation? Well, that’s a serious problem as well. But apparently the Oregon Board of Direct Entry Midwifery doesn’t think so. When the Board declined to do anything about it, board member Kate Davidson, CNM, resigned in protest, saying in her resignation letter:

 After the Board’s decision not to revoke the license of a midwife who left a patient with a placenta undelivered, I do not feel I can honestly continue to serve and maintain my own personal integrity. I feel this was an egregious act and failure to revoke the license conflicts with the Board’s duty to protect the public.

  1. Progressively reduced the number of absolute risk criteria so that Oregon DEMs can attend riskier and riskier births. Between 1993 and 2009, eighteen different criteria were either loosened, reduced to non-absolute criteria, or removed from consideration altogether by the board.  Oregon midwives are now not required to even consult with a medical doctor when an infant is born at home at 35 weeks, much less transfer care.
  2. Refused to discipline midwives whose actions contributed to the death of a child. Case 05-4228 brought before the board was a complaint about a midwife’s management of fetal heart rate which led to fetal demise. According to notes from the board’s meeting on 5/19/2005, the board found that the midwife DID NOT CHECK FETAL HEART TONES APPROPRIATELY but did not discipline the midwife or make her name known to the public.
  3. Ensured that DEMs are not required to provide risk information about homebirth with malpresentations, multiple gestation, VBAC, and postdates.  The disclosures have been required by the legislature, but every time the deadline approaches to implement, OHLA pushes it back.

The Oregon Health Licensing Agency filed temporary administrative rules with the Secretary of State Office on Octoner [sic] 15, 2011, to extend the implementation date to June 1, 2012, which will require each licensed direct entry midwife provide risk information to clients, as published on the agency’s website, regarding out-of-hospital birth, malpresentation birth (breech), multiple gestations (twins), vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC), and births exceeding 42 weeks gestation (post-dates.)

  1. Allowed multiple members of the board (the chair and vice-chair, in fact) to have a serious conflict of interest. Melissa Cheyney, board chair, is also the director of research for MANA, whose stated goal is “to unify and strengthen the profession of midwifery,” basically a lobbying group for midwives.  Somehow Cheyney and Susan Moray, who is MANA’s press officer (and is also employed as continuing education coordinator by the Oregon Midwifery Council, yet another lobbying organization for Oregon midwives) are allowed to maintain their positions as virtual lobbyists for midwives while running a board that is supposed to be protecting Oregon women from bad midwives.
  2. Hired a private midwife advocacy/lobby group, who has refused to release data to them in the past, to collect safety data on Oregon midwives. That’s right. Starting June 1, 2011, OHLA started requiring Oregon licensed midwives to submit data to Melissa Cheyney’s MANAstats. Totally disregarding the fact that they have requested data from MANA before, and Cheyney denied the request. According to board meeting notes from August, 2010:

Cheyney stated that OHLA requested a state account from the MANA, in order to have the ability to retrieve aggregate data for LDMs in Oregon. Cheyney stated that the MANA board’s official policy is to give state-level accounts to professional organizations as a tool to evaluate areas where more training might be needed for the purpose of self regulation, and to not provide the data to regulatory entities. Cheyney explained that MANA’s policy was generated taking into consideration that MANA is a voluntary database. Cheyney explained that MANA suspected that, due to some state regulatory boards having very hostile relationships with midwives, the quality and quantity of data submitted might be adversely affected if regulatory authorities were provided access. Due to this policy OHLA’s request for a state level account was denied. Cheyney stated that due to multiple requests made by regulatory authorities to MANA for a state-level account, the MANA board decided to re-evaluate this policy. However, based on feedback received from contributors to the MANAstats database expressing concerns, MANA determined that state-level accounts would not be provided to regulatory entities at this time.

  1. Published worthless information about licensees while obfuscating information vital to making a truly informed decision about which midwife to use for a homebirth. Want to know if the midwife you’re considering has ever been disciplined by the board? Well you’re out of luck! For example, Jennifer Gallardo has had at least two final orders (case numbers 00-01 and 02-12) that resulted from cases of fetal or infant demise. What do you find when you look up her license on the OHLA website?

 

Unresolved Disciplinary Action: None. That’s right. OHLA will only tell you if a midwife failed to pay her fine, not whether or not she’s been disciplined. What about a midwife who gave up her license rather than have it revoked? Clare Loprinzi, the midwife who abandoned the woman with the retained placenta, eventually agreed to surrender her license to the board “in lieu of revocation” in 2002 after she was involved in an infant demise in 1999. What does OHLA say about her license?

The same thing it says about midwives who failed to pay their renewal fees. And no mention of case number 99-01, including a “proposed order to revoke license due to unprofessional conduct” which resulted in fetal demise. (an aside, because I don’t have enough hours in the day to detail all that is wrong with OHLA and the OBDEM: Why the f*ck did it take THREE YEARS to take her license away?)

And what about midwives who currently have complaints against their licenses? Shouldn’t the public be aware of that? OHLA doesn’t think so. Adele Rose of Andaluz is currently under investigation for her involvement in a fetal demise in 2010 as well as another 2010 incident. Incidentally, she was given a one month suspension (during which she was allowed to continue practicing as a midwife…) as a result of case 08-5222, which was a VBAC attempt that ended in fetal demise and an emergency hysterectomy. What does a search of her license tell us?

 

Nothing. Not shocking when you consider the rest of this, but it should be.

But maybe this is par for the course when it comes to reporting actions taken against licenses?  I mean, Birth Without Fear is constantly telling us about how hospitals are hiding things from us. Maybe the Oregon Board of Nursing refuses to report actions against their licensees as well? Oh, look. If you go to the OBON website, it has all of the disciplinary actions taken in the last year, complete with details and the area in which the disciplined nurse lives. And if you look up those nursing licenses individually? Those violations are listed on the license with a .pdf of the final order. Nurses, schmurses. Surely the medical board, with those evil doctors who are hiding ALL those terrible hospital outcomes we always hear rumors (but never see any proof!) about on MDC, isn’t telling the public about actions taken against medical licensees!  Nope. They have final orders, current to those handed down LAST WEEK, on their site, complete with names and copies of the order. Not only that, but they have temporary orders taken against doctors who are being investigated listed! And violations are all listed on the medical license look-up as well.

Oregon women who are considering a homebirth should be OUTRAGED at the lack of oversight, protection, and transparency provided by OHLA and the Oregon Board of Direct Entry Midwifery. It is clear that their real agenda is to promote midwifery and not to protect Oregon families, in direct opposition to their stated goal. When are you going to start speaking out?

 

Whaaat??!? The Danger of Placenta Previa is Really Just “Hospital Drama”

You may remember the Whaaatt? post regarding birthing at home with placenta previa. If you need to refresh your memory, it’s right over here. As it turns out, the original page is the gift that keeps on giving. Birth Without BS posted a link for discussion on her facebook page, and many people were appropriately shocked at the poorhideously awful advice therein.  However, one commentor took it upon herself to educate the masses:

Ahhh, I see, that makes so much sense. If we could all just have a slightly more Traditional — with a capitol “T”! –indigenous paradigm (which has apparently been proven, as opposed to the “unproven male mechanistic medical paradigm”), things like placenta previa just wouldn’t be a problem! We can just keep calm and that placenta will take care of itself. Our reptilian brain will kick into gear and somehow get that baby THROUGH the placenta and out first. Not only that, if you manage to acquire that Traditional, indigenous paradigm, you WILL be able to just read something off the internet and go for it. Change your paradigm, people!!

 

 

Margarita Shares Her Story on KATU

Great job, Margarita! I know the reporter didn’t put in everything you told her, but I think your story came across loud and clear, anyway. And kudos to Representative Greenlick. I’m looking forward to seeing what he puts forth this coming legislative session.

And the best comment award goes to Tara, for this:

This tells a good portion of her story but leaves out some of the most chilling details. The “midwives” Darby Partner and Laura Tanner looked great and talked a good game but failed to deliver on their promises. But worse than that, their actions were self-serving. This was Darby’s first primary birth and she wasn’t going to have a hospital transport as her first birth. So they in effect, kidnapped Margarita. They took away her phone and forced her friends to leave. M’s husband was in India and was not allowed to talk to her. Her friend called the police multiple times and got no help. So margarita was alone with these charlatans, and in pain and helpless. They actually left her so they would not have to hear her pleas to go the hospital. They didn’t even know enough to tell that they were picking up her heartbeat and not the baby’s. They also did not even have a bulb syringe or knowledge of CPR. They forced her to labor for 8 days with all the warning signs. Meconium in the fluid, post dates etc. They misrepresented themselves and because of the lack of a system that Oregon has there is no way to tell the difference. I saw Darby’s and Laura’s websites myself, they looked legit. Full of pictures of happy mamas and babies and Darby looking like some benevolent mother earth figure. This is why this mother is fighting so hard, so that no one else is duped by fakers like she was. But is goes deeper than that. Natural child birth and homebirth can be wonderful, but there is an undercurrent of sickly sweet lies that has overtaken the NCB world. The blame lies heavily on the false prophets of the community that peddle the most egregious tripe. They spew such platitudes as no woman can grow a baby she can’t birth, and breech is another variation of normal. They employ fearmongering techniques and tell mothers that doctors only want to cut them so they can get to their golf game. They are zealots and they are cult-like in how they maintain rigid control over the content on their sites. Margarita’s own story was deleted from the most popular of these pages. They do not allow dissenting points of view and commenters, myself included, are deleted for raising up a voice of reason. They deny that there is any risk to birth at all and scoff at known complications like pre-eclampsia, previa and gestational diabetes. Worse, they push bunk remedies like garlic vaginal suppositories for group B strep. They viciously cut down any women who have inductions and c/sections and their followers follow suit. It’s common to hear how women who have c sections are selfish and shouldn’t be allowed to have children. They have created an impossible ideal in the name of being “natural” and and any woman that doesn’t follow in this ideal of homebirth, breastfeeding,cloth diapering,not circing, not vaccinating, etc are denounced and verbally flogged by hundreds of women. I’m actually surprised there aren’t more suicides from this, although we hear of a great deal of postpartum depression and difficulties bonding with the children that result from the “failed birth” I personally know a mother that has spent the last year regretting her homebirth transport and feeling like a failure because of it. Is it any wonder that vulnerable mothers go running to midwives? And these saccharine phonies are there with arms wide open promising to give them the birth experience they always wanted and failing them in the 11th hour. There is nothing we can really do to prevent this kind of propaganda from saturating the internet, but there is damn well something we can do about the lying, self-proclaimed “midwives” that exploit a mother’s fears. We need to demand stricter educational standards(25 births, are you kidding me?) mandatory regulations, mandatory licensing, malpractice insurance and the strictest review board that will drop the hammer down on these incompetent wanna-be midwives. You know, what’s really sad? Because these midwives aren’t insured, there isn’t even any civil action that babyloss mothers can seek. They literally get away scott-free. And they go on to harm even more babies and mothers. If they want to be professionals, then they need to be held to professional standards.

Why I Chose Hospital Birth

Please give a warm welcome to guest blogger Lauren Baden! Lauren is a SAHM and college student studying to be a microbiologist. She currently lives in northernish CA, while her husband serves in the Air Force. They move a lot, don’t get to  see each other as much as they’d like, and have amazing friends who get them through everything. She has one daughter, Aline, two cats, and a very large dog! She strives to promote safe birth, whether that is at home or in a hospital.

Let me start off by saying I am not against homebirth.  I am all for safe homebirth attended by an experienced medical professional, preferably a CNM.  I cannot in good conscience support unattended births or births attended by direct entry or lay midwives. However, I do believe that there should be state or federal guidelines as to what constitutes a medical professional, meaning there should be standardized schooling to allow more women the ability to birth at home if that is what they desire.

I delivered my daughter on July 16th, 2011 at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. I bring this up because I know there could be someone out there who says “Your doctor induced you to make more money!” This is untrue, as my doctor is a military member; therefore she got paid the same amount no matter what kind of birth I had.  Homebirth was never an option for me, because I have multiple medical problems that would have made it extremely dangerous.

The primary concern for my wellbeing, along with my daughter’s, of course, was my heart conditions. I have a mitral valve prolapse with regurgitation. This in itself is not enough to be seriously threatening to my life, but it’s certainly something that needs to be monitored. My symptoms got progressively worse as my pregnancy went on, and since I am fairly asymptomatic from that, it was a cause for concern. Additionally, I have atrial fibrillation, a type of arrhythmia or, put simply, a whacky heart rhythm. This can cause a myriad of problems, and to be perfectly honest, people with AFib really should consider the risks of pregnancy with the condition. On top of all that, I was born with a genetic condition called Neurofibromatosis type 1, and as with many genetic conditions there are varying degrees of severity. My family is very fortunate that, generally speaking, we have had no major problems linked to our NF1. However, one of the major concerns is that we grow benign tumors called neurofibromas on our bodies, and they can often grow on the spinal cord or even in the vaginal canal. One can see why this might cause issues during delivery. The final nail in the coffin, so to speak, was that I developed community acquired MRSA about 2 weeks before Aline’s due date. I had to be on some serious antibiotics, and they are known to cause severe jaundice in neonates. The doctors needed to be able to monitor Aline closely for that and for any signs of infection in her.

It’s tough to say what would have happened had we not had a hospital birth. I don’t know what would have happened if I went into labor naturally, as I was induced at 41 weeks. I’m aware that due dates aren’t an exact science, and normally I would have preferred to avoid an induction, but all of my doctors were strongly recommending scheduling an induction. My heart symptoms had reached an all-time high; I could barely walk up a single flight of stairs without my heart racing. After a 36 hour labor, including an MRI to check for tumors on my spine before placing an epidural, Aline’s heart rate dropping to the mid 50’s, my own heart rate skyrocketing to nearly 200, and my poor husband having his hand nearly broken.. Our precious daughter Aline arrived. Was her birth ideal? No, I didn’t really want to be induced and they had to use forceps as she was stuck behind my pelvic bone. Am I horribly traumatized and do I need lifelong therapy? Absolutely not.

I know that every woman is different, and therefore her choices and her reactions to the outcomes will be completely different. In the end, as long as mom and baby are healthy and happy, that is what matters. One might argue that the trauma of birth will make mom and baby not healthy and happy, but, to me, the argument holds no merit. Childbirth does have inherent risks, there’s no denying that. There is a reason that childbirth was the number one killer of women for countless years. Sanitation, better medical techniques, and better nutrition have all added up to make childbirth less dangerous. Birth is not to be feared, but I’m not sure it should be trusted either. Birth is to be respected, whether it’s at home, in a birth center, in a hospital, or in the middle of the woods with you surrounded by your furry friends. Birth how you want, but please… do it safely.