Monday, June 16, 2014
Not Buried Twice
When we lost Magnus, for months I thought we were alone. We soon learned his death was preventable and that other babies had died and been injured under the care of the same midwives. It was then we knew we had to find a voice. We posted our story on Hurt by Home Birth, reported our experience to the state, the police, and civil attorneys. We went to the media so other families would know not to seek their care. Our story needed to be told, our voices needed to be heard.
We found out we were not alone. Not by a long shot. Over the past three years I have come to know many, many families whose babies died preventable deaths, or were severely injured in the hands of home birth midwives. There was no one for these families to report to, no one to hold those responsible accountable. Lawyers wouldn't represent these families because without malpractice insurance they would not get paid for their endless hours on the case. Their own professional organizations (NARM and MANA) turned a blind eye. With no state laws or licensing requirements, there was little the police and state could do. And now? Well, now those midwives are nearly all still practicing. More babies have died. More babies have been injured.
I participated in the Not Buried Twice Campaign because the message is so important. Families deserve to know the other side to choosing home birth or freestanding birth centers. They deserve to know that it doesn't always work out, and that when it doesn't, it's always the fault of the parents for making that "choice". Every loss family I know has a preventable loss story to tell. These are babies that would not have died in hospitals. These are families that were misled, manipulated, and thrown out like yesterday's garbage for speaking out about negligent care. I know too many mothers in this video personally. Far too many.
These families do not represent "a few bad midwives" or a couple of mothers who couldn't process their grief. They represent a fundamentally broken home birth system in our country, and their voices are aimed at raising awareness. The reputation of home birth should very concerning, and discussed so that safety issues can be addressed and the option as a whole can become something families can rely upon safely. Home birth in the United States is vastly different from home birth in other first world countries where midwives are highly educated and work within a system of medical care.
And although some midwives are advising clients more and more to have high risk deliveries at home (HBAC, VBAC, Twins, Breech, etc), it's also low risk pregnancies with preventable, tragic outcomes. "It's some midwives making unethical choices, it's other midwives making ignorant choices. At the core, it's a philosophy driven movement and it's clear that clinical and educational standards fall by the wayside." ~ Doula Dani.
MANA and Midwifery Today are marketing experience and convenience at the expense of safety. They have appalling standards for education and training. Their own statistics show home birth to be far more dangerous that hospital birth in terms of neonatal death rates, and they don't want our voices to be heard.
I still believe truth prevails. In the case of out-of-hospital birth, it's truth I wish I had known many years ago. It's truth I lived and still live with every day. It's a truth that I don't wish upon any mother or baby. The truth about home birth in the US is that it is not nearly as safe as it could be, not nearly as safe as any other first world country. This is truth that will continue to grow and spread if the issues that perforate the already fragile state of home birth are not addressed. As more and more women consider out of hospital birth, lacking safety standards, dismal educational standards, and inevitable loss will absolutely become more apparent. The Not Buried Twice video is raw truth. These mothers have nothing to gain, but want their voices heard so that safety in home birth can be improved, so other families don't learn the truth the way we did.
This video reminds me of every baby I know that should be alive today and thriving uninjured. They deserve to be named because they represent truth in its purest form:
There are 100's more I cannot name, and more listed in the documents below. The list is already far too long.
Home Birth Deaths
Home Birth Injuries
This list doesn’t account for the families that won’t speak because fear, and grief overwhelm them. Many of their home births involved things like cord prolapse, eclampsia, extended ICU or RNICU stays, numerous missed cardiac problems, ABO incompatibilities, meconium aspiration, sepsis from retained placentas, and on, and on. This also leaves out many injuries, 3000cc blood loss, transport of babies to the RNICU, pelvic floor injuries from prolonged labors, and cerebral palsy to name a few.
In short, the Not Buried Twice video is a small piece that should ignite an important conversation, and further a demand to change American home birth for the better. We cannot improve safety and standards if we cannot first discuss and acknowledge that there is a monumental problem with home birth in this country...one that is getting worse as more and more families look for alternative options.
Please watch and share this video so that others may know there are severe concerns with out-of-hospital birth in its present state in the US.
To learn more about why the Not Buried Twice Campaign started, check out:
What Ifs and Fears are Welcome Blog: Not Buried Twice
Not Buried Twice Facebook Page
Other Related Links:
Midwife 101: My Thoughts on Home Birth
(Written by an aspiring midwife)
Grounded Parents Blog: Why the Fight for Birth Safety Matters
Married to Medicine Blog: The Home Birth, Natural Child Birth, and US Hospital Birth Debate Part II ~ What I Would Want to Know About Out-Of-Hospital (OOH) Birth.
Skeptical OB: Introducing Not Buried Twice
Posted by Safer Midwifery MI at 9:40 AM