A must-read for families considering home birth

A co-owner of a birth center who let her license lapse has written a chillingly honest account of out-of-hospital birthing and CPM (certified professional midwife) attended births.

Here are some choice quotes that families may want to see before choosing these lay people to attend their birth:

I am certainly guilty of allowing my memory to lead me down a primrose path. My memory lingers over moments when I was heroic, times when I saved the day, and events that make me seem, in my own mind, like a smart and responsible caregiver. I have to force myself to see things differently, and it is uncomfortable. That time when I expertly resuscitated that breathless baby? I didn’t know he was in distress until he was born; I had missed any warning signs of that. The time I successfully helped a mom avoid the hospital when her blood pressure was a bit high? Her blood pressure was actually dangerously high, and that stunt could have ended in a double tragedy. The time I had to hoist that mom out of the pool and get her on the bed to free her baby’s shoulders? (What a hero I was!) Except, she shouldn’t have been in that pool at all; she trusted me that it was a good idea to get in there in the first place. And it was only luck that her baby’s shoulders freed in time. My memory wants to remember me a certain way, and it is up to me to strive for a more honest perspective.

The author of The Honest Midwife found the exact same insulting facsimile of “peer review” in her career that I have in Utah:

The peer review process after a midwife presides over a complicated birth is a disturbing procedure. Midwives rarely ask hard questions, such as whether this mother truly was a low-risk candidate, whether or not the midwife was monitoring the baby carefully, and why she decided not to call for help sooner. Most peer review processes are characterized instead by soothing platitudes, an atmosphere of comfort and understanding toward the midwife, and reassuring all participants that they are indeed wonderful, special people.(…)

It was a couple weeks before I had an opportunity to discuss the case at my very first official peer review. A new midwife at the time, I was very eager to hear my fellow midwives’ opinions on what I could do differently next time to avoid ever seeing a hemorrhage like that again. I got an answer I was not really looking for: “We know you didn’t do anything wrong. We know you. We know you’re a good midwife. Sometimes things just happen.” At the time, it felt flattering, but insincere: they didn’t actually know me. They had never attended a birth with me and had spent precious little time with me. They claimed to know me, but what they really knew was what they would want to hear if they were in the hot seat. Peer review was more like an enabling therapeutic back-patting than any form of accountability. I learned how to play this game, even though it never felt right. You failed to risk someone out? Well, the birth went well anyway, so your intuition must have been right-on! You didn’t call the second midwife in time for the birth, ten times in a row? Your mamas sure go fast! Your client ended up in the hospital needing a blood transfusion? These things happen in hospitals all the time! Sometimes I would forget my place and offer a piece of harsh criticism; I was never the most diplomatic person, after all. But this was met with resounding censure: we are here to be supportive. I would apologize and get back in line. I felt I had too much to lose to stop playing their game.

Frandsen also found a culture of illegal activity and silence in her time at a midwive’s college:

When, as a student midwife, I first participated in nonhospital births, I witnessed some things that made me uncomfortable. At my school, the head midwife would sometimes do illegal vacuum-assisted deliveries. The first time I saw one done I didn’t realize it was illegal, but when I started talking about it freely, I was quickly quieted by the more senior students. “We call  it ‘the fruit,’” they said, a reference to the vacuum’s brand name, Kiwi. I rationalized that these other students and midwives would not be using “the fruit” if it was really harmful, so the law must be an unnecessary one. Soon, I was recruited to help usher family members out of the room “so the mother can rest,” as a cover for the vacuum use; I would then lock the door and stand guard. If I was instructed to cover the mother’s face with a cold washcloth “to help her relax,” I made sure her eyes were covered so not even she could see the vacuum being applied. I rationalized that surely she would have given us permission to do this to help her get her baby out without transporting, but that it wasn’t smart to ask permission to perform an illegal procedure. Toward the end of my apprenticeship, I was the one holding the vacuum, applying it to the baby’s head, exerting the carefully angled pressure to help pull the baby down. I rationalized that now I would know how to get a baby out, if I were ever in a situation where there were no available hospitals. I did not originally plan to attend a school where I would learn to perform dangerous, illegal procedures; I became complicit through a chain reaction of participation and justification. “The fruit” was only one of many “exceptions” I learned to make; many of these exceptions I carried with me to my later practice. Illicit use of medications, cavalier usage of toxic herbs, induction techniques, pretending not to see a cesarean scar, fudging dates, doctoring charts, “accidental” breech deliveries, cheating blood pressure readings, lying to doctors, ignoring borderline test results, pretending to know answers while furtively Googling, waiting just a little bit longer for baby’s heart tones to improve, purposely underestimating the staining of amniotic fluid, misrepresenting our personal statistics and the statistical realities of our “profession”… all of these practices are endemic to direct-entry midwifery in the United States. I know because I did most of them. I was present (and silent) as others did them. I heard the stories in “peer review.” Not every midwife does all of them; very, very few, if any, do none. It all starts with one small step, and we justify along the way, until we are lost in the woods with no moral compass left to guide us.

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Children’s pajamas recalled due to fire risk

stay safe!

fox13now.com

About 32,000 pairs of high-end children's pajamas are being recalled due to the risk of fire. The pajamas are made by Roberta Roller Rabbit and were sold between 2012 and February of this year. (Photo Credit: CPSC) About 32,000 pairs of high-end children’s pajamas are being recalled due to the risk of fire. The pajamas are made by Roberta Roller Rabbit and were sold between 2012 and February of this year. (Photo Credit: CPSC)

About 32,000 pairs of high-end children’s pajamas are being recalled due to the risk of fire.

The pajamas are made by Roberta Roller Rabbit and were sold between 2012 and February of this year.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission say the recalled pajamas, which range from toddler size 1 to youth 12, were sold with either long sleeve with pants or short sleeves with shorts.

The agency said the pajamas fail to meet federal flammability standards. No incidents or injuries have been reported.

Made in Peru, the pajamas retail for between $55 and $65.

The recalled products come in 18 prints in various colors; Babar, Bump, Christopher, Colada, Dino, Elephant, Goby, Hathi, Heart…

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Terrifying search term of the day

someone found my blog by googling “can a midwife legally let a patient gi past 42 weeks”

To answer your question (in Utah), an unlicensed midwife can do whatever she wants to. A licensed midwife is supposed to demand a consult, but might compromise by fudging your due date or otherwise falsifying records (I’ve seen it more than once online as a measure to “save” women from having to get an OB consult).

43 week risk

Of course its a really, really bad idea to go past 42 weeks (or arguably 40 weeks) for reasons illustrated above. The placenta ages and is less able to provide adequate blood and oxygen during contractions, which may contribute to fetal distress, hypoxia, or death during labor. The stillbirth chart is not an all inclusive profile of the risk of going overdue, but it certainly is a scary one. Unless your baby’s heart stops beating while you are already in the hospital there is no real chance of survival. Choose wisely.

CPMs are not medical professionals, these parents found out the hard way

Utah’s midwifery laws are very similar to Nevada’s. I watched this tragedy unfold in real time on facebook, where home birth midwives enabled this to happen and have taken no responsibility. Just so everyone knows, there is nothing keeping Christy Collins from jumping over the border, changing her name, and starting a practice.

Ex Natural Childbirth Advocates

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Another horror story on Yelp!

Midwife: waits hours before transferring infant with respiratory distress

Shame On Better Birth

You have to click the “10 more reviews not-recommended” link at the bottom to see the following review of Better Birth, which is primarily critical of employee Trinette Thompson. I only had one appointment with her, but she discouraged me from vaccinating and did not know that the flu was a virus instead of a bacteria. Anyway, here is the review that was posted on Yelp! On 9/12/14, she seems to have been there while watching her sister deliver:

My sister delivered at the Salt Lake location of Better Birth recently. We had a very bad experience. The midwife Trinette was the attending and she does not have appropriate people skills to be a midwife. She was uncommunicative, somewhat rude, secretive with the other staff, and took a very long time in making any decision. This led to a delay in care for the newborn.

My sister went through about…

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Better Birth delivers another blue baby

I hope everyone is okay. It is just a matter of time until another preventable death crops up because of a lack of common sense regulations on home birth midwives in Utah.

Shame On Better Birth

bloody pool pale babybloody pool at bb

Another day, another blue baby.  This blue baby with no pulse was also born at better birth awhile back, perhaps even in the same tub. I have no idea why home birth advocates post such horrifying photos from water births and gush over them.  I’ve seen more smiling moms holding blue, floppy babies in tubs full of blood (and come on, sometimes urine and feces are in the mix, too…) than I can count at this point. Here are a couple (the following photos are not from better birth):

floppy blue breech baby 2-9-15RZucker

Water birth has claimed at least one life. Home birth midwives inability to detect problems in babies and address them has claimed countlesslives, and they do indeed see floppy blue babies as the norm despite the fact that in hospital they most certainly are not. The risk of brain injury resulting from oxygen…

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