This post has been making the social media rounds. And it was enough to pull me out of my blogging hibernation.
This is the power of your story!
Here are my personal and professional thoughts on this woman’s very devastating and traumatic story:
Homebirth is certainly not for everyone, and no one should tell anyone what kind of birth to have. But this is not a representative experience of birthing at home. Her story seems to indicate that she did not have the appropriate birth attendants or enough support throughout her labor. I am just as devastated as anyone to read about this woman’s experience, but this is a story of a woman who was not prepared for childbirth. That is not a homebirth issue. If she had been in the hospital, they may have noticed the brow presentation earlier and rushed her for surgery. Although, it is not impossible to safely birth a brow presentation, for a skilled, experienced and knowledgable care provider.
If she had been at home with competent midwives, they would have been checking vitals, they would have addressed her concerns before birth, they would have noticed signs of distress way before the baby was born limp. And she would have been transferred much earlier on.
Stories are very powerful, as are our needs to share them, but it is very important to keep stories in perspective. This is a subjective account of one woman’s horrifying experience. If you had her in front of you and could get a lot of the details that are missing from this post, then you would be able to use this story to help you make better decisions about your own birth. As it is presented here, it is just another birth horror story to add to the pile.
What I picked up on was the lack of support she had from her birth team, before, during and after her birth. If you don’t feel supported, if you feel that your concerns are being brushed off or disregarded, if you are not getting good solid, evidence-based information from your care provider – whether it’s a midwife, a doctor, a high risk specialist, a doula or a tipat chalav nurse, then you’re not with the right provider. That is the lesson that I can see taking from this woman’s story.
The other thing that jumped put at me was that, once again, we are being given the proof of the significance of our birth experience in and of itself. Regardless of outcome, of circumstances – your birth matters! Usually this theme comes through in emergency c-section stories where the woman feels the need to grieve the loss of her intended birth, even though the outcome was a healthy baby and a healthy (or at least recovering) mommy.
This is often a reason that women seek home birth for subsequent births, specifically because of the significance that home birth midwives traditionally give to the birth experience itself. However, it must be taken in addition to professional, high quality care for the welfare of the mother and baby. Which, from this account, seems to have been lacking.
Sharing our birth stories is an essential part of the healing process. I truly hope the writer does achieve complete healing from her experience. I hope she can grow and learn from her previous birth so that she can make informed choices in the future. And I hope that you, dear readers are able to empathize with this woman’s tragedy while not allowing anyone else’s fears cloud your own decision making process.