Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Impact Of Negative Midwives

In 2001, one of my good friends found out she was pregnant and planned on a homebirth. We talked and talked about it. I thought it sounded incredible. At that time, I fell for the romanticized notions of it. I did no research. Course, I couldn't get my husband on board anyway, so it didn't happen for my next two pregnancies. When I got pregnant with my fifth, we hit a rough patch in our marriage and I decided that I didn't care how my husband felt, I was going to have the birth I wanted. I looked at studies from other countries and saw how safe homebirth was. Did I know the difference between here and other countries?? Nope. When I interviewed Brenda, I was incredibly impressed with this woman. She was very sweet and caring. Her numbers were phenomenal with just 1 stillborn out of 2500 deliveries. I had found my midwife and was going to have the birth I wanted. Course, I had an easy labor and delivery, baby was perfect. So, when I got pregnant with Mary, we decided since all went well before, we would do it again. I was low risk and had never had any problems. My kids had all been born healthy (minus the oldest who was resuscitated due to a cord around his neck and then diagnosed with a CHD, which he still has). Between pregnancies, Brenda and I remained friends. I truly loved and trusted her. I knew she cared about not only the baby and I, but my entire family. So, when Mary was born, it was easy for me to believe Brenda when she told us our baby was healthy and the little things I had questions about were just typical newborn things.  We all know what happened next. That afternoon, when we left the hospital I called Brenda to tell her, but the police had already been to her house. The next day at some point, Brenda came over and brought me a locket that she had had engraved with Mary's name. The day of the funeral, between the burial and luncheon, was when we came home to her sitting on our steps pissed because OTHER midwives were discussing the possibility of her being arrested. Days later she showed up begging me not to be angry with her. She talked about her cancer and that she would hold my baby for me in heaven. She sat and cried over my anger because she was my friend and loved me and didn't want us mad at her. There was another day that she came and just sat with me outside and talked about having our families get together for a pool party because our kids loved hanging out. Shortly after this is when we got the infamous emails from her. Six months after Mary's death is when I learned about her past. By then, it was too late. 

Now, you may wonder why I have shared all of this. With Lisa Barrett being in the news, I feel that I need to address some things and it's hard to address them if you don't get a background on where I am coming from.

I see people talking very flippantly about the babies that have died under Barretts watch. These were loved and wanted babies, not just some ratty old tee shirt. They aren't disposable. These were real little babies that never got a chance. Barrett is why they didn't get a chance. She behaves as though she is above reproach and she's just fighting for women's rights. It's infuriating. SHE wants to do what SHE wants regardless of the costs to others she may harm

In talking about Women's rights, let's really look at this. The premise of this is that women have the right to birth how they want with whomever they want. Fair enough. It's also said that trying to regulate and get rid of negligence infringes upon women's rights. Can anyone explain this to me?? When abortion clinics began, did THAT infringe upon rights or was this a way to ensure safety in those seeking the procedure? That furthered women's rights and gave women a safe option. Considering childbirth is more dangerous than abortion, we must ask why safety in childbirth is so abhorrent. Isn't it a good thing to have a provider who actually knows their stuff, has a real education, and values your baby too?? Why is that such a bad thing??

Now, this leads me to my last point. IF any provider is practicing negligently, we NEED them not practicing. If you have a homebirth provider whose negligence and/or rogue behavior is leading to death upon death, do you really want them practicing?? If an OB was negligent and repeatedly caused deaths, the pitchforks would be out. It's bad enough that there is no recourse for families who lose babies due to negligent non-CNM's, but to have the homebirth community support them is even worse.

Stories, like the ones about Lisa Barrett, are going to continue piling up until the homebirth/midwifery community stands up and says "This isn't ok". Our camp continues to say "There needs to be safety measures. There needs to be accountability. These deaths aren't ok.". I feel like we are begging and pleading for this community to do something, anything and we are hitting a brick wall.

 As a mother who has lost a child due to a serial negligent midwife, I am angry as hell. You are essentially telling me that this midwife is more important than my child. My child's life didn't matter to you. No child's life matters. Really?? It's ok to continue to let these babies die PREVENTABLE deaths? It's ok to put families like mine through hell? My children have lost a sibling. Infant death is a reality to them and something they discuss with other children and adults. This is something they shouldn't have to deal with. I know I have said it before, but if somebody, anybody had stopped Brenda from practicing, I wouldn't of found a midwife and would of continued using an OB and had that happened, my daughter would be here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How hard is this??

I participated way more than I should of on a thread today on Mama Birth. She is essentially blaming those who want midwives to have educations/training/and insurance for babies dying.

I poured my heart out on there. I talked about my daughter and had one woman who was hellbent on tearing my story apart. She had to know exactly what happened and what was the cause of death and the kicker was she couldn't place any blame on the midwife because it was quite possible my baby would of died had I used a different midwife or gone to the hospital.

There were several women who blamed homebirth loss moms for not doing their research and not listening to our instincts. Gotta love the blame they place on US and not the women who caused our babies deaths.

This leads me to wonder why it is so hard to admit that a midwife screwed up?? They claim we don't listen to them, yet, we are always met with the same condescending attitude. We are supposed to be anti-homebirth, anti-midwife, anti-ncb, anti-bf, pretty much anti-everything. I am so burnt out and just plain worn out from dealing with this all the time. These discussions are so personal, emotionally charged, and really do lead to me being hurt because most of these women seriously lack any compassion or empathy or sympathy or anything towards a homebirth loss mom. Had my daughter's death been caused by an OB or Nurse or Pediatrician in the hospital, these women would be at my side advocating and calling for this professionals head. BUT because it's a homebirth loss caused by a midwife, they really don't care and have to find some reason that it is our fault. Intellectually, I know that this is their way of trying to protect themselves. They don't want to think that it could be them and their baby. I understand. I don't know if they do, but I do. Just once, I want them to care. Why is it ok for bad midwives to keep going?? Why is it ok for one midwife to continuously have babies dying on their watch?

This ties into my next rant. I was told that if I just chose it, I could heal. I think not having had a baby die, you have no right to tell a grieving mom this. Would you look at the mother of a murder victim and say "You can heal from this, just let it go"? Essentially, this is the same. A person has taken our child's life. There is NO healing from that. There is a new life you have grieving the child you loved facing a future without that child. Someone took my baby's life. She didn't just slip away due to SIDS or an anomaly or an illness. The person who took her life is still going about her business like my baby didn't matter. Nobody was willing to help fight for her, or us for that matter. This midwife got a free pass to keep on, like she has done FIVE other times. I shudder to think of the babies that have died since my daughter. Does anyone really wonder why I am angry and why it's impossible to do more than move forward with my life?? The more murderous midwives that are supported by advocates, the more women that are going to suffer like we have leading there to be an even larger voice. If you want us quiet, take the deaths of our babies seriously and insist upon change within the movement. Several women claimed that our stories made them cry, but if it really got to them, they would say "This isn't ok, this baby should not of died, we need to prevent these deaths from happening", but nobody ever thinks that or says it.

If it wasn't for the way I feel, I wouldn't be able to continue on in this fight, and believe me, fight I will. Those with passion are the ones who make a difference. How do you think these cancer research organizations started?? Should those survivors have just healed and moved on?? Look at organizations such as MADD, SHARE, Angels On Track, Cure Search, etc. They began because someone was affected by something and set out to change things. That's admirable. Would you of told these people to just heal and that by starting a movement they must not be healing and are angry? No. So, why are us women villified the way we are?? What is there to hate about women who WANT to see SAFE homebirth practices?

I hate that as soon as we start talking, no matter what we say or how nice it is said, we are full of hate and angry and attacking people. There were many hurtful things said, but in no way was I attacked because anyone had a differing viewpoint. I think all these women that hang out in these echo chambers should really broaden their horizons. Life isn't all about someone coddling us. We (Liz and I) had one woman actually completely block us once we started talking about our losses. Why can't they acknowledge or listen??

I really don't even know if I have a point here. I guess I just needed to vent about this. It just really bothers me. We have one psycho who screencaps stuff and completely twists it around to make us all seem just horrible. She even created a video laughing at homebirth loss moms and completely minimizing baby deaths. Really?? She is the one running around claiming that we are anti-everything. I did go to her little facebook fan page and she had taken a HIGH RISK mothers post and tried to make it seem like the mother thought all moms should have a c-section at 37 weeks with a NICU team there. Luckily, not all the commenters were as crazy as she is. People really tend to forget that so many of us really do practice and support the same things, just not in the same ways. We all support natural birth. However, we are more "Not all women should have to do it or be guilted into it and it's not all that". I guess you can say we don't push the militant crap. Not all of us support homebirth, but for those that do, they support CNM's because they do have real training and educations. We know CNM's are real medical professionals and not just some birth junky. We are supportive of doulas, just can't stand those who push their agenda, and several of us want to be doulas. One doula has been a target because she doesn't push natural birth. Isn't it good that a doula isn't pushing her agenda on a client??

I tell ya, I probably have more in common with these women that they realize. I probably am more AP than I care to admit. I've been at this parenting thing for 13 1/2 years and have been doing many of these things since before I knew it had a name. I never thought "Dang, I'm so awesome for doing this". I just always did what I did. I've been been out down and accused of being a formula feeding mother because I'm not all about breasts. I think these women would be in shock here. It's not hard to not be a shrew about your parenting style. Do what works and back off others. It's quite easy.

I'm going to jump off of here and snuggle with my sweetie. I probably didn't even make a point here, but I just needed to get stuff off my chest.


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