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... from the last post continue onto a Page 2. I couldn't find the ones I approved, but realized only 50 are published per page.

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Reader Comments (9)

Just so you all know... I am not publishing comments that add nothing beneficial to the discussion, but that call me names, say how horrible I am as a person, etc. I got that some of you think I am a "monster." I'm just not going to publish those posts. Take your hatred somewhere else.

May 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Hi Barb,

I agree that the post can come across as harsh in light of the situation because it's a tragedy. Regardless of the cause or the location the loss of a child is heartbreaking. I think that those who find this post unbearably offensive just can't get past this poor woman's heartbreak... I can understand that but to attack you on the other hand is wrong as well because it is obvious that your intent is not to attack Janet.

I pray that Janet can find some kind of comfort in the midst of this tragedy. I also pray that more women will become informed no matter where they choose to birth. Although, my experience is limited to a single birth which occurred in a hosptial after my son went postdates, and the few other births that I've had the opportunity to witness... I cannot imagine losing a baby.

Unfortunately, what I've witnessed among the community of people I call friends, family, acquaintances, and even in the news is that not enough women are willing to inform themselves but would rather just go along with whatever they find convenient to them... whether it's going to an OB and just following instructions or if they eschew hospitals and doctors/midwives then they may choose to UC. Or they may simply idealize one way over the other. I have, at times, even, myself, tried to share with someone the benefits of different aspects of an unmedicated birth (when possible), and found the person looking at me as though I were a two-headed purple gorilla... like why would anyone choose to do that? Even in the midst of my trying to share why someone would choose an unmedicated birth.

It's sad really that rather than attacking you for your desire to make people think about the questions that really every woman considering birth should consider, that we don't do just that, and discuss how we can enable, empower and engender women to become more educated before they make a decision that will so impact their life and the life of their family (however that is composed). Whether she chooses to UC or a medicated hospital birth or a midwife attended homebirth and that she will be flexible enough to make a choice to change that decision if the need or the desire comes to change that decision... Additionally that she will become educated about what making one choice over another might mean to her when the time comes...

Its a volatile issue, no doubt. But I think we can all agree that what we all ultimately desire is that we end up with more healthly, unharmed (emotionally and physically) moms and babies. How do we accomplish this? By working together... by educating women and young women... our daughters, our sisters... our friends... even our mothers and grandmothers... by loving those who are hurting because of loss... by rejoicing with those that rejoice... but not by attacking one another.

Thanks for encouraging me to think, Barb. I hope that others can do the same and I hope that even though I may be idealizing myself in this post... that we can all try to consider these things.


May 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterQ

Cindy: It is odd how the majority of women couldn't care one whit about how they deliver. I have always wondered how one woman can take her birth as joyous and another who has the exact same type of birth and consider it birthrape. It's something I think about. With my own experience birthing Tristan, I thought the birth was fantastic! And then after my Bradley class I was horrified by the things I had endured, including an episiotomy that went sideways into my thigh muscle. For me, re-framing went the other way... from great to horrible. That knowledge/insight was what led me to UC with Meghann. And then I thought *that* birth was wonderful, too, until years later when I began learning much more about midwifery, then I was (again) horrified at what nearly happened. I chose a midwife for my birth with Aimee. As it turned out, I labored completely alone, presenting at the hospital crowning (birthed in the car). 3/4 UC, 1/4 attended. It turned out to be my very favorite birth, funny as crap and filled with self-empowerment.

You are right that women tend to think us crunchy folks are terribly queer (not the gay queer, but the odd queer). It *is* just as challenging talking to women about natural birth as it is talking to those with the goal of birthing without medication about homebirths. Then we move from homebirthing to UCing... the spectrum flows. I also speak to a variety of women who suffer from tokophobia and for them, if they ever got pregnant (and didn't terminate), they, almost across the board, want a cesarean with general anesthesia. There is no amount of talking that will change their minds. To them, it is a sanity issue.

And I *know* the UCers feel their choice is a sanity issue, too. Birth with an attendant = insanity/depression/dis-empowerment. A UC = sanity, elation and complete empowerment.

You are also right. We *must* find a way to create dialogue that isn't abusive and negating of each others' beliefs and needs. As strong as my opinions are, I *do* listen (even though many think I am not). I am always listening.

May 4, 2009 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

More babies die (per 1000) during a UC birth than during a home birth or a hospital birth (see my earlier comment). For low risk pregnancies, death rates are not significantly different between midwife assisted home births and hospital births.

The death of a baby is tragic regardless of the birth circumstances. Because it is tragic, each death must to be investigated to identify risk factors and prevent future deaths. This includes deaths during UC, hospital births and midwife assisted homebirths.

A preventable death is unacceptable under any birth setting. I think a measure of outrage is normal if a woman choses a UC birth, which has a higher neonatal death rate than both homebirths and hospital births, and her baby dies a preventable death.

I do not know why Janet's baby died. But I hope that the death is investigated, because the baby deserves it.

May 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterElisabeth

I've been reading your blog for awhile now and tend to agree with most of what you say. I think "freebirthing" is insanity but I also felt the letter to Janet was offensive.

I don't think it was so much the content as the way it was presented. If you had framed it differently, e.g. "This is what happened to Janet and this is what I would like to say to others who are considering UC," you could have made the same points.

In the letter format, it feels like you're crossing a very personal boundary. It would be one thing to have that conversation with her in person if/when she's ready, but to do it this way feels like you're violating her, attacking her when she's unable to defend herself, and wagging a finger in her face.

I know from reading your blog that wasn't what was in your heart but that is how it came across. I, too, hope that others learn from her tragedy.

May 7, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdebbiedoesnothing

Barb, I've been reading your blog for ages, but this was definitely one of only two I could think of that was so seriously offensive to me. I really do hate that.

I'm not a freebirther, or a homebirther of any kind. I've never given birth at all. Here's what I do know: I'm avoiding planning my family at this time in part because I have no birth options. Due to personal factors, a birth at the local hospital (94% induction rate, 45% C-section rate, which as we know goes even higher for women of size) is out of the question. You say the word "doula" here and people think you're talking about feminine hygiene products. The closest legal midwife is around 300 miles away, and of course does not cross state lines as midwifery is illegal here. Rhetorically speaking, what other options do I have?

I understand, as a professional, your aversion to freebirthing. However, Sarah is right. I feel that if we are to have any birth choice, we must have ALL birth choice. My mother (a former nurse) and I have discussed the option of freebirthing were I to decide to have a child in the near future. Is it the best option? Maybe not, but that's why I'm not pregnant yet. However, I can't submit myself to a hospital situation where I was previously violated, my very basic wishes in a routine surgical procedure thrown out the window.

When is the time for discussion on this? In my opinion, when the grieving mother is ready. Maybe she'll never be ready. But until she opens up that conversation - and really, per the contents of previous comments, has it been a month? That is a flash in the eye when your child is lost - I personally don't feel that it's my place to speculate on this. I really wish you hadn't either, though I think I understand why you did it.

May 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterANS

Firstly I love your analogy of a midwife being a 'lifeguard'. At my last homebirth I also had a wonderful 'lifeguard' she was not a midwife however, but a woman simply very in tune with birth.

Secondly, I applaud you for your letter to Ms Fraser, as she herself is a no holds barred, no bullshit type, I'd think she'd see the raw honesty and enquiry in it. I guess in a way you have just asked most of the questions a lot of people are thinking.

Thirdly, although Ms Fraser is a public figure with a big mouth about homebirth/freebirth I believe it to be her absolute right to wait to speak about the life and death of her baby for one hour, one week, one month, one year, or the rest of her life. Those questions may never be answered to peoples satisfaction, and I guess we'll just have to live with that.

My heart goes out to her and her family.

May 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterhomebirther

To start - beautiful blog, I enjoy all of your posts and I hope some day to see beautiful births as you've presented in your photographs.

I think the web-iverse is a wonderful forum for each of us to explore free thought, so which ever way you have chosen to express yourself is perfectly fine. Whether or not we think you're offensive or wrong in your response to events in our birth community is entirely a moot point. Many bloggers have commented on this birth in particular and would have done so whatever the outcome in their yay/nay fashion. So please, please, please keep blogging because you truly have brought passion for birth into my life.

I tend to agree with what you've written, mainly because I understand that our bodies don't always do what they were made to, and in this case the dark side of life showed it's ugly head at such a joyous time. It's a fact of life, just the birthing mother could have passed on during the event as well.

Personally, I wouldn't UC... but I don't feel I have the right to tell others what decision to make. I usually feel that individuals will do what they want, when they want and how they want. I tend to align with a harm reduction-type of philosophy in all things related to health. To be a birthing human, you take the journey no matter where you birth or how you birth. Every woman has a different path from start to finish - we just have to be objective in our own practice and be advocates where we can. It's not a losing battle at all - at least we have choices and passion for those choices. I take the philosophy in my career (in health care) that my practice is evidence-based. We all know that if we want a study or a statistic we can find it anywhere on google these days.

I've been browsing through comments and reading statistics in either direction, and I guess it's frustrating reading the back and forth from study to study - but seriously, I think the tried and true proof is in the pudding - either way you're at the mercy of the hands who are catching the baby. You can have all of the technology or nothing at all and have the same outcome.

I personally feel comfortable with an educated health care professional handling my babies...just wish that we had birth centers here in my community that offered a bit of everything. I know women who've UC'd, home birthed, and asked for every drug and surgery in the book. All of them have healthy, happy, and well adjusted children.

Anyway, just wanted to tell you that I like your blog and I think you're a wonderful midwife. I wish you traveled to the great white north - I'd hire you in a second.

I haven't blogged about this birth yet, but I've had numerous discussions with another mom about it and I just can't come up with a valid argument for any particular way to birth a baby - just that in my screwed up world, I wouldn't UC today and c-section today but it all depends on tomorrow and the situation/person. To each their own.

Just for shits and giggles - I am curious to know if this momma will UC again and remain such a strong advocate. I'm almost certain she will, but it's an interesting thought to ponder.

May 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdaizyrhonda

Wow. I've read almost all of the posts and the thing that has stuck with me is that Sarah is a wise woman. Any woman has the right (and responsibility) to choose how to birth her baby. If this lady were in a hospital and had scheduled a cesarean at 39 weeks, and had the same outcome,nobody would blink an eye. Yes, she had fears. I'd even say very founded fears. Perhaps those pointing fingers are pointing fingers at the wrong person. Perhaps it's the OB community or, gasp, a midwife or two. Who is to say what went wrong. I hope that this mom keeps it to herself, if even she learns the truth. May heaven bless her and bring her solace. She's been through enough without internet blogging. Shame!

May 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSusie

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