Ryan and Susan Gatti’s baby girl Rebecca will never live a normal life and it is Dr. William J. Erwin’s fault.
Teresa Bailey’s baby boy died and not only was it Sharp Mary Birch Hospital’s fault but they also tried to blatantly lie about it.
Dr. Leonard Bienkowski is responsible for the death of Sandra and John Ketterman’s baby boy Benjamin.
If your baby died or was injured due to negligence what would you do to make sure that the parties responsible were held accountable?
What would you do if someones incompetence was the direct cause for the death of your baby?
How far would you go to see justice served and to make sure no other mothers and babies were put in harm’s way by those responsible?
What lengths would you go to make sure that yours was the last baby to die under their watch?
What if the person in question was a well-respected and trusted health care professional in your area and many of the women you know have had babies with them and LOVED the treatment they received?
Now take all of those questions and apply them to a homebirth setting with a C.P.M.
What would you do?
For many reading my blog, I just made you uncomfortable.
I know that I just made you uncomfortable because when I first had to ask myself that question I felt the same way. It is sort of an unwritten rule in the AP community “Thou shall not complain about thine Midwife.” and you are absolutely not supposed to take said midwife up against a review board to try to get their licence revoked. It may be an unpopular belief in the natural birth and AP community but sometimes a birth does need intervention. Sometimes a peaceful loving atmosphere and a confident relaxed mother is not enough. And when those “sometimes” situations happen you need to know that the person that has your back knows what to do. And when that person fails you and your baby through incompetence you need to be able to have action taken against them so that they can not hurt anyone else. After all shouldn’t the true test of someones competency be when something goes wrong and not when everything goes right?
The answer to all of this should be easy, but for many of us it is not. This subject is wrapped up in so much baggage that our combined checked bag fees could pay off the national debt. The conflict comes because women are sick and tired of being told how to birth. We are tired of the doctors and nurses that have grown complacent and lazy in the medical field looking at us like we are a product on an assembly line. We are fed up with hospitals telling us we have to lay down with our feet in stirrups to push our babies out, sick to our stomach with being told we are not going to “win a medal” for having natural childbirth and for us to shut up get the epidural and go along with the program. We want to scream in frustration at the doctors who really do believe that 39 weeks gestation is “close enough”.
For many of us we can no longer tolerate even one more birth were we are told to be quiet, lay down, take this, gown up, zone out and let them do all the “work”.
What I am afraid has happened is that in our zeal to improve care and empower women during birth in the U.S. that we have overlooked some things that are wrong with our alternatives. The medicalized birthing world has a way to report negligent doctors, nurses and hospitals. Many easy to understand and to find tutorials can be found online outlining how to seek justice when mistakes are made in the medical community. For the most part you will receive an overflow of compassion and genuine concern from those around you when you take your ob/gyn to court for malpractice that resulted in the death of your baby. So what can we do if we need to report a health care professional in the homebirth community? How will your friends and loved ones, that fight for and support homebirth, react when you put your homebirth midwife up for review?
I have reason to believe that it may get pretty ugly if you do. Why do I believe this? Because of my dear friend Liz and her and her family’s painful story of baby Aquila‘s birth and death and everything that has come after. You would think that after what happened there would have been an outcry, from at least her local homebirth community, to have her midwife go under review and receive fitting disciplinary measures. Sadly that is not what has happened. She has been shunned, black listed and even booed at the hearing concerning her own child’s death. What is more even the homebirth community at large has criticized her for being too outspoken and of being unfair to her midwife by sharing her story.
For those interested in the status of this case the previous minutes can be found on the Texas Midwifery Board website. Liz’s case was heard in June (item 7) and again in September.
So why do I care enough about all of this to stick my own neck out for criticism by writing this? I, after all, did not lose a child. I don’t live anywhere near where her midwife practices. I didn’t have a homebirth go wrong, shoot I have never even had a homebirth at all. I am, however, an advocate for natural childbirth and medical practices that treat birth as a beautiful natural act. Basically the question is how is it any of mine or your business?
It is our business because it is important to support those who are being ridiculed and defamed unjustly. It is important to not be so caught up in a cause, such as natural childbirth, that we lose sight of our goals. Because if we turn against each other when one of us are at our weakest and most vulnerable it does not show our strength it shows a glaring weakness. If the natural birth community will not demand that we hold the people that we trust with our and our babies lives accountable then how serious can we really expect to be taken? Let us, please, hold homebirth professionals to at least the same level of accountability as we do our ob/gyn’s and other health care providers. Let’s support each other, even if it makes us uncomfortable.
Liz and Gabriel Paparella’s baby girl Aquila will never share this world with us and the Texas Midwifery Complain Board needs to hold her midwife accountable.