Illinois may be the most dangerous place for a baby to be born at home. State agents, in this case social workers, assume their views supersede parent rights when the doctors and hospital social workers are upset about birth choices.
Here’s an attachment parenting view by Alicia Bayer, Mankato writer:
Some parents choose a vaginal breech birth to allow the physiological process of birth to complete itself naturally. Spontaneous labor changes the mother’s brain in ways that enhance care taking behavior. Women may also hope to avoid major surgery and the risks associated, including the typical 1,00o ml blood loss, routine IV antibiotic use to manage the 50% rate of infection, and the typical mother baby separation.
Controversy about vaginal birth is built into the medical model of breech birth in America. And this fear spreads faster than education about the correct physiological approach to vaginal breech birth. America does not have the best record of vaginal breech outcomes. This is more a reflection of ego and ignorance than breech birth. Its also a reflection of a misplaced accountability in court and in the state, rather than in the relationships between a woman and her baby, her Faith, her caregivers and in the lost art of breech birth.
I don’t blame people for having concerns. And so, from here the post gets heavy.
Doctors and midwives, all, have concerns about home breech birth.
Breech skills vary widely at this time in and out side the hospital. There are risks to vaginal breech birth in and out of the hospital, vaginally or by cesarean (in the hospital). These concerns are often about a trapped head and /or arms. But concerns should also include the risk of attendant ignorance and the damage done by pulling, by not knowing how to rotate the baby and manually swing the arms down, by not knowing how to bring the chin to the chest, and most of all when to leave well enough alone and go for the big C.
Little Ruth’s arms were stressed in some way during the birth. The attendant worked successfully to release them from the pelvic brim. While unfortunate, breech home birth, even with a complication, is not a reason to separate the baby from her parents.
Even though breech birth risks are higher than with a head down baby, well informed parents have good reasons when they choose homebirth with an experienced midwife. They want to avoid risks of cesarean which include death of the mother, separation and subsequent disruption in breastfeeding. With the true physiological approach to breech birth the birth has a high chance of finishing successfully. A excellent understanding of physiological resuscitation and the value of an intact umbilical cord is a required skill particularly for breeches. Parents should also face the risk of death for their baby if the birth goes wrong. Therefore, parents choosing cesarean for their breech baby have good reasons to choose surgery, too.
The problem is in thinking that one way is without risk and the other way is evil. That’s ideological and not helpful. If you are surprised by a birth in the manner that you thought unsafe, say the baby is born naturally before the cesarean could be performed, or the labor went on too long and too irregularly so that trouble with the arms began to be suspected and the birth was finished by surgery, you wouldn’t want to be devastated by the change in plan.
The challenge in choosing a home breech birth is in assessing the likelihood that the birth will go well at home and the midwife or doctor’s ability to 1.) avoid causing a problem, and 2.) resolving a problem should it occur spontaneously. The approach we take should be from those who attend breech births with few complications. I’ve blogged about the low complication rates of midwives Mary Cronk and Jane Evans of the UK. One birth with stuck arms out of 100 home breeches. These women are not touching the baby or the perineum and the mother is most often on her hands and knees. Doctor Frank Louwen’s team in Frankfort, Germany are using the same method and have had 2 sets of stuck arms in 300 births.
If you touch the baby as the baby is being born it can disrupt the cardinal movements and then you have to solve what you caused. This is my soap box of the year.
I’m not assuming Ruth’s birth attendant caused her stuck arms, I wasn’t there. I’m not saying she touched Ruth in the process, and usually it won’t cause this, but there are smart people with lots of experience who see that it can. No, I’m just saying that “Hands off the Breech” means keep your hands off for the entire process -unless, and not until, the arms or head need help.
Instead of having a fit, Illinois, why not Praise God? The attendant got the arms out and Ruth is in good shape. This is a cause for congratulations.
The tyrant solution to parents with a normal physiological intent to birth outside of the “powers that be”? Take the baby away and disrupt the mother baby relationship as much as possible, disrupt breastfeeding, frighten the parents and distress the grandmother. That’ll teach ’em!
The state, social workers and responsible hospital staff should be sued for child abuse. I’m not much for law suit justice, but this has to stop.
Dr. Robert S. Mendelsohn (1926 – 1988) may have suggested some Chicago-style justice for these folks as he did for other doctors that hurt children – and those did it legally. Taking baby Ruth away from her parents was a violation of all of their constitutional rights.