Baby taken away from family by the state for having a home birth

Karla - posted on 09/03/2010 ( 61 moms have responded )

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I was just wondering what some of us debate moms think about this. A family in Indiana had their daughter, Ruth, at home with a midwife which was against the advice of medical professionals, who were "highly recommending" she have a c-section. Apparently someone decided to press charges against the parents and the state actually took the infant away from her parents. After months of fighting and legal battles they now have the "privilege" of seeing their daughter for 8 hours a day with supervision.
So do you think they deserve it, don't deserve it, should the government even have the right to do something like this, what should be done if they you think they don't have the right, and so on...

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Nikki - posted on 09/04/2010

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If this is all there is to the story; why are children who are denied medical treatment for their parent's religious beliefs not taken into custody and treated? Denying a dying child a blood transfusion which could safe their life is clearly neglect and child abuse in comparison to nerve damage from a home birth. Has to be more to it.

Kate CP - posted on 09/04/2010

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According to http://www.illinoismidwifery.org midwives are not legally allowed to practice in Illinois. They are working hard to remedy this, but according to the law in Illinois, this couple had an unattended and risky home birth which did result in the (minor) injury of the child. So yes, the state was legally warranted to take custody of the child in this case. This is just from a legal stand point. I don't agree with it, but according to the law the Lights willingly and unlawfully put their child in eminent danger resulting in the child's injury. That is a crime. :/

Mary - posted on 09/04/2010

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I just wanted to point out that I could only find this ONE article...and it pretty much says the exact same thing as the FB page the couple has created called Bring Ruth Home. It leaves me a little skeptical that we still know the entire story here. Somethings don't completely add up...

I just have to think that we are still missing some key info here. And, as Cathy pointed out, something is amiss with this midwife. No competent, rational certified midwife would encourage a HOME delivery of a vaginal breech, particularly on a unproven pelvis. ANY untoward outcome, and it would be the end of her career. There is no mention of any action/investigation of this midwife in the article.

Erin, I know your views on birth and medical interventions....but this is one area that I believe screams for a hospital delivery. Yes, I am sure there are many examples of successful outcomes with vaginal breeches...I personally have seen a few. I have also seen head entrapment...and the resultant dead baby (It was this woman's CHOICE to birth this way...I am now giving depositions for the multimillion dollar lawsuit she and her family have filed against the OB). This is not something that should EVER be done at home, particularly with only one practicioner in attendence.

Kate CP - posted on 09/07/2010

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"...the child was born healthy so I don't think they should have the right to punish someone for what might have happend but didn't...if thats the case all our kids would be taken..."

But the child WASN'T born healthy. She suffered shoulder injuries resulting in nerve damage. Granted, it's not that big of an injury and it's healing on it's own, but the child WAS injured while the parents committed a crime: birthing at home in Illinois.

Mary - posted on 09/03/2010

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http://www.examiner.com/attachment-paren...

Did a little search and only came up with this one article.

While it seems ridiculous that she was taken away, I have to say that I have very little respect for any woman willing to chance a vaginal breech delivery at home. I'm glad the baby is okay...but that is sheer luck, and I personally love my child more than enough that I would NEVER risk that.

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[deleted account]

I think theinfo is too limited to make a call. But I'm off on holidays; talk among yourselves! Cheers!

Kate CP - posted on 09/08/2010

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I wasn't aware that children were taken into foster care because THEY did something wrong...wow...that's a whole new way to give kids issues. :/

Sharon - posted on 09/08/2010

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Geeze really kathy? What had the child done wrong? You take children away from the parents to protect them from parents, even those who seemingly mean well. Who profess to mean well. Its all to preserve that appearance of decency.

Stifler's - posted on 09/08/2010

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It's because the authorities do nothing in a lot of legit cases. I've reported people before who had 4 primary school aged kids that never went to school, played on the road outside and in the storm water drains unsupervised and the dad was always yelling and they never had shoes but had a brand new car and their house inside looked like it hadn't been vacuumed for 3 years and they didn't look after the grandma properly so we reported them to the adult guardian and DOCS and nothing came of it.

[deleted account]

Like everyone, I agree that we dont have enough information on this situation. I'm a bit surprised that many people seem to assume the authorities have got it right. They seem a bit heavy-handed to me, but that's my opinion based only on the available information.

Stifler's - posted on 09/08/2010

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So do child abusers though when they go too far. I think the justice system is just doing it's job. There is probably way more to the case than we know I think too.

[deleted account]

But the parents were the ones who brought the baby to the hospital when they were concerned. Surely that suggests they are caring parents.

Stifler's - posted on 09/07/2010

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maybe they're doing it to make an example of people who blatantly disregard medical advice and put their child in danger. just sayin.

Sarah - posted on 09/07/2010

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I think that this is outrageous...There are children who need to be taken away because they are being neglected or abused, but to be taken for not following her doctors suggestion thats luderchrist!!
even if it's a high risk pregnancy.
the child was born healthy so I don't think they should have the right to punish someone for what might have happend but didn't...if thats the case all our kids would be taken

JuLeah - posted on 09/06/2010

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There is not enough information to form an opinion. I am sure there is much more to this story.

The state has left children in the care of their parents even when doctors state the child will die without medical intervention. The parents don't believe in doctors and refuse.

If the parents wanted the kid at home with a midwife, then why did they even go to a doctor? How would a doctor have seen the case?

Any midwife worth her salt would not attend such a high risk labor, but would tell the parents to transport to the hosptial.

Nah, there is a lot here that doesn't add up

Sarah - posted on 09/06/2010

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On the point about having a C-section for a breech......
I had an emergency C-section as my youngest was an undiagnosed breech.
I was offered the chance to deliver vaginally, but they also informed me of the risks of doing so.
To me, the risks associated with a vaginal breech birth were greater than the C-section. Not saying it can't be done, but there ARE risks.

Add in to that having the baby at home....and I think it is extremely risky!

As to this particular couple, I think there's probably far more to it than meets the eye.

Mary - posted on 09/06/2010

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Kathy, in no way is my opinion more valid! It's just that once you see a baby die like that, it never, ever leaves you. And I will never, ever forget the mother's heartwrenching sobs, and her guilt...oh, the guilt nearly destroyed her (as well as her OB - she was not just any patient to him, she was his office manager). He had done numerous vaginal breeches before, and was truly one of the more instinctively skilled physicians I've had the privilege to work with.

It's not about statistics or evidence...ONE death like that is enough. In all the years I've worked in OB, I haven't seen a breech baby die in a section.

[deleted account]

Mary, I know that your opinion is far more valid than mine, as I'm aware that you are a professional in this area. Mine is based on anecdotal evidence. In fact, I don't know any mother who has had a c-section for breech presentation, unless there were other problems as well.

However, the vaginal vs c-section thing is not something we're going to agree on.

But like you I'm puzzled about the lack of information. But I didn't immediately jump to the conclusion that the parents were a bit dodgy. I found bits of information:
"...her first born (the c-section) died and in IL whenever there is a child death (no matter WHAT or WHY or WHERE the death occured) DCFS investigates. So they already had a "file"...I believe her first born died as a result of meconium aspiration in the hospital."
This is a comment posted on an article which I think was the same one Karla originally posted.
http://community.babycenter.com/post/a24...
I found a couple more comments but they were linked to the original article.

I think for me it comes down to what I see as the heavy-handedness of the state. As I said in my last post, I think the authorities definitely-overreacted by taking this baby away from her family. If the parents had not been do concerned, they would not have taken the little girl to hospital when they were worried. They do seem to me to be trying to get publicity and public support to bring their baby home.

Jodi - posted on 09/06/2010

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Just checked it out, and checked out the obit on the other baby, and she died at 2 months old, and the obit requested donations to a memorial account in her name to support the Meconium Aspiration Syndrome research.



I question that perhaps their first daughter may have died as a result of lack of medical facilities at a home birth too, and the combination of that, with the stance on homebirths taken by Illinois, may well have contributed to the decision by the authorities in this particular case......



Obviously I don't have a clue what really happened, but I absolutely agree that there is something with this that is not right, and there is more to the story than has been told.

Jodi - posted on 09/06/2010

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Yeah, there is definitely something more.

Just a point of interest, there has been another child back in 2009, and she died. The father has pics posted on his FB page. No information, but there may be more here than meets the eye.....

Mary - posted on 09/06/2010

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Kathy, I do disagree with you about the whole vaginal breech thing, especially if it is a first baby. Again, as someone who has SEEN a head entrapment, and watched an otherwise normal, healthy newborn DIE because the mother's pelvis was big enough for the body, but not the head...I'm sorry, but nothing in this world is worth that. Odds be damned - anyone who has ever witnessed that would never be a willing participant in that again.

However, that is whole other debate. I just keep thinking there is something a little off about the lack of publicity and info here, though. In the world we live in, most people would run screaming to the press, and utilize the rather effective tool of public sentiment to pressure the courts into letting this couple have their baby. It would not only have made the local news, but we'd all be seeing this plastered on all the morning news/talk shows. I've thought about the possibility that they are just an intensely private couple...but am left thinking that if that was me, and someone had removed my daughter from me (particularly when I was her sole source of nutrition), privacy be damned, I'd do whatever it took to get her back. I'd be appearing on the Today show buck naked with milk dripping from my breasts if it even slightly improved my chances of bringing my baby home.

From this family, there is nothing, which sadly, leaves me a little suspicious that they don't want the whole truth out there, because there is something a little fishy going on here.

[deleted account]

According to the article, the baby was taken into "protective custody!" Why?? Was the baby in danger? Was there a worry that the parents were going to abuse her?

[deleted account]

Several issues here:
There is nothing set in concrete that proves a better outcome for breech presentation with c-section than vaginal birth. In Australia it's not regarded as a risk factor. People have breech births vaginally all the time.
Many babies have similar injuries during birth for various reasons, often not related to the method of delivery but to the actual process of being born. This child is doing fine. They did NOT seriously endanger the life of their baby.
I could see nothing in the article that suggests they were not fully prepared and ready with a back up plan.
Doctors can only give advice, not orders. They are not deities, and they don't know everything.

So yes, looking at it strictly from a legalistic point of view (which often translates to simplistic!) these people did break a law. A stupid law, in my opinion, but that's not the point. Sp if the parents broke the law, why is the CHILD being punished by being removed from her family? Surely this is a situation that calls for some flexibility and consideration? It's probably costing the state (and therefore the taxpayers of the state) far more to look after the baby than if she were to be with her parents.

Why couldn't someone say, OK, you broke the law, and we'll have to sort that one out (i.e,have a nice expensive trial) but in the meantime look after your baby.

Kate CP - posted on 09/05/2010

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While I do agree with you, that doesn't change the fact that they seriously endangered the life of their child. Any midwife worth their salt wouldn't try to deliver breech at home without a c-section team standing by just in case. Like I said, I am VERY pro-home birthing...but this was just reckless and dangerous. If the baby had been in a normal presentation and hadn't been injured during birth I would have no problem with it. This turn of events is not beneficial to the movement in Illinois to legalize home births. This is a case where these people blatantly disregarded doctors' advice, illegally hired a midwife and birth at home, and ended up hurting their baby. Some conservatives may see this as a reason to be even MORE strict about home birthing. :/

[deleted account]

Probably to the detriment of the child! Use this as a tedt case to change this ridiculous law! A law that is so black and white as to be unable to account for circumstances is symbolic of a justice system that that doesn't care for people!

Kate CP - posted on 09/05/2010

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*bangs head on desk* It doesn't MATTER that the midwife was qualified or even THERE. According to Illinois state law they had an unattended birth at home which is illegal. This resulted in the injury of their child. THUS a crime was committed (child endangerment) and they are being prosecuted. The child was removed from the home prior to a conclusion of their court case.

[deleted account]

From the information in this article (which is very sparse!) it seems that someone over-reacted. I don't think it's ever been documented that c-section necessarily has a better outcome than vaginal birth for breech presentation:"Despite the widespread acceptance that breech babies should be delivered by caesarean section, it has not been proven to be safer for the baby than natural active breech birth."
http://www.aims.org.uk/Journal/Vol10No3/...
So it's not a given.

Other issues on which we are given no information in this article include:
The qualifications of the midwife;
the birth preparation of the mother;
the existence or otherwise of a backup plan;
the qualifications and experience of the hospital staff;
the resources of the hospital.

We are given insufficient information to form a definite opinion. My opinion, based on the limited information given, is that the whole thing is a massive overraction. The child is doing well, which is the MAIN point. It sounds to me as if the authorities are pissed off that their ridiculous laws weren't obeyed to the letter, and want to make a big deal about it.
Haven't they got real issues to deal with, like child abuse etc?

Kate CP - posted on 09/05/2010

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It doesn't matter if there was a trained midwife present or not. In the state of Illinois, where this child was born, it is illegal to have a home birth. Period. This couple broke the law and the end result was an injured child. Granted, the injury was minor and is healing well on it's own; but that doesn't excuse the fact that they broke the law. It was a dumb law and one that should be changed. But they broke the law and hurt their baby AND could have ended up with a dead child.

PS: I'm very pro-home birth and midwifery. I am NOT pro-law breaking, however.

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010

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Yeah me too I want to know the full story lol it's hard to understand why this family is copping it so bad.

Karla - posted on 09/05/2010

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I don't know what the standard is in most of the country because I've never researched and interviewed midwives outside of Ohio (since this is were I live and had my children), but ever midwife I interviewed had no problem with delivering breech. In fact, the one midwife I interviewed had delivered over 2000 babies and had 180 some successful breech births. And we're not talking about some crazy off the street midwives. Everyone I interviewed had a stack of credentials.
I guess this leads me to believe that there definitely has to be more to this story! Why all the fuss over this family? Did they just have a very angry doctor who wanted the control and didn't get it so he notified authorities or did the parents do something extreme that alerted the authorities? Who knows. Wish I had more details. Grrrr!!!

Karla - posted on 09/05/2010

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Babies have been born breech since the beginning of time! It was only in the last century that American medicine decided it was unsafe and that c-section would be the safest alternate to natural delivery in the case. Although, really the reason for this common practice is due to liability insurance reasons. Its safer, liability wise, for a doc to delivery c-section.

I'm not sure that breech presentation was the reason for the recommended c-section in this case anyway. It may have been due to previous c-section or some other reason. The article I read did not specify the reason.

Anyway, the way I see it, it almost the same as telling a parent they can feed their children GMO products or twinkies or pepsi because of the severe risks it can cause to their health. And yet you don't see the government stepping in with those sort of things.
Also, the last time I checked (2008 stats) over 10,000 women gave birth at home. And those were just the reported births, not everyone reports a planned home birth (for obvious reasons). Are they going to try taking away all 10,000 plus infants??

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010

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I didn't think of that when I wrote that hahaha. They probably didn't tell her that the doctor recommended a c section though, babies have been born breech naturally.

Erin - posted on 09/05/2010

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Emma why would you say they lied to the midwife? It would be highly unusual that a midwife couldn't tell the baby was breech upon examination.

Stifler's - posted on 09/05/2010

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I have to say that I feel it was pretty stupid of them to have a home birth when a c section was highly recommended. The baby is obviously fine but when a doctor tells you that a c section is highly recommended maybe you should take his advice instead of put your baby's life in possible jeopardy just to have what you want. They need a reality check if you ask me.

Erin - posted on 09/05/2010

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You make a very good point Karla. Which is why I feel like removing this child could be opening a can of worms. People make decisions for their children every day that carry potential risks and harm. C-sections carry an infant mortality rate 3 times higher than a vaginal delivery, so if a woman chooses an elective c-section, she is taking that risk. Complications from elective circumcisions kill more baby boys than car accidents and suffocation COMBINED in the US each year. People choosing this procedure for their boys are taking this risk. And obviously there's the refusal of blood products issue that Nikki mentioned earlier, and even the proposed FGM 'ritual nick' that was going to be overlooked by the authorities in the name of religious and cultural freedom.



Are they going to start investigating all of these families and removing all of these children? If a baby boy winds up severely disfugured from a botched circ, will he be taken away from his loving parents?

Karla - posted on 09/05/2010

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I wish I could find more info to this story!! It doesn't say anywhere what the reasoning for c-section was or if there was a trained midwife present. That info is MUCH needed here, obviously. But regardless, I come from a community that is rich with amish and almost none of them go to the hospital for their births. I'm just wondering, is "for religious reasons" an acceptable reason to birth at home and flat out parents choice not the same thing? What makes it ok for an amish family to stay at home and not ok for any other family?

Mary - posted on 09/05/2010

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Ummm, Ink, the links you provided are about a case in NJ...this post is about a baby girl born this summer, in Rock County Illinois. I know there are SOME similarities here, but this case has yet to be decided.

Jodi - posted on 09/04/2010

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I'm undecided. I think there is more to this story than the "facts" as presented. My gut tells me there is more to this and that is why the baby was taken. After all, the baby is now with her parents, and they have 4 hours a day with her under supervision. Something is not being said.

[deleted account]

As a supporter of birth choices I support all families right to the choice to birth at home. However, given their risk factor and circumstance (breech baby) and opposing medical advice, this decision should never have been taken lightly and they should only have done so in consultation with medical professionals and with access to a trained and REGISTERED midwife, one competent and experienced in breech deliveries. If the state law prohibits homebirth midwives from practicing or prohibits planned unattended births and if as a result of this family breaking the law and their actions resulting in injury to the child their child was removed from them by the state; I still feel that this is a circumstance where rather than the law needing to be enforced, the law needs to be amended or changed.



I feel that removing this child from a family who very much seems to love and want to care for their child is a detriment to the child and will have long lasting effects on their future. I suppose given the legality of the situation, the government does have the right to have removed the child, but to me that still doesn't make the action right.

Sharon - posted on 09/04/2010

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I'm not a risk taker, well not with my kids lives.

I was reading another article earlier about the safety of homebirths - how other countries don't have the issues america claims to face regarding the safety of homebirths.

The biggest thing seems to be midwife certification and legality. Those other countries require certification whereas moronic american women, determined to do it like the pioneers did in their livingrooms with portable jacuzzis and their favorite Mp3 on, want a home birth. I'm so irritated by their "natural" claims when its barely natural at all.

Anyway - I'm not against homebirths. I just don't have any respect for a woman who would shoot craps with her childs' life. Homebirths are fine if you like that sort thing.

Apparently, this article shows, that thousands of women opt for ANY woman calling herself a midwife versus a hospital. Many of them had their babies die. So NOW (DUH FUCKING DUH SHIT HEADS) they're lobbying for midwife certification. I have ZERO sympathy for those bitches. For their dead children, my heart aches, but better them than me.

Frankly if you want to gamble to with your childs life and attempt a breech birth at home with an illegal uncertified midwife, knock yourself out and if the child dies, there is no one to sue, because the midwife is probably not using a real name, and the gene pool has had yet another dose of chlorine.

So yeah, in this case they were right to take her child away from her. Now if they could just do something to boost the poor things IQ so it won't suffer like its mother, that'd be great, but I hear, "you can't fix stupid."

Ok, now up there I was ranting about people gambling with their childrens' lives. Women who have little to no risks - are not gambling with their infants lives. Well a little, but with good and proper prenatal care its pretty insignificant. I see nothing wrong with that. giving birth is a risk in and of itself. One we all take.

Rosie - posted on 09/04/2010

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i'm very iffy on homebirths in the first place so i am biased. i dont understand not having a nicu nearby, hence why i chose the best hospital in the state to have my children at, even though it was an hour away while 2 other hospitals are in my town.
this to me definitely warrants removal of the child with the info that is presented. anybody who is that reckless with their children needs a whoopin'

[deleted account]

From the information that's been presented in this thread I also agree that the child should have been taken.

Amie - posted on 09/04/2010

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I agree with the women who see why the child was taken.



I don't personally care whether a woman chooses to home birth or not. When you know there's a chance something serious could happen to your child, that they could potentially die. Then ya, I'm all for CPS taking your child away. Even in the cases where they should but don't. AKA "religious beliefs". That one infuriates me to no end.

Petra - posted on 09/04/2010

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There has to be more to the story - they noted at the end of the article that there are legislative debates about midwife certification and home births in Illinois, where the couple gave birth. Something is definitely up with the midwife.

When a complaint is filed against the parents regarding negligent medical treatment, it HAS to be followed up on and when it becomes clear that something has happened (no one is disputing the nerve damage to the baby's arms) there is usually some legal protocol that follows. If it was a health practitioner who made the complaint (and it sounds like it is, the complaint coincided with their visit to the hospital), it would probably be taken pretty seriously. So no, I don't think the state is fully out of line. They are probably doing things by the book and it is unfortunate that the child in question is still an infant. If the baby had died during the home birth, things probably would have shaken out very differently.

If the situation continues, hopefully more light will be shed on the factors that contributed to the removal of the child.

Erin - posted on 09/04/2010

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I agree that the story still seems a bit 'off'. And Mary, I actually agree with you regarding the dangers of vaginal breeches. I just don't know that it, alone, is grounds for the removal of a baby from it's parents. People make dubious and questionable decisions for their babies all the time. Our authorities don't even automatically take away a drug addict's baby!!! Unless there is more to this story (which I suspect there may be), this case really is outrageous.

Erin - posted on 09/04/2010

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I was just about to go on a huge rant about home birth rights, and then I read some of the other posts and totally agree that there HAS to be more to the story. If it was simply a case of a scalpel-happy doctor wanting to enforce a c-section, he can stick it. But I guess there are a few *very* exceptional circumstances where a home birth could be classed as child endangerment.



Edited to add: Ok I just read Mary's post. While I would never attempt a vaginal breech, lots of women do, at home, all over the world. I have read plenty of birth stories of successful breech homebirths, attended by independent midwives. I totally agree it is very risky, but I still don't think it warrants the removal of the child. It would be a very slippery slope if we were to start investigating parents for their pregnancy and birth choices.

[deleted account]

Well I'm totally pro home birth. Removing a healthy child from a parents custody for such a reason is ridiculous.

My issue is with the midwife. The reason the UK has such high rates of successful home births is because our community midwives will not deliver a baby if there is any indication of medical risks and complications in the birth. What responsible midwife would risk this?
If she didn't have a midwife and decided to free birth then that is reckless endangerment of her child. Could understand then why someone might feel the need to remove the child from the parents because someone is showing a serious lack of intelligence.

Meghan - posted on 09/04/2010

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Like Laura said, as far as I know most mid wives wouldn't touch an at home breech birth. It just makes me wonder what other common sense things she may ignore...

Isobel - posted on 09/03/2010

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hmmm...my guess is that she didn't even have a midwife...since most midwives would have nothing to do with an at-home breech birth. So that means that she did it entirely alone. And I agree that she is guilty of reckless endangerment.

[deleted account]

If there isn't another reason for taking the baby away (other than the choice to home birth against medical advice) and the baby is ok... the state absolutely should NOT have taken away the baby. And that opinion is from someone who is pretty much completely against home births anyway....

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