Mother refuses c-section, baby taken away.....

Erinn - posted on 08/02/2009 ( 127 moms have responded )

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A woman in New Jersey refused to consent to a C-section during labor in the event that her baby was in distress. She ended up giving birth vaginally without incident. The baby was in good medical condition.



However, her baby was taken away from her and her parental rights were terminated because she "abused and neglected her child" by refusing the C-section and behaving "erratically" while in labor.



How is this legal?



A New Jersey appellate court has upheld the shocking ruling, and custody has been given to the child's foster parents.



The court's decision cites hospital records that describe the mother, V.M., as "combative," "uncooperative," "erratic," "noncompliant," "irrational" and "inappropriate." That's how we acted during labor, too ... but our babies weren't taken away, thank God.



The court opinion also focuses on the fact that the mother had been in psychiatric care for twelve years prior to the birth. But, as the Huffington Post points out, her psychiatric state would never have been questioned if the mother had not refused invasive abdominal surgery -- which was entirely within her rights.

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Jennifer (Elle) - posted on 08/02/2009

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Unfortunately this is extremely tragic - not only because of this particular incident but because the hospitals are hankering to set a "legal precedent" to control women's birthing choices completely when they're in a hospital even though much of what's considered "normal medical protocol" these days is no longer evidence based.

Let me be clear that this is not to say that there aren't incredible doctors (you should meet my OB!) and that there aren't lifesaving, nessacary interventions. What is alarming is the overall trend and the changing "politic" in the delivery room.

Check out this website - http://www.advocatesforpregnantwomen.org...

These folks are on the forefront of the situation and even have a video on the homepage of a woman who was legally forced to have a c-section. And please, PLEASE, take a moment and write to your representatives about this issue which is DIRECTLY related to our ongoing health care crisis!

Best,
Elle Taviv
Doula, Pregnancy/Relationship Coach

Stefanie - posted on 08/29/2009

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Read the whole story. Both parents were said to have psychological issues and given evaluations and determined to be unfit (mainly the mother). There is SO much more to this story than refusing a c-section.

Deziray - posted on 08/05/2009

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that is insane i would fight it she might have had psychiatric problems but there is some mothers who just don't like the idea of being cut open i would panic too if they told me i had to have a c-section

Shelly - posted on 08/03/2009

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What is so sad is some of the comments I have seen on this site about how harmless a c-section is...I am here to tell you NO it's not just a an no hassle thing. And most of you that are commenting like this I'm guess you have never had to have a C-Section much less an emergancy C-Section...I'm here to tell ya there is nothing harnless about it. I had to have my second son via emergency C-Section and then had the 6 weeks of recovery. During this 6 weeks I ended up back in the hospital in a comma because they nick my blatter and didn't know it and I ended up septic...which in turn because I was breast feeding my son he ended up staying in the hospital longer b/c they didn't know if it had affected him...Well when it was all said and done the reason they did the C-section is because he was breach and did want to turn...and it was 2 days before my due date when I went into labor, well when they delivered him he ended up being 4 weeks early and had to be in the NICU for 10 days because his lungs were not devoloped...I had problems all the way through my pregnancy and for them not to consult my OBGYN before this is beyond me. There was no ultra sound done to deturm the size of my son or the position and at the time I was not in any condition to question it...I was still in the foggy world of the doctor knows best. So for you that think that C-Section is no big deal try it your self it was such a bad decission for my I had my third son natural I would not sign to have a C-Section and my husband knew that if there was a life threatening situation then and only then was he to give permission to do a C-Section, and he stood by that because lived through all of this and laid in my hospital bed praying and begging me not to die. They came to him while I was in labor with our third son about doing a C-Section because of the risk of a rupture being greater, but he said no the only way that way going to happen is if it did rupture and it was going to cause harm to me or the baby...So the next time you think that a C-Section is no big deal think about me and what I went through because they choose not to fdo thier homework!!!!

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127 Comments

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Melissa - posted on 10/04/2012

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Which is why we don't birth in hospitals. They try to make an emergency out of everything AND try to harm you and your child if you refuse in many cases.

Ashley - posted on 08/29/2009

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yeah but eventually the baby no longer thrives and she could lose the baby and that is neglect and not doing what is best for your child no matter how hard it is labor is hard and you take the risk of having to go through something like that when you decide to get pregnant there are no excuses when you don't do what is best for your child.....

Pauline - posted on 08/29/2009

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i agreed it up to the person to make that move, it a huge decision for a women to go throu trust me i had 3 csetion,i am glad that most country rule that out and make sure that mother get the bonding they need with they ittle mircule

Pauline - posted on 08/29/2009

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i agreed it up to the person to make that move, it a huge decision for a women to go throu trust me i had 3 csetion,i am glad that most country rule that out and make sure that mother get the bonding they need with they ittle mircule

Ashley - posted on 08/24/2009

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bc if the baby is no longer thriving she is not doing what is best and that is neglect

Camille - posted on 08/21/2009

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Being the mother of twins, I was expecting to have a natural birth, however, both babies were in distress, with an umbilical cord being the potential weapon of death for both. When my doctor advised a C-section was necessary, I did not hesitate and told him to do whatever he needed to in order to save the lives of my twins.



Anyone who refuses the help needed in order to produce a healthy, normal baby is not right, as was this woman....if she can't make a rational, normal decision as to the welfare of her infant child, especially during it's birth, then what kind of mother will she be in raising this child???



Unfortunately, children don't get to 'pick their parents'....I feel sorry for this baby.

Angie - posted on 08/20/2009

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This is crazy, this kind of thing is going to lead to more people using mid-wife's and staying at home to have their babies. I think as the birthing mother you know what your body can do and obviously she proved the doctor's wrong by having a vaginal birth which in my opinion is the best birthing way. I know I have done c-section than a v back birth and I would go for the vaginal birth anytime. I can't even imagine how this mother is feeling now after giving her baby life and than having had it ripped out of her arms. That's insane!

DeAnn - posted on 08/19/2009

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Show me a woman that is not "combative,uncooperative,erratic,noncompliant etc." while in labor, maybe their child should be taken away. Point being, the child arrived safe based on the mothers decision. Maybe she had "a mothers intuition"

[deleted account]

if you haven't read the book Pushed, it talks about this a lot. Some hospitals have appointed the fetus an attorney and FORCED the mother to have an unnecessary C-Section. It is amazing, and this is one reason free-birth is becoming popular...

[deleted account]

Maybe the mother was strung out on dope and that was part of the reason for her erratic behavior. Having worked in a child protective services dept. babies are taken from their mother's if they test positive for drugs. No one wille ver know the true extent of the story, so much is protected under court seal. JUst a thought

Brandy - posted on 08/19/2009

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See I have to agree with Elizabeth here what is not being said?? What qualifies as psychiatric care?? I have been on anti-depressants for years do to my inheritance and bad things happening in my life..would I qualify as under psychiatric care?? I can't say I would deny an emergency c-section but maybe this woman had religous reasons, or maybe she WAS in fact crazy. Who knows and without being in the hospital room with her no one will. I am a firm believer in there are 2 sides to a story his side her side and the truth...which is seldom ever heard

User - posted on 08/19/2009

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I think you are right, there is so much more to this story than what we are hearing for the Hospital to step in and say she put her child in danger. I don't believe it was just the fact that she didn't want a c-section.

Mary - posted on 08/18/2009

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I think its funny that they were calling her "neglectful", and "irrational", and "innappropriate" when if it had been just six months earlier she would have been allowed to KILL it by abortion without any questions asked. The government needs to get their definitions of "human life" figured out before they go and do hypocritical things like taking a baby away that didn't have any 'rights' at all when she made the decision not to consent. Was it a baby or a fetus, I thought fetus' didn't have rights. Go figure thi happened in a very liberal state.

Kimberly - posted on 08/18/2009

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from reading this...it seems like they thought they were doing the right thing. to refuse a c-section in the event that the baby was in distress....is technically neglect & abuse. its not for the fact that she didnt want a c-section. had something gone wrong & the baby would only live if she had a c-section...& she REFUSED it...thats neglect.

Jennifer - posted on 08/18/2009

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I have to disagree that doctors know everything. For thousands of years the majority of women could trust that their bodies would know what to do when birthing time came. Yes, prior to medical intervention, women did die in childbirth. But that doesn't mean that we can't still have that connection to our bodies, or that we should give full control of our bodies over to doctors who would just as soon schedule a c-section so they could make afternoon tee-off time. I would be beyond angry if I received a c-section for the doctor's convenience. I am paying doctors to provide a professional service for me. I am NOT paying them to make decisions based on their ease and convenience, especially when it comes to invasive surgery. As a student nurse, I am learning that the least invasive approach is generally the one with the best outcome.

User - posted on 08/18/2009

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What a world we are living in today!!! Not knowing the whole story it is definitely hard to judge. I am very glad, however, that the doctors and nurses are now standing up and paying attention to the well being of babies. These days there are so many mothers that are abusive on other things that have to business leaving with their own babies. I applaud those doctors for standing up for what they saw with their own two eyes. Although being a mother I am horrified, just wondering what she was hospitalized for 12 years for, I am seeing this as a big factor. The doctors must have really thought she was in terrible danger to herself and her child, I believe her actions also made the ruling possible by being beligerant.

Erica - posted on 08/18/2009

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I'm not sure who to believe here, in the end the baby was well, and the mother didn't need a c-section. In my country nothing like this happens, children get taken off parents if they beat them. They had an assessment done on her While She Was In Labour (id be irrational too). but she past that one, the doctors and nurses weren't happy so they got another one done by someone else. OMG. What is this world coming to. They split a family up instead of helping the family learn by teaching them.

More and more children are getting taken off good parents because of technacalities and those children end up harmed emotionally because of their label ADOPTED. The children dont know who they are and once they hit adolescence they are so srewed up it isnt funny.

There should be a system put in place to help families not just take the easy road and split them up.

If the mother in this story is a total nutcase then fine but it seems a bit strange to me.

I have my insane moments but I'm not insane, we all lose our patience and our moods change but its called being a human, and female at that!!!

Dont jump to conclusions, make sure you have the right story.

Erika - posted on 08/18/2009

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This is insane, I am a mom and a surgical tech. I do c-sections in surgery all the time, Sometimes when they are not needed to be done, just because the mother has had enough pain going through labor and beggs the doctor to just get the baby out. If there had been complications or the baby suffered distress in any way I could understand this, but not when everything turned out fine with mother and child. This is just not right, is it ok for a mother to ask for a c-section when not needed? This puts both mother and child at risk......

Erika - posted on 08/18/2009

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Quoting Erinn:

Mother refuses c-section, baby taken away.....

A woman in New Jersey refused to consent to a C-section during labor in the event that her baby was in distress. She ended up giving birth vaginally without incident. The baby was in good medical condition.

However, her baby was taken away from her and her parental rights were terminated because she "abused and neglected her child" by refusing the C-section and behaving "erratically" while in labor.

How is this legal?

A New Jersey appellate court has upheld the shocking ruling, and custody has been given to the child's foster parents.

The court's decision cites hospital records that describe the mother, V.M., as "combative," "uncooperative," "erratic," "noncompliant," "irrational" and "inappropriate." That's how we acted during labor, too ... but our babies weren't taken away, thank God.

The court opinion also focuses on the fact that the mother had been in psychiatric care for twelve years prior to the birth. But, as the Huffington Post points out, her psychiatric state would never have been questioned if the mother had not refused invasive abdominal surgery -- which was entirely within her rights.


 

Elisha - posted on 08/17/2009

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If they are removing the baby because of the mother's mental health than that should be it. It should have nothing to do with her refusing a C-section. This is just another way of removing a women's rights. Hospitals use to strap women to a table and sedate them for days while they were in labor. When husbands started asking why their wifes had bruised wrists and ankles the hospitals just started padding the straps. Our right to give birth the way nature intended has come a long way since the then, but not far enough. It is well documented that some doctors prefer to perform a c-section over a vaginal birth because it is easier and faster for them. Many doctors perform them for fear of being sued if there were a problem, even if they don't really think it is necessary. Maybe this women should have lost her parental rights, but lets be clear about the reason. Losing them just because she refused a c-section is insane!

On another note: Women please educate yourselves about pregnancy, labor, and the birth process. It is so sad how little we know about our own bodies and how little we trust our bodies and our instincts. We are more powerful than we relies.

Angy - posted on 08/16/2009

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Heart rates ALWAYS drop during active labor/contractions! Drugs given in the hospital contribute to the c-sections needed. We almost always behave "erratic"ly during labor. That kind of pain is like NO other! No baby should NOT have been taken for those reasons. If they have/had other reasons fine, but notr for that. Advice::::: have your baby at home with a midwife and avoid the "emergency" this country associates with the natural act of giving birth!!!! I did with my last one and would do it again if I had another.

Staceybest - posted on 08/16/2009

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oh man thats so wrong. she is the mother and should have rights the baby was born fine and we as mums have instincts so she new what was best for both she should be given at least a trial time to see how she goes before just taking her child away

Melissa - posted on 08/15/2009

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I would never blame anyone for refusing a c-section if there was not imminent danger to the mother or baby. There is always a risk with any medical procedures. I know a woman who almost died because the anesthesiologist botched the epidural (which she didn't want anyway, but the Dr talked her into it) causing her spinal column to leak all of the fluid that was supposed to be surrounding her brain. An epidural is supposed to be routine as well.

Kind of makes me wonder what other instances have gone on at this hospital? Do they have a lot of complaints from other patients or families??

[deleted account]

why can the government just do whatever they want? She hasn't in anyway hurt, neglected, abandoned or any of those things to the baby. Why even ask that question "Do you consent" if you are to say no then you are going to get into trouble. That makes no sense at all

Elizabeth - posted on 08/13/2009

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crazy, crazy... if her child was fine then i don't see the problem. what's wrong with this story... i believe there's something more someone's not saying.

Keisha - posted on 08/13/2009

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Don't understand what the world is comeing too! How come a hospital can refuse to do visectomies and to tie a womens tubes (and what not) but we don't have the right to make choices about our own body? C-sections are considered a major surgery in a hospitals eyes...a baby can become in distress for several reasons and do not require a c-section delivery, a hospital knows that.

[deleted account]

this is similar to what I 'heard' when I was having my own children...I was prepared to deny such an option...however, I never did need to...also, being in psychiatric care shouldn't carry such a stigma in 2009...I know in my heart, that people who want simple counseling will procrastinate or just simply do without, because of all of the stigma of ANY psych services at all!! Shame on our social ignorance!!

[deleted account]

I cannot believe this!! Call me ignorant but I have heard, a few years in the past, that it was becoming 'very routine' to perform C-sections because of very frivolous reasons on behalf of the attending physicians...I only 'heard' this, and was then prepared to deny it when I delivered my own children...nobody ever suggested it. But, I would have said not, too...And could she have possibly argued that for 'Religious' reasons, she would not go through with it?? I wonder if that would have kept Government out of her hospital room? And, I also, was combative, uncooperative, erratic, irrational and used inappropriate language while delivering my first child...I tried climbing up the back of the bed!! It hurt! Poor woman... I hope she knows our LORD!

Lora - posted on 08/13/2009

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So, we have the right in some states to KILL our babies with abortion but our right to give them life the way God designed it to be is not allowed in some states! I don't even have the right words for how wrong and disgusting this is! Personally I am anti-hospital when it comes to giving birth for this very reason! I know and understand the wonderful ways that modern medicine and technology saves mothers and babies lives everyday, but not every mother and baby (very few in fact when it comes down to reality) need anything more than a caring and trained nurse, or midwife, and a down to earth Doctor with a safe and clean place to have a sucessful and positve delivery. The pain of not having your epadural is worth not having your rights as a mother taken away!!!!!!!!!!!!

Paula - posted on 08/13/2009

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This got to be more to the story.
If she has history of mental illness, maybe they feared she would do harm to herself or the child.

PAM - posted on 08/13/2009

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I think I would have to know more about the situtation. If the baby was in harms way by being delivered natural, then I would question the mother's decision to not have a c-section. Most moms want to make sure the baby is ok and that is the main point. I was faced with the decision when I had my child. I had a c-section with the thoughts that I may die, because they ask me before hand which one to save. I chose my daughter life over mine. However, the c-section went great and I got raise a beautiful girl.

Frances - posted on 08/12/2009

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wow, how does that make sense when they will hand over a baby to a crack mom.

Karen - posted on 08/12/2009

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Unless the baby was in danger then the mother had every right to refuse a c-section. It would be interesting to find out if the judge was a man or woman???

Lisa - posted on 08/12/2009

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How the medical profesionals think they are so right. Not always. As far as the refusal it was her right. I do not understand why the doctors tried to take the babys away. Sure glad you still have your babies.

Kimber - posted on 08/12/2009

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That's crazy. I do not know all of the specific details of this story but I personally did everything I could to avoid a c-section myself. I did not take an epidural (they can lead to c-sections) and I had all three of my babies med-free. Thankfully my hospital allowed me to make that decision myself and not try to force me into taking any medications I did not need or want.

[deleted account]

If I had turned down the c-section in both of my babies births, they would have died. She spun a roulette wheel on her baby. It says there that she refused to consent to a c-section in the event that her baby was in distress. So, if her baby was in trouble, too bad.

Victoria - posted on 08/12/2009

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i have had two children the first one naturally and the second one was footling breach (feet down) so i had no choice but to have a c section thought if she stayed a normal breech postion i would have tried to give birth naturally in the end i wanted her to be safe and that was my responsibility as a mother

Victoria - posted on 08/12/2009

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if she gave birth naturally and the baby is okay and in good health than i don't see that there is a problem if the baby had long term problems following the birth then fair enough. it is ridiculous and it all should be droped

[deleted account]

Wow!! She could have definitely fought this. It isn't legal, but I wonder if the mother put up a fuss. If the baby was born healthy with not incident there is no reason for that baby to have been taken away from her. The only reason they would have to take the baby away is if her psychological state posed a risk to the baby and there was no hope of rehabilitation for the mother. Otherwise what was done here was illegal, and with a good lawyer that woman could regain custody of that baby.

Mom M - posted on 08/12/2009

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I may be wrong on this one but I'm sure you have to sign a consent form before your actually admitted in the hospital in case any thing happends and you need surgery.

I will ask my daughter who is doing rotations in OB/GYN

Cher - posted on 08/12/2009

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i absolutely can not believe this! but, for some strange reason, i can't see this type of silly, 'ERRATICAL' behavior on the part of the courts/hospital because something some-what similar happened to me. while in the induced labor of my second child, i was going to have an epidural...but i got scared of the huge needle/seemingly-cold description of the procedure/and MY SPINE being poked into!



so one of my sisters was in the room and seen my face and we basically agreed that i would do what i did with my first child...GO AS NATURAL as possible.



well, after cancelling the epidural (which the process hadn't even started yet, i was just getting ready to sign the paperwork...) all the doctor's, student's and then a team of people came in questioning me about my decision to turn down the epi. that same team came BACK IN telling me that i was wrong for how i felt about the situation [which i never made a mention of in the first place...i just said 'no, i won't do it!']...and blah blah blah.



after that, it was all good and my baby girl was born at 8months....3lbs 12oz.



now, if i get prego again, I WILL NEVER RETURN TO THE UofC, not of my own free will.

User - posted on 08/10/2009

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i was told when i enquired about fostering that we would have to encourage the children to keep in contact with the parents eventhough these same parents would have abused or neglected these kids to the point they were removed from them..so HOW can a mother lose her newborn just from refusing a c section..hands up any mother who hasnt acted totally out of charachter when they're in the height of pain...i hope this woman gets her baby back..how cruel...

Jodie - posted on 08/10/2009

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It surprises me that the issue of the possibility, no matter how remote, of a C-section had never arisen before the woman went in for delivery. I remember having that conversation with my doctor months before I had my daughter -the same conversation that involved whether or not I wanted an epidural if I was going for a vaginal birth. (I ultimately decided on a C-section due to a previous labor that was so hard and drawn out that it ended in a C-section - but the point is, the choice was mine all along.) Had that been done with this woman, and her own OB been present at the birth (or at least been in communication with the attending physician at the hospital at the time of delivery), this all may not have occurred. It also surprises me that the doctors did not consult her on whose life to save- hers or her baby's, if the fetus was in that much danger. It is my understanding that every woman has the right to make that decision. Also, it appalls me that even though it is legal for a woman to decide to have an abortion, which most certainly kills her fetus, this hospital and state decided that it was illegal for this woman to refuse a c-section, when there was no guarantee that refusing the C-section would kill the fetus. There is something very strange about all of this, and it is scary how much power is given to law makers when it comes to personal decisions.

Debra - posted on 08/09/2009

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Seems the mother's rights are not there. If there had been problems with the baby then charges would be able to be pressed but the child was okay. The mother's instincts were right and it sounds like the courts are as crooked as the medical team.

User - posted on 08/09/2009

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this is so terrible! its seems to me like they should not have taken her baby but they should have given her all the help and support to keep the mother and baby together! social services and courts are too quick to judge. people should be willing to help and not just give up. this situation was very wrong! i feel so sorry for the mother and for the child x

Jennifer - posted on 08/08/2009

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No matter what side of natural versus CS births you are on, I think the real issue is that we are not hearing the whole story in this case.

Samira - posted on 08/08/2009

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I am completely shocked that a situation/judgment such as this is even a discussion. Some people are afraid of various things, does that mean everyone should be evaluated or have their pasts brought up because we disagree with what could be fatal to our very lives. At times doctors and other professionals are giving to much authority over the lives of the people they are suppose to protect. Is it possible that we know our bodies and the conditions we can or can not handle? This is something for us all to think about who will benefit? For instance I am against the Flu vaccine, and most if not all other vaccines. However, if I want my son to attend the school he's in, he has to have the vaccine. Who is benefitting from it? Yes, he may be protected from the flu, but what if he isn't? What then, he has to continue getting the vaccine while he is schoolaged attending public and/or private schools. We as a people have little to no voice over our bodies the government seems to be protecting with a watchful eye. I have more to share but I am working on speaking without emotions. So I will end here.



Thanks for sharing and allowing me to voice my opinion.

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