Friday, October 21, 2011

My Homebirth Loss: The Birth

*** Disclaimer again:  Before I begin I would like to preface this post with a few things. First off, I have not shared the details of this birth publicly since he was born. This was largely due to the most insensitive and hurtful comments that I have ever seen a person make online regarding my loss without them even knowing the details. Please bear in mind that I lost my son and no one carries that burden of loss more than I do. If you comment with anything that is offensive, mean, or otherwise insensitive it will get deleted. Secondly I am writing this birth story in 3 separate blogs, the pregnancy and labor, the birth, and the hospital trasnfer. I am doing this because 1- there is just too much information to put it all in one post and 2-I want to separate my emotions from those three cycles of this process. The labor was amazingly beautiful, the birth was somewhat scary, and the hospital transfer was nothing short of infuriating.****

The Birth:

Here I was the moment I had been waiting for and missed with my first two babies. It was time to push! I remember just thinking how close I was to this being over and how I couldn't wait so that the burden of looming loss would finally go away.

I pretty much followed my instincts in regards to pushing. It felt best to stand in between contractions and push in a squatting position. I actually didn't even know at the time that squatting opens the pelvic inlet 30% more than normal. Instincts are such an amazing thing we have. I was in such a labor daze that I am unaware of exactly how long it took to push. I do know that my cervical lip was still there and that while pushing my midwife pushed it out of the way so that I could get the baby past my cervix.

There was a point in the pushing process that I was shown a mirror and I could see his head. I think the reason they did that is because they wanted me to see that I was so close to birthing. It helped to know that his head was literally right there.

It was not long after that things quickly changed. I recall hearing my midwife tell her assistant to check heart tones in between my contractions. I remember it like it was yesterday very very vividly. There was complete and utter silence. No heartbeat, not even the swooshing of the placenta. That feeling I had the entire pregnancy of a heartbeat not being found was happening. While I prepared for the worst at every prenatal, I never quite imagined that this may occur during my labor.

At this point the mood seemed to completely change. I could hear a lot of hustling behind me and encouragement for me to get the baby born. I remember hearing my midwife say "call them" telling someone to call 911. When I heard that I pushed with every single thing I had in me. I could feel the infamous ring of fire and hoped this meant it was almost over. In reality it had only just begun.

Once his head was born I could not push anymore and he was not moving out. I could tell by the look on my midwife's face that something was really wrong. She gave me a stern yet gentle stare and said " I need you to push. This baby needs to come out now!" Only I had no energy to "purple push" as they call it. I had no contractions and I had no energy left. So there I was with my baby stuck and nothing anyone could do.

It took 30 minutes for the ambulance to arrive. Police and EMT volunteers were there within minutes and NONE of them did anything. Not one single thing. They stood around and stared at me like I was in the circus. Once the ambulance finally arrived they kicked everyone out of the room. They were completely and utterly clueless about what to do. They were on the phone with the hospital asking what to do and while they were looking at each other trying to figure out what they needed to do the urge to push came back really strongly. I said more than once I need to push and my (ex) husband got their attention and with that push the rest of his body was born.

I remember saying how good that felt to be done. I looked up and saw that it was a boy and saw that he was totally lifeless. We asked them not to cut the cord they did it anyway. They never even attempted to resuscitate him AT ALL. No CPR, no oxygen, and I am not even sure they checked for a pulse.  Not only did they do nothing they didn't even let me see him.

I plan to continue the transfer part of this story in the next blog but before I do I want to address a few things about this part of my story.

First I would like to say that there have been many times where people have questioned or assumed that this happened because I was at home and being in the hospital somehow would have changed things. To that I would like to point out a few things:

1- Continuous fetal monitoring does not improve birth outcomes at all.

"Admission electronic fetal monitoring did not decrease neonatal morbidity and mortality compared with intermittent auscultation. Patients in the admission fetal monitoring group were more likely to receive continuous electronic monitoring and fetal blood sampling, but there were no significant differences in the rates of operative deliveries or episiotomy. Institutions not routinely using admission electronic fetal monitoring should not start; those that do may not be benefiting their patients." -

So while yes in the hospital I would have had continuous fetal monitoring, the intermittent monitoring of the baby was sufficient enough to show if there was issues. In my case whatever occurred happened quickly and the outcome would have been NO different in the hospital.

2- The shoulder dystocia.  I have processed my birth in many ways and often over the last 6 years. I know that there will be some that say "well see your pelvis was too narrow". He was very large ( will get into that on the next blog) and I gave birth twice after that vaginally to babies that were 2+ lbs bigger than my c-section baby so, no my pelvis is just fine thank you very much.

Also I am pretty sure that my baby passed away before his head was born. Now Allah only knows for sure when He took his soul but from what little I do know I think he was already gone. Babies must be active participants in the birth process. It is a team effort. Once the head is born the baby usually rotates itself to allow the shoulders to come out. My baby was no longer actively particpating in the birth. I am not sure if the shoulder dystocia I had was due to his size or due to the fact that he was not rotating or moving at all.

Also this is NOT a predictable situation. Shoulder dystocia can happen with babies of ALL sizes. This is not something that anyone could have seen coming ahead of time. And the situation would have been the same in a hospital.

3- This is more about my religion than anything else. One of the pillars of Imaan (faith) is belief in the Divine decree of Allah. In other words what is written to occur in ones life cannot be changed. The pen has dried. Our entire life is written out while in the wombs of our mothers.

" Narrated Abdullah: Allah's Apostle, the true and truly inspired said, "(as regards your creation), every one of you is collected in the womb of his mother for the first forty days, and then he becomes a clot for an other forty days, and then a piece of flesh for an other forty days. Then Allah sends an angel to write four words: He writes his deeds, time of his death, means of his livelihood, and whether he will be wretched or blessed (in religion)....." Sahih Bukhari

So my sons life as short as it may have been,  was already decided upon and written out long before the labor pains began. It didn't matter what I did or where he was born or any of that he was meant to die a sinless person and return to Allah with a pure soul. And for that I am honored and eternally blessed to have been able to be a part of that little life even if it was short.

The transfer to the hospital part of this birth story will be soon coming.....

If you missed it---- Part One: The Beginning, and Part Three: The Aftermath


  1. Michelle,

    I remember your birth story. You have shared this story with a select few, but were forced to erase your words due to the evil comments of disgusting people. Please do not ever erase this because of the harsh words of people that do not mean anything to you. You know that this was Allah's plan and have made peace, even if it still hurts.

    You are one of the most amazing women I have ever had the pleasure of knowing and I admire your strength. Please, never stop writing. Keep your faith strong.

    I know that I have said it so many times but, I'm so sorry for your loss. I was with you through your pregnancy, and I remember waiting with anticipation for the news of birth only to be devastated along with you. I was crying then and I'm crying now. He was a precious, perfect, not so little, round cheeked cherub. Abdul-Qadir is forever in my heart. I promise you that I will never... I could never forget him.


  2. My friend informed me yesterday, and received confirmation today, that the tumor that grows in the brain of her 4yo niece will kill this beautiful little girl in an estimated 1yr. Today I told her that we must pray, but most importantly, God blessed her family with this beautiful child for a reason, no matter how long her stay on this Earth, in the physical form, may be. Your son was a beautiful gift given to you for a moment, to bless your life in an amazing way. Thank you for sharing. I admire your strength and courage.

  3. I suppose that if you have religious reasons for sticking with a belief, then no logical response to that will change it. Our minds really are that powerful. What your mind couldn't do is save this situation, since you were not a trained OBGYN. Neither are EMTs, which is why no EMT would advise you to allow them to be your primary birth attendant. It should have been an OBGYN in a trained hospital. It would be one thing if you admitted your illogical thinking and the severe consequences of your decisions, but to post this online will possibly encourage others to homebirth and risk their babies dying unnecessarily too.

    For me it was helpful to see that because of your religious beliefs, you were not interested in knowing about the true risk to your baby. So as a person who feels very passionately about informing women of information so that they can make an informed decision, I understand that you don't really *want to know.*


    1. I love how people who follow Amy T. suddenly become experts and become a medical examiner via the interwebz and then come to my blog and tell me how wrong I am for how I feel about MY birth and MY loss.

      Babies can (and do) die in any birth setting. There are a million things that can go wrong in one split second that will have the same outcome, hospital or not.

      As for "risk" well that is a relative idea anyway. What *you* define as risk will not equal my definition of risk. I am not a medical professional nor am I giving medical advise as one. I am just a mom of 6 who ( as is described in my about section) wanted to keep a public journal of my birth experiences.

      Thank you though, for the psychological evaluation Dr. Google.

  4. Hey Katrina, how's that Google U degree working out for you? The human mind really IS a powerful thing... it can convince them of their own rightness from a distance, and with such convincing new idols to worship, falsely labeled "logic", incorrectly branded as "science", under the sway of more mere mortals claiming to know it all.

    If you want to see how hospitals are saving babies, read Tatia's story.

    Read books, like Pushed, or like Born in the USA.

    Now you go worship your god and we'll worship ours. Being convinced in your superiority and trying to force it upon others, history has shown, only achieves war. Ask yourself what your actual motives are, here. We will continue doing what we feel is safest for our bodies and babies, but don't come here and attempt to plant your flag in our ass in the name of "safety".

    Don't forget... some of us used to believe in your way being safest, and most responsible. It wasn't until life gave us a huge dose of reality that we realized we had been had. That's the funny thing about being "logical"... reality sometimes disagrees.

    Logic is a million books by experts telling you the sky is green. Reality is believing that all your life, but then seeing for yourself that the sky is actually blue.