Saturday, October 22, 2011

My Homebirth Loss: The Hospital Transfer and the Aftermath

*** 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.****

Transition from home to the hospital:

My placenta had not detached yet and the paramedics were clueless about what to do.I also had a perennial tear. They had already taken my baby out of the house. I had no idea at that time what was going on. I was still in somewhat of a labor daze. I just really wanted to know the status of the baby. The hospital told them not to wait on the placenta and to just transport me. The hardest part was that they took me and the baby in separate ambulances. My (ex)husband stood between them torn on which one he should ride in. He eventually chose my ambulance.

While in the ambulance they checked my blood sugar I assume because he was pretty big and it came back really high at 296. We got to the hospital and as they took me out of the ambulance they almost flipped me off the gurney totally. I  got into the emergency room and we were met by none other than a doctor at the practice I left.

I also want to mention here that in my state, while it is legal to have a homebirth the only attendant they allow legally is a CNM who is backed up by an OB. At that time there was no such option here where I lived. I knew this going into this relationship with her and was prepared to protect her.

I was bombarded immediately with questions of why and who. At this point I was out of the labor daze and just processed that I did what these doctors said I never could. I gave birth on my own. Something inside of me changed. They asked who did my prenatal care I lied and said no one. They asked me why I did this at home, to which I replied "because one of the doctors at YOUR practice threatened to tie my tubes and refused to *let* me VBA2C. That's why."

I am sitting on the table placenta still attached. I am listening to the doctors going back and forth over whether they should put me under and remove the placenta and as they are talking I get the urge to push and the placenta comes out on it's own. Even that felt triumphant. I was so sick of OBs assumption  that nothing about birth can happen on its own.

I asked over and over and over again what was going on with my baby. My (ex)husband left the room to go find out. And of course this is when the doctor decides to tell me that the baby didn't make it. I had prepared for the idea of losing him my whole pregnancy, but that didn't in anyway numb the pain. I immediately asked for my baby. I wanted to hold him, see him, kiss him.

They had to repair the tear that I had but had to wait because I guess they were putting me to sleep to do so. They thought my tear was worse than it actually was. While waiting for that they brought me my baby. The nurses were anything BUT empathetic. They were downright mean. They weighed him before giving him to me and he weighed 11 lbs. Eleven pounds. I gave birth to an eleven pound baby after being told I couldn't birth a baby almost half that size. More fuel for my fire is all that was.

They had a breathing tube in his mouth which they said we couldn't take off. so I couldn't even see his face in its entirety. They rushed me the entire time. They took pictures which I later found had not been taken with a flash so I couldn't see any of them.

He was given a name while we held him. Abdul-Qadir. Servant of the Most Powerful, Most Able. It was a name that fit the entire process perfectly. He could not have a better name than that. The whole experience was about submitting to the Power of Allah. And none of us have the power to give or take life. It is only Allah only that is in control of our souls.

It was less than thirty minutes before they told me I had to give him back. I was told they had to take him in order to do an autopsy ( which they didn't do until the next day I found out later). I pleaded with them to give me more time. I wasn't ready to let him go. They told me no and assured me that I could see him the next day.

While waiting for the repair we were then interrogated by child protective services. All I could think about is "are you effing serious? This can't wait until tomorrow? I JUST LOST MY BABY!"  They finally left me alone for that day and then it was time for the repair.

I guess my mother arrived at the hospital while I was getting stitched up. She was against the homebirth from the beginning. She never wanted me to do it and we got into many arguments over it while I was pregnant. Apparently while I was not around she told the doctors everything. I was now being interrogated by hospital staff at my bedside. I was just waking up from the anesthesia. I could barely keep my eyes open and everything was blurry. I had the doctor who met us in the ER, both nurses who were mean from the start, and now the coroner all badgering me.

The coroner took my (ex) husband out of the room and the rest of them surrounded me. The OB said my mother told them I had a midwife and I needed to tell them who she was. I could not believe these insensitive assholes were trying to do this to me while I was not even coherent. My response was I am not talking about this. I just wanted to be left alone. This was not anyone's fault.

Not only do I have to deal with CPS but I now have to deal with detectives who initially wanted to charge me with my son's death until they realized I didn't break any laws. It was within my right to birth at home if I wanted to. They pressured me over and over to rat out my midwife. I told them over and over this was not a murder and it wasn't a death that anyone had to be blamed for. I wanted them all to go away.

The coroner was also a head administrator in the hospital and he would not leave me alone. He came to my room often and his big spill was " we just want to prevent this from happening again". My response? You can't prevent death. It happens in the hospital too. He never let up and I got sick of him so I finally said " If you are really that concerned with where a woman and how a woman gives birth then my suggestion is that you stop worrying about homebirth and start right here in this hospital. If I felt like I could have the birth I wanted here I would not have looked for a different option." And with that he said ok that's all I need to know and never bothered me again.

What made this worse was they had me on the postpartum floor and I had to walk around listening to every other woman's babies crying knowing I would never get to hear that from mine. It was like torture.

The next day I begged to see my baby. The answer I got was that I couldn't see him because he was the property of the hospital. What the what? Oh no I am not standing up for that. I told the nurse that I was specifically told that I would be able to see my baby because they took him away from me before I was ready.  I told her I didn't care who she had to talk to but she better go find somebody and bring me my baby. I don't know what she did but she came back with my baby. Out of all the people I dealt with she was definitely the nicest.

Before leaving the hospital I got lectured by the OBs again and of course they recommended I never have another vaginal birth. I pretty much told them I don;t take a whole lot of stock in their opinions. I just birthed a baby twice the size of a baby you same people said I would never be able to birth. Yeah I don't trust you. I do trust Allah and I believe in my body's ability. The main issue I would need to watch for in future pregnancies was blood sugar.

It didn't end there. In fact I wasn't at home for more than a few minutes before CPS was at the door. Really? I just got home and am still trying to come to terms that I will be burying my son soon. Eventually the case was closed and to this day nothing happened to my midwife. Had anything happened to her I would have fought it until I died. Death is just a normal part of life. It will happen to us all. It will happen to our loved ones. There is not always a person to blame. She was not going to take the blame for something she had no control over.It was NOT her fault. And neither was it mine.

My journey doesn't end here. Only this birth. I actually plan to do a blog after this with a few more "after thoughts" about this experience and dealing with the death of a baby. I want to be the voice that so often is not heard when the media blows up a story regarding a homebirth loss.

If you missed the first two parts they can be found here: Part One: The Beginning, and Part Two: The Birth


  1. I came to your blog through The Skeptical Mother on Facebook. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am deeply sorry for the loss of your sweet baby, Abdul-Qadir. May Allah hold you in His hands and may you be reunited in Jannah. Much love to you.

  2. You are a remarkable woman. I am so sorry for your loss and hope sharing your story brings you some peace. Your son was blessed to have you as his mommy.

  3. I am sorry for your loss and sorry for all the unnecessary crap you had to deal with from the hospital and the people reading your blog. Sadly there are many very insensitive people out there who do not think before they speak or type. Bless you Dear.

  4. Wow. You blame the medical establishment for treating you "mean" after your son died. I'll tell you what, you deserved it. No, this would NOT have happened in a hospital. It IS entirely your fault.

    1. I debated on approving this comment. Part of the reason I am approving it is because I think it is important to show just how justified people feel in being abusive to loss mothers.

      I don't think any loss mother, who did what she thought was best with what she knew at the time, "deserves" to be mistreated. There is no need for anyone to "punish" a woman who has had to bury her baby. She lives with that choice daily.

      I also want to point out again that unless you were at my birth there is no way you can say with 100% confidence that my baby would not have died in the hospital. No amount of hate will change how *I* feel about what occurred. I have no guilt about my decisions. I never put myself first ever with any of my children or births. My thoughts and decisions always were centered around what was best overall for everyone involved.

    2. Anonymous, you are an incredibly naive person and rude at that. My prayers will be with you. You are in need of patience, understanding and love. Michelle, if this person only knew half the woman you are this comment would have never been made. So sad. Feel what you feel Michelle, you are entitled to grieve and mourn all that was lost that day.

    3. You're an idiot... plain and simple, you also need to look at some medical statistics before you go spewing your bologna on these pages.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    1. Deleted this one because it posted it twice! You can read the response below still!

  6. anonymous, you should your education level on this subject with such wording, shoulder dystocia death happens in hospitals with doctors.

  7. To Anonymous: You're a stupid cow who has no idea what would have happened to Michelle's baby in a hospital. Are you a doctor? No, you're a simple-minded moron who can't deal with your own pain in a productive or healthy way. Instead of looking at YOURSELF and trying to figure out how to live, you'd rather attack other people who remind you of pain. You're lazy. It's all a distraction from doing the real work on yourself, whom you're really mad at.

    I think you like to hurt, you like to be in pain, and you come here just to rip your own scab again. It's pathetic.

    But the good news is, the power to stop being pathetic and start living is entirely yours. "Live or die, make your choice." But, right now, you are thriving on pain and death, and that is a disgusting act of cowardice, "Anonymous". You're too afraid to open up, live, love, and see from someone else's perspective with understanding eyes. You're behaving in a judgmental and highly prejudiced way. You're cruel. Who the hell are YOU to judge, anyway? Take a leap and prove that your life holds real meaning like we all know it does. That leap is: getting help for your condition, starting to get well, and using your brain and heart on people you feel are so different from you.

    Until then, you are a destroyer of life, not a creator. Damage and pain will always be your legacy unless you look hard in a mirror and change something.

  8. Thank you for sharing this story. What a horrible experience on so many levels. I'm impressed and thankful that you were able to say those things to your doctor, and withhold the midwives name while going through what I assume was the worst moments of your life. It sounds like your faith was helpful to you during this time.

  9. I came across your blog by chance and read Abdul Qadir's birth story. You know already, but I just want to say it anyway: you did something amazing. Abdul Qadir and your other children are lucky that they have a mother with such internal strength that she can stand up to the medical establishment, as well meaning as they (perhaps) think they're being, at a time when her world has just broken. Truly amazing.

  10. Sorry for your loss but you are an idiot

    1. And you are a coward hiding behind an anonymous name. I am far from an idiot. And you can keep your half hearted "sorry" to yourself.