Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Controversy and My Infant Loss

I have been really trying to recover from my most recent birth which was without a doubt the most traumatic one I have ever experienced. While in the midst of adjusting to a new life in the house, recovering both mentally and physically from another unnecessary c-section someone from a message board I frequented linked my loss story on Amy Tutuer's blog.  If you don't know who she is, she is an ex-OB who has made it her life's goal to trash any woman who wants to homebirth. In the process of doing so she  posts extremely hurtful and damaging posts about women who have lost babies under the guise of trying to show homebirth as risky. I personally think she has some real mental issues. That is the only thing that can explain how a human being could be so cold and callous about such a sensitive topic. Her followers are almost just as vicious as her when it comes to the degradation of moms that have had out of hospital losses.

I am writing this blog for a few reasons, one I want to clarify some things that were stated about my loss story from some of those lurkers and two I want to explain how damaging this behavior can be to women that are grieving.

Someone left a comment on my blog post about my loss that I didn't approve because I honestly did not have the mental energy to deal with any more negativity. I was fighting postpartum depression hard at that time and the last thing I needed was to be trashed once again over my loss. This is the post that I am referring to:  This was the comment that I didn't approve that I would like to address:
"My placenta had not detached yet and the paramedics were clueless about what to do."

Michelle, look at this statement for a moment. You wished that the paramedics were trained birth attendants. Throughout the rest of your experience, you believed that you could birth perfectly on your own, that Allah's perfection creation meant that nothing could go wrong or that if it did it was pre-ordained, and that your midwife's education and your intuition was as good as was needed. But the paramedics not knowing everything about birth was seen to you as a problem. What was that about for you? Why did you want them to know how to save your child and mend your body? Can you imagine for a moment why most women chose to give birth in a hospital with extremely well-trained people at their side? In other countries, as soon as this is available to them, why women wnat this to increase their baby's chance of survival? It seems that in your subconscious wish to be angry at someone, the paramedics fit the bill (part of the system, not someone you chose). Yet in your statement above you reveal a deep contradiction. Either someone can or cannot be adequately trained in birthing children. Either their training does or does not make a difference in your and your child's health. Which was it?
I do not have the name of the poster anymore but I want to address this. First of all I was taken completely out of context regarding my emotions that related to the aftermath. I had already done enough research to know that the placenta does not always come out immediately following birth so I was never concerned about it. Also just looking in hindsight and using my common sense about how our bodies are it is entirely likely that  my body knew I had a distressed baby and the placenta stayed attached to give said baby more oxygen. I don't have any studies on hand and because I am not trying to preach to other people about their births I don't find it necessary to provide anything else. This is how *I* feel about *my* birth.

Secondly, I did not "wish that the paramedics were trained birth attendants". I had a midwife there already. Clearly this person missed that part of my post where I stated the police made EVERYONE including MY FAMILY leave the room except for the paramedics and my ex-husband. I was also upset at the mere unprofessional-ism of the paramedics and this was without regard to why we called them. It took them over thirty minutes to get to my house. There was an ambulance station less than 5 miles from where I lived. When they arrived they told my family at the door that they GOT LOST. What if one of my children was choking? Or having a seizure? Or if a family member was having a stroke? Thirty minutes to respond to an emergency in an extremely small town on a road right of the main road was not professional AT ALL. This wasn't misplaced anger. Any person in their right mind could see that that is just not acceptable for an emergency crew. The police and a volunteer EMT had no issue getting to my house in less than 10 minutes, however neither of them assisted at all. They stood there and stared and wondered where the ambulance was.

Thirdly I want to address my religious beliefs. Allah is Perfect. Allah's the Best of Planners. Allah knows what I don't. You cannot and will not take that away from me because you don't agree. Belief in the divine per-ordainment is a fundamental belief system for any Muslim. I cannot say I am Muslim and then disbelieve that what is written to occur will occur no matter what I do.  Death is not the end for any of us and we will ALL see death at any age from within the womb to birth to 100 years old and anywhere in between. I always find it interesting that people want to attack me for being at peace with my loss. My religion is the reason why I am at peace. So I guess now the idea is to attack me and my religious belief system. Yes Allah took a son away from me before I was able to spend time with him. But He gave me 3 more sons and 2 daughters that I can love and raise and enjoy their life as long as they or I live. I am not going to be unappreciative of what I have been given by dwelling on what I lost. Because  even my loss was a gain.
The Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “When a person's child dies, Allah the Most High asks His angels, ‘Have you taken out the life of the child of My slave?’* They reply in the affirmative. He then asks, ‘Have you taken the fruit of his heart?’ They reply in the affirmative. Thereupon he asks, ‘What has My slave said?’ They say: ‘He has praised You and said: Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un (We belong to Allah and to Him we shall be returned).’ Allah says: ‘Build a house for My slave in Jannah (Paradise) and name it Bait-ul-Hamd (the House of Praise).’”

Lastly I want to address something that affects other loss mothers as well as myself. You don't have to agree with how I deal with my loss. You don't have to like how my loss occurred. But for the love of humanity please stop attacking loss mothers. None of us wanted our babies to die.Don't believe the hype. None of us set out with a goal of having a certain type of birth at the expense of our child's life. Please consider what you are doing by tormenting women who have had very much so wanted babies leave earth too soon. Babies (and people in general) can die at anytime and in any place. I am not advocating for anything other than my own personal birthing rights. My loss did not and will never affect your life at all. If you are scouring the internet looking for your next victim to bash keep in mind that severe depression has the potential to lead  to suicide and your bully tactics against freshly grieving mothers may be what pushes a person over that edge. Stop pretending that you are doing it out of concern. You are not doing it out of concern if your tactics include tormenting loss moms who may or may not have other children they need to be present for. You can't pass off hate for love..

In closing I already know that someone will make a snarky comment about me stating that my recent birth was more traumatic than my loss. I have struggled with that feeling enough these last few months and I do not need or want your input on how crappy I am for feeling that way. The same way you were not present during my homebirth loss is the same way you were not present during my nightmare birth so please do not attempt to psychologically analyze me over the interwebz. I would prefer not to have someone who graduated from Google evaluate me, thanks.


  1. You're one of the smartest, most thinking people I have ever had the pleasure of reading, go ahead and be mad. Some do totally understand.

  2. *hugs you super duper tight*

    You are a wonderful woman Michelle. I've known you (if only online) since right before your loss, and I constantly shake my head at the things I find people saying to mother's who've lost their babies.

    I love that you are doing this blog, and even though it might not change a hateful heart, I hope that it is helping you heal.

  3. Not every mother ends up being in agreement with you (Dr. Amy followers and their pals), like Margarita, or Vylette's mom have. When a loss mom doesn't agree with trolls on her baby's cause of death, she gets harassed and tormented. Why is there so much hate toward people who you do not even know? So many don't realize the severity of the bullying and the manipulation, and cruelty. I wonder if they even know just how much is going on within their group, and how bad it truly is.

    These groups have their eyes open for all loss mothers, who they instantly try to befriend and ultimately influence and initiate into their group, which is why I think organizations like Stillbirthday and other groups they have made are so alarming. And Dr. Amy approves of it. All.

  4. Stay strong. Hold firm. Log off, when necessary. You are doing your best while others are at their worst. The light shines on you.

  5. Thank you for such honesty -and know that you are an inspiration and light that many other moms need.

  6. I think this is one of the biggest blessings of faith. My great-grandmother lost several children and it was her belief that God had taken them because there was something worse in their future. It's wrong for other people to knock what brings you so much peace.