Judy Kay Jones – “Midwife from Hell” Tells Her Patients to Shut Up

by Vyckie Garrison

Judy Kay Jones – the “midwife from hell” who attended me at home and nearly got me killed twice and who is currently facing manslaughter charges in the death of a Nebraska baby, wrote the following “advice” which she uses to prepare her client families to cover up her incompetence and neglect in the event of an adverse outcome:

I am a R.N., B.S.N. and I have been a Bradley teacher for over 25 years. I have also been a Homebirth Class teacher and studied lay midwifery. This is the advice I give to birthing families and to midwives who get into trouble. I know this may not w ork in more complicated circumstances. But this advice eliminates most petty problems before they become full blown.

To the family planning a home birth: Keep your mouth shut about your plans.

To the family who transports to the hospital in labor: Keep your mouth shut about the homebirth.

If the family feels intimidated by questions at the hospital: Keep your mouth shut. Pretend that you don’t understand. Play dumb. It’s not against the law to be dumb.

To the family involved in a third stage or neonatal hospital transport: Only report that the mother was in labor and all of a sudden the baby just came out! A spontaneous labor will not be investigated.

To the family whose midwife is being investigated: When the investigators arrive at your home, tell them “I don’t want to talk about it”.

I found the above quote here: http://www.fromcallingtocourtroom.net/defaultchap1.htm

(Editors note: I found this blog promoting Judy – Elegant Mommy’s Exciting Info! In the comments people are discussing the trail of dead babies believed to be due to Judy’s lack of any formal or real training.)

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  • Constance Reader

    How considerate of her to hand such ammunition to the plaintiffs’ attorneys…not to say state medical boards.

  • Sheena

    Well, this is going to work well for the prosecution — the main suspect is telling witnesses not to say anything about their relationship. That always looks good.

    And I will admit that I don’t know much (well, anything) about home birth vs. hospital birth. Is there really, truly so much hassle involved that it’s easier to just lie about choosing home birth? I mean, I know that doctors advise hospital birth (mostly so there are doctors and resources available immediately if something goes wrong), especially with high-risk/premature/multiple deliveries. Is this just paranoia and imagined persecution, or is it a real concern? Or do OB/GYNs consider older mothers or the third, fifth, or thirteenth pregnancy inherently high-risk?

  • Persephone

    Vyckie is the expert on this, but there are reasons for giving birth in a hospital, as you noted, as opposed to home birth.
    It seems to depend on the locale as to whether home birth is okay or not, as well as the health and age of the mother, whether or not it is a first birth, and the training and experience of the attending midwife.
    1. A first birth is usually preferred to be handled in a hospital. There’s no previous birth history, and, even though each birth can vary, having a baseline for labor and delivery can help future midwives and the mother if they decide on a home birth. However, a well-trained, competent, cooperative midwife should be able to tell if there seem to be problems with a pregnancy that mean that labor should be moved to a hospital.
    2. Previous difficult births would be a reason to choose hospital birth. Previous easy births would allow for home birth under proper care.
    3. The history of childbirth has not been one of solo delivery, despite this recent practice of women delivering at home, completely on their own. Because of the size of human babies’ heads, and the structure the human pelvis that makes walking upright the default, births have been assisted by family members, midwives, doctors, etc. back before recorded history.
    4. There are lay midwives, trained and lcensed/certified midwives, doulas, and so on. The expectant mother needs to know what person she is hiring, and whether they are properly trained to handle problems, and if the birth assistant is understanding of when a birth is going wrong and is willing to bring in medical intervention.
    5. Older mothers and/or multiple previous pregnancies can cause greater difficulties in labor and delivery, and the risks should be properly assessed.
    I wasn’t quiverfull and I was not interested in home birth. I still ended up in labor for two days, ending with an emergency c-section by the on-call doctor, because my OB/GYN was not competent. (She ended up giving up her medical license and retiring in her 40s. I assume she was sued too many times.) A good midwife might have been a better choice, but I don’t know. I had a different doctor the second time, who made a point of monitoring my pregnancy carefully, and when it was evident in the last trimester that a difficult delivery was probably going to happen again, he scheduled a c-section, and my younger son and I came out of it in much better shape.
    * This is my personal opinion, and anecdotal, but I have found most of the female physicians I have dealth with to be less sympathetic, and more likely to leave me sick or in pain, while admonishing me to just go home and get some rest, or to diminish my complaints in other ways. I have also had a better time with male doctors when I question or confront them about their assumptions. Not always, maybe half the time, but I would say that I have had good luck with less then a fourth of the female doctors I’ve seen. I know that female doctors must deal with a lot of sexism, and prove themselves more to their male colleages, but it sees to spawn in many of them an attitude much like Judy Jones.

  • SAO

    I think the advice for a hospital birth is the resources available for a problem. When my daughter was in distress after 30 hours of labor (as determined by the fetal heartbeat monitor), they brought out the forceps, and had a team standing by to revive her as soon as she was delivered. She was whisked from me to the neonatal team as soon as they cut the umbilical cord. It was kind of strange because suddenly, all the medical attention was abruptly shifted and I was alone (except for my husband, who was also a little taken aback, as in classes, we’d been told he’d cut the cord, we’d get to hold her, etc). She turned out to be just fine after the first few dicey minutes, but if it was a home birth, would we have even known to go to the hospital at the point when her heartbeat weakened? If we’d had the neonatal heartbeat monitor, it would have taken a good 20 minutes to get to the hospital. It’s impossible to say what would have happened if . . .

    Most labor and delivery goes just fine. But when it doesn’t, speed is really important.

  • Nancy B.

    Midwifery can be professional, excellent, and empowering for women. But in the fundie realm it just seems like one more way to hove back to the 18th century, where risk, pain and drudgery was the sum of a woman’s life. If you lives as pro-child, pro-life as a huge part of your creed, why trust the life & well-being of your baby to anyone but a board certified, tried & true expert? Childbirth isn’t something to sub out to the lowest bidder like drywall repair.

    It makes me see fundies as not only misguided & naive but, in a sense, evil. Their beliefs not only trump common sense but their very lives & that of their innocent kids.

    I know that if Gothard or any of the Warren Jeff-like dictators who decide what the sheep should do decide tomorrow that automobiles are of the devil, you will see rural families quickly trade in their cars for horses and mules and entire suburban QF families walking and biking in the snow.

    What’s next? Home dentistry? “The Lord gave you your teeth and would He cause His own creation to rot away? Perhaps the pain in your jaw is the result of sin? Pray for your abcesses and cavities but if the pain becomes unbearable call on a righteous member to yank the evil tooth out. Do not rely on man’s dentists, who may lives lives of sin and depravity and use your payment to wine & whoremong.”

    To the QF folks I am selfish and materialistic and a dreaded feminist. But with my husband & I’d education & financial status we could (and did) fund the best OB, pediatrician, schools and extracurriculars for our only child.

    Now as empty nesters with a very good income, we give generously to programs that help poor kids get health care, warm clothing, books and dental care right here in the parts of America that rival the Third World.

    Those numbers are growing, tragically. The kids with food insecurity or untreated medical conditions or little attention from adults. Because the very young, the addicted, the abusive, the chronically poor continue to have kids.

    I thought I’d be “one & done” and then use our income for travel, luxury and hobbies,but as a conscientious person I feel obligated to spend time & many thousands of dollars (last year $45K to poor kids in our state alone) for the kids whose parents check out completely and let others pick up the tab.

    Except for marriage of the bio parents I see little difference in the QF outcome and the many kids in single parent households left to parent younger sibs, with little household income and unmet attention from parents.

    THE QF experience failed. It will come to an end just as every other “new” social experiment does. But until then I hope that the QF adherents might use a wee bit of common sense. Like, say, space your babies for optimal heath for mother & child. And use medical professionals who apply science, not dogma.

  • Sheena

    That’s great information, thank you.

    I’m still not 100% whether I would choose hospital/home birth if I had children, but I can see advantages and disadvantages of each. Such as: hospital births have a lot more potential that a doctor might insist on a certain posture, might push cesarean, might encourage (or even bully) certain medications, and then there’s the bill. And, well, I imagine I’d choose based on the pregnancy and medical staff/midwife. (I’m 28, and don’t have strong feelings either way about having kids.)

  • vyckiegarrison

    Nancy – I wish there was a “like” button for your comment. Thanks.

  • Chantal

    I had a hospital birth and a midwife hospital birth. I could easily do a home birth also. I just wish Western medicine would give more credit to natural medicines instead of relying on drugs so much. My mom is a nurse plus 2 sister-in-law and a brother. My midwife- hospital water birth went very well. Neither do I complain about my epidural birth where I slept for 30-60 mins then pushed 3 times.
    One of my SIL refused the epi because she had seen too many things go bad, and my mom works in both a natural path clinic and the hospital, however she prefers the Natural Clinic. It is stupid to downplay both kinds of medicine. In quiverful, Western medicine is seen as evil, and it is Not. We discovered many things regarding our body. God works through doctors and their knowledge.

  • Petticoat Philosopher

    Well, there are options in between a home birth and a standard hospital birth. There’s also the possibility of having the birth attended by certified nurse-midwife in a hospital or birthing center (many of which are on the campuses of hospitals in case anything goes wrong.) Seems like the best of birth worlds in a lot of ways.

  • Kristin Rawls

    It’s interesting that a horror story about one horrible midwife who deserves to spend a few years in prison has turned into a referendum on home birth as such–and that several people felt compelled to chime in and share their own wonderful home birth stories just to be sure we all understand the differences between Quiverfull home births and crunchy secular ones. This is something I’ve also run into in discussing Quiverfull homeschooling. I wonder why people who are so decidedly against Quiverfull practices feel that they have to point these things out? It reads as defensiveness to me, and being defensive about a criminally negligent practitioner doesn’t help your cause.

  • Our family has known Judy for years, she is a very gifted and caring person. She has brought many children into this world without incident. I have had 9 children, only one was born at home without incident. We had a couple with complications that were the doctors fault, but you never hear about those. Most of the people that wanted homebirth seeked Judy out, she didn’t solicit them to have home births. She assisted those people that didn’t want to have a traditional birth in a hospital, either by religious beliefs or for what ever reson. She did it as a ministry. I think it is unfair for people to be attacking her without her being able to defend herself.

  • vyckiegarrison

    Hey Steve – I remember you and your family from home church at the Hipps’ and Watterman’s. I hope you are all doing better now – and I hope that your wife is feeling well.

    Did you read my birth story? Most of what I wrote about my physical condition and the way she treated me came directly from the birth notes which Judy wrote herself throughout my pregnancy. I still have the records, and I also have the records from the hospital after I transferred. There is no question that Judy was negligent and incompetent. She is free to defend herself here – but I have a feeling that she doesn’t dare.

    I’m glad to see you here on No Longer Quivering, Steve. I hope you stick around and read some of the stories posted by women (and men) whose lives and families have been severely damaged due to “trusting the Lord” with their family planning as you and I did.

    All the best to you. Vyckie

  • Why do you cross post the same thing on several places?
    I see someone who apparently cannot stand having her deeds being held up to the light, and therefore tell people to stay quiet. People who are into covering up things are usually not as pleasant as they superficially look.

  • Laura Super

    I’m sorry you had such a horrible experience at Judy’s hands. That wasn’t the person I experienced at all, she delivered both my babies and seemed to me very competent (not very supportive in the postpartum period, I give you that, but as far as the prenatal care and birth she seemed very on top of things), with my first he had shoulder dystocia which she resolved, and he was not breathing at first and she did some rescue breaths to get him to start breathing. Honestly, had she not been available my plan had been to have an unassisted birth, so I felt she saved my son’s life.
    I didn’t realize she was of the quiverful mindset, I do think she is very much religiously motivated and truly believes what she’s doing is right. She was completely open with me about what her qualifications were/weren’t, what her past brushes with the law were, and I was aware of the risk I was taking by having a homebirth, so I don’t feel it’s fair to say that she misrepresents herself. I have only heard of one baby’s death where she was the attending midwife, so I guess I will be researching that more and reading the rest of your story trying to keep an open mind.
    I really had a very different experience at her hands from what you describe, and feel the title “midwife from hell” is not at all fitting for the person who attended my births and seemed so incredibly supportive. I’m not saying you’re lying, mind you, I just want to put a different perspective out there.

  • Rena

    There seems to be so much fear about “western hospitals” that push procedures and take babies away….I do not know where these fears come from. As with anything in life, interview your health care providers and understand policies and procedures at the hospital. I had a hospital birth that was as pleasant as could be. My daughter was delivered by a midwife. A dedicated set of nurses stayed with me through labor assisting me in all manor of labor techniques, some of them I was surprised to find at a hospital, such as a birthing stool, hot tub etc. Back rubbing, soothing encouragement etc. I chose what medications I wanted, if any, etc. When the baby came out, I had a glorious time snuggling her on my chest for over a half hour. Hospital birth is really what you make of it, research and ask questions. You can build a positive experience.

  • Laura Super

    Rena–in many of the areas where Judy practices, women really don’t have choices like what you are describing, unless they want to drive 3-5 hours to the nearest large city. One of the reasons I chose her for my first birth is that where we were living at the time there was only one hospital and not a single nurse midwife, nor female doctor who delivered babies–only a handful of middle aged family practitioners who were remarkably set in their ways. Had I been seeking a VBAC in that same town, it would not have been possible at the local hospital, as they had a RCS only policy, and the nearest hospital that would allow VBACs was 2 hours away.
    So while I agree that you can make hospital birth a positive experience, birth choices are really limited in Nebraska.

  • Laura – Did you know that her husband is a convicted sex offender of underaged girls. He’s had convictions in different states and is many times around in their home while people and their children are there. How do you feel knowing your midwife puts others at risk by offering no disclosure that her husband isn’t supposed to be around children? He is a registered sex offender, it’s easy enough to confirm it in the sex offender registries. Currently he is incarcerated but I bet Judy never shared that tidbit of knowledge with you.

  • vyckiegarrison

    Laura, thanks for your comments and your willingness to read my story and keep an open mind. I call Judy the “midwife from hell” – not only because of the horrible experience which I wrote about, but also because with my next birth, in which I did have a home birth, Judy was in a hurry to get to the next mom who was in labor in Minnesota – so she manually dilated my cervix from 7 cm to 9 cm during one excruciatingly painful contraction.

    Also, my neighbor, Pam, had Judy attend her home birth – everything went fine the first time and Pam had a wonderful experience. However, the next time around, the baby was transverse – and even though Pam said repeatedly that she felt something was wrong and she wanted to go to the hospital – Judy calmed her down (like she did me) and kept her at home for over 24 hours. When I finally insisted on taking her to the hospital, the baby was so stuck that Pam required a T-incision c-section and the baby had to be resuscitated. As with my situation, the hospital staff were appalled that Pam and her baby were allowed to labor so long that their lives were seriously endangered.

  • Laura Super

    Calulu—no, I did not know that. And yes that does significantly change how I feel about her. I am guessing from reading these comments and tracking around previous stories that at the time when I started seeking a midwife to attend my birth would have probably been around the time her husband was jailed?

    Vyckie–where can I start reading to read your story in order (the part with your first birth with JKJ was marked “part 20”)? I know I read a chunk of it a year or so ago (not any part involving births or Judy, but your exit of the quiverfull movement) and would really like to finish it.

  • Jenny Islander

    I have to go to the practice attached to my local hospital because it’s the only one on my network. The policies and procedures at my hospital were that, as a fat woman, I was automatically to be subjected to surgical and nonsurgical procedures that would not be considered routine for someone who was built exactly like me, but with less body fat. The policy was that I was broken, incapable, and in need of rescue from my own body. The policy was that even though my blood pressure was always normal, I must inevitably stroke out in the labor room because I’m fat, so I must have an IV in place and the lifesaving medications close at hand. The policy was that my vagina must be packed with fat deposits through which no baby could pass without the aid of forceps (and the inevitable accompanying episiotomy). The policy was that I had better be prepared to get a C-section because they would “try,” but I was just so fat. The policy was that as a fat woman, I MUST have gestational diabetes, so even though they tested me every which way and I never had it, I just found out this week that a history of GD is noted in my file! This is the only civilian hospital within hours of travel from my house.

    The local direct-entry midwife–who served a lengthy apprenticeship, kept her first responder qualifications current just in case, and took continuing education classes every year–told me that I was not broken, and showed me statistics and birth videos of women who looked just like me. She gave me exercises to do and treated me like a person, not an emergency waiting to happen. And I had all three of my babies at home, on my bed, without any injury more severe than a minor tear that needed a few dissolving stitches–no episiotomy, no abdominal surgical scar!–and no harm whatsoever to my children.

    Midwives like Judy Kay Jones are predatory con artists. This does not change the fact that we need more midwives, or a serious change in attitude at many hospitals.

  • Kittens

    You know natural medicines ARE drugs, right? There is no difference between salicylic acid that comes in a bottle vs. the salicylic acid you get from drinking willow tee. They are both drugs, both small molecules, both “chemicals.” They are entirely indistinguishable.

  • Kittens

    oops I meant drinking TEA from willow bark, not tee, sorry about the typo

  • Lilah

    Remember the Commandment that forbids lying? Apparently, Judy Jones doesn’t.

  • madame

    A bit late to the party here…
    I think home-birthing is a very valid option for women who would much prefer to have their babies at home and who have been cleared to do so (should labor and birth run as expected).
    I gave birth in hospital in two countries where midwives are licensed and work together with OB-GYNs in a local hospital, and who regularly assist home births. I was offered that option for all three of my pregnancies, but while I did feel confident that I could do it, I decided that having my babies in hospital was a better option for many reasons. With #1, our heating system was being installed as I gave birth, literally. We walked out of the apartment as the builders walked in with all the stuff! With #2 I decided for a hospital birth because I tore badly with #1 and had to be taken to theatre to be stitched. All went wenll and I went home sooner but knowing I was at the right place if things went wrong kept me a lot calmer. With #3, I was more than happy to spend a few days away from some very stressful circumstances.
    My mom cherished those days away from home and all her responsibilities every time she gave birth. She loved having some time to sleep, meals cooked for her, and time with only one baby.
    A hospital birth, with qualified doctors and nurses taking the laboring woman seriously might be the best gift a QF mom can be given.

  • joy

    I just wanted to point out that the quote given in the original article above was actually a quote given by a woman named Linda Baziuk. Judy Kay Jones’ quote is above Linda Baziuk’s quote. I copied and pasted their quotes here:

    When I was first investigated for my midwifery practice, I was very legally naive. If I had known more then, I might not be going to jail now for being a direct-entry midwife. I falsely assumed that the court system understood the differences betwee n Certified Nurse Midwives and direct-entry midwives as well as I did. They did not!! I agreed to a temporary injunction to not practice as a CNM. I have never and would never do that. But my definitions were different from theirs. I should have challenged it instead, right from the start. Their interpretation was that if I gave food or fl uids to a pregnant woman or put a cold washcloth on her forehead, I was practicing as a CNM.

    My first attorney, though a strong supporter of home birth and midwifery, did not have good advice about what might follow my actions. It took me years to help my next attorney understand my philosophy of practice. Thankfully he too was a strong suppor ter of home birth and midwifery.

    Contrary to what most midwives think, it was not a transport or bad outcome that started me on my legal journey. The Board of Nursing simply found out that I had been at a birth. I have never advertised and do not sign birth certificates. But they foun d me anyway. I gave up my RN license because I would not promise never to attend another birth. But that did not stop them. They have continued to come after me until they have succeeded in sending me to jail. I have fought in the court system for 10 year s and won one victory, but had four losses. We have worked on legislation, but not yet succeeded in getting legal recognition. But the only real answer will be legislative action and recognition, whether licensure or registration or exemption.

    I pray no other midwife has to go through what I have, but if someone does, I hope this book will help them be better prepared than I was.

    Judy Kay Jones

    I am a R.N., B.S.N. and I have been a Bradley teacher for over 25 years. I have also been a Homebirth Class teacher and studied lay midwifery. This is the advice I give to birthing families and to midwives who get into trouble. I know this may not w ork in more complicated circumstances. But this advice eliminates most petty problems before they become full blown.

    To the family planning a home birth: Keep your mouth shut about your plans.

    To the family who transports to the hospital in labor: Keep your mouth shut about the homebirth.

    If the family feels intimidated by questions at the hospital: Keep your mouth shut. Pretend that you don’t understand. Play dumb. It’s not against the law to be dumb.

    To the family involved in a third stage or neonatal hospital transport: Only report that the mother was in labor and all of a sudden the baby just came out! A spontaneous labor will not be investigated.

    To the family whose midwife is being investigated: When the investigators arrive at your home, tell them “I don’t want to talk about it”.

    Linda Baziuk