Mother Decides to have an Unassisted Childbirth and Kills Her Baby

Mother Decides to have an Unassisted Childbirth and Kills Her Baby October 11, 2018
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Freebirth is when a woman goes through an entire pregnancy with no prenatal care, no ultrasounds, no testing, and gives birth without a doctor or midwife at home. Freebirth is an offshoot of unassisted childbirth. In unassisted childbirth, women have babies at home with backup medical plans for an emergency. Recently, a freebirther shared her story online of having an unassisted childbirth at home. Throughout four days, the woman labored quietly at home. She went online to a Facebook group for support dedicated to helping women with free births. Her outcome was heartwrenching, tragic, avoidable, and hit very close to home. Instead of delivering a healthy baby, the woman killed her infant due to having no assistance during her labor.

Before I share the woman’s story, I want to share my own birthing story. Both the woman and I faced similar complications in our births. However, I elected to have proper prenatal care and delivered in a hospital.

The birth of my son was incredibly complicated. I labored for more than four days. Two of those days I spent at home not realizing I had gone into labor. By the second day, I went to the hospital to learn my water had broken. For two more days, I went through the most excruciating pain of my life.

My son was five weeks early. He was lodged sideways in my birth canal. His shoulder was hooked to my vaginal wall, and doctors could not find the front of his face. My son had shoulder dystocia. No matter how hard I pushed, he did not want to come out. Doctors knew that his position made it impossible for me to push him out on my own.

Because he had fallen so far down the birth canal, doctors could not do a cesarean section. Ultimately, they were forced to do an emergency episiotomy and use forceps to pull him out. The result was excruciating for my son and me. My body was ripped several inches to force him out.

Additionally, because of his of prematurity, the entire time I labored, doctors gave me antibiotics. Due to my son’s gestation, I could not be tested yet as a carrier for Strep B. Strep B is a common infection a mother carries and can pass onto their infants. If a baby is born with Strep B or the infection is not managed, the infant can die.

Thankfully, my doctors gave me antibiotics. Testing confirmed post-natally that I did have the infection. I was incredibly grateful knowing I had the medical care to ensure he survived the birth.

Imagine my surprise when today I get screenshots from a reader that mimic my birth, but instead of a positive outcome, the mother gave birth to a dead baby. The reason the baby died was that the mother refused medical care during her pregnancy. Additionally, she decided to labor at home with only her boyfriend present.

The woman began sharing her journey in the group when she was in the middle of her pregnancy. She seemed eager and excited to meet her baby. In one message to the group, she told them about how a friend of her boyfriend was very concerned about her choice not to have any prenatal care.

According to the woman, the friend expressed concerns for her and her baby. He was worried enough to bring up the concerns to her multiple times, and she dismissed his concerns because she felt she knew better.

By the end of her pregnancy, she began sharing her labor with the group. She went into labor at around 42 weeks.  In the beginning, she described horrific contractions, vomiting, and back pain.

When a baby is not facing down toward the back, mothers can experience painful back labor. Often the baby is either facing up toward the abdomen, or they are laying sideways in the birthing canal. Both positions can cause birthing complications and back labor. Babies in a transverse position or “sideways” are often undeliverable vaginally.

While she went through the horrific pain of back labor, she went to the group for help. Instead of the group telling her to seek help, they provided her tips on how to position the baby. People shared links on how to spin the baby. Others said back labor was a regular part of childbirth.

The group she sought help from had a strict rule about providing birthing mothers any medical advice. Additionally, the group prohibited the members from suggesting mothers seek help at a hospital. Instead of the mother being alerted that her situation might be dangerous for her and her baby, members cheered her on through the labor.

For four agonizing days, the mother persisted on with her labor at home. She shared with the group that her water broke. At one point she was worried because the fluid was dark, brownish, and had a foul smell. She even worried the baby swallowed meconium. Other mothers told her that a baby swallowing meconium wasn’t a big deal.

The labor of the woman had several red flags that should have been indications to her and the group that something was desperately wrong.

  • The baby was two weeks late from their birthdate.
  • She labored for five days and had limited progress in the labor.
  • She had back pain that was indicative of a malpositioned baby.
  • When her water broke, the liquid was brown and discolored. Amniotic fluid should be clear.
  • She was concerned her discharge contained meconium (fetal fecal matter) which can be aspirated on by the baby causing infection and death.
  • The discharge had a foul smell.
  • Her baby stayed in the foul-smelling and discolored discharge for several days.
  • She only sought medical help after she no longer felt the baby moving.

Despite all of these red flags that these issues could be a sign of an infection, mothers in the group told her the discoloration was normal.

Then the messages went silent. People checked in for a few days to bump her posts. Women in the group began to get concerned. What she posted next to the group was both heartbreaking and expected given what she endured for four days.

A few days later, the women let the group know that after several days of making no progress, she and her partner knew they had to go to the hospital. They only went to the hospital after she realized the baby stopped moving. When she thought the baby had died, she sought medical assistance.

When she got to the hospital, ultrasounds confirmed the baby did not have a heartbeat. Doctors also discovered a massive infection in her uterus. Additionally, the baby was positioned with her shoulders sideways. She could not clear the vaginal opening because she was stuck on the pubic bone. While the baby tried to get out, she died from the infection in the uterus.

My heart sank reading this because her situation was 100% preventable. Had she received adequate prenatal care, doctors could have tested her for numerous infections common in pregnant women. She could have been given antibiotics to kill the infection. Also, if she had gone to the hospital days earlier, the doctors would have noted the baby’s position in her uterus. She could have had a C-section to remove the baby from the uterus.

Instead, the mother had no prenatal medical help. She exposed her baby to a treatable infection. Ultimately her selfishness to have an unassisted birth killed her a baby that could have survived.

The group that the mother shared in during her labor aided in the death of the child. No one in the group encouraged her to go to the hospital. The group called Free Birth Society allows no medical help at all. They do not allow medical professionals to give any advice. Their ultimate goal is to ensure mothers have unassisted childbirth.

This mother put herself in a terrible position by picking not to get prenatal help. Her poor choice was magnified by joining a group that enabled her stupid decision.

No baby should die because a mother is too selfish and ignorant to get proper care. Groups like Free Birth Society should not be allowed on Facebook. Now instead of holding a baby girl, this mother is planning her funeral. Free Birth Society has blood on their hands.

For those wondering if the mother was religious or if religion played a factor, based on Instagram posts she made, the answer is yes.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jim Jones

    Death is a natural part of evolution. We’re supposed to be smart enough to avoid a lot of that.

    That;s why we have doctors and hospitals.

  • That story is disgusting. I cannot believe that group pushed her to keep trying after her water broke and it was dark. OMG.

  • Brie

    There’s honestly so much misinformation in here and this is from someone that’s studying to be a Midwife.

  • Megumi Itou

    Point out the misinformation then – I’ll be waiting…

  • Yokai

    Liar.

  • Excuse me — I’m going to go vomit.

  • plch

    that’s what happen when one knows nothing of history of heathcare… for the nth time: natural doesn’t mean safe, nature is trying to kill us all the time.

  • Right. the article did have a few issues with back pain – which I corrected. However, back pain is indicative of malposition – which she did have. the discolored fluid that stinks – not normal. Laboring for 4-5 days with no progress. Not good. If she did have meconium in her discharge – the baby could have swallowed it, aspirated, and died. Going so long with no progress in the labor is really, really dangerous. she only got help after the baby stopped moving. If you want to argue about what technical parts I got wrong – go for it. But we will not argue about how reckless this mother was. Most midwives and RNs I’ve talked to since I posted this have all said her lack of progress and number of days was a huge issue. Several midwives said they would have sent her into a hospital DAYS before any of this happened. Also, this mother knew she had a higher risk for infections – but didn’t seek prenatal care…how is that even remotely safe?

  • Rann

    “Those who are ignorant of history are bound to repeat it!”

    Just this past weekend, I was going through part of my family tree……. and it was remarkable in years past when healthcare wasn’t available, how many children died at or just after birth …..as well as how many mothers did as well……… These idiots want to go BACK to those “wonderful days”……..

    I swear homo sapiens is doomed as a species!!

  • I know. Childbirth is actually one of the MOST dangerous times in the life of the mother and child. So why risk it and do it at home?

  • Rann

    The at-home delivery isn’t what set off my alarm bells (I’m former air ambulance crew that dealt with the Canadian North a fair bit).It’s their first birth and they didn’t even bother with a midwife or another adult woman who had experienced childbirth to guide them……. how the heck do they know what is “normal” and what is not???? In the olden days, people sent for a midwife or at least a woman who had experienced childbirth before.

    I’ve never heard of mother being in actual labour for 4 days…. then the 42 weeks by their calculation….. these homebirthers make the anti-vaxx crowd start sounding safe!

  • RudyTooty

    These groups are horrendous. They need to be called out and identified. They unnecessarily risk lives of other people. The echo-chamber of agreement and censorship of science-based medicine makes them lethal online environments – with consequences OFFLINE.

  • RudyTooty

    I completely believe this happened – because most of the stories that are promoted by these freebirthers involve no prenatal care, no labor attendant, and ridiculous risks taken and everyone turning out “just fine” – the echo chamber creates the illusion that bad things will never happen to them.

  • RudyTooty

    I am a midwife. And yes, there is some misinformation, but I am attributing it to the writer not being medically trained in obstetrics, and writing from their perspective, which sometimes comes out in a manner that does not mirror the way health care professionals talk and describe things. (This is very forgivable, in my opinion.) With a little bit of reasoning, I can understand what the writer means.

    These small details do not disqualify the account about the woman who attempted a birth of a child under the faulty ideology behind freebirthing, and the story correctly identifies all the risks this family took when attempting their ‘freebirth.’

  • Yokai

    Not safe at all. I can’t stand anyone coming to the freebirther’s defense, shame on them. This is not the first child that has died because of this cult and I fear it is far from the last. The people who encouraged her to stay home are criminals responsible for what happened, perhaps as much as the mother. I doubt she would have stayed home for so long without them egging her on.

  • nmgirl

    I just don’t understand letting a bunch of anonymous strangers tell you what to do with your health, your body and your baby. Isn’t that what we fight the pro-birth crowd about?

  • Thank you. I am not a doctor, nurse or midwife. Correct. I tried to provide context into a complicated labor to draw a comparison to my own complicated labors. I don’t know everything but I know she showed a ton of warning signs.

  • This is horrible beyond words. Those parents through willful ignorance killed that baby.

  • MystiqueLady

    Are the parents/grandparents penalized in any way for their actions? I mean there are people who say that a woman who takes non prescription drugs should be brought up on charges if the drugs cause damage to the fetus. If someone becomes pregnant and decides to carry the fetus to term, that is a conscious decision. Shouldn’t they be held responsible for taking care of the pregnancy? I include grandparents because there are young girls who are not adults who are forced to carry a fetus to term by their parents/in-laws.

  • MystiqueLady

    Well, I think we have found some Darwin Award also-rans.

  • MystiqueLady

    This story and the one about the parents who let their infant die just really got me down. These people obviously decided to get pregnant and keep the fetus. There is no reason for the obvious negligence by the parents. Both cases are, at the very least, due to negligence. We wouldn’t let people who did these things to animals … wait, we DO let people do this to animals too.

  • persephone

    The idea that women just crawled under a bush and birthed a baby is just so ridiculous, as well as the idea that a person could just KNOW they’re healthy. She even admitted she was prone to infections, so how could she be that healthy?

    Women have always come together back to the earliest human days to help with birth. Humans have evolved so much that giving birth to a human baby is not simple or easy, especially due to the size of the head. And then they pitched in to help during the early days after delivery so the mother could get some rest and recover.

  • right?!

  • persephone

    I was in obvious labor for two days. Unfortunately, I had a bad OBGYN, and wasn’t able to change due to the insurance company we had. I ended up with an emergency C-section by the on-call OBGYN (thank the gods he knew what he was doing) after two solid days of labor. At the end, the contractions were three minutes long and only a minute apart. The nurse wouldn’t call the doctor despite meconium staining at 40 hours in and ended up reamed out the next day by the nurse who took over my care. Literally screamed at her on the floor in front of everyone.

    We were lucky, and thankful for medical personnel who cared and did what needed to be done. I know my son would have died, and I probably would have, too, without their intervention.

  • persephone

    I’m sure I’ll get some pushback, but I’ve reached a point where I just don’t care about these people anymore. It’s probably better all around that the baby didn’t make it; their living circumstances seem highly precarious, with no set home. I could see the child dying of something highly treatable in a very short time, because of the parents. Being homeless isn’t necessarily the reason, it’s the response to their housing issues and healthcare and the pregnancy that indicate people who are not ready/fit to be parents.

    I’m very sure that there’s a lot of background behind the parents decision to approach the pregnancy and labor in this way, but it doesn’t change the facts that they made bad decisions and continue to make bad decisions.

    I hope everyone on that Free Birther board burns.

  • me too!

  • Adrian

    Actually, the rules for the Darwin Awards state that if an innocent is harmed in your attempt to win a DA, you are immediately disqualified.

  • agree@

  • Huh, that’s my opinion on anti-vaxxers as well.

  • Treyarnon

    I’m struggling to feel any sympathy for this deluded women. My precious daughter was delivered virginally at term, following a long labour where her head was turned to the side, with the waters breaking early on and meconium staining. She was healthy with an apgar score of 9. All due to good quality care provided by midwives backed up by a specialist medical team at a NHS hospital. My only child, and I’m grateful every day that’s she’s thriving and living life to the full. Can’t even bear to think what that baby went through due to her mother’s poor choices.

  • I know. that baby could have lived. Perhaps it’s better the baby died early given the mom has a deluded idea about raising a child. she was planning not to diaper. the baby would use a pad and be held over a pot to pee….

  • Wubbsy

    What a stupid thing to do. In the end she still had to seek medical care, only she lost the baby as well.

  • and only sought care for herself – not the baby. the baby was dead by the time she did anything

  • Some guy

    “Only a doctor can tell you if you’re healthy.” “Wait what?”

    Yes, really! (What do I need to click to reach back through time and the Web to slap stupid people?!) Like if my doctor hasn’t told me about my diabetes, or my high blood pressure, I never would have known, and I’d be “inexplicably” dead by now. As it is, with proper MEDICAL management, I’m alive, productive, and as happy as ever, clearly a dupe of the global medical/”Big Pharma” conspiracy.

  • MystiqueLady

    As one who has never wanted to be considered for a DA, I will admit that I am not up-to-date on all of the rules. 😉

  • TinnyWhistler

    How do people on those boards react to stuff like this? Just “Oh well so sad make sure you do the same thing next time”?

  • RudyTooty

    They censor and delete any mention of the loss.

    So they’re left in their echo chamber of delusion where all free birth ends well.

  • Well, they honestly believe that good thoughts will keep the bad outcomes away. I saw the comments to this woman, from the original group. The group told her just to keep the thoughts positive and all would be fine.

  • d’Monique

    And afterwards she admits she knew she’s prone to infections but she didn’t know it could affect the uterus. ¬.¬

  • Same.

  • Yeah, I I don’t disagree that these people are unfit t be parents. However, that does not negate the fact that innocent children suffer because they, unfortunately, were born to idiots.

  • Wubbsy

    Abort, or don’t abort, but if the desired goal is to have a live baby, for God’s sake do it properly.

  • And people get upset when I propose licensing parents.

  • PistachioGecko

    Uh they do realize babies wriggle and kick? I guess they don’t actually know a thing about babies at all. :/

  • I’m baffled as to what the free-birth proponents are actually trying to accomplish with no prenatal care and no birth assistance. Is this some twisted form of boasting, trying to out-natural everyone else?

    When I was pregnant I wanted to avoid drugs and surgical interventions like episiotomy, but also wanted backup in case something went wrong. Opted for a birthing room in a hospital, with ob/gyn staff nearby. Everything went according to plan, but it could have turned bad very, very quickly. That’s when you need to be in the hospital, not at your house halfway across town trying to decide whether to call 911 or tough it out.

  • darkduo

    would have to agree

  • Isabella

    Y’all must not have much of a life attacking somebody else. Do you also attack the medical personnel that cause harm and death to Mom’s and babies every fucking day? Um no, no you don’t b/c you are so far up their ass you can’t see it happens EVERY FUCKING WHERE. I’m not a free birther, I have no interest whatsoever but trust me when I say a shitty call in judgement almost took mine and my child’s life IN THE HOSPITAL! The 2nd time I almost died I had to SCREAM at them to listen to me. Do you know what it’s like to be laughed at and told you have no clue about your own intuition for hours?! No, no you don’t. This mom is going to have to live with her shitty call in judgement for the rest of her life and you cyber bullies should be ashamed of yourselves!! I hope she never reads these disgusting, poorly written blogs.

  • Isabella

    Y’all must not have much of a life attacking somebody else. Do you also attack the medical personnel that cause harm and death to Mom’s and babies every fucking day? Um no, no you don’t b/c you are so far up their ass you can’t see it happens EVERY FUCKING WHERE. I’m not a free birther, I have no interest whatsoever but trust me when I say a shitty call in judgement almost took mine and my child’s life IN THE HOSPITAL! The 2nd time I almost died I had to SCREAM at them to listen to me. Do you know what it’s like to be laughed at and told you have no clue about your own intuition for hours?! No, no you don’t. This mom is going to have to live with her shitty call in judgement for the rest of her life and you cyber bullies should be ashamed of yourselves!! I hope she never reads these disgusting, poorly written blogs.

  • Isabella

    Aww little snowflake can dish out criticism on others but can’t take it herself lol