A woman with type two diabetes and possible pre-eclampsia attempted to deliver her baby at home with no assistance, and the baby died. The woman’s wife, we will call Stacy, posted an alarming message to a Facebook group earlier this week. Stacy’s wife, we will call Gina, had been laboring for four days with no progression. After going silent for over a day, Stacy updated the group to tell everyone the baby was “born sleeping.”
Stacy and Gina had been active members of a social media group. The two women had been trying to conceive a baby for more than four years. Stacy actively posted questions to the group about homebirth, supplements, and pregnancy.
Finally, after more than four years of trying, Stacy and Gina were approved by insurance to go through fertility treatments. Stacy updated the group throughout the journey to let them know about their progress.
Going into the treatments, Stacy was open with the group that Gina’s pregnancy could become complicated due to health issues. Stacy admitted that Gina had type two diabetes and PCOS. Despite the health issues, Stacy and Gina wanted to have an unassisted birth at home.
In December 2017, Gina started shots and treatment to get pregnant. By spring Gina became pregnant, and the two women were happy. The two women decided to go through the pregnancy unassisted without the help of doctors or a midwife.
After Gina’s positive pregnancy announcement, Stacy was less active in the group. She asked questions about birthing kits, supplements, and about birthing pools.
However, by late in Gina’s second trimester, she began having high blood pressure. At. Twenty-nine weeks, Stacy updated the group that Gina’s health and blood pressure had become problematic. Gina needed to be hospitalized for blood pressure. Stacy lamented to the group that the hospital was treating Gina terribly.
According to Stacy, Gina became sick the week before. When doctors took Gina’s blood pressure, her numbers were higher than usual. The doctors and Gina attributed the high blood pressure to illness and stress. When Gina’s blood pressure came down, doctors allowed her to go home.
A week later, Gina was back at the doctor feeling sick. Again, her blood pressure was elevated. The doctor decided to admit Gina to the hospital so they could monitor her blood pressure. Doctors told Gina that she had a history of high blood pressure. The hospital received records from their fertility clinic indicating high blood pressure.
Stacy argued with Doctors that Gina’s blood pressure had never been high. She said that fertility treatments had caused Gina’s blood pressure to be high. Doctors worried Gina may be exhibiting signs of something more serious, but Stacy and Gina didn’t agree.
Eventually, Gina was released from the hospital. During this time, Gina became insulin dependent. Before her pregnancy, Gina managed her type two diabetes without insulin. Gestational diabetes raises the risk the mother developing high blood pressure and pre-eclampsia.
While Stacy never explicitly said doctors were worried Gina might have developed pre-eclampsia, she told the group that Gina was developing troubling symptoms. As Gina entered her third trimester, Stacy said Gina started having migraines, nausea, vomiting, and continued high blood pressure.
Despite the symptoms, the two women continued their plan to have a birth at home. Stacy asked the group about where to buy a birth kit and pool in November 2018. Even though Gina appeared to be struggling, the two remained steadfast in their choice.
By 38 weeks, Gina decided to come to the group and seek advice. Gina continued to struggle with puzzling symptoms and needed help. According to Gina, she was feeling nauseous, having terrible migraines, difficulty walking, and felt dehydrated.
Gina’s symptoms became severe, and she noticed the baby wasn’t moving as frequently. She seemed worried that her health issues might be affecting the baby. Gina complained of migraines, nausea, high-blood pressure, and difficulty walking/weakness.
Several women in the group told Gina that she might have developed pre-eclampsia. Gina flatly denied the group member’s suggestions that she might have pre-eclampsia. Instead, Gina insisted doctors were closely monitoring her for pre-eclampsia, but she had not been diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.
After this post by Gina, Stacy updated the group a few weeks later that Gina went into labor. Stacy told the group they still intended to have the birth at home. Due to Gina’s health complications, the two women struggled to find a midwife to assist with the birth.Finally, last-minute Gina found a midwife willing to work with her. Others refused to help her because of her insulin dependence. However, when Gina went into labor, the midwife was sick and unable to come to their home. Stacy told the group that they spoke with the midwife over the phone and by messenger.
Stacy said Gina’s labor started on a Friday. By Monday, Gina’s was still in labor. Her contractions were still more than seven minutes apart. Gina was struggling to keep food down, felt weak and dehydrated, and was struggling to manage the pain. Stacy asked the group to provide suggestions on how to help Gina transition to deliver the baby.
While some women provided suggestions on positioning and drinking ginger to calm her stomach, most of the group became concerned. Numerous women within the group told Stacy to seek medical care. Several believed Gina might be experiencing complications associated with diabetes or pre-eclampsia.
Several women urged Stacy to take Gina in for an ultrasound to make sure the baby and Gina were ok. Stacy told the group going to the doctor wasn’t an option. Then the messages went silent.
When Stacy stopped responding to the women, group members continued to bump the post by asking for an update. More than 24 hours later, Stacy updated her post with a single line,
“The baby was born sleeping.”
With that announcement, Gina’s pregnancy ended with a stillbirth. After more than four years of trying to conceive, going through fertility treatments, and a high-risk pregnancy Gina’s baby died.
Stacy provided no other details about how or where Gina delivered the baby. However, leading up to the stillbirth, there were glaring red-flags indicating trouble for the baby.
Gina developed migraines, nausea, vomiting, reduced fetal movement, high blood pressure, and became insulin dependent. Despite all the risks, Gina and Stacy refused to seek help for the baby. The only support they received during the pregnancy was to help Gina’s symptoms.
Women that develop pre-eclampsia during their pregnancy run the risk of death for both themselves and the fetus. Even though Gina was adamant she did not have pre-eclampsia, she exhibited all of the tell-tale symptoms.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common symptoms of pre-eclampsia are high blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, severe headaches, dehydration, low urine output, and abdominal pain. When Gina was 38 weeks, she told the group she had all of those symptoms.
Gina’s baby likely died as a result of complications associated with pre-eclampsia and diabetes. If Gina had proper prenatal care, her baby could have been delivered at 38 weeks when her symptoms got severe. Instead, she dismissed the issues, continued with her homebirth plan, and her baby died.
Women with diabetes and pre-eclampsia should never discount the seriousness of their conditions. Proper monitoring and treatment by doctors can improve symptoms and help mothers deliver living babies. Without medical assistance women and infants are at risk of death.
*Katie Joy is a blogger and freelance writer. Her work is featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, Yahoo Parents, Mamamia, Daily Beast, Cafe Stir, Newsweek, Jezebel, and The Daily Mail. She writes articles on parenting, disability advocacy, debunking pseudoscience, atheism, and crimes against women and children.
She co-hosts the YouTube show, “The Smoking Nun,” with Kyle Curtis. The show airs weekly and tackles pseudoscience, current events, and crime stories.
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