Sure, I'll tell you what's wrong with America.

10/23/2009 12:02:00 PM
Americans are far too much of a litigious people.

If I slip and fall outside of your home on your cracked sidewalk, it's not YOUR fault. It's mine.
A.) I should have seen the crack.
B.) I risked falling when I made the decision to walk that day.

Not everything in the world can be the fault of others.

Take for example the story of the midwife in, "The Business of Being Born", who is being sued by a New York couple. The story is here.

Unfortunately, the couple experienced the heart-wrenching and tragic stillbirth of their first and only child, Noah, during their home birth. The attending midwife, Cara Muhlhahn, and her team are being sued for not referring the expectant mother to a doctor/hospital during the the woman's 3-day labor. The extended labor apparently is what ultimately contributed to the tragic loss of the newborn.


I may not be popular with this answer, but I'll say it:

HOME BIRTHS are tricky. You are essentially removing any and all access to emergency services and monitoring technology in the hopes that everything just goes alright.

Yes I know, "women have been having medically-unattended births for centuries... blah, blah, blah." Ok, fine. If that's how you feel, I refuse to allow you to enjoy any of today's technologies that convenience your life since you refuse to allow your unborn child to have access to any technologies that would convenience her/his life.

No fridge for you.
No microwave.

Nope, not if you choose to disallow your unborn child access to a fetal heart monitor or an ultrasound.

Moving on.

If you chose to have a home birth: FINE. I personally think it's ridiculously ignorant given today's technology. Truly. (This coming from someone who gave birth in a hospital in second-world Mexico...) However, if you choose this path you must understand that tragedies can happen. (You don't need to tell me that tragedies also happen in hospitals; I know that. However, I'm willing to say far fewer happen there.)

And, if you're in intense and active labor for 3 days - get your ass to the hospital. No human (or infant) can handle that much stress.

The injustice of losing a child is unfathomable to me. There truly are no words. I feel for this couple.

And, I suppose that in order for closure to occur, maybe blame is necessary for this couple. However, I'm not in agreement. Suing the midwife that you chose to monitor your home birth? You chose this route. You chose her. You knew what could happen.


Ok - let the flaming begin.


  1. I would be really curious to know if midwifes have their couples sign any kind of paperwork with regard to situations like this, ESPECIALLY if they're birthing at home. For THREE DAYS. You cannot tell me that the midwife was holding them there at gunpoint, preventing them from leaving.

    To echo you, I cannot imagine what this couple is going through, and maybe this is just an angry response to their undoubtedly horrible grief. But yes: The parents chose that birth plan. And presumably they have instincts. If those instincts were saying, "Hey, something's wrong, I don't think I should have been in labor this long," an ambulance easily could have been called.

    Tragic, all the way around.

  2. I'd have written the exact same thing. And yep, 3 days is a bit too much stress for that little baby. So shame on the parents for being ignorant.

  3. They ALL should have known better. I come from a family that delivers their own babies at home, and I know for a FACT they would have gotten their asses to a hospital long before the turn of the third day.

    I agree. I think their lawsuit is grief driven as they are more than likely out of their minds.

  4. I understand the desire for a home birth, BUT...both the parents and the midwife should have known better that 3 days of labor is traumatizing for a baby. No matter what your birth plan is, ultimately, the health of the baby (and mother) comes first. If it's been over a day, get your @ss to the hospital!

    Sad that people take their anger and grief out through lawsuits.

  5. My Moms friend had her baby at home. While pregnant she offered me her glider and ottoman. I said sure. She then told me that she LOVED that ottoman during birth and actually had her son while bending over it. Um, awkward. I declined taking the set after that...

  6. We met a couple in our birthing class planning a home birth. They and their midwife had a plan for what to do in the event of an emergency. (My understanding is that this is fairly typical in planning for a homebirth.) Also, in a homebirth, there would be access to needed technology. I understood they would have intermittent fetal monitoring (the same that I had in a hospital). They also had ultrasounds done prior to delivery, just like the rest of us delivering in hospitals. I don't think homebirth is a rejection of technology, but more a different choice for the environment and intervetions of a birth.

    I don't want to imagine the grief these parents are going through. I would agree with Written Permission, though an emergency plan could have been discussed and pursued.

  7. No flames from me- I won't judge anyone else's decisions but I would never personally have a home birth. What if something crazy happened?? The hospital is so much safer.

    If you're lucky enough to live in a hip and modern town they have birth centers for midwives attached to the hospital- now that's a cool option. Comfortable, but close in case of danger.

  8. First off, we are totally a sue happy country and it is ridiculous. People are always looking to blame others and get money in the process.

    This is a sad story and my heart goes out to the parents, but I also agree that this may have been preventable if they would have gone to the hospital after things seemed to not be going right. There is fault with ALL parties involved and hopefully the parents will realize that as I think they need time to grieve and not carry out a long litigation where it could get ugly.

  9. I have to say, I agree 100%, everyone sues everyone for EVERYTHING and it has to stop. Be accountable for your own actions...

    That said, of course I feel horrible for them but this isn't the answer. Just my opinion of course...

  10. Wiser Pregnancy conducted a scientific survey of women who attended birthing classes and found that more than half who attended a class found that it didn't help or only somewhat helped them in their delivery. It also found that it didn't impact epidural use


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