the storm rages on…
Other loss moms understand the meaning of the Rainbow.
I’m still waiting.
Our storm still rages.
In fact the storm is fiercer now than it was during the month of October.
Not having any definite answers to why we lost a little girl after a completely healthy and uneventful pregnancy is both a blessing and a curse. Deciding not to have a biopsy or autopsy done was in some ways a defense mechanism.
I did not want to know there was NO REASON my daughter died. The implications of that are horrifying.
Yet in a nightmare I sit.
Since Miranda’s passing I have been exposed to more and more information that is frustrating and hurtful.
Six months ago I would have happily recommended homebirth as an alternative for a healthy mom with no complications of pregnancy and no complications in her baby. I would do that because I knew how beautiful birthing at home amidst only people you trust and invite to share the amazing moment of welcoming a new child into your life could be.
I was NEVER an advocate of “homebirth for every woman who desires it”. Just ask the friends that I clearly said “NO” to. There is always risk with birth. There is risk in everything.
The risk I faced was one that completely blindsided me.
When planning my homebirths I was mistakenly trusting that I lived close to a hospital. What I hadn’t considered was that it would take paramedics time to get to my home and time to transport to the hospital. I did not understand that there was no neonatologist at my local hospital. That means that if something was so grave that we needed to transport a newborn, my local hospital was NOT equipped to serve that baby. That is why as they brought Miranda into the ER they were immediately processing her for a transfer to a level 3 NICU in Baltimore. Unfortunately mere minutes have irreparable damage on a newborn.
I trusted that by choosing a Certified Nurse Midwife(CNM), the only legal attendants for homebirth in Maryland, I was choosing a birth attendant that was competent and trained to care for me and my newborn if an emergency happened. I trusted that she was well-practiced in neonatal resuscitation. I trusted that when Miranda turned blue that the actions she was taking followed that protocol. I trusted that her assistant also knew what she was doing. Even after Miranda was transported to the hospital I trusted that my midwife had the best interest in safety and care for my daughter and me. I believed that the relationship we developed over seven years of care and the birth of four of my children with her amounted to more than a patient/practitioner relationship. I understood that midwife literally mean “with woman”.
My midwife never visited me or Miranda while she was on life support. She did not come to the hospital with my pregnancy records to explain to the doctors what prenatal tests and screen I had or had not undergone. She did not accompany us to explain the labor and birth events to all the curious doctors and nurses that could not find something “wrong” with Miranda. She did not ever come. The first time I saw her after Miranda’s birth was a month and a week later… at Miranda’s memorial service.
Her nursing license was suspended one week after Miranda was born.
Since none of the information regarding her suspension was made public we were left to believe that it may be in relation to Miranda’s transfers since the dates so closely coincided.
In December an online news outlet published a story that included the summary of suspension from the October decision.
There were FIVE complaints against her. They DID NOT include Miranda. What they did include were the loss of another baby this past summer and a preventable brain injury of yet another baby. It was also clear that she did not have a written collaborative agreement with a back-up Obstetrician as required by Maryland. Any one of those things would have caused me concern and led me to consider an alternative. However none of this information was ever disclosed to me while I was a client of her practice. The complaints in the report date from 2008 through 2011. The combination of those complaints was devastatingly disappointing.
The homebirth community prides itself of serving women and providing choices and empowering them with education that helps them make those decisions.
Yet they hide the most important information because it hurts their “cause”.
That is not the definition of choice, in fact it is dehumanizing and demoralizing and bullying.
So what do I do now?
It came to my attention that a bill(HB1056) to license Certified Professional Midwives(CPM) in Maryland will be heard by the Health and Government Operations committee on Thursday March 15. I have been working to get in touch with some of the delegates on the committee to tell them my experience and explain why licensing more midwives with less training than the ones already licensed in Maryland is NOT the key to safe birth in Maryland. I am planning to travel to Annapolis that day to be sure that those hurt by homebirth are represented.
Being on the “inside” of the homebirth community for the past seven years I know my opinion and voice is not and will not be well received or supported.
I will not fail my daughter by sitting by silently.
If you would like to join me on Thursday please let me know. If you can not please pray. Pray for my strength and endurance as I stand for the first time in opposition of a women who just six months ago I would have given a glowing recommendation of. Pray that truth would be heard. Pray that change is made that seeks to protect the lives of women and children. Pray that the lifetime of a healthy child would be valued more than the experience of that child’s birth.
I know that some of you reading this may be a little confused. What about ACD(Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia)? Didn’t the doctors think that was what caused Miranda’s death? ACD was mentioned by them as a possibility because it was the only diagnosis they could find that would not respond to the treatments they tried. Since it is such a rare disease it is currently only confirmed by lung biopsy. Of the few known confirmed cases of ACD there are sometimes other anomalies present in the baby. Miranda did not have those anomalies. I have five prior healthy living children which suggests that we probably are not genetic carriers of the disease. I will still continue to raise funds and awareness for ACD because so much more needs to be known about the disease so that it can be more readily screened or diagnosed. We will never know if Miranda was an ACD baby.
It would be far easier for me to believe that she was. Easier to believe that where she was born did not matter. Easier to believe I could not have done anything differently to change the outcome. Easier to believe that my daughter could not have been saved.
I will not minimize her life in that way.