One North Carolina mother recently contacted the North Carolina General Assembly to plead for more physician supervision in nursing practice. Following the unnecessary and tragic death of her son Brody during a planned home birth, Ms. Davidson writes the following:
I am writing to tell you about my son, Brody.
In 2011, Brody died during an attempted home birth. My uterus ruptured and Brody suffocated.
It’s important that you know about Brody so that you can understand why doctors must play a vital role in making child birth safer for mothers and their children.
My decision to birth at home in North Carolina, under the care of a certified nurse midwife, led to the death of my child. After Brody’s death, my midwife told me she should have referred me to an obstetrician for a second opinion about giving birth at home.
I know now that because I had a previous c-section I had a 1/200 risk of rupture and needed close monitoring and immediate access to a surgeon if necessary. My midwife erroneously decided that attempting a homebirth with a scarred uterus was not a variation of normal and did not require careful monitoring or speedy access to an operating room.
I had a perfect pregnancy. But with one contraction, my perfect pregnancy turned into a high-risk medical crisis with a catastrophic outcome. A midwife could do nothing to save my baby.
Losing a child is something no one should endure. That’s why I oppose any legislation that eliminates the requirement that doctors supervise certified nurse midwives or that would license poorly trained, so-called “professional” midwives trained only by their peers.
Removing these protections will make labor and delivery more dangerous and lead to more deaths like Brody’s.
My midwife needed more supervision, not less. With more supervision, perhaps vital resuscitation equipment would not have been missing. Perhaps I would have had a second ultrasound that would have shown how big my baby had grown, or how my scar was breaking down. More supervision, not less, might have saved my baby’s life.
Those who support home birth are happy to share their stories and make it sound like homebirth is safe. But there are many women who, like me, chose home birth and have suffered tragedy as a consequence. Our stories too frequently remain untold because of the pain of our loss.
Please give us—and our lost infants—a voice, and listen to our concerns.