Better Birth delivers another blue baby

bloody pool pale babybloody pool at bb

Another day, another blue baby.  This blue baby with no pulse was also born at better birth awhile back, perhaps even in the same tub. I have no idea why home birth advocates post such horrifying photos from water births and gush over them.  I’ve seen more smiling moms holding blue, floppy babies in tubs full of blood (and come on, sometimes urine and feces are in the mix, too…) than I can count at this point. Here are a couple (the following photos are not from better birth):

floppy blue breech baby 2-9-15RZucker

Water birth has claimed at least one life. Home birth midwives inability to detect problems in babies and address them has claimed countless lives, and they do indeed see floppy blue babies as the norm despite the fact that in hospital they most certainly are not. The risk of brain injury resulting from oxygen deprivation is 18X higher in an out of hospital setting.Death isn’t the only thing to worry about when choosing your birth setting and care provider, because these brain injuries often cause life long problems and may take several years to appear. I have no idea why direct entry midwives like the ones at Better Birth continue these dangerous practices. Pediatric professionals discourage giving birth while immersed in water, but think laboring in water is okay. Some people find it relaxing, others hate it during labor. Be careful.

edited 4/21/2015- I am now being swarmed with comments from idiots that think that they still own the copyright to images they have chosen to upload to facebook (ha!). I suppose that The Feminist Breeder learning this exact lesson the hard way isn’t good enough, her fans have to do it on their own too. Have fun with that!


  1. Reblogged this on Safer Midwifery in Utah and commented:

    I hope everyone is okay. It is just a matter of time until another preventable death crops up because of a lack of common sense regulations on home birth midwives in Utah.

  2. […] 5. No complaints, but look at the picture. Frightening. […]

  3. hi. this is me and my baby in the first picture. she came out of the water screaming. i assure you she was not blue (not that blue is a bad thing. grey is.) but was covered in vernix, thus leading to her appearance. my birth story is at it’s incredibly inappropriate to use other people’s pictures and assume you have any clue what happened. there was NO distress and her 1 minute APGAR was 9. doesn’t sound like an emergency to me. i’m truly sorry you received less than standard care there, but i did not.

    1. Well, I am going to trust my eyes on this one but I’ll keep your comments up so people can decide for themselves.

      edited to add: home birth midwives cannot reliably use APGAR. They are inordinately likely to have scores of either 10 or 0 at birth. They don’t really know what they are doing, but luckily birth works out most of the time so they get to take credit.

      Don’t be sorry for me, be sorry for all the women who have been wronged by this place. The “read other bb experiences” link at the top of the page has information on just how lucky you were. Be sorry for whoever loses a kid there in the future.

      1. please remove my picture as you do not have my permission to use it.

    2. I’ve posted some extremely personal things online (obviously) and have had people say some pretty horrendous things about it as a result so I empathize with your upset over my use of the photo. I want you to know that there is no malice involved in my actions, it is a genuine attempt to make the public aware of what out of hospital birth looks like. There are millions of web pages where the same image would be cropped and filtered black and white to sanitize it, there are a million web pages where just that happens. It isn’t fair to prospective parents. Most people do not know that this is what is happening in birth centers.

      It is important that you know that I don’t need your permission to use the image for the purpose I have used it.
      “Section 107 contains a list of the various purposes for which the reproduction of a particular work may be considered fair, such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. ”

      I would say this counts as criticism, news reporting, and research. I am not making any money off of the image or its use either which makes it very hard to claim its in violation of american copyright laws.

      I am not out to make your life harder and I wish there was an alternate way to document this, but there just isn’t. The image itself is what most people have found disturbing and so it is hard to justify removing it as a part of the long record of Better Birth’s conduct.

      1. doulabri · ·

        It doesn’t seem like you’ve been around birth much. Variation in a baby’s color is totally normal. In fact, I attended a birth in the hospital THIS WEEKEND where rapid descent meant that for several minutes, baby was blue (although very vocal about her entrance) for several minutes. She was also covered in vernix, which is white not pink, and completely normal. This was an OB attended birth. The problem you are describing (that is not actually present in the photos you are using so shame on you) is NOT exclusive to midwife attended births and is NOT exclusive to out of hospital births. This is fear mongering at its worst.

      2. lmao like I am going to ignore all the actual research I’ve seen because a doula told me an anecdote. Read the paper about HB midwives being unable to assess APGAR appropriately, and then the paper on why home birth has a 19X higher rate of hypoxic brain injury for newborns, then come back and comment.

      3. doulabri · ·

        (edit from the blog owner)

        This doula knows about as much about birth as she does about copyright law. Steer clear of her.

        If you comment again w/o summarizing the research I told you to look at you’re going to have your comment disemvoweled and possibly ridiculed for all to see. Have a nice day.

  4. I personally feel it is incredibly rude and dishonest for you to use that picture without permission, then alter the story to fit your agenda. Aly I’m sorry this is happening to you, I would feel violated and report the poster to wordpress. Writer, based on your blog and feelings of violation, hurt and trauma by the actions of the midwife when they did not do what you asked and respect your wishes I trust you will be more understanding of Aly and respect the picture owner’s wishes and remove it as she so politely asked so as not to cause her harm when she is requesting something from that should be her decision.

    1. I didn’t alter the story, I described what I saw in the picture and where it happened and talked about similar pictures I had seen before. I don’t know why people work so hard to sanitize home birth if it really is so safe.

      Someone reposting a FB picture is not like being forced to have a vaginal exam, and until you apologize for trying to equate the two you aren’t going to comment here anymore.

  5. Then for everyone reading, there were absolutely no complications. I did not hemorrhage, I lost a normal amount of blood. Not a moment of my birth was emergent. I CHOSE to share this picture because I was PROUD of something I had prepared 3 years for. This is NORMAL. I 100% intend to birth out of the hospital again as my hospital birth DID traumatize me and my birth center birth healed me.

    For you, “safer midwifery utah”, shame on YOU. You are taking a sacred, beautiful experience I shared in what I believed to be a safe place with my tribe of like minded moms and friends and slandering it. You can say you have no malice, but your entire blog says the opposite.

    1. I’m sure that your midwives told you that there was no danger, but how would they really know? They don’t have the training to identify danger when it happens, especially fetal distress. I hope some day you realize that both of us made a stupid decision and both of us lucked out (in that everyone is alive and healthy at the end). The midwives took your money and took credit for your good luck. You should really look into what they would do if you didn’t have good luck, the fact is that if you are anything like Valerie El Halta’s patient or Vickie Sorensen’s patient the midwives with throw fundraisers for the midwife while ignoring your empty arms and broken heart. It has happened too many times for me to count.

  6. I’m sorry you had a terrible experience at your birth. I hope that you can heal and find the peace that you need to move forward for that point. However, you need to contact a lawyer about your interpretation of the copy right laws you are misquoting. You ARE in fact in violation. You are not sourcing the image or crediting the original source and story behind it. And just because you have chosen to share your personal thoughts, feelings, and experiences online, that does NOT give you the right to share others’ personal experiences or images without their permission. Again, if you think you’re in the right I would contact an attorney. Otherwise you will most likely be contacted by one that represents the woman (women) you are openly stealing from.

    1. You do know that facebook takes ownership of everything posted to its website, and that its restrictions are even more lax than the exceptions I linked to? Facebook would have to come after me. Do you think they care?

  7. I had to laugh at “water birth has claimed at least 1 life.” And how many have cesarean and doctor or OB attended births in hospitals claimed? Death in birth is rare these days but it does still rarely occur. I personally know of someone who lost their baby in a 40 week cesarean section. It can’t be blamed on place of birth because positive and negative outcomes occur in every birth setting. There are horrible midwives out there just like there are horrible doctors and OB’s. Make sure you hire a well qualified care practitioner that knows what they are doing.

    1. You shouldn’t laugh at the baby that died from water birth, it was a baby that otherwise would have lived. Water birth is specifically what killed an otherwise healthy baby, and the family had to watch them dwindle and die slowly of bacterial pneumonia caused by inhaling fecally contaminated water. That seems to be the distinction you are missing here- that could have been easily prevented by giving birth outside of a pool. No one is denying that death happens expectantly in childbirth, its just remarkably rare in hospital births and much more common at home births.

      You have anecdotes- we all do. That is why studies exist. MANA (the lobbying group for midwives) has voluntary data gleaned from home birth midwives over a period of 5 years. This is cherry picked data that should show that midwives are safe, but it doesn’t. It shows a 3 fold increase in mortality for babies that are in low risk mothers (head down presentation with no other factors complicating pregnancy or labor). Breech babies and twins have a much higher increase in mortality, with the rate for breech babies soaring to 1 in 200 (vs less than one per 1000 for hospital born babies). The real numbers are likely much worse. The damage doesn’t end there either, there is a 19 fold increase in hypoxic brain injury from home births (at least according to journals for people who treat brain damaged infants, who have no profit motive in birth whatsoever).

      If you had to buy a carseat that had a 3x increase in deaths for its users, would you say “babies can die in any carseat”? Of course not. That’s an idiotic thing to say because of the implications of using a defective piece of merchandise. Are you against factory recalls? Because those save far fewer lives than hospital birth.

      Those things you said about choosing the right care provider- those are lies you tel yourself so you can feel safe about the choices you’ve made. There isn’t anything special protecting you (or anyone else that chooses out of hospital birth). I chose an expert. I chose “the best”. So did the patients who picked vickie sorensen and buried their child as a result. Ditto for Cara Muhlhahnn. Gavin Michael’s story shows how deep the rot goes in CPM circles; the editor of Midwifery Today and countless other midwives counseled a fellow midwife to do nothing in a dangerous situation and the baby died. Have any of them apologized or even acknowledged that they contributed to a fatal decision being crowdsourced on facebook? Of course not. Accountability is like kryptonite to the profession of home birth midwifery. The fact of the matter is that the home birth midwives protect each other much more than their clients. Indeed, if your child is ever killed or injured by a negligent midwife you can bet the rest of the midwives will throw her a fundraiser and blame you for what happened. Its so common place to me now that it is banal. I have literally never seen a home birth midwife hurt someone and then be held accountable as a result unless it was by a court of law. Other midwives aid each other to keep delivering babies even if they are clearly not qualified to do so. They just pack up and start over somewhere else. You can convince yourself that something about your midwife, your choices, will protect you, I just hope you never have to deal with how wrong you are first hand.

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