Learning From a Giraffe

As the whole world knows by now, April the giraffe calved about 2 hours ago.

Here’s the video in case you missed it.

The calving was almost identical to watching Frances calve.  The only differences that I could see were that baby giraffe legs are much longer and so is April’s neck. Frances cannot lick her hoohah.

When Frances calves, we allow her to labor from the point where we see the sac or hooves for about an hour.  We leave her alone, just like they did with April, and let her handle the situation.

Most of the time, she does a fine job all on her own.

However, cattle men the world over have learned by experience, some of it bitter, that once you pass about an hour, and if the cow starts showing signs of fatigue, it’s a good idea to intervene. So that’s our cut-off point.

We have pulled two calves.  One was out in the field on a beautiful summer morning. Dave did the pulling.  Jason was there, but remained outside the fence, away from Frances, because Frances hates him (he gives her shots). All Dave did was grab the two front feet, watch for a contraction, and in concert with Frances, pulled out and down as she pushed. It just served to give her a little extra help as she delivered the shoulders. Once the shoulders are out, as  you can see in the video of April, the rest of the baby comes in a whoosh.

But Nicole, of course, is the resident expert on giving birth and didn’t disappoint.


Since Nicole has not given birth in a hospital setting, ever, she actually has no idea how childbirth is handled in a modern hospital. Somebody has corrected me. It seems that Jacob was born in a hospital setting, so she’s had a hospital birth 18 years ago.

With the exception of eating, which can be dangerous and possibly fatal under uncommon but very sudden situations, they pretty much do all that shit.

The word “complication” is an interesting one. Nicole sets herself up as an expert because she has managed to squirt out about ten babies without help.  All this means is that she has easy, uncomplicated births. She’s not superwoman. It doesn’t mean that she’s done it “right” while other women (me, for instance – Nathan was a C-section baby) have done it “wrong.”  She’s just genetically lucky in that respect.  It’s no different than being born, as I was, with naturally curly hair.

The problem with her whole “unless there are complications” is that as long as everything is “uncomplicated,” it looks easy. Watch April.  It’s simple.  Push a while, walk around a bit, and out slithers a beautiful healthy baby.  Simple.

Until it’s not simple.

And when it’s not simple, it is horrendous and that can happen without notice.  Sometimes you know something is going wrong.  But sometimes. . .

Back when I was a student nurse, we had a young woman in labor. I will never forget her. I can still close my eyes and see her face.  First baby. Everyone excited. She was doing great.

She had to go to the bathroom (to pee – it wasn’t the baby), so since she was still in fairly early labor and there was no danger of the baby being born into the toilet, we helped her walk to the bathroom and gave her some privacy.

And then we heard her hit the floor with a thump.

We ran in to find that she had collapsed.

Several of us picked her up, threw her onto a gurney, did some very rapid, preliminary examinations (she was not breathing, almost no heartbeat) and absolutely ran to the delivery room and threw her on the table.

With no anesthesia, nothing, the OB came in and did a very rapid, emergency C-section and delivered a living child.  (In order for this to have happened, that whole scenario took less than about five minutes.  I’ve never been part of anything involving such rapid movement before.)

The mother was placed on life support and then everyone tried to figure out what had happened.

It turned out that she had a brain aneurysm that nobody knew existed and the increased circulation and blood pressure of labor caused it to suddenly rupture. She remained on life support for several days.

I’ll never forget her poor husband sitting in that room with her, holding their newborn daughter and crying.

After a reasonable period of time, and lots of testing, they pulled the plug and he took the baby home alone.  It was tragic and the outcome inevitable. Being in the hospital didn’t save her. But being in the hospital meant that child lived.

So what can we learn about birth by watching April the giraffe?

We can learn all the stuff that Nicole listed, but she left out something really important.

April the giraffe had the best pre-natal care known to the veterinarian world.  The vet, Dr. Tim, was on site, right there, during the entire labor and delivery.  He had everything he needed, right there, right with him, in case he had had to intervene.

The people at the Animal Park did not leave it all to “nature.”  They didn’t just roll the dice.  They’ve had that giraffe on 24/7 video cam for weeks. She’s been examined regularly by the vet.  They were ready for an emergency. They were trained to recognize an emergency. They had somebody there with experience dealing with emergencies.  Oliver was in the adjoining stall watching, but nobody expected Oliver to help or to know what to do if it all went south.

For expectant women the world over, April represents the very best in childbirth.  And Nicole represents the very worst.





42 thoughts on “Learning From a Giraffe”

  1. When I was a child, we had a Belgian Draft Horse (think Clydesdale, just different breed) die during the birthing process. I know my parents and the vet tried many different ways to help try to save her and the foal, but none of them worked. (The details on what they did are pretty fuzzy, as I was around the age of 10! And since I was 10, I understood the basics of what was going on, and I was allowed to watch most of it. I was not required, or even allowed, to help. Because I was 10. And it my family, 10 year olds were children, not birthing coaches.)
    Had she been in a hospital type setting, I’m guessing one, or quite possibly both, of them could have been saved…but we were on a small hobby farm with limited resources. And the options for moving/transporting an animal weighing literally over a ton were minimal.
    This horse had given birth to several foals before this with minimal, or usually no help. There were no signs that this birth would be any different. . . until it was too late.


  2. I agree that we can learn from April the giraffe giving birth–trust the Mom and her body, but be prepared and standing by for any possible problem. That’s why I had my babies with a well qualified and experienced midwife, who had needed emergency supplies available, as well as the judgement to know if I needed more than she was able to provide and could make that call. When I was bleeding more heavily than normal post birth with my 2nd child, she knew to use uterine massage to get it contracting again, she knew how much blood loss was normal, how much was more than average, and how much was dangerous and required more medical intervention, which she had available if needed. I certainly didn’t notice at the time, I was too busy staring at my baby, and I still felt fine the whole time.

    Most of the time, she was just off to the side, encouraging me as needed, but she (and a second midwife for the last bit) were there, occasionally checking my and baby’s vitals, because things can and do go wrong during even the most apparently normal, natural birth and the immediate post-partum.


  3. I’m a bit sensitive when it comes to this subject, although I had fast and complication-free births myself. Please hear me out, everyone.

    Most human births just work out fine without any interventions and could happen at home without much assistance.
    BUT in case things go south you want help and you want it RIGHT AWAY. And not after driving somewhere. But IMMEDIATELY.
    The problem is that you only know AFTERWARDS which birth is coming with complications.
    In most cases the mothers survive serious complications in homebirth, the babies… not so much.
    You only have to join a US homebirth group on facebook and see how many babies die.

    So even if you don’t like hospitals or think that doctors are just horrible intervention-pushing narcissists, please, choose hospital birth anyway.
    IF things go badly, your baby has a much better chance in a hospital. And it deserves this chance, no matter how hard it is for you.

    (Disclaimer: I’m aware that there are countries with lower death rates for out of hospital births than the US. There are also countries with higher rates. None of that changes the abysmal death rates of babies for out of hospital births in the US.)


  4. Awesome post. We had a midwife, and a birthing center near a major hospital. We hoped for natural. My baby was 9 pounds, and flipped to transverse at the last moment. Without a c section, which my nurse midwife insisted upon at that point, we would both be dead.


  5. What Nicole and many others forget is that the (giraffe) calf or the cow dying is also a perfectly natural occurrence. So is the calf getting eaten by a predator. Ditto for women and babies dying in childbirth. Go look at those gravestones from the early 20th century and before. It’s sad.

    Infant mortality and milk stations : special report dealing with the problem of reducing infant mortality : work carried on in ten largest cities of the United States : together with details of a demonstration by public and private agencies in New York City during 1911 to determine the value of milk station work as a practical means of reducing infant mortality / edited by Philip Van Ingen and Paul Emmons Taylor. by New York Milk Committee. Committee for the Reduction of Infant Mortality.
    Published 1912

    “In ancient times a baby that was in breech position when labor began would often caused death to the mother. Sometimes the child could be saved, but blood loss and the strain of a difficult labor increased the possibility of death in the new mother. Women died in childbirth if the infant was trapped in the birth canal or if there was unstoppable bleeding after the delivery.”

    “Statistics from 2009 from the World Bank showed that infant mortality in the United States was 6.8 per 1,000 live births. Canada had 5.3 and the United Kingdom had 4.6. Sierra Leond had a one of the world’s highest rates of infant death at 112.8 deaths for every 1,000 live births.

    In the late 1800s and early 1900s infant mortality rates were on average 100 per 1,000 live births with some European countries like Russia and Germany reaching rates as high as 250 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is according to the report, The Decline of Infant Mortality in Europe 1800 to 1850 edited by Carlo A. Corsini and Pier Paalo Viazzo. Wealth did not make any family immune to infant mortality, according to the report. Agricultural laborers tended to have the lowest infant mortality rate up until the early 1900s.”


    I knew some people years ago who kept trying to get their grade mare bred – oh how they tried. She finally took. She delivered in NOVEMBER. I came out at 4 am to find a mare that was struggling, a foal that was cold and whose gums were blue. So I rubbed him off, put a blanket on him, called the vet and then called the owners. Who were upset that I had interfered with “Mother Nature”. They didn’t care for it when I pointed out that Mother Nature doesn’t have mares foaling in North America in NOVEMBER and if they do, those foals are doomed. They liked it less when the vet arrived, told them the same thing (if Tekla hadn’t intervened, the foal would have died) and administered IgG because she hadn’t produced enough colostrum.

    It was less than ideal but it was a happier ending than if no one had thought to check on that mare. To this day, I don’t know why the hell they didn’t bother to watch that mare. After all, horses have to deliver in 30 minutes or less because the placenta starts to fail and it’s best to put a call in to the vet immediately if you notice a problem like premature separation of the placenta prior to or during a mare’s foaling (often called “red bag”). They spent a lot of money getting the mare pregnant.

    Back to April the giraffe. “According to data for giraffes of the Serengeti, the mortality rate for adults is very low – around 3% — while for more vulnerable baby giraffes, aged six months or less, the mortality rate is almost 50%.” (Shoot. I closed the link. Sorry.)

    Approximately 75% of all young giraffes don’t survive to adulthood due to becoming the victim of predators. That makes it one of the highest mortality rates among animals out there.

    This may or may not be of interest to others. It’s only from 1960 – 2015. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.DYN.IMRT.IN


  6. I believe the two oldest children were born in a hospital, there were a few home births that included a midwife, and 7 or 8 unattended home/shack births.

    I’ve had babies just about every way you can. (Natural, with forceps and section) I wasn’t lucky the first time, or the second, both babies ended up in NICU. We had an amazing care team that really made the difference as far as survival went for our infants. The third time around we scheduled a section to prevent as much “drama” and “fast action” as we could. That babe was born chunky and without a Nicu need. We have stellar health care these days, and I am happy to use it!

    I can’t imagine having a baby with no prenatal care in a garden shed without running water, or a knowledgeable doctor/nurse/midwife. Although the idea of not giving my kids vaccines, education or car seats really scares me. Maybe that’s because my births were very high risk, and my hubs works in the medical field. Or perhaps it’s because I have some damn sense!

    Also, we stopped after the third pregnancy. Mama always told me to not have more kids than we can say grace over. Kids are expensive.


  7. I guess I’m not a huge expert on birth. I’ve only had five kids, all in the hospital. Yes all of them with medical invention. Except for my first all my births were easy.

    With my first I had this grand idea that I would forego all pain meds. This was pre-social media but I had read book upon book and wanted to do it the natural way. My ob was great. We talked about a birth plan and he said whatever I wanted. In the hospital I delivered at water births were even an option. I went to Lamaze classes and learned everything I could. And then I waited. My due date came and went and not one of those Braxton hicks contractions I had heard of, nothing. I even left my hospital bag half unpacked so I could pack in while in labor, our birth coach suggested that. And then the day came. I was sitting on the sofa, my husband was out mowing the lawn. I felt a strong pain in my back and felt a weird pop. I jumped up knowing instinctively that my water was breaking. I managed to make it to the hardwood floors in time. I screamed, my husband came running. The neighbor came running. The contractions didn’t stop, I threw up. I went from nothing to full blown labor. My husband threw stuff in my bag and off we drove to the hospital. And when I got there I said fuck it, I want pain meds. Thank goodness I got them. After pushing for several hours my son was born but I ripped. I ripped bad. I lost a lot of blood and passed out.

    I know people say if I wouldn’t have had the epidural I wouldn’t have ripped, who knows, who cares. It happened. I bled a lot. The baby was fine. I was not. And I’m glad I had the epidural because that pain would have been bad if I could have felt it.

    It’s taken me a long time to ignore the snubs. I went on to have three more births with an epidural and one with no meds. Hey guess what, the one with no pain meds when I gave birth on all fours, I still ripped. I am not a big woman and I have big babies. Ranging from 8 lbs 4 oz. to 10 lbs 6 oz.

    Anyhow long story short, I didn’t need much intervention. I was allowed to walk and move around and I didn’t need much help but I am glad it was there. But what the hell do I know, I’ve only given birth five times.

    Congrats April the Giraffe, your baby is beautiful.


  8. She will drop this kid, and afterwards scream to the applause of her humpers, see how easy that was my baby has a new nephew or neice and I am a middle aged grammy, and off to the groom shop to hose it off,
    Notice today she likes showers, must rain a lot down there,, SIGH


  9. I had complications while I was in labor with my son. I had complications during delivery as well. My son’s shoulder ended up getting stuck, which resulted in a broken clavicle. After my son was born I was walked to the bathroom and almost passed out when I was on the toilet. My husband was by my side the whole time. They got me back on the bed and I started running a fever. Round of antibiotics for me. Because of my problems with my son, they put me on high risk when I was pregnant with my daughter. I was induced as well, not just because of the complications with my son, I was also measuring a week a head with her, and they feared if I went past my due date, she would be a 10 pound baby. She was 8lbs 3ozs when she was born.
    The thing that pisses me off about NN, is her RH factor. She needs that shot. I got it at 6 months and after each child was born. They still gave it to me after I had my daughter, even though I had just gotten my tubes tied. It sucks, but it’s nessasary.


  10. Tekla wrote

    Approximately 75% of all young giraffes don’t survive to adulthood due to becoming the victim of predators

    Then we have the parent that preys upon their young. Some are human. Just saying, bitch.


  11. @Kora: I wasn’t lucky the first time or the second, both babies ended up in the NICU.
    The fact that you had access to a NICU sounds like the best kind of luck in the world!


  12. Bear in mind, the US measures infant mortality rate differently than some countries. So ours is actually better, but IIRC we measure the first year of life as infant mortality, not just at birth. Whenever you look at infant mortality rates (really, ANY health care statistic), you must ask how the data is collected and when and for how long. Otherwise you’re comparing apples to oranges, and people like Nicole screech about the high US infant mortality rate when actually ours is quite good.


  13. over 40 is high risk, you should be in the hospital. what if the baby comes early and needs nicu care? what if you dont deliver your placenta?

    its not that easy.


  14. I learned when I had my son that I am a bleeder. Thankfully, I gave birth in a hospital, medical staff jumped into action, I was stitched up, got a transfusion, and an extra day in the hospital. My mom nearly died from loss of blood in her third childbirth because my brother came so fast, my dad had to pull over and help deliver him. He didn’t know to tie off the umbilical cord. Child birth is natural and full of risks. Choosing to give birth in a garden she’d with no running water is as stupid as it gets.


  15. My brother and his ex lived in a rural community and their local hospital didn’t do L&D so they had to drive an hour a hospital that did. Halfway there, my ex SIL had one giant contraction that never stopped. That was her placenta tearing. Long story short, the baby didn’t make it but had she not been on her way to the hospital, she would have bled out. She was touch and go for several days and required transfusions. Truly the saddest and most traumatic day of my life. I believe the blessed asshats live a good drive from civilization? If something dangerous starts to present, Will they make it to the hospital in time? She is considered at risk given her age and number of previous births, not to mention her lack of healthcare. She can tempt fate and justify it all she wants, she needs to stfu about others seeking medical intervention because they choose to be responsible adults.


  16. The thing that pisses me off about NN, is her RH factor.

    I have a lot of doubts about the accuracy of that.


  17. My 1st was born in 75 at a naval hospital. I was 19 and having a very horrible time. I was told that I my baby was transverse, and not only that, but was belly button down (not the exact wording). I had no less then 20 doctors (it was a teaching hospital). They told my husband (I was completely out of it) that if I had a c section that I wouldn’t be able to have anymore children. Back then they cut you wide open. They used forceps to turn him, I remember the main doctor using them and telling the other interns (or whatever they were) how to gently grab for the ears. They had given me a spinal & I was on Demerol & couldn’t really understand what was going on. Then suddenly I heard a roaring, it was my baby. His head was shaped like a cone head. The doctors were cheering. The nurses said I was one lucky woman. He had no bruising and was healthy. I went on to have more kids, always in a hospital, even though I was a natural type person, cause you never know what’s or how it’s coming down the pike, so to speak.

    I’ve used rope to pulled a calf. I was home all be with one of my kids when our black angus gave birth. I waited an hour and 15 minutes. My husband was on the way. I finally said to hell with it & tied rope on the calve front legs and me and my ten year old pulled & pulled, we got hit with so much crap when she finally came out, I was like something is wrong. Next thing I know I see another foot coming out of momma. Twins. We hadn’t known. I fished for the other foot, couldn’t find it. I was near panic when my husband finally arrived. His arm is longer & stronger than mine & he was able to grab hold and pull her to safety. Mom & girls were fine. She had most likely calved early because she was carrying twins. The vet came out, cleared both with good health. Didn’t have any problems until “bawling” season, which I absolutely hate with a passion. 50 or more head of cattle and their calves can make one heck of a racket. I am so glad we no longer raise beef.


  18. Sally, thank you for the information and the insight. If Nicole and Joe really wanted peace, it seems they would stop giving you so much to write about.

    Did anyone else get a giggle out of the recent video Nicole did with two of her sons?
    Somewhere around the 3:00 mark, she seems to hold out both her hands to her sides. She looks like she is pushing them both away because they were talking during her live facebook video. She looks down at the one she made fall to the ground. They weren’t hurt, but it cracked me up that she couldn’t just stop talking and ask them to go play somewhere else.

    I have seen her post that she is against physical punishment. But it seems their family is ok with Joe dragging her by the jacket and Nicole using her hands instead of her words to control her children. Didn’t Joe also say (while lounging on the bed) in the podcast that the kids told child welfare they had to exercise as punishment and that they were “switched”? Doesn’t seem very peaceful to me.


  19. @BethM

    No kidding! I’ve had all my babies at the same hospital with a top notch NICU. Level 4? I don’t remember.
    Although, it was so good that after we moved across the state and I became pregnant with my last babe, we drove 4 hours one way each week so that I could be followed by one of the best OB docs in the city.
    We ended up relocating back to said city a few weeks before my scheduled csec. Didn’t need the NICU that time, but my husband still bought good coffee and donuts for the NICU staff!
    L&D nurses were presented with homemade salted caramel and pretzel cupcakes on arrival when I was checked into the floor.

    ‘Twas good luck once, ’twas planning from there on out! ?


  20. I commented to fellow protesters today that if that damn animal was willing to release that baby on tax day maybe the animal in the White House will grow some balls and release his taxes.

    Nicole is a bitch


  21. I hemorrhaged after the birth of my first. Had I not been in the hospital I likely would not have survived to deliver numbers 2 and 3. Thankfully, my doctors knew that I had previously had problems and gave me a nice shot of oxytocin to contract my uterus after delivery and I had no issues ever again. Modern medicine is miraculous. My second birth was attended by a midwife. Even midwives (well decent ones anyway) understand the importance of medical intervention when needed.

    And while I did not eat during labor ( who the heck wants to eat during labor anyway?) I was permitted to walk around ( as long as my husband was with me) and cuddle my newborns. Nicole has no idea what she is talking about. We don’t live in the 1930s anymore. Everything she listed is pretty much standard in any birthing center and would be allowed.


  22. At around 7 months pregnant, I got tired. Really tired. Like….taking two hour lunch breaks every day because without a nap, I wouldn’t make it through the day kinda tired. After work, I’d get home, eat, and crash until I had to wake up to pee.

    Everyone told me to slow down….but I thought…..screw that, I’m tough. Women have babies. You get tired…big deal. You need to get shit done. Of course I’m tired, look at my belly. I had a fairly physical job at the time, and was able to take two hour lunches because I was used to working a ten hour day.

    So…I go to my 7 month pre-natal visit…just happened to have my hubby along that day cause we expected to get lunch and see our accountant after. My first half day off in ages, we intended to make the most of it.

    Doctor takes my BP and frowns. Tells me to lie down. Comes back in fifteen minutes and takes my BP again, and says, “I need to call over to the hospital about getting you admitted, you have pre-eclampsia.” And leaves the room.

    And I’m like….wait…did he say admitted? I was stunned.

    Doctor came back with paperwork and said we needed to go get checked in over at the birthing center.

    I’m like….wait…when? I have appointments this afternoon, but I can be back by 5:00.

    And he goes….Uh, no. You’re going now.

    I go…. I don’t have my stuff with me. After I go home…



    And he says… Your husband can slowly walk you over there, or I can put you in a wheelchair and have staff take you. But you need to go. Right now.

    Scared the shit out of me….and for good reason. I had a very serious condition.

    Shortly after getting admitted, my doc did an ultrasound evaluation. The baby’s bone structure suggested she was about five pounds. He was glad of this, and said they’d try to avoid it, but I would probably be having a preemie….but that it should be ok.

    I was given steroids to help mature my baby’s lungs more quickly, because he felt the chances of her being a term baby were very slim. He said my uterus wasn’t providing enough nutrition for her development and that she’d probably be better off on the outside sooner than later. I was given magnesium sulfate IV to help control my blood pressure…and I was forced to stay in bed.

    Three weeks of hospitalization later….my liver and kidney numbers were starting to look crappy. I had a C-section under general anesthetic because my platelets sucked too much at that point to risk a spinal bleed.

    My kiddo was born a shriveled, bony, ugly wrinkled little baby who looked as improbable and alien as a featherless bird baby. Her arms and legs that should have been wonderfully plump had baggy skin and protruding bones. At the time of the C section, by measuring her skeleton on ultrasound, they estimated she would be an almost six pound baby…..but she was born weighing only four pounds, four ounces.

    Without medical intervention both of us would have almost certainly died.

    I had no idea how sick I was. I’m the kind of person who works hard and won’t be told to stop when things need to be done. If not for that pre-natal visit, I would have kept working until I either lost my baby or had stroke, or both. I hate to admit I’m that stubborn and dumb….but I was a new mom, and really had no frame of reference what pregnancy “should” feel like. I thought all pregnant women got as desperately tired as I was getting.

    My kiddo, because of the brilliant strategy of maturing her lungs…never needed oxygen and never developed pneumonia or other lung issues that preemies are prone to. She had great oxygen saturation, and was healthy and tough.

    She was also a ravenous little sucker, and fed enthusiastically from a tiny little bottle of breast milk for her dad and the nurses (and later me). She never needed to be tube fed. Not once.

    But she had almost no body fat. Kid needed to be in the incubator constantly because she couldn’t hold her body temperature on her own. One of the biggest things we figured out about accidentally killing preemie babies in recent decades….is that it’s easy to do if you let them get hypothermia.

    My kid, due to her inhibited growth ….was at incredible risk for hypothermia. Seems like such a simple thing….but without that one thing….a warm controlled temperature box…my kiddo would have died or suffered permanent impairments.

    Not only did my kid survive, my doctor walked the fine line between when to keep her in my uterus and when to call it quits….for the best longterm outcome. Longterm outcomes matter.

    I didn’t want my kid to just survive. I wanted her to survive intact, with the best odds of avoiding birth injury, with the best odds of avoiding lifelong deficits and brain damage that are often suffered by undercooked kids with sick moms.

    The doctors must have done something right. We must have done something right, because the kid
    did terrific. As soon as she gained enough weight to come home from the hospital, she was an unstoppable force. She gained weight and hit her milestones with no deficits. Talked and read early, was crazy imaginative, and asked more questions than there were minutes in the day. Super healthy kid who rarely went to the pediatrician for anything beyond wellness visits.

    Longterm? My kiddo was salutatorian of her class and is currently going to a top twenty university studying pre-med. So yeah…those decisions made, those therapies, those precautions….mattered. Not only did they save my kid’s life……they kept her potential intact. They kept her whole, and well, and able to live her dreams…..during a time when things could have gone VERY wrong and resulted in some extremely tragic losses.

    I think back and am pretty terrified….at what the outcome could have been if I’d been raised with the mindset of rejecting medical intervention. If I’d been too afraid to listen to the right advice and made the right choices. If I’d been too suspicious of new therapies to use them. If I’d decided I knew better than my doctor.

    So much is on the line. Not just your baby’s life, but your baby’s full potential. Risking birth injury and cognitive deficit ….when there are professionals who truly do know how to reduce risk, and who can help you increase your odds of success…..is crazy. Throwing away their best chance….is crazy.


  23. Isn’t it interesting that her entire self worth lies in her ability to have babies? In fact, so much so that she shames other mothers for not having natural childbirth or home birthing, even criticizing the number of children one has. She’s done it to me also, Sally. She made some bullshit comments about if I had more than one child, I’d be too stupid to keep track of the others. Or something. Anyway, I find it more than ridiculous her comparing a giraffe birth to a human birth. It’s so not similar, at all. And we’ve read here tonight and I know first hand that “birth is awesome! ” is patently untrue in some situations. Childbirth can be super dangerous for both mom and baby. She needs to shut her stupid mouth.


  24. Pfft, Nicole. I’m in the UK and we do all of that here in hospital.

    You are encouraged to eat during labour here, and I was given meals during both of mine.

    I’m so glad I had my children in hospital. I’m a bleeder as it turns out. Even with the properly qualified and trained midwives we have in the UK and with the equipment they carry, it would have been scarier and more dangerous had I haemorrhaged at home. As it was, there was a doctor in the room within minutes both times, as well extra midwives and doctors around if required.

    Nicole reckons it’s okay if there’s an emergency as Joe knows what to do (or words to that effect). The sheer utter stupidity of that statement is some of the worst I’ve seen from them. Along with they’ll transport if they decide there’s a problem. Of course, the thing is, would they know how to spot anything that’s not obvious? Not to mention travelling time.

    Nicole said when she had 11, she thought there was some meconium when her waters broke. It was fine though, as her birthing position would clear the baby’s lungs. So, how bad does it need to get before they decide to stop being stubborn and do what’s best? I’m not sure I want to know the answer…

    I hope for the baby’s sake that their luck does not run out, I really do.


  25. Does anyone know, typically, when does the timeline begin in cases such as this with a pregnant mother and the courts already having legal custody of all of the other minor children. Knowing full well N would never admit to any legally mandated prenatal care, (or ANY statist forced services) would a woman typically in this situation have care forced upon her and the fetus including the birthing options or would the court assume legal custody only after the birth?
    During the last birth, also a shack birth with the kids under legal custody, we will never know if in fact there was anyone else present such as a fully licensed and accredited midwife but never allowed to be seen. Or did I miss something then?
    Hope to not sicken anyone, but really, she probably can and will continue this and have 4 or 5 more before this all ends.
    Excellent and most apt description of these two as “predators”, sick sick predators.

    Congrats Nation!
    Melissa, you are in my thoughts.


  26. As someone who has 5 pregnancies full of complications, Man’s cavalier attitude towards child birth concerns me greatly. My oldest was born via emergency C-section due to placental abruption. Long story short, he tore his placenta away from the wall of my uterus, taking a pretty good chunk out with it. Had we had to go further than 10 minutes to a hospital, we both would have died. We lost our second at 20 weeks due to a placenta abruption caused by incompatible blood type (I’m an A, she was a B.) Third pregnancy ended in scheduled C-section, thankfully because little miss tied 2 true knots in her cord. 3rd pregnancy had preterm labor start at 23 weeks (a week before potential viability), leading to attempting to raise an 8 year old and a soon to be 3 year old while on bed rest until a 38 week scheduled C-section. Final pregnancy resulted in torn round ligaments at 5 months, ended in scheduled C-section at 38 weeks and the baby factory was shut down permanently for MY health and well-being. NN has no qualms about popping kids out left and right, never mind the fact that her physical well-being is suffering as well as her mental health. As rotten as her teeth are, I’m pretty sure her mouth is full of infection. Infection that can spread throughout her body, and can harm her other organs and the unborn child. What happens if this pregnancy ends in a complication that takes her life? Who is going to take care of the kids? Who is going to breastfeed the new baby if it survives? The younger girls cannot, and I doubt the oldest’s girlfriend or wife (not sure what their marital status is) would be okay with that. What happens to all the kids without Nan’s meager income? All things that need to be considered….


  27. would a woman typically in this situation have care forced upon her and the fetus including the birthing options or would the court assume legal custody only after the birth?

    No. Nobody is going to force her to obtain medical care. Furthermore, there is no such thing as a “fully licensed and accredited midwife” who would ever attend a birth in the Naugler shed ever. I would go so far as to state that there is no such thing as a safe home birth, even if God Almighty were attending it.


  28. I’ll agree to disagree about the safety of home birth, but you’re right, no qualified midwife would agree to attend a shed birth for the Nauglers. Lack of running water, heat, space, refrigeration for their supplies that require it, sanitation, distance from hospital, etc. make the Naugstead a bad location for shed birth.

    In addition, the idea that “Joe knows what to do” in a emergency is scary not only because of his lack of medical expertise, but also because he is ONE person. Do they really want to make the choice between Nicole and the baby if both are in trouble. In a hospital, there are lots of medical people around. At midwife attended births in my area (home, hospital, or birth centre), there are always at least two midwives in the room, and often students as well. If shit happens you don’t want to have to make a choice about which life to attempt to save.


  29. I know I have done this before but I still recommend this pdf concerning the statistics that are commonly quoted when it comes to safety of out-of-hospital births in the US:
    (it takes you to a page where you can download it, it does not automatically start a download, no worries)
    The author also talks about her experiences becoming and working as a midwife.
    It’s an interesting read.


  30. Edit on my comment, 3rd child living 4th pregnancy was preterm labor. I was trying to type while my daughter tried to get me to look at a meme she found amusing.


  31. As far as home births vs. hospital births go, I would prefer hospital anyday! Doctors, drugs, nurses, drugs! I understand that an uncomplicated birth can happen safely most places, but who knows which birth will be complicated and which will be uncomplicated? And even if the mortality rate of a homebirth was only one per thousand more than for a hospital birth, someone is the parent of that thousandth child, who could have been saved if the birth had taken place in a hospital. Numbers are just numbers. But to risk a child’s life so that the mother can feel better about the birth experience? Sorry, I wouldn’t be able to do it.
    Another thought that I’ve had: do the children have a phone with them during the day when J&N leave them alone at the homestead?


  32. I was trying for a vbac with my youngest. At 5 am, I was in early labor. Called my OB and she told me to go ahead and eat a lighter breakfast and take my meds like I normally would. My sister picked up the oldest boys and my husband and I headed to my friend’s place. My friend lived 15-20 minutes from the hospital where I planned to deliver, less than 5 minutes from a different hospital with a NICU, and a block away from a fire rescue station. It was really nice. We binge watched True Blood and just relaxed. When my OB called to check I me around 1 pm, she told me to go ahead and have a light lunch. I didn’t listen and sent my husband to the KFC next door. I was VERY hungry. I labored for hours, contraction getting stronger slowly, but steady. Other friends came by and hung out for a bit. Around 9 pm, I just had a feeling that something was wrong. The contractions were normal and no other signs, but I just knew something was wrong.

    My friend got me to the hospital I was delivering at in less than 10 minutes. Once I got all hooked up to the monitors, they saw that the baby was having trouble each time I had a contraction. They said the cord was probably tangled or wrapped around him. I had to have an emergency c-section. Turned out he’d wrapped the cord around himself FIVE times. I’d had an ultrasound 4 days before and he wasn’t wrapped up. The hellion managed to tie himself up in just a few days.

    Laboring at my friend’s house was wonderful and relaxing. My OB actually encouraged me to eat light meals and sip on sweet tea as I labored. But if I didn’t have a gut feeling something was wrong, there could have been a very sad ending. If I have a moment of stupidity and get pregnant again, I’m going directly to the hospital when I’m sure it’s real labor. KFC and True Blood were nice, but they’re not worth the risk.

    I’m having baby urges again. My husband and oldest son are also trying to convince me to have another baby. My oldest son saw Idiocracy and decided I need to donate my womb to fight stupidity. My husband just wants a daughter. I know it’s a bad idea. I’m now almost 40, have health issues, and have had pregnancy complications each time. HG is no joke.

    I still might have another baby. If the financials are right and my doctors give their okay. And that’s one of the Idiocracy points out. 🙁


  33. I have small babies, one was under 6 pounds and the other was a little over 6 pounds. I’m small. My doctor told me I would probably have small babies because nature is neat like that, he told me not to worry about their size when I gave birth. I of course freaked when I seen how small my smallest was. She looked like a little doll, just beautiful, still is. She was born in a hospital but I took no medications for her and had her naturally via vag. My other one I had an epidural and I will NEVER have one again. I’m done having kids anyways, just 2, because……2 is enough for us.
    Someone made a post about them a long time ago saying that the authorities found a couple of infants buried at one of their homes. Is there any merit to that story? I chalked it up to someone just being overly mean because I found it kind of hard to believe.


  34. Someone made a post about them a long time ago saying that the authorities found a couple of infants buried at one of their homes. Is there any merit to that story? I chalked it up to someone just being overly mean because I found it kind of hard to believe.

    There is a widely disseminated rumor that there was a baby who died (stillbirth, SIDS, whatever) and that they buried it informally at one of the places they were living. I have never been able to substantiate that at all. And apparently CPS is well aware of the rumor.

    Just like it’s not illegal in any way to refuse medical care (except for your minor child), it’s also not illegal to dispose of a zygote or fetus if you miscarry. Thousands upon thousands of women miscarry every year, and some of them don’t even know they did. If you’re barely pregnant and the fertilized egg fails to implant or does so imperfectly, you might well just have the mother of all menstrual cycles and not realize you were in fact pregnant.

    At what point does it become a “baby” and require a “funeral”?

    Furthermore, we had friends who had a baby who died from SIDS, and they opted to bury the child themselves, without a funeral home involved. They placed the baby in a small cemetery for pets owned by a friend. Other friends dug the grave. The father and some friends made a casket out of a tool box (sounds awful, but it was actually beautiful), and nobody but friends of the family attended. It was a moving experience for me.

    Several years later, the baby’s grandfather died, and that family opted to do the same thing with him. By then, the church had a cemetery and they place him there, but it was a completely homespun affair.

    Now, in both those cases, I assume that the authorities were properly notified. Obviously in the grandfather’s case they were, since he died in a hospital, but I assume the baby’s death was recorded as well, since he had been born in a hospital and had a birth certificate.

    What would be legally required in such a case if there were no birth certificate is something I am not certain at all about. But just because other people might find “home funerals” offensive or distasteful doesn’t mean that they are.

    There is even a book on the subject. One of the authors, IIRC, Lisa Carlson, lost her husband to a sudden suicide and was faced with not only the devastation of losing him, but no money with which to bury him. She navigated the treacherous waters of the funeral industry and had a DIY funeral, legally, because she had no choice.

    That baby’s funeral prompted me to buy Lisa’s first book (called Caring for Your Own Dead), just out of curiosity, and certainly led directly to the way we dealt with Nathan’s death (cremation and several “funeral” celebrations in three different cities in two states at bars where he’d played). The funeral home’s only contribution was the cremation itself.

    But to repeat, I can find no credible evidence to suggest that anything like this ever happened to the Nauglers. The rumor is just that – a rumor.


  35. Well, Sally, it’s your lucky day because I am in the process of ordering books today so I added both mentioned in your blog recently, final rights and broad daylight.
    I figured there wasn’t much illegal/legal regarding miscarriages/still borns because I know several people who have had those experiences. Some bury a 4 month along fetus, some let it pass like you said like an awful period, and others choose not to bury a child in a cemetery that was nearly full term. I don’t even know what I would do if I were in that position but I generally lean more towards the less traditional methods of funerals and such. I told my husband to just cremate me and do NOT keep my ashes just toss me out the window or something.


  36. I told my husband to just cremate me and do NOT keep my ashes just toss me out the window or something.

    We spread Nate’s ashed in the park in Southern Pines (“in the Ashe Street Park, talking too much shit” – a line from one of his songs). At the time, the Southern Pines Police Department was adjacent to the park (they have since moved it), and we were out there at 3 a.m., spreading ashes. There were about 35 of us. We opted to not ask permission. 🙂

    Several people got some of the ashes. One guy took some to the reservoir and sat on the dock with them. He and Nate had sat in that exact spot once right after that guy’s mother committed suicide and they talked and cried together. He put the ashes in the reservoir. A couple of other guys took some to the railroad tracks that run through Southern Pines (something else that is prominent in Nate’s music) and scattered them there. The police asked them what they were doing, and when they explained, the officers helped – they all knew Nate.

    One guy took a small amount of ashes and put them in the body of a monkey bank thing that he keeps on his keyboard when he plays gigs. One woman put some in a locket.

    We took some to Wilmington with a very good friend of Nate’s and put them in the ocean out on the end of the pier there.

    We took some to Alaska and had a memorial thing at a local pub and then went down to the river nearby and scattered them in the river which goes down to the Pacific Ocean.

    That means that his ashes are in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. They are in North Carolina and Alaska and Kentucky who knows where else.

    And finally, we have two small packages of ashes in a beer stein which sits on the piano in our living room. When I die, one package will be mixed with my ashes, and ditto for Dave.

    He’s everywhere. And that’s fitting.


  37. When we lost our little girl at 20 weeks gestation, the nurses offered to set up whatever we wanted, such as contact the funeral home, etc. We opted for donating her body to science to help others avoid our pain.


  38. We had a family home that was owned by my parents for nearly 50 years. Some of the ashes of my mother, father, a sister and a brother are scattered there. I have had a piece of jewelry made with some of my parents’ ashes, and I wear it around my neck. Some of my father’s ashes were scattered up in the mountains where he used to love to backpack in the summers. I found it comforting to spread the ashes of our loved ones where they spent so many happy years.


  39. These days, we have become incredibly far removed from death, a far cry from a hundred or so years ago when most families prepared and laid their dead out in their “good room” for friends to pay their respects. We pass everything off to funeral homes etc, and have become extremely squeamish concerning the dead. It’s a shame, because death is just another part of the cycle of life.
    There are places where you can have your loved one wrapped in a linen shroud (you are shown how to do this), then transport them to a park, where you dig a burial plot wherever you choose, and perform whatever type of funeral “service’ you wish, then cover them up again. There’s no chemical embalming, no coffin with metal handles etc., nothing. The body just slowly returns to the earth, eventually. I like this idea, personally.

    As far as the births go, I think Nicole is extremely irresponsible with all the home births, but especially this one considering it’s her 12th baby, her age, and her state of health. Although, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she were receiving some ante natal care given CPS’s peripheral involvement, and just winding people up by keeping quiet.

    I had both my sons in a hospital, but they had birthing suites that looked like plush hotel rooms with a king sized bed, where the oxygen etc was all behind a curtain, and you could bring your own music, labour your own way and pretty much everything else she mentioned above.

    My first was 7lb 15oz and my second was 11lb, and was born naturally in an hour and a half and no, no Gestational Diabetes, as ppl always assume ?. I would not have wanted to have either of them at home, I can tell you.


  40. Giving birth is a strenuous activity that uses a lot of energy. Starving a woman in case of something you say is uncommon is a great way to end up with a woman so exhausted that she needs to go be cut open when she might not have needed it had she been allowed some calories.

    I go through about 5,000 calories a day thanks to a super metabolism, and when I was told the hospital wouldn’t allow me to eat anything, I started looking for a midwife, and had a homebirth. My birth kit included easy-to-eat energy bars, and my husband made candied yams. I would not have been able to get through 20 hours of labor and delivery if I had been starved. I’d have had an unneeded surgery that would have been held up as “this emergency c-section is why women shouldn’t eat during labor” even though it could have been caused by not being allowed to eat. By controlling what a woman does as a plan for surgery, you create a self-fulfilling prophesy.

    If the doctor hadn’t informed me that I would have my autonomy stripped, I would have given birth in a hospital, and surely ended up having surgery that would only have been needed because I no longer had rights to my body or my medical decisions. It’s really shitty and offensive to demote women to objects just because we’re in labor. My goddamned body, my goddamned choice.

    Are you aware of how much the c-section rate in the US has gone up since you retired? https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr63/nvsr63_06.pdf . Are you aware that maternal deaths haven’t gone down, that they’ve gone up? http://www.who.int/gho/maternal_health/countries/usa.pdf . The number is still small, yes, but starving a woman to prevent her from being in that 14 out of 100,000, and increasing her chances of needing major surgery to begin with, which comes with many COMMON complications, is horrid.

    And when 99,000 people a year DIE from hospital-acquired infections (source: https://www.cdc.gov/washington/~cdcatWork/pdf/infections.pdf ), it can be argued that maybe hospitals aren’t such a safe place to give birth either. But in reality, it’ll be the safest place for some women, just like it won’t be the safest for others.

    In case you didn’t pay attention, my sources are the CDC and the WHO, both which are very credible.

    At the end of the day, you have to understand that most women, the overwhelming majority nearing 100%, want what’s best for us and our babies, and what’s best for one woman and her baby may not be the best for another. People like Nicole, who give birth in sheds (a midwife MIGHT attend just out of concern for the baby born in that filth) to stick it to “the man” and to make sure their babies have no documentation, are exceedingly rare. Taking away the autonomy of all woman by trying to force us all into hospitals where many medical decisions are made against our will and always with an eye on a c-section just to make sure that women like Nicole don’t get the chance to birth in shit is disgusting and draconian and so anti-woman. What that says is that none of us a capable of making our own decisions, and so, because we’re pregnant, we need politicians and doctors to make the decisions for us.


  41. trying to force us all into hospitals

    Nobody is trying to “force” anyone to do anything. If you are happy playing Russian roulette, by all means, I’m not going to stand in your way.

    Trying to say that the C-section rate is due to not letting women eat during labor is just beyond far fetched. I actually got IV fluid during labor. In case you don’t know, IV fluid has calories in it. A woman in labor is far more likely to become dehydrated than calorie deficient.

    And nobody is talking about politicians here. You’re confusing this discussion with abortion rights, which is an entirely different issue.


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