As someone who has attended two home births, reluctantly, and vowed to never do that again no matter how much pressure I felt, and who advocates for safe birth, I’m well aware of the statistics for childbirth in the United States.
And I know that statistically Nicole Naugler is at grave risk by having an unattended (Joe and the kids do not count) birth at home. In her case, it’s not just the home birth thing, it’s also the fact that she is a 41-year-old grand multip (many babies and a really worn out uterus – it does not get more successful over time).
She writes this stuff like it’s true. It’s simply not so.
Yes, this is the New York Times. And yes, this is an article by Dr. Amy Tuteur. And yes, home-birthers loathe her. Me? I adore her.
She cites statistics and studies. Unlike Nicole, who “knows” the stats, Dr. Amy takes us to the stats.
America has a problem.
And Dr. Amy goes to the root of it. This article is probably the most positive, supportive article about home birth that I’ve ever seen from her. She goes into detail as to why we have a problem in the US and what can be done about it.
Here’s some more. This isn’t Dr. Amy.
What infuriates me about what Nicole is doing here isn’t that she is putting her life at risk. I give not one shit about what she does. I do not care. If she bleeds to death on the floor of that garden shed, I will shrug.
But people read her shit.
And they think, “Oh, she’s had 11 babies. This is her 12th birth. She’s done this over and over again. She knows what she’s talking about.”
And then they are more likely to attempt it themselves. But because these poor saps feel a bit intimidated because they haven’t had eleventy-billion babies at home with only Joe and the kids, they’ll hire a midwife.
You know, to be safe.
And they’ll hire a “certified professional midwife,” which is woo-speak for “don’t know shit about what I’m doing.”
And that’s the problem. Nicole isn’t just putting her own life at risk. She’s attempting to influence other women to do the same thing.
Here’s a fairly typical comment from Nicole’s BLH Facebook page (where she linked to the blog). Debbie is not the youngest person in the world, and I doubt she is going to have any babies any time soon. She doesn’t mention her own children (which might mean she doesn’t have any).
She talks instead about her mother, and how her mother did it and it was fine.
And it will work “just like it has for all the women in the past before hospitals.”
You know, all the women who fucking died. They died. Or they lived and buried their dead infant. Or they both died. Debbie is clueless, and Nicole is clueless and I’m sorry, but I sort of lose my shit about it.
Remember something about this. We’re not just talking about Nicole suffering a fatal hemorrhage, something that very likely won’t happen, or the baby dying, something that probably won’t happen either.
We’re also talking about morbidity. Morbidity is medical-speak for shit that happens but you didn’t die. Neonatal morbidity is stuff like cerebral palsy. Sometimes it’s just the tear instead of an episiotomy and the resultant fairly miserable recovery period. Sometimes it involves birth injuries that are hard to quantify later on. (Is this kid just slow or was he oxygen-starved? With a Naugler kid, how would you know? They aren’t seen by physicians ever.)
There are a whole lot of other people in this world, and some of them read that shitty blog of Nicole “Just Let Me Enjoy My Pregnancy” Naugler. What she is doing is reckless, foolish, and immoral.
And I’m talking about the writing, not the birthing.
And if she keeps doing this, I will keep writing about it.
Nicole, who never reads this blog and doesn’t pay any attention, reads this blog regularly but she’s right, she doesn’t pay attention.
If she did, she’d know that I never once have claimed to know with first-hand experience what it’s like to be pregnant, with the single exception of my own pregnancy. And Nicole has absolutely no idea at all what that was like for me. Nor does she know what it’s like to be pregnant for anyone else except herself.
But that isn’t what I talked about here at all, as she would know if she paid any attention.
What I talked about is that she said something that is entirely and demonstrably false.
I also know that statistically I am safer at home then [sic] I am in a hospital.
She makes this statement as though it’s common knowledge and totally true, when it is in fact totally false.
And then I presented Dr. Amy’s article because that article contains links to all the relevant statistics. You know, the whole “statistically” thing that Nicole blithely flops out there. Notice that Nicole offers no such statistics? That’s because they do not exist.
I then went on to cite a couple more articles that also cite statistics that show her to be completely wrong.
I know she thinks it’s cute to talk about her nine-year-old daughter like that, but all she’s telling me is that she has subjected a small child to repeated experiences witnessing unassisted childbirth. She thinks this is brilliant.
Far from being “psycho,” I am a realist. I know what I am good at. I know what I have expertise in. And I don’t pretend to be an expert when I’m not.
And it seems that what I wrote was thought to be correct enough that Dr. Amy shared it on her Facebook page.
I don’t know about anyone else, but when a Harvard-trained obstetrician thinks I wrote something that was good enough and accurate enough to share on her Facebook page, I’ll take that any day over what Nicole “I live in a garden shed” Naugler thinks.
And just in case you, like me, can’t get enough of Dr. Amy, here you go.