Birthing centers and meconium aspiration, being honest about natural birthing

I am, or was, planning tentatively on using a birthing center to deliver.  However, a very close friend just lost her baby to meconium aspiration after 36 hours of labor at a birthing center.  She was sent to the adjacent hospital, where after monitoring, the doctor on call immediately did a C section.  It was too late.  She cannot shake the feeling she tried, stupidly, to be a hero and go through with the natural birth even after it got tough after the first 12 hours.  I can't help but wonder the same thing.

I am well aware of data on the rise of unnecessary medical interventions and have been of the mind set for a long time to go natural with a midwife.  Quite frankly, now I feel like my friend's terrible experience may signal that the pendulum has swung too far for women interested in a more natural approach.  Are they expected to be heroes?  Maybe not explicitly, but the rhetoric sometimes makes it seem that way.  It is difficult to get accurate information from traditional medicine since they clearly are partially driven by the insurance/administration to protect their own interests, but honestly I feel like it is just as difficult to get accurate information on risks of natural with little intervention, whether at home or a birthing center.  This side, too, has its own interests to protect and many on this side, understandably, also don't like to admit they're not always right.

I'm reaching out to get more information from those who are trained to assist in natural births for risks and guidelines for when it's not always a great idea or how to recognize when it's not in the cards for me.  To repeat, ideologically, I'm on your side.  But to watch my friend go through losing her baby, I need more information other than "it's better to go natural and doctors usually recommend too much intervention that can be dangerous for mother and baby".  Clearly, natural can be dangerous too and there are drawbacks to both options.  Let's talk about it, please.


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Staceyjw....You obviously haven't read the Skeptical OB's website lol. Because I DID...and guess what? She considers the Wax study of homebirths deeply flawed. Yup. You got it. She literally rakes the study over coals in the most professional way possible. If even SHE is saying the Wax homebirth study is flawed (and we all know she'd love to support it because this is what the ACOG has been trying to suggest for YEARS)...then you know for damned sure it is!!!!! :(
Most birth centers will transfer mothers in labor who have meconium stained fluid. Ask you birth center what their policy is regarding difficult situations.

Unfortunately there are no guarantees, and as mentioned before, if there were some way to 100% guarantee a healthy baby we'd all sign up for it. You have to go with what you personally are comfortable with, and if you're fearful in a birth center, it probably isn't the place for you, and may affect your labour. The same situation you described I've seen happen at our hospital (I'm an OB nurse). Even when everything falls in to place during an emergency, and when we move as fast as humanly possible, terrible things happen. I'm expecting my first child, and it's incredibly difficult not to let my mind wander to those situations. But I remind myself on a near daily basis of all the women I've looked after that did fine. The statistics for neonatal death are low for low risk women, but I understand if it's your baby that happens to, the statistics don't matter.

 

People make the best choices with the information they have at the time. The only thing you can do is get informed and make the choice you are most comfortable with. Ask the birth center and the hospital what their policies and statistics are, and I'd be wary of either if they won't tell you.

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