Recently our birth center, Baby+Co. Cary, has come under fire.
After many sleepless nights, lots of tears, and an array of emotions I feel like I need to speak out.
In the last 6 months, Baby+Co Cary, has lost 3 babies and a 4th was rushed to the NICU at Duke. They also lost a baby in 2014. After each one they diverted births to Wake Med Cary for a short period of time so they could review what happened to see if any changes needed to be made to ensure the safety of their families. They don't just carry on as if nothing happened because they truly care, they put all of their focus on what matters, making sure their families are safe!
There was some discussion amongst moms in a closed group on Facebook as this news was obviously alarming, extremely shocking, and scary to say the least. I am a member of this local and naturally minded birth group. Two of the moms came forward and were willing to share their story privately to anyone that sent them a private message because they wanted to help other moms make an informed decision. I can't imagine what those families were going through to begin with but what's to follow makes it even worse.
This information was leaked to the media by a mom in the group and reporters had the audacity to contact these poor mamas. As insensitive as that was, when they didn't get what they wanted, (I think it speaks volumes that none of these families wanted to share their story with the media), they proceeded to put out an article full of lies to use as a scare tactic.
I can't even explain how much my heart hurts for these families right now. Along with anyone else who has ever lost a baby, I wish nobody had to go through that. But to then have their privacy invaded, their grieving process interrupted, and to see an abundance of negative and judgmental comments everywhere.. It is without a doubt, UNACCEPTABLE.
Baby+Co. is a family. We became part of that family on New Years Day in 2016. If you haven't read or seen our incredible birth story you can right over here. Our whole experience was wonderful because of Baby+Co. and I will never forget how loved and supported I felt. I'm so blessed to have met so many beautiful souls that I can now call my friends. Not everyone's experience is the same, I know, but we are always there for one another!
Shock.. I was honestly in shock when I learned about the 3 losses over these past few months. At Baby+Co.?? Was I reading correct? I think my heart stopped. And I immediately broke down in tears for those families. I searched for other posts, reading every comment. Trying to make sense of everything. But I couldn't. It's all I could think about for days. I held Ellie tighter. I prayed.
I took everything I read in the media personal. I took everything personal because it was! Baby+Co. is my family, and those bias articles were aimed at harming my family. Harming the whole natural birth community we are working so hard to grow. Harming my beloved birth center. Harming those families that experienced the worse loss imaginable.. I do not know how those families feel and I do not know what happened. It's not my story to tell. But they are part of this huge family now. One that has so much love and support for one another. I'm so happy to be a part of a group who has surrounded those mama's in love when they needed it most. Even though we are all different and some are "crunchier" than others, we all have a common goal! To empower women to make their own choices. And we will not let this stop us.
I'm use to the wide eyed "Wait!? You wanted to give birth without an epidural?" or "You actually had her in a tub?" type of questions, as I'm sure many of us birth center/home birth mamas are.. To me people always seem a little shocked but are always intrigued. Typically more questions follow. And I'm always honest in why we chose what we chose, I have a very strong opinion on it obviously, but I never judge anyone who chooses differently. I picked what was best for my family and others have to pick what's best for theirs.
I'm without a doubt passionate, YES! I share our story because I have run across more people than I can count who didn't even know birth centers exist. People who didn't know there was any other way, that they actually had choices besides do they want an epidural or not. I share our story because I got to make my own decisions, they weren't made for me. I share our story because it was a magical experience, not a traumatizing one like I've unfortunately heard so many times before. And let me tell you, they are all almost identical. I'm not saying everyone should choose what I did, but I feel like everyone should know they have options. I didn't know anything about them until I got pregnant with Ellie and I desperately looked for another option.
Having this respect for other moms myself, I think, is what makes this whole thing even more shocking. Some of the comments I read from other moms.. I don't even know if I can put into words how hurt and personally attacked I felt. They were not only attacking Baby+Co. (again, without facts) but were also attacking anyone who chooses to deliver outside of a hospital. At least that how they made me and many others feel. One comment said we (naturally minded people) should just "go to a hospital and be grateful" and another said "it's almost like neglect on the moms".. Neglect. You read that right, neglect. I stared at that word for what felt like hours. I took it personally. Can you imagine how those moms who lost their little ones would take it if they read those things? The only thing that finally brought me some comfort was knowing how uninformed they are. We picked Baby+Co. because it was what was best for Ellie, myself, and Dorian. Our choice was far from negligent. We only thought of Ellie. Everything I did was for her!
My heart is still heavy though, as I know so many people are now judging Baby+Co., birth centers in general, and us naturally minded birth mamas based on lies and fear. Nobody knows what happened except those families and Baby+Co. I'm not saying they didn't do anything wrong, could one (or more) have been preventable? I'm not sure. But who's to say they were not doing everything they could up until the last possible second? That no matter who was there or what calls were made that the outcome would have unfortunately been the same? Maybe one of them was a bad call? I don't know. I don't know what happened but we are not entitled to this information.
I can't judge them for what happened. Why? Because I wouldn't if this situation happened at a hospital. Low risk does not mean no risk, and terrible things can happen to anyone including a doctor on call. I know it can happen, and I know it unfortunately does. But yet nobody blinks an eye typically. Isn't that sad? Hospitals just carry on with business as usual and without a tight knit community talking who would even put two and two together? Probably nobody unless one was definitely preventable and the family took it to the media. So what I will do is form my own opinion AFTER the investigation is finished and I hear what changes Baby+Co. will make to insure this does not happen again. Why? Because that's what I'd do if this happened at a hospital. If for some reason a string of newborn deaths happened at a hospital, nobody would judge the hospital unless they did nothing about it. But because Baby+Co. and birth centers are "different" and they are already under scrutiny, people are judging them for what happened prematurely and not how they handled the situation. But I for one am proud of how they have handled things so far. They have continued to protect their families privacy and been as open as possible with their current clients (because remember they don't owe the general public anything). And I truly think they are doing their best in this incredibly sad situation.
All I can share is our experience. And how it was the most wonderful experience of our life BECAUSE of so many incredible women at Baby+Co.. I got to know them and they got to know me. They cared for me and for our child. I saw first hand how they took every precaution to make sure we were all happy, healthy, and safe. I always felt safe! They went above and beyond for my little family. Some of them started after I gave birth so I can't speak for all, but EVERY SINGLE PERSON that I met along our journey at Baby+Co. was INCREDIBLE. I know they did everything I needed and more. I know I had the best experience because of them. I know we became family. I still go back to see them just because I miss them and I'm always greeted with a huge hug! I just went back yesterday because I wanted to check on them. I could see the hurt and also the love in their eyes over this situation. I trust they will do whatever it takes to change for the better.
So if you are thinking about having a birth center or natural birth PLEASE don't let this deter you. Go see Baby+Co. (or another birth center) for yourself. Reach out and ask questions. I'm an open book. Don't settle. Know that you DO NOT have to settle!
And if you know you want a hospital or medicated birth, I truly wish you the best. At the end of the day it doesn't matter how we become a mom (or mom of two, or three..) but that we did!!
I wish this didn't have to be said but please no mater which side of the fence you stand on, DON'T JUDGE. Be mindful of what you say. Be supportive. Love. Because that's all moms and babies really need.