CPS Removes Illinois Baby Because of Home Birth "Medical Neglect"

Bring Ruth Home!

Bring Ruth Home!

Child Protective Services (CPS) in Illinois has removed a child from the home for endangerment.

Specifically, CPS alleges the parents endangered their newborn’s life (medical neglect) by choosing a home birth for a baby in a breech presentation.

The Facebook group to Bring Ruth Home! describes this horrible story:

Ruth Abigail Light was born at home on July 21st at 7:38PM. She weighed 7 lbs. 10 oz. and was 20 inches long. During the birth, her shoulders were stuck momentarily (Shoulder Dystocia) but once they were free, she came right out. Ruth was doing well but a few hours later she seemed to be fussier than usual and we decided to take her in to get her checked out just to be sure. We took her to the ER in the middle of the night. Over the next few days, they told us that her arms had nerve damage from her shoulders getting stuck and a couple of days later, someone filed a complaint against us citing medical neglect for having her at home vs. the recommended C-section since she was breech. Since that time, Ruth has had every test possible run and so far, she seems to be doing very well. Her arms are recovering and she is a very content baby.

Unfortunately, the State of Illinois took her into custody as a result of the complaint and she has been in foster care for over a week. During that time, we were only allowed to see her twice for a couple of hours. Thankfully, as of Aug. 9th, she was placed with Melissa’s parents and we are now allowed to see her for a few hours each day.

Shoulder dystocia is a relatively infrequent complication in birth, but it is one that all midwives and doctors will eventually face, and is covered in every maternity book parents-to-be read.  The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) explains:

Shoulder dystocia is one of the most anxiety-provoking emergencies encountered by physicians practicing maternity care. Typically defined as a delivery in which additional maneuvers are required to deliver the fetus after normal gentle downward traction has failed, shoulder dystocia occurs when the fetal anterior shoulder impacts against the maternal symphysis following delivery of the vertex.

America’s most famous midwife Ina May Gaskin even has a shoulder dystocia maneuver named after her involving women moving into an all fours position during labor. The Journal of Reproductive Medicine reports:

The conclusion of the study is that the all-fours maneuver appears to be a rapid, safe, and effective technique that is applicable in a delivery room or other birth setting, for attendants with a range of levels of training. “Future studies should focus on ways to incorporate this technique into the practice of all midwives and physicians.”

Ina May’s success with shoulder dystocia has proven that a home birth is just as safe as a hospital birth when it comes to this complication.  In fact, it is recommended that physicians learn her maneuver.  Unfortunately, child protective services authorities in Illinois disagree about the safety of home births, as this birth also involved a breech presentation.

Many midwives won’t attempt breech deliveries, but many will.  It is true that a breech delivery with shoulder dystocia poses a higher risk than a normal presentation in which shoulder dystocia occurs, but should such an unpredicted complication be cause for loss of custody?  Had the same nerve damage occurred in the hospital, would the family still be subjected to the same harsh treatment?

Was this family irresponsible to attempt a breech birth at home or would more appropriate blame fall with the midwife, if blame must fall?

I do not believe this is a situation in which CPS should have removed a child from the home. In my years in education, I have seen serious instances of neglect (including medical), but only once instance of removal. I do not feel that choosing a home birth falls into this category, breech position or not.  I hope that Ruth is returned to her parents soon, and I am happy to report she is doing well despite this rough start.

Comments

  1. Seriously?!?! Do they WANT people to not seek medical care when complications occur for fear their children will be STOLEN at the hospital? Watch how many children die now, because parents are too afraid that their babies will be stolen if they bring them to the hospital, all because doctors are prejudiced against home birth. What idiocy!

  2. Cate Nelson says:

    What about this baby’s breastfeeding relationship? Their homebirth worries are more important than that?

    (As a side note, 32 years ago I was a home birth in I’LL, and when I was born, my left arm was “stuck” up by my shoulder. It was discolored when I was born, and seemingly had no sensation. I know it’s not the same thing, but I’m left-handed now.)

    This seems to be a crazy overreaction to what could have been followed up on regularly by the authorities while the child was bonding appropriately with her family. So sad.

  3. If doctors had any other answer besides c-section, perhaps women wouldn’t feel compelled to seek an out of hospital birth for a slightly more complicated situation. Because hospitals and doctors insist on the panacea of the c-section, then midwives and other out-of-hospital are left to handle increasingly risky situations because women just don’t want to have major abdominal surgery to birth their babies.

  4. I am a doula that lives about 8 miles from the Illinois state line. (I am very far removed from the situation above.) In my experiences with homebirth midwives that practice in Illinois (there is still a large Mennonite population, and a number of women who still wish to birth at home), the recommend having a homebirth friendly Pediatrician in place because, “there are orders to call CPS if a homebirthed baby or mom transfers to a hospital”. Illinois is on a manhunt to stop homebirth dead in its tracks.

  5. This is heartbreaking. What about parental bonding? What about the breast feeding relationship? There is nothing saying Mom didn’t receive prenatal care, so obviously she cares very much. Is the state going to go after the midwife?

    These situations drive me to distraction.

    I hope baby Ruth is home soon. Not just with Gramma and Grampa.

  6. grrrrrrrrrrrrrr stories like this make me livid! And i’m a woman who had 2 hospital births (mismanaged induction, ending in a c-section, and a successful vbac)

  7. This is BLECHMEY!!! THIS IS MADNESS!!! Do they SERIOUSLY want to promote doing something that is Extrordinarely harmful to the mother AND the fetus/infant, and when somebody DOESN’T follow what they think is the right thing to do!?!?!?!? Doctors are surgeons, and surgeons are only here to cut, cutting is the only thing surgeons are trained for, and IT’S THE ONLY DADGUM THING ANY F***IN’ SURGEON EVER WANTS TO DO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *mimicks doctors* ohh, someone just delivered a breach baby at home! well, if they come in here for whatever reason, have the CPS standing by, so they can take the baby out of the parent’s custody for not following the surgeon general’s promotion that all babies, whatever the cause, should be delivered as a cesarian, because pregnancey is a disease, and all diseases MUST be removed via surgery!!!” F*** THIS SH** THAT THOSE SH**TY DOCTORS ARE FEEDING US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. In a hospital setting the mother would likely have been harassed into a planned section, or experience the ‘pit to distress’ crap resulting in an ‘emergency’ c section. If by some miracle she did manage to birth vaginally, she’d likely be in the lithotomy position or with an epidural, which both make complication more likely.

    In my (admittedly crunchy) opinion, she made the safest decision for herself and her baby.

  9. It seems that before a child is born, the state is fine with the mother deciding what to do with it (ie PRO CHOICE). Once the baby takes it first breath, however, the state seems to think all children actually belong to them and THEY get to CHOOSE how it is born and reared! I pray this baby will be back with her mommy soon and if the mom was breastfeeding, hopefully the baby will still have its rooting reflex so they can re-establish their breastfeeding relationship.

    • Couldn’t agree more, except it seems that no, it isn’t when they are breathing. In my case w/ a special scar it is inutero also! If I wanted to KILL my baby via abortion I could but I cannot CHOOSE to vbac b/c I *might* rupture and of course..you know – doctors know best…not our bodies that were created to birth babies. UGH. Hoping Ruthie gets home to her parents soon – this article makes me sick for them.

  10. sounds like that they have the same kind of idiots in Illinois who work for the state just like they have in Nebraska who work for the State. They “know” everything and “all” kids belong to them!!!!

  11. Removing the child from her home and parents will cause far greater damage than the temporary nerve damage that happened during delivery. If the mother had had a c-section (seldom “necessary” because of a breech presentation) and had gotten a lethal infection from the surgery would CPS have removed her? Who would make charges against the doctors for doing unnecessary surgery? No one. Unnecessary C-sections are performed everyday and the doctors are never challenged to change their ways. Even when presented with evidence based research doctors refuse to change their ways. My heart goes out to these parents and baby Ruth. She should be returned to the home immediately and Illinois should pay compensatory damages to the family.

  12. I agree this is an overreaction. Is anyone talking about complications that happen in the hospital. How about the fact that C-sections are named by the CDC as the most common surgery in the U.S., and risks include infection, excessive bleeding and blood clots that may enter the blood circulation.

    The likelihood is Ruth will be okay, although what kind of bonding is she able to do with her parents (especially her mother) at such a critical time.

    Just appalling.

  13. I don’t know how long it takes in Illinois to get your child back but in Nebraska in our case it took 14 (very, very, very long months) for the mother to “legally” own her own children once again. The baby was 3 months old when this happened and the mother (at the beginning) got to spend 6 “state supervised” hours per day with her children. Boy, Illinois really stinks if all the parents get is a “few” hours each day. I would be interested in knowing just how many hours they did get each day. But anything less than 24/7 stinks when you are put in that situation. Only if you have been there can you relate. When something like this happens they say to write to your elected officials. Save your time and energy–they don’t care!

  14. melisa austin says:

    peripheral nerves recover & regenerate well, but the emotional scars that family has now experienced are going to take a long time to heal.

  15. This will continue as long as hospitals have to have the big surgeries to bring in the big bucks in order to have the expensive equipment needed to compete with their brethren down the street. We had our chance in this country to dismantle the current system and bring in a system that may have discouraged such things but we failed. C sections bring in more money for MD’s, hospitals and any ancillary staff involved. That’s why the rate is so high in this country. Vaginal births bring in little to no money from insurance. If you have your baby at home, you deprive the OB/GYN and the insurance companies of their ability to charge you obscene amounts of money that can then be invested in the stock markets for some CEO to benefit. I come from a family where many of my relatives were home birthed. I never heard a single story from any of them regarding complications or infant deaths. I am a nurse. Hospitals are the worst places short of third world countries to give birth to a child due to infection rates. But as long as this country and their government continues to worship at the feet of corporations and the almighty dollar then this type of situation will continue to happen.

  16. My sister’S babay born at home and now the baby is healthy and cute. No need to worry about it.

  17. While I do NOT agree with having a home birth with a breech presentation myself, it’s up to a Mom where and how she gives birth. If this is an injury that can occur in the hospital the baby should NOT have been taken away. As well her midwife should have informed the family more readily of what can happen.

    My third baby, a boy named Gordy, was to be born at home like #2 was. When my water broke all that started to come out were two little feet. One week prior I had an ultrasound that showed he was head down. Guess he wanted to surprise us. After an ambulance trip to the hospital and an emergency c-section he’s here. I just wanted him out safe and sound. How I gave birth wasn’t really a priority to me, but for some women it’s very personal!

  18. Thinkingmama says:

    Breech homebirth w/ shoulder dystocia? Enough said. While I think CPS did not help the situation, I do believe that this was quite risky and irresponsible and negligent on the part of the mother. I think women of the home birth mind-dset, need to be educated on the benefits of a necessary cesarean. For all of the anti-cesarean fear mongering points thrown around, I can match each one with a morbidity/mortality stat relating to home/vag. birth.

  19. Thinkingmama, there are plenty of developed countries where breech vaginal births are considered safe, and on the spectrum of normal. A breech baby is not an indication for a c-section. Cesarian births are definitely life-saving and necessary in some cases. What makes you assume that “women of the homebirth mindset” are not educated? What makes you think that women who make any one choice are all the same in their levels of education?

  20. richard n susan sievert says:

    We are good parents but we live in a country that has violated the law of the land in no abuse was seen no abuse was dune and no abuse from us ever will yet they have accused us both of neglect how? How can you be accused of neglect when there is no abuse well cps said we both need to see doctors we both need to see them for a medical physiological evaluation all because we objected to a false claim from a hospital a hospital that did a forced c section on my wife so that they could receive more money from DSHS The cash machine for the poor who in return take’s babies to keep there service going selling babies for 25.000 dollars yes it’s a sick system one that Hitler Would be proud of The SS worker who brought a Sheriff with her all to see yes our child, is safe yes we care for him! ‘And now not only was our civil rights violated we have to go see them tomorrow for false lying sick people who all want our baby!
    *Lawrance down with, ‘DSHS They are evil if ‘Seattle falls don’t say i didn’t warn you!
    ‘Washington the blood will be on your hands! ‘Amen
    ‘We left Illinois because they attacked us there, ‘I hope that state floods and it will watch the power of Allah

  21. richard n susan sievert says:

    We are good parents but we live in a country that has violated the law of the land in no abuse was seen no abuse was dune and no abuse from us ever will yet they have accused us both of neglect how? How can you be accused of neglect when there is no abuse well cps said we both need to see doctors we both need to see them for a medical physiological evaluation all because we objected to a false claim from a hospital a hospital that did a forced c section on my wife so that they could receive more money from DSHS The cash machine for the poor who in return take’s babies to keep there service going selling babies for 25.000 dollars yes it’s a sick system one that ‘Hitler Would be proud of The SS worker who brought a Sheriff with her all to see yes our child, is safe yes we care for him! ‘And now not only was our civil rights violated we have to go see them tomorrow for false lying sick people who all want our baby!
    *Lawrance down with, ‘DSHS They are evil if Seattle falls don’t say i didn’t warn you!
    Amen

    • Kathy Taboada says:

      I am trying to sue and get my grand kids back from CPS they told me I could not have them because i have a long criminal history I work for a state prison I cannot have a criminal record so then they told me I had domestic violence same thing can’t have it and keep my job. If you are still suing CPS where you are let me know. The more people all over the country we can get the better off we are. A young woman tried to sue them here she came up missing

  22. richard n susan sievert says:

    Owe We left Illinois that is where it all began we lost our trailer and god only know what happened to mist our lab probably put down my home was ransacked and everything stolen isn’t this what happened to lot? And and his wife because people want our baby the problem followed us here to ‘Washington a state where ‘I thought we would be safe from Illinois corruption boy was I wrong!
    “Tomorrow will tell’
    I feel like murdering myself but that wouldn’t help my son now would it that’s the horror of the united states of SS CPS

  23. This is horrific. I can’t imagine the trauma these parents and baby must be going through! I had a homebirth myself, but before I found my midwife I had one check up at a hospital where I was told that I would kill my baby because I didn’t want and ultrasound. That was my last visit to a hospital and I’ve had two healthy children at home. Statistically home births are much safer. This whole Nazi NWO system is so freaking evil and its going to be over soon.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Here is the family’s Facebook page and a post on Eco Child’s Play. […]

  2. […] suggests, why has home birth been under attack in recent years? Between trying to ban birth pools, CPS taking away babies of home birthers and one of the main OBGYN associations in the country coming out against home birth, I have to […]

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