Reply turned post, human incubator style

This is a comment I made on Melissa’s awesome Anti-Choice Gone Wild post at Shakesville, one of many posts and news reports about Samantha Burton, the Florida woman who was court ordered to comply with bed rest in a hospital against her wishes, and then was forced into a cesarean section for a baby that ended up as a fetal demise. (I think I read about it at the Unnecessarean first.)

Well, one Mommy wars frontliner decided to say this in the comments:

Umm…according to the excerpt, Burton didn’t want to leave in order to seek a second opinion or transfer to another hospital – she just wanted to *leave* the hospital. It sounds like she changed her story after the fact to imply that she just didn’t like the care she was receiving at TMH. And then she claims, “I was desperately hoping to receive the care I needed to save my baby,” turning her own miscarriage into a sleazy emotional appeal, when she had no intention of going to another hospital and obviously cared shit-all for her “baby” (I don’t consider it a baby till it’s born) since she’d been smoking through the entire pregnancy. Newsflash Burton: you -were- receiving the care you needed – unfortunately, it just wasn’t enough.

It’s actually terrible that this is going to be the test case for the court, because there was no need to appeal to her pregnancy *whatsoever*. Her health was in danger, she refused to follow her doctor’s advice, the doctor appealed to the court, the court ruled that her decision was unsound, THE END. Why did the judge have to bring up the fetus? It’s totally irrelevant.

But these slippery slope arguments are just paranoid, people. The doctors aren’t out to get us and our dubious rights to “privacy, stupidity, and non-abusive terrible parenting.”

Here is my reply:


Her health was NOT in danger, she had signs of preterm labor. The fetus was in danger of preterm delivery. (Which, by the way, is not the same thing as fetal demise (aka stillbirth), which is what ended up happening, or a miscarriage, which is a loss before 20 weeks. She was past 20 weeks. Fact check before offering strong opinions. The baby was delivered by a forced c section. She didn’t have preterm delivery due to labor, or a miscarriage.) 8 to 10% of all pregnancies in the United States end with premature delivery. Do you think all of these women are required to be on bed rest in the hospital? Bed rest is not proven to prevent pregnancy loss, and was not practical nor desirable for this woman.

Only 20% of women who smoke quit when they are pregnant. 18% of women in the United States are smokers, and half of all pregnancies are unplanned. It’s an addiction, I don’t know if you have heard. Just how many mothers are you trying to say care “shit-all” about their babies? 1 in 6 mothers?

We all have our priorities. Exercise has also been associated with pregnancy loss. I wonder what you think of women who are selfish enough to take epilepsy meds.

I was training as a midwife, and the second birth I observed was a mom who was pregnant with her third child. She had her other two children with her, an eight year old and a two year old. She was smoking and drinking Cuban coffee during her labor. The father of the children was in prison. Her step mother and mother in law were there, chain smoking and drinking Cuban coffee on the patio of the birth center, stopping every now and then to try and take a swat at one of her kids if they ventured outside.

When I saw her have a cigarette, I grabbed the midwife and said “How can you let her smoke?!” She said, “This is her third pregnancy, and she’s in labor. Do you really think she’s going to quit right now?”

When we asked her if she had anyone to help her with her very demanding children while she was in labor, she said no. By the looks of the women outside, I understood. She said the family bed was going to get crowded once she, both of the other kids, and the new baby were all in it. They all would be sharing one room. I saw her change her wriggling two year old’s diaper at 8 cm dilation, then give birth within half an hour, supported by her brother. When I hear women say they “can’t” deliver without an epidural (not that there is anything wrong with choosing it electively, but it’s not a “can or cannot” issue), I always think of this woman.

Don’t you dare say she didn’t care shit-all about her kids.


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3 responses to “Reply turned post, human incubator style

  1. I personally am hoping you return to address her following comment (actually, replace “address” with “lay the smack down”). I believe we have previously bemoaned this discourse of “OB-viously the doctor would not order something that was not NECESSARY!”

    (A slightly new wrinkle with “doctors can go to court make people accept medical treatment if it’s better for them to have it, and the patient is just so mistaken about declining it!” which I think is just a total misunderstanding of the way the system works. Um, yes, patients can decline lifesaving treatment?)

    But then it just goes off the rails, basically saying that once you’ve chosen to keep a pregnancy you abdicate all your rights. So maybe you don’t feel like responding to the nuttiness.

  2. Pingback: Reply turned post, human incubator take two « Mom’s Tinfoil Hat

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