In a tragic turn of events, a baby died following a home birth attempt that had complications. The baby was eventually rushed to the hospital, but tragically died in the NICU two days later.
There are many families who choose the home birth route. Parents who want to deliver in their own home generally hire a birth assistant. They also have a plan in place in case something goes wrong and it becomes necessary to rush to the hospital. When twenty-five-year-old Emily Noe was expecting, she hired Angela Hock to attend to her during her home birth. Hock worked for a group called Nebraska Birth Keepers when Noe hired her. Sadly, things went horribly wrong.
Hock initially felt that she would be able to handle the birth herself, even after the baby was shown to be breach. According to affidavits, Hock had training and experience with breech babies. However, she found she could not deliver the baby past the shoulders and the paramedics were called. The rescue team was able to deliver the baby fully, but she had been "was limp and had no pulse." The baby was placed on life support in the NICU.
Tragically, Vera suffered from brain swelling after spending ten to twelve minutes without oxygen, and she passed away two days later.
The obstetrician on call at the hospital when Vera was rushed in, Dr. Katherine Lessman, stated that Hock was negligent in her care and that Vera died a preventable death at her hands. Hock is now awaiting a court appearance and could face up to twenty years in prison if convicted. Parents Emily and Crayton Noe are in shock. They paid about $3,000 to $4,000 for Hock's services, despite that fact that Hock was unlicensed.
Home births and traditional midwifery are gaining more popularity in recent years, and there is nothing wrong with wanting a more natural birth. However, parents are advised to do extensive background checks and verify the credentials of any birth professional they work with.
There should also be a clear plan in place for if and when a hospital visit becomes necessary. The fact is, we have the technology to save a baby in situations where back in the ancient times, they would just not make it. Families who choose home birth or natural alternatives need to consider emergency situations because of course, we all would make a life-saving choice for our babies if it came down to that.
Crayton announced his daughter's death to friends and family through Facebook, comforted only by the fact that Vera died a painless death.
Support for the unlicensed midwife is also popping up on social media with a GoFundMe placed for Hock's legal defense.