Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Wren's story, on the 1st anniversary of his birth and death

On March 9th, 2010 at 12:12pm, after about 12 hours of labor, our first child Wren Jones (高小虎) was born to mom Tweeny and me, Josh, at our home in Santa Monica, California. Although he was only 36 weeks 5 days of gestation, he was 20.5 inches long, weighed seven pounds even and was as healthy as could be. We had a perfectly normal and healthy pregnancy and delivery; Wren immediately had a lusty cry and great apgar scores. He even latched on and breastfed without difficulty, and after a few hours our direct entry midwives finished sewing things up and left us to start our new family together.

Immediately we went about the process of notifying friends and relatives, taking pictures and videos, and checking and re-checking his diaper. That afternoon we got a package from Tweeny’s sister’s family, some belated birthday presents for me (my birthday is March 4th), which ironically included exactly the same Washington Redskins t-shirt I was coincidentally already wearing! No problem though, now Wren and I could have matching t-shirts. A few hours later we video chatted with Sheireen, Neal, Brandon (7) and Alyssa (4) and introduced them to their new nephew and cousin! Neal reminded me how I’d mentioned that it’d be cool if somebody took a picture of their kid every day of their life and made it into a video later and said I’d better get on it. Afterwards, I took a nice straight-on picture of Wren for frame one.

I went out to pick up some food for Tweeny at Huckleberry, and while she ate I took Wren out to the living room and watched the end of the Celtics game with him (they lost to the Bucks!). Wren was being really cute… he kind of made a “cooing” noise with every breath, even while he was asleep. I put him on the phone for my friend Ajay to hear when I called him, and I made an audio recording of it with my iPhone too. We weren’t sure if that was completely normal, but after doing some Internet research it looked like lots of babies make funny noises a lot.

[Here is an audio file of Wren's breathing. His parents did not realize it at the time, but Wren is grunting, a sign of respiratory distress. He was already very sick.]

It was getting late, so we started getting ready for our first night as new parents. I checked Wren’s diaper again, but still no meconium. He was still making the cooing noise, but I remembered another friend’s advice to let your baby sleep on your chest because the heartbeat is very soothing for them. I laid in the bed next to Tweeny and put Wren down on my chest and he finally started to quiet down and get to sleep. I read the New Yorker while Wren drifted off on my Redskins shirt. Every once in a while I’d check on him and he’d twitch like he was having a dream.

After about an hour, we decided it was time to move Wren to his bassinet and hit the hay. Tweeny noticed his face looked a little purple but thought it must have been the reflection of my burgundy shirt. I started to shift him up and noticed there was a tiny drop of blood on his finger that had been near his mouth. Then I noticed there was blood on one of his nostrils, and his feet and arms were ghostly white. Wren wasn’t breathing. As panic started to set in, Tweeny called 911.

They kept Tweeny on the phone and led her through CPR while we waited the three minutes for the EMTs to arrive. They were very steady and solemn when they arrived and quickly took Wren into their ambulance and off to Santa Monica Hospital just ten blocks away. Tweeny got some pants on and we followed behind them as fast as we could. There was a quickly developing pit in my stomach, and although I feared the worst, I also knew this kind of thing never happens to us, and everything would work out fine.

Shortly after we arrived at the hospital, two police officers asked us what happened. It struck me that all they know is an unrecorded newborn was found in bad shape in our house. They were very sensitive, but it was still an uncomfortable realization. Right then a nurse interrupted and asked if we were Wren’s parents. By the look on her face I started to fear the worst. Just as she was asking to come with us to a room however, another nurse came over and stated that they had a heartbeat!

We followed her over to the ICU and there we saw our tiny Wren on a stretcher with all kinds of machines and wires and tubes hooked up to him. There were about two dozen people around, including all the EMTs and the police officers, as well as every member of the hospital’s medical staff on duty. They called in a specialist who arrived quickly and started commanding the efforts. From about 1am until 3am we stood by and watched as they tried to resuscitate our beautiful little boy.

Finally, the specialist let us know that even if somehow they ended up being able to keep Wren functionally alive, after this long with no oxygen he would have no functional brain activity. We held his tiny little hand and let them pull the plug.

Afterwards we went back to the little room and held him, talked to him, and cried, and cried, and cried. Eventually the specialist came in and tried to give us some possible explanations of what happened. She said it was likely a congenital heart condition, and that these things can just happen, and there’s no sign of it, and even if we’d given birth in a hospital setting this could have very likely still been the result. It was nice of her to say these things to us, but it still felt weird, because everything had been so perfect through all our check ups (we were even playing it extra safe and seeing regular OBGYNs along with the home birth midwives) and neither of us has any family history of anything of that nature.

Months later, after the funeral, the burial, and a lot of questions and research, we finally got the definitive answer from the autopsy (the police required an autopsy). Wren had died from pneumonia due to an invasive Group B Streptococcus infection. Everything else about him was perfect.

By the time we received the report we had a pretty good idea that's what it was. You see, in our very first checkup at the OBs GBS showed up in Tweeny's urine sample. They prescribed some oral antibiotics and she took them. Later, as we were approaching the time to take our 35-37 week GBS test, our midwives recommended Tweeny start putting a garlic clove in her vagina nightly to try and kill the bacteria. Tweeny followed the regimen faithfully.

Come 35 weeks we took the GBS test with the OBs. Usually these midwives do it themselves, but since we were seeing the doctors anyway, they suggested we just get the results from the hospital rather than running the test twice. At the time of the test, we asked the nurse what the GBS test was really for, and she kind of brushed it off as nothing to be alarmed about, "it's just this test we do for everybody now… we didn’t even do it like five years ago!"

We had our next check-up scheduled for two-weeks later, on Wednesday, March 10th. It would have been on March 4th, but since that was my birthday we put it off. Previously our OBs had said they call us if the result of any test is positive, but if it’s negative and there’s nothing to be alarmed about, they just tell us at the next visit. As it turned out though, the next visit never came.

The happiest and saddest day of our lives came and went on Tuesday. GBS was the farthest thing from our mind. But once things had settled down a little and we started looking for answers, we finally remembered that we’d never gotten the results back of that GBS test. In fact, the coroner themselves asked us if they could get a copy of the GBS results.

It was positive. The results had been known since February 28th, but the midwives never got a copy, nor did we. Of course, if we’d been following the correct GBS protocol, that wouldn’t have mattered, but after taking the oral antibiotics earlier, doing the garlic regimen, and not hearing back from the OB, we all just sort of assumed we were fine.

Tragically, we weren’t.

We’ve learned a lot about GBS since then. Here are the things that went wrong in our case:

If GBS ever shows up in your urine during a pregnancy, you must get the antibiotic IV when you go into labor, end of story. It means you are heavily colonized and far, far, far more likely to infect your baby during childbirth.

There is no scientific evidence of any sort that garlic or any other homeopathic remedy will offer any protection from a GBS infection. In fact, we serve as a powerful counter-example to that hypothesis. Doing such treatments may in fact lull you into a false sense of security and perhaps make you complacent about the severe risks GBS carries.

We focused all our worries and attention on the pregnancy and the delivery itself. We subconsciously believed that if we just got Wren out and he was healthy, we were home free. Unfortunately, GBS-infected babies will show no signs of the infection for several hours after birth. They’ll have lusty cries and high apgar scores and be perfectly normal. There’s nothing genetically wrong with them, they just get sick. And you need to treat a sickness with medicine.

There is so much to worry about when you’re pregnant, and unfortunately, most of it is out of your control. Preventing GBS is one of the few things that is. All you have to do is get the test, and if you’re positive (and 30% of women are), get the antibiotic IV as soon as you go into labor, and you’ve just (provably) decreased your baby’s chance of getting infected and dying by 99.8%. There is no downside to getting the IV: if you’re one of the 0.01% of people severely allergic to penicillin, they have other antibiotics that are just as effective. If you’re willing to give up alcohol, seafood, coffee, smoking, etc... for 9 months for your baby’s health, why not get some necessary medicine for 4 hours?

Ironically, Tweeny’s sister had been GBS positive for both of Wren’s cousins’ births, and for the second one her labor was so short that the hospital was unable to set up an antibiotic IV. Instead, they administered the drugs to her daughter directly when she was born, and monitored her carefully for 48 hours. Alyssa just started kindergarten this fall.

It's now been a year since our beautiful boy Wren was born, lived, and died. At first, I was surprised at just how few people knew about Group B Strep, and I latched onto it as a "cause" that could bring some meaning for me to the events that transpired. However, it quickly became obvious that it wasn't GBS that was the real problem… although our friends and relatives hadn’t heard of it, it is well-known throughout the medical world, and the reason there isn’t much heard about it is that we have a completely safe, 99.8% prevention method for it.

It eventually dawned on me that real smoking gun in this situation was our decision to do a home birth. My wife had gotten interested in home birth partly through seeing "The Business of Being Born" and because she didn’t like going to hospitals. She really just liked the comfort of being at home. I was skeptical about the risks at first, but after we went to a couple different providers around Los Angeles, I came up with a mental model that made me comfortable with the idea: home births were like whole foods!

My feeling about whole foods has always been that the food there is actually no better than your average grocery store, but it’s no worse, and if rich people want to waste a little dough on a fun grocery experience, well, it’s their money.

The cost of home births surprised me… I had assumed they were cheaper than going to a hospital, but they were far more expensive ($5,200 and they don’t take insurance). After reading some study I was finally convinced that as long as: A. we were low risk, B. we got really good midwives. and C. we were really close to a hospital (we live 1 mile from a great one), having a home birth was as safe as a hospital birth. Not more safe, but as safe. And more expensive. But if you could afford it and wanted to, no reason not to.

As I mentioned before, we even hedged our bets and went to all our regular checkups with the doctors as well. We even told them about our plan to do a home birth, and though they didn’t recommend it, they never really told us why. Now I can tell them.

A. You don’t really know if you're "low risk" or not until it's too late. Our entire pregnancy, labor, and delivery were completely “normal”, except for the high GBS colonization. But everybody downplayed the risk of GBS, which made us complacent and feel like we were still low risk.

B. You don't know what "really good" midwives are. The ones we picked ( are licensed by The California Medical Board and certified by the North American Registry of Midwives. They are CPMs, LMs, MPHs, and LLCs. They’d been in business for decades and delivered thousands of babies. It turns out that unless they’re a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife), they actually have no medical training. And 99% of CNMs won’t do home births.

C. It doesn’t matter how close you are to a hospital, babies can go from seemingly perfect to dead in less than a minute. It was less than six minutes from when we noticed something was wrong with Wren until he was in the NICU, and it was already too late.

Overall, I just feel like a fool. My entire focus throughout the pregnancy was on the labor, the delivery, Tweeny’s experience, and maybe the first few minutes after birth. Once he had ten fingers, ten toes, and a lusty cry, I figured we were in the clear.

I was wrong, and our poor defenseless baby boy Wren paid for my ignorance. I thought I had everything figured out, I thought we would glide right through it all, I thought we were so cool.

I learned so much on March 9th, 2010. But it wasn't worth the price.


  1. The people who think that it is "just" a little bit more risk should watch the video.

    We all have to live our lives knowing that we can't eliminate all and every risk. But none of us need nudging any closer to the pain you see at that service.

    I feel for the parents, and all the others who have lost their babies or had them harmed by people who either deliberately, or via ignorance downplay real issues with very real costs, all for the sake of their income stream.

    I'm not a big crier. But I'm leaking all over the place right now. Wishing for a time machine to let them have a do-over, cos in hindsight the information they should have had BEFORE was finally revealed. Too late, much too late.

    With heartfelt condolences to the parents of Wren.

  2. I am so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. It strikes me how like my daughter's loss yours is (mine was in a hospital) - a series of small incidents like not getting the test results and then a critical error on the part of your midwives to not take it seriously. I hope you are not blaming yourself; this is why we trust the professionals we engage.

  3. I'm am so deeply sorry for your loss. I live in Los Angeles and I know people who have considered home births and one couple who had one--in Topanga Canyon, a long drive from the nearest hospital in an emergency. I will point people to your story in hopes of preventing future tragedies.

    What struck me is that you are in Santa Monica and likely got what is considered the absolute best CPM care available--and it was still so utterly inadequate.

    Again, my condolences on the loss of your beautiful boy Wren.

  4. (((HUGS))) I also think back to the reasons why I used a midwife and it breaks my heart. I hope our sons are playing together in Heaven.

  5. i am so so very sorry for your loss. As a homebirth loss mama, i fully understand your pain.if you ever want to talk please email me at
    kirynspiscesmama at gmail dot com

    many hugs and prayers sent your way on this very sad day....

  6. My heart goes out to your family. He is a beautiful baby boy. I wish he was here in your arms. ((Hugs)) Please know you are not alone.

  7. Oh Joah, so very sorry for your loss.

    attitude devant

  8. So sorry for your loss. I wish the OB had called you - or your midwives had followed up - they really shouldn't have gone into that birth without knowing the GBS results.

  9. I'm so, so sorry that you went through this. My heart goes out to you. Thank you so much for posting your story; you may be saving another child by sharing the story of Wren. Bless you.

  10. i am so sorry for this family's loss. wren was a beautiful little boy!

    march 9 was our daughter's due date, but we went 2 weeks past, and she died at birth, she was stillborn- we missed her by mere hours. how i wished we had been informed of the risks. we never thought it would happen to us, though.

    there are not a whole lot of experiences worse than losing your baby in this way, and i would hope that people would learn from our hindsight. you never think you will be the ones that fall into the bad side of a statistic, but when it happens, you realize how important it is to take control of the things that you can- have the screenings, take the tests, take the medicine, and have a healthy fear of birth. a little goes a long way in preventing these kinds of deaths.

    my heart goes out to this mother and father as they celebrate their son's life. he will never be forgotten.

  11. I'm so sorry for your loss of sweet little Wren.

  12. Thank you very much for your story. I have to admit that until reading your story, I really resented the bruising that I got from the anti-biotic IVs during my hospital birth (four attempts to get a line in - the back of my hands were blue), since the risks of GBS seem so remote. I had researched everything, and I knew that this was a potentially serious threat, but it was far too easy to tell myself that "potentially" meant that my own baby will be healthy enough, and that the hospital was being overprotective. This shines a light on how badly I misjudged the tradeoff. I would let them turn my arms black and blue if it reduced my child's chance of infection.

    It can feel like doctors are indifferent to the minor or major injuries and discomforts that mothers suffer in childbirth, but they really have their eyes on the goal of delivering as many healthy babies as possible.
    I am so very sorry for your loss, and although no comfort could be enough, I hope that you keep sharing your story - Wren needs to be heard.

  13. I am so sorry for your loss, Josh and Tweeny. My midwives told me the exact same things about GBS too, that it wasn't really a big deal. Before I went to nursing school, I would have thought those were just cute newborn noises too.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so sorry.

  14. Thank you for sharing your story -- I truly hope that your bravery will make a difference for another family. I'm so sorry for your loss of your precious baby boy :(

    I am also GBS-positive. Both of my labors were too short for me to get the full course of antibiotics, though my first son was fine (they did a test after he was born), and my second was born in his bag of waters, which apparently eliminates the risk of infection. I had no idea, before I read your story, though, that GBS infection could cause such severe pneumonia so quickly.

  15. Please accept my condolences...Wren is a beautiful boy.

  16. I am so very sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for all parents who have lost precious children because of the utter incompetence of poorly trained homebirth midwives. You and your wife are in my thoughts, and I hope that your story will help to save other lives.

  17. Words cannot express how deeply sorry I am .

  18. I am very sorry for the loss of your son. And angry at the terrible misinformation and lack of information that you were given. I hope that you and your wife find peace.

  19. I am so sorry for your loss. Wren is such a beautiful name and a beautiful baby. Bless you and your family in your time of sorrow, I am so sorry.

  20. Wren was a beautiful little boy. I cannot imagine how hard this past year has been for you and your family. I wish you and your family peace.

  21. You have no reason to feel like a fool. Everything you did was responsible- the problem was that every step of the way, you looked for info and were given misinformation. When everything you see tells you the same thing, as do the (so called) professionals, there is no reason to think they are wrong. We all rely on experts, there was no way you would have known that a state licensed CPM had no clinical, medial training- thats unthinkable! Or that that professional would tell you to do something so worthless, for somehthing so deadly. I know this is little consolation, but its true.

    I am so sorry for you and Tweenys loss, and thank you for sharing your story with the world.

  22. Anonymous- I am also sorry for your loss, no matter where it happened.

  23. Thank you so much for bravely sharing your story. You made what you felt were good decisions at the time. Even if in retrospect they weren't, nobody, *nobody* deserves to lose their child to tragedy. I'm so sorry for your loss.

  24. So sorry for your loss. My heart is with you and your wife.

    I too lost a baby to GBS, but my GBS went from the birth canal to the womb for unknown reasons. It infected the placenta, amniotic fluid and my dear baby boy. I lost him at 18 weeks. My daughter was also born premature due to a GBS infection, but thankfully she was further along (27 weeks) and was treated with antibiotics. Waiting for her spinal tap results was the longest 3 days of my life.

  25. I am so sorry. Nothing will ease that pain, but just maybe, there will be a mother-to-be who will read Wren's story and decide that HB just isn't worth the risk. Thank you for putting this out there.

  26. I am so sorry to hear about your loss. I debated posting, considering that exactly one year ago today my water broke (early) and I went to the hospital to have a c-section for my breech baby girl. She has a brachial plexus injury (as a result of being in a bad position in the womb) but is otherwise healthy. I don't know where I would be without her, and cannot imagine what you went through. I just hope your story helps someone else make the right decision about how they want to deliver.

  27. To Josh and Tweeny, I am writing from the UK and first can I say how deeply sorry I am to hear of the loss of your beautiful baby boy, Wren. This is a cause deep in my heart and I have passed on your story to my close friends and family and I hope they will do the same and this message will hit home to people all around the world.

    In June last year, our son Daniel was born into the world. I like Tweeny was diagnosed as a strep b carrier after having a water infection too. There is major campaining in the UK as the strep b test is not offered routinely in the UK which it should be it was only the fact I had the water infection that it was picked up. The guidelines are that at anythim it is picked up there is no test between 35-37 weeks you should be given the iv antibiotics in labour. To that end that's what happened to me and Daniel was born after a fairly long labour but everything seemed fine. About 12 hours later the midwife noticed his breathing was too rapid and we were transferred by ambulance to a neonatal unit where it was diagnosed that the strep b had been passed on to him and he had pneumonia. It was only for the fact that they knew I was a strep b carrier that they observed him if not we would have been sent home. He was treated with iv antibiotics for 10 days and the infection cleared although initially it was a very worrying time. I think if you have the antibiotics it is a 1 in 100,000 chance of the baby still developing it. My heart goes out to you and I cannot imagine what you have gone through since the day your son was born. I admire your bravery and courage through this difficul time and I promise to pass on your story, best wishes to you both

  28. SO sorry to hear of the loss of little Wren, and how badly you were let down by your health proffesionals. My little boy picked up late onset GBS and he was in SCBU at the time due to being 8 weeks prem, and it wasn't picked up even though we were around medical staff. You did nothing wrong. Hopefully our boys will play happily in heaven's nursery while we remember the joy they brought us just by being our sons. Thinking of you all x

  29. He is absolutely beautiful. I am so sorry.

  30. Your story will change a hundred hearts. Wren's memory is a very real blessing. Thank you for teaching us all something in your story.

  31. I am so sorry for your loss, I can't imagine. Thank you for putting up this website, I really think it will make a difference and save lives.

    I probably came close to making the same decision you did, I was GBS positive and a number of doulas and midwives encouraged me to take a bunch of supplements to decrease the GBS, which I did and even got retested (still positive). I didn't want to take the antibiotics at the hospital b/c I knew I would end up with a yeast infection (and actually I did end up with an incredibly persistant case of thrush for 6 months). And I did have another negative side effect from all the antibiotics - I was in labor for a long time and so the antibiotics meant alot of additional fluid, which exacerabed my carpul tunnel. These side effects may sound trivial, and certainly they are compared to what you experienced. However they were real (thrush feels like getting struck by lightening and makes it hard to breastfeed, and carpul tunnel meant I could hardly hold the baby for the first weeks and the pain of eventually regaining sensation in my arms felt like being on fire).

    My OB insisted on the anti-biotics - I go to a large practice, and she said that since they started with the GBS antibiotics protocol no babies had died from it, so that was convincing to me and even more so to my husband who is a scientist.

    I'm saying all this because it can be tempting to skip the antibiotics when you fear real side effects, as I did, especially when there are so many doulas and midwives telling you that you are low risk and don't need it.

  32. I'm so glad you posted your story and I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds to me like there were too many healthcare professionals involved. The ball got dropped because of lack of follow-up due to miscommunication between professionals. Perhaps another message people should take away from this is that if possible, only one person, and definitely only one office, should provide prenatal care. There are just too many tests and notes to be filed away. It's so easy for slips like this to happen in the field of healthcare. I hope you're not blaming yourselves though. It was NOT your responsibility. PEACE be with you.

  33. I'm a doula and I would NEVER, NEVER tell one of my clients that GBS wasn't a serious risk and I would make sure they clearly understood the risks! I'm so mad that your midwife AND Ob let this happen!! Antibiotics should be given in every case and side effects from this treated with probiotics! He was a beautiful baby I'm so sorry! Every year, 1 in 200 babies born to women with untreated GBS are born infected and 2000 will die and many more will suffer irreversible damage!!! I'm mad, mad, mad you weren't better informed! When I decided to become a doula I studied each and every test that a pregnant woman might need to take and why. I studied the risks involved and what was behind every test! I figured it was my responsibility to know these things and not my clients. Why did this happen to you dang it!! It never should have happened :( I'm sorry the system failed Wren!

  34. i'm so sorry for your loss. i recently suffered the loss of my husband suddenly at age 33- so though different, i know a bit of suffering. i have a two year old daughter- and i too was like you- completely focused on her birth and delivery.

    please, please don't carry the responsibility/guilt on yourself. you alone know how much you loved your child and wanted the best for him- if you could've done anything differently- you would've. unfortunately, things are always so different in hindsight- but you did the best you could at the time with the information you had. it sounds like you're a researcher like myself, and you did do a lot of research and take a lot of precautions. think about all the millions of tiny choices we all make each day and how we never know how these are all interweaving together to impact lives. we just aren't that in control ultimately, though we like to believe we are.

    sharing in your suffering...julia

  35. Don't blame yourself for having a home birth.
    Blame the health professionals who let you down.
    They downplayed the importance of the gbs results or you may have chased them up. I am so sorry for your loss. My niece lost her 5 day old baby to gbs and here in Great Britain they don't offer testing you have to pay privately but the health professionals don't even inform you of this choice.
    We were ignorant about gbs and feel doctors and midwives should inform parents. We feel very let down and angry.
    R.I.P to your little Wren and R.I.P to our little angel Chloe Rose who died tragically in Oct 2010 5 days old.

  36. Thank you for posting Wren's story. Because of your bravery in telling such a painful story Wren save lives

  37. A lot of women have posted here but as a fellow dad you must know it was not your fault. I was as ignorant of GBS as anyone - we were just very lucky. You could not have known and by bravely describing your experience have saved many many more children and parents as a result. Little Wren I'm sure would so proud.

  38. I am so very sorry to hear about your tragic loss. No parent should have to see their child die. As an hospital based L&D nurse I fully support home birth. However, I think it is important that people are educated about the difference between a CPM and a CNM. There is an alarming trend among the "crunchier" groups to refuse IV antibiotics (when they are +) or the GBS test altogether. There are CPM's and Doula's advocating for this refusal! They are advocating for alternative means of treatment that have not been proven effective. Although anecdotal I wish more women like you would share their stories. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  39. I am so sorry for your loss. You trusted your CPM, and they had the responsibility to make sure of GBBS status. Before I became a nurse, I didn't realize what grunting and respiratory distress sounded like - or rather, how it does sound different from kids who are just vocalizing. You can't go back and second guess the faith you placed in people who knew better.

    I hope you and your wife continue to find healing with time, and thank you for the strength to share your story, which will hopefully help educate others so they won't have to go through this pain. I am sure that it is not easy to tell people everything that happened. I am so sorry that you are having to go through this.

  40. I am so sorry for your loss and hope you are recovering each day.

    I'm also writing to thank you for sharing your story, and for providing such a complete picture of what happened, so that other people can learn about the real risks of home birth. Even though the data and information is out there, it is rarely summarized in such a digestible form, and never tied to such a deeply compelling story. In this way you do truly honor your son and his life by creating a legacy that celebrates life.

    I've already shared this with at least 4-5 friends who were considering home birth, so you can rest assured that your story will have a positive impact in spreading awareness of these extreme risks.

  41. It breaks my heart that you blame yourself so much.

  42. Thank you for sharing your story. With my 4th baby I was GBS+ and with my remaining two pregnancies I didn't even get checked. I knew to get the antibiotics even though the thrush me and my babies experienced was a nightmare as a result. My last three babies are healthy and the thrush cleared up. My stepbrother's son was infected with GBS as a newborn and he has had many health problems and ADHD. As I did extensive research, too, I am aware that a range of learning disabilities is associated with GBS infection. His older three brother and sisters have no ADHD or learning disabilities of any kind. And although I tend toward herbal and homeopathic treatments, and had heard of garlic inserts and hibiclens treatments being very effective for GBS, I will never advocate them now due to your story. I would like to become a Certified Nurse Midwife, and your story has helped me, and many others, in profound ways. Thank you and God bless you and your wife in your healing process.

  43. I am so sorry for your loss. My daughter died from pneumonia after a home birth at 20 hrs old. The pain and guilt eat at me ever day. The medical examiner didn't culture the bacteria from my daughter’s lungs so I don't know what bacteria caused it. I don't think it could have been GBS. I tested myself for it at 35 weeks and it was negative but I could have done it wrong. Also my water didn't break until right before she crowned. If you'd like to talk me email me

  44. Thank you for telling your story- it gave me the strength to tell mine.

  45. Have you ever heard of or considered joining the Group B Strep Association? They are a non profit organization and they also have a rather large support group on facebook:

    I am so sorry for loss and I hope you continue to tell the story of your beautiful baby Wren. I'll continue to think of your family. <3

  46. From a Labor and Delivery nurse, thank you for getting the word out. I wish for peace and happiness for your family.

  47. I am so very very sorry for your loss. I read your statistics on your other blog....very, very good. Why anyone would take the chance, even if it is small, is completely beyond me. My friend lost a baby at the incompetent hands of an experienced CNM. She had NO risks whatsoever. None. The other reasons you listed are just as compelling as knowing the difference between a CPM or a CNM. So please, please, please don't think this would be "safe" option, even with an experienced CNM. You are still miles from extra help, and emergencies can and do arise. The chance may be small....but anything you can do to protect your baby is worth it.

  48. I am very sorry for your loss. My home birth CNM also in Santa Monica CA but about 16 years ago, was quite diligent about testing for GBS+ and insisted I transfer to hospital after my water broke and labor stalled for some hours. Not all home birth midwives are cavalier about the risks and I trusted my CNM even though I did not want to transfer. Unfortunately it sounds like there were several systems errors and lapses in professional record keeping in your case. Not your fault, and I'm sorry for your tragic loss.

  49. Bless you for sharing your story. I know in my heart that you will save lives because you've shared this story. But still my heart aches for you.

  50. I look forward to the day Wren will be honored in the story you tell his sibling(s) of what he was, an oh so loved and cherished baby boy. And my hope is that from then on you will feel only the happiness that his beautiful, melodic name evokes.

  51. Thank you for sharing such a tragic and difficult experience. My heart aches for you and your wife. I tested positive for GBS both times with my sons and resented the antibiotics I received (I am convinced they have caused serious gut health issues in my youngest). However, with all of the issues we have experienced, absolutely nothing could be worse than losing one of them. Thank you for opening my eyes and helping others take the full spectrum of experiences into account. The statistics are there, and now I interpret them differently when I think of your beautiful Wren instead of a number. I hope you and your wife are able to find some peace with yourselves and remember the wonderful life you brought into this world...

  52. I am so very sorry for your loss. I too tested positive for GBS and was resistant to receiving antibiotics. My midwives advised me to use a rinse and retest. Since I went into labor a week early and frankly forgot to retest, my midwife insisted on giving me antibiotics once my labor went long and she did lots of checking. I hope at the very least you can find solace in helping others be aware of the need for antibiotics with a positive GBS test, midwife or no...

  53. Thank you so much for this wonderfully informative and well thought out account - my heart really goes out to you and Tweeny!
    I live in England and thanks to your post I discovered that here they don't screen pregnant women for GBS at all! I am very grateful you shared this, I will now get the screening privately and it may save a baby's life. I wish you and Tweeny all the very best, all the happiness in the world!!! Alice xx

  54. I am very sorry for your loss. I too have tested positive for GBS but still plan on having a home birth. My midwife is planning to administer antibiotics to me during labor.