The news that Jessa Duggar was rushed to the hospital after giving birth to her first baby at home has been met with plenty of criticism and reopened the age-old debate over whether hospital births are safer.
But now that she and husband Ben Seewald have opened up about what really went down when their little guy was born, it’s clear that Jessa’s home birth didn’t go wrong. In fact, what happened is right in line with a 2014 study that declared, “Outcomes among women who had planned, midwife-led home births were ‘excellent.'”
According to Jessa, their little boy arrived at 6:54 on Nov. 5, but soon after she experienced bleeding that worried her midwife. That was when her mom, Michelle Duggar, made the 911 call many have since heard, and Jessa was transported by ambulance to the hospital, where she was given a blood transfusion and kept overnight.
Certainly not a mom’s dream for her home birth. As she told People, “I had dreamed about those first moments, getting to breastfeed right away, all that. And so when I had to go to the hospital, it was a shock.”
But consider this: Jessa is fine. So is the baby.
And that’s because her midwife did exactly what she was supposed to do: She monitored the home birthing mom, and when something concerned her, she sent said mom to the hospital. According to the aforementioned study, some 11 percent of moms transfer from the home to a hospital during a home birth — be it because of complications or a decision to seek pain relief.
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That’s OK. It’s OK for a mom — or her midwife — to say, “You know what? We tried home birth, but we need a hospital.” It’s not a failure of home birth. If anything, it’s proof that this option is viable for many moms because that backup of the hospital does exist. Provided there is access to a hospital and the midwife does her (or his) job correctly, that hospital option can actually end up enhancing the safety of home birth in much the way that a driver’s ed teacher’s brake makes things safer for a student driver. They’re there to step in if needed… but they don’t always need to do so.
Whether or not you’re a Duggar fan, Jessa’s situation is not unlike that of many moms in America. And if we really listen to what it is she’s saying, we should take heart in knowing that even a complicated home birth can turn out just fine.