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There was no hospital on stand by, in case something went wrong...

Caroline Lovell died after her homebirth in 2012.

 Update:

Caroline Lovell’s husband has spoken out about the tragic death of his wife following a 2012 home birth.

Nick said he remembers Caroline, 36, saying her back was sore and asking for Valium, The Australian reports.

He said he called his mother to ask her to come ot the house because he was “very worried and needed a family member present.”

“I felt very helpess and didn’t know what to do,” he told the Coroner’s Court.

Mr Lovell is now the full time carer of their two children Lulu, five and Zahra, two.

Previously, Mamamia wrote:

Caroline Lovell should be alive.

She should be watching her two daughters start to grow up. She should be spending time with her husband, laughing as they watch TV on the couch. She should be here with her friends and family.

She should not be dead. Not at 36.

An hour after Caroline Lovell gave birth at her Melbourne home in 2012, it’s been alleged, she told her midwives she needed to go to hospital — and that she felt like she was dying.

But Caroline was reportedly not taken straight away, and instead the midwives tried to calm her down.

It wasn’t until Ms Lovell allegedly became cold and unresponsive that an ambulance was finally called — but it was too late to save  her.

Caroline died later that night in hospital.

And now, an inquest is being held into her death.

Caroline Lovell and her husband Nick Lovell had decided that when their second daughter Zahra was born, it should be in their own home, with two privately employed midwives. The midwives in question were Melody Bourne and Gaye Demanuele.

Melody Bourne have evidence on the first day of the inquest yesterday, telling the Coroners Court that when Ms Lovell said she needed to go to the hospital, she was hyperventilating and light-headed.

The Age reports Ms Bourne told the inquest: “Gaye then questioned Caroline as to what she was feeling, in this conversation Caroline did not identify any physical symptoms… Gaye and I also made efforts to calm and reassure Caroline.”

Caroline allegedly said she was feeling faint and asked to get out of the birthing pool; then, as she got out of the pool, she fainted.

When the ambulance was finally called, and Caroline was examined at The Austin Hospital, it was discovered that she had suffered from two tears and a blood clot.

Ms Bourne, asked if this could have been identified by the midwives and if they had checked for any physical symptoms, replied: “There were more pressing events and there didn’t appear to be any excessive blood loss,” The Age reports.

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Ms Lovell had spoken extensively to her GPs about the risks of a homebirth in her situation – but that she insisted she wanted a “natural” birth.

Ms Bourne also told the inquest that she did not know Ms Lovell had suffered a postpartum haemorrhage after the birth of her first daughter, and that she also did not know that it was possible to have a hospital on stand-by in case of emergency during a homebirth.

“As far as I aware, it wasn’t an option that was available,” she told the inquest.

The inquest also revealed that Ms Lovell had spoken extensively to her GPs about the risks of a homebirth in her situation – but that she insisted she wanted a “natural” birth.

Only three years before her second daughter was born, Ms Lovell had even campaigned for homebirths, making a submission to the government saying that homebirth midwives should be legally protected and receive more funding.

The inquest will continue this week – but it is also likely to reignite the homebirth debate.

Women who choose to have homebirths are often worried about the stressful environment of a hospital while giving birth, how much doctors and nurses might try to intervene during the birth, and argue that (when it comes to low-risk pregnancies) homebirths are just as safe as hospital births.

That is arguably true. But homebirths are certainly not as safe as hospital births when it comes to high risk pregnancies. Or when it comes to dealing with unexpected situations or when something goes wrong.

When Caroline Lovell died in Janaury 2012, Mamamia publisher Mia Freedman wrote:

… We have decided to carefully and respectfully cover this story. Because while the grief of those affected by the death or injury of a baby or mother during a homebirth must be unimaginable – just like the grief when either of those things happen in a hospital and yes, they do happen – there are pregnant women making decisions about how they give birth every day and they need to be aware of the full picture…

I make no apology for being a hospital girl myself. Even though I have straightforward, uncomplicated births, during my third birth, I haemorrhaged and needed urgent medical attention. It was unexpected but then, there’s very little about giving birth that isn’t unexpected.

Which is why the idea of being away from immediate medical support is one I would personally never contemplate. Not for a moment.

The reaction to homebirth articles on Mamamia is always fiercely divided. There are those who claim they would never put their child’s life in danger for the sake of a ‘lifestyle’ birth. And there are those that say the decision of where the birth is held – one of the most significant and intimate moments in a woman’s life – is the mother’s choice alone.

Women who choose homebirth are often worried about ‘intervention’ from doctors and nurses.

At Mamamia, we respect women’s autonomy – and the right of women to make their own decisions regarding pregnancy.

What is troubling, is when women have been convinced that a homebirth will be the safest and most comfortable option for them and their child, when it may not be in their specific case.

Caroline Lovell’s daughter Zahra is now two years old. Her first daughter, Lulu, is now five. Neither of these girls have a mother.

Mr Lovell released a statement this week saying, “I loved my wife Caroline very much and her death was a tragedy for myself and my family.”

Caroline Lovell’s mother Jade, has also spoken out admid the debate raised by the inquest. Jade’s lawyer, Anne Shortall of  Slater & Gordon’s medical negligence team, told Mamamia:

“Jade has been devastated by the death of her only daughter Caroline leaving her granddaughters without their precious mother. She wants answers as to what happened and hopes that the Coroner’s Inquest will provide her with further information as to the events which occurred in the hours after the birth.”

“She does not want Caroline’s death to be in vain, and hopes that lessons can be learned which may prevent the death of other women during home births.”

Our thoughts and sympathy go out to Caroline Lovell’s family and those of anyone who has lost someone during childbirth.

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