Home birth campaigner and mother Caroline Lovell has tragically passed away during the birth of her second child.
She was 36.
Caroline long campaigned for midwives present at home births to have funding and indemnity and made a submission to the Federal Government Inquiry into Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009, to that effect.
A mother who died while giving birth to her daughter at her Melbourne home was a strong advocate for home-births, declaring in a government submission that she would be have no choice but to have an unassisted birth at home if midwives were not legally protected.
The 36-year-old was rushed to The Austin Hospital in cardiac arrest at 10.30am, but died in hospital the following day, a report in this morning’s Herald Sun revealed. A private midwife is believed to have been assisting her during the home-birth.
“A spokeswoman for Midwives in Private Practice said it was the first time she has heard of a maternal death following a home birth in her 15 years’ experience working as a midwife.
“It’s very very rare and it’s just impossible to imagine what might have happened,” she said.
An Ambulance Victoria spokeswoman confirmed intensive care paramedics were called to the home in Melbourne’s north at approximately 10.30am. She said the woman was critically ill when they arrived. The Age reported the Ms Lovell was in cardiac arrest.
The Coroner will investigate the death.
OK, let’s play this one carefully. We do not know what happened during Caroline Lovell’s homebirth. There are now two little girls without a mother and a man left without his wife to raise his daughters alone. A tragedy under any circumstances.
Please can we keep the comments respectful of these facts. We considered not running this story today for those reasons. Just like when freebirthing advocate Janet Fraser’s baby died during her homebirth (freebirthers opt to give birth at home without any medical support, even from midwives – Caroline Lovell was NOT freebirthing and was attended by two midwives).
Is covering these stories insensitive? Cruel? Unecessary? Or is it vital that we are open and honest about how things can go wrong very quickly during birth and that the consequences can be fatal and tragic?
On balance, 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.