The photos the world's most famous homebirthing mother didn't want you to see.

One of the images shared on social media

Photos of an American woman’s homebirthing experience are going viral after she live tweeted the whole experience. With pictures.

Using the hashtag #ruthshomebirth, Ruth Irorio shared regular updates during the birth of her son, including information about the length of her contractions, photos of herself lying in a bath and confronting images of pushing her baby out. (You can view the images here.)

Irorio says she decided to document her home birth to show her “unique experience, whether attractive or not and just to be honest about it.”

But as obstetrician gynecologist Dr Amy Tuteur points out, Irorio left out some parts of the home birth experience – like the part where her placenta failed to detach she was taken to hospital, where she ended up having a blood transfusion.

In doing so, Tuteur argues that Irorio ‘sanitised’ her home birth and made it appear much safer than it actually was.

She writes:

Ruth Fowler Iorio‘s 15 minutes of fame are winding down in classic homebirth narcissist fashion, with Ruth wailing about those mean people at Facebook who won’t host her exhibitionism:

But before she’s replaced by a new homebirth narcissist, I have some questions for her:

Ruth, why did you sanitize the photos are that are supposed to show the “messy reality” of homebirth?


Where is the photo of the postpartum hemorrhage with the blood pouring from between your legs?

Where is the photo of you deathly pale and slipping in and out of consciousness as you head toward hemorrhagic shock?

Where is the photo of your husband’s face, horrified and frightened, as it dawns on him that you may bleed to death and leave him as a widower with a new baby?

Where is the photo of the EMTs hustling you out the door, racing against time to save your life?

Where is the photo of you in the emergency room, with doctors and nurses struggling to start large bore IVs before you bleed to death?


Where is the photo of the obstetrician with his gloved arm in your vagina up to his elbow peeling off the remains of the placenta from your uterine wall, averting your certain death?

Where is the photo of you, not bonding with your newborn, but totally out of it from large doses of fentanyl?

Another one of the images that was tweeted.

I could go on and on, but I think you get the idea: where are the photos of the REALITY of homebirth?

Did you refuse to include them because they didn’t tell the story as you wanted it told, allowing you to make it seem like your near death was just a minor moment in your piece of birth performance art?

Did you refuse to include them as part of the never ending effort of homebirth advocates to hide the dangers of homebirth?

Or did you fail to include them because they didn’t exist, because near death has a way of clarifying things for all participants, so that they finally drop the cameras? Even narcissists and the friends and family of narcissists tend to put the camera down when they are sliding on your blood pouring out on the floor.

It doesn’t really matter why you failed to include the pictures that tell the REAL story of your homebirth and near death experience, but it is critically important for everyone to understand that those pictures, the most important pictures, are missing.

The REAL story of homebirth is that childbirth is inherently dangerous, that death is always only moments away, that giving birth at home is taking a terrible risk, and homebirth can never be safe.

Enjoy your 15 minutes of fame while it lasts, but I wonder:

What does it say about you, homebirth and narcissism that you are spending the first weeks of your newborn’s life, not nurturing him, but giving interviews, accepting accolades and tweeting endlessly … in other words, nurturing your own self image?

How about thinking about him as a newborn for a moment, not merely as a prop in your endless efforts to publicise yourself?

Dr. Amy Tuteur is an obstetrician gynecologist. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1979 and her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine in 1984. Dr. Tuteur is a former clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. She left the practice of medicine to raise her four children. Her book, How Your Baby Is Born, an illustrated guide to pregnancy, labor and delivery was published by Ziff-Davis Press in 1994.

This post was originally published at The Skpetical OB and has been republished with full permissions. You can view the original post here.

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