Gavin Michael

In February 2014, a woman named Danielle was nine months pregnant with her son Gavin Michael and planning a home birth.

Her midwife was Christy Collins, a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife). Danielle explains, "The midwife I chose was different. She had an education and seemed very clean. She didn't just start doing home births but was trained to be a midwife. I really actually thought she was a nurse midwife but honestly didn't know there was so many different kinds of midwives. She had a list of types of births she would not take on as her clients and did testing to make sure both baby and mother were doing good which there is a lot of midwives that don't do either. I thought she was perfect and was so relieved to have found her. I could focus on my pregnancy and baby with her making sure we were alright."

At 42 weeks gestation Danielle had a biophysical profile to check on the baby, and it was found that she had zero amniotic fluid. Having no fluid in the womb is an incredibly dangerous, life-threatening situation for the baby. But instead of telling Danielle to go to the hospital immediately, her midwife told her to go home and drink water. She told them that Gavin "looked terrific and everything was fine."

Danielle explains about that day: "We did a BPP and found out that the results came back that there was 0 fluid in with my baby. I did not understand that and my midwife seemed like she didn't either. She told me to drink more water and sent me back hours later for another BPP. She did not want to see me because she had other clients...I had no idea the urgency of our situation. We went for another BPP and it came back the same. We saw her after and she sent me home with herbs."

That same day, Danielle's midwife Christy wrote to Jan Tritten, the founder and editor-in-chief of Midwifery Today. Instead of telling Christy to get Danielle to the hospital immediately, Jan Tritten copied and posted Christy's message on her Facebook page, crowd-sourcing for opinions on what to do from other midwives. The "advice" given by the other midwives was shocking and appalling. Danielle's midwife read her these responses the next day in an attempt to persuade her to continue with a home birth instead of going to the hospital.

Danielle explains that the day after the first two BPP tests (and Facebook crowd-sourcing by her midwife), "She wanted me to take castor oil but I refused. It started a fight so we went back in for another BPP. This time she went to the appointment with us. The results were the same. Afterwards, we talked about what to do. My husband and I decided we wanted to go into a hospital to be induced or c section or whatever was needed to be sure our baby was ok. She told me I was scared and that she wanted me to go home again to think about this decision because it was a big one. She told us that she contacted a few of her mentors and colleagues to ask what they thought about our situation. She read off a few responses and all seemed like everything was fine so to continue my home birth."

"Before we went to leave, we asked to check our baby's heart rate and his heart rate had gone down."

When the low heart rate was discovered, Danielle's midwife "called Dr. X (he provides backup for many homebirth midwives their city) and told him the biophysical profile was normal, but heart tones were 'variable.' He told her to immediately come in. She didn’t share with Dr. X that they were at at an ultrasound office attached to Hospital Y. They left that hospital and the midwife got in the car with the clients, put oxygen on the mother and drove 30 minutes to Hospital Z where Dr. X was located. They were immediately taken for a cesarean. They worked on baby for 47 minutes before they stopped.”

Gavin Michael was pronounced dead on Thursday, February 20th.

In response to his death, Jan Tritten updated the thread on Facebook with a message that said "It is always so sad when a baby doesn't make it." 

Meanwhile Christy Collin's, Danielle's midwife, wrote and posted on Facebook a long, gas-lighting, victim-blaming letter in which she clearly insinuates that it is Danielle's fault, and Danielle's fault alone, that Gavin Michael died.

Danielle has started a Facebook page, In Light of Gavin Michael, in memory of her son and to share her experience with home birth and home birth midwives

Some of the posts (click on the dates to read the full posts) that she has shared on her page read:

February 13, 2015 -

"Today is exactly one week away from the day I lost Gavin last year. It's amazing to look at where I was then til now. I really didn't know anything about home birth or midwives. The only info I could find was all positive so I believed home birth to be an amazing experience. There was no real sites out there explaining how home birth actually works in the US and the truth about what can and does happen.

Let me share some things that I've learned that many people don't know."

This post is so full of good information that I want to copy and paste the whole thing. Instead, I'll just strongly recommend that you read it in its entirety.

March 16, 2015 -

"While searching online, I came across this article about parents being blamed for their midwives mistakes. I cannot stress enough how a mother is blamed if things go wrong with a home birth.

People will accuse the parents of not doing enough research and believe they got the only 'bad' midwife out there.

The facts are that in the US, home birth midwives are not educated enough nor trained enough to know when things have become dangerous and actually don't know how to handle those kinds of situations. On top of that, they are not equipped with any tools to make sure mother and baby are safe but even if they had them, they aren't educated enough to use them."
June 4, 2015 -

"How much do you really know about home birth? Can you tell the difference between the midwives? Do you know the risks of having a baby at home?

I know from experience that when it came to home birth I didn't know anything. I believed what I was told but I wasn't being told any facts. There are many people just like me that have thought the same things.

We thought it was safe. We thought we were giving our baby the best chances of a calm and comfortable birth. We thought the midwives we hired were educated and had our safety as the one number priority. But we thought wrong.

All the things we heard weren't factual and for many of us, we found out the worst way possible.

When I discuss home birth with people, I notice that most of them believed the same things as me. Home birth midwives are assumed to be educated like doctors or nurses. That goes for anyone that adds the title "midwife" to themselves but that isn't true.

How safe is home birth really? When you research home birth, what do you find? I found lots of awesome stories about these amazing home births but that's all I could find. I didn't see anything negative and actually believed that was because hospitals had bad outcomes for not letting mothers be natural and free of interventions. I actually believed babies and mothers never die or become harmed in any way at home.

The reality is nothing like that. Babies and mothers die at home all the time. Many are injured and some just get lucky. But why aren't we hearing about it?!

The reality is because home birth is a business and the general rules do not apply to home birth. Medical professionals never hide numbers of deaths or injuries at hospitals but at home no one is watching so the numbers aren't revealed. Babies are literally dying and being completely covered up like they never existed.

I know we would have been covered up in the same way but the person I hired liked the spotlight on her so she went public with our info before my son's death. People were watching that aren't part of that natural community so things were exposed for what really happened and couldn't be covered up. And trust me, they have tried to cover and shut us up.

Since the midwives that do home birth cover things up, what does that say about home birth and the risks? It means people are not being told the truth so they honestly do not know the risks. There is no informed consent. People are choosing home birth while only being given bits and pieces of what's going on.

People's rights are being violated because of the lies being told and the lack of information to make the decision of choosing home birth. Do you know your state's statistics on how many babies have died during a home birth compared to how many in a hospital?"

July 14, 2015 -

"Let me explain the worst decision I've ever made in my life. It was made when I was pregnant and excited so I tried to research what the best of everything would be for my baby.

 I did get lots of references for doctors and offices so I picked a lady that I thought might be good. We went to her office to meet her for the first time...I left thinking about the rest of my pregnancy with this lady and decided she was not right for me. Then I was really confused on who to choose. Friends that kept asking me about my birth plan told me they had home births and it was the best thing they ever did.

So I looked into home birth and midwives. I found nothing but beautiful pictures and empowering stories.

Then my friends told me to meet their midwife so I gave it a shot too. But I thought it was all too hippie style for me and I didn't fit in with that midwife or her followers. I looked into other midwives which lead me to the midwife I ended up choosing.

The midwife I chose was different. She had an education and seemed very clean. She didn't just start doing home births but was trained to be a midwife. I really actually thought she was a nurse midwife but honestly didn't know there was so many different kinds of midwives. She had a list of types of births she would not take on as her clients and did testing to make sure both baby and mother were doing good which there is a lot of midwives that don't do either.

I thought she was perfect and was so relieved to have found her. I could focus on my pregnancy and baby with her making sure we were alright. But everything I thought wasn't true.

Everything that should have been amazing turned into a nightmare that I never thought were ever possible. The person I hired turned out to not know what she was actually doing and instead of having me go see an actual medical professional, she turned to the internet and other midwives that have no clue what they are doing.

She didn't know what to do with the warning signs that she was given. She went with her opinion that everything was fine instead of doing the right thing by talking to someone with more knowledge than herself for a second opinion. Then later lied to everyone saying I refused to go to the hospital when in reality, she told me to go home and I did what she told be to do because I trusted the provider that I hired for situations like this.

My son died from a mistake that should have never been made and if I had just chose a doctor instead of a home birth midwife, he would be alive today. I have to live with the choice that I have made. I have to live with the lies and deceit with no kind of justice for my son's death. I have to live with the midwives that blame me to cover up the truth about how CPMs are not educated enough to handle birth. I have to live with my childless life while this midwife like so many other midwives go on with their lives like we never existed."

February 4, 2015 -

"Last year, today was my due date. I wish I had Gavin on this date or around it so I wouldn't have to go through what I have. He would be here and I'd spend my time raising him instead of sharing my story to help educate people.

Honestly, I didn't know anything compared to what I do now. I didn't know the risks and dangers of home birth. I didn't know people pretended to be more educated than they actually are. I didn't know there is no system set up for accountability. I didn't know babies were becoming injured or dying from home birth.

There is so many things I really did not know. I only was told the positive stuff but never the other side of things. I didn't know that when home birth goes bad, it goes insanely bad in ways that I couldn't imagine.

I've gone through many what ifs and thought about what I could have changed to have my son here alive today. The only way would have been if I had an OB. They would have explained risks to me truthfully. They wouldn't let me go so far over due. They would have been paying attention to the fluid levels.

So I could have picked any OB out there and my son would be alive. I wouldn't have cared if their bedside manner wasn't very good or if they didn't spend that much time with me for appointments. Being nice doesn't mean a baby is going to be ok.

I picked a home birth with a CPM because I believed it was safe and the midwife would know if something was wrong to protect us. To take care of us. To be there for everything.

I was wrong."