Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Tragic Case of Carri Chimelewski

I started two different post about this news report and erased them both. This particular story is so sad and tragic that it is difficult to write down my thoughts.,0,6360522.story

Apparently, there are some members of extreme fundamentalism who are distrustful of the modern medical establishment. So, frightened are they of doctors and hospitals that they opt to give birth at home.

Of course, I realize that there are midwives who are well trained and careful to follow the regulations of the states in which they work. Women decide to give birth at home for a variety of reasons. My intent is not to criticise the different choices that are open to women. But there is a vast difference between a midwife who has attended an accredited institution and is prepared to turn away clients whose health make home birth dangerous, and a midwife who refuses to follow any of her state's restrictions because she feels she has a mandate from God.

Thirty-seven year-old Carri Chimelewski of Richmond, Indiana was so proud of her growing family she started a website posting pictures of her latest pregnancy online.

Most of us know that an older mother has special needs that might make her a bad choice for giving birth at home. She would need to be closely monitored, if she did opt for home birth. That apparently didn't happen in the case of Carri Chimelewski.

Determined to give birth at home under the care of unlicensed midwife, Brandi Wood, the mother ignored very troubling signals that she needed to see a qualified professional. She wrote on her blog: "My body is full my legs can only take so much." Her midwife dismissed her concerns as fatigue and assured her that she must be carrying twins. The Chimelewski's baby died(there was only one) and Carri almost lost her own life.

One statement in the article especially infuriated me. She believed that God would handle any problems she had with her pregnancy. Followers also say Carri dismissed doctors as idolatry. We are blessed to be born into a country with decent medical care. Not using that care is refusing a gift from God. For goodness sakes, the book of Luke was written by a physician. I can't even fathom the reasoning behind her idea that doctors are idolatry.

I have included the link to a site called No Longer Quivering. The owner was a member of an extreme fundamentalists group(I would call it a cult) that encouraged women to give birth at home. Luckily, the blog owner is alive to report on her experiences and warn other women from following her example .

I really wish that I could express how deeply this story bothered me. It is so tragic and unnecessary. It also makes me angry. This newborn should not have died. Poor Vyckie over at No Longer Quivering should never have felt that God's will was that she be miserable and risk her life. There is nothing biblical that states that we should avoid the wonderful advances that have been made in health care.

But what saddens me most is that there are women now, even as you are reading this, who are forgoing medical care because they believe that they are called from God to do so.


Lola said...

You may be interested in these two sites/blogs. One is from an "Evangelical Fundamentalist Christian" type and the other a Roman Catholic Mama who was caught in the Patriocentric Movement withing some RC groups.

Under much Grace

Taliban Rising

What I found from reading Taliban Rising, that as much as I longed for joining a RC tradisionalist/family oriented group, maybe it's a good thing that I didn't. (My own parish is very Kumbaya. I'm not the touchy feely type. Catholic Community, "I" centered. Yuck.)

I sometimes see traces of this "Patriocentic" view on some Homeschooling sites. Quiverful types.

Would you consider throwing out the midwife/medical community/assisted births part of a juvinilistic "Testing God"?

Lola said...

Oh, I think I need to let you know on Taliban Rising, Jeanette has articles about motherhood in some of her older postings. It seems some of her recent postings have to do with Anti-Semitism.

And thank you for posting about the ladies who haven't been seeking out doctors/medical intervention for births. I can't help be see a young woman sitting down and finding your posting and it just might make a difference in her health!

deb said...

I, too, have been attracted traditional websites. If it wasn't for my husband, I might have become a Quiverful type. He hated the mindset of the Patriocentric view. Also, I have always valued education and I want my daughters to attend college, something Quvierful thinking frowns on for young women.

That these groups are testing God is exactly what I thought!

I will check out the links that you sent. Thanks.

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

I have two handicapped children and raised a third and two handicapped grandchildren. My youngest son and my granddaughter are both one-of-a-kind, as in no others like them in the severity of their defects when they were born. My son is now 30; my granddaughter is out of danger at 4 months. God has clearly protected them; we have seen a number of miracles (and not just competent doctoring but real miracles -- which I have described at length in my blogs). All of these children would have died if born at home. I don't believe that God wanted them there, and I don't believe God wanted them dead. If that were the case, why did we have the miracles?

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Anonymous said...

This comment is very late, but I just found this blog today after reading the story in the NY Times about the Pearls. I'd read about them before in Salon or Slate a few years ago.

Anyway, I'm from Richmond, IN and I do not remember hearing anything in the news abou this baby's death and the manner it happened. I was very busy at work at the time, so it is possible this was covered, but then again, maybe not. The Chimelewskis are a prominent family in town, and I wonder if this story was actively covered up.

At the time, Fox59 was not availabe on our local cable system. We're close to Ohio, so a lot of people here watch Ohio TV stations and listen to Ohio radio. I wonder if there are others here who are unaware of this story.