Turkish baths: now with 100% more baby surprises!
April 25, 2018 7:04 AM   Subscribe

Tia Freeman experiences some unexpected turbulence during her flight to Germany via Istanbul. Hold on folks, it's going to get a little baby bumpy. posted by drlith (85 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Copped this this arvo, and I'm just so glad it worked out. Wouldn't have been a twitter thread without the happy ending, I suppose, but jaysus.
posted by pompomtom at 7:06 AM on April 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


I'm just wondering how she got the knife through TSA.
posted by asteria at 7:06 AM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Had to schlep her checked luggage?

I was more wondering about going to Germany via Turkey. Works from Aus, but from the US?
posted by pompomtom at 7:08 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Good on Turkish Airlines for paying for her to stay in Istanbul and recover for two weeks. It's an easy PR calculation, to be sure, but it's a kind of humane easy PR calculation that US airlines seem incapable of making any more.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:09 AM on April 25, 2018 [32 favorites]


Turkish Airlines routes a lot of flights via Turkey. I was planning on a London trip and they have some cheap rates but they includes layovers in Turkey which seems a bit out of the way coming from the US.

Iceland Air does the same thing, with layovers in Iceland.
posted by asteria at 7:12 AM on April 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


That's what I was guessing. There're cheap flights from Aus to Western Europe on Finnair, as long as you don't mind spending an extra day in the air. Even they seem more pleasant than US-Turkey-Germany. So, in conclusion (as confirmed poverty-jet-set): much respect.
posted by pompomtom at 7:17 AM on April 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


This story is insane. I can't believe her first reaction was to go to Google and not call the front desk for an ambulance, but people do all kinds of crazy things under pressure! And there's no pressure like the pressure of a baby that wants to be born.
posted by lollymccatburglar at 7:18 AM on April 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


I was more wondering about going to Germany via Turkey. Works from Aus, but from the US?

I did Atlanta-Istanbul-Vienna, Budapest-Istanbul-Atlanta last summer. The Atlanta-Istanbul flight literally flew over Vienna and Budapest. But it was perhaps $500 cheaper than doing it through a Western European hub (I recall London was definitely an option, and maybe Paris and Amsterdam were as well).

We didn't get to Vienna until perhaps 10 PM, but the longer transatlantic flight made it possible to get something resembling a full night's sleep on the plane, and it's not like we would have been alive enough to do anything in Vienna the day we landed if we'd flown via, say, London, and gotten there in the early afternoon. And on the way back you basically have a full day of traveling anyway.

Also, Turkish has good food, and at some point on the plane I got bored and started watching the videos on the in-flight entertainment system about how great Turkey is, and now I am more likely to go there on purpose sometime.
posted by madcaptenor at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I'm like, what, they don't have hospitals in Istanbul? Surely there must be at least an urgent care or something...

But she did it. And I've seen my baby being born, so all kinds of respect for her.
posted by Naberius at 7:22 AM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


now I am more likely to go there on purpose sometime.

Turkey is awesome. Go before the war starts.

posted by pompomtom at 7:29 AM on April 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


"The experience taught me so much"

Well, yes. But it also helps that this woman seemed to have so much to learn, from 'not walking out of the airport before seeking medical aid when it is needed' to 'English is well spoken by many people in the hospitality industry' and even 'do not ignore medical professionals when they tell you that you are totally preggo'.

Also, my thoughts and prayers for the cleaning staff at that hotel.
posted by The River Ivel at 7:40 AM on April 25, 2018 [35 favorites]


This is not a good story. It has a good ending, but it is a bad story.

Women who receive adequate sexual health education do not accidentally give birth to full term or nearly full term babies alone in hotel rooms half a world away from home.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:41 AM on April 25, 2018 [72 favorites]


This story is insane.
"Ms Freeman, a computer specialist in the US Air Force... who was in "denial", having only been told about her pregnancy six months into her term..."
And this part isn't MORE insane?
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:42 AM on April 25, 2018 [14 favorites]


She does say she was on birth control and wasn't getting periods. I could imagine not realizing for quite a while in those circumstances.

"I didn’t know I was pregnant for awhile (already in my 3rd trimester) and before you ask the birth control I was on made it so I didn’t have a cycle every month. So not having a period wasn’t an indicator for me. On top of that I didnt really gain any weight. "
posted by chatongriffes at 7:54 AM on April 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


This is horrifying. They absolutely do have hospitals in Istanbul. It's a modern country (albeit with some political unrest recently). English is also very widely and fluently spoken there.

I am boggling that (not only in the high stress situation of realizing she was in labour) but at no point afterwards did it even slightly occur to her to seek medical attention or any kind of help that wasn't a youtube video. One of her tweets says "If no one else had my back the internet would!" but unless she's missed a massive amount of information, no-one had her back because no-one knew she needed help. That is not being "calm and resourceful under pressure" that is taking nonsensical unnecessary risks with her life and her child's life.
posted by *becca* at 7:55 AM on April 25, 2018 [24 favorites]


Women who receive adequate sexual health education do not accidentally give birth to full term or nearly full term babies alone in hotel rooms half a world away from home.
She clearly says that she was on birth control (it sounds like one of the hormone based ones, from her comment about it being normal for her to not have a period). She isn't obliged to share her entire goddamn medical history and contraceptive choices with the world, but from context it sounds like she was relying on and trusting the BC and that there was a mishap. And as far as I've seen, denial >>> pretty much about every form of education out there. To insinuate that this just happened because she's ~uneducated~ is unwarranted.
posted by inconstant at 7:57 AM on April 25, 2018 [21 favorites]


I am boggling that she (not only in the high stress situation of realizing she was in labour) but at no point afterwards did it even slightly occur to her to seek medical attention or any kind of help that wasn't a youtube video.

Well, in America health care can be expensive. I can imagine someone who's used to the US health system wondering how much giving birth in a foreign country might cost.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:01 AM on April 25, 2018 [37 favorites]


And as for getting to the hospital, not everyone does! Just recently Seth Meyers' wife gave birth to their baby in their apartment lobby. If it can happen to rich and powerful people in familiar surroundings, it can certainly happen to one scared woman alone in a foreign country.
posted by chatongriffes at 8:02 AM on April 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


The "how could you not know???" thing is the sort of thing that seems totally unimaginable until it happens to more than one person you know who is the magical combination of (overweight, doesn't have regular periods for birth control or other medical reasons, turns out to be someone who doesn't get much in the way of early pregnancy symptoms.) It's a thing, it happens, I've given up being shocked by it.

But I'm glad that she and her baby are healthy. This story could have ended a number of really terrible ways; I'm glad that in this case mother and baby came through it okay.
posted by Stacey at 8:04 AM on April 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


She’s in the Air Force! She has a multitude of resources available to her! She was told at the 6 month mark she was pregnant! It doesn’t go away arglebarglefargle. This was a terrible idea from start to finish and my heart is in my throat even knowing it worked out okay.
posted by corb at 8:06 AM on April 25, 2018 [20 favorites]


But she didn't try to get to the hospital. She apparently realised she was in labour in the airport and decided to head for a hotel, by herself, without any attempt to get any help other than what she could google. That is terrible decision-making. And then even once she'd given birth she had a sleep and headed back to the airport and still didn't try to get her son or herself checked out.
posted by *becca* at 8:07 AM on April 25, 2018 [12 favorites]


Sigh. I’ve been following this story, and was just thinking how surprising and refreshing it’s been to not see a lot of people painting her as stupid and uneducated. Did not expect the first place I found that to be in a metafilter thread.

1. I personally know a woman who definitely had sex education, who was an educated, professional woman in her late twenties who had a surprise birth. It happens. I know it seems unbelievable, but it happens.

2. Yeah, she should have gone to the hospital and she should have known people in Istanbul speak English, but she was in a bit of a crisis situation I can definitely see getting tunnel vision in a situation like that. I mean, Istanbul wasn’t even her intended destination. She probably hadn’t done a ton of research on it, you know?

Anyway, she’s clearly extremely resourceful and I love how people have rallied around her, both in Turkey and on Twitter.
posted by lunasol at 8:07 AM on April 25, 2018 [30 favorites]


I mean, I don't think it was an idea so much as an unplanned medical event. Jeeze Louise.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:08 AM on April 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


Well, in America health care can be expensive. I can imagine someone who's used to the US health system wondering how much giving birth in a foreign country might cost.

That was my first thought as well. I'm still a little surprised she didn't try to get help at the airport, but "holy shit I can't even imagine how much the hospital bill for this will be and it's a foreign country how would I even pay for it" had to have been a factor in her decision.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:12 AM on April 25, 2018 [13 favorites]


Also it sounds like her birth was relatively fast and she was already in transition once she actively realized what was going on. I know when I had my (planned) homebirth, transition was right around the time that I was telling everyone to go away and leave me alone and not to touch me. Mammalian instincts are pretty strong in that situation, idk. She was alone and she did a great job delivering and caring for her baby. Good for her!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:13 AM on April 25, 2018 [19 favorites]


I'm not saying this was a personal failure on her part but a system failure in a world that doesn't value women's health nearly as much as it should.

I'm not blaming her or suggesting she's just some dumb rube who didn't know how is babby formed, I'm saying that good sexual health education gives women the tools to avoid that kind of denial by helping them understand the likelihood of pregnancy despite birth control use, signs of pregnancy, some understanding of the kind of care you should seek and expect during pregnancy, etc. Unless I'm misunderstanding the content of the link, she had been told she was pregnant long before this happened -- why was she not receiving any kind of followup to that?

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the sheer force of "oh holy shit, I cannot be pregnant right now" really does overcome even really good sexual health education.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:18 AM on April 25, 2018 [13 favorites]


Sometimes when one is dealing with an emergency as a young person in a foreign country one does not think, "I will deal with the language barrier and a foreign medical system which I have no reason to be sure will help me [I mean, they obviously would when you think about it, but in the moment you might worry]".

When I was a young person working abroad with no real idea how to access care and only very day-to-day language skills, I stayed alone in my apartment for days with a respiratory infection that could easily have gone very bad. Someone the previous year had gotten an unusual respiratory infection and died, and I knew that this had happened. The building itself was almost empty because it was the holidays and almost all local and foreign staff were traveling - I'd been supposed to travel myself but I got too sick. There was a period where I knew that if I got any sicker I'd have to crawl through the whole building and down two flights of stairs and hope that the building staff weren't away too - I was too weak to walk more than a few paces.

My point is that now, having had that experience, I'd be able to make different decisions, would have someone available to check in on me, would know how and when to get to the doctor, etc, but at the time I really felt like my only choice was to settle in and see if I got better.

So I totally get how one's immediate reaction to an unexpected emergency could be "I will go somewhere and solve this myself".
posted by Frowner at 8:18 AM on April 25, 2018 [17 favorites]


Unless I'm misunderstanding the content of the link, she had been told she was pregnant long before this happened -- why was she not receiving any kind of followup to that?

It sounds like the baby came earlier than expected. She thought her trip would be fine if the baby arrived when she was told he would.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:21 AM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Weird though it sounds as a decision, I can absolutely understand how she could end up going to the hotel to give birth and not calling for help when there. When I was in labour I wanted very, very much to be somewhere on my own and not have anyone else around me, and it was a really strong animal instinctive thing that overrode any kind of sensible brain processes.

(Also I know someone who didn’t know she was pregnant until 6 months in, because even though she suspected it a pregnancy test turned up negative (can happen if you’re far enough along!) and her doctor told her she wasn’t. Surprise!)
posted by Catseye at 8:23 AM on April 25, 2018 [18 favorites]


I was skeptical about women who didn’t discover they were pregnant until later in the pregnancy until I actually met people to whom it had happened, and then discovered I was four months pregnant when my first son was five months old. It happens. Bodies are kind of amazingly weird. And I didn’t have a baby bump with my first child until I was nearly seven months along. So, no shade.
posted by annathea at 8:26 AM on April 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


(Also I know someone who didn’t know she was pregnant until 6 months in, because even though she suspected it a pregnancy test turned up negative (can happen if you’re far enough along!) and her doctor told her she wasn’t. Surprise!)

Yeah, I made a reddit friend when my daughter was an infant whose oldest was the same age as mine. When our babies were about 13 months old, she was told she was pregnant despite using birthcontrol and breastfeeding and that she was 7 months along. She'd had a negative pregnancy test the month before. The dating was also all sorts of messed up because of irregular periods. It's still unclear to me whether the baby was super late or a smidge early. This was in Canada.

The idea that this kind of thing happens only because of miseducation is quaint. But then I pee on a stick every time my spouse even looks at me funny.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:29 AM on April 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


Okay but this isn't a "I didn't know I was pregnant" surprise!birth on the toilet. (That show, btw, is fucking bonkers to watch when you yourself are pregnant.) That definitely does happen. This is a "I was told I was pregnant, went into denial about it but really did totally know and put off doing anything about it until it was kinda too late" not-really-a-surprise birth. And there is a reason why they tell pregnant women not to fly late in the third trimester.

I'm glad it worked out well and not tragically.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:30 AM on April 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


Anyone else kind of jealous that instead of 9 months of anxiety and worry and reading all the books and articles about how everything you do or do not do will HURT THE BABY ... and she got this?

Also, the first time my spouse and I traveled to Italy from the US, we arrived and hadn't brought cash with us nor researched how to get from the airport to the hotel and didn't have PINs for our cards to *get* cash and we didn't even have an impending birth clouding our judgement. I totally don't blame her for tunnel vision going to the reserved hotel.
posted by jillithd at 8:31 AM on April 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


She is amazingly resourceful. She delivered the baby safely, though why one would choose a water birth in a hotel bath is, ick. Sterilized shoe laces (way back, I recall this as a recommendation), cut cord, wrapped newborn, got to airport, etc. But she had many resources available to her that she chose to ignore in favor of doing it on her own. US military personnel have free, good quality health care available, probably in Istanbul, certainly in most of the world. The airport or hotel staff would have assisted her. She may have family who would have been happy to be with her. She has a newborn and a lot of issues to work through, and I wish her the best.
posted by theora55 at 8:32 AM on April 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


OK, guys, I am here to tell you that precipitous labor is SHOCKINGLY similar to food poisoning. I mean, apart from your body is trying to expel a baby. And if you've ever tried to make sane healthcare decisions while you have food poisoning, you may identify with exactly how difficult this is. My household literally has a rubric (after several bad gastro episodes) for when you have to go to the ER, because we've learned that if we all have it, no smart decisions are getting made. And when I was in active labor with my second -- on hands and knees on the bed, barely capable of speech -- the midwife asked on the phone if I wanted to go to the hospital and I had no idea, My husband had to wrestle the phone away from me and say YES YES IT IS CLEARLY TIME. It's very easy to make weird decisions.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 8:34 AM on April 25, 2018 [36 favorites]


Labor really does feel like pooping. The worst poop ever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:35 AM on April 25, 2018 [12 favorites]


I think the "denial" part means that she didn't start making changes to her life to prepare for the arrival of the baby, not that she literally refused to believe that she was pregnant. So she wasn't buying baby stuff for home and she didn't cancel her trip to Europe. The baby came at 6 months, which is pretty early. She should have had a plan, but I don't think it's unusual for women to travel at that point in a pregnancy.
posted by jomato at 8:35 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I didn't know I was pregnant for the first three months. In fact I was in the teachers lounge one afternoon before finding out saying that teaching made me realize that I didn't want to have a baby because I was too busy raising other people's children.

I'm college educated and my mom the nurse had us so up on how babies are made, my sister was correcting her cabbage patch classmates in kindergarten.
posted by 80 Cats in a Dog Suit at 8:38 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


The baby didn't come at 6 months, she was told she was pregnant at 6 months. A baby born at 6 months is a NICU situation. I couldn't find if she actually says how much wiggle room she thought she had. It was not 3 months, though.
posted by soren_lorensen at 8:38 AM on April 25, 2018 [7 favorites]


I feel like the choices made at each step of this process range from bad up to potentially disastrous side of the choose your own adventure book scale that I don't even know how to process it.

A list of them would look something like this, and in no way are they all pregnancy related even:

-- Denying validity of professionally administered pregnancy test results placing you in the third trimester of a pregnancy because reasons and hoping it will "just go away". This one, I can't even, I honestly must be misreading the room here.
-- Not asking for a vegetarian option on an international flight if you're a vegetarian and deciding to eat the salmon. Please, get you some steamed vegetables or whatever they probably have and don't risk meat-poops or sick-stomach on an 11 hour flight!
-- Deciding that alone in a hotel hotel > airport or hospital w/r/t spontaneous, unplanned but by no means instantaneous birth location choices once labor becomes apparent. I understand logic goes out the window when labor hits but sheesh this is taking a dangerous turn.
-- Relying on Youtube > medical professionals after getting out of said no-birth-allowed airport aka assuming the internet has your back for medical procedures.
-- Assuming no one, apparently, speaks English in the country you are laying over in.
-- Not contacting anyone after the birth was complete and the scene cleaned up. Sleep is important and all that, I suppose...
-- Deciding that the airport was the best place to ask questions the next day as to hey, how does this work now that I've got a +1 human that's no longer in my checked baggage and is now flying carry on with me to my final destination.....

And all the while doing this as a member of the US military that is actually one of the groups here in the US that isn't fucked when it comes to prenatal, let alone basic, healthcare. ...

I mean, I am far, far, far from anyone that judges what pregnant moms do regarding home birth, midwife birth, c-section and what not but this is so out there that I can't help but think it's more like Christian Science vaccine denial or people who choose to give birth in the wilderness despite indications not to with a dash of Breatharian and hipsterism thrown in for good measure. It's a crazy world, I'm glad they are ok but damn I'm still in awe as to how this is a real thing and not a blog post poking fun at, well everything.
posted by RolandOfEld at 9:03 AM on April 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


Not contacting anyone after the birth was complete and the scene cleaned up. Sleep is important and all that, I suppose...

I need a nap after a morning of light errands. Don’t even with this.
posted by 41swans at 9:09 AM on April 25, 2018 [23 favorites]


I’m just amazied at how well she tells a Twitter story much less tells so well and being a new mom on presumably little sleep!
posted by raccoon409 at 9:14 AM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


IDK, I've been young once, and then made really stupid decisions while traveling because I didn't understand how stuff works. I've also tried giving birth, twice, and I don't seem to remember being very rational in those situations. First time I sent my husband off to buy a newspaper in the middle of the night because he was so irritating and I needed to be alone (luckily, I was already at the hospital).
This must have been a terrifying and lonely experience, and it's so wonderful that it ended well. My gran gave birth to my aunt while she was a refugee, and took the tram all alone to the hospital when her contractions began, leaving my mum alone at the hotel they were in. From her I learnt that being alone is more lonely when you are surrounded by people, so I get how it may have seemed (emotionally) safer to just DIY. It is crazy, but it does make sense.
Also: yes she is in the Air Force and has access to healthcare, but I bet it is ingrained in a lot of people that healthcare is unaffordable, and that in the panic situation she forgot all about the resources available to her.
posted by mumimor at 9:22 AM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm happy for her that she has a loving and supportive family and also maybe learned that there are people out there who will help her if she needs it!
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:24 AM on April 25, 2018


Can we take a moment to acknowledge several social factors going on here? Healthcare in America is not great for women. Health care in America for women of color is bad. Healthcare for black women in America is often dangerous and demoralizing.

The statue of the jerk who ‘invented’ gynecology by experimenting on women of color who were denied anesthetic was JUST removed from Central Park this month. Black women in America are constantly reminded that the medical system here doesn’t view them as people. Black women are also constantly subjected to subtle and not subtle messages that America is the best most civilized place in the world. All women in America are reminded how much worse women have it ‘over there.’ Racist jokes about places like Turkey being backward and dirty are so incredibly common.

Black women avoid pre-natal care for many many reasons and many of those reasons are very very rational.

Additionally, as others are saying here, the urge to be alone in birth or only with people you really know and trust is often very very strong.

Think about how anxious people are about their wallets near strangers.Tia Freeman had to cope with not a wallet but her dignity, safety, and the safety of her child.

There was nothing stupid about her decision making process.

This is a great illustration of how casual racism is dangerous. Just because it didn’t kill this woman, don’t for a second think women aren’t dying due to gendered racial bias in medicine and outside of medicine.

I’m so mad for her. I’m so mad that people think her denial is something to judge her for. I’m so tired.
posted by bilabial at 9:25 AM on April 25, 2018 [70 favorites]


After careful consideration, particularly of what bilabial just said, I kind of get that perspective now. (You can also factor in horror stories that people tell of trying to get healthcare overseas.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:32 AM on April 25, 2018


Am I the only one who has heard numerous first-hand stories about horrific birth experiences even in the US, or in hospitals, or while an expat overseas in developed countries with "excellent" healthcare? I mean, it's an epic struggle to get many US hospitals to even give a basic shit about the pregnant person's experience and health beyond "is still alive while baby is inside their body." Particularly for black women (regardless of wealth). Particularly if you don't speak the primary language of use in that hospital.

There are all kinds of experiences among just my friend group, from planned c-section, to hospital vaginal delivery with or without complications, to planned homebirth, to we-have-no-choice homebirth, etc. All kinds of shit happens. Plenty of women are terrified to give birth in a hospital in the US (and plenty who are terrified to give birth outside of a hospital) even if they have money and even if they're in their hometown and speak the language. The idea that there's a right way to be a pregnant woman or a right way to give birth is bullshit in a world that doesn't really care whether women live or die.

(or, what bilabial said while I was writing this)
posted by melissasaurus at 9:35 AM on April 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


I am also super impressed by her ability to figure things out and her confidence in her own self. "Fuck yeah I can deliver my own baby. I even brought my own special tools!"

I mean, my previous comment has been shown true with all of the anxiety surrounding birth and pregnant people JUST IN THIS THREAD. And, yes, birth and pregnancy can come with so many complications which is also what we are inundated for the whole 9 months of gestation plus years later. Which is why I feel like she just opted out of that whole toxic status quo and I AM SO JEALOUS. Quiet down rational anxiety prone brain and RELISH this FREEDOM and POWER and CAPABILITY this young woman had over this situation. We can return to our regularly scheduled programming of worry later.

CONFIDENCE and CAPABILITY. YES!
posted by jillithd at 9:35 AM on April 25, 2018 [12 favorites]


This is a great illustration of how casual racism is dangerous.

These are very good points, thank you for making them. I think in part my reaction stemmed from an assumption that her actions were in themselves stemming from racist assumptions that you alluded to yourself, about places like Turkey being backward and dirty. It seemed to me that for whatever reason she concluded that there wouldn't be hospitals/adequate healthcare or people who could or would help her in Istanbul, which is very much not the case.

I hadn't thought about the idea that she might have been afraid to seek healthcare because of cost or previous bad experiences so thank you for bringing up those possibilities.
posted by *becca* at 9:36 AM on April 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


And to build on bilabial's excellent point, given the recent news about how foreign women of the wrong color are treated in the US when they give birth she might have had some concerns about running afoul of the law while overseas. That plus a long flight, being sick, and the fact that she wasn't planning on giving birth soon probably had her in a low-level panic mode.

I can totally see how she felt going somewhere she felt was safe and handling it herself was the best option.
posted by asteria at 9:39 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


this sure is a crazy story! glad it ended well for her and the little guy.

she strikes me as a combination of 1) very cool and competent in the moment 2) incredibly naive or innocent or something?

the whole 'denial' of pregnancy thing speaks to some degree of immaturity maybe, certainly insufficient health education. she was on birth control, which is good, but it failed, which could be due to inadequate information about use of said bc etc., its frustrating (I mean it makes me really angry) that this young woman, in so many ways independent and competent, obviously educated, was such a clueless idiot about seeking help when she needed it. I don't mean this harshly, just that her situation could have gone so much more terribly wrong for her and tiny kiddo :(

I'm sort of a raging psycho advocate of repro health education being necessary and important and the US fails its young people so hard on this. lives are lost and disrupted and children are damaged. at least in this case its a happy ending with healthy welcomed baby and loving supportive family. crazy...
posted by supermedusa at 9:58 AM on April 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


While I can appreciate that she probably had concerns, given that I've had within a fairly small circle of friends *two* women who would have hemorrhaged to death in childbirth without medical intervention, one of which came very close even with the highest level of care (as in having her entire blood supply replaced several times over and completely draining the very large hospital of her blood type), I still think it reflected some very poor decision-making. I'm glad everything worked out in the end.
posted by tavella at 10:01 AM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


Weird though it sounds as a decision, I can absolutely understand how she could end up going to the hotel to give birth and not calling for help when there. When I was in labour I wanted very, very much to be somewhere on my own and not have anyone else around me, and it was a really strong animal instinctive thing that overrode any kind of sensible brain processes.


I once read a memoir of a midwife who did home births, and this seems to be a pretty common thing when labor really kicks in. She described a woman backing on all fours under the piano in one instance, women wedging themselves in tiny hallways and bathrooms where no one could really get to them to help, etc.
posted by frobozz at 10:02 AM on April 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


I, too, am glad that they are both healthy and safe, that her family is so supportive, and that this harrowing story has a happy ending. But I have a really different, clearly unpopular, impression of these events.

"So then I’m in denial for another month after that like there’s no way a Bitch is preggo. At this point I’m working in VA and away from everyone so I just decided not to tell anyone. My dumbass was like maybe it’ll just go away..." to "It’s weird how focused a person becomes when they’re adrenaline starts going. Because at no point ever did I freak out. Like I just did what I had to do" reads like she was in shock for weeks post-diagnosis. That at first she was subconsciously aiming to bring about a very different outcome for this unintended, unwanted pregnancy, and then the life-threatening medical emergency changed her focus and helped her bond with her newborn.

I'm not judging her, and I certainly don't think she's stupid. (On preview -- I don't think this was a case of poor sex ed, either.) I think she was in a terrible situation that went from bad to worse before the happy resolution.
posted by Iris Gambol at 10:07 AM on April 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


She described a woman backing on all fours under the piano in one instance, women wedging themselves in tiny hallways and bathrooms where no one could really get to them to help, etc.

Yeah, that was . . . pretty much exactly what happened to me during my homebirth. I kept knocking the nurse who was there to do fetal monitoring away and telling her to stop touching me. The midwife kept patiently explaining that it was her job.

I have a lot of trouble understanding how most women get in a car during childbirth because of that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:08 AM on April 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


After reading Bilabial's post, I imagined myself in this situation and I can guarantee you that I'd give birth in the hotel room and try to figure out how to fly back the next day.

Whatever the hell emotions just surged through my white, American, 34wk pregnant body would demand no less, and in this daymare of mine, I left my wife standing at the airport because she was demanding I subject myself to foreign unknown medical treatment instead.

That's how I felt after reading this thread, thinking her choice was bizarre, and realizing the only biases I would be dealing with we're my own. I don't get it, but I know this is exactly what my body is telling me to do.
posted by bindr at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


I didn't get any sense from her story that she was flagrantly courting disaster. She's a young woman, military-trained so she will be strong, resourceful and primed for dealing with an emergency. She has the chutzpah of youth and she used the tools at hand and her own intelligence to get through a situation that must be the absolute definition of a tunnel-vision experience. If things had not progressed as per the internet she may well have called for help.

It makes total sense to me: if she'd experienced no physical discomfort during pregnancy and was generally fit it was likely that she determined there was little to go wrong in the moment. If she's never seen or experienced horror stories around birth (which many young women have not) and had avoided medical supervision (with all the caveats and conditioning and low-level alarm that often entails) she'd likely have considered this one of those things that women have been doing forever therefore been less inhibited by anxiety about what *might* transpire.

In my early twenties I thought I was invincible. In her shoes I'd have likely done the same. Good on her.
posted by freya_lamb at 10:11 AM on April 25, 2018 [10 favorites]


Serena Williams hard a hard time getting health care professionals to take her known medical history seriously and it nearly killed her after the birth of her daughter Olympia. American medical establishment nearly killed a brilliant, strong, athletic black woman who had resources and family nearby.

Do you think Tia had seen that news story? I’d bet a donut on it. The risk of hemorrhage after childbirth is real. But doctors are not neutral actors.

After my experiences navigating healthcare in America as a straight white cis woman who has never been pregnant I would probably risk giving birth alone in a foreign country rather than deal with doctors here. Which is thankfully not a choice Tia had to make.

I won’t speak for her, but I’m likely to assume that America has exported its attitudes in health care to other places unless it’s demonstrated orherwise. There are usually about 30 to 40 countries with better infant and maternal mortality stats. Send me to one of those. Maybe Turkey is one of them. I’m too angry to hunt down the numbers and be faced with the accompanying stories.)
posted by bilabial at 10:23 AM on April 25, 2018 [14 favorites]


[A few deleted. Please don't drop in to this thread after the comments that have just been made about how race might play into this, and make comments that blithely disregard all that; it's just spoiling for a fight. yarly, just skip this thread.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:37 AM on April 25, 2018


Not contacting anyone after the birth was complete and the scene cleaned up. Sleep is important and all that, I suppose...

Have you ever given birth? It's exhausting. Bone-crushingly exhausting after the fact. Like, I don't even have the words for how tired you are after the adrenaline and hormones level off.

And I remember how I felt in the moment after I delivered my daughter. I literally felt like I could move heaven and earth. I could have run a marathon, I could have single-handedly painted the entire hospital and rearranged all the furniture. I have never, before or since, felt so POWERFUL. That feeling lasted for maybe 5 minutes and then I slept like I had been drugged.
posted by cooker girl at 10:39 AM on April 25, 2018 [6 favorites]


"So then I’m in denial for another month after that like there’s no way a Bitch is preggo. At this point I’m working in VA and away from everyone so I just decided not to tell anyone. My dumbass was like maybe it’ll just go away..."

I just want to point out that she's not wrong - a pregnancy will eventually go away.
posted by melissasaurus at 10:51 AM on April 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


Not contacting anyone after the birth was complete and the scene cleaned up. Sleep is important and all that, I suppose...

Have you ever given birth? It's exhausting.


Nope, but I was with my wife alongside her midwives for our two daughters natural births (one birth cottage, one midwife center in a major hospital) and was there for her while she had to be extradited to the local hospital for a partial placenta seperation issue that required aid that the midwife wasn't comfortable giving as well as when she had bleeding up to the point where, after things calmed down, the midwives at the UF birth center said "Yes, thank you for holding the baby, that's the maximum amount of bleeding we deal with before we send someone to the ER downstairs." They were all stars, each and every one.

So, no, haven't. But am well aware of how important natural birth is as well as how tiring it can be for someone important to me. I'm glad my wife had the support of amazing midwives, everyone should.
posted by RolandOfEld at 11:03 AM on April 25, 2018 [2 favorites]


For whatever reasons I opened this thread and link hoping it was a few babies on a plane experiencing some turbulence and giggling and laughing about it instead of, say, shrieking their heads off.

I think I'm going to go with my head canon for a while.

Also, I'm often thankful I don't actually have a womb because the idea of an unknown baby is some freaky Cronenberg body horror material.
posted by loquacious at 11:04 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


All I was saying is that I understand why and how all she wanted to do was sleep.

Armchair quarterbacking is alive and well in all aspects of life, I suppose. Sure sounds like people are saying she did birthing wrong. Because of course she did; she's a woman. We're all allowed to critique everything women do.
posted by cooker girl at 11:07 AM on April 25, 2018 [15 favorites]


Warning: Possibly traumatic description.

People instinctively hate low status mothers. Sometimes they hate the babies of low status mothers, but more often not consciously, because it's awfully hard to convince other people that a baby should be attacked and anyone who posts "what a pity the baby didn't drown!" is going to find they are the one getting the internet pile on.

There is a biological reason for this. Other people's kids are competitors for resources, and other people's kids are vulnerable, because they are children. So if you harass a woman like Tia you strongly increase the chances of her baby dying, and can easily feel that it was all for the best, and what's more proof that she should not have had the child and is worthy of your indignation and hostility. Since it is biological it is instinctive. In order to make it more social acceptable this hostility gets channeled into appearing like it is focused protectively on the kid.

Historically low status women who get pregnant have been harrassed to death and lost their kids. For example, a woman's status came from her husband. Being un-married meant you were a spinster, a poor relation who never had a home of her own - very few unmarried women lived alone because it could be dangerous as there were men who would assume an unchaperoned woman was fair game. And when a low status woman got pregnant.... Man, was hating her ever socially acceptable. In some countries it was a capital offense to be unmarried and pregnant. But that was the worst possible role a woman could have, to be an unmarried low status pregnant woman. It was even worse than the role of prostitute where prostitutes were harshly punished because there was legally and socially no difference between a pregnant prostitute and a pregnant non-prostitute in society's eyes.

This extends beyond humans. In primates the low status mothers are often harassed by the high status mothers, who will take the baby away from her so they can cuddle it, but won't nurse it, so it dies...

This means that there is an instinct in humans and many other animals to go somewhere alone and hide to give birth if they don't trust the people around them. And this means that people who attend a woman who is giving birth are often very nasty to her - although they don't think they are being nasty. They think the woman is being annoyingly needy. They strongly feel they don't deserve the care they are getting, and resent it. But those feelings are social unacceptable for the most part, so they aren't even aware that they basically hate so many of their patients. They just think they are having a bad day, again, and that the screaming and groaning of people in pain is distressing them, especially when those silly bints are just having yet another perfectly normal, perfectly safe labour.

Tia did not know a lot about pregnancy. She never intended to get pregnant and was using birth control so why should she ever learn about pregnancy? Maybe when she had a stable permanent partner that she liked enough to consider settling down with him. But not this year.

And then right in the middle of everything she finds out that she is pregnant. Her life is not a leisurely one with time to start studying biology and childcare and her own psychology and the big questions like "how can this pregnancy be framed as a positive thing, rather than a contraceptive failure and a huge incoming expense?" She had a job. A family. Travel plans. So whatever research she did not probably include a few salient facts: It is advised that you get a doctor's clearance before you fly in the third trimester. (They look at the cervix. If the cervix is tight and thick and solid you are good to go. Lots of women fly in the third trimester.) Very possibly she spent umpteen hours trying to figure out where she should go at the end or middle of May to give birth in her home town, and how she could get her medical benefits through the military etc. And she may have been googling things like 'how to hold a baby' and the pros and cons of breastfeeding. It's not like a single one page of factoids would tell her everything she was going to need to know.

And then there was the trip to Germany. Two weeks in Germany, with a seventeen hour lay over in Turkey, all of which was on the calendar before her due date. First babies usually come late, but she likely didn't know that. She also likely made an assumption that the due date meant something rather than "... umm... the ultrasound shows that if your baby is average in development it should be born within a week of this date, on either side, but if, like you know, forty-five percent or so of fetuses, its development is a bit variable, it might be a bit more... or a bit less..." Chances are people even told her, "You have to know what you are doing by the -th of May. Believe it. When the -th of May hits you are going to be a mother!" They didn't tell her to get ready for it three weeks before the due date.

So there she is, getting off the plane in Istanbul, her body out of control as it prepared to override her decisions and very, very busy, leaving her with a bit less than usual processing power, and with every instinct telling her to hide. Because usually when a woman gives birth in some place like the lobby of their apartment building they are surrounded by loving and kind strangers who are tickled pink to get to assist in a miracle. But that's when they are in their own lobby, or the elevator of their own hospital, not in a place where they are not entitled to love and protection and police help etc. Sometimes they give birth in places where they will get attacked and punished - like at a chaperoned school dance where the teachers and chaperones are NOT going to tell them how excited and pleased they are that she gave birth in the washroom. Or they give birth in the marketplace and get attacked and punched in the belly until the baby is expelled at which point it is ripped - literally ripped away from them and used as a football.

Tia likely doesn't know any of this, only that there are definitely hostile people out there. Not where or who or why - and she may be deeply ashamed of getting pregnant too, since it was an accident, and there may have been strong social pressure on her to not get pregnant.

So she runs for cover, a place where she can stop trying to hide how much in pain she is. She still doesn't look pregnant to anyone - such as her family that she saw before getting on the plane, and that makes it much easier for her to believe she's not THAT pregnant. I mean, the world is full of jokes and pictures of women hiding a watermellon under their dress. She has to look that pregnant before she's ready to give birth, right?

So when she gets to the safe, private place where she can swear out loud and groan and pant, she thinks, now what? And she starts searching Google for "hospitals in Turkey' "maternity hospitals in Turkey" These are the three US military hospitals in Istanbul:

GATA Haydarpaşa Eğitim Hastanesi
Gümüşsuyu Asker Hastanesi
Kasımpaşa Deniz Hastanesi

If you search for Kasimpasa Deniz Hastanesi your results all look like this:

Kasımpaşa Askeri Deniz Hastanesi - DoktorTakvimi.com
Kasımpaşa Askeri Deniz Hastanesi - bu klinikle ilgili görüşlere bakın ve kendi görüşünüzü ekleyin. DoktorTakvimi.com, Türkiye'daki/deki en büyük doktor ve klinik sıralamasına sahip.

The address and phone number is not obviously given. Also, it may have occurred to Tia that she needs to go to a hospital that has a maternity ward and it is just possible that these locations are basically clinics, or don't have a maternity department. But time is a-wasting and she is having contractions closer than five minutes apart, so maybe she gave up and started looking up, "How to tell if you are in labour?"

Okay, indications confirm that she is in active labour, right now. Maybe call the desk clerk...? The desk clerk might possibly have been a man who didn't speak much English back when she checked in, as the desk clerk might very well have been hired because he spoke Farsi and Greek, hired in spite of his English, since this IS Turkey and he's going to need those two languages a lot more than English. I mean, is Turkey even on the same continent as an English speaking country?

But let's say she considers calling the desk clerk anyway, since this hurts so much and she is so afraid of dying, and it's about to happen right now.... There was supposed to be an epidural. She knew that much. But there isn't one.

The desk clerk could probably arrange for a sandwich. And he could call an ambulance. Clearly, what with the traffic she saw on the way to the hotel they are going to have ambulances. But this baby is happening now. And paying for an ambulance that you don't even get to use, when you are being hit by the financial whammy of a new baby... Is there even time for an ambulance to get there? How can she prove to them that she can pay? But let's say she gets into Google Translate...

"Yardım et! Yardım et! Şu an bir bebeğim var!"

This is how you say, "Help! Help! I am having a baby right now!" But how do you pronounce it?? And how do you say what your room number is...?

Right, fuck it, never mind, into the bath right now.

Why the bath? Because it's going to make a sloppy great mess is why. Why a water birth? Because when she searched how to give birth in a bath that's what it described. And she doesn't want the baby to get hurt, thwap! landing on the bottom of the bath, and she's likely hoping for something to relieve the PAIN and a hot bath is always good for aches and pain...

Seven pushes later, she is a mother. I gave over two-hundred pushes with my first baby. So the fact that it took seven pushes is indicative that she was so past ready to give birth it was about to happen without any pushes. That's how far into labour she was. If she had gone to a hospital before she got on the plane her son could have been born before she arrived in Turkey.

You'll notice that she was scared of people, or considerate of people enough to have given birth with a towel in her mouth to muffle her screams. Because you do not want to end up in a Turkish jail for causing a disturbance, waiting for blood tests while they test to see if you have illegal drugs in your system so that they can add those charges, along with charges for trashing the bathroom. Me, I'd have used my own clothes, not the towels, so that I didn't get held responsible for the cleaning.

If you read this whole wall'o'text you may be identifying a bit more closely with Tia. Or you may not. Because after all, despising her feels right, feels justified, feels real to so many people. Why am I giving her the benefit of the doubt. It's like I am arguing on petty points in the face of obvious reality. Good moms do not get pregnant without realising it. It's irresponsible. Nothing I say - details about towels for God's sake who should not, not, not be having a baby. Everything that I describe that justifies her actions, just serves to point out how wrong she was to get into that situation in the first place!!

Well, if you are someone who still feels disgust for Tia, I'd just like to finish by saying that to someone else your mother was Tia, and you were Tia's child. Your feelings of contempt are a very common emotional reaction to mothers. So other people judged you and your mother and judge you if you are a mother, and have very good reasons why you, who are not like them, should never have been born. And you are very similar to those people, because you all feel exactly the same way about other people's babies.
posted by Jane the Brown at 11:13 AM on April 25, 2018 [46 favorites]


I don't want to diminish what Jane wrote, so I am writing very small in footnote-like script to append that yes, Turkey shares a continent with English speaking countries: two continents in fact since it bridges across Europe (the eponymous England) and Asia (English is an official language of India due to colonialism)
posted by inconstant at 11:19 AM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]



I don't want to diminish what Jane wrote, so I am writing very small in footnote-like script to append that yes, Turkey shares a continent with English speaking countries: two continents in fact since it bridges across Europe (the eponymous England) and Asia (English is an official language of India due to colonialism)

posted by inconstant at 11:19 AM

I wasn't sure and I didn't google it, because I figured it would be giving myself an advantage that Tia didn't have. But thank you, cos now I I know!
posted by Jane the Brown at 12:08 PM on April 25, 2018


For whatever reasons I opened this thread and link hoping it was a few babies on a plane experiencing some turbulence and giggling and laughing about it instead of, say, shrieking their heads off.

I think I'm going to go with my head canon for a while.


posted by loquacious at 11:04 AM

PeekaBoo!
Touch and feel the kitten
Aerobatics
posted by Jane the Brown at 12:15 PM on April 25, 2018


And all the while doing this as a member of the US military that is actually one of the groups here in the US that isn't fucked when it comes to prenatal, let alone basic, healthcare. ..

You know, the more I think about this the more I don’t think she actually is in the military, or if she is, it’s not active. The article says she is in the military, but it doesn’t list where they’re sourcing that from - it’s not in the tweets anywhere that I can see. And being in the military means you don’t just get to go on foreign vacations at a moments notice, you have to submit a leave form in advance and get it signed off on by multiple people and they are very concerned about your date of return, they absolutely would have been notified by the consulate if a situation like this arose with a military member, yet they are nowhere to be seen in this story. There’s also a GoFundMe, where she says she needs to pay for the hospital bill (I assume after she got to the airport the next day they sent her for a check) because her insurance doesn’t cover her internationally, which Tricare for active duty absolutely does.

So I think the military thing may be a misunderstanding, or maybe she was previously in the military but isn’t now, which may explain more being afraid of the hospital bill.
posted by corb at 12:41 PM on April 25, 2018 [9 favorites]


I'd also like to mention-- and hopefully this is not the case for Tia, but we don't know-- that a lot of her actions are consistent with the behavior of someone who has serious past trauma. I mean, she carries knives everywhere. Sure, lots of people do that, but.

I have serious childhood trauma that was unaddressed at the time or for years afterward, and come from a neglectful family. And at one point, when I was a teenager, staying at a relative's house, I became seriously ill. Vomiting so I couldn't keep down water, in the middle of the night, unable to sleep. I found bins to vomit into. I kept trying to hydrate. Eventually it passed, and I cleaned out the bins and went to bed. In the morning, when I told my relatives, I was utterly shocked that they thought I should have woken them up. It had never occurred to me to wake anybody up. Why would I? It was my problem. I knew that the only reaction anyone would have if I woke them would be to shout at me for making it their problem. I knew that so strongly that when they expressed concern and said they wanted to have been there for me, it was like, what are you, Martians? Nobody talks this way. The concept that other humans would give me attention and care when I needed it was simply not one that I had.

Now, I was lucky, because I had this experience as a teenager, and that brought it home to me forcefully that I did not know how other people would react to my needs unless I communicated those needs. It still took me years to internalize. My immediate reaction to all scenarios in which I need something is still to assume that everyone will think I am doing this just to bother them, and how dare I make trouble for them this way. I have to fight that consciously, and it's hard. It's even harder when I'm not at my best.

So if Tia comes from an environment in which nobody has helped her-- in which it has been made clear repeatedly that other people think she is a burden-- asking for help would not be the first thing, or possibly even the last, on her mind.

As I said, I really hope this is not the case. But it's also pretty consistent with not telling anyone she was pregnant and going into denial, because if you know you can't deal with something, and you know absolutely no one else will help you deal with it, denial is gonna be somewhere you spend a bit of time.

I wish she'd been able to ask for help. But for whatever reason, she didn't or couldn't, and the outcome was amazing anyway. I am in awe of her strength and determination, and I wish all the best for her and her baby.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 12:56 PM on April 25, 2018 [26 favorites]


As a kid, I got scared during a storm, stuffed my cat in a duffel bag and tried to wrestle the dog in there, too. Then I ran about a mile down the road IN THE STORM, to reach the neighbor. Can you imagine what I looked like at the door? A girl with livid cat trying to claw it's way out of a bag, soaked and crying over a thunderstorm. After that, I try my best to NEVER judge someone who makes oddball decisions in an emergency because I have no room to talk. What an experience this woman went through. I hope she and her little guy have a wonderful life together.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:00 PM on April 25, 2018 [11 favorites]


So if Tia comes from an environment in which nobody has helped her-- in which it has been made clear repeatedly that other people think she is a burden-- asking for help would not be the first thing, or possibly even the last, on her mind.

QF-fucking-T
posted by Sophie1 at 1:59 PM on April 25, 2018 [3 favorites]


I can certainly sympathize with making decisions in an emergency that are hard to understand from the outside, but...just wow. She could have died. The baby could have died. And her attitude about the whole thing seems to be - LOL great twitter story LMFAO!

That I'm eight months pregnant might be fueling my judgy-ness here...
posted by kitcat at 2:13 PM on April 25, 2018 [4 favorites]


But on further reflection, my scorn would be better directed at whatever cultural forces are directing this lady to frame her story this way. Or maybe it's the article writer's fault.
posted by kitcat at 3:00 PM on April 25, 2018


I mean I could just flag it as fantastic and move on, but nevertheless I feel compelled to say that Jane's comment is maybe the smartest thing I've ever read on this site.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 3:39 PM on April 25, 2018 [5 favorites]


And her attitude about the whole thing seems to be - LOL great twitter story LMFAO!

Have you never had an experience that was scary, frightening, disorienting, etc. at the time, but which you later wound up telling anecdotes about? I think it's a very human impulse to try to transform our difficult experiences into something that "makes sense" to us afterwards. The story we're hearing isn't a dispassionate third party chronologically relating the events, it's a first-person description of what it felt like to her, filtered through endorphins and memory.

I've clinked glasses over enough "holy shit, let me tell you about the amazingly reckless and stupid thing I did when I was younger, lol" that I'm not going to give this woman grief about how she describes this experience of having made some less-than-optimal decisions but still coming out okay, in part because she stayed calm and cool-headed enough to deal with it as best she could.

Note: I work in the field of risk management, safety, and emergency response. Please skip whatever lectures you may feel inclined to deliver about how "it's not the outcome that matters" and "Swiss cheese theory of safety" and all the rest. I can and do discuss those things too, and the next time I meet a pregnant person in denial who's about to take an international flight, I'll talk to them about it. Criticizing this woman after the fact and in absentia does no good.
posted by Lexica at 4:01 PM on April 25, 2018 [8 favorites]


All my thoughts just keep coming back to, man, she got really lucky. Things could so easily have gone so badly.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:01 PM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Well, that was a tale of a series of increasingly bad decisions coupled with extreme competence under massive pressure with huge stakes.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:09 PM on April 25, 2018 [1 favorite]


Jane the Brown, you beautifully articulated what was knocking around in my head. I imagine her being black in a foreign country added another layer to her decision making.

I had a precipitous labor with my second. It was two hours, start to finish, most of which was spent trying very hard to not push the baby out. It is a similar feeling to trying to hold in a poop!
posted by apricot at 11:01 PM on April 25, 2018


a series of increasingly bad decisions

Without further info, hard to tell. She's good, baby's good. The purpose of the tale is not 'Hey celebrate my correct behaviours!' more 'Blimey, this mad thing happened, some people asked so I'm telling you what went down'.
posted by freya_lamb at 1:54 AM on April 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


On stealth babies- my cousin's girlfriend had a surprise baby born at full term. Went to A&E with a stomach pain, where they informed her she was in full labour, baby was born an hour later. I saw her two weeks before and no visible bump at all- she's quite thin- but there was an 8 pound baby in there. *So many people* were rude to her face, that she must have been lying, or in denial or whatever.

Eighteen months later.... exact same thing happens again- except they drove straight to the maternity hospital instead of bothering with A&E.

[Vasectomy and sterilisation. They were taking no more chances.]
posted by threetwentytwo at 2:45 AM on April 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Without further info, hard to tell. She's good, baby's good. The purpose of the tale is not 'Hey celebrate my correct behaviours!' more 'Blimey, this mad thing happened, some people asked so I'm telling you what went down'.

Exactly. One thing to keep in mind is, she didn’t choose to contact the media with this story, they found her. So the way she told her story is her only prerogative in the matter. If it sounds too flippant so be it, it’s the way she is telling her story in public, not necessarily how she’s processed all of it in private.

Of course she was very lucky and of course it’d be terrible decision making to intentionally plan to have a baby this way, that’s painfully obvious. Let the Royal College of Midwives take care of the "don’t try this at home kids" angle, they were asked for a comment, what else should they say. There’s no need to be worried that masses of women are going to read this and think ooooh cooool let me plan to have my first baby exactly this way so I can post a thread on twitter about it and go viral and be congratulated as a hero... This is not snorting spaghetti up your nose.

On the other hand, maybe there’s also no need to go into all sorts of major projections and analysing of this woman’s private thought process in her decision making, beyond what she herself told and confirmed to the media. Regardless of the intention, even if you’re trying to "defend" her rather than criticize, how can you presume to know why she did not ask for a hospital instead of going to the hotel? She’s on Twitter, ask her! Does it even matter that much though? This is a single exceptional story, not a worrying mass phenomenon.

I don’t know, imagine you end up in the international media for some crazy situation after you went to such lengths to handle it all by yourself, would you really want even well-intentioned people to attribute all sorts of psychological issues and past trauma and socio-cultural-political influences to your actions and choices, when your own choice of telling the story in public is clearly a lot more lighthearted and cheerful...

So yeah - she's good, baby's good - congratulations to the mother and child and oh yeah, don’t try this at home everyone else!
posted by bitteschoen at 3:45 AM on April 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


I had a precipitous labor with my second. It was two hours, start to finish, most of which was spent trying very hard to not push the baby out.

Mom says it was the same with my birth. Of course, it was her third, and a week overdue, so she wasn't caught off guard. But she really had to push Dad to finish up his damn breakfast and get her to the damn hospital.

Once we got there, things almost happened in the elevator (Mom jokes that if I had been a boy, my middle name would be Otis), but they managed to get her to the delivery room for *one* big push and my debut on Earth. Ten pounds, three ounces. We were the freak show of the maternity ward.

Also, my aunt and uncle's story was almost exactly like that of threetwentytwo's cousin and his girlfriend. The only difference I can think of is that my aunt wasn't particularly thin. I mean, she was usually just a few pounds overweight, but like a lot of us she tended to fluctuate up and down within a twenty-pound range.

They were also using contraception, although I don't know what kind. (That's the same time I overheard my mother say, "Well, I've got proof two times over that the foam doesn't work." I guess it's true what they say about eavesdropping; you might hear things you didn't necessarily want to!)
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:40 AM on April 26, 2018


[One deleted. Let's skip further "this is probably how her personal relationships are" stuff; even when well-intended that ends up being a bit weird and presumptuous. Also just for awareness, the term 'ebonics' has some culture-war baggage so maybe better to avoid; AAVE is a somewhat more neutral term, but still can be a charged topic so best to approach this with care and not from a place of speculation.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:09 AM on April 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thank you to drlith and to corb for providing practical support to Tia. Her gofund me was stalled, and since drlith's post here it has gone to nearly meeting the goal. Because you shared her story it has attracted contributors.
posted by Jane the Brown at 8:12 AM on April 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


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