Home Birth Baby #4: Testing Positive for Group B Strep (GBS)
As a father, by the time baby #4 rolls around, you think you have it all figured out. Your role, as a guy, is simply to stand on the sidelines of birth and make sure mom and baby are comfortable and safe.
Then, you wait for the big show.
I was as calm as a Buddhist monk sipping beer.
“This will go smoothly,” I thought.
But then…I got a frantic call from my wife. She’d just discovered she tested positive for Group B strep (GBS) while being pregnant.
Buddhist monk mode was over.
GBS is a type of bacterial infection that can be found in the uterus, placenta or urinary tract. For many, it’s harmless. But if transmitted to a baby during birth, the outcome is a parent’s worst nightmare — shock, pneumonia, meningitis.
Like 20-40% of pregnant moms, Lea-Ann was a carrier. As you can imagine, she was distraught.
After 7.5 months of doing everything right, it now seemed like something was terribly wrong. Already in a vulnerable state, Lea-Ann’s head was spinning with blame. “How could this have happened?” she wondered.
The possibility of a hospital birth and a sick baby was imminent. I went into chemist mode. We began discussing the options, free of the typical scare tactics from Western Medicine.
The typical protocol for GBS-positive moms is to pump the mother full of IV antibiotics during birth, or perform a C-section.
Not on my watch.
A healthy, natural childbirth sets the stage for a healthy future and vice versa. This has been well established. And using antibiotics as “preventive medicine” comes with life-long consequences.
It wasn’t worth the risk.
Fact is, bacteria is everywhere. Life is essentially water and bacteria.
Test for any strain and you can usually find it.
Therefore, being afraid of bacteria isn’t a healthy life strategy…even if that bacteria has a scary name like “GBS” or “Strep B”!
It’s extremely rare for a healthy mom to pass GBS on to a healthy baby. Thanks to emergency medicine, it’s even more rare for a baby to suffer the worst consequences of GBS. Plus, giving birth in water (i.e., a water birth) adds yet another layer of protection, putting the odds in your favor.
My wife and I both agreed to skip the antibiotics. 50% of the time, they don’t even work. They yield side effects 100% of the time. We got back on track for our home birth plan and aimed for a healthy delivery in water.
I may know about antibiotics, but I have zero clinical experience with Strep B infection. So I arranged to have two superstar midwives by our side to watch closely for signs of GBS upon birth. Decades of wisdom and experience were lined up around the tub!
In the last 50 years, Western Medicine has built a system of blind loyalty to medications. When faced with the unknown — like GBS — we throw medications at the patient like spaghetti on a wall to see what sticks. The benefit is rarely greater than the risk.
In light of the superbug scourge, the side effects to baby’s immune system and the ineffectiveness of antibiotics, plus the wanton overuse of prescription drugs — all represent a modern day tragedy. Ignoring these hard truths, hospitals are too quick to slap IV’s on mom and baby. It’s One Nation Under Drugs, from cradle to grave.
Not in the Ellison household.
Lea-Ann went into labor on Wednesday at 2pm. She went to float in our swimming pool to ease the pain. I jumped in with Skyler, and we both pondered if it was a girl or boy.
I thought back to all the stages we’ve already been through…parents of one kid, two kids, three kids, and soon to be four. I remembered Lily — born so damn serious and driven, it’s paid off in spades only 13 years later. Blair — benevolent, curious and determined, instantly wrapped his long arms around mom as he came out of the water. Skyler — happy and playful day and night, so active you have to feed him on the run.
All of our children have been resilient survivors.
An hour of labor and it was time to wrap it up. Lea-Ann went inside to sit in the tub.
Her water broke shortly thereafter. Seconds later, she was holding our new baby girl.
Gentle and appreciative, the little one flailed her arms, then rested solemnly in mom’s arms. Eyes shut, she savored the moment and held tight…all her senses coming to life. She startled herself with a cry and quickly settled in to mom’s familiar embrace.
All was fine in the world.
In that one instant, everything changed.
A carbon copy of Lea-Ann, we were now proud parents of 4! Aubrey was born healthy, happy and lovingly. Calm, centered, confident — she’s sure to keep Skyler in check through the years.
Lily and Blair set up for Birthday #0, June 17, 2016. Pink balloons were hung. Food and wine followed. Like a Buddhist monk, I chugged beer.
About the Author
My name is Shane “The People’s Chemist” Ellison. I hold a master’s degree in organic chemistry and am the author of Over-The-Counter Natural Cures Expanded Edition (SourceBooks). I’ve been quoted by USA Today, Shape, Woman’s World, US News and World Report, as well as Women’s Health and appeared on Fox and NBC as a medicine and health expert. Start protecting yourself and loved ones with my FREE report, 3 Worst Meds.