In a self-defensive post on her Facebook page, former Duggar family midwife trainer Venessa Giron states disapproval of Jill and Jessa’s homebirth decisions. Giron also emphatically clears the record and posts that she was not the attending midwife for Jessa Duggar’s homebirth on November 5.
“I didn’t want to respond in this forum but due to the overwhelming support and calls and emails. We were not Jessa Seewald’s midwives. I am sad that Jessa suffered a post partum hemhorrage [sic]. I am happy that Jessa and ‘Quincy’ [Spurgeon Elliot Seewald] are home, safe and sound. Both Jessa and Jill made decisions that do not fairly reflect home birth nor the care of the midwives in this state. But what matters most is Healthy Baby, Healthy Mama!”
It is interesting to note that Giron does not say clearly in her post whether or not she attended Jill Duggar at her botched homebirth in April. It is unknown if Duggar family friend Debbie Query, who also works with Butterfly Midwifery, attended either Jessa or Jill’s homebirths.
Venessa Giron owns Butterfly Midwifery, which used to be located minutes from the Duggar family home in Tontitown, Arkansas. She operated out of a home she rented in 2013 at 1969 Dowell Street. She was seen many times on the now-defunct Duggar family reality show, 19 Kids and Counting. She hosted the bridal shower for Jill Duggar in her home, which was filmed by TLC for the series in an episode that aired on October 21, 2014.
Venessa also hosted a baby shower for Jill Duggar and her husband, Derick Dillard, in March. Jill discussed that party in an interview with People magazine.
“‘Venessa knows how to throw a party,’ Jill says. ‘There were lots of baby decorations around and it was really special.’
“‘Many of the women there were ones I helped through labor as a midwife,’ Jill says.”
Giron moved on August 13 and now lives in the nearby community of Bentonville. While Giron lived in Tontitown, she was the instructor who was teaching midwifery skills to Jill and her sister Jana Duggar.
At that time, Giron was a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and licensed in Arkansas as a lay midwife. This credential is controversial and is not to be confused with that of a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), which requires a degree in nursing as a prerequisite. CPMs cannot administer pain medications and are severely limited by law in what they are able to do in assisting childbirth. The CPM credential is what Jill Duggar received in September after taking online courses, attending a number of births as an assistant, and completing a written text.
Jill attended many births assisting Venessa Giron until Giron lost her CPM license due to negligence in April 2014. Giron was the attending midwife at a homebirth on February 19, 2014, for a baby named Jozzie. The child was born with a Group B Strep infection and undeveloped lungs. She was airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Arkansas. There, the infant was placed on extracorporeal life support in the Intensive Care Unit, suffering from seizures and a brain hemorrhage.
On June 10, 2014, Giron was required to appear before a committee of the Arkansas Department of Health in regard to the birth of baby Jozzie. There, it was determined that she was negligent in the birth. Giron addressed the findings on her personal Facebook page.
“Meeting is over, it didn’t go over well but I expected nothing other than that. It was in regard to Baby Jozzie and in the end, I was told that I was negligent. So sad. I will cry and sleep this off and keep doing what I love to do as long as I am able!”
The committee submitted its report to a subcommittee in October 2014. At the Quarterly Meeting of the Arkansas State Board of Health on January 22, 2015, permanent sanctions against Venessa Giron were approved.
“Elizabeth Pitman, JD, MPH, Deputy General Counsel, asked for approval of the Proposed Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Order for Venessa Giron, licensed lay midwife. A Subcommittee of the Board met in October 2014. The Subcommittee consisted of Dr. Larry Fritichman and Catherine Tapp. Dr. Fritchman and Ms. Tapp heard all the evidence and Mrs. Giron’s testimony before making the proposed recommendations.
“Dr. Whitfield made a motion to approve the findings and Dr. Fincher seconded. The motion carried.”
Giron’s name no longer appears on the list of licensed lay midwives in the State of Arkansas. This is probably one reason why Giron wanted to clarify that she was not the Duggar family midwife for Jessa at her dangerous homebirth. A prominent obstetrician has also criticized the Duggar sisters for their homebirth decisions. Jill Duggar, after 70 hours of labor, was transported to a hospital where an emergency Caesarian section saved her life and the life of her baby, Israel David Dillard. Jessa Duggar was transferred to a hospital when she began to hemorrhage after giving birth to her son, Spurgeon Elliot Seewald.
These recent homebirth failures and the criticism from Jill’s own midwife adviser will perhaps give Duggar family members reasons to reconsider any future homebirths.
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[Image via Instagram/Jessa Seewald]