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Unassisted Home Birth Leads to Fierce Custody Battle

Following unassisted home birth, couple battles their home state for custody over their triplets

When Erica May Carey gave birth to twins two months ago, the last thing she expected was to have them taken away from her just a few days later. But that's exactly what happened. And according to Carey, it's all because of how she chose to have them: at home.

To be clear, Carey didn't just buck convention and opt for a home birth for her twins; she also did it completely on her own, without any sort of medical assistance. That's right—no midwife, no doula; in fact, no one was there to help her at all, aside from her husband. (Additionally, the couple hadn't a clue they were expecting twins until the birth, since Carey didn't undergo an ultrasound during her pregnancy.) And when paramedics were called to the home following the birth by a neighbor, the new mom even refused to allow them to take the babies to the hospital for routine exams.

While everything about the home birth went fine, according to the couple, Child Protective Services still came knocking just a few days later. It was then that they promptly took away both twins, a boy and a girl, as well as the couple's year-old daughter.

In the weeks that followed, Carey and Rengo say they barely saw their children, and suddenly became locked in a fierce custody battle with officials in their hometown of Billingham, Wash., who would only return the children once the couple seek counseling. Finally, last Friday, the couple relented, and agreed to counseling in order to get their kids back. According to King 5 News, though, all three children are currently under state protection.

The story has sparked some heated debate within the parenting sphere, with civil rights advocates coming to their aid on Facebook with an official support page. But the state of Washington insists that their decision to remove the kids had nothing to do with the Carey's birth plan, or particular parenting philosophies at all. Instead, there were other safety issues going on within the home, that have yet to be named to the press.

"I’d like to be clear: Every child’s safety is our top priority in situations like these," wrote Governor Jay Inslee on his Facebook page. "Rumors have circulated that the removal of the Rengo children was due to breastfeeding or their home births. Those rumors are false. Breastfeeding and home birthing are not factors that would cause CPS to take children from a home. Their removal from the home was based on factors unrelated to a home birth or breastfeeding."

Photo via Facebook

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