YELM, Wash. - A 31-year-old Yelm woman could face criminal charges after giving birth to a baby girl in a bathtub and having a friend cut the umbilical cord after watching a YouTube video on child birth.
Thurston County Sheriff’s Sergeant Ray Brady said the birth was discovered when a midwife tipped off state Child Protective Services that a pregnant woman she had been caring for was about to give birth and refused to go to a hospital.
Brady said the midwife had already told the woman she would not assist her with a home birth because she had tested positive for methamphetamine and heroin and the child may need immediate care from a physician when it was born.
Instead, the woman gave birth at home in her bathtub on Sunday or Monday and had a friend assist her, cutting the umbilical cord after searching the internet and finding a YouTube video describing the procedure.
“She advised the deputy that she had watched a YouTube video to learn how to cut the umbilical cord,” said Brady. He said doctors later determined that was done 12 to 18 hours after the child was born. Brady said the friend is a certified nursing assistant but has no training or experience in child birth.
Brady said on Tuesday a deputy went to check on the woman after the office received a call from Child Protective Services. The deputy said the woman refused to let him in her home. The deputy then obtained a search warrant and forced entry when the woman failed to answer her door, Brady said. The girl was found strapped in a car seat in a bedroom. She was taken to St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia for treatment.
Brady said doctors informed the Sheriff’s Office the newborn would have likely died without medical treatment.
Brady said the Sheriff’s Office is continuing its investigation and that the mother and friend who aided during the child’s birth could face neglect charges for failing to get immediate care for a newborn at risk. He said the little girl was in stable condition as of Friday.