A Virginia Woman Was Forced To Give Birth In Her Bathtub After She Was Turned Away From A Hospital

"We were able to have a healthy birth, a healthy baby boy — that's why I'm not completely enraged," said the new mom.

Photo Credit: Screenshot/WTKR

| September 20 2019,

9:44 pm

A Virginia woman gave birth in her bathtub after she was turned away by a hospital.

LeeAnn Bienaime and her husband Leo went to Naval Medical Center Portsmouth on August 23 after she began experiencing "intense" contractions. The first-time mother said she did everything she was supposed to do.

"I was certain that we were just going to be admitted," she recalled to ABC News. "In all of our classes and appointments, they told us that when you're having contractions five minutes apart for a minute long, for one hour, you should come into the hospital. And we had been timing them."

Once at the hospital, a couple of doctors told them to go home since LeeAnn was only two centimeters dilated. She was confused and thought, "I don't know what that means because I'm a first-time mom. How do I know if it's five centimeters?"

The couple went home to wait, but the pain continued.

"I was just in pain and [Leo] was like, 'Did your water break?' and I felt this pressure and then I felt the head," she said. "I was just going through my feelings of anxiety and not being able to believe that I'm going through this."

Leo called 911, but it was too late. He had to deliver his baby.

"She said she felt the head and it's like, 'Oh wow. I'm not tired anymore,'" he said.

Four hours after they left the hospital, their son Joachim was born in their bathtub.

"He slid out, I caught him and flipped. I wrapped him in a towel and handed him to her," Leo said.

The baby is healthy and so is his mother.

"We were able to have a healthy birth, a healthy baby boy — that's why I'm not completely enraged," LeeAnn told WTKR. "I feel like if it had gone another way, it would've been a different story."

It could have gone terribly wrong. According to the CDC, Black women are 3.3 times more likely to die during childbirth compared to white women. Sixty percent of maternal deaths could have been avoided with preventative medicine.

"We are missing opportunities to identify risk factors prior to pregnancy, and there are often delays in recognizing symptoms during pregnancy and postpartum, particularly for Black women," former American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists President Dr. Lisa Hollier told The New York Times.

Black mothers have to advocate for themselves in the hospital room and it can happen to anyone. Serena Williams almost died due to a doctor's arrogance. 

The tennis star suffered from a pulmonary embolism and said she knew she needed a "CT scan and a heparin drip." Instead, she was ignored and received an unnecessary ultrasound.

Williams experienced "a slew of health complications that I am lucky to have survived," she wrote in an op-ed.

"Doctors aren't listening to us, just to be quite frank," the mother-of-one continued. "We're dying, three times more likely. Knowing that going in, there are some doctors not caring as much for us, is heartbreaking."

LeeAnn wishes she'd known better.

"Had I known to really advocate for myself, I still would have been at the hospital," she said. "When you don't know any better and kind of feel like you're being a burden to the doctors, you don't know and you go home."

The hospital wouldn't speak on the incident, citing patient privacy laws. LeeAnn said she's spoken to hospital officials and they apologized.




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