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This comes on top of the already-existing divide between the two views of childbirth, with midwives emphasizing the safety of natural births in a familiar, comfortable setting, while the American Medical Association contends women are best off in a hospital, where life-saving technology is nearby if something goes awry.

“You’re having this compulsory interaction between two value systems,” Cheyney said. “A transport means these two systems have to come together _ and work together.”

The Idaho Board of Midwifery probe that preceded the Goodwins’ suspensions highlights numerous instances where investigators said that didn’t happen.

In August 2011, Jerusha Goodwin waited 11 minutes to call paramedics after a baby was born “limp, unresponsive and pale,” investigators wrote. The mother labored for more than 48 hours, prompting the Meridian Police Department to launch an ongoing criminal negligence investigation after the baby died.

“There were some questions about the length of labor,” Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea told the AP.

On Oct. 11, 2010, a student midwife improperly cut an infant’s umbilical cord, resulting in significant blood loss before the baby died. Jerusha Goodwin failed to provide medical personnel at St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center with relevant records, investigators wrote.

And on June 30, 2010, Coleen Goodwin delayed paramedics from entering The Baby Place for four minutes. When they were finally allowed in, Coleen Goodwin instructed them to drive past two nearby hospitals to St. Luke’s in Boise, adding precious minutes to a journey that ended in the infant boy’s death.

The mother, Rachel Rabey, said in an interview Coleen Goodwin whispered to her, “If we go to Meridian, they won’t let me stay with you.” Rabey said she was perplexed.

“I didn’t care where I went, or if Coleen could stay with me,” remembers Rabey, who recently had her third child, a girl, at St. Luke’s in Boise. “All I cared about was getting to a hospital.”

The Baby Place’s web site does indicate negative feelings toward hospitals, with one employee writing in a testimonial to prospective clients that she began her midwife studies after a hospital birth where she felt “cheated out of the birth experience.”

The Goodwins do have troubled relationships with doctors, said Alison Hunter Stucki, who planned her eighth child’s delivery at The Baby Place in 2007 but was forced by complications to transfer to nearby St. Luke’s Meridian Medical Center.

Stucki said her family witnessed hostile doctors force Coleen Goodwin from the delivery room.

Still, Stucki, an ardent Baby Place supporter, doesn’t believe those experiences led Goodwin to endanger women or their babies.

“What I’ve experienced is nothing but professionalism,” said Stucki, who gave birth to her ninth baby at The Baby Place in 2009. “I do believe the doctors are upset with her. Every baby she delivers in her birthing center is one baby they don’t get.”

In addition to the three babies that died, the Goodwins were hit by a separate 2010 lawsuit, filed by the parents of a baby that suffered permanent brain damage. Last week, the midwives agreed to pay $5 million to Adam and Victoria Nielson, the couple that sued.

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