Monday, July 30, 2007

MO Legal Woes

Dear Readers,
I promised an update on the Missouri Midwifery Law. I pulled this update off the Friends of Missouri Midwives website- a legal battle of true David and Goliath proportions.

News from Missouri Midwifery Supporters
CONTACT: Mary Ueland (417) 543-4258,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Missouri home-birth families, supporters combine legal efforts to preserve and protect the new Missouri Midwifery Law
(JEFFERSON CITY, MO.) – Supporters of the new Missouri Midwifery Law have joined with the Missouri Attorney General’s Office to shine a light on the importance of family healthcare choices and to legally defend the ability of Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) to provide prenatal, birth and postpartum care in the state of Missouri.
These combined legal efforts to preserve and protect the new Missouri Midwifery Law come in direct response to the Missouri State Medical Association’s (MSMA) ongoing, well-financed challenge to the new law. A temporary estraining order was granted to MSMA on July 3. The restraining order is in effect until the preliminary injunction hearing that is scheduled for 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Cole County Courthouse, 301 E High St., Jefferson City, Mo.
Judge Patricia Joyce will hear testimony from organized medicine’s MSMA, which is trying to prevent the new law from taking effect on Aug. 28 as originally intended. The Judge will also hear from newly admitted-to-the-case homebirth defendants and midwifery supporters, as well as from the Missouri Attorney General’s Office.�
One of the newly listed supporters is Dr. Elizabeth Allemann, MD, with the Columbia Community Birth Center. “It is a frustration that Missouri has taken so long to recognize the skills and expertise of CPM’s, when the science is so clear about the safety and high quality of the care they provide,” she said.
In support of the new law and to voice opposition to any injunction of it, as well as to increase attention to the safety of the midwifery model of care, midwifery supporters have organized a rally for Thursday. The rally is co-sponsored by the Friends of Missouri Midwives, Missouri Midwives Association, Show-Me Freedom in Healthcare, and Free the Midwives.
In addition to the rally, the candid and eye-opening documentary, "The Business of Being Born," will be shown Thursday as well. Thanks to the generous donation by the film’s director Abby Epstein and producer Ricki Lake, the film will be shown for a one-time screening prior to the documentary’s official theatrical release this fall. In the film, Epstein and Lake explore and question the way American women have babies. Surprising facts regarding the historical and current practices of the child birthing industry interweave with stories of couples who decide to give birth on their own terms. The yet-to-be-released documentary was screened in New York at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring.
In a statement of support, Lake said, “I sincerely hope that Missouri lawmakers do not deny parents a basic human right by restricting how their children can come into the world. I also hope that Missouri lawmakers recognize midwifery as a serious, social-service profession that deserves licensing, public support and admiration.”

Sunday, July 29, 2007

New and Improved

Check out my spiffy new template (okay, it looks just like my old template, but it is updated!) I was finally able to add my links of all my favorite blogs. Please be sure and check them out if you haven't already. If you like homebirth diaries, you'll love some of these others. Some of my most favorite medi-blogs have gone off line. Blogs like Flea, and FP Mama, I still miss dearly. There was a big stink in the blog world not long ago when Flea had actual legal trouble about his blog. He was in the midst of a malpractice suit when it was discovered he had a blog and wrote about his case on it. He got into big trouble and medi-blogs started to disappear like crazy. Of course the issue is confidentiality. A lot of clinicians share client birth stories, and that can be a point of contention. The rule is (I think) that you have to get the person's permission to write about them or obscure the facts so that they are unrecognizable. Here, I mostly tell my own stories (mostly) and my own opinions, but it has made even me wary about how I tell someone else's story. I always try to cite the source when I quote someone else's material (I don't want to plagerize either). Anyway enjoy the reads, these ladies are terrific (Flea was my only boy blog!)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Lost Battle in the VBAC Wars

There's an interesting conversation going on over at Sisterhood Six. I thought my dear readers might want to pop over and take a look. An OB doc is asking, what is the mysterious allure of homebirth? Boy did she get some responses. (I left 3 of my own.) There are also a few comments from folks detailing why they would never choose homebirth. I truly don't mind that women choose hospital birth- I mind that they don't know what they are choosing when they do. One of the stories that I put in my book is the one about a woman who had a c/section on her second baby, she then went on to have two VBACs. When she came in to have her fifth baby, unbeknownst to her, her OB group had changed to a no-VBAC policy during her pregnancy. Instead of informing the woman that this policy was hard and fast, her doc told her she would "see what she could do" to get her of VBAC. Of course when the time came, her particular doc was nowhere around, and the partner that was present would not entertain ANY conversation about a VBAC, even when the woman implored, "but I've had two VBACs already!" I watched the spirit go out of that woman as she at first ranted and cried, then gave a lound sigh, dropped her shoulders and quietly submited to the operation. I wanted her to keep on ranting. I wanted her to fire her doctor. But doctors are considered sacrosanct, even asshole ones. It takes a woman of great courage, who is fully informed of her rights, and is willing to stand up for them, to overcome the pressures that are brought to bear in the delivery room. (no pun intended) This is what I want women to know about hospital birth.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Putting the SOB into OB

My husband and I went on a date last night to see the movie, "Knocked Up." I thought it would be funny and sweet. It was kinda. (I actually liked the movie "Waitress" much better with a similar theme.) I later realized upon reflection that the birth scenes left a really bad taste in my mouth. Actually, upon reflection, I hated those scenes. While I was watching them, I had an out of body experience and was right back in my labor and delivery nurse role. I hated that OB in the movie, the actor's portrayal of a self-centered arrogant SOB was so on target (forgive me, any OB readers!). His performance really did remind me of about 80% of the docs I worked with. (As a nurse, I began to believe that OBs as a group didn't really like women and that they became OBs as a socially sanctioned way to torture them.) It did remind me of all the medical abuse I witnessed and assisted in. I feel so grateful to be out of that vocation (sorry all my L&D nurse readers!) That's why I can't attend anymore (hospital) births- I can't stand witness to the abuse anymore. Even if I attend just as a 'friend' I'm still totally intuned to all the fine nuances that go on around me. I know when the nurse is afraid of the doctor, or when the doctor thinks the mom is a nutjob. I know when the mom is being bullshitted with big fancy words, to manipulate her behavior. I just can't stand to bear witness to it anymore. Birth is no longer a beautiful act of nature for me- its an opportunity to watch a woman be debassed, manipulated, and dishonored. I can't even watch a fake birth anymore.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

BWI- Breastfeeding While Ignorant

World Breastfeeding Week is almost once more upon us. My Breastfeeding Committee is hard at work on a breastfeeding health fair that a local community clinic will host. I'm sad to report that we didn't get all the usual support and assist that we usually do with these events because this year's event is being held in a Black neighborhood. Even though I knew this would happen, I'm still disappointed. The lactation consultant on our committee had a terrible time getting other LCs to sign up to do educational seminars because they didn't want to go into THAT neighborhood (the one I just happened to grow up in). The really sad irony is that the neighborhood underwent major restoration several years ago from an influx of city dollars and is beautiful with restored parks and boulevards. The clinic itself is a showpiece with a new building and sculptured grounds. I hate fighting battles within battles. Everyone agrees that the rates of breastfeeding for African-Americans suck, but this is what you get when you try to engage folks in the problem. Last year we brought an AA breastfeeding advocate to town to speak to folks about the situation of low breastfeeding rates. But I guess her message has already been forgotten.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

John the Baptist II

I've heard through the grapevine that physicians here in MO (with the backing of ACOG, of course) are suing to keep the new midwife law from going into affect in August. What a shocker. I'm not saying "I told you so" but I knew there would be trouble. I am very concerned to see how this all turns out. I'll keep the reader posted. (singular not plural because there's probably only one of you left- I'll try to write more frequently),

Yesterday, I overheard two moms talking, one pregnant, one with a newborn. They were talking about birth. I'm getting to the point that I can't stand to hear these conversations anymore. I don't want to hear women talking about their elective inductions or how wonderful their epidurals were. I just don't have the stomach for it anymore. Just call me John the Baptist, I'm merely a voice, crying in the wilderness.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

To Clamp or Not to Clamp

I've been studying for my neonatal resuscitation class tomorrow and boy am I pissed. Why are we still clamping the cord on newborns??? Why are we cutting off oxygen supply and blood flow when breathing effort may not have been initiated yet??? I read (not in my text book of course) that birthing in the squatting position may even get the respiratory system going more quickly (baby is below the placenta helping it to drain more quickly, delivering blood, therefore oxygen to baby more efficiently). It all makes sense. No wonder I birth at home. Clamping the cord at birth causes asphyxiation till breathing effort takes over. Great, another way babies are abused at birth. How has birth come to this? Why is obstetrical practice so unscientific? Yet another example of how we set the mother/baby up to fail, then swoop in with our heroic efforts to "save" them. Nature has a perfect design for birth. Squatting to give birth vaginally (the logical way to give birth) even has a role in neonatal oxygenation. Of course cesarean babies suffer the most risk, being completely deprived of the benefits of vaginal birth to the initiation of respirations. If you'd like to read more on the topic, go to and read the essay "Why Babies Cry" by George Malcolm Morley.
...and stop clamping those damn cords!