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This blog is moving, again!, to here.  The name’s the same, just a different url. 🙂  The explanation for the move can be found under “Junkie No More”.


Friends of Missouri Midwives 6th Annual Cookie Day!

It’s that time of year again!  The legislative session is back in full swing and it’s time to show those legislators just how many Midwifery supporters there are in Missouri.  They have come to look forward to our invasion with sweets!  Join in the fun and bring your cookies.  For more information, see the facebook event page here, visit the FoMM Blog, or the FoMM Website.

This is a great, low pressure way to support Missouri Midwifery and meet/visit friends from FoMM.  This is a very family friendly event, so bring them all!!

February 10, 2010 at 9:00am, State Capitol Building.


My colleague and friend, Molly Remer, of Talk Birth Childbirth Education Classes is giving away a copy of Birth Space, Safe Place!!  To read her review of the book, click here.  To enter the giveaway, click here.   She’ll draw the winner on Friday, January 22, so hurry!  Good luck. 🙂

Grassroots Network: MAMA Campaign Goes into the “Home Stretch”

Dear Friends,

Here’s hoping you all had a terrific holiday season!

As you know from the news, the health care reform legislation is not yet finished. Here is the latest from the MAMA Campaign, which is still actively working for Certified Professional Midwives, because it isn’t over till it’s over!

For more about the MAMA Campaign, visit

Susan Hodges “gatekeeper”



From the MAMA Campaign:

Happy New Year From the MAMA Campaign!

We at the MAMA Campaign wish you a Happy New Year and hope you had an excellent holiday season! We enjoyed our time off with our families, and are now back to work for Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) on Capitol Hill! We want to give you an update about our goals and plans for the next month, which is the critical “home stretch” as the House and Senate make preparations for their final vote on the health care reform bill.

MAMA is Back on the Hill for Midwives and Mothers
Your Senators and Congress Members returned to Washington this week and are back in action to produce a health care bill for President Obama to sign early in the New Year. And MAMA is right there too!

During these next few weeks, the House and the Senate will be working together in an informal “conference process” to reconcile the differences in the health care bills passed by each chamber late last year. Our MAMA lobbyist, Billy Wynne, informed us that high level negotiations began last Thursday among the staff of the Senate and House leadership and key committees to hammer out a bill that both chambers can pass. These staff members have cleared their calendars into the future for this work and held a 15 hour work session on Saturday. While the negotiations are already proving contentious, it is expected that a deal will in fact be reached and that a final bill will be sent to the President sometime in February.

The conference process offers a fresh opportunity for the Campaign to leverage the strong support that MAMA enjoys among members of the Senate Finance and the House Energy and Commerce Committees to raise the profile of Certified Professional Midwives in the final health care bill. MAMA leadership, along with MAMA constituents from key states and Health Policy Source, our intrepid lobbyists, are at work over these next weeks of the conference process to include language in the final bill that will specifically reference Certified Professional Midwives.

And we continue to be grateful to Senator Cantwell and Finance Committee leadership for Senator Cantwell’s provision that will have the effect of requiring payment of the provider fee for CPMs offering services in licensed birth centers – and for securing Senator Reid’s commitment to keep this provision in the bill throughout the conference process.
And remember: it is your support that has produced such important gains in Congress over these last months for Midwives and Mothers! So keep your letters and dollars flowing as MAMA moves into the New Year with fresh energy for Midwives and Mothers!

MAMA Is Ready To Start the Year Strong!
Individual contributions from people like you give MAMA life. Thanks to every one of our 500 donors, MAMA is alive and well! With just a few more weeks to go, we need just a few more dollars. Can you help us now by making a contribution of $50, $100, $500 or more? Every dollar will be well-spent as we wrap-up this phase of our campaign to achieve federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives!
Any amount will make a difference!

Donate to MAMA at .

Keep Those Letters Coming!

As your legislators make crucial decisions about what will be included in health care reform, it is important that they hear from you and that they know that MAMA is watching! Write to your members of Congress today to ask them to include Certified Professional Midwives in any health care reform legislation! If you have not written yet, now is the time! If you have written previously, write again! Your Senators and Representatives need to hear from YOU on behalf of Certified Professional Midwives and Mothers, regardless of their position on health care reform. Visit for help and sample letters you can use to contact your legislators.

MAMA Is Blogging Health Care Reform
Also back online after the holiday break is the Grapevine – MAMA’s source for keeping you up-to-date on health care reform. Come see our take on the latest happenings on Capitol Hill! Visit the Grapevine at .

If you have any questions, concerns or comments please contact the campaign at


I’ve stewed for some time on the term “lay midwife”.  In fact, I think it’s been several years.  I heard the term used countless times at the Capitol by legislators (and a few docs) in reference to any midwife other than a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM).  I have also heard midwife supporters and midwives themselves using this term when defining the different types of midwives, albeit much less often.  There are now several distinctions, I admit, but I take issue with this particular one.

An internet search on lay person, or layperson, brings up the following:

  • “someone who is not a clergyman or a professional person”
  • “a person who is a non-expert in a given field of knowledge”

Given these definitions, I feel that the term “lay midwife” is inaccurate, at best.  I suppose it is possible that someone could call themselves a midwife when he/she really has no training/experience, just as someone could call themselves a __________(insert any profession you choose) without the training/experience ~ the only difference is you wouldn’t then refer to this person as a lay doctor or lay lawyer….you would call them a fraud and prosecute them.  So why then is lay put before midwife?  This makes no sense.  If we’re being completely, totally literal then perhaps I could see the confusion.  Midwife literally means “with woman”, so I guess if you want to be really technical, any person who is “with woman” could be construed as a midwife and therefore, possibly, be called a lay midwife.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe I have no idea what a midwife is or what she does, but considering I’ve spent two pregnancies in the company of midwives, I take a midwifery course, I am friends with a couple midwives, and I aspire to be one, I think I have a fairly realistic grasp on this.  Midwives work hard to learn about normal pregnancy and birth, complications, how to spot those complications, what complications are serious enough for transport, and so on.   They are not idiots.  They do not go to school for x amount of time and then say, “Okay, I’m done learning.  I know everything I need to know about pregnancy, labor and birth.”  In fact, most of them continue to read new research, refine the skills they have, learn new skills and attend workshops/conferences.  Midwives are THE experts in normal birth, and they are the only persons who train specifically for normal birth.  By normal I mean: minimal (if any) intervention, drug free,spontaneous, vaginal.  This is the direct opposite of defining a lay person.

In fact, both Certified Nurse Midwives and Doctors can legally attend home births (CNMs must have doctor backup though) in all 50 states….with no requirement on having previously seen/attended a home birth!  That’s right!  They can come attend you and have no idea about what happens at a home birth but have the nerve to call the professionals who DO have training and experience in this setting “lay”.

C’s Birth Story (long)

While not planned (apparently, I don’t believe in planning my children!), C was anticipated and very much wanted.  I had wanted to have more kids off and on for 7 years.  Also of note, this is the birth story plus the next couple of days, which were somewhat strenuous.  I skipped a couple of lines in between if you just want to read the birth part.  Enjoy!

We had a fairly accurate EDD, January 3, since we had a conception date narrowed to two or three days.  Even so, I insisted upon being fairly blase about it and usually said sometime in late December or early January (I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to educate about the inaccuracy of a specific due “day”, especially when conception date is unknown).   As we got close to Christmas, we kept thinking baby would show up sooner rather than later.  I was having daily contractions, sometimes lasting for several hours, which was different from my other pregnancies.  More than once, I felt like it could be any time and subsequently felt silly when M came home from work to no baby.  Surely, I should be able to tell!  (I should have known then that this kid was going to be a hand full)

My last day of work was Christmas Eve, so by January 1 I had all the baby stuff cleaned, folded, arranged.  I thought M was going to go crazy waiting.  He called to check on me constantly, which was both nice and irritating.

On January 5, around 10pm, I was lying on the couch when I suddenly felt like I peed my pants.  Not having had this sensation before, I had to double-check before admitting to myself my water had broken.

“Honey,” I said to M through the bathroom door, “I think you better call work and tell them you won’t be in tomorrow.”


“My water just broke.”


“Yeah, I think so,” as another small gush of fluid comes out, “Ew.”


“It feels like I’m peeing myself!”

I went upstairs to change my pants while M started making phone calls.  After he called his parents and work, we called the Midwife to let her know.  She was at her workplace and we wanted her to have enough notice although we weren’t ready for her to come yet.

We stayed up for another hour or so, but contractions were sparse and light, so we went to bed.  M fell asleep a lot easier than I thought he would.  I slept off and on for awhile but sometime around 2 or 3 I got up.  I wasn’t really in pain, but I couldn’t sleep and thought I would just labor quietly by myself for a few hours.

At some point I decided a shower sounded good.  The hot water felt delightful on my belly, and then on my lower back.  While in there, I had a few contractions  that made my knees buckle.  Time to call the Midwife and ask her to come.  Time to get the pool set up.  Time to realize there’s no turning back now.

Time became a blur in the ocean of contraction waves.  I remember the Midwife being on the couch and us talking about family (she was my mom’s Midwife), feelings, all sorts of subjects that I don’t even really remember, while M dutifully filled the pool.  I do remember being on the ball, rocking in the rocker, walking up & down the hallway, and getting into the pool.

This labor seemed intense.  I couldn’t get comfortable anymore.  I just rode with my body the best I could but more than once I started to lose control.  The love I saw on M’s face, the pain for my pain, brought me back.

One item that I kept focusing on was a sale scholastic was having.  I wanted to make sure we got the items ordered before they sold out (math workbooks only 99cents!), so I kept asking M to make sure they were ordered.  And then, something like this:

“Come back over here, I need you.”

“Okay, I’m coming.”

“Done.  Go make sure you got all the saved ones.”

“I am!  You keep having me come back over there.  I can’t do it all…”

“Another one’s coming.  Hurry!”

Poor M, I really kept him hopping.  At one point he asked me if I wanted him to get in the water with me.  I did, very much, but up until this point he had made it very clear there was NO WAY he was getting into the water that might have any amount of blood, poop, and whatever other perceived nastiness he could think of.  So, he got in and I leaned into him.  This was a good feeling for me, as physical touch is my main “love language”.

I was pushing now but baby seemed a bit reluctant to come out just yet.  The heart tones had some small decelerations and eventually we got out of the water for me to assume head down, butt up.  I was far too gone in laborland to totally understand what was going on or what I was trying to do, other than have a baby!

The pain and the urge to push were exquisitely intertwined with the relief that comes from letting the body do the work.  I yelled, A LOT, and quite loudly, finally settling on F*** as the most appropriate description for the feeling of being ripped apart.

I barely heard M saying he could see the head through my lion-like roaring and pushing.  Burning, incredible burning (almost done!) and then, “Whoa!  Slippery!”.

Baby was out, in Daddy’s hands.  We had a son.  A black haired, chubby son.

I moved around and got on the couch to see my baby.  What struck me to the core was seeing the look on M’s face as he held his baby.  What a joy to birth a baby and watch a father born all on the same day.


The blur continues after those first few moments.  I remember holding my sweet baby, getting back into the warm water to birth the placenta, and my aunt & cousin being there.  I also remember at some point discussing the knot in the cord, but can’t seem to place it on the timeline.

I felt kind of funny but wasn’t sure how to explain it.  I think that’s what I said.  I got up, with help, to go to the bathroom.  On the toilet, I felt even stranger.  I thought I might faint.  (Where’s the baby?)  He’s fine.  (I can’t do this, I want baby).  A few minutes and some mashing produced big bloops in the toilet.  Time to stand up, I want my baby.  T stood up, people faded and I don’t know what happened.  I was on the floor.  People were scared.  I was scared.  (Where’s my baby?!  Is he okay?  I need my baby!)

We spent some time on the floor, piling cheese and chocolate into my face while icing down my swollen cervix and ensuring all was well. It was very foreign to split my focus between my baby and myself.  I longed for him but wanted to make sure I was all right.  This wasn’t how I had planned things at all!  After such a beautiful, powerful birth I was both disappointed in the drama and grateful for the skill of my Midwife.

My aunt noticed that one of the clots (bloops in the toilet from earlier) looked very similar to a placenta, so she fished it out for later inspection along with the actual placenta.

Once I moved off the floor, baby and I were quickly nestled onto the couch.  I think the whole spell lasted about an hour, but it felt like an eternity.  We settled into new baby joy and resting.  A day or two later I went upstairs for the first time to take a shower and got out with a case of the chills that hadn’t subsided several hours later.  When the fever came on, we made a call to the Midwife.  The decision was made to go to the hospital.  Before we left the house, I broke down and cried.  Being in a hospital around childbirth, for me, has been a horrifying nightmare since my daughter was born.

“I’m so scared.  This is not what I wanted.  What if they try to do something to him?”  I cried in to M’s chest.

“Nobody’s going to touch him.  I won’t let them.  It will be okay.”

I was so grateful to him for being rock-like on the outside even though I knew he was as terrified as I was.  We opted to drive half an hour instead of going to the local hospital.  I am happy and confident about that decision.  The hospital staff was polite and completely left baby alone as we requested.  I was admitted that night and spent two nights in the hospital.  My baby never left my side.

It was a difficult couple of days.  The doctor wanted to put me on very strong antibiotics.  I asked about being safe for the baby and was told no breastfeeding.  No alternative antibiotics either.  I was devastated at the idea of not breastfeeding my baby.  I’ve breastfed all my babies and I didn’t want him to miss out on all that goodness.  I was consumed by my fear and grief.  I asked for a pump, and the nurse who brought it to me tried to quell my tears by reminding me that I could nurse again after the drugs were out of my system, but I was too distraught to hear.  I waited to start them until he had his belly full, crying the whole nursing session.

A few hours later, I remembered my friend and LLL leader having an in-depth book about breastfeeding and medications.  I already knew the hospital’s source was pretty basic.  I called M and asked him to call her, explain the situation, and have her call me.  She did so promptly (and very compassionately, especially at 6am), and together we waded through the risks of each of the three antibiotics prescribed.  I have never been so happy to hear her voice or so grateful for her incredible wealth of knowledge.

While I am pleased with my labor/birth and pleased with the treatment of the hospital staff, it was a tumultuous beginning that shook my foundation.  I am grateful that my Midwife was there every step of the way to listen, counsel, and commiserate.  This was most definitely a tremendous learning experience for me.

More great information from Citizens for Midwifery

The Citizens for Midwifery blog has so many great posts up today that I can’t pick just one to repeat here!  So, instead, I’ll give you a sneak peek and link them…this is for those of you who are lazy like me and don’t want to take the time to cut/paste.  Enjoy.

Up first is the recent radio program in Massachusetts discussing legislation for creating a Board of Registration of Midwifery.  You can listen to the  and then read comments.   CfM’s Susan Hodges chimes in with a great comment that can be read right at the blog.  She points out that  ACOG is a professional organization accountable only to their members.  Their insistence that hospitals are the safest place for all women to give birth is lacking in scientific evidence.  In fact, research shows that women with normal pregnancies who planned homebirth with a trained midwife are just as safe as those in the hospital AND have lower rates of interventions as well as morbidity for mothers and babies.  To read more, click here.

Next, an update from Grassroots Network concerning Childbirth Connection.  A new resource document called ‘United States Maternity Care Facts and Figures‘ is now available!  To get updates via email from Childbirth Connection, click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.  To read the full post on CfM, click here.

Last, MAMA Campaign update.  If you were unable to attend the webinar on December 3, you can now download it!  Click here to go.  In addition, there are the highlights of MAMA’s work for Certified Professional Midwives this year.  To view the complete post, click here.

So much information, so little time!