8 September 2008 at 9:36 pm 1 comment

Perhaps this is a little personal but, I just wanted to take a minute to say thank you again for everyone who has been involved with the fight to get better regulation for midwives in Massachusetts to give women the right to birth with who and where we want. When we lived in Pennsylvania, homebirthing was not really an option for us. While technically a woman in Pennsylvania can give birth anywhere she chooses — unassisted — CPMs could be jailed for practicing midwifery without a license for attending a birth and providing skilled care. All the CNMs in Pittsburgh, where we were living, were associated with a hospital, a private practice where the midwife (mr. midwife, in fact!) caught babies exclusively in the local women’s hospital, or with a free-standing birth center.

Our insurance didn’t cover the birth center until we were about 4-5 months along in the pregnancy, and by then we were feeling rather attached to our midwives at the hospital — and the insurance only covered part of the birth center’s fee, one that we felt we could not quite afford even with the partial coverage.

Our midwives were pretty great at the hospital, but in retrospect, there were a lot of things about the hospital that really impacted the outcome of our birth, even though we had felt we were prepared to deal with them. We are really looking forward to the opportunity to have a homebirth here in Massachusetts the next time(s) around and are so grateful that CPMs will be able to practice in Massachusetts without threat of legal action once the Board of Midwifery legislation passes.

Thanks again everyone, for your dedication to midwifery and a mother’s right to choose how and where she gives birth. It is something that I, for one, will never take for granted.


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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. mfomcontributor  |  11 October 2008 at 6:41 pm

    It is one of my deepest hopes that homebirth will become a “norm” of sorts, as is a great option that does not need to be fought for in MA, in time. I, too, thank the midwives of MA and their supporters for all of the work they do, tirelessly, devotedly, to make this happen. And insurance is such a big part of it for all concerned.

    And now on to my too long story……

    As I’ve written about before, my daughter in Florida faced a much different situation. In her state there is a licencing board. Her homebirth midwife accepted her insurance plan and all seemed to be well. Not to be. Thirteen days ago she labored at home, serenely and quickly with her midwife by her side and everything ready to go. Suddenly things started going wrong. Baby was asynclitic (we didn’t know it at the time, but the cord was quite short perhaps holding her at an angle). From eight centimeters she regressed to seven, and on and on…….her midwife tried everything she knew to get the baby into a better position. But because water was released and 24 hours were approaching, her legal protocol was to call her backup doctor. And of course he said to transfer and meet him at the hospital. Thankfully we were met with no resistance there and baby Naila was finally born, my daughter narrowly escaping a C-section. With the cord pulled tight across her neck, Naila experienced a difficult start. But the nurses (and the doctor who did not do an episiotomy) were wonderful. The one excellent thing was that this hospital did not have a nursery of any sort. Babies in trouble would be transferred to other hospitals, but all others remain with their mothers. There were some hospital induced problems with both baby and mother. And the emotional pain of not having a homebirth was deep.

    At home, the midwife visited and said that it probably could have been handled at home, all of it, but due to her legal constrictions she had no choice but to transfer. But here is the really bad news……because the birth did not occur at home, the insurance company is refusing to pay anything to the midwife at all, not prenatal care, nothing. The doctor, of course, will get paid. My daughter and her husband are beside themselves, but will fight the insurance company. And so, even in Florida where things are better for midwifery than in MA, unfairness can reign in the end.

    Thankfully, baby and mom are just fine now and I got to participate in the whole event, just today leaving them for the first time. Hopefully, their next birth will be in their home.

    In a few days I’ll be in MA again, rooting for things to get better there. And still feeling very grateful for the work you are all doing. And still feeling grateful for my homebirths so many, many years ago.



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