Archive for December, 2008



However, the hopital has not answered many of the community’s concerns about practices at the birth center and we are demanding that they keep their promised meeting with the Steering Committee (which has been rescheduled for the second time) on January 18th 2009, even as we celebrate the victory of  keeping the NSBC’s doors open.

Thank you to EVERYONE who helped — with meetings, letter-writing, picketing, etc! Our voices were heard! But we need to keep the pressure on; the hospital promised to work with us regarding the future of the North Shore Birth Center. Help us make sure they keep that promise!

For more information, check out the Save the North Shore Birth Center blog.

16 December 2008 at 1:15 pm Leave a comment

Orgasmic Birth on 20/20…finally!

From director Debra Pascali-Bonari:

Please help us share our good news…

Orgasmic Birth will be a featured segment on ABC-TV’s “20/20”
this Friday December 12, at 10 PM Eastern Time

Visit the ABC website to read more about Orgasmic Birth and share
your comments on the film.

Joyous, sensuous and revolutionary, Orgasmic Birth brings the ultimate
challenge to our cultural myths by inviting viewers to see the
emotional, spiritual, and physical heights attainable through
birth. Witness the passion as birth is revealed as an integral
part of woman’s sexuality and a neglected human right. With
commentary by Christiane Northrup, MD, and midwives Ina May
Gaskin, Elizabeth Davis and other experts in the field . . . and
stunning moments of women in the ecstatic release of childbirth.

11 December 2008 at 1:29 pm 1 comment

baby business

Just a few weeks ago I became and auntie for the very first time ever! My niece is absolutely beautiful and I am wildly in love. My brother and sister-in-law live in Pennsylvania, so we have only seen pictures so far, but she’s such a sweet little thing.

My brother and his wife chose to have their baby in a women’s hospital. And although I know many women who have been happy with their birth experiences at hospitals and with OBs, it was frustrating to hear my brother and my SIL tell me about the different attempts they made to induce my SIL, who was clearly not “ripe” for labor by exam and who was barely a week overdue. And then to hear about the — thankfully relatively minor, all things considered — complications that occurred as a result of the fact that her doctor was trying to push for something to happen that was not ready to happen was frustrating further still.

I don’t know all the details about why they induced when they did. I don’t know if my SIL and brother were asking to be induced or if they were being pressured by their OB. I didn’t press for information because I didn’t want to plant any seeds of doubt at such a late stage, so much of the labor and birth are affected by how the mother feels about the whole experience.

Mama and papa and baby are all happy and healthy and well — and that is the most important thing of all! But sometimes it feels so frustrating to be so powerless against the hospital machine. Sometimes I just want to go around and catch all the precious little new babies myself!

Just kidding!


9 December 2008 at 1:18 pm Leave a comment

More from Sheila Kitzinger

In her book “Birth Crisis”, Sheila Kitzinger points out that often a mother who has experienced a traumatic birth will call her and not talk about the baby at all.  She needs to focus on herself in order to process what she has gone through.  I thought that was very interesting and something to watch for.

4 December 2008 at 10:34 pm Leave a comment


I often think about how we got to where we are now.  It’s far, very far from perfect, but it is a whole lot better than what my mother experienced when she was having her babies in the 40’s and 50’s.  Names cross my mind, people to whom I owe a great deal.  Just a few:  Grantley Dick-Read, Robert Bradley, Gregory White, Frederick LeBoyer, Ina Mae Gaskin.  And so many more.  All pioneers and we are the new pioneers, carrying forth their work and changing the future.  Massachusetts Midwives and Friends of Midwives, thank you for all that you have done, continue to do, and will do in the future.

3 December 2008 at 6:59 pm Leave a comment

Quote from Sheila Kitzinger’s “Birth Crisis”

“In some cases distressed women have confronted the possibility of death in childbirth — from pre-eclampsia, haemorrhage, or liver disease, for example, and are still overwhelmed by the feeling that they are dying.  They have panic attacks in which they cannot breath, and are jolted awake from nightmares of death and dying.  Because life-threatening illness is rare in childbirth in northern industrial countries today it is all the more shocking when it could be a reality.  A woman may have wanted a homebirth, made a carefully thought-out birth plan, for example, and suddenly all control is taken from her and she witnesses caregivers panicking around her.

After the birth it may be hard for her to get other people to understand the urgency of that threat because it is beyond their experience.  I realize that sometimes when I listen on the phone to women’s accounts of these potential disasters I half withdraw, not quite sure whether I believe their exact version of events.  When I do this I fail to validate the intensity of their feelings and the emotional impact of a near-death experience.

How do you deal with your own grief when you listen to a distressing account?  I know that tears come into my eyes and I sniff, and I may moan as well.  The other person hears this, of course.  It is nothing you need to be ashamed of.  Apologise if you want to and say, ‘I do find what you’re telling me so awful!’ or something like that.  There are times when you are drawn into the story through empathy and compassion.  That is just as it should be……..”  p. 154

2 December 2008 at 11:19 pm Leave a comment

Sheila Kitzinger 2006 book, “Birth Crisis”

Sheila Kitzinger has done it again.  In 2006 she published yet another important work, “Birth Crisis.”  Though written from her European perspective, she has drawn together experiences that are universal to birthing women, especially those whose births did not turn out to be what they wanted.  Much of what she presents is what we know so well, the role of intervention in the demise of normal birthing.  And, as always, she goes way beyond the obvious, exposing the emotional backlash….anger, guilt, fear, issues with bonding, etc.  And she talks about how to recognize the needs of the mother who has experienced a traumatic birth, how to listen, what to say, what not to say, and so much more.  She has a fascinating view of how a woman can work to “reclaim” her body, both before and after her physical wounds have been healed.  I’m not a midwife, but have done some doula work and worked with countless mothers as a La Leche League Leader.  And I’m so glad to have discovered this resource.  I personally did not experience a traumatic birth with any of my five, but I know so very many who have, including all of my daughters and my daughter-in-law.  I’ve already passed the book on to my youngest daughter who has much emotional healing to do after her recent birthing experience (not related to interventions as there were none).  A very valuable book for all involved with birthing women.

2 December 2008 at 11:11 pm Leave a comment

Save NSBC Update

The meeting that was scheduled for today with the Beverly Hospital officials has been postponed until the 15th of December. The goals for the meeting is to learn as much as possible as to why the hospital is considering closing the Birth Center and to encourage the hospital to take advantage of the different opportunities available that might aid them in keeping the Birth Center open, e.g., meeting with a representative from the American Association of Birth Centers for ideas on how to keep the Center open, considering participating in community fundraisers and/or grant writing.

Thus, for the next two weeks, we are continuing to collect research about how to support Birth Centers, information on Birth Center liability, and on ideas of ways to support our Birth Center here on the North Shore. Send your ideas, research, and/or information to To join the NSBC research email discussion list (an excellent way to stay up to date on everything that is happening!), send an email to with “NSBC Research List” in the subject to request an invitation.

Help us reach our goal of 1000 signatures (or beyond!) before our meeting on Dec 15th with Dr Ramini, the Interim CEO, and Chip Payson, the Vice President by signing this petition. And then please send a message to your friends asking them to sign too!

Do you know someone who could serve on the new steering committee? Nominate yourself or someone else you know! Send the nominee’s name and phone number and/or email address to Nominations are being accepted until Friday Dec 5th. Nominees will hear from the elections committee over the weekend and will have the opportunity to accept or deny the nomination. If the nomination is accepted, the nominee will be required to provide a brief bio and description of their vision/goal for the Birth Center. The date and location of the election will be posted soon!

Thanks again everyone for all your hard work so far! We are making a difference, let’s keep it going!

2 December 2008 at 10:12 pm Leave a comment

Urgent Birth Center Legislation!

OK, all of you awesome MFOM members, I know you know how to call state legislators. It’s time to call Washington now. This is important, especially given the unknown future of the North Shore Birth Center.


American Association of Birth Centers
 Legislative Alert  

We are  writing to ask you to contact your Federal Representatives and Senators–it is now or never to mandate the Birth Center facility fee in Medicaid!
Our Goal – 50 calls this week!
As you know, we are working hard to mandate the birth center facility fee in Medicaid.  The Texas case against Center for Medicaid Services (when they said they would stop paying the federal match for birth centers) is just one battle. The only permanent solution for us in the Medicaid program and with other insurers is to pass legislation making birth centers an official mandated provider.
The Texas case will not solve this problem!  It is clear that even if we win, CMS will write new rules that will effectively shut down birth centers all over.  Now, we need legislation to stop them.  We may already have missed our chance to tag our issue on to the next major piece of legislation–the Economic Stimulus package.  But we still have a chance with the Children’s Health Bill (S-CHIP), but ONLY if Congress hears from you and your consumers.

Act Now!
Each and every one of you must take action to put birth centers on the Congressional radar. The birth center community must take the lead on this–Congress won’t take any action for us unless it hears from its constituents. AABC’s lobbyinst Karen Fennell is busy making Congressional visits, but they are saying they have not heard from you–so it must not be important . . .
Right now, Rep. Susan Davis (CA) will sponsor the bill and Rep. Lois Capps (CA) will co-sponsors, but we need many more–including Republicans so it has bi-partisan support. 
Call your Federal Representatives and Senators.
Find out who they are.


If you have any trouble making contact, call Karen Fennell–she will help. Use the linked flyer (“Pregnant Women’s Access to Care Threatened“) as a reference for  help with talking points and:

     1.     Tell them you are a (midwife or student midwife, staff person or client)  that cares that birth centers provide access for Medicaid women.  Other birth centers have already closed due to lack of facility reimbursement.
On the House side, ask Democrats to co-sponsor our bill which would add Birth Centers to Medicaid covered services. (Our bill does not have a number yet). Ask House Republicans to be a sponsor or lead.  On the Senate side, we need leads and sponsors in both parties.
Please notify Karen of your calls.  Provide her with the representative’s name, the staff person’s name, and any questions or information she should be aware of.  Karen’s contact info:  tel: 301-830-3910 – email:  Please also cc me on these emails: (tel: 423-253-4455).

This is urgent if we want to sustain birth centers in the United States. Please call today. Remember, this is your survival we are working for–we need 50 calls this week!  

Please pass this on to your Friends of the Birth Center groups and ask them to call too.

Jill Alliman, CNM, MSN
Legislative Chair 
American Association of Birth Centers

1 December 2008 at 9:52 pm Leave a comment

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December 2008