Archive for July, 2009

Thoughts about ACOG

When I read about some of what ACOG is saying to fight passage of the midwifery bill, I get very angry, of course. But I also think about the wonderful obstetrician who backed up my daughter’s homebirth midwife and ended up helping her baby to emerge, I know they are not all negative about this stuff. He was so respectful of my daughter’s plan to have a homebirth and caring about her disappointment at ending up at the hospital for a prolonged labor due to her baby being asynclitic. When her midwife feared a C-section was imminent, he turned to me, asked me how many vaginal deliveries I had had and if I had any problems with them, then checked my daughter’s birth canal and bone structure. He also took a good look at her and said, “This girl is strong. She can do it. Turn off the drips and let her do it.” When she was fully dilated I watched in amazement as he reached in and with a sort of magical grace, turned my granddaughter’s head and lined her up, after which my daughter easily pushed her out. Even after the birth, he approached my daughter with utmost respect and support. Wouldn’t it be nice if they were all like that?

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30 July 2009 at 7:27 pm Leave a comment

Ina Mae’s talk postponed

Ina Mae Gaskin’s talk, sponsored by Attachment Parenting International and scheduled for 7/27 was cancelled and will be rescheduled at a later date.

30 July 2009 at 7:12 pm Leave a comment

Missing your midwife

My son is now eleven months and one week old. Whenever I think about a year ago at this time, it’s very hard to remember what life was like then. Our house was bigger, less full, less busy, less noisy, and there wasn’t this friendly adventurous creature climbing all over it. How can that be? I feel like he’s always been a part of my life.

The other strange thing about thinking back to a year ago is realizing that we were seeing our midwife every week at that point. Every Saturday or Sunday she’d come to the house, chat at the dining room table, ask me to weigh myself and do a urine strip-test, then palpate my belly, measure it, and let us hear the baby’s heartbeat.

Last October–after it had already been a few weeks since Kelly had come for my final six week post-partum appointment–my husband observed that he missed her, and that it “felt weird” not to be seeing her every week. From what I hear, this is a very common reaction for people to have after the birth–and it’s natural, too, because a midwife integrates herself into your lives, so that you are having your baby (in the ideal homebirth) on your turf and your terms. The midwife is not there to take over, but to assist, and by the time of the birth she’s come to know you pretty well.

So, do people ever say they miss their doctors? I guess it’s technically possible, but it’s not really the kind of thing you’d expect to hear–it’s just not at all the same kind of relationship.

–Christina

30 July 2009 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Update on MA Midwifery Bill–Hearing report

Dear Friends and Supporters of Midwifery,

The MA Midwifery Bill (Senate 847) was the source of  a very interesting day of testimony on Beacon Hill yesterday. The Massachusetts Coalition for Midwifery, comprised of CPMs, CNMs, and consumers testified first and gave strong testimony WRT why this bill is needed.

Next came the non-supportive docs from MMS (Mass Medical Society) and ACOG (American College of OBs and Gyns). Their testimony was inflammatory and often untrue. Despite the fact that they were sitting next to a mom in support of the Midwifery Bill who lost her baby, the MMS and ACOG team gave graphic descriptions of births that did not have good outcomes. They neglected to share any stories of births with OBs that did not have good outcomes, however. ACOG and MMS also said that the passing the Midwifery Bill would allow high school graduates to practice midwifery (untrue, that’s why we want this bill, so that the Board of Midwifery can set consistent educational standards); and that these people would also have prescriptive authority (also untrue—only CNMs would have prescriptive authority under the bill, a privilege they already have).

Judy Norsigian from Our Bodies, Ourselves gave powerful testimony that rebutted much of what ACOG and MMS said. We’re grateful to have had her on the team.

Please keep calling and emailing your MA Representative and Senator—especially if they’re a member of the Joint Committee for Public Health–letting them know that the testimony they heard from ACOG and the MMS was a distortion.  More importantly, please call or email to let them know how important your midwife is/has been to you and to your family and that you SUPPORT Senate 847/House 2080, a Bill to Establish a Board of Midwifery.

You can find the name and contact information for your MA Senator and Rep., as well as the bill text (now known as Senate 847) at the following link: http://midwivesmass.org/default.aspx (Please ignore the requests for sponsorship at this link and forgive us for not fully updating this site.)

It’s especially important to call voicing your support for the bill if you live in JP and are a constituent of Rep. Sanchez OR if your Representative or Senator is on the Joint Committee for Public Health. Committee members and their districts are listed below and at here.

Members appointed to the committee:

Senators:

Susan Fargo of Third Middlesex – Chair
Telephone: (617) 722-1572
E-Mail Address: Susan.Fargo@state.ma.us

Mark Montigny of Second Bristol and Plymouth – Vice-Chair
Telephone: (617) 722-1440
E-Mail Address: Mark.Montigny@state.ma.us

Stephen Buoniconti of Hampden
Telephone: (617) 722-1660
E-Mail Address: Stephen.Buoniconti@state.ma.us

Harriette Chandler of First Worcester
Telephone: (617) 722-1544
E-Mail Address: Harriette.Chandler@state.ma.us

Jennifer Flanagan of Worcester and Middlesex
Telephone: (617) 722-1230
E-Mail Address: Jennifer.Flanagan@state.ma.us

Robert Hedlund of Plymouth and Norfolk
Telephone: (617) 722-1646
E-Mail Address: Robert.Hedlund@state.ma.us

House Representatives:

Jeffrey Sanchez of Boston – Chair
Telephone: (617) 722-2130
E-mail Address: Rep.JeffreySánchez@hou.state.ma.us

Ruth Balser of Newton – Vice-Chair
Telephone: (617) 722-2460
E-Mail Address: Rep.RuthBalser@hou.state.ma.us

Timothy Toomey of Cambridge
Telephone: (617) 722-2380
E-Mail Address: Rep.TimothyToomey@hou.state.ma.us

John Quinn of Dartmouth
Telephone: (617) 722-2020
E-Mail Address: Rep.JohnQuinn@hou.state.ma.us

Kevin Murphy of Lowell
Telephone: (617) 722-2877
E-Mail Address: Rep.KevinMurphy@hou.state.ma.us

Cleon Turner of Dennis
Telephone: (617) 722-2090
E-Mail Address: Rep.CleonTurner@Hou.State.MA.US

Kevin Aguiar of Fall River
Telephone: (617) 722-2140
E-Mail Address: Rep.KevinAguiar@hou.state.ma.us

Michael Brady of Brockton
Telephone: (617) 722-2014
E-Mail Address: Rep.Michaelbrady@hou.state.ma.us

Jason Lewis of Winchester
Telephone: (617) 722-2060
E-Mail Address: Rep.JasonLewis@hou.state.ma.us

Lewis Evangelidis of Holden
Telephone: (617) 722-2263
E-mail Address: Rep.LewisEvangelidis@hou.state.ma.us

Donald Humason of Westfield
Telephone: (617) 722-2803
E-mail Address: Rep.DonaldHumason@hou.state.ma.us

It only takes a minute or two to make a call and make a difference! Here’s a sample script: Hello! My name is XXX. I’m a constituent of XXXX’s. I’m calling today to request that Sen./Rep. XXX support Senate 847/House 2080, a Bill to Establish a Board of Midwifery. (You may be asked for your name again, as well as for your address and/or phone number).

It’s that simple.

Please call today, tomorrow, or any time before the summer break on Friday, 7/31, and help make good birth choices available to all MA women and their families.

Thanks so much for your support!

Ann Sweeney

Mass Friends of Midwives

http://www.mfom.org

***PLEASE FORWARD TO ALL LISTS***

29 July 2009 at 6:35 pm Leave a comment

Mon. 7/27/07 9:00 p.m. Ina Mae live

Attachment Parenting International, on APIlive, is having a live chat with Ina Mae Gaskin, title “Special Delivery:The Gift of Loving Your Best Birth (and Making Peace with Plan B). Sounds fabulous!!! Homebirth Grandma wants to hear it. I heard her speak in Chicago (LLLI Conference 2007) and she was fascinating!

26 July 2009 at 8:24 pm Leave a comment

**WE NEED YOUR HELP: ACOG PUSHING TO BLOCK PENDING MA MIDWIFERY BILL

Dear friends and supporters of midwifery,

We learned that yesterday ACOG (American College of OBs and GYNs) issued a legislative alert asking all member doctors to block the pending MA Midwifery Bill, which is being heard on Beacon Hill by the MA Joint Committee for Public Health this Tuesday, 7/28/2009.   This bill, when passed, will create a Board of Midwifery that will set and oversee standards of care for all midwives in Massachusetts.  A link with more information follows later in this post.

ACOG is actively trying to kill the Midwifery Bill, so we need to pull out all the stops to let legislators know we want improved midwifery access.

Please call your MA State Rep. and MA Senator TODAY, tomorrow, Monday, and TUESDAY, letting him/her know this bill is important to you and to urge its passage.  Feel free to call more than once.

It’s important for EVERYONE to call in support of this bill–members of this list but also parents, friends, and colleagues.

***Please pass along this request to everyone you know.***

You can find the name and contact information for your MA Senator and Rep., as well as the bill text (now known as Senate 847) at this following link.

(Please ignore the requests for sponsorship at this link and forgive us for not fully updating this site.)

It’s especially important to call voicing your support for the bill if you live in JP and are a constituent of Rep. Sanchez OR if your Representative or Senator is on the Joint Committee for Public Health.  Committee members and their districts are listed below:

http://www.mass.gov/legis/comm/j16.htm

Members appointed to the committee:

Fargo of Third Middlesex – Chair
Montigny of Second Bristol and Plymouth – Vice-Chair
Buoniconti of Hampden
Chandler of First Worcester
Flanagan of Worcester and Middlesex
Hedlund of Plymouth and Norfolk
Sanchez of Boston – Chair
Balser of Newton – Vice-Chair
Toomey of Cambridge
Quinn of Dartmouth
Murphy
of Lowell
Turner of Dennis
Aguiar of Fall River
Brady of Brockton
Lewis of Winchester
Evangelidis of Holden
Humason of Westfield

It only takes a minute or two to make a call and make a difference.

Here’s a sample script:

Hello!  My name is XXX.  I’m a constituent of XXXX’s.  I’m calling today to request that Sen./Rep. XXX support Senate 847, a Bill to Establish a Board of Midwifery. (You may be asked for your name again, as well as for your address and/or phone number).

It’s that simple.

Please call today and help make good birth choices available to all MA women and their families.

Thanks so much for your support!
Ann Sweeney
Mass Friends of Midwives
http://www.mfom.org

***PLEASE FORWARD TO ALL LISTS***

26 July 2009 at 2:00 pm 1 comment

Data vs. anecdote: breastfeeding rates

We know that breastfeeding rates vary greatly by location, hospital, etc. Race and a mother’s educational background also play a role. We also know that, no matter what, the average rates are not as high as we’d like them to be. You can look at some statistics here, but here’s my–again, purely personal and anecdotal–illustrative example:

In December I joined a playgroup with four other women. We’d all had babies within a month of each other last summer (between July 20th and August 22nd, 2008); we’re all college-educated, upper-middle-class, and obviously Massachusetts (more specifically Boston and Brookline) residents. That’s where the similarities among us ended, though, with regard to breastfeeding.

Mom #1: initiated breastfeeding in the hospital, but had a hard time and was only helped by L&D nurses (no lactation consultant); started giving formula before hospital discharge and never looked back; formula-fed exclusively for the first three months and then started solids early; now giving only a bottle of formula a day at eleven months, with baby otherwise exclusively on solids and cow’s milk.

Mom #2: initiated breastfeeding in the hospital, but had a hard time; started supplementing with formula before hospital discharge and used both breastmilk and formula until baby was six months old; started solids at four months, and stopped breastfeeding entirely at six months; at twelve months, baby entirely on solids and cow’s milk.

Mom #3: initiated breastfeeding in the hospital with no problems; breastfed exclusively for the first six months; started solids at six months; weaned baby off the breast by eleven months and switched to formula; at twelve months, baby on solids and two bottles a day of formula. 

Mom #4: initiated breastfeeding in the hospital with no problems; breastfed exclusively for the first six months; started solids at six months; at eleven months, baby on solids and nursing twice a day with those nursings to be cut out “soon.”

Mom #5 (me): initiated breastfeeding at birth (homebirth) but had a hard time; saw a lactation consultant and breastfed exclusively for the first six months; started solids very gradually using baby-led (Rapley) weaning; still breastfeeding 8 or so times a day at eleven months, including through the night; will continue to nurse until child weans on his own.

So, breastfeeding at birth: 100%

Breastfeeding upon hospital discharge: 80%

Exclusive breastfeeding from one week to six months: 60%

Breastfeeding through to one year: 40%

Breastfeeding beyond one year: 20%

Of course, the standard caveats apply–tiny tiny sample of convenience, etc. etc.–but what is interesting to me here is how our one group of five compares to the national average rates. What’s also interesting here is the OB to midwife ratio of the group–only the one other woman who even breastfed the entire first year had a midwife (CNM at Brigham and Women’s). Personally, I know my midwife was instrumental in helping me initiate breastfeeding and in referring me to a great lactation consultant. 

–Christina

24 July 2009 at 6:22 am Leave a comment

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