Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I've had 2 encouraging replies to my letters. The first one mentions the hearing being canceled, but it was rescheduled (it seems) as a way to halt the flow of letters and throw us off the trail. Didn't work. Over 100 midwifery supporters showed up. It made an impression for sure!
I promise I have hundreds of posts in my head. I'll do one soon!

Dear Ms. :

Thank you for writing Representative Maurer on the issue of a woman’s right to choose where and with whom she gives birth. Of course he recognizes that it is a family decision as well, as he has heard from a number of fathers who have written e-mails who have written letters in support of their partners birthing circumstances. For all of you- both the professionals and the clients (note the absence of the word “patient” as Rep. Maurer believes pregnancy is a natural state as opposed to a condition which routinely requires some sort on medical intervention) please understand he is committed to keeping Oregon a leader in the nation regarding mid-wife options for those who wish to use their services.

I apologize that I am unable to answer each of you individually who wrote this week but rest assured I have read all of your e-mails and have keep Rep. Maurer fully aware of how seriously you take this issue. I have just received a revised agenda for the House of Representatives Interim Health Care Committee on November 17, 2009 and it looks like you have been replaced by H1N1 as the last topic of the day. Between sessions committees meet about every eight weeks and these meetings are informational in nature. I stress this because I want you to know that I do not think that there will be any current change in policy at this time. Based on the fact our next session in February 2010 is only 4 weeks in length and each member is allowed only one bill I do not believe there will be any changes to the current law during the upcoming session.

I would be remiss if I were not to caution to remain vigilant and informed about what your legislators think about this subject. Be sure they understand your reasoning in a polite and articulate manner and your opinions will be taken seriously.

Best regards,

Allison Mac Mullin

Chief of Staff


Thank you so much for your email about midwifery and home birth.
I have received over 130 emails in the past 10 days from moms, dad, midwives, and students of midwifery telling about their experiences with home birth. As someone who has experience with home birth within my own family, this issue hits close to home for me, too.
During the hearing, I understood the concerns regarding home birth that were raised by the Home Birth Safety Committee, but I also heard you loud and clear: it should be up to parents how they choose to bring their children into the world. I promise to balance my consideration of safety with the rights of parents if this conversation continues.
Your advocacy is important and I appreciate it. I hope that you will be in touch with your legislators about this issue and others going forward. In the meantime, happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Ben Cannon
State Representative - House District 46
900 Court Street NE
Salem, OR 97301
(503) 236-3351 (Portland)
(503) 986-1446 (Capitol)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My letter to the Oregon House Health Care Committee

Tuesday, November 17th the Oregon House Health Committee will hold a hearing on direct entry midwives (DEMs) at about 4pm in Salem. I am going to try to figure out how to be there! There is movement afoot to make it very difficult to have a midwife-attended homebirth in Oregon. NOT OK!
I am e-mailing this letter to the committee members. I'll make some phone calls too. Please do the same if you can. Thanks!

I am a midwifery client. I chose to have a homebirth for the birth of my daughter in April. I had a hospital birth with my son 11 years ago and witnessed the births of my 2 adopted children in hospitals.
I did not make the decision to homebirth lightly. There seems to be some misconception about those who choose homebirth or birth center births. I am a 33 year old homemaker with a BS in Child Development. My husband of 13 years has a MS in Mechanical Engineering. I read extensively about birth, researched birth choices and gave the matter a lot of thought.
In my research, I learned that for uncomplicated birth, home is safer. Even in more "complicated" birth situations, such as breech presentation, twin birth or VBAC, for me, I felt safer with midwife who trusted my body's ability to give birth. I have found that many people look only at data showing whether or not mom and baby lived through the birth experience. The fact is, there is so much more to it than that. What about morbidity? Including, but not limited to, sever and disabling consequences from C-section mistakes, infection, reactions to medications, birth experiences that are so traumatic they leave the mother depressed or dealing with PTSD?
The reason I chose a homebirth was so I could maintain choice and control over my birth. In a hospital setting, women give up all autonomy over birth. Fear is used evey steop of the way to coerce families into going along with what the doctors and nurses want. What they want usually translates into "more convenient" or "more likely to hold up in court". Insurance companies and fear of litigation run the show. Research and evidence are ignored outright.
My midwife was very open with me about what the research said. I signed countless forms stating I understood the risks and benefits of each choice I made. I know that I was fully participating in the decisions made about MY baby and MY birth.
There was no carelessness or disregard for my safety. My midwife spent a full hour at every appointment. She looked for any signs me or my baby might have any sort of complications. She had a contingency plan for everything. If I had developed a complication and wanted or needed the care of a physician, she would have happily helped me obtain care from one.
Pregnancy and birth are not medical emergencies. By treating them as such, we are actually creating many of the problems we are trying to avoid. Too many babies are born premature because of doctors' hastiness to induce or surgically extract babies. Usually this is based on tests of questionable reliability. Trust in medicine is being eroded. For me personally, if my midwife has to "risk out" for everything under the sun--especially breech, twins and VBAC's--I will NOT choose to birth in a hospital with a doctor instead. I will birth with an unlicensed midwife or birth without any assistance at all. Based on conversations with other women, I know I am certainly not alone in this sentiment.