Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Connecticut Docs & Midwives Speak Out For Midwifery! October 16, 2009

Filed under: In The News — NursingBirth @ 9:40 AM
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Yesterday the Connecticut newspaper New Haven Register published an opinion piece entitled “Media out of focus on midwifery” by Holly Powell Kennedy, CNM, Charles J. Lockwood, MD, and Edmund Funai, MD and I have to say, I am very very pleased to read such a focused, well-reasoned, supportive article on birth choice, the safety of homebirth, and the need for hospitals around this country to step up and better meet the needs of birthing families!  And for it to be written by two obstetricians and a certified nurse midwife….its just too good to be true!!


Favorite quotes of mine include:


  • “Women are not seeking “designer” births. They are looking for humanistic care during pregnancy, labor and birth and are increasingly having difficulty finding that in many hospitals.”


  • “It is essential that women are provided with the opportunity to have a supported and safe birth. This means protecting them from preventable harm, and ensuring that clinicians are skilled in appropriate low intervention care and know when it is necessary to intervene.”


  • “While midwives and obstetricians will continue to debate the safety and appropriateness of home birth, less controversial is the fact that some women seek to give birth in alternative settings because they do not see hospitals as meeting their needs.”



Yes, Yes, and YES!


Thanks to Christina at the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives Blog posting about this article!  What a great start to my day!!


One Woman’s Journey To Her Own HBAC Water Birth and 360 Degree Career Change October 12, 2009

I found this video on It’s Your Birth Right! this morning and was so incredibly moved that I had to share it with you all:


My Journey to a VBAC by Lindsey Meehleis


What an amazing and empowering story to watch on so many levels!  I am inspired by Lindsey’s story in many ways:


First, as a woman who has yet to have any children.  After watching this video I am left with feelings of awe, reverence, and respect for what we as women are capable of!  I can’t help but be excited about my own potential as someone able (I hope of course) to conceive, grow, nurture, birth, and nourish a new life!  (I am giving myself goose bumps just thinking about it!!) 



Second, as a labor and delivery nurse.  Watching this video reminds me not only of what consumers of maternity care are capable of but also of how much of a difference each one of us can make just by changing our own attitude, educating our own minds, and stacking the cards in our favor to help shape our own experiences!  (Now I’m going to be humming Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror for the rest of the day: “If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself, and then make a change!  Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na, Na Nah!”  J)  And as a labor and delivery nurse I hope to help as much as I can help by strategically, respectfully, and appropriately planting little “seeds” of encouragement, knowledge, and know-how in the minds of the many women I am fortunate enough to meet in my personal and professional life.



Third as a labor and delivery nurse who has yet to have children!!  Lindsey wrote, “As the years pass and [my daughter] grows I soon find myself sending my baby off to kindergarten!  Fighting off the urges to have another baby over the years because of the intense fear I have of having the same birth experience again.   I know that its time and I must face my fears head on!  All of my training and experience with over 175+ births has surely had to of taught me something!  Without looking back I take a leap of faith and trust my body will work!” 


I hear nurses I work with all the time say “Oh I am so glad I had my children before I started working here!  I would have been a nervous wreck if I was in your position!”  My first thought it always “Umm yeah thanks, that isn’t very comforting.”  But I also know that I am so very fortunate to have worked where I work before having kids.  I think about how much I didn’t know before I started and how I very easily could have been a victim of situations like these.  However, as much as I know in my heart that I want to take that leap of faith and trust my body will work as I have seen it so many times before, even labor and delivery nurses like me have that little voice of doubt in the back of their minds.  You know the one that says “But can I really do it?”  So reading stories like Lindsey’s where even a midwife has that little voice is very reassuring to me that a certain amount of worrying and doubt is totally normal and doesn’t mean that I will fall victim to the old adage “Oh she’s a nurse?  Set up the back for a cesarean!” 



Forth, as a nurse with aspirations of becoming a midwife.  Lindsey wrote, “I knew at the deepest level of my being that I had to help women, educate women” and I have to say, when I have the privilege of being part of an incredibly empowering birth experience I can’t help but think to myself, “I have to be a midwife!  I just have too!”  Likewise, when I find myself in one hell of a mess at work (especially if a midwifery model of care and the Six Healthy Birth Practices that Support Normal Birth are not followed for any other reason besides true medical necessity) I also think to myself, “I have to be a midwife!  I just have too!” 



I hope you enjoyed this video as much as I did.  Stay tuned for next time as I have been excited to tell you all about an absolutely amazing birth I was lucky enough to be a part of where I had My First Catch


Sign the Petition! Demand Accurate Reporting of ALL Birth Options!! October 1, 2009

Dear Readers,


Choices in Childbirth, a NYC based non-for-profit advocacy group whose mission is to improve maternity care by providing the public, especially childbearing women and their families, with the information necessary to make fully informed decisions relating to how, where, and with whom they will give birth, has recently created a petition in response to NBC’s Today Show segment entitled “The Perils of Midwifery” (later changed to “The Perils of Homebirth” and even later taken off the internet all together!!) speaking out against the segment’s inaccurate, fear mongering, sensationalized, and outrageous portrayal of midwife-attended homebirth, of midwives in general, and of the families who chose this option. 


Below is the letter attached to the petition.  If you feel the same way please consider SIGNING.   On October 9th, the last day of National Midwifery week, representatives from Choices in Childbirth will deliver the letter and petition to The Today Show at NBC’s headquarters in NYC.  The goal is to get at least 5,000 signatures by October 9th and as of today, the petition already has 3,653!!!


Thank you,





Petition Letter:


Dear NBC Producers,

    We, the undersigned, collectively voice our deepest concerns over what we believe has been a gross misrepresentation both of midwife-attended homebirth and of the women who choose this option.


While empathizing deeply with the McKenzie family and their loss, we are shocked at the way in which NBC’s “Today Show” chose to portray homebirth as dangerous while choosing to ignore ample medical research that demonstrates its safety in the US and in other developed countries around the world. Not only did the producers of the Today Show ignore journalistic due diligence, they also chose to ignore basic rules of fairness by repeatedly citing doctors and the trade union that represents them while denying midwives and their proponents a voice.   This is simply irresponsible journalism, and misleading to your viewers. We expect more from such a well-respected program.

    We stand in support of families who choose to birth their babies at home with a skilled midwife, not for hedonistic reasons, as the Today Show segment so insultingly suggests, but because they truly believe that it is the best option for themselves and their babies. We support women who choose home birth, who are not following a fad, but who are following their hearts and their informed minds to seek a birth that is both safe and healthy. Far from being a recent trend or fashion, midwifery draws on a continuum of knowledge and experience that goes back many centuries. Midwives are well-trained professionals who specialize in normal birth and provide outcomes that are often superior to obstetrician-attended birth. To suggest otherwise is deeply offensive.

The Today Show missed an opportunity to discuss why, despite its near universal reliance on hospital-based, physician-attended obstetric care in birth, America has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world. It missed an opportunity to discuss the reasons why highly educated, thoughtful and responsible women are choosing a home birth with a qualified midwife as an alternative to a hospital birth- an option that other countries have proven again and again costs less money, necessitates fewer c-sections, and provides better outcomes for mothers and babies than our system. The Today Show missed an opportunity to ask why the United States spent $86 billion in 2006 on maternity care that left the US with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the developed world and left women and their families asking for more choices in their maternity care.

Although every infant death is a terrible tragedy, the real scandal about birth in the US lies not in the death of the McKenzie’s baby alone, but in the fact that 13.6 African American babies die for every thousand live births; an infant mortality rate that is triple that of Denmark or South Korea. What is truly shocking is not that a fraction of women choose home birth, but that our international infant mortality ranking has worsened from 12th in the world in 1960 to 29th in 2004 during the same period that our rates of medical intervention in birth have gone up exponentially- Cesarean section rates alone have more than tripled. 

We are passionate about childbirth issues because we know that, like the rest of the healthcare system in this country, there is much room for improvement.  Drawing battle lines between midwives and doctors and terrorizing the public unnecessarily are hardly constructive means to this end. We call on the Today Show to provide the public with the whole story regarding the evidence and viewpoints supporting the choice of midwife-assisted home birth.


We call on the Today Show to choose responsible journalism.






Midwife and Author of “Silent Knife” in the News! September 25, 2009

Filed under: In The News — NursingBirth @ 8:46 AM
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So first the USA Today article and now this!  Is it too good to be true?  Is the media finally starting to come around to writing about homebirth without sensationalized headlines, damning quotes from disapproving docs, and horror stories of homebirths gone wrong?  Well if I keep stumbling upon articles like this one from Wicked Local Needham (a companion website to The Needham Times) it certainly won’t be too good to be true! 


The article is titled simply: Needham midwife helps moms give birth at home.   Writted by journalist Steven Ryan, the piece highlights homebirth midwife and author of the book Silent Knife: Cesarean Prevention and Vaginal Birth after Cesarean(VBAC) Nancy Wainer of Birth Day Midwifery Care.  The article is absolutely fantastic, not because it is a stunning literary masterpiece, but because it is a simple, well written feature on a homebirth midwife.  Ryan gives a brief history of why Wainer is where she is today, speaks to her many years of experience and education and rounds out the piece with many great quotes from happy and satisfied home birth clients. 


My favorite quote was this:


“Milly Ramsey described the birth as intense, but doesn’t regret her decision to have the baby naturally and at home.


‘I was very comfortable at home,’ Ramsey said. ‘It was intense. I was out of it when he was born but I felt very supported. I felt like I wasn’t alone … The best part was I got to hold him on my belly all slippery and wet and they didn’t take him away. He stayed with me.'”


Thank you Wicked Needham Local for a great pick-me-up before I head off to work!  Oh and by the way, LOVE the name of your website!


Thanks to Christina at the Massachusetts Friends of Midwives blog and my google reader for alerting me to this article!!


USA Today Weighs In On Homebirth September 17, 2009

On Monday, USA TODAY, a national American daily newspaper that has the widest circulation of any newspaper in the U.S., published an article entitled For some women, no place like home for childbirth by Rita Rubin.  As usual, I was worried when I clicked on the link as typically when mainstream media gets a hold on the “home birth debate” it gets ugly.  (Case in point: see The Perils of Midwifery.  Please don’t get me STARTED on that GARBAGE!!)  However Rubin’s article was pretty alright. 


First of all the couple highlighted in the piece had a beautiful homebirth experience.  (What?  You mean it wasn’t a horrible regrettable disaster!?!)  Second she actually interviews and quotes a homebirth midwife in the article .(What a novel idea!! You mean it is responsible journalism to actually interview midwives when writing an article on them!)  And thirdly she ends on a positive note with a quote from Alice Bailes, a certified nurse midwife who attends homebirths in Virginia, “We get to see one normal birth after another.”


Although the article didn’t get away with writing about home births without quoting ACOG’s mantra “Home deliveries are for pizza”, I think this article did a pretty good job for mainstream media.  Thanks Rubin!  You give me hope!


Believe! A Tear-Jerkin’ Inspirational Midwifery Ad September 4, 2009

The other day I stumbled upon a YouTube video advertisement for a midwife in Albuquerque, New Mexico via a friend’s facebook page.  You’d think that I must get sick of watching videos of births and babies since I am, after all, a labor and delivery nurse but alas, I am a true birth junkie and just can’t get enough!!  I don’t know anything about the midwife in the movie but I have to say that not only do I BELIEVE everything she quotes in the video but I wish that every health care professional that provides care for childbearing familes felt and practiced the same way as she does! 


I believe that every mother DESERVES a midwife and that every baby DESERVES to be born into gentle hands!




The following is from Citizens for Midwifery:


The Midwives Model of Care

The Midwives Model of Care is based on the fact that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes.

The Midwives Model of Care includes:

  • Monitoring the physical, psychological, and social well-being of the mother throughout the childbearing cycle
  • Providing the mother with individualized education, counseling, and prenatal care, continuous hands-on assistance during labor and delivery, and postpartum support
  • Minimizing technological interventions
  • Identifying and referring women who require obstetrical attention


The application of this woman-centered model of care has been proven to reduce the incidence of birth injury, trauma, and cesarean section.

Copyright (c) 1996-2008, Midwifery Task Force, Inc., All Rights Reserved.


The Big Push For Midwives Campaign 2009 June 25, 2009

I believe that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy processes and should not be treated as illness or disease and that women and babies have the inherent wisdom necessary for birth.


I believe that midwives can obtain quality education and experience in a variety of ways and programs, including certified nurse midwifery and direct-entry midwifery.


 I believe that women need access to professional midwives whose educational and credentialing process provides them with expertise in out-of-hospital birth as well as hospital-based and clinical care that extends beyond the childbearing cycle.


 I believe that empowering and safe births can and do take place in a variety of settings including birth centers, hospitals, and homes.


 I believe that every woman should have the opportunity to give birth as she wishes in an environment in which she feels nurtured and secure and her emotional well-being, privacy, and personal preferences are respected, whether that be in a hospital, birthing center, or at home and I believe that women in every part of the United States DESERVE THAT CHOICE!


  (Excerpts from my post My Philosophy: Birth, Breastfeeding, and Advocacy)




Because of all of these things I support The Big Push For Midwives Campaign 2009 and I want to share with all of you a bit more about it!!


According to BigPushTube:


“The Big Push for Midwives Campaign builds state-level advocacy campaigns to license Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico, and educates national policymakers about out-of-hospital maternity care.


 [The Big Push for Midwives Campaign] works tirelessly to:


1) Educate state and national policymakers about the reduced costs and improved outcomes associated with out-of-hospital maternity care. $9.1 BILLION IN SAVINGS PER YEAR.


2) Support advocacy groups working for state licensure in the 24 states where out-of-hospital practice by CPMs is under threat of criminal prosecution.


3) Encourage mothers to tell their stories because only grassroots activists will be able to topple the money/power vested in keeping the status quo.


4) Advocate for CPM guaranteed reimbursement in National Health Reform, the Federal Employees Health Benefit Plan, Tricare, and Medicaid/Medicare.


5) Support freestanding birth centers seeking guaranteed Medicaid reimbursement, and midwives advocating for equitable Medicaid reimbursement rates.


The Big Push for Midwives Campaign empowers midwife advocates and moms groups as they promote increased access to out-of-hospital maternity care and the Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) who are specially trained to provide it.


Our dedicated campaigners, or “Pushers” as they are affectionately known, help to educate the people in power (at the insurance companies, in the hospital associations, in the Statehouses, and on Capitol Hill) about the reduced costs and improved outcomes associated with using out-of-hospital maternity care and CPMs, who are specially trained to provide it, and works to widely share the stories of U.S. citizens who choose CPMs as their maternity care providers.” 



I found this video on YouTube and I got all verklempt watching it!!  (Perhaps it was partly related to the beautiful song that was playing throughout the movie!  I’m such a sap!)  It’s only about 4 minutes long so if you have a chance please take a look!




 Our mothers and babies in this country DESERVE better care than what they are receiving!!  They DESERVE a midwifery model of care (whether that is provided by a certified nurse midwife, a certified professional midwife, a family practice physician, or an obstetrician).  They DESERVE to have CHOICES in childbirth that are proven to promote the best outcomes for both mothers and babies.  And they deserve these choices to be LEGAL!


Have you ever heard the term “lay midwife”?  Are you under the impression that a “lay midwife” doesn’t have any education and that all midwives who attend out of hospital births are “lay midwives?”  Do you want to know what the term “lay midwife” is really referring to?  Are you interested in learning what the real differences are between the different types of midwives?  Are you interested in learning more about how midwives train and what type of education they obtain?  If so please check out:  FAQ about Midwives and Midwifery by Citizens for Midwifery (CfM) and Midwifery Definitions by the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA).


 Have any of you ever received care from a certified professional midwife?  I’d love to hear about it!