Saturday, November 28, 2009

New Blog!

As I find myself having less free time, the time has come to consolidate as much as possible. One way I'm doing that is by putting all my blogs in one place. Hopefully, this will help me to get information out faster and more often. So, follow me to my new home!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

MAMA Campaign Webinar!

MAMA Has Good News to Share!

Join Us for a Webinar on December 3rd to Learn All About It!

Register at

Our federal lobbyist, Billy Wynne will join representatives from the Campaign Steering Committee, on Thursday, December 3rd, for an exciting webinar about the MAMA Campaign at 8 pm EST. Please note that this is a new date. The webinar was previously scheduled for the beginning of Thanksgiving week, but that week was too busy for too many of our supporters so we have postponed the date a week to accommodate our supporters.

MAMA has good news to share! The effort to secure federal recognition of CPMs got a big boost this week – language beneficial to CPMs is included in the Senate health care bill just released on Wednesday, November 18th. And MAMA is still hard at work to include our amendment to reimburse CPMs in the federal Medicaid program in the final bill that will go to the President to be signed early next year.

You are invited to join us to hear:

* What this new language in the Senate bill will mean for midwives and
mothers across the country

* The impressive support for CPMs that MAMA has built among key
legislators over the last six months, that will serve midwives and
mothers well for years to come

* About the most successful fundraising campaign for midwifery ever!

* What the next steps are this year for Federal recognition for CPMs

It is easy to participate in the webinar!
Visit to register and
receive easy steps to join us. And during the webinar MAMA wants to answer your questions: email a question to and put “Webinar Question Submission” in the subject line.

We look forward to your participation!

MAMA thanks you for your support. If you have any questions, concerns or
comments please contact the campaign at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New MAMA Campaign News and a Webinar

Grassroots Network Message
MAMA Campaign: Great News! and Webinar

Dear Friends,

I'm hoping most of you have signed up for MAMA Campaign updates (go to ). If not, here is the latest! (see below) The hard work by the MAMA Campaign has achieved a great step in the right direction, plus you can sign up for a Webinar to find out in more detail what the Campaign has been doing!

Susan Hodges, "gatekeeper"

From the MAMA Campaign:

Items in this email:
1. Congress takes an important step forward for CPMs!
2. We need your help
3. Join MAMA for a Webinar about the Campaign next Monday!

Congress takes an important step forward for CPMs!

MAMA's hard work, with your intrepid support, is paying off! The Senate Finance Committee has included language in their bill that will advance the interests of CPMs and the women they serve - thanks to the support of a key Senator secured by MAMA!
On Friday, November 13th, MAMA representatives met with a top health aide to Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington State . In direct response to MAMA advocacy, Senator Cantwell has included a provision in the Senate Finance Committee bill that will require Medicaid to reimburse licensed birth attendants (which would include state-licensed CPMs) who provide services in licensed birth centers. We were told that the Senator feels strongly about including CPMs in the health care bill and recognizes that her home state of Washington has played a leading role in demonstrating the high quality and low cost of CPM care. The Senator has heard the call from MAMA loud and clear and committed to finding a way to move the ball forward for CPMs.

Building from language crafted by the American Association of Birth Centers for legislation that will require that birth centers receive payment for facility fees, Senator Cantwell was able to add language specifying payment to the providers - licensed birth attendants - as well. Other Finance Committee members, including the Chairman, lined up with Senator Cantwell in support of her provision, demonstrating that our outreach to those offices has also borne fruit. Of great significance, she has also secured the commitment of Senator Reid, the Democratic Majority Leader at the center of crafting the final health care bill this year, to keep her language in this year's final bill. Inclusion of this language represents a significant commitment on the part of the Senator, and we are very grateful to her for this important step forward for CPMs and for expanded choice for women and families!

As a key member of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Cantwell has a limited number of initiatives that she can champion herself, but she has offered to fully support any other Senator who will file MAMA's original provision on the floor of the Senate to require that Medicaid reimburse all CPMs in all settings.

We are proud of and grateful to all of the midwives and mothers in action in Washington State for the successful outreach to their Senator! And we are grateful to all of you who have helped to secure the wide support that the MAMA Campaign and CPMs enjoy in the Senate!

The provision included in the Senate Finance Committee bill will provide a strong legislative platform for further action to secure access to CPMs for all childbearing women, both in the current health care bill and in the years to come. It is interesting to note that a number of states have first secured just a portion of their initial legislative "ask" , and then accomplished their original goal in a subsequent year. In New Hampshire , for example, the midwives went to the legislature to mandate that all insurance carriers in the state reimburse the licensed midwives. That year, a mandate was passed that only reimbursed midwives operating out of licensed birth centers. The following year, the midwives were successful in having the mandate expanded to cover all licensed midwives offering services in all settings.

What is next for MAMA this year?
MAMA remains committed to including our original provision to mandate Medicaid reimbursement for all CPM services, regardless of site of birth, in the health care bills this year! We are in negotiation with Senate Finance Committee offices in the effort to secure a champion to file our amendment on the floor of the Senate. In addition, we have a strategy to leverage our support in both chambers to include our provision in the final bill that will be signed by the President, whatever the outcome in the Senate.

We need your help!
Please keep those letters to your Senators coming! You never know which letter will take us over the top and into the bill! Write today!

And please keep your dollars coming! You have made possible the most successful fundraising campaign for midwives ever! Now we are asking that you dig just a little deeper to fund us through the end of this legislative session. We have raised $140,000 to date! Washington State donors have been especially generous, accounting for 20% of this amount. We must raise an additional $30,000 in the next few weeks. If you have not given yet, please make a donation today. If you have given, please consider an additional gift today.

Join MAMA in a Webinar about the Campaign next Monday!

Please join the MAMA campaign steering committee for an informational webinar on the MAMA Campaign on Monday, November 23rd from 8-9 PM EST. Register at Come learn about our strategy, about exciting new developments in the campaign and about how you can support the Campaign's efforts to secure federal recognition of Certified Professional Midwives. The webinar will also strive to answer questions from supporters, so please submit questions ahead of the webinar by emailing, subject line: Webinar Question Submission. Click to register for the webinar.

MAMA thanks you for your support. If you have any questions, concerns or comments please contact the campaign at

Feel free to forward the Grassroots Network messages to others who might be interested!

If you find news, resources, or other valuable information that you think should be posted on the Grassroots Network, please send it to with "For the grassroots network" in the subject line. We will definitely consider using them!

Visit the Citizens for Midwifery website at .
Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your e-mail address. It's that simple!

Check out our website
Check out our blog
Find our Group and Cause pages on Facebook
Find us on My Space

JOIN Citizens for Midwifery!
Membership starts at only $10 to become a "Citizen" for Midwifery
Upgrade and receive the CfM News starting at $30 ($20 for students)
Easy to join on-line with a credit card go to

Are you interested in volunteering with some dynamic women in a supportive environment?
Help CfM promote the Midwives Model of Care!
We have many ways to get more involved.
Get in touch with us!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Happy Birthday!

In honor of my son's 8th birthday, I am posting his birth story. I have never shared any of my written down birth stories. The family situation has changed drastically since he was born, as have my views/knowledge of childbirth but I think the original story is what should be shared. It is raw, innocent of what was to come, and truthful in that moment. Enjoy!
Saturday November 17, 2001
Well, Billy finally got here. He was only 12 days past his due date. I was beginning to get scared I would have to be induced. I started to feel like I was in on the afternoon of the 14th. I had the same feeling I had the day before Leslee came. After work, we drove to Vicki's house to see if I had made any progress. Still dilated to 4cm, but more loose than the day before. My cervix was also a lot softer than it had been on Tuesday.
We went to Wal-Mart for groceries and carried on as usual. By 8pm that night I was starting to feel somewhat uncomfortable. We went to bed, but I found myself unable to sleep. I drank tea, read, and took baths but I still couldn't sleep. I let L sleep until about 3am, when the contractions were getting hard to handle by myself. I phoned Vicki and asked her to go ahead & come. L got up, and we started preparing ourselves for a baby.
The contractions proceeded to come and get stronger, but it wasn't the same type of pain I had with Leslee. With Leslee, I remember it being sharp pain around my whole belly and no waves ~ just constant. This time I could tell when a contraction was coming, and I felt more pressure than anything. I was able to walk around or rock in the rocking chair for the first few hours. By 3am, they were starting to get more intense and I felt like I needed help. I called Vicki and asked her to come. Then I woke up L(he was sick so I was trying to let him sleep). Vicki got here about 20 minutes later and by that time I would sit in the rocker breathing while L rocked me. I was relieved when she got there, even though I didn't think there was a whole lot she could do at that point. Helen, the doula, arrived about ten minutes after Vicki, and the moment she touched my head I knew I was glad she was there.
I kept my blue furry blanket with me almost the whole time. I found it not only kept me warm but also comforted me. Vicki brought a huge plastic ball for me to try to sit on. We set it up against the couch and I squatted on it, then leaned on L during contractions. I like that for quite a while. Vicki also brought her birthing stool, which I tried to sit on twice but never really liked. Around 4:30 or 5 we retreated to the spare bedroom/birth room. L and I laid on the bed (he rubbed my back during contractions) and Helen alternated between rubbing my legs and arms. I was able to rest a little during that time period. Vicki also brought these wonderful creations called hot socks (long tube socks filled with herbs & fragrances) that you heat in the microwave and place on your body. Those were really nice until close to the end. Helen brought aromatherapy oils with her, and I really liked those too.
As the pressure became more intense, I had trouble finding anything comfortable. Finally, I just hung on to L and we "danced" until the contractions were over. By this time I could hardly stand, so L was literally holding me up. Vicki and Helen told me to groan low in my throat to help, which it did! I felt stupid at first but I didn't care because it made the pressure seem less. Then I finally understood why my mom would make so many noises when my brothers were being born.
The first time I felt the sensations to push, it sort of scared me. I couldn't feel what I was doing with Leslee, and I never felt that urge. When I started pushing it felt very odd, and then something would click and it just felt okay. I knew I was doing it right. Then it stung. I could feel myself stretching and Billy coming down. vicki took my hand and touched it to Billy's head. I couldn't believe it. I was almost numb from him, but there he was and I could touch him. Then I had to try not to push so he could come out on his own. I saw his head come & Vicki told L to get where she was so he could catch him. He almost didn't make it ~ Billy came flying out. L put him directly onto my chest & I started crying. I was finally seeing my son and it was all over. I couldn't believe we had just done all this work ~ the pain was gone & we had this beautiful boy showing us how well his lungs worked.
About ten or twenty minutes later, L cut the cord and then I delivered the placenta. NO stomach mashing or pulling on the cord, she just asked me to push. It came out perfectly and in one piece. After Vicki checked it I got to see it. It looked like the pictures, but it was definitely different. I could see the little white spots where it was starting to disintegrate ~ I was 1 1/2 weeks overdue. Vicki showed me how it had looked inside my body, and where Billy had been held. She said the sack was very strong, which meant I had eaten very healthy while I was pregnant. By this time Billy was nursing, and as I watched him I still couldn't believe he was here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Call your legislator today!

Courtesy of the Big Push for Midwives:

Now that the House has passed health care reform legislation WITHOUT CPMs included, it has become clear that we need our OWN bill. The Senate is our best hope to do that.

Please call your Senators today and ask them to take the lead in introducing a BILL to provide Medicaid payment of Certified Professional Midwife services.

To find your Senators and their contact information, go to:


Call the U.S. Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators' offices.

Midwives and other childbirth professionals: It's very important to pass this action alert to your clients and ask them to make calls TODAY!

A separate bill for CPMs gives us many more options for ensuring that their services are federally recognized and covered and it allows us to recruit supporters from BOTH parties!

Keep trying if you don't get through. Call AGAIN even if you've called already-it takes more than one call! LOTS of groups are calling their Senators about health care reform today-support for Certified Professional Midwives and out-of-hospital maternity care needs to get heard through all the noise!

Ask to speak with your Senator's legislative health assistant. Be sure to get his/her name. This is critical information for us to follow-up with the staff.

Please note that emails and messages left with receptionists are not effective!

Ask that your Senator take the lead in introducing a bill to provide Medicaid payment for the services of Certified Professional Midwives, who are the only type of midwife in the U.S. with specialized training in out-of-hospital maternity care.

Call or email Karen Fennell and tell her who you talked with and any comments or additional information requested so she can follow up with offices. Call 301-830-3910 or send an email to

Some background information and talking points to add if you wish:

§ Pregnant women are being denied access to maternity care thanks to an oversight in Medicaid law that denies low-income women who seek out-of-hospital maternity care access to Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all but 11 states.

§ Because of this gap in Medicaid law, thousands of women in states across the country unable to utilize the services of providers with a proven record of improving outcomes.

§ Denying pregnant women access to Certified Professional Midwives saddles our health care system with hundreds of millions of dollars in additional costs each year.

§ Across the country in rural and urban communities, Certified Professional Midwives are already meeting the needs of pregnant women and their infants who have nowhere else to go at a time when many other maternity care providers have abandoned these communities to practice in more affluent suburbs and exurbs.

§ Demand for access to out-of-hospital birth under the care of Certified Professional Midwives-who are specially trained to provide it-has increased 27% since 1996.

§ Research consistently shows that low-risk women who plan out-of-hospital births under the care of Certified Professional Midwives experience outcomes equal to low-risk women who give birth in the hospital, but with far fewer costly and preventable interventions, including a five-fold decrease in cesarean surgery.

§ Certified Professional Midwives have a proven history of reducing low birth weight and preterm birth, the main causes of neonatal death in the United States and two of the primary contributing factors to racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes, as well as to the costs associated with long-term care.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The end of an era

I am saddened that this wonderful place will no longer be serving Missouri's birthing women. A dear friend of mine gave birth in this facility several years ago, and offers nothing but high praise for Dr. Allemann, the staff, and the Center itself.

I feel fortunate to have met Elizabeth on several occasions in the past few years. She is a strong, passionate woman dedicated to helping other women in an informed manner. She is a rarity among medical professionals, at least in my experience, and her gifts to so many birthing women will live on. She will still be practicing, thank goodness!, but will no longer be attending births. Elizabeth, I know you will be dearly missed and I wish you only the best on your new adventures...and some much needed sleep!

Columbia Community Birth Center to close at end of year

Wednesday, October 28, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
Ivy White, a certified professional midwife in Columbia, holds 6 week-old William Leigh at the Columbia Community Birth Center before an appointment Sept. 18. A law passed last summer made it legal for midwives like White to assist in the birthing process without the presence of a physician.

COLUMBIA — After operating for almost three years and delivering 175 babies, the Columbia Community Birth Center plans to close at the end of year.

The center was searching for a new physician to take the position of medical director after Elizabeth Allemann announced she would be leaving at the end of October, but the search was unsuccessful.

The Columbia Community Birth Center, a not-for-profit organization, opened in January 2007 and offered a number of female health services, including natural birth under the supervision of midwives.

According to certified professional midwife and the center's executive director, Ivy White, the closing isn't just about the vacant physician's spot, but also the change in the political scene for certified midwives.

"We're moving on. I think the political climate is becoming more friendly towards midwives, and the medical community has started accepting certified professional midwives," White said.

Allemann is leaving her position at the center to focus on herself and her family. She will remain a family physician and acupuncturist at her private practice in Columbia.

Allemann ran for the 19th District Missouri senate seat during the 2008 primary but dropped out quickly. She is an advocate for midwifery laws in Missouri.

"I am an advocate for women making their own options for their health care," Alleman said. "The more options we have, the better people's health is."

A 2007 law upheld by the Missouri Supreme Court legalized midwifery. Before the law, midwifery was illegal if done without a licensed physician.

Allemann says she is curious to see how the center closing will affect the strong home birthing presence in central Missouri.

"Out-of-hospital births are becoming less controversial and more acceptable, so I'm hoping the next incarnation of a birthing center will result in more support from the medical community," Allemann said.

Anastasia Pottinger, a Columbia photographer, received prenatal care from the birthing center but had her child at the hospital.

"I tried to make a bridge between the two, but the birthing center was a relaxing place," Pottinger said. "There was a fireplace, rocking chairs, art on the wall. It was different than walking into a hospital."

Pottinger was a regular at the birthing center and said 75 percent of her birth photography is from home births or the birthing center, and she showcased some of her photos at the center.

"Last week I took the pictures off the walls. I was happy, but sad," Pottinger said. "It was an end of an era."

Thursday, October 29, 2009

National CPM Support NOW!!

All right Missouri birth supporters and advocates! Now is the time. We KNOW we can implement change...we did it here and we can do it nationally! Please sign this petition and/or call your legislator. It is so easy and only takes a few minutes. Give 'em a push!

The Big Push for Midwives

Push the Petition! We're Nearly 10,000 Strong!

Thank you for signing the petition supporting CPMs in health care reform.

We need to reach our goal of 10,000 names this week, as Congress moves closer to taking final action on health care reform legislation. All members of Congress need to know that support for CPMs and out-of-hospital birth in their state is strong!

Be sure to forward this message far and wide and ask your family and friends to lend their support to the cause.

Midwives, it is especially important for you to let your clients know that we need them to speak up!

If you live in one of the following states, we really need you to act. We can't allow Delaware's Congressional delegation to believe that only 11 people in the entire state support midwives and home birth! If you live in Delaware, spread the word NOW!

Or Utah, South Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, West Virginia and Wyoming! Surely there are at least 100 people in each of these states who can let their elected officials in DC know how much they support access to midwifery care!

Most states have hundreds of signatures, some close to 1000. But if you live President Obama's home state of Hawaii, or in Senator McCaskill's home state, Missouri, or in her neighbor state, Kansas, Congress needs to hear your voices today!

We can't afford to allow any members of Congress to think that there are fewer than 100 midwifery supporters in ANY state! If you have family or friends in any of the states mentioned, please reach out to them.

Those are states with fewer than 100 signatures but we need ALL the states to give the petition one more Push over the top so we can reach our goal and put Congress on notice that we want access to CPMs now!