Today I attended a meeting at the Health Department. I was late but I can assure you, not late enough!
The meeting was to discuss the one room exemption for birth suites. Some licensed midwives, two certified nurse midwives and some direct entry midwives have opened natalocs based on the exemption.
The "State" (health committee) is worried about the reason that women would choose this option for giving birth and are concerned about the "blood on their hands" because women may believe these centers are state regulated. One of the committee members said, "Maybe it is as easy as, we simply make you have a sign stating the centers are not state regulated". Many public members said, "Yes, Yes, Let's do that!"
The woman presenting the information to the committee on the behalf of the State was very anti-midwifery, home birth and VBAC, especially in an unregulated setting. While producing her own presentation she left out a lot of information showing statistical information on the safety and the precedence of care in out of hospital settings. She also incorrectly implied that LDEM's where only licensed to practice in the home, when it clearly states that they are out of hospital providers in the LDEM laws.
She also presented information on Suzanne Smith's website and pointed out that her website was very professionally created and that professionalism translates into competency and therefor is problematic. (Because being competent is a problem...for who? The State or the hospital's competing for a buck? Because it's not a problem for mothers, right?!)
All in all, it was blood pressure rising and grossly misrepresentation of qualified woman caring for their clients in the setting most comfortable for the woman. The biggest problem we face is the lack of understanding that midwives are "with women" where they need to be on their terms and in the environment they deem most comfortable to them. We support women in any position they want, we check them when they ask, or not at all if they never ask. We hold the role of support and guardian and we help sustain the measure of safety as best we can. We also understand and as do our clients that birth is as safe as life gets. There are no guarantees, We are careful cautious and we listen to our mothers. Our mothers are the ones with the most information about themselves and their babies and that is why we offer the best care available.
Medical care is so clinical and so disconnected from the woman and that is a difference that no hospital no matter how cute the paint can compete with and it isn't a model of care that fits with the medical machine.
Sadly, it looks like once again, we are headed to the state legislature. To protect the practice and lively hoods of midwives and to stop trade infringement. We need to make sure these centers can remain open and protect the midwives so they may offer their clients options for their birthing needs.