Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Borealis gets political about homebirthing

These children never take naps at the same time!

I'm either caring for them simultaneously (which I enjoy and is to be expected) or lulling one to sleep, hoping the other will sleep or stay asleep, and then mentally howling, "BAHHHH!!" as he inevitably wakes up. Can't a woman get more than 15 minutes peace around here?? Apparently not with a toddler and a baby.

I assume that at some point their naps will align and that this is just a phase in my life, but until then, I need to remember to gather my rosebuds. I usually do, but even that post was written while rocking Pumpkin in his little rocker with my right foot as I typed. Like I'm doing right now.

There! I worked that out of my system.

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There is a lot of excitement going down in the South Dakota legislature. You read that right. When we were looking to move out into the rolling prairies, we were initially looking in South Dakota. We found the "perfect place" in Southwestern Minnesota right around the same time I found out that midwives in South Dakota are prosecuted and jailed for assisting in a homebirth. Yes, you read that correctly as well. There are a number of states for which this is the case, 14 total, I believe; South Dakota being one of them. There are a total of 20 states where midwifery is preserved and protected, where Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) are licensed and allowed to practice. I'm not sure what the deal is for the other 16 states.

Anyhow, I am so thankful that we ended up staying in Minnesota. Our midwife is from South Dakota and has served jail time over assisting homebirthing families. After a month in jail, she moved all her operations to the MN border, where she has several safe houses for pre-natal care, the actual labor and delivery, as well as post-partum checks. What a woman!!

Currently, a bill (HB 1155, the "CPM bill") that would begin licensing CPMs to practice in South Dakota has gone in front of the Health and Human Services Committee, only to be voted out 8-5. They re-worked the bill a bit and presented it to the committee again, only to be voted out 7-6. This has prompted a "smoke out", where HB 1155 was moved to the entire house to vote whether it should be moved past the committee and onto the floor for a full debate.

I'm pleased to say that the smoke out will more than likely be a success! Sometime within the next week, a full floor debate should take place, allowing for personal testimony and rebuttals against the opposition. A charming example of the 'opposition' is a representative, also a retired doctor, also on the Health and Human Services Committee, saying publicly that people who choose a homebirth are "selfish". Riiiiiiiight. Because hospitals are the only safe place to give birth? Or because choosing to give birth with the assistance of a competent midwife in a home setting is wrong? Incorrect? A sin??

Moving on...this is huge. South Dakotans have been working towards this goal since 1993. And that, folks, is a mighty long time. If anyone has any interest in respectfully emailing a South Dakota representative in support of licensing CPMs in the state of South Dakota, go here for a list of their email addresses (see "House Members"). All you would need to say is, "Please support HB 1155" or "South Dakota needs Certified Professional Midwives - please vote yes on HB 1155, to begin licensing CPMs for South Dakota families" or "Although I may be from a different state, I believe that South Dakotans deserve the right to give birth at home with the assistance of a competent midwife - please support HB 1155". They need to hear from as many people as possible, in addition to their constituents. As you would imagine, I have been doing my small part by emailing them [during my precious free time]. It's exciting! Some of them even write back. I always include my full name and my address, so they know it is a real person behind the plea.

Ra! Ra! Ra! Go South Dakota!!

To learn more about CPMs and midwifery in general, go to - The North American Registry of Midwives.


Jenni said...

Great post! That is just amazing! So glad that I live in Washington where were have the right to have our babies where we want, it's just crazy to say that you can't have your baby at home!!! Thanks for the article!

Jenell said...

Coordinating naps is a huge challenge for us - some days it sort of works, but mostly not. If everyone slept according to his preference, we would have less than 30 minutes a day when we could leave the house to play. the result is that the baby gets dragged around and has to nap as best he can - he hardly ever gets accomodated. I feel for you.