Friday, February 29, 2008

Smiling Henry

Another smiling newborn!
Welcome to Henry Franklin Herring, born so peacefully and quietly
at home in the water on February 23, 2008.
He joins Dina, Jason and Pica Herring!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Thank you Royal Midwives!

April 2007. The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives published their joint statement on Home Births. (These two organizations are comparable to ACOG and the ACNM here in the US-- we just don't give them royalty status.)
Here is what they have to say:
"There is no reason why home birth should not be offered to women at low risk of complications and it may confer considerable benefits for them and their families. There is ample evidence showing that labouring at home increases a woman's likelihood of a birth that is both satisfying and safe (emphasis mine), with implications for her health and that of her baby."
They go on to say, "women and voluntary organisations have challenged the one-dimensional approach to options for place of birth and have influenced the portfolio of evidence now available to support a return to a more diverse range of childbirth environments."
They also mention crazy stuff like birth as a rite of passage, a family event, choice, control, a normal life event, engaging fathers/partners in the appropriate care and upbringing of their children, empowerment, self esteem. What is with those people? What kind of tea are they drinking anyway? If you want to see the full story, click here.
They even suggest that the RCM and the RCOG could develop "a shared philosophy, fostering a service culture of reciprocal valuing of all birth environments."
Haven't they seen the ACOG statement? Oh yeah, ACOG wrote their statement a few weeks ago. Did ACOG even LOOK at this statement before they wrote their own? Thank God there is some sanity in this world.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Smiling Newborn

Have you ever seen a newborn smile?

We have!

Could it be that she is happy?

Sometimes we just can't stop 'em!

A good birth has many benefits.

Welcome to Kaia River Dimitroff, born at home on February 12, 2008!
Keep on smilin', girlfriend!!

If you have photos of a smiling newborn, send them to me at and we'll post them. This is NOT gas!!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sarah and Zig

Sarah and Zig are much bigger it seems
77 days to go
Imbolc- Feb 2nd has come and gone
We are dedicated to our new life
filled with purple, green, and rainbow possibilities

Tying up the loose ends of our old life
testing our focus and commitment to a stress-free living
Dark Moon, Solar eclipse in Aquarius (Feb 6th) encourage
"Radical Door Shutting" burning up fears
We are capable of limitless acceptance and joy!

On the verge of becoming...a family
The funnel of birth is imminent
We call in special people to hold the birth place magick in our home by the sea
Sarah's Dad Spencer to lay a foundation of safety.
Sarah's Mom Maureen to make the most delicious Macaroni ever tasted.
Sarah's sister Aimee to make us laugh so hard we dribble.
Doula Sarah Jane to help Sarah's body relax and witness.
Midwife Maria to safeguard our health and catch.
Todd to hold and guide his loves through the eye of the light.
Sarah to open the door.
Zig to come claim her life.
And a Priestess to pray for all of us.

We are holding a vision of a relaxed, cozy feeling surrounding Ziggy
especially on her first day on earth
pleasant surprises are welcome
to mingle with the trusted sources of goodness,
a welcome greeting for our miracle.

Thank you for all the ways you support us, inspire us and make us laugh.

Big Kisses,
Sarah, Ziggy & Todd

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Response to ACOG Statement

“The more the practice of midwifery grows and succeeds, the more threatening midwives are to the obstetric monopoly, so, predictably, there has been an obstetric backlash.” — Marsden Wagner, M.D., former Director of Women’s and Children’s Health at the World Health Organization.

And so it seems, as of February 6, 2008, that we are seeing this backlash from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). Their latest statement against homebirth is a bullying move on the chess board of American maternity care, designed to intimidate, threaten and belittle an ever growing movement of “other than” birth in the United States. Is it no surprise that on the wake of a huge popular movement in many major cities across the country, inspired by a new movie, The Business of Being Born, which portrays midwifery and homebirth, ACOG felt compelled to puff out their chest and tell us once again there stance on homebirth? Really, it does seem somewhat disingenuous that they should reissue this statement at all, is it any different from their 2002 statement? But the midwifery movement is growing in both visibility and numbers. For once, natural childbirth activists feel hopeful that the pendulum may be swinging back to a more natural and simple way of birthing. So, of course, the bullies on the block have to step in to assert their own OPINION about the newest kid that’s treading on their turf.

“As midwifery becomes better established in the United States, it becomes more difficult for the obstetric establishment to perpetuate the myth that midwives are not as safe as doctors,” says Marsden Wagner in his book, Born in the USA. Posturing and an “our-way-is-the-only-way” attitude will be seen for the empty threats that they represent. American women are strong, capable and smart enough to figure out that what this really represents is a power struggle that really has no place in her own birth experience. Women are capable of doing the research (and 5,000 birthing women across North America does not represent a “limited” study, see BMJ article), and making their own informed decisions around where and with whom they would like to give birth. No birth is risk-free, no birth setting is risk-free; however, “a review of the research leaves no doubt that a planned home birth attended by a nurse-midwife or direct-entry midwife is a perfectly safe option for the 80 to 90 percent of women who have had normal pregnancies.”

So, instead of the backlash, instead of the resistance to change, substantiated by evidence-based research, instead of the defensive posturing, perhaps ACOG could use their dollars to support women’s choice, to honor women’s process and continue to improve upon collaborative efforts between doctors and out-of-hospital practitioners. Other countries already know that home birth is a cost-effective, safe and satisfying option for women. Will we always be last in regards to infant morbidity and mortality and will ACOG, who arguably directs maternity care in the US, continue to ignore the elephant in the living room? Midwifery is growing. Educational programs hail from even our most prestigious universities. Thousands of women every year have safe and soul-satisfying birth experiences without an increase in the infant mortality rate that is experienced in hospitals with the same low risk population.

Does anyone else feel the resonance with this and how global warming was treated at first. The truth is so threatening to the status quo. ACOG is defending their territory. But guess what? Birthing in America does not belong to ACOG. It does not belong to midwives. It belongs to women—healthy, smart, capable women who can make a choice.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

ACOG: Out of Touch with Needs of Childbearing Families

An press release by The Big Push for Midwives Campaign

Trade Union claims out-of-hospital birth is “trendy;”
tries to play the “bad mother” card

(February 7, 2008) The American College of Obstetricians and
Gynecologists (ACOG), a trade union representing the financial
and professional interests of obstetricians, has issued the
latest in a series of statements condemning families who choose
home birth and calling on policy makers to deny them access to
Certified Professional Midwives. CPMs are trained as experts in
out-of-hospital delivery and as specialists in risk assessment
and preventative care.

“It will certainly come as news to the Amish and other groups
in this country who have long chosen home birth that they’re
simply being ‘trendy’ or ‘fashionable,’” said
Katie Prown, PhD, Campaign Manager of The Big Push for Midwives
2008. “The fact is, families deliver their babies at home for
a variety of very valid reasons, either because they’re
exercising their religious freedom, following their cultural
traditions or because of financial need. These families deserve
access to safe, quality and affordable maternity care, just like
everyone else.”

Besides referring to home birth as a fashionable “trend”
and a “cause célèbre” that families choose out of
ignorance, ACOG’s latest statement adds insult to injury by
claiming that women delivering outside of the hospital are bad
mothers who value the childbirth “experience” over the
safety of their babies.

“ACOG has it backwards,” said Steff Hedenkamp,
Communications Coordinator of The Big Push and the mother of two
children born at home. “I delivered my babies with a trained,
skilled professional midwife because I wanted the safest
out-of-hospital care possible. If every state were to follow
ACOG’s recommendations and outlaw CPMs, families who choose
home birth will be left with no care providers at all. I think we
can all agree that this is an irresponsible policy that puts
mothers and babies at risk.”

The Big Push for Midwives calls on ACOG to abandon these outdated
policies and work with CPMs to reduce the cesarean rate and to
take meaningful steps towards reducing racial and ethnic
disparities in birth outcomes in all regions of the United
States. CPMs play a critical role in both cesarean prevention and
in the reduction of low-birth weight and pre-term births, the two
most preventable causes of neonatal mortality.

Moreover, their training as specialists in out-of-hospital
maternity care qualifies CPMs as essential first-responders
during disasters in which hospitals become inaccessible or unsafe
for laboring mothers. In addition, CPMs work to ensure that all
babies born outside of the hospital undergo state-mandated
newborn screenings and are provided with legal and secure birth

Currently, Certified Nurse-Midwives, who work predominantly in
hospital settings, are licensed and regulated in all 50 states,
while Certified Professional Midwives, who work in
out-of-hospital settings, are licensed and regulated in 24
states, with legislation pending in an additional 20 states.

The Big Push for Midwives <http://www.TheBigPu shforMidwives. org
<http://www.thebigpu shformidwives. org/> > is a nationally
coordinated campaign to advocate for regulation and licensure of
Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in all 50 states, the
District of Columbia andPuerto Rico, and to push back against the
attempts of the American Medical Association Scope of Practice
Partnership to deny American families access to legal midwifery