Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Words can not express the sadness of this day. MK McKown passed away around 5am this morning. She was diagnosed with cancer a year and a half ago. MK was a woman with incredible integrity, faith, commitment and love. She felt her way through every decision in life, from having her two beautiful daughters at home, to battling cancer the best way she could. I am shocked and vulnerable, having to let go of one of "my" mothers. She always talked about how birthing was a similar doorway to death, wanting to midwife herself through this. Time stands still. We love you, MK. We are already lonely.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A Father's Birthday Present

Theodora Grace Bonanno wanted to make her daddy happy, so she arrived on his birthday, April 20, 2009. Theodora, a true "gift from god," arrived at home plate in just under 8 hours. Kathryn and Jon are grateful and happy. Welcome Thea!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Wayana Kamalah Lioneye Ra

i have 2 children - my birthstory is in 3 parts...

part 1 - kayenn
i knew exactly when i became pregnant with my son, kayenn, 4 years ago...i had felt his presence for quite some time & when my partner & i decided to make him the conception was the strongest power i have ever felt - i knew exactly the moment we conceived him & it took only one try - the decision for him to be born was truly destiny...the pregnancy was wonderful, i surprised myself by becoming almost a recluse - i stopped traveling, i barely danced (when dancing is one of my natural talents & religion); i sang throughout the whole pregnancy...things between my partner & i became increasingly hostile so i went to my mother's - i thought this pregnancy can be the healing between us - she is a mother & the pregnancy may naturally heal our strange relationship...long story short - i went into labor on my due date, april 17th, 2005, around partner happened to be visiting...i began walking, singing, practicing yoga, soaking in baths, talking to baby - following my nature & feeling spirit move through my body...i also quickly noticed that everyone around me was panicking - they wanted me to go to the hospital, they wouldn't walk outside in the beautiful spring air with me, no one would cook for me...i continued to breathe & pray for the guides who were supporting me so powerfully to call to everyone's guides & assist them as well...over the next 3 days my mother drove me to the hospital 3 times - by 7am wednesday morning i had dilated to partner decided to return to new york upon this news & i felt time stop...when he said he was leaving i understood the phrase 'time stood still'...i couldn't believe it...he called a cab & i was left with my mother sitting across the room from me...suddenly i didn't her, & i didn't want her in the room, but i didn't say anything...kayenn was going to be born - this was my birth & i didn't feel safe! i felt cold & nervous...i was surrounded by strangers...rewind - i saw one midwife throughout my entire pregnancy - we met when i was 12 weeks pregnant & she was cool - experienced, a cnm, & she let me be pregnant - she gave me choices & explained procedures as i grew & the birth approached...kayenn had been in a healthy birth position from seven months - going into labor everything seemed perfect...forward to the birth - by 5pm i had dilated to 3cm...a midwife who i had met for about 1 minute at a 'meet the midwives' gathering replaced her...about 1 hour later a different midwife entered the room because the first was going off duty - i froze; at the meet & greet she was the one i hated! she told me during her births she preferred to be left alone & would have given birth in a closet if she had it her way...when she entered the room i immediately wanted to be in water - the doula ran me a luke warm bath & i stayed in for only a few minutes - the water was too one held my hand, my mother sat next to the bed reading a book & my sister stopped by to tell us all that she was too stressed & was going for coffee...i had no idea what to do...i rocked, i sounded, i tried to sleep...the nurses offered me a sedative to help me rest & asked if i wanted to be alone - i agreed...i slept for 2 hours & when i awoke, alone with one nurse present, we discovered i had dilated to 8 cm! at that point she asked if she could break the bag of waters, suggesting that it might keep things moving - i agreed...the waters flowed green, kayenn was under stress, after all i had been having quite strong contractions for 4 add to the tension, upon checking his presentation we discovered that his postion has turned posterior...2 more hours passed and the nurse-midwife said i would have to consider another birth option = cesarean...rewind - to my surprise, my last prenatal visit was with a doctor - a midwife was attending a birth & he was the healthcare provider present at the office - when i saw him i knew he would be at my forward/back at the birth...after hearing the word cesarean i got out of bed - i walked, i squatted, i rocked, i tried to cry but i was to scared...if i were a wolf i would have run away & found a cave...but here i was stuck & my little kayenn was in stress...i agreed to the surgery, & i felt i had failed...i felt my hopes die, i felt my dreams die, i felt weak & thought this is what everyone else wanted for me - except me, & i lost...

i had the epidural, they took me to the operating room & at 11.06 pm, april 20, 2005 kayenn was born - he cried & sounded healthy - i didn't feel anything but pure fear & very cold - i gave birth to numbness...i gave birth to confusion...i gave birth to a stranger that i would have to believe was my baby because he was who they gave me...i looke at this little creature - he didn't look familiar, but i said he was beautiful...they took him somewhere & took me someplace else - my mother went with kayenn, she held him before i did, many people held him before i did...i was wheeled into a room to wait until the epidural wore off enough for me to feel my toes, in a room with a woman having a reaction to something totally unrelated to birth - the nurse pulled a curtain to separate us, but i could still hear her moaning...i kept asking for my baby, but i was told to wait until i had more sensitivity...why couldn't i even just be in the same room as kayenn?!!! finally, 1 hour later they brought him to me - he was clean, wrapped tightly & my mother gave him to me... i warmed a little when i saw him, i stopped shaking - i had been shaking/shivering since the epidural shot...i unwrapped kayenn & opened my gown & wrapped us both in a blanket - a nurse wrapped him back up & told me to keep him warm & tight - i wanted to slap the bitch at that point...i put kayenn to my breast & he latched on & began suckling immediatley - i remember thinking things will get better...we were wheeled to a private room where we rested for 2 hours, then they needed my bed, the room & i had to GET UP & MOVE TO ANOTHER BED, AFTER BEING CUT OPEN 2 1/2 HOURS EARLIER!!! i was in hell...once in another room, a quiet room i wrapped kayenn tightly to me & we both slept a little...

part II - wayana

wayana was our parting gift - my partner & i decided to no longer see each other, but agreed to be the best parents to bind our decision we decided to join physical forces in love one more time, as that was our only balanced time - wayana was conceived - it felt stronger than kayenn's conception, & it was with with a condom...i knew i had conceived because my partner held me so tightly afterwards, i could not pry him away, it was storming outside & my car got towed - it was like that...things got worse between us, he didn't want another child with me, after all we were breaking up, but i was mothering, loving it!, & naturally i thought that kayenn would have a blood sibling - i would keep it...i moved out with kayenn, & began to grow in ways i had only dreamed about...i loved dancing this time, i performed again, i wrote, i sang, i worked, i was living pregnant & kayenn was in love with my belly...he told me early on that his sister was coming...i did not see a care provider until i was 7 mos pregnant - i listened to my spirit, felt my baby, sang to her, dreamed of her & listened to her...i didn't read a single birth book, i listened to mostly reggae & made incredible love to myself almost daily, & in my 7th month of pregnancy, i moved from new york city to san francisco - alone with kayenn...i didn't tell anyone - i just moved - wayana told me to move...i was offered a job & i took it - it would take me to a new place, far away from the indecisiveness, shame & guilt that held me so tightly...i spent 2 months walking sf hills, eating amazing mexican & indian food, meeting wonderful, loving strangers, feeling support for the first time...i found maria iorillo because another midwife i interviewed suggested i meet another to have a choice...i give thanks & praise...1 month to the day before giving birth a friend, kenneth bryan smith, moved to san francisco to help me with my son & the new baby...kenny is my friend...he would take kayenn when i was tired, he called me everyday or came to see us everyday - & wayana was born on kenny's birthday - january 6, 2008...on this amazing day, in the middle of thunderstorms, i awoke at 5 am feeling like i was going to get my period - gentle waves swayed in my belly...i dreamed wayana was calling me - 'mama, mama... i woke rubbing my belly...i knew she would come that day, & at 6.30 am i called maria to tell her i was beginning labor...the rushes were about 6-8 minutes apart...i got up, took a warm shower, put on my reggae music & my favorite senegalese robe & made tea...i felt beautiful, i looked beautiful & i was excited that i was home...i called kenny at 9 am to tell him i was in labor, he lived around the corner & at 9.20 he rang my bell - he came in like a dust devil, got kayenn dressed & took him out for the day...i cleaned my space, prepared my bed & felt universal expansion within every cell...maria came over around 10 am with her bag of tricks & check me - i was dilated to 2 cm - alright...she would check with me periodically throughout the day...i slept, i danced, i sang, i meditated, i called no one...kenny returned later with kayenn, dvds & 3 burritos - phone usually rings off the hook, no one called that day...the rushes began to come on stronger in the evening, & around 9 pm maria came to stay with me, but upon checking me i was only around 4 cm...kenny was tending kayenn, so i had space to feel...i walked, i rocked, i wanted to hug maria, but she allowed me only so much dependency - & i felt her strength...maria imbued me with confidence - something about maria was telling me that she knew i was going to have this baby naturally here in my home space tonight! around midnight i began to question my decision to have a home birth, & maria was getting tired...she called in a second midwife for support & my doula arrived from another birth...i was afraid of the power - i hadn't felt it like this in kayenn's birth...i was afraid that i would come apart - even though i had to - i know now that coming apart is a part of the process...someplace in the middle of this birth i realized that i did not know how to do this - i was acting against the birth process - literally & emotionally...i had a mental idea of what it should look, sound, smell, be like...after some hours maria checked me again, i had been at 9 cm for 4 hours...she said to me, 'some babies can come through at 9 cm, but yours will not, sokhna...sokhna, you are going to have to fight to bring this baby out...go into the bathroom, get in the shower & work it out..."so i did...i went in the cold bathroom alone & remembered every cold detail of kayenn's birth...i wondered if i could get to the hospital on time to have an emergency c-section & i began to cry...& as i cried i had to go to the bathroom - i sat on the toilet & the rushes came down like nothing i can explain - but they didn't hurt - it was just POWER! i got in the shower & let the water meet my tears & something within me said - 'this is the process sokhna, open to the process, open to the process'...that was the mantra became 'this is the process', & i returned to the bedroom...maria took my hands, looked me in the eyes & said "this is the process, sokhna..." i knew i was on my way...i rocked, squatted & allowed...maria checked me again & i was softening enough for maria to open the cervix the rest of the way...soon enough maria had massaged the cervix completely open & she told me to push...when she said this i filled with brilliance - i wanted to push, i wanted to feel it, i wanted to see just a few pushes wayana kamalah lioneye ra was born - i held her as she came out- i looked at this little one & she looked at me & i told her i was her mother...kayenn came over & i saw a baby in him...this natural birth birthed my heart...i suddenly knew what kayenn needed, what i needed & what wayana would need...the placenta came soon after & maria helped me to bed...i really just wanted to look at my 2 babies - to stand over them & beam light, gratitude & promises of infinite love & support...i wanted a natural birth, i had a natural birth & it continues to this day...i am writing my birth story on wayana's 15 month celebration...

part III
the cesarean was potentially a death sentence for me...though i now innerstand that it may have saved my life, no one explained the circumstances around it to me...i just felt like a failure...after the c-section i lost my confidence - i stopped performing, i stopped singing, i left nyc, i dropped everything i had worked so hard for...but when i found out i was pregnant with wayana my pilot was re-ignited...i felt i had been given another chance - but this time i had to approach the birth differently...perhaps i didn't do the smartest thing avoiding medical care, but i followed & trusted nature...i had to go away from everything familiar to have wayana the way i wanted - i had to surrender completely to instinct if i was going to have this vaginal birth after the c-section...

wayana was born & so my heart opened...& this birth has birthed every dormant dream-seed in my work is thriving, my artistry is continuous & overlapping across all of my a yoga teacher & doula i overstand what my service is, & i am more grateful than ever for my life & all of it's lessons...I OWE MY LIFE TO THE VBAC - & i say this proudly, firmly & reverantly...

my mother passed away dec. 8, 2008 from pancreatic cancer...shortly after giving birth to wayana i moved back to be with my mother & nurse her through her next birth...2008 - no doubt a year of infinity for me - it is all birth, death, rebirth, transitions & allowances...i get it & i owe it all to the vbac - nothing else in this experience could give me the knowledge, strength or grace than having this experience...natural birth is the only experience a female can have that can make her a woman...natural birth of anything! it is all in the process...allow the process - it shall set you free...

More from the UK

Another article has come out of the UK in support of the recent article in the British Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. We need to make sure this information doesn't just "come and go."

Annalisa Barbieri: I gave birth at home – and here's why

A hospital is not a natural environment for a natural event.

This week a study – the largest of its kind – was published in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. It showed that giving birth at home was "as safe" as giving birth in a hospital.

Periodically, we get studies like these. They come, they make a bit of a splash and then they go again. What they're saying however is so fundamental that we can't ignore it. Because a woman's experience of labour can shape her entire life, even the relationship she then forms with her child.

I'd go further than these studies and say that giving birth at home, these days, is safer than being in a hospital. A woman in labour needs to be confident and relaxed. Fear is the enemy of labour progressing because it causes the woman's body to release adrenalin which inhibits oxytocin – the hormone needed to make the uterus contract.

A pregnant woman needs to build a relationship with her midwife so that she feels confident and the midwife can anticipate problems before they actually occur. Despite popular scare-mongering, a woman or her baby don't just die without warning in labour. There are signs that something is amiss, and these signs can be missed in a busy hospital.

All of this is difficult to achieve in a hospital where you're in a strange place, with people you may have only just met coming and going ("how are you getting on?") and with the almost constant threat of induction (which ironically is when they administer artificial oxytocin – having inhibited the natural stuff – to speed things along) if your labour doesn't conform to their timetables.

In The Father's Home Birth Handbook (a quite brilliant book, as dads are often more fearful than women of homebirths), it asks which would you prefer? Having sex at home, all low lights and candles; or in a hospital with bright lights, and where everyone is monitoring your every move. A hospital is not a natural environment for a natural event.

Eight weeks ago I gave birth to my second child. She was born at home. I had no drugs. Easy for you, you may be thinking: you were obviously low risk, brave and had a high pain threshold. I was none of those things. I was 42, my previous labour had ended in an emergency C-section and I'd spent five years grappling The Fear. But, crucially, since I'd last given birth, I'd been a lay representative in a major maternity hospital (so I had also seen the wonderful things hospitals could do) and spent four and a half years as co-founder of a parenting board. I learned that the majority of problems with childbirth weren't solved by hospitals, but introduced by them.

When I hear a woman say, "If it wasn't for the hospital little Johnny would be dead" and trace the story back, nine times out of 10 you see little Johnny would never have got into distress if his mother hadn't been in a hospital in the first place.

Home births aren't for everyone. But then, neither are hospital births, which also carry risks. We're in a unique position now in that we have more medical knowledge than ever before and most of us are near a hospital in case we need to transfer. Yet women are still told of all the risks of a home birth, and none of the benefits. The latter far outweigh the former.

Annalisa Barbieri is co-founder of www.iwantmymum. com

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

As Safe as Hospital

http://news. 2/hi/health/ 7998417.stm

Home births 'as safe as hospital.'

The largest study yet on the safety of home births suggests that, in most cases, the risk to babies is no higher than if they are born in a hospital.

Research from the Netherlands - which has a high rate of home births - found no difference in death rates of either mothers or babies in 530,000 births.

However, only women who were deemed to be at low risk of complications were included in the Dutch study.

UK obstetricians welcomed the study but said it may not apply universally.

Home births have long been debated amid concerns about their safety.

But the number of mothers giving birth at home has been rising since it dipped to a low in 1988. Of all births in England and Wales in 2006, 2.7% took place at home, the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.

The research - published in the BJOG - was carried out in the Netherlands after figures showed the country had one of the highest rates in Europe of babies dying during or just after birth.

It was suggested that home births could be a factor, as Dutch women are able and encouraged to choose this option.

But a comparison of "low-risk" women who planned to give birth at home with those who planned to give birth in hospital with a midwife found no difference in death or serious illness among either baby or mother.

"We found that for low-risk mothers at the start of their labour it is just as safe to deliver at home with a midwife as it is in hospital with a midwife," said Professor Simone Buitendijk of the TNO Institute for Applied Scientific Research.

"These results should strengthen policies that encourage low-risk women at the onset of labour to choose their own place of birth."

Hospital transfer

Low-risk women in the study were those who had no known complications - such as a baby in breech or one with a congenital abnormality, or a previous caesarean section.

Nearly a third of women who planned and started their labours at home ended up being transferred as complications arose - including for instance an abnormal fetal heart rate, or if the mother required more effective pain relief in the form of an epidural.

The NHS is simply not set up to meet the potential demand for home births
Louise Silverton
Royal College of Midwives

But even when she needed to be transferred to the care of a doctor in a hospital, the risk to her or her baby was no higher than if she had started out her labour under the care of a midwife in hospital.

The researchers noted the importance of both highly-trained midwives who knew when to refer a home birth to hospital as well as rapid transportation.

While stressing the study was the most comprehensive yet into the safety of home births, they also acknowledged some caveats.

The group who chose to give birth in hospital rather than at home were more likely to be first-time mothers or of an ethnic minority background - the risk of complications is higher in both these groups.

The study did not compare the relative safety of home births against low-risk women who opted for doctor rather than midwife-led care. This is to be the subject of a future investigation.

Home option

But Professor Buitendijk said the study did have relevance for other countries like the UK with a highly developed health infrastructure and well-trained midwives.

Women need to be counselled on the unexpected emergencies which can arise during labour and can only be managed in a maternity hospital

In the UK, the government has pledged to give all women the option of a home birth by the end of this year. At present just 2.7% of births in England and Wales take place at home, but there are considerable regional variations.

Louise Silverton, deputy general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, said, the study was "a major step forward in showing that home is as safe as hospital, for low risk women giving birth when support services are in place.

"However, to begin providing more home births there has to be a seismic shift in the way maternity services are organised. The NHS is simply not set up to meet the potential demand for home births, because we are still in a culture where the vast majority of births are in hospital.

"There also has to be a major increase in the number of midwives because they are the people who will be in the homes delivering the babies."

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) said it supported home births "in cases of low-risk pregnancies provided the appropriate infrastructures and resources are present to support such a system.

But it added: "Women need to be counselled on the unexpected emergencies - such as cord prolapse, fetal heart rate abnormalities, undiagnosed breech, prolonged labour and postpartum haemorrhage - which can arise during labour and can only be managed in a maternity hospital.

"Such emergencies would always require the transfer of women by ambulance to the hospital as extra medical support is only present in hospital settings and would not be available to them when they deliver at home."

The Department of Health said that giving more mothers-to-be the opportunity to choose to give birth at home was one of its priority targets for 2009/10.

A spokesman said: "All Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs) have set out plans for implementing Maternity Matters to provide high-quality, safe maternity care for women and their babies."


Pregtastic!! Go figure! But yours truly is featured somewhere on this podcast, Episode 135, April 15, 2009. Check it out!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Marina Arrives!

Our little miracle, Marina Carmen Lopez-Salazar, was born at naturally at home on Sunday, April 5, 2009 (her actual due date) at 1:45pm. She weighed 8 pounds, 7.5 ounces at birth and measured 21 inches long. She had a long journey out of the womb, two days of “early” labor and 13 hours of “active” labor, which began in the early hours of Friday morning and culminated on Sunday afternoon with the healthy and happy arrival of our baby girl. --Leila and Ariel

You can check out her first photos on our blog at:

More photos can be seen on Tia Nui’s (Nui Lynch) facebook page at:

Thank yous to Sue Baelen and Lis Worcester for helping to bring little Marina into the world while I was away.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hope and History

A report to the Allied Midwifery Organizations on the Home Birth Consensus Conference planning meeting held March 21-22, 2009 in San Francisco
Tanya Khemet – ICTC Board
Diane Holzer & Maria Iorillo – MANA Board
Suzy Myers – NACPM Board

Planning has begun for a multi-stakeholder Future Search conference entitled,
“The Future of Homebirth in the United States: Addressing Shared Responsibility.”

In June 2008, the ACNM Board approved a resolution/request by their Home Birth Section members, led by Saraswathi Vedam, to convene a multidisciplinary consensus conference with key stakeholders on the provision of planned home birth services with appropriate infrastructure and support.

A Steering Group was formed to initiate a planning process, with members from ACNM, MANA, and University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), who donated space and personnel for the first planning meeting. Together they invited several key stakeholder groups and identified high profile facilitators from Future Search. In the ensuing months senior members from ACOG, AAP, ACNM, MANA, ICTC, NACPM, AWHONN, Lamaze International and UCSF committed to participating in a multi-disciplinary planning meeting for a national consensus conference. (Childbirth Connection, APHA, the CDC and others have indicated support and interest but were unable to send representatives to this meeting).

Each organization nominated one or two senior representatives to attend; all of the organizations supported the travel and lodging for their representatives. Grants from the Foundation for Advancement of Midwifery (FAM), and the boards of ACNM, MANA, ICTC and NACPM were used to support the costs of the planning meeting and facilitators.

This first planning meeting was held March 21-22, 2009 in San Francisco. We met for a day and a half in a UCSF boardroom with a lovely view. The meeting was collegial, focused, and productive. In attendance were:

Hal Lawrence, VP of ACOG, John Kattwinkel of AAP, Suzy Myers representing NACPM, Diane Holzer and Maria Iorillo representing MANA, Cathy Collins-Fulea and Saras Vedam representing ACNM, Judith Lothian from Lamaze International (wearing the consumer advocacy hat as well), Naomi Stotland (OB) and Leslie Cragin (CNM) from UCSF, Tanya Khemet, representing ICTC, and Ocean Berg, representing AWHONN, along with two lead facilitators from Future Search, Sandra Janoff and Richard Aronson.

This report summarizes the planning meeting.

Future Search
We will use the Future Search model (www.futuresearch. net). A Future Search Conference is a structured two and a half day meeting based on a set of principles that tap into the capacity for people from diverse perspectives to work together on complex tough issues. Future Search is internationally renowned for brokering lasting agreements and shared initiatives in highly volatile and polarized settings, around a variety of issues related to poverty, health care access, regional and ethnic conflict, and education.

A Future Search conference is typically a gathering of 60-80 individuals and organizations that have agreed to discuss ways to create conditions that will improve and change whole systems. Participants must include those with “authority, resources, expertise, information and need”. To ensure success we must have the key components of the whole system in the room so that we are not just talking to “ourselves” but giving voice to each piece of the system.

The hope is that the eventual consensus conference will be organized in a way that is most likely to foster the dialogue needed to find common ground and spark constructive action that will ultimately benefit all, regardless of whether women choose home or hospital birth.

The planning meeting
Our first day together, from noon to 5 PM, was spent on introductions and a presentation by the facilitators about Future Search: it’s history, methodology and examples of the work they have done with other groups seeking to solve problems and find common ground

A large and important part of the second day was to brainstorm and consider what stakeholder groups needed to be represented and who would actually represent them. We collectively identified 72 potential individual participants or stakeholder groups to be invited from a variety of sectors including:

Consumers & their advocates
Health policy analysts and regulators
Research and public health experts
Payors and liability insurers
Hospital staff and systems administrators
Other maternity care providers and educators

The Future Search conference uses structured activities involving the whole group as well as work in small groups. Sitting at round tables together, each table must have a sufficient mix of key stakeholders. Given the limitation of numbers – we have decided to limit our conference size to 72 individuals -- it was pointed out that our goals would be best served by inviting people who can represent varied interests, experience and viewpoints, in other words, wear multiple hats. Additionally, after much discussion, it was agreed that each table must have one home birth provider.

We also agreed that the major midwifery organizations participating in planning the conference would choose their home birth representatives as follows:
MANA - three representatives
NACPM - two representatives
ACNM - one representative
ICTC - one representative

Additionally, it was agreed to be sure a student midwife is included because we want our future represented. We were able to secure one representative for NARM in the regulatory category, as well as a seat for the MANA DOR in the research category. All representatives will be carefully selected to reflect expertise, diversity and commitment to cooperative dialog.
What’s next?
The next step will be to prepare grant applications for funding with a goal of convening the meeting in spring, 2010. Projected costs for this Future Search conference will be approximately $150,000. Expenses include: facilitator salaries, travel and lodging for approximately twenty participants (prioritizing need), venue rental, catering, supplies, and materials. In addition, we still have $7000 in outstanding expenses for the planning meeting.

So that is our current task -- to find the money!

We have three identified potential funders whose grant applications will be due June-September. We can use any assistance anyone can provide to prepare these grant applications.

On the advice of the facilitators, we are seeking a venue with natural light, and an ambience that will promote a feeling of wellness and willingness to dialogue (perhaps a retreat center). It also must be easily accessible from various locations. Tanya Khemet has agreed to head up the venue search. We would be grateful for suggestions.

We will continue to refine the list of appropriate stakeholder representatives with the advice of our respective organizations and colleagues. We have committed to regular monthly conference calls as a planning group, and have invited ACOG and AAP to nominate one additional planning group member from their organizations. (They felt that the planning committee was overly representative of the homebirth viewpoint, which was true). Once the draft invitee list is finalized we may engage in a wider vetting process through our respective organizations, and with some advice from our colleagues at Childbirth Connection who have recently identified key stakeholders from multidisciplinary perspectives for their Symposium.

Change is a slow and steady process that begins with common ground and hope for a better future.
Please direct any suggestions regarding venues or funders, as well as your comments to any of us:
Diane Holzer:
Maria Iorillo:
Tanya Khemet:
Suzy Myers: