Why I care about Midwifery in NC

I am the mother of two children. One hospital born with a CNM (Certified Nurse Midwife) and another home-born with a CPM (Certified Professional Midwife). Both births were beautiful, amazing, miraculous experiences that brought forth equally healthy and plump babies.

I care about midwifery in North Carolina as much as I care about breathing.

To get straight to the point, because of my experiences within the birthing community I have heard lots of birth stories. I attend regular monthly meetings with other moms, doulas, midwives and the like where we gather to share experiences and support one another. I also attend births as a DOULA. Over this period of time I have had conversations with literally hundreds of women and have heard their stories of their labors and births in every setting with every type of care provider. Birth is unique to each woman. None of us gives birth like another woman.  The kind of care that we each need is unique. We all feel safe in different settings surrounded by different people on our team. I have heard and witnessed the most intimate of details involving individual experiences and I hold them close to my heart, the good and the bad. I want to share every word and moment of power that women pull out of them when they labor and birth, but of course I won’t. I have made the choice to do this work and to keep the details to myself because it is the right thing to do, it’s never my story to share. But I will say that I have heard the stories of women who have given birth and been diagnosed with PTSD(post traumatic stress disorder), post partum depression and use words like “assault” and “rape” when describing their experiences. Women who have sought professional help and support because of the way they were treated when they were BRINGING FORTH A CHILD. More and more women are coming forward to share how they felt forced, bullied and coerced into medical interventions, that they were never given a reason as to why they were needed.  Being told that they were not “allowed” to move freely, denied food and nourishment during labor, having their water broken without their consent or knowledge until after the fact. I have actually seen a mom hooked up to Pitocin immediately following an epidural WITHOUT HER CONSENT, then when I asked the care provider why that was necessary, she responded with “what’s the point, she’s had one intervention already”. Women who say loud and clear ” I DO NOT GIVE YOU PERMISSION TO _________” or “PLEASE STOP” and being completely IGNORED by her care provider or nurse and being examined or given an unwanted episiotomy, while screaming, anyway. Babies taken away from mothers directly after birth and given drugs or medications or having other procedures that did not have parental consent, in fact most of the time they have already asked for those specific procedures to not be given or delayed. I am not talking about moments where the mother is incapable of making an informed decision either, those moments where care providers need to be on their feet and handle a situation that could be life threatening, we are not talking about life saving interventions. We are talking about the countless women in the communities around this state expressing a dissatisfaction with the care they received and being, at best, brushed off and at worst being shamed or made to feel like it’s their fault for wanting a certain kind of birth. This is not some extreme end or only happening in NC. This is happening in hospitals all over the country. This is real. This has to stop. No matter the birth choice or the care provider, women should never use the words abuse, assault, bully, or rape when they are describing the moments that their children were brought into this world.

More and more women are choosing to give birth outside of the hospitals with a different type of care provider. CNM’s can still attend women at home, but guess what? Our laws restrict their practice as well, leaving only 4 certified nurse midwives who attend women in their homes. The Certified Professional Midwife is a qualified and capable provider who is specifically trained to provide safe care outside of the hospital.

Women in North Carolina are traveling across state lines to give birth with Certified Professional Midwives or they are going “underground” to seek out illegal care. This is all so surreal. How can a CPM go from legal, insurance excepting, respected health care professional in 28 other states and come into mine and be a criminal? That just doesn’t make any sense. MIDWIFERY IS NOT A CRIME!

Home birth is not for everyone and all midwives are not perfect. Licensing Certified Professional Midwives will not “fix” our broken maternity care system. But it is part of the solution. It’s a step that we can take in the right direction. It is something that the birthing families in NC are choosing more and more. They have a right to safe and legal out of hospital care with the provider they choose. END OF STORY.

It is our right as human beings, as mothers, to be supported and trusted to make choices involving our health and reproductive rights and choices about the care that our children receive. INCLUDING INFORMED CONSENT AND REFUSAL.

So what can you do you ask.

Time is of the essence here in NC. We need all the help and support we can get.