Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Published 8:00 AM by with 0 comment

Getting Involved in Politics. Yes, Me!

Yesterday Chris, Harmony, and I went to a rally. There are very few reasons I would ever go to a rally, and very VERY few reasons that Chris would ever attend one, but this rally was so important that we both felt led to participate.

The event was the Annual Cookie Day for Midwives at the Missouri state capitol, where everyone and anyone who supports the home-birth community can let their representatives and senators know how much they care. I baked six dozen peanut butter cookies, wrapped them up into small packages, attached a formal letter and a photo of our family, and we walked all over the capitol building, up and down stairs (soooo many stairs!) to the offices to deliver the cookies. Mostly we spoke with the legislative assistants, since the reps and senators were in session, but towards lunchtime we were able to connect with the officials themselves. 

Harmony was an instant hit. Having her along with us was a good way to mention, "yes, she was born at home. We would really appreciate your support for women to have the choice to birth at home safely and legally"!

Disclaimer: I do not believe that home-birth is for everyone, nor do I wish to make anyone feel guilty for the birth path they chose for their own children. I've written before about my reasons for home-birth, and there are many sources for information about it, including information regarding the safety of home-birth.

The cookies, of course, were also appreciated. And I'm hoping that the letter I wrote will be read. It's a shorter form of Harmony's birth story. We wanted to provide our legislators with a personalized, non-aggressive way to understand a little more about our individual path into the home-birth community and why it means so much to us. 

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your work in our state's capitol! We appreciate your service to the local Missouri families and hope that you will take a moment to show your support for the communities supporting midwives. Here is some information about our family and the reasons we support midwives. My husband, Chris, and I had been planning a home-birth with a midwife ever since we found out I was pregnant. 

Our daughter, Harmony Emelia, was born on June 19th, 2012, at our apartment, ten days after her estimated due date. After a rapid, nine hour labor, Harmony was alert the minute after birth, even raising her head up off my shoulder to look around the room. We were happy to find that she weighed eight pounds, four ounces and was twenty inches long! Due to my midwife's wonderful care, extensive training, and years of experience, there were no complications with Harmony or me. 

This was my favorite part of having a home-birth: I was able to crawl into my own bed, clean and happy and healthy, with my family around me and my new baby girl, in the comfort of my own home! My step-dad and mother brought Dewey's Green Lantern pizza with lots of feta cheese to celebrate; it was the best pizza I've ever tasted! 

My husband, Chris, was especially grateful for the local home-birth preparation class we took together because he wasn't surprised by anything that happened. He knew how to support me even without me asking for it, because we had planned and discussed everything beforehand. Even if I had needed a hospital transfer at any point, I knew that Chris would have been able to help me with everything, since he knew the benefits and risks of medical interventions in the hospital. We felt like a team throughout the entire pregnancy and birth.

I feel so very blessed that Harmony had a natural, smooth transition into our world in the security of our home. In spite of the pain of a natural, unmedicated labor, I can definitely say that it wasn't anything I couldn't handle. The majority of my labor was intense but manageable. While I am truly thankful that a hospital was only ten minutes away in case I had any complications with my baby's birth, there was no need for it since everything was fine. I have no regrets about having a home-birth and will happily plan for future children to be born at home, as long as my health and the baby's health are stable.

We hope that you will join our family in support of Missouri's midwives, who make it possible for couples like us to have beautiful, peaceful home-births. If you have any concerns about the safety of home-birth, please visit the website or the website for resources and statistics. Thank you, and feel free to contact us regarding our home-birth experience or interests in the importance of the freedom to birth at home!

Gratefully, etc.

We will definitely be back next year, Lord willing, to support midwives again. Even if I end up having a hospital birth with any of my future children, due to health issues or a need for transfer during birth, I will still be completely grateful for the work midwives do for many other women in this state. 

At the rally in the afternoon, the president of the Friends of Missouri MIdwives spoke, along with two male representatives who support midwifery (one even supported his wife as she birthed two of their five children at home), a home-birth friendly OB/GYN, a pregnant mother planning a home-birth, and a home-birth friendly female doctor. It was encouraging to hear their words. Everyone stressed the importance of vigilance over issues that could make midwifery in Missouri illegal or impossible once again**. 

I was able to see some old friends and meet new friends. One lovely, peaceful woman chatted with me on our way to deliver more cookies. She was a birth doula, and I felt so calm in her presence that I understood why! I asked her if she'd had any home-births. "Oh yes, dear. All twelve of mine were born at home. I have five of my younger sons here today, and you'd be welcome to meet them, but I think they're off meeting representatives." Whoa. Twelve kids, and she's that level of calm? This woman is A BOSS. 

It was awesome to see so many families, single women, small babies, and teens united together. There were two other rallies going on at the capitol that day as well, which made it a little crowded. One was a group for retired school teachers, and the other had something to do with worker's unions and motorcyclists, so all the elderly people wearing red and tough looking guys in leather walking around made the day even more interesting! 

** Midwifery was illegal in Missouri for a long time. It became legal again in 2007. Several states still demonize home-birth, though, and midwives are still being served cease-and-desist letters or getting arrested for practicing there.