It has been awhile since I wrote on the midwifery issue in Alabama. The Alabama Birth Coalition (ABC) introduced another bill, House Bill 284, also called the Childbirth Safety Act. Right now, it is sitting in the Health Committee waiting to be discussed. We NEED to contact the representatives within this committee to have the bill discussed and passed on to the House. These representatives need to be shown that Alabama women not only want more birth options; but the current OB standard of care in Alabama NEEDS change. The only way to show this is to CONTACT them via phone, email, letters, and social media chatter. Even if you no longer live in Alabama, you can still contact them. Most of my family still resides in Alabama, there is a chance I could go back to residing in Alabama (better later than sooner), and I want future women in my family to have birth options. ABC’s facebook page has great resources to help you contact these representatives, complete with an easy letter template.
I want women to experience birth the way they choose. If that birth includes zero pain because you want every pain medication available to you; well then, that is your choice. But be aware of the risks involved with those medications and interventions. If that birth includes you having a C-section, whether emergency or not; well then, that is your choice. But again, be aware of the risks. Many of the OBs do not discuss the severity of the side effects or possible permanent damage common labor medications, interventions, and surgeries have on women and babies. However, currently in Alabama, if you want a vaginal, unmedicated, zero interventions, out-of-hospital, medically assisted birth; well then, you have to travel out of state or be ready to fight your labor and delivery nurses and OB throughout your entire labor period in a hospital. Don’t forget you are denied food and water during this period; so you are tired, weak, and in pain. Be ready to experience stress, anger, frustration, during a time you want peace, quiet, and calmness.
The experience of birthing a child should be an invigorating, empowering time, not a time of desperation, fear, and trauma. The only way to achieve a positive experience is to give birth options to all women. It is different for each of us. Yet, in Alabama, a number of women are denied that positive experience.
I hear so often, “Why should I support midwifery, when I wouldn’t use it?” Well, that is fine. However, there are many women who would use midwives and are being denied that opportunity. Many women residing in rural areas do not have access to adequate OB care or a hospital with a maternity ward, having access to a midwife or birth center could change that. Support each other! Uplift each other! One day, there could be a family member that would like the option of using a midwife. Support midwifery for future women. Ladies, we can have a difference of opinions and still support one another. I realize that I am in the minority supporting midwifery. I cannot explain to you how many times the topic of prenatal care comes up, especially being pregnant. The second I mention I am using midwives; I receive a blank stare, the awkward side eye, and the room becomes silent. Every now and then, I might have someone call me crazy, archaic, hippy, or try to explain “modern medicine” to me like I am an imbecile. There is a misconception about pain medication and midwifery. The midwives have pain medication you can use. No, it isn’t a numbing agent like an epidural. But there are different levels of pain management. For me, I simply needed to change positions, walk around, food and water would have been nice. Just because you use a midwife, it doesn’t mean you cannot have access to any pain medication.
Actually, Alabama medical associations paint a scary picture of midwifery based on misconceptions. They try to explain midwifery as archaic, unregulated, out-dated medicine practiced by uneducated, elderly, witch-like (or voodoo-like) women that live secluded in the woods. What an untrue and frightening tactic! The bill ABC introduces each year explains the midwifery model of care, the educational and licensure requirements, and the amount of money the state could save if implemented. It also fights for current Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs) who currently practice within Alabama to practice within their full scope; which should NOT be under the direction supervision of an OB.
I implore you to please go to the ABC’s facebook page and contact the Health Committee representatives named there. Each day they post a new representative along with their contact information. Please stand up for birth options for Alabama women!