Thursday, February 28, 2008

Say No To Drugs

It's just not worth the risk to let your first choice be drugs when so many health benefits & improvements can occur by seriously pursuing a wellness-focused lifestyle.

CNN On C-Sections

A very good 3-minute-ish video from CNN.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

By The Way

Yes, today is the day I'll be in a whirlwind of activity at the State House & BoBB screening but, for some reason, I felt it necessary to update you guys on the latest from my Wheel of Fortune pursuits.

After not hearing from the producers about a call-back, I reluctantly googled for information about others who auditioned for the Alabama round of play. What I found saddened, but didn't surprise me.

Call-back auditions were held February 11th. And I wasn't invited.

Guess I'll be sticking to this retro, hand-held version (we really have one!) if I want to buy my own vowels.

The Delivery Debate

In Newsweek -- mentions The Business of Being Born!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Kids In Crises

I assure you...I am NOT making fun of the Prattville tornadoes and I am NOT taking lightly how serious the recovery situation is in that area...


Since there were no deaths and since the kid in this picture is smiling and appears to be healthy and strong, I just had to laugh at the "Kids In Crises" headline captioning it on the front page of yesterday's Montgomery Advertiser. I laughed because I thought, "This poor kid IS in crises! Sweet child doesn't have anything to wear but Auburn clothes! Tsk, tsk!"

Friday, February 22, 2008

Anniston Star Article

Whoo hoo!

Unexpected ally boosts midwifery bill
By Markeshia Ricks
Star Capitol Correspondent

MONTGOMERY — A bill that would recognize and license certified professional midwives in Alabama received a boost Thursday from an unlikely ally: a retired physician.

During a public hearing on the matter in the Senate, Sen. Parker Griffith, D-Huntsville, voiced his support for moving the legislation forward.
Griffith, a radiation oncologist and deputy chairman of the Senate Health Committee, said there is no scientific basis for continuing to block certified professional midwives from practicing in Alabama.

Many of the objections to certified professional midwives are theoretical, he said.
"I believe if 22 other states have midwives and after 15 or 20 years they have not rescinded their programs it is because it's safe," he said. "This shouldn't be an issue."

Griffith said that considering the health needs among Alabama's more than 600,000 uninsured people and its high infant-mortality rate, the state's existing health-care providers have had long enough to fix things.

Dr. Don Williamson, state health officer, said one of the solutions to reducing Alabama's high infant-mortality rate is expanding prenatal care through physicians, not licensing midwives.

"There is a reason that the other 26 states haven't done this," he said. "My fear is that we would lose even one baby or one mama because we did this."

Griffith said having the option of using a certified professional midwife would be an opportunity to deliver better health care through collaboration among professionals.

"What I want to see among health-care providers is cooperation, not turf wars and boundary issues because you don't like how someone was trained or because you went to school longer than they did," he said.

Dr. Tom Kincer, a family practice physician and director of Montgomery Family Medicine Residency, said the bill does not foster collaboration, and if it passes he believes physicians will resist working with certified professional midwives.
"There are already certified nurse midwives and they work in hospitals," he said. "The liability is an issue, but under-training is also a concern. I believe observing and participating in 40 deliveries is not enough training."

Dr. Lawrence Jones of Anniston OB/GYN said he believes hospital births are best and he has reservations about even a physician performing an out-of-hospital delivery.
"A lot of the complications of pregnancy can happen all of a sudden during labor," said Jones, who recently moved to Anniston after practicing medicine for 26 years in Nebraska, where lay midwifery is illegal. "With a certified nurse midwife, I don't think I would have trouble working with someone like that, but I don't think I would stick my neck out that far for a lay midwife."

Committee chairwoman Sen. Linda Coleman, D-Birmingham, said the committee would vote on the bill at a later date. She said she hopes the two sides can find some middle ground before the bill is taken up again. Coleman is also the sponsor of the bill in the Senate.

Jennifer Crook Moore, president of the Alabama Birth Coalition, said this is the first time the bill has had a committee member advocate so strongly for it. The House version of the bill was postponed indefinitely earlier this month. "It definitely gives us more hope," Moore said.

The Alabama Birth Coalition will march and then rally at the State House Feb. 26, starting at 11:30 a.m. The coalition also will host a screening of the Ricki Lake film, "The Business of Being Born," at the Capri Theatre in Montgomery.

State House Testimony

You might remember that I said yesterday's efforts at the State House were really GREAT. Today, I'd like to share with you just a teeny morsel of why it was so awesome!

I wish I could post all of the AMAZING advocacy given by the SENATORS for our bill but the notes are just entirely too long. Instead, I will post this. The following is the testimony given in favor of SB 240 :

(I doubt the Moms giving these testimonies would mind their names being attached online but since I've always been funny about it myself, I have removed their last names.)

Good morning, my name is Cristy _____ and I am a mother of 4 with our 5th blessing on the way, set to arrive in May. My husband and I have been married 9 years and reside in Birmingham.

We are the typical middle class family. We have a house near downtown Bham, two cars, too many toys for the kids to play with, a swing set in the back yard and of course a dog.

Recently, my husband, who has his masters in divinity from Baylor University and who pastors our church downtown was approached by the state to create a non-profit program to help men transition from prison back into society. We accepted their request and thus had to change insurance carriers to eliminate add’l cash outflow, as we started the non-profit with our savings account.

Well, along came our 5th little one and to our surprise our new insurance policy does not cover maternity services for 365 days, and as you can see we can’t wait that long!

We are not quite sure what to do at this point;
1) We can birth unmedicated at the hospital and expect to pay $8-$10,000 out of pocket.

2) We could drive to TN to hire a midwife who is state licensed, but with 4 hour labors we do not feel that is a wise option to spend 2-3 hours of it on the road.

3) We could hire a Certified Professional Midwife who *might* be willing attend us at home, while risking the chance of being arrested and thrown in jail.

4) Or we can have this baby at home with no professional assistance--not an option my husband is thrilled about.

And we are a middle class, well-educated, conservative family. Our family has access to 5 hospitals within a 2-mile radius of our home, yet we can't afford to birth with any of them.

Restricted access to maternity care in Alabama has many faces. The personal one I just shared-- the family who lives in one of the 31 counties with NO hospital maternity services-- the family who is one of the 650,000 Alabamians with NO health insurance-- the family who can’t attend birth classes or prenatal appts. b/c they have limited or no transportation…the list goes on…

The opposition would like to squash this legislation and they would like to incite fear in you all that the risk of homebirth is simply too great. That midwifery care is simply too outdated or not professional enough. Yet they have given you no evidence-based research …just fear-driven opinion.

Senators, there is NO scientific evidence to suggest that planned home births with a qualified attendant is any more dangerous that a low-risk hospital birth. You can refer to tab 3 in your Reference Guide that provides pages upon pages of documented research. The scientific evidence suggest that midwives who possess the CPM credential provide excellent and professional care AND is demonstrated by their national infant mortality rate. (Hold-up and Read the rates from hand-out).

Families in Alabama deserve access to maternity care. Hospitals are closing their doors in rural counties and physicians are flooding the more lucrative, metropolitan areas.

There is a great passage in the Bible from Proverbs 31 that says, "8 Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. 9 Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Today, I am humbly asking you to see the fear tactics for what they are and to choose instead to consider the scientific evidence and be a powerful voice for those who are looking to you for help.
Thank you!

Testimony 2
Good Morning. Thank you all for the opportunity to address you today regarding SB240. My name is Jennifer Moore. I am a Certified Professional Midwife living in Birmingham and licensed in Tennessee. I hold an MA and a Master’s of Public Health in Maternal and Child Health. I am also the President of the Alabama Birth Coalition and as such, am here today representing hundreds of Alabama families who are demanding access to state regulated Certified Professional Midwives.

I’d like to take just a minute to address one point with you. Our opposition refers to us as “lay” midwives. I’ve checked every dictionary in my home, and we have a lot of them because my husband is a professor. And they all say that “lay” means untrained, unskilled, unprofessional. I take exception to that because I trained for five years to obtain the CPM credential. I am not untrained or unskilled.

This morning I would like to draw your attention to two documents that should answer the majority of questions you have about SB240. The first is the Legislator’s Reference Guide. In it you will find answers to most issues regarding the licensure of Certified Professional Midwives. For example, you’ll find answers to questions of safety at tab 3, education at tab 5, and malpractice at tab 6. Members of the Alabama Birth Coalition are eager to discuss with you any questions you may have that are not fully addressed in this guide.

The other document, SB240 Discussion Points, is intended to answer your questions about the bill itself. In this overview of the bill, you will find an outline of every section and provision of the bill, and an interpretation, where needed, of specific provisions. SB240 has been over 5 years in the making, and is the result of many meetings with midwives, parents, and our opposition. Italicized text indicates our response to concerns or objections that have been raised.

If you’d please look at the section explaining the definitions, there is one final point I’d like to make. Under the definition of Licensed Midwife, you will find an explanation of the Certified Professional Midwife credential. We selected this credential as the single qualification for a Licensed Midwife for several reasons.

1. The CPM is the only credential that requires training in the knowledge and skills unique to out-of-hospital birth. Twenty-two of the 24 states which regulate out-of-hospital midwives also use this credential. No state has ever rescinded their midwifery program.

2. The credential is legally defensible and psychometrically sound, which reduces the costs of the regulatory process for the state.

3. Using the CPM as the basis for licensure eliminates the state’s responsibility and liability for all aspects of certification, including the ongoing psychometric evaluation of the written examination.

Thank you for your time and your willingness to consider this important piece of legislation.

Testimony 3
My name is Lisa _____. I am a mother of four and I live in Huntsville.

In 2006, AL’s infant mortality rate was 9.0. The Department of Public Health has identified five factors contributing to Alabama’s rising infant mortality rate: low birth weight; teen pregnancies; mother's health status; high rates of smoking, especially among young women; and lack of health insurance. Senator Coleman recommended last week that we find a mother on Medicaid who used a midwife to testify today. We were unable to do so. But I hope to convey to you some of the obstacles poor mothers face in receiving maternity care, and ways midwives could positively address those barriers.

My third pregnancy was covered by Medicaid. At the time, I was living with my in-laws. To get to a prenatal appointment I had to load up my one- and two-year old children and take my mother-in-law to work so that I had a way to get to the clinic. At the health clinic, we waited an average of 2 hours before I was seen. At every visit, nurses questioned why I was having my children so close together. It was clear they didn’t believe my answer that I was using birth control every time I became pregnant. That was one of many things I felt judged for. Why was I living with my in-laws? Why didn’t I get a job? Why did I care so much about natural childbirth? I hated prenatal appointments. I always left feeling like dirt.

Compared to some mothers, however, I was lucky. At least I had a car, and didn’t have to drive a long distance to the appointments. I spoke English, and so did the nurses. I was allowed to bring my children, and didn’t have to find child care I couldn’t afford. All of these issues can be huge hurdles to a mother receiving prenatal care. If a woman has to work so hard to get to the appointment, only to be treated with disrespect, it’s easy to see why our percentage of less than adequate prenatal care is highest in poor counties. And this is where midwifery care could make a real difference. I give my time to this cause because my midwives shared with me their time, their skill and their wisdom. Above all else, they respected me and their respect motivated me to care for myself better during pregnancy than any other time in my life.

I don’t intend to suggest that midwives are the solution to our high infant mortality rate. It would be difficult to overcome the perception that midwives equal racism and poverty. Furthermore, the number of women who will ever choose home birth with a midwife is very low. Just .3% of Alabama births in 2006 occurred outside a hospital. Nationwide the rate is about 1%. Given the low numbers of out-of-hospital births, and the very different kind of care midwives provide, I contend that Dr. Williamson’s claim midwives at home births will increase our infant mortality rate is not based on evidence. In fact, under tab 8 of your reference guide, you can see that in licensed states which track out-of-hospital perinatal and neonatal mortality rates, they are 45 to 85% lower than overall state rates.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Best Thing About Cold, Rainy Days...

Is coming home from them...and putting on cozy lounge clothes...including fuzzy socks...ahh.

Actually, over the past week, it's just been nice to come home period! It's been a busy lobbying week but it's been good. I look forward to being a full-time SAHM again, though.

Today was a TOTALLY awesome day down at the State House. We ain't dead yet! Muahahahaha!

My brain is SO sleepy. I feel a little buzz in fact. Not a good buzz...a fuzziness. A feeling I should probably not be blogging through.

I know y'all have missed me so I thought I'd make this post tonight. Aren't you glad I did?

Night, night.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Late For Alabama

But still a good resource.

I just wish more info was out there when there was still time.

I Don't Have Time To Write Intelligent Posts

But there's (almost) always time to post a cute picture!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Friday, February 08, 2008

A Letter To The Editor

In response to the T-Town editorial.

So cool.

Sorry For All The Links & Stuff - A Little Update

I know I haven't written much personal stuff lately. I've had some things I could tell you about but then you'd think less of me so I've decided to just skip it.

Seriously, I've been pretty wrapped up in homeschooling (more tweaking needed and enacted today), lobbying, BoBB planning, house-selling, church-stuff-ing, etc. and just haven't done a good job blogging. Sorry.

I REALLY need to get an even better video of Captain walking because it is ADORABLE. He walks everywhere now and it's so darn cute!

Softball & baseball & T-ball sign-ups are this weekend! Here we go! Four playing this year!

Birthdays start next week on the 13th (Captain's) and run through June 22 (Rocky's.) Five kids' birthdays in 5 months. Good times! And, as the paragraph/sentence above states...right in the middle of ball season!

And did I mention lobbying? Yeah...AT LEAST once a month I will lobby at the State House for HB314 and SB240 (same bill presented in House & Senate.)

Thankfully, the children's musical ends this month, my creative movement group works through Easter, and the Adolescence class I'm going to teach only runs for 6 weeks. After those, please make me say 'no.'

I'm sad that I actually DID say 'no' to working at the kids' consignment sale this year. WAH! I will miss the perks that go along with that. I will be selling, though. Need the money for buying the next round of clothing for the kids!

Our house WILL SELL, ya know! The Redland Road Elementary School had its groundbreaking today. THAT is important!

God is working in my life.

OH! One of the coolest things we're doing right now is reading the Bible in a year. We're using this system and have been perfectly consistent so far (and praying to be able to continue, in Jesus' name!) We read one section silently while all sitting together (Psalms so far,) then turn to the OT "history" where Henry & I read (Genesis and starting Exodus this weekend) and finish with New Testament (Luke & Hebrews so far) where the kids each read portions. Of course, we've not completed any of those books so far but the schedule has taken us through large chunks of them. It's REALLY cool. I'm excited to know the kids will have already read the ENTIRE Bible at such young ages, by the end of this year! Isn't that awesome?

Jeremiah 17:7-8 NLT
7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord
and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank,
with roots that reach deep into the water.
Such trees are not bothered by the heat
or worried by long months of drought.
Their leaves stay green,
and they never stop producing fruit.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Good Point

The last sentence in this blog post asks a great question...

ACOG - A Trade Union - Not a Consumer Group

PushNews from The Big Push for Midwives Campaign
CONTACT: Steff Hedenkamp, (816) 506-4630,
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, February 7, 2008
ACOG: Out of Touch with Needs of Childbearing Families
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 certificates.
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 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 care.
Media inquiries should be directed to Steff Hedenkamp (816) 506-4630,

Monday, February 04, 2008

Friday, February 01, 2008

My Birthday Is In February

Don't you want to get me this?

Oh My! I Made The Perfect Video!

But you've got to go to the house blog to see it!!!

If I'm TOO cornball, you have to let me know right away!