I’m so pleased to hand the microphone over to my friend, Erin Whitt Hilker, today. She is passionate about women’s health and particularly about her access to the birth choices. I hope you’ll enjoy her post chronicling her day of lobbying in Annapolis, Maryland’s state capital.
Hello Hungry readers! My name is Erin, and I have the good fortune to know your beloved author. You can find me at Adornaments Henna, where I practice body art when not making jewelry or momming my little boy. Given that we can be hungry for particular flavors of motherhood, I offered to write up my trip to our state capital in support of midwife availability for Maryland moms.
On Wednesday, January 29, my husband and I bundled up and drove down to Annapolis to join a lobbying day during which we would talk to our representatives about the importance of being able to choose how, where and with whom we have our children. Having had one, we are not planning on more, but I am bound and determined that every woman should have the option, if it suits her health requirements, to have her birth where and with whom she feels safest.
Lets get some background on the situation, because we aren’t all a part of the Homebirth Underground (just kidding, there isn’t one, so don’t worry, you’re not missing any meetings :p). There are two ways to be certified as a midwife. You can be a Certified Nurse Midwife, or a Certified Professional Midwife. Find out more about CPMs by clicking here. Both require years of training, but only CNMs have licenses due to their nursing background. My son was born at home with the assistance of a CPM, who also took care of me throughout my pregnancy.
I was completely happy with care I received from my midwife, but shortly after my son was born, she, and 14 other CPMs in Maryland were told to cease and desist practicing in the state. Her office closed, everyone there lost their job. While previously their certification was enough to let them practice, Maryland’s lack of CPM licensing options was now being held against them.
In some areas of Maryland, midwives are the only birth professionals available. Rural areas of Maryland can be too far from hospitals, and Amish and similar minorities do not birth in hospitals except for emergencies, so these folks are deprived of their only caregivers.
With Senator Zirkin’s aide, we did not have a midwife, so I gathered up all my professional and made the pitch myself with the the support of my husband and another mom. We used our talking points sheet and did pretty well, I think.
The other mom shared her experience facing birth without these professionals, and how a friend of hers had to transfer from home to hospital during a birth, and was not able to take her midwife with her for advocacy and information purposes. Left unattended to in triage, her infant died of distress. This is not a situation where less assistance is beneficial. Two years ago that woman’s midwife would have gone in with her, and stayed until the child was stable or longer.
When Erin isn’t out campaigning for change, she’s also an artist. You can see her jewelry and other artistic endeavors at Adornaments and Artifact Accessories.