Put Your Big Girl Panties On

Do you all remember my t-shirt slogans from months and months past… or is it years?  I’ve come up with another slogan: “Put your Big Girl Panties On.” Let me back track. A year ago, I started writing a series for the Where’s My Midwife? blog. My series was about potential slogans for t-shirts. I came up with “Don’t Hate Me Because I Had a Beautiful Birth” (one of our most popular blog entries ever—thanks readers!) When I wrote that blog, I was feeling positive and upbeat. Then personal tragedy hit.

My sister, Elena, had been diagnosed with a highly metastatic form of cancer only a month after our midwives were fired from a local practice. If my sister could (and was!) battling, and seemed to be kicking cancer’s ass, well, I would battle right along with her. While I would continue to fight against the injustices that I witnessed daily in my community, not only about access to midwives, but also to woman-centered care locally and nationwide, I would try to spend as much time with my sister as possible.

About a year after Elena’s diagnosis, she lost her battle, and she suddenly passed away.  I was with her as she took those last difficult breaths. There were moments that I thought as I slept next to her on the hard cot in her hospital room, and as I kept certain forces at bay (unwelcomed visitors, etc.) that this was actually the culmination of my work as a doula. I will always hold those moments with my sister close, as difficult and painful as they were.

This was the second year that we experienced the holidays without my sister. It was harder this year for me than last year. Last week I sat across from my friend and midwife, Suzanne, one of the two midwives who was dismissed from our local practice. As I wept, wailed, and screamed (unfortunately my grief has recently manifested as anger towards people who I dearly love), Suzanne gently suggested that I contact a therapist. She chose her words carefully, “Sylvia, I want you to consider if you might benefit from medication, therapy, or both.” It is one of the things that I appreciate about the way that midwives practice. They are at their core “with woman,” and they are trained to care for the total person. I appreciate that Suzanne recommended that I seek help not only as my friend, but also as a health care practitioner.

The last two years were for me the intersection of a personal fight (dealing with my sister’s illness and death) and of a more public battle (increasing access to midwives.) It’s been a tough couple of years. For me “put your big girl panties on” has meant that I got up every day and not only take care of myself and of my children, but it has also meant that I continued to work to make change in my community and beyond. As we become “big girls,”(i.e. women) we face major life changes and tragedies. “Putting my girl panties on” means that I need to prepare myself mentally and physically for this next stage in my life. I am facing life without my big sister, and I am also squarely in the middle of middle age. (Did you know, by the way, that midwives provide continuity of care throughout women’s lives?) I have made an appointment with a therapist to help me navigate these unchartered waters. Thank you, Suzanne, midwife and friend, for reminding me that it’s necessary to take care of this aspect of my health.

So, I leave you with this. When I say, “put your big girl panties on” I mean that we all have our personal and public battles to fight. For me it’s one of the mantras that have helped me through the past couple of years. Join me in putting ‘em on and in fighting your own fight: whatever this may be.

SLOGAN #2: “Really, We’re Just Mammals!”

Back in March, I wrote a blog where I introduced the first in a series of slogans that I said I would continue in my individual posts. These are all things I’d like to put on a t-shirt or bumper sticker. WMM?’s blog has been busy these last five months (check out all the other great entries!) I’m back with my next slogan:

“Really, We’re Just Mammals!”

I am just as self-reflexive (some of my friends would say, moreso) as the next human. Truly though, I think that’s the thing that gets us into trouble sometimes as a species. When an elephant, or a dog, or a cow (etc.) has a baby she doesn’t make a decision about whether or not to nurse her baby. The baby gets up on four legs and finds its food source. I understand that sometimes something so “natural” can feel unnatural to us human mamas, and I did experience major difficulties the second time around nursing my son. Still, sometimes we have such a hard time getting out of our heads, that we forget to tap into our basic body functions, abilities, and needs. Yes, really, we’re just mammals.

When I say “just” I’m not NOT marveling at our ability to give birth and breastfeed, I’m just saying… look at all the other species of mammals and remember that we’re not that different from them. We can do the same things they do. We’re named for it. Not to state the obvous, but “mammary”: “mammals”… Get the connection? I must have had a terrible biology teacher, but believe it or not, I didn’t get the connection until I was an adult.

I can’t help but think about a Mister Roger’s Neighborhood episode about mammals and eating in which pigs, cows, and yes, even humans appear nursing their young. There is a even a close-up shot of a human nipple dripping milk while the baby gets attached. I’ve heard the episode is televised every year around Thanksgiving, and though I’ve seen it before on the internet, I’ve only found numerous broken links to the video (apparently copyright infringement.) Still, here is a little clip from someone’s home made video.

Thanks Mr. Rogers, for normalizing breastfeeding and putting it in its proper context. You know, “Really, We’re Just Mammals.”

Now for the public health policy portion that backs my slogan.  The World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA) has a series of recommendations about maternity practice that protect, promote, and support breastfeeding.  Having a midwife as your maternity provider increases your chances of successfully breastfeeding your baby. Midwives have lower rates of intervention including epidural use and c-section, and these interventions are associated with interfering with breastfeeding success. Midwives help to insure that mothers and babies stay together after birth, which allows for skin to skin contact, interaction, and allows the normal process of attachment between mother and infant to occur. Breastfeeding allows mother and baby to mutually regulate each other. 

Breastfeeding immediately after birth confers a number of benefits. It allows the mother to expel her placenta faster, and provides numerous other benefits to mother and baby. These are so numerous, that I’ll write about them in another entry. What other substance do we know that provides everything a baby needs, wards off infection, coats the stomach protectively, and helps to “organize” a baby’s hormones, senses, and feelings?

 A woman’s body is capable of sustaining a human life for at least six months on breast milk alone. U.S. health organizations such as The American Academy of Pediatrics recommend exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and thereafter for at least one year. The World Health Organization recommends at least two years. 

If you ever needed confirmation that we were actually mammals, check out this amazing videos about the breast crawl. Our babies are capable of self-attachment just like other mammals.

By the way, check out the Port City Breastfeeding Project on Facebook. They’re introducing great initiatives to promote breastfeeding in our local hospital.

SLOGAN #1: “Don’t Hate Me Because I had a Beautiful Birth”

For the foreseeable future, my individual posts on the Where’s My Midwife? blog will be a series of slogans, some of which are, and some of which are not original. A few of these would probably not be appropriate for a t-shirt or for a button, but they’re meaningful to me… some even made me chuckle or cry a little bit.

Don’t Hate Me Because I Had a Beautiful Birth 

To every woman who ever felt judged or insulted by anything that I said because I love birth, midwives, breastfeeding, access to care, evidence-based  science, sexuality, and other issues concerning women and empowerment: I am who I am and I love that I gave birth to my babies vaginally, under the care of midwives, and without medication. I love that I breastfed them until they outgrew the need. It made me feel beautiful, powerful, and amazing. I really felt like I had super powers.  I know that I had it in me all the time, but many important women (including my midwives), but especially my mother (who knew?!) helped me to access the power to birth my babies and to feed them myself with my own milk.

I don’t mean any of this as a judgment about you or about the type of birth you had, nor about the reproductive choices that you made before you decided to give birth (or if you decided not to have children), nor about the choices that you made after birth for yourself and/or your baby. I don’t judge you if you were unable to breastfeed. Really, and I doth not protest too much. I want us to nurture each other as women. Let me be absolutely clear though, I want you to have access to as much education and information as possible so that you can make informed decisions about your body and about your baby (ies). I want us to avoid as much as possible the self-recrimination and self hate that often causes us to lash out at those who have made other choices and decisions than those we’ve made.

I would like us to be able to talk about the things that are important to us in an authentic way, with whatever passion, or lack thereof, that we may feel about these topics. The topics I listed in the first paragraph are all important to me and I want to speak and write about them. If this is difficult for you to read about, don’t read my entries, or tell me, this is hard for me to read. I will still love you. I will talk to you. I will listen very attentively to what you have to say.

I revel in my experience, and in how I felt about it afterwards. I felt (feel) powerful, beautiful, and amazing. That’s about me, not you.

Discussing Doulas with Your Doctor

Did you hear the one about the pregnant woman who was discouraged by her obstetrician from hiring a doula?  It’s not a joke, not folklore, and the stories of distrust or even confrontation between hospital staff and doulas is also not new. As knowledge of and about doulas has increased in the last few decades, many couples will continue to have a discussion with their practitioners about whether or not to hire a doula, also known as a “labor assistant” or “monitrice.”

A quick search on the internet of “obs against doulas” yields numerous hits. Some very confused mothers write into listservs questioning why their doctors would discourage them from having an advocate in the labor room. Some very passionate mothers and/or birth advocates respond that the confused mothers should change obstetricians or find a midwife. They recommend that they find a doctor more accepting of patients’ choices and ultimately welcome the doula into the delivery room. Sometimes, however, a change in medical practitioners, especially late in pregnancy is impossible. Let’s imagine a discussion between an expecting couple and their ob, explore the reasons why a medical practitioner might discourage a couple from using a doula, the potential implications of this recommendation, and ultimately, the benefits of hiring a doula.

I can envision how this topic might come up during a prenatal appointment. The pregnant woman and her partner, having done their homework, and possibly also having taken a childbirth class, ask their doctor, “do we need a doula?” Let’s imagine that we’re still in the middle of a recession and that this is a first pregnancy. Our pregnant mama has had to weigh many factors as she and her partner prepare themselves for the birth of their baby. She may be concerned about the idea that hiring a doula is an extravagance (especially in this economy.) She may have already spent too much money getting ready for the baby, because this is, after all, a consumer driven economy where the acquisition of things rather than services dominates many of our decisions, even those that involve how we give birth—but I digress. She asks herself if a doula could possibly be an unnecessary expense in the long run. She may be interested in having a natural labor, or she may want to remain flexible in case she opts for using medication.  She may not want to feel pressured by someone who she perceives to be only a natural birth advocate. She asks herself if the ob practice that she’s hired and the nurses on staff at the hospital won’t be sufficient to help her and her partner to achieve the best birth possible.

The doctor, on the other hand, may have had varied experiences (or none at all) with doulas at the hospital.  He or she may have heard negative stories about doulas from other medical staff, or fears in general that having a doula present would interfere with their ability to perform their job. They may feel uncertain if they would be able to communicate effectively with their patients, especially if a medical decision needs to be made. In this scenario, the doctor assures the patients that the doctor on call will help them to achieve their goal: “a safe and healthy baby,” and that hiring a doula is unnecessary.

Let us imagine that our couple has a longer than average labor. Our mama has decided to provide her ob with statistics and other information about the benefits of hiring doulas (see below), and has gone against the physician recommendation. The doula has provided excellent support prenatally to the couple, and then during labor to the woman, to her partner, and to the hospital staff. The doula has helped the couple to identify when they were ready to go to the hospital. They were able to labor in the comfort of their home because that was the decision that they had made prenatally. At the hospital, the labor nurse is relieved to have extra help because she has a great deal of charting to complete, not to mention caring for the patient in the room next door. The doctor possibly has popped in once or twice during labor and has had pleasant and respectful interactions with his patients and with the doula. The doula has been able to provide information to help the couple as they make decisions throughout labor. In the twenty-eighthth hour of labor (the average first labor is sixteen hours, this one turns out to be a bit longer), her partner, hungry and exhausted, asks for a break to grab a sandwich, and then falls into a deep sleep in a corner chair in the delivery room. The doula provides much needed relief, and the mother is able to relax and continue with the hard work of labor. Shortly, she is in transition and ready to push. Her partner is awake and ready to encourage mama as she delivers their baby. She may or may not have opted to have pain relief medication administered. A doula serves the couple and she helps to educate them about all aspects of labor and birth including the potential risks of medications. She is not hired to advance her own agenda, nor to make decisions for the parents, even though she may believe that an un-medicated labor is best for both mother and baby. The doctor arrives to scrub in and “catch” the baby. The doula helps ensure that the baby is latching on well to breastfeed after birth. She reminds the couple about their plan for post partum care for mother and for baby, just as she’s reminded them about their desires for labor throughout the birth. Post partum the doula visits the new family at the hospital, at home, or both, and makes sure that every member of the family is faring and transitioning well. She recommends services or books in case she notes the need, such as if she notes signs of post partum depression. She might do some light house-keeping for the new family. She provides continuity of care. The mother and her partner are satisfied and happy with their birth. They feel that they were empowered by their experience and well supported by their labor team throughout pregnancy, birth, and post partum.

In another scenario, the mother and her partner have decided not to hire the doula. In spite of hearing that in some special circumstances doulas work for reduced fees, the mother decides it’s unnecessary. She has the same thirty hour birth. Both she and her partner are exhausted and overwhelmed during labor and afterwards. We will not enter into all of the potential problems she may have encountered or interventions she received. Instead will mention the benefits of hiring a doula:

50% reduction in the cesarean rate
25% shorter labor
60% reduction in epidural requests
40% reduction in oxytocin use
30% reduction in analgesia use
40% reduction in forceps delivery (Klaus, MD, et. al)

In other words, without a doula, a woman has a significantly higher rate of any number of interventions. Although many women experience beautiful births without doulas, we feel that with advocacy and education, women can make informed decisions about the choice to hire a labor assistant, and about other issues concerning child birth. The goal is that families feel empowered by deciding how they will give birth and that they are supported by their practitioners.

In this current birth climate, where we have an insufficient number of midwives available to meet the needs of the women in the Cape Fear region and nation-wide, we encourage physicians to educate their patients about the benefits of having a doula at their birth. Where’s My Midwife? recommends that women who are considering hiring a doula have a conversation with their practitioner as early as possible. If they encounter resistance, they can provide statistics and information to their practitioners and have a respectful dialogue about their patient rights. A good book to read about doulas and to recommend to practitioners is The Doula Book by Dr. Marshall Klaus, MD (et. al.) A woman may also decide to ask for a referral to another practitioner if she continues to receive a negative response about hiring a doula (or about any other decisions concerning child birth.)

Have you had any negative reactions about hiring a doula from your medical practitioner? Please let us know about your experience and about the reasons that were provided. Please do not include names of practitioners or identifying information about them in your response. Thank you!

For more information about doulas, please visit www.capefearareadoulas.org.

Ina May Gaskin, Midwifery Activist and Author, in North Carolina

Birth, Death, and Poop were some of the major themes of a workshop and lecture led and delivered by Ina May Gaskin on Saturday, December 5 in Durham, NC on the Duke University Campus. A group of Cape Fear area birth activists, and workers (including doulas and midwives), and Where’s My Midwife (WMM) members, traveled with excitement to attend the events.

The workshop and lecture, brought to North Carolina by NCMA (North Carolina Midwives Alliance) and NCFOM (North Carolina Friends of Midwives) and other groups promoting licensure for Certified Professional Midwives (CPMs) in North Carolina, covered many broad ranging topics.

The evening lecture was extremely well attended and will be a boon for efforts to license CPMs in our state. The auditorium on the Duke campus held about 250 seats and was packed. The evening was made possible by the fact that a North Carolina midwife, Marnie Cooper-Priest, won a contest sponsored by The Big Push for Midwives http://www.thebigpushformidwives.org/. Marnie came up with the winning slogan for the campaign to gain licensure for Certified Professional Midwives: “Midwives, the Light at the End of the Tunnel.” The prize was an evening with Ina May as a fund raising event for midwives in North Carolina. For two and a half hours Ina May engaged the audience with information and personal anecdotes. 

Ina May presented some sobering information and statistics about maternal death in the United States. As she explained, in 2005, the U.S. reported 15.1 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, up from 7.5 per 100,000 in 1982. Additionally, we learned that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated in 1998 that the US maternal death rate is actually 1.3 to three times that reported in vital statistics records because of underreporting of such deaths (as many as a staggering two thirds may not be reported), that reporting of maternal deaths in the U.S. is done via an honor system, and that the CDC estimates that more than half of the reported maternal deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented by early diagnosis and treatment. These facts prompted Ina May to begin collecting quilt squares commemorating the victims, much like the quilts created for AIDS victims, to higlight the scandal of the maternal death rate in the United States. She not only shared many tragic stories– more than one of mothers sent home too early from the hospital after c-sections without appropriate post partum care–, but she also had audience members unravel the quilt. The impact was palpable. The call was clear: we must do more in the United States to remove the existing barriers (legal, economic, social, etc.) to accessing the Midwifery Model of Care, and the providers who follow it.

 

audience members hold up Ina May's Safe Motherhood quilt

 

During the four hour long workshop, Ina May spoke to a group of 50 + attendees (including midwives, nurses, doctors, doulas, lactation and childbirth educators, and others) of her personal history and development as a midwife. She shared her vision for normalizing birth and techniques for handling birth complications, including breech birth and shoulder distocia. 

The workshop fliers originally announced a focus on these two birth complications, and Ina May discussed them in the same conversational style as she had delivered the rest of the material for the workshop. She showed (and used as models) attendees the “Gaskin Maneuver,” the technique that helps mothers to get onto all fours to resolve a shoulder distocia. Although Ina May learned the technique from Guatemalan midwives or comadronas, she made it famous in the U.S. and it has entered medical lexicon and texts using her name.

Ina May also called for the training of obstetricians and midwives to perform and normalize vaginal breech births in the US, given that breech births will continue to occur, and given new studies that vaginal breech birth is safe. The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada –SOGC– has collected data in a June 2009 study showing that vaginal breech birth is safer than breech birth by cesarean section. They found that vaginal breech birth as compared to breech birth by cesarean section reduced perinatal mortality, short-term neonatal morbidity, long-term infant morbidity, and short- and long-term maternal morbidity and mortality.  http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S002072920900349X) She showed statistics compiled from the first births through 2005 at The Farm and how they had safely delivered many breech babies vaginally. Ina May also shared techniques for vaginal breech birth and emphasized that waiting, never rushing, is key.

As Anna Van Wagoner, one of the attendees from Wilmington, commented, the workshop was “like hanging out with Ina May for the whole day.” Ina May told us a bit about how she had come to be a birth practitioner on the “caravan,” a cross country journey from San Francisco to Tennessee taken by hippies that ultimately culminated in founding The Farm, a cooperative community in rural Tennessee. She learned to help women give birth by doing, as she attended many of the women who had babies along the way. Although Ina May had never witnessed a birth before then, she instinctively knew that providing love and kindness could only help women give birth.

She highlighted how for her, as for many birth activists, her feelings and ideas about birth were a result of her personal history and experience. She was the daughter of a midwest farmer, and though she hadn’t grown up on a farm, she was profoundly convinced that mammals know how to give birth. Her views also developed as a very visceral reaction to her own first birth experience and to how she had been treated by an out of touch and hostile nurse in the hospital. From these experiences, Ina May came to the knowledge that human mothers know how to give birth and that she could help them to do so in a postive way by showing them “love and kindness,” as she did on the caravan.  

Several times during the workshop Ina May reminded us that we need to become more comfortable with our “butts” and with our sexuality. She referred to several key points that she makes in her books Spiritual MidwiferyIna May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding:

1. humans, like other mammals, have the ability to deliver their babies normally, without interventions.

2. like other mammals, we need privacy to give birth, just as we need it to perform other bodily functions like pooping. 

3. the cervix acts much like a sphincter: when women relax other parts of their bodies, especially their mouths, it makes it easier for the cervix to open and to give birth (just as it makes it easier to have a bowel movement.)

To highight these key points, Ina May showed two youtube videos. “A Historia Do Coco,”  a Brazilian video aimed at children and at normalizing poop, shows a singing turd who laments his marginalized status. For Ina May, it’s a great example of how we in the U.S. could learn from other cultures about becoming comfortable with all of our bodily functions. Through personal slides of births she had attended, Ina May also presented the idea that dancing, another natural and often spontaneous human activity, can connect us to our bodies and to our sexuality during labor and birth. We witnessed a beautiful Brazilian woman as, supported by a walking staff, she danced her way to birthing her son (Ina May’s grandson!)

 Another youtube video, “The Dramatic Struggle for Life,”  showed the birth of a baby elephant in captivity.

 The video underscored Ina May’s point that an elephant mother, just like a human mother, can give birth normally, without interventions, and that mammals have natural instincts to protect their infants. In the video “Nikki,” the elephant mother, opens her mouth wide, bears down, delivers a glorious splash of a baby (eventually named “Riski”), then gently kicks him and prods him to ensure that he takes his first breaths. The dramatic video made an impact on Ina May as it did on all of us not only during the workshop, but also during the evening lecture when she showed it again. 

WMM members and Cape Fear area birth activists are grateful for the opportunity to have shared the day with Ina May Gaskin and with other committed and passionate folks in the North Carolina birth community. We have come home energized to continue the important work of fighting for greater access to midwives. We are renewed in our commitment to ensure that women and their families have the freedom –the RIGHT– to birth as they want to, where they want to, and with the practioner that they choose. Please visit the WMM website for more information about upcoming WMM events, including a car painting day on Friday, December 18th at Hugh McRrae Park. Help us to continue to fight for all of our birthing rights and for greater access to midwives! 

 

Wow…

It’s been about two weeks since the last blog post. Babies have been born in the Cape Fear region and we’re still picketing in front of New Hanover Regional Medical Center… We’re still down to one midwife, though we’ll be up to two shortly when SEAHEC (the non profit organization that oversees the education of residents at the hospital) completes the hiring process of a second midwife. That’s still down from the three midwives that we had before Carolina Ob/Gyn dissolved their midwifery service. Go http://wheresmymidwife.org/Press_Links.html to read our press release about SEAHEC’s hiring.

We also attended the health care reform debate on Thursday, August 27, where panelists discussed the ins and outs of health care reform: focusing on cost, rationing, end of life issues, and, for a few moments on birth. Suzanne Wertman, CNM (one of the two former midwives in practice at Carolina Ob/Gyn and a panelist)  in her words, “represented the mothers and the babies, since we all came from mothers and we were all once babies.” Russ Fawcett, legal co-chair of NCFOM (North Carolina Friends of Midwives), directly asked Jack Barto, CEO of NHRMC, what the hospital’s response would be to the midwifery crisis in our town. Mr. Barto was able to make the crowd enthusiastic about his response that SEAHEC was hiring a new midwife. However, we (representatives of Where’s My Midwife and Mr. Fawcett) engaged him in conversation after the debate was over and presented him with our press release.

In the press release, we continue to press for a dialogue with the hospital and with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology about increasing access to midwifery services, and particularly, about NHRMC’s requirement that a physician supervise midwives on site at the hospital while they have a patient in labor. It’s come to our attention that some folks in our town believe that this is a state requirement, not hospital policy. We want to clarify that state statute permits Certified Nurse Midwives to practice under physician supervision (it’s only one of five states in the U.S. that limits midwives to this extent.) Our hospital has interpreted this even more strictly and, to our knowledge, is one of only a couple of hospitals in North Carolina that have the requirement of on-site supervision. This requirement has limited Certified Nurse Midwives’ ability to practice.

Finally, today, Saturday August 29, sixteen women participated in a flashmob event at the Farmer’s Market in downtown Wilmington. When The Beatles song “Revolution” began to play, all of the participants (except the one actually pregnant woman!) pulled out faux bellies, stuffed themselves, laid down in the street, and sang along with the music at the tops of their lungs. Two other women unfurled a banner that read “We Won’t Take Birth Lying Down.” It was a fun event that we hope brought some attention to the midwifery crisis that has occurred and the effects felt by women and their families in Wilmington. Videos and pictures coming soon!

Day Two of Demonstrations

Today’s picket in front of New Hanover Regional Medical Center brought more families together to request greater access to midwives. In spite of reaching 100 degrees yet again, we had great support out there. We encourage you all to continue coming out to show how much our midwives mean to us. We were joined today by Olivia Marshburn, CNM, who works at Camp Lejeune and by Russ Fawcett, Legislative Co-Chair of NCFOM. We have a permit to continue the demonstration on the side walk in front of the hospital from 12:00 pm until 1:00 pm through Friday or until we schedule a meeting with representatives of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology about our concerns.

Here is a link from WWAY’s coverage of today’s event.

Check in for an upcoming post about a letter writing campaign in support of midwives. We’re trying to gather as many letters as possible to present to the Department of obgyn to show how high the demand is for midwives in our area.

Our First Demonstration

Today’s demonstration in front of the hospital was a huge success. Thanks to everyone who came out in support of families and our access to midwives! We have the attention of the hospital. We hope to soon have a formal dialogue with the hospital and the obstetrics department about increasing our access to midwifery care.

Despite high temperatures reaching close to 100 degrees and a heat advisory, we had about 100 people show up (mothers, fathers, and children.) Women of all ages came out requesting continued access to midwives for all of their well care needs. We picketed on the side walk in front of the hospital for three hours. Numerous car drivers honked or gave us thumbs up in support. Cars slowed down to read our signs and to observe mothers and fathers holding their babies in carriers or pushing them in strollers. All major local media outlets were also present to report the event.

We will picket every day at the same location at lunch time (12:00pm-1:00pm) until we have a meeting scheduled with the obstetrics department.

Here are a few links in case you missed the reports:


Sylvia