Guest blogger, Summer-Lee Faria, has agreed to keep us posted on what’s going on with the midwives in her home state of Hawai’i. Here is her first report:
For the Midwives at the North Hawai`i Community Hospital Rally
A friend of mine and I hear about this rally on Hawai`i island to protest the proposal to cut staff from 3 full time CNMs, 1 per diem CNM, and 3 OBs down to
1 CNM and 2 Ob’s. Last year the hospital had 680 births, and they want to cut it down to 300. According to news sources, they claim the Medicaid reimbursements slow processing is partly to blame and that the hospital lost about 1 million dollars last year.
We fly from O`ahu to Hawai`i the morning of the rally, the desire to save any midwives threatened to be let go from any hospital in the state gets us going. The North Hawai`i Community Hospital has been the gem of the island since integrating midwifery care into their system, with parents/pregnant women driving sometimes hundreds of miles just to get the ‘women-centered’ care they desire that can be covered by their insurance.
There were about 2 dozen women, men and children gathered on the lawn, the
sun was shining and the wind was blowing the chilly air; typical Waimea weather. When we arrive, the signs saying, “Where’s My Midwife” and “More Midwives Not Less” are greeted with tons of honks, waves and “shakas” from passersby. A few motorists stopped in the parking lot to ask what was going on and 2 media crews came and did interviews. There were laughs and talks about each others families going on the hour or so we were there waving our signs of support.
After our visit with our sisters there, we got inspired to start a rally on O`ahu at the State Capitol this Thursday, to show support for the midwives at NHCH, raise awareness that the Midwives Model of Care is essential to women’s well being and should only be increased and never decreased.
Stay tuned for an update from our sisters in Hawai’i!
I write to you from the exotic location of Salt Lake City, Utah. Salt Lake City is a medium-sized city surrounded by huge mountains. We moved here one year ago from Wilmington, North Carolina. It has taken me a while to settle in here. In fact I am currently in the “Where’s my midwife?” phase of the process. First I found a pediatrician for the kids, then dentists, and an eye doctor. Now I am due for my annual well woman care. In Wilmington the shortage of midwives made that decision pretty simple. I wanted a CPM and I had one choice. Here they have a whole section in the yellow pages for midwives, including some CPM’s. There are 15 CNM’s and two CPM’s listed in the phone book, a little surfing on the web introduced me to several other CPM’s. Wow, after fighting so hard for just a few midwives, now I can think about other things like convenience, personality, other specialties they offer, and the more subtle differences in midwifery philosophy.
Ultimately I am looking for a lot more than simply a gentle PAP smear. One of the things I miss most about Wilmington is the birth community. It started with the doulas and NCFOM and grew to include Where’s My Midwife? and then Women in the Center. There is a committed group of people actively striving to make birth better for the families in North Carolina. I am sure that when I prod a little deeper into my community here, actually talking to people rather than simply doing Internet searches, I will find similar things going on here. After all, there is a strong doula organization, Utah Friends of Midwives, La Leche League, an ICAN chapter, a birth center and even a MEAC accredited midwifery school; surely these are signs of a strong birth community.
However, somehow all of this seems less accessible than the birth community in Wilmington. Maybe it is because Salt Lake is so much bigger and I don’t know everyone. Maybe I have been too lazy and introverted. There do seem to be less public events. What if a more open community with less injustices to fight against breeds less active consumers? Whatever the reason, I am going to put in the extra effort to create community for myself and bring Where’s My Midwife? to a new city. Even though there are more midwives here there are also more people, the birth statistics probably aren’t that much different from in Wilmington. There are probably a few more percentage points of births being attended by midwives and a few less percentage points in the surgical birth category, but this is still America and we need more midwives and more normal birth. I am embarking on a new adventure, stay tuned for more from the beautiful city of Salt Lake. If you live here I would LOVE to hear from you!
Rain or shine we will continue to demand more midwives.
The kids had fun too!
What: A peaceful demonstration in support of our midwives
Where: Meet in the parking lot of the strip mall (has yellow FOR LEASE sign hanging on it) across the street; if the permit to protest is approved, we will picket in front of the hospital on the sidewalk. If the permit is not in place, we will split up into groups and picket in front of each of the 3 OB pracitces.
When: Monday, August 10 from 11am to 2pm; we would love to have people for the entire time, but if we could get the largest crowd from 12 to 1, we will probably have the biggest impact because of the lunchtime traffic.
Why: The hopsital has a rule in place that requires an OB to be on premises when a CNM is laboring with a patient. We went to the hospital to try to deliver a letter (see attached) to open up a dialogue with the administration on Friday. We are hoping that our demonstration will show the hospital that a midwifery program is important to our community. Wilmington needs more birth options!
How: Make a sign with a logo like, “Where’s my midwife?” “More Midwives, Not Less!” “More Birth Options!” ”My family wants their midwife!” ”I want my midwife” Please do not use any midwive’s names. We want the focus to remain on the mothers who were left without a midwife and the way Carolina handled themselves. If you don’t have time to make a sign, we will have extras.
Bring what you need to stay comfortable and hydrated in the sun! For more info, visit www.youaremysunshine.biz, or join the “Where’s my midwife?” group on Facebook! Please invite your friends!
See you Monday!