Sunday, March 2, 2008

Between a knife and a lonely place

My husband has gotten a wonderful new job. In most ways, it’s going to be a very good thing for our little family. We will be able to (finally!) be out of debt. Absolutely, 100% out of debt. We’re going to be renting a home instead of buying, so we won’t even have a mortgage debt. I can’t begin to describe how free and liberated and, dare I say, autonomous, that makes this 26 year old mama feel!

And yet, this change is also a sense-of-self-shattering experience. We will be moving from Florida to Georgia. Here in Florida I had a wonderful midwife to attend my planned homebirth, even though it was only my second birth and my first was a c-section. I had absolutely no trouble finding this midwife. She has incredible experience, great compassion, deep dark knowledge of what birth can be and what it sometimes is, and an amazing relationship with a local perinatologist, making hospital transports seamless for the mother. In Georgia, I will have to fight. I will have to earn (if I haven’t already) the warrior in vbacwarrior. I have spoken with several midwives already. Most won’t attend a birth with me because I have a scar on my uterus. The ones I found who attend vbacs (secondary vbacs, only) either won’t attend a birth with me because we’ll live more than an hour from them, or they’re “uncomfortable” with me because I’ve had two SGA babies.

Where does this leave me? It makes me feel very small and insignificant, indeed. Trapped between a knife and a lonely place. I’ve had to ask myself, for the first time: what am I prepared to do to have what my head and my heart both feel is a “safe birth” for my future tiny blessing? Because I must take into consideration my husband’s feelings, UC is not an option. I must have a birth attendant, so whom do I choose? If I could find a CNM in Georgia who would attend a secondary vbac, what good would it do me? She will be under an OB’s thumb, leaving me no better off than having an OB him/herself. Then there’s the hospital. I absolutely refuse to go to a hospital for a normal pregnancy, labor and birth. What other choice do I have though? We’re only moving about four hours from where we are now, so the possibility exists that I may be able to move back down here for a few months. Then I could have my midwife and homebirth too. Even with this option, how will I get my prenatal care? Will a homebirth midwife provide this care for me, knowing that I will be leaving for the actual birth? If I choose a CNM or an OB for prenatal care, will I have to offer up my body to the barrage of tests inflicted upon pregnant women?

Navelgazing Midwife, Kneeling Woman… what say you? What is a woman in my position supposed to do? We are being sliced by OB’s and abandoned by midwives. Can you look me in the face (or in the blog, as it were) and say that you are happily willing to sacrifice me for the “greater good”? What about my baby? Most women today don’t want midwives. WHY do you insist upon “marketing” yourselves to these women, when you have women, mothers like me who are begging, pleading for a midwife? A safe birth. Are you really content transitioning to a sheep in wolf’s clothing?

What happened to “with woman”?


Rixa said...

I am sorry to hear that your move will mean a huge difficulty in locating a midwife. Since I've been in my childbearing years, I've only lived in states where midwifery was illegal, so it's hard to even imagine being in one where midwives can openly collaborate with doctors, like your midwife in Florida.

I did work with a home birth CNM who was required by IL to have a written collaborative agreement with an OB. She does have a few restrictions that she has to follow (no twins, planned breeches, or primary VBACs at home) but other that than she has a lot of autonomy. So for what it's worth, I don't think that situation would necessarily be just like having an OB.

Anonymous said...

Take heart and keep searching. I'm in Alabama where we are working hard for licensure for CPMs. It is my understanding that GA had an excellent study resolution for their CPM bill, and although the CPM licensure bill has not passed there, there are CPMs attending homebirths and there hasn't been much prosecution.

I hope that you can find a CPM or other direct-entry midwife with good references who will attend your birth.

Sarah in Alabama

I am a Monkey's Momma said...

If you need a great midwife, you are more than welcome to shack up with me when you are nearing the end of your due date. :) I like to call my midwife the vbac woman, because almost half of her clientele are vbac moms, if not mostly primary vbacs.

I'm so sorry that you are having such a difficult time finding adequate and compassionate prenatal care just four hours north of you. Maybe you could contact Heather (another ICAN mom, her blog is "it's twinsanity")... she is in GA I believe and I know she had a primary vbac at home with twins and is now expecting her second set of twins.

Peace to you in this journey.


One Hot Mama said...

email me at

vbacwarrior said...

To Rixa:

According to the Georgia Midwifery site, CNMs in GA do not attend homebirths. Any CNM in practice will be in practice "under" an OB, putting her under his thumb.

"Status of Midwifery in Georgia
The practice of midwifery by direct-entry midwives is effectively unlawful, because certification by the Department of Human Resources, required by law, is unavailable.

While quite a few certified nurse midwives practice in Georgia, most are in hospital settings and none attend home births. There is one free-standing birth center, which is staffed by CNMs."

Nicole D said...

I am so sorry that you are in this place. I cannot imagine the stress and anger that it is causing you. It is not RIGHT for a state or federal body to legislate how I am allowed to safely birth or who is allowed to attend me under whatever circumstances. Know that I am holding your cyber hand and wish I could offer more help.

You do have other options. There is the ability to find a DEM/LM or CPM in your area. I have friends in GA who have had beautiful home births with these wonderful women, albeit insurance will most likely not cover it and some are relatively hard to come by.

If you want me to do some searching on my end, feel free to email me privately and I will do what I can to help you in this journey.

I can understand your angst, and can hear fear in your words - something I have never heard before - the desperation of an animal-momma being cornered and forced to fight. PLEASE know that there are many of us, though you cannot see us IRL, who are in your corner, even some that you may not think are.

Kneelingwoman said...

Dearest birthing woman: I am comfortable with home Vbac; I've done them and I would do another. I am not "abandoning" women who want Midwives for women who "don't". I'm saying that the reason most women don't want midwives to care for them is that they don't see a "fit" for themselves if they don't buy into all the other "lifestyle" or health care issues that home birth midwifery has tied itself to over the years. And yes, as a midwife, I would certainly provide loving, compassionate and complete prenatal care in your home, among your family and tribe, even if you weren't birthing at home. Again, I have done and continue to do, exactly that. I am not making any attempt to "market" myself to anyone; I charge a very minimal fee for my services; sometimes, no fee. I do my work because it is "my work". I feel so sad for what you're going through! Please know that I am advocating a change in the way we educate midwives so that more women, from more diverse backgrounds, can become Midwives to their communities. I am still, and always, a home birth midwife. My concern for "the majority" of women as that they don't receive the skilled and knowledgeable companionship of midwives because they see it only in terms of making a broad choice for home or hospital, which, for most women, translates into "safe" or "not safe" and those perceptions will not change until and unless we make a good faith effort towards meeting all women where the live instead of insisting that they come to us. That is not abandoning home birth or home birth families; it is a wholehearted attempt to provide a "Midwife for every Mother" that should be a birthrite instead of the option for those who read Mothering Magazine or have $3000.00 to spend out of pocket on a birth. For me, as a Midwife, Mother and Woman--there is no "those women" or "them" there is only women and mothers; all kinds, from everywhere, and I want to see all of them loved and cared for, on their own terms.......home or hospital, breast or bottle, co sleep or crib.

I do hope you find a Midwife who can work with you; If I can offer you any help at all, don't hesitate to contact me at my regular e mail address:

Anonymous said...

Hey. I left a comment on another post a month or so ago. I live in Georgia, had twins at home 12 hours apart after a C-section and 3 hosptial VBACs. Onehotmamma was my midwife. I noticed she said to email her. She is fantastic and I higher than highly recommend her. I look forward to having another baby just because of the wonderful job she did. I hope the move goes smoothly for you. I hope this helps.

TracyKM said...

I hope all the good with your move will continue to expand and be what you focus on....what you focus on expands, what you fear; you create. But there are unfortunate laws made by unknowing men.
Here in Canada, there is a significant shortfall of midwives (and of many other medical positions like family doctors; most people don't use peds for routine baby care either).
You do NOT have to have any tests you don't want. They will not strap you down and take your blood for a triple screen or ultrasound :)
Good luck!

Permission to Mother said...

Ijust wanted to encourage you. I moved to Georgia from Florida and had a pregnancy... I definately worried who would be at my birth... turns out I had an incredible homebirth. Trust yourself(as you do), have faith in birth, and some how it will work out.


Mrs. B. Roth said...

Wait. This is my first visit here (great blog, BTW, very open and informative)- but I am a pregnant mother who had 2 c-sections, too. When I was pregnant with # 1, I had all these medicine-free, mother earth visions, but my water broke and he was a week late and breach (wow that pitocin stuff hurts). Off to the emergency C-section room for me. When #2 came along, I was suddenly too afraid of pain and pushing to even consider VBAC.

I have since adjusted my mind. I don't want to fight for the opportunity to push her out and possibly hurt my baby. Cut my body all you want, give me a healthy beautiful baby and I'll recover. Call me a coward (it's probably true), but I could never, never bear the thought if I hurt my child by choice, if something in the VBAC were to go wrong. Nor could I handle the thought that because of my choice, I ended up dead and left my children motherless.

I don't have faith in people so much, not my seemingly competent new OBGYN, not my ability to give birth, BUT I have faith that if I am patient and allow God to work his plan for my life, things will unfold better than I could have imagined. It doesn't matter to me much, how they got to me, it's the moment after they arrive and every moment after that that matters to me.

BEST of luck! I pray everything goes beautifully for you!