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A Deliberately Insubstantial Post about the Home Birth Consensus Summit

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By Jill Arnold

For everyone chomping at the bit to hear every single detail of the Home Birth Consensus Summit, I would like to invite you to simma down now. The summit hadn’t even ended and a few folks were going berserk about what they called secrecy, demanding that the consensus be immediately uploaded for the public. It wasn’t even typed yet and I wasn’t even done getting high off the blueberry Mr. Sketch pen in which our section was written. Simma. Down. Now.

I left with the understanding that as a matter of courtesy, the first rule of Fight Club the Home Birth Consensus Summit is: you do not talk about the Home Birth Consensus Summit. (FYI, I found out that that stupid soap with the hole in it at the Airlie Center was MADE FROM DISCARDED PLACENTAS by the home birth midwives, who sold it back so the obstetricians would shower with it.). Actually, the agreement was to not directly quote people without their permission as a courtesy. Rixa did quote me without asking first (*ahem*), but I don’t mind. I actually got the chance to personally apologize to someone I beat over the head with an angry stick in a post a long time ago and was honored to buy them a moderate amount of a clear liquid at the pub.

The format of the three day meeting was unusual, and I assume that part of the point of it was that it would be disarming in its uniqueness. I think it worked. The dialogue was respectful, which is remarkable considering the diversity and backgrounds of the attendees. It wasn’t all rosy, of course. I came to blows with someone after hours because we wanted to reenact the SNL natural birth sketch and both of us wanted to wear the enormous yarn merkin. It’s too bad we couldn’t reach a consensus on that.

The best part of traveling is always the reunion with my kids afterward. I told the kindergartener a few months that if she and her little sister were going to continue to giggle about poo, she was going to understand what poo is all about. So we were talking about colons this morning and after totally forgetting what the transverse colon was called, she walked over with a smile and wrote this because it’s the closest part to her butt. Then I put her in a burlap sack and beat her with reeds because, a “y”? Seriously? Ridiculous. I placed getting them tucked in late last night and snuggling as a higher priority that the MCH online quiz due at midnight, and in turn promptly bombed the quiz. I need to enjoy these little weirdos before I take off again at the end of the week for Washington D.C. to present at the American Public Health Association annual meeting. Please let me know if you’re attending, by the way. Or try to find me there… I’ll be the one wearing the huge yarn merkin. You can’t miss me.

So that’s it for now. I feel strongly about just waiting until there is something public to start discussing the summit. Thank you again for helping me to get there and I am glad I was able to contribute to the process. We’ll get you a substantive post about the summit in due time and will open it up for discussion then.




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Reader Comments (30)

You may not realize, It, Jill, but you sound at least a wee bit condescending. "Simmer down, now," is not the most respectful way to speak to adults who might disagree with you or who haven't shared the endorphin thigh of an intense group experience. The home birth community does not know what happened. We do not know if any concessions were made that might make things more difficult. These are legitimate concerns. Please don't address us as A teacher might speak to an unruly group of children.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Jenkins

There's a great example of humor being lost on someone. Watch the video. It's a catch phrase.

The Big Push had Katie and Russ there. *You* do know exactly what happened there. You also know when the summit ended and are well aware that no one was going to blast out a final statement right at that moment. Susan, don't try to paint a picture of "the home birth community" being victims of a conspiracy to deprive them of information. Unfortunately, the opportunity to rip into ACOG as oppressors doesn't apply here as implied in the tweets. I think most people would find it reasonable to wait until the dust settles and someone has the chance to sit down, type up the information and update the web site. Come to think of it, there was really only one group that I observed being antagonistic online during the summit.

October 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

I usually assume that if a post contains merkin jokes, I'm probably not getting chastised. Unless it's *my* merkin being referred to.

Can't wait to hear the official notes, Jill. I hope you bought your former opponent a quality drink. Though if you wanted to be trendy, you should have given them a bowl full of vodka-infused Gummi Bears. I hear that's what all the cool kids do now.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteremjaybee

Thanks Jill. We are eagerly waiting awaiting more news and forthcoming conversations.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHillary

Am I the one you "came to blows with" over the enormous yarn merkin or is there someone else in on the joke? You can have it. Next time we have to do our dance routine.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAli Lewis

I was wondering why that was the best effing shower I ever had. Man. Your humor is not lost on this blurty, fourth grader. The one bit of consensus I am so grateful for is that my work group did not sing Kumbaya in our skit despite the idea originator's insistent, second suggestion we do so.I kiboshed the first, which is sooooo not consensus building behavior.
I am going to drink it all in and remain thoughtfully silent. The contributions from all participants, I sincerely hope are lasting and will lead to policy, law and protocol and standard of care changes from all sides. We all need to start planning another one right away!

Delegates I salute and applaud every single word you said, contribution and moment you spent listening. (except) Kumbaya.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen Holloman

Why am I not going on all "business trips" as your bodyguard? I'm big, black and witty. That are the qualifications on all the sitcoms. Not only that I understand your hair care needs and double as a therapist. That's my application. I expect a contract in the mail by Monday. Glad you are keeping up the good fight. Take your time and put your babies first. My 11 year old is proof that they will be in 5th grade sometime next week.

October 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMamaMicky

Ali, that was all you. I understand that for professional reasons you need to publicly deny picking up a whistling swan and throwing it at my back. It's cool.

October 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

Jen, I like your point about the Kumbaya Factor. The implication of calling the summit an endorphin-boosting intense group experience (first comment) is that it sounds like attendees are drugged up from a Moonie wedding.

October 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill

Micky, there are so many movie cliches and stereotypes that together we could perpetuate. Let's start planning.

October 23, 2011 | Registered CommenterJill
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