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Entries from September 1, 2011 - September 30, 2011


Any Chance You'll Help Get Me to the Home Birth Consensus Summit? Please?

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 By Jill Arnold


I was invited to be a delegate at the Home Birth Consensus Summit. I confirmed that I am attending, but I’m going to have to ask for your help as a community. But then I started wondering who comprises our community. I can tell you what the Facebook page demographics look like, but not all 500,000 unique visitors a year are from Facebook. Why don’t I go ahead and try to define our readership in fancy italics?


Patients, a subset of pregnant women who hate being called “patients”, feminists, public health professionals, public health wannabes, obstetricians, an ex-boyfriend (*sniff*), fart joke enthusiasts (*sniff?*), people searching for “lisa masterson husband” and “did kourtney kardashian have an epidural”, probably your Aunt Diane, nurses, educators, lawyers, med students, med students who are also fart joke enthusiasts, activists and advocates, anti-activists and anti-advocates, goat farmers, midwives, doulas, sherpas, a freak who left a speculum on my pillow and whose name I can’t say but her initials are Amy Romano, hippies with computers, people who like the word vaginal, Canadians, Canadians with attitude, a few more suspicious Canadians (with excellent health care) whom I haven’t figured out yet, stalkers, people with a neurotic obsession with unwarranted practice variation (or is that just me?), parents and all of the rest of you.


And we all totally agree on home birth issues, right?


One way to tell me who you are or simply what your interest in the home birth climate in the U.S. is would be to fill out the form linked below. I am interested in hearing what you would personally share if you were in attendance.

Amid many other aspects worthy of exploration, I personally find myself drawn to discussing how opportunities for vaginal birth—just plain old vaginal birth as well as VBAC—are waning in hospitals and more women are presumably going to be looking for alternatives. I was that woman four and a half years ago and I was blessed to live in a population-dense, health-oriented corner of the country with a relatively diverse range of options, all of which I could include in my decision process because of good insurance, the savings that I used to have, and the privilege of good health and not having had that first cesarean that would have precluded use of the freestanding birth center, which was where I ultimately decided to drop that little Thanksgiving turkey that ended up almost being a giant Christmas ham. Some women choose home birth right from the start and seem to know right where to go to access care, but I was lost in my out-of-hospital search process. I feel drawn to looking out for women who never would have left the hospital had they not experienced the bizarreness of the whole current medical clusterfiesta—over-the-top communication of risk, the seeming aversion to vaginal birth, the episodic and inconsistent care within a large HMO and so on and so forth. When she goes looking for alternatives, how can she be sure to locate qualified midwives and that the process will be as safe as possible?

The dilemma presented here is how a single mom on the other side of the country gets to Virginia to lend a consumer voice to this forum. I think that’s where you come in. Truth be told, I really never got shit when I put out the tip jar. I got tips from three people. One had me on some kind of random interval behavior shaping program by dropping by with twenty bucks when she liked a post or felt inspired. The unpredictability of the reinforcement left me in a constant state of mental chaos… will she like this one? Is today’s the one? I’d better keep the quality and frequency up because I just never know when she’ll stop by with a monkey biscuit. I mean, twenty dollars. Ironically (and I don’t know if it’s really irony because I always misuse the word “irony”), the only real ad income this blog has ever received came from an OB-GYN. Thanks, Birthrisk.com. Go check out his site while you’re at it. Gus is good people.

Your tip isn’t a write-off or contribution to a non-profit or anything fancy. It’s going directly to me so I can buy a plane ticket. I’m certainly not flying first class and am pretty used to layovers and such, so if you all could help me offset the bulk of the cost of the flight, that would be great. It’s an honor to be invited to have a seat at the table, but I need to get me a seat on the airplane first. Anything over that can go into a fund to buy the ACOG folks a conciliatory beer for that whole first year of pure assholery on this blog.

Thanks in advance for any help you’re willing to give.



Get Jill on a plane: 

UPDATE 10/01/2011, 6:45 a.m.— I am all set. Thank you all for getting me there. -Jill


Share your thoughts about home birth in the U.S. here (link opens new window).