Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Home Birth, Midwives, and The Law

Silas in our herb bath still attached to his placenta (in a bowl next to him)
When you birth at home (assuming you have a great midwife), the focus is what is in the best interest of you and the baby, no strings attached.  At a hospital, even if you have excellent care, there are often hospital protocols and impatient medical personnel that you must choose to appease or fight.  I've had a great hospital birth, but even so, my midwife had to deal with a bunch of junk in the hallway to fight for my desires instead of just focusing on me and the baby.  There were things that happened to Malakai that we did not want, but had to because the hospital said so:  eye goop, vitamin k, ridiculous hearing test, not going home when we wanted to, etc.  At the hospital, the baby belongs to the hospital.  At home, we can just be a family.  Having a homebirth is not about having a fun or amazing birth experience for the mom.  It is a choice we make because we believe that is where our baby can have the safest most gentle birth without being cumbered about with much hospital protocols.  Yes, complications can arise, but they don't happen as much at home.  Unnecessary interventions (often because of hospital protocols or impatient medical personnel) CAUSE complications that require more interventions.  The most common are inductions, and timing labor and delivery to the extent that they do.  There are so many more, but most women don't even know they are wrong because they've never been taught otherwise.

Malakai on the scale after his pretty amazing hospital birth.
It makes me sad that all his beautiful vernix is gone here.
He was covered with it when he was born!
Certified professional midwives in states such as Indiana, practice "underground".  They must if they are going to help women who are having homebirths.  They can be extensively trained and certified, but the state simply does not allow them to obtain a license.  This legal situation is wrong, and those who act against it do so because they believe they are doing what is right in spite of the law.  This is much like how many people would respond to an anti-gun law.  I can tell you without a doubt that there would be countless people who would refuse to bend to that law and would not allow the government to disarm them.  Another example would be if it became illegal to carry a Bible or meet as a church.  Christians would then have to make a choice to obey the law or continue to follow their beliefs in spite of it.

In the case of Carol Velasquez, the deputy prosecutor claims that the issue is with illegally administering prescription drugs.  Those are the charges against Carol.  If Carol was carrying the drugs she is accused of carrying, she is in good company.  It would be very hard to find a midwife who doesn't carry Pitocin (for example). These midwives are simply arming themselves for any possible complication that may arise and the natural remedies are found to be insufficient.  Homebirth midwives should have the legal safety to care for their clients the best they can, but that is not the case at this time.  So, they give their clients the very best care while putting themselves on the line.

What needs to happen is that people need to speak up on the issue of homebirth freedom.  Midwives need to have the freedom to provide optimal care without the threat of the nightmare Carol Velasquez is going through right now.

Honestly, my husband put it in much better words than I did:

"Here is the thing, it is not a simple black and white issue. Is it technically illegal for a midwife to administer drugs such as Pitocin? I would have to answer yes. However, in order for midwives to be able to give excellent care to their clients and avoid certain complications they NEED to be able to use these drugs. The real problem is that it SHOULD be legal for CPMs to be able to use these drugs. By not allowing them to use them we are forcing midwives to either choose to compromise their clients care by forcing them to wait until they get to the hospital to receive treatment which in some cases may be too late when it could have been resolved easily at home by the midwife or take the risk because they are more concerned about the welfare of the baby and mother over the governing legislative body. Most midwives will choose the latter. It really is no different than a missionary going into another country where Christianity is outlawed, and under the pretense of being an English teacher, using that as a way to get into the country to teach them about Jesus. As Christians, we know it is TECHNICALLY illegal for them to teach Jesus and carry/distribute Bibles, but yet we encourage them, support them, pray for them, and fight for them if they get caught, because we believe it is the right thing regardless of what a governing body has declared. The same principle is true in this situation. The problem lies in the legislation, and I think some serious changes need to made at that level so midwives are not forced to make the sacrifices they do for the good of their clients."
 ~Matt Reeves


  1. good stuff - i think it is crazy it is illegal for them to administer pitocin. total madness. It is as though the state, the hospital doctors are setting them up to fail... so they can 'prove' that hospital is the best place to be... grr.

  2. I find it disgusting that a woman can "choose" to literally torture her unborn child to death, but to make an educated decision to have a gentle home birth for the BEST of the child is considered wrong. It makes me sick that we can give legal freedom to someone who wants to kill a baby, but have to find fault with someone who is preserving life and safety of a mother and child. Seems we have the right to "choose" death, but not life!!!

  3. Great job explaining this issue. I do not know a midwife who does not carry pit. In one of the situations that Carol is being accused in she gave pit in order to induce, which is not a usual practice among midwives.

  4. It was illegal for African Americans to ride on a bus, too, per state laws, but does that make the law right?!! Absolutely not. This is about freedom, and freedom to choose. Certified Professional Midwives are viewed in the same light by doctors and OB GYNs as African Americans were prior to the civil rights movement!!

  5. Pitocin and Cytotec are not dispensed without a script from a doctor, without a pharmacist or pharmacy of some sort. If it is so illegal, (which I understand the written law), why aren't these charges also including the route/people by which these drugs came to Carol's hands? for that matter, every midwife..... not just Carol's. I'm confused as to why these charges are here. Was anyone killed? or has anyone died from Carol's work? Or have a few professionals lost business to Carol and other amazing midwives?? I'm baffled. Beside myself. I'm a nurse, and I received from Carol nothing but the best care, and she was recommended to me by a doctor who had 5 of his 6 children delivered by her at home. What also gets me, is that when doctors who are licensed to administer these drugs, misadminister, they do not get charged. Why is that? Is it because we sign that line of that disclaimer that says you're receiving care at your own risk?? WOW. Midwives should be able to carry Pitocin and Cytotec. Any day, every day!! The prosecutor must widen her knowledge of medicine altogether, because her allegations are weak. This case is being treated much more harshly than crime.

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I couldn't agree more.


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