Article in the St. Louis newspaper

Michelle Munz of the Post Dispatch did a terrific job with this article about midwifery in Illinois and Missouri. I only wish they had an avenue for posting comments about the story on the website.

I’ll give first quote status to the opposition. After several paragraphs in which Munz has sumarized some of the extensive statistical evidence regarding the safety of planned homebirth with a certified professional midwife:

But such statistics can’t tell the whole story, said Dr. Gordon Goldman, the Missouri section chair of American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.”Most of the time, they are going to get away with” a midwife
birth, Goldman said. “But when (a death) happens — even if it’s one in 1,000 — it’s 100 percent for you and your baby.”

This quote amuses me in light of the fact that the informative sidebar states that the BMJ study showed an infant death rate of “1.7 per 1,000, consistent with low-risk births at hospitals.” The infant death rate itself is not amusing. It is a very sad fact of life that even in the best of circumstances, some babies don’t make it. What amuses me is Dr. Goldman’s double standard, and his random choice of a death rate that is actually lower than hospitals acheive for “low risk” births.

Some of my favorite quotes that resonate with what midwifery is all about:

Kris gets into the tub, equipped with a heater to keep the water warm. The temperature and buoyancy are soothing. About 15 minutes later, the midwife notices a twinge in Kris’ grunting.
“That sounded pushy. Are you feeling like you’re wanting to push?” the midwife says.
“Yes,” Kris answers, the first word she has spoken in hours.

~~~

It was a difficult birth, Jenny recalled. She pushed for nearly an hour.
The midwife felt the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. She had
Jenny get on her hands and knees and lift one leg. That allowed the baby’s
shoulders to come loose and tumble out of its cord. The new mom scooped up her baby girl in the warm water. It was a joyous and peaceful moment, she said. It was exactly what she wanted.
“I felt like the bionic woman,” Jenny said. “I was completely exhausted, but I felt a sense of pride I never felt before.”

~~~

She spends two more hours at the house, cooking scrambled eggs, cleaning and completing her notes. She packs her equipment in a rolling suitcase. She leaves Kris with a list of things to look out for, like excessive bleeding or if Drew catches a fever.
The midwife hugs Kris and tells her how amazing she was. The midwife will be back tomorrow to check on the family.
As always, she has her cell phone in her pocket, waiting for the next call.

There is also a beautiful audio slideshow accompanying the article.

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