I’ve been thinking about midwives a lot this week. I just finished a great book about it. There has been some recent controversy in the news about homebirths and midwifery practice in general. There is a new documentary out about the Business of Being Born – I encourage you to follow the link and just WATCH THE TRAILER. But what has jolted my mind the most is that I just learned that the midwife who delivered our daughter no longer has a place to deliver babies. Hospital after hospital dropped their contracts with midwives due to pressure from OB/GYN’s over the last decade, and the only hospital that allowed for midwife care in our entire county just shut it’s doors. You can read about it, and my own midwife’s fight, here.

This is confusing to me on many levels. First, I can’t believe that this hospital was lacking for patients. It was an amazing place that emphasized personal care and a customized birthing experience. Why it wasn’t jam packed with informed mothers is a mystery to me. But second, I am most surprised that midwifery care seems to be a dying art. I know that it’s not for everyone, but I loved the personal attention of my midwife. My midwife was at the hospital when I arrived, and stayed through the entire labor, and then coached me on how to breastfeed. What OB would do that? Because she had priveledges, I didn’t have to be at the whim of whatever nurse happened to be on staff. I didn’t have to worry about a shift change in the middle of my labor, or a crabby nurse or a random doctor on call. The same woman who followed my entire pregnancy was there to deliver my baby. She knew all of my preferences, and all of my concerns. She knew my family by name. She let me lead. She called for an epidural when things stalled out and I wanted to sleep, and didn’t give me any hassle about whatever choices I made. And after the birth, she must have asked me 10 times if I had any feelings about the birth that I wanted to talk about. AMAZING.

I am feeling riled up about midwives becoming extinct. I think it is indicative of many problems in the healthcare system right now, and I think it has more to do with money and power, and less to do with best practice. After all, midwives have been proven, in research study after study, to have as good or better outcomes (for example, lower C-section rates, lower infant-mortality rates) than physicians. In a country that seems obsessed with the woman’s right to choose, shouldn’t those of us who choose life be granted the option of choosing how to bring that life into the world? And shouldn’t we be allowed to deliver in a hospital, in case we need more medical intervention (like India did), and not be forced to pay out-of-pocket at a birth center in a strip mall?

In case you live in Orange County and you value birthing options for women, check out Project Cabo. If you live somewhere else, perhaps it’s time to look into what birthing options are available to women in your area. I think it might be time for us to raise our voices for our right to choose a midwife!