Associated Press TV segment on Unassisted Childbirth

Tomorrow, March 24th, somewhere in the world, at some point during the day (am I being too vague?), the Associated Press TV segment I was interviewed for will air. Stations around the world that subscribe to AP video can air the 3 to 5 minute segment if they choose to. They can also air part of it, or show the footage but with their own voice-overs. I believe there will also be a 2 minute segment which can be posted online by newspapers that subscribe to AP video. I’m hoping that if it doesn’t air locally (or even if it does) I/we can view the video online, but I’m not sure if that will be possible. In addition to a short interview with me, the segment will also include an interview with my friend Liberty, and comments from a physician (I think we all know what to expect). It’s hard to say how many stations will choose to air the segment, but if anyone out there sees it please let me know. A short blurb about the segment is posted here.

Interestingly enough, this segment was 9 months in the making, and tomorrow is my husband David’s birthday. It seems very fitting to me that it should air then, as David was the one that started me on this path. While he only witnessed the birth of one of our children, he was very much with me in spirit each time, and like me, views this as his life’s work (actually, our work is much larger than UC, but this is our primary focus right now). My book, Unassisted Childbirth, was very much a joint creation. Certainly David hasn’t been as vocal about birth as I have, but he’s slowly coming out of his shell. He was interviewed by the AP TV producer (as were two of our children, John and Joy), but unfortunately their comments weren’t included. I hope you will be seeing more of him in the years to come. The man has read thousands of books in the past 35 years, and is a walking encyclopedia.

In other news, I added two lovely, inspiring videos to my main page this past week, “My Birth Path,” by Sarahjeanne, and “My Birth Journey,” by Reyvene. Stop by and have a look!

Postscript: The Today Show in Australia aired an edited version of the segment. Click here to view it.

Reflections on the Trust Birth Conference

I’m happy to say that the Trust Birth Conference far exceeded my expectations! It was wonderful to connect with so many people I had corresponded with over the years but never met in person. All the sessions I attended were excellent. Each of the speakers stayed true to the Trust Birth slogan: Birth is Safe; Interference is Risky. Speaking of which, apparently the sign we had posted in the lobby (which bore the slogan) did not go over well with some of the hotel guests. A group of surgeons complained to the management, and asked that the sign be taken down! The surgeons felt we should not be able to make a political statement (dare I say, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet?!). Fortunately, the sign remained. :)

I wish I could say I took lots of pictures but I didn’t. The reasons for this are as follows: when it comes to photography, I suck, and I truly wanted to immerse myself in the experience and not be concerned with documenting it. Believe me, I was there! Thankfully other people took pictures. Click here to see Brenda Capps’ pictures, and here to see Gloria Lemay’s.

One of the MANY highlights for me was the panel discussion on “Why Women Stay Home...Alone!” Several of us on the panel had been a bit concerned that we might endure criticism from midwives, but I can honestly say that not one of the midwives in the audience had anything negative to say about UC (unassisted childbirth). After my fellow panelists (Melissa Collins, Heather Cushman-Dowdee, Jody McLaughlin, Rixa Freeze, Heather Brock and Emily Reeves) and I shared our reasons for choosing UC, the discussion turned to how we can build a bridge between UC and midwifery. I was thrilled to learn that there are many midwives who truly want to help women in their quest for a UC, whether that means being a back-up, doing prenatal care, offering knowledge and support during the pregnancy and/or checking on the mom and baby after the birth. I never felt I needed this but I understand that some women do, and so I’m thankful there are midwives who are willing to provide this service. The discussion was so productive that midwife and UCer Kristi Zittle set up a Yahoo group with the following description: “An elite group of women joining together to find a common bond between hands off midwifery and the power of the unassisted birthing woman. Our goal is to meet the needs of all women without interfering with the natural processes of birth; and, through the dispelling of birth fears!” To join the group click here.

Of course I know that not all midwives support UC, and even some who do are reluctant to help those UCer’s that request it for fear of losing their licenses should something go wrong with the birth. This is why my midwife friends (and I suspect many of the midwives in the audience) have tended to fall into the following categories: no longer practicing (either by force or choice), unregulated, underground, or licensed and regulated but willing to break the law. As several of the midwives pointed out, a midwife basically has to decide who she’s going to answer to: the woman or the state. Those who decide to answer to the state may be able to help women that have text book labors, but they will hinder women whose labors deviate from “the norm.” Does a woman truly need to transfer if her water has been broken for more than 12 hours, or her placenta isn’t delivered within an hour of the birth? In most cases, I don’t think so. But a midwife who answers to the state will do this in spite of the fact that she knows it's unnecessary.

There is so much more I could write about (and so many people I could thank/praise) but I’ve been home for a week and I'm still trying to catch up on email, work, etc. To those who would like to read more about the conference click here.

As you’ll see, I’m not the only one who didn’t want it to end! In fact, conference organizer Carla Hartley (who will forever hold a place in my heart) is already talking about having another conference in 2010. I’ll keep you posted! For those of you who weren’t able to attend (and even those who were) recordings of the sessions will soon be available for purchase here.