HOMEBIRTH: a Fugitive’s Quest
artwork by Chrissy Butler available here.

If you know me in person, one of the advocacy roles I play is for Homebirth. Many women live in places where homebirth midwives and the services they provide are readily and legally available. NC is not one of those places. It’s a complicated issue, I’m going to break it down as best and as concisely as I can.

  • There are 2 kinds of certified midwives. CNM (certified nurse midwives who began with a nursing degree) & CPM (certified professional midwives who are trained in the field, however pass the same tests & often graduate from the same schools). Now, one is not better than the other, however most CNMs are found in hospitals and healthcare offices–CPM’s do just homebirths. 
  • CNM’s can be licensed to attend homebirths in NC as long as they have a Doctor back-up.
So, why don’t all midwives simply go the route of CNM? well, there are not a lot of Docs jumping at opportunities to back homebirthing midwives for several reasons:
    1. Insurance
    2. Politics
    3. Loss of business
    4. General Inconvenience
This leaves the waters in which homebirthing mamas swim very low on options, CNM’s can’t find backers, backers don’t want to support homebirth, blah. 
Why am I bringing all these political hot topics out to air? Because I just lost my midwife. My sister just lost hers. Many friends as well. The state we live in arrested the most experienced CPM in the area, disgraced her and has left her to shut her practice’s doors. What is my option? To find the one CNM in the area & pay her higher fees (perhaps a cut goes to the back-up doc) or search for another CPM willing to risk her own dignity to provide a woman with what should be an unalienable right. Or to count on the wits of my husband. Or to go to the hospital and go into years worth of debt. Or go to a birth center 45 minutes away and do the same. These are not great options.
More ironic? Had my midwife been 20 minutes south, in a bordering state, her services as a midwife would be respected and completely legal. As it would have been in any of our bordering states. This is a travesty beyond measure and we must make it stop! 
I’m not here to lay a claim that all women ought to homebirth, I won’t even plug what a marvelous and comfortable and natural experience it can be πŸ˜‰  I simply want to point out that this challenge is one FREE people shouldn’t face. FREE people should get to choose their healthcare providers. Licensure programs would suffice at weeding out the frauds. What I am here to say? Well, really I’m here to vent–but are you aware of the situation where you are? 
the full story on my midwife is here.

8 Comments

  • Joy Posted February 22, 2011 2:36 am

    I heard about that, Lacey. It stinks and I'm really sorry. πŸ™

  • Ivy Posted February 22, 2011 2:52 am

    Ugh…time for some change in this state! Thanks for the inspiring post!

  • The Phillips Family Posted February 22, 2011 4:26 am

    I'm so sorry, Lacey! Praying for you, Amy, and everyone else directly affected right now.

  • angwat Posted February 22, 2011 5:03 am

    heartbreaking.

  • Suzanne Posted February 23, 2011 2:19 pm

    Perhaps you'll be the change your state needs. I live in MA, a most liberal state where midwives don't have these obstacles. I am not a home birth advocate myself as I suffered an amniotic fluid embolism with my 5th child and if not in the hospital with a top notch OB doc, would have died. In our state midwives are welcomed into the hospitals.

  • Sunny Posted February 24, 2011 3:48 am

    I'm so sorry. That's truly rotten news. Praying for you and your sweet family and the answers and resources that you need.

  • Julie Posted March 9, 2011 3:58 am

    Losing Amy was a great loss to the homebirthing community here in NC. She was never my midwife (not in my area when the time came) but I know several women whose births she attended (she was also my midwife's midwife) and they all sang her praises. I do hope a change can be made in NC so that we don't lose any more valuable midwives. The choice should be OURS!

    Btw, I found your blog through Rhythm of the Home. Very nice article. πŸ™‚

  • Anonymous Posted August 27, 2013 1:15 am

    I'm sorry that choices and freedom are legislated away where you live! I'm very lucky to live in a place (new zealand) where most women go through pregnancy & birth under the care of only midwives and birth wherever they choose. It's really sad that companies can mess with our food and persuade our children to eat junk but lawmakers are more interested in turning birth into a cut & sew industry! I salute you in your stand and hope that times are changing (for the better) where you are

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