|February 13, 2013|
Volume 15, Issue 4
|Midwifery Today E-News|
“The Witch Hunt”
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Attend the full-day Comfort Techniques for Midwives and Doulas class at our conference in Eugene, Oregon, April 3–7, 2013. This class will cover a variety of techniques, including hot and cold compresses, music, massage/touch, acupressure, aromatherapy and the birthing ball. You’ll also learn about positions that assist rotation and descent in first stage, as well as several ways to help in second stage. The importance of knowing when to do less and listen more will also be discussed.
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Plan now to attend our conference in Blankenberge, Belgium, 30 October – 3 November 2013. The theme is “Autonomous Midwifery” and planned classes include Waterbirth, Placenta Medicine, Breech Birth, Shoulder Dystocia and Spinning Babies.
In This Week’s Issue
Quote of the Week
Nothing will change as long as women say nothing.
— Cynthia Blynn
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When I Was Arrested
It is Sabbath. I am sitting at the table, still in my pajamas. The smell of fresh ground coffee fills the air. My husband and I enjoy our late breakfast of fresh farm eggs with cheese, mushrooms, onions and peppers.
Then we hear doors slam.
My husband stands up to look out the window and says, “There are cops here.”
He goes to the door. I hear him arguing with them and my heart sinks. I will not panic, but I have to think. I get up and go to the bedroom to get dressed.
In my bedroom I wander and pace. The door is slightly open, and I hear my husband refusing to “turn me over.” I hear the cop argue back. I do not want them to come in my home by force.
My husband comes into the room and asks what he should do. I say I have to go. I sense he wants time with me, to just sit and hold me because he is afraid, but we do not have time.
I sit on the bench at the back door. I ask the police about my medications. I am told that, yes, I can bring them. I wait for my husband to return from getting me a pair of socks to wear. I place them on and slip on my shoes. He goes to get the plastic bag for my insulin.
I ask to take my morning insulin and am told to go ahead. One officer says, “How do we know she will not take too much?” I look at him and shake my head and say, “I am not out to kill myself.” What a jerk, and my tax dollars pay his wage. Disgusting. I turn and give myself insulin and then hand over my meds.
I turn to say goodbye to my husband. I do not feel fear; I do not feel anything at all. I am numb.
They tell me I will be arrested. My rights are not read to me. The other cop says he has to place handcuffs on me, but he double locks them, so they do not tighten up. I am handcuffed from the front. He then says he will allow me to sit in the front seat. He says he does not usually do this, but will for me. This is a kind gesture, but his demeanor towards me is rude and I wonder if maybe a microphone is able to more clearly pick up what I say if I am in the front seat.
I turn to look at my husband standing on the back deck talking on the phone. I wonder who he has called first. I also wonder when I will see him again. I pray. God tells me to stay strong and rely on Him—I know He has this in His hands.
I again ask about bail. I am told when we arrive to the jail, they will have that information (his information turns out to be false).
I cry and I hate that the tears are flowing. We arrive at the jail, I am taken out of the car and we walk in. I wait.
I am given clothes by a female officer, who first pats me down very personally. The clothes are too small, but I am expected to squeeze into them anyway. They hurt my legs and hips. I then come back out of the changing room. There is a camera in there, so they watched me change my clothes and also use the toilet.
I am told to sit again. I am asked a lot of health questions from a young officer who I had watched grow up. We went to church together. He asks if I still attend there. I tell him, “Yes.”
I am taken to be fingerprinted. It is on a machine, like a copier, but he cannot get it to accept my fingerprints. I believe it is because God is telling me, You are not guilty of anything. God then reminds me, Men will be able to hurt you, but you stay strong, you follow me and you listen to me.
— Ireena Keeslar
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From Angie, a homebirth midwife in Cleveland, Ohio:
On January 16, 2012 I learned that GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturer of a flu vaccine, has a pregnancy registry line. That day I called their pregnancy registry line to ask some questions, though my blood was boiling the longer the conversation went on. I wanted to scream, “How can you do this to pregnant women without their consent?!” Instead I kept my calm and continued to ask non-hostile questions. The following is the conversation that I had with the representative:
Angie: Hi, I am a midwife and I saw that you have a pregnancy registry for pregnant women who receive your vaccine. I was wondering…what is the purpose of the pregnancy registry?
Representative (from the GlaxoSmithKine’s pregnancy registry line): To determine if there are any problems with pregnant women and their babies.
Angie: How does the pregnancy registry work?
Representative: Before we go any further is it okay if I ask for your name and contact information?
Angie: Sure. (I gave my name and the contact info she asked for.)
Representative: Well, you know, we can’t do testing on pregnant women, so pregnant women can register themselves or their OB can register them. If the pregnant women registered themselves they are asked for their care provider’s contact information.
Angie: Why are they asked for their doctor’s contact information?
Representative: So that they can be followed since we can’t do drug testing on pregnant women.
Angie: So the moms and babies are followed?
Representative: Yes, they are, but we can’t do drug testing on pregnant women.
Angie: Right, so are they followed after birth or just to the time of birth?
Representative: They are not followed after birth—they are only followed to the time of delivery.
Angie: Why are they followed to the time of birth?
Representative: To look and see if there are any problems.
Angie: And they are not followed after the time of birth to see if there are any long-term effects?
Representative: No, they are just followed until the birth.
Angie: How are the moms and babies followed? Who is responsible for following them?
Representative: It is the Drug Safety Department that follows them. After the mom is registered, the Drug Safety Department sends the care provider a form to fill out asking if there were any problems at the time of birth.
Angie: So by “problems” do you mean birth defects?
Representative: Yes, birth defects.
Angie: What do they do then with this information?
Representative: Well, they want to see the safety of the vaccine, and then of course, down the road, our policy would change.
At this point I could not continue asking questions—I was so very angry. I thanked her for her time and hung up.
The following is from the label of the flu vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline:
I encourage you to call them yourself and ask your own questions.
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The Persecution of Midwives as a Human Rights Issue
This one-day seminar, a preliminary session to the Midwifery Today Eugene 2013 conference, will explore the intersection of law and midwifery from a human rights perspective. In states across America and countries around the world, many midwives face the threat of legal sanction for providing women with genuine options for childbirth and for supporting each woman’s right to determine what she needs to give birth. How does this threat—and the reality of armed police raids, arrests, and drawn-out legal proceedings—affect midwives as individuals and as a profession? What is the effect of this phenomenon on women’s choices in childbirth?
The seminar will be led by Hermine Hayes-Klein, who put on the “Human Rights in Childbirth” conference in The Hague in 2012. During the day, filmmaker Diana Paul will share her ideas for starting and continuing a birth revolution. (During the main Eugene conference, Diana will be showing the film “How to Start a Revolution” by Ruaridh Arrow, which is an inspiring documentary about one man’s ability to change dictatorships into democracies.)
For more information: http://www.midwiferytoday.com/humanrights/
You want to be a midwife, but where do you start?
Are you an aspiring midwife who’s looking for the right school? Or maybe you’re trying to decide if midwifery is the path for you. Visit our Better Birth Education Opportunities page to discover ways to start or continue your education.
I was a maternity nurse for 26 years. One day I got called out to the parking lot for a lady in advanced labor. I helped her into a wheelchair, but realized from the look on her face that it was going to be quick; in fact, it might be out in the parking lot. I hustled her into the reception area of the hospital. I felt between her legs and the bulge said the baby was on his way out. She was wearing some stretchy sweat pants, so I just pulled them away from her abdomen reached down and eased the baby out and up onto her shoulder right there in front of the switchboard operator! I look back at that as one of my most joyful deliveries. We laughed all the way back to the maternity department.
— Rebecca Carlile Parker
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