Friday, February 13, 2009

Cookie Day at the Capitol - 2009!

Midwife supporters started showing up bright and early laden with boxes, baskets, crates, backpacks, and even wheeled luggage crammed full of hundreds and hundreds of packages of cookies! We lost count of just how many home baked cookies were delivered on Cookie Day, but our estimate puts it around 800 packages, or 400 dozen cookies!

Jen Keifer, FoMM VP, arrived with a wagon load of cookies and children.
Her homeborn baby, David (above) appears ready to go charm the legislators!

By 1 pm, most people had visited dozens of offices with their children and cookies and were happy to sit and listen to special speakers at our rally in celebration of legal CPMs. Many people were especially excited to hear Jennifer Block from Brooklyn, New York and many brought copies of her book, "Pushed" to be autographed afterwards. A number of legislators and various lobbyists showed up to hear her as well.
Above, Halley Watson, Legislative Chair, welcomes everyone and thanks them for coming to celebrate with us.

After receiving an emotional standing ovation from a rotunda full of homebirth parents, children, and their midwives, Senator Loudon spoke about his motivation for legalizing Certified Professional Midwives. He added, "You wouldn't believe all the people I've met through this! I have so many Facebook friends because of this issue!"

Samanda Rossi, President of Friends of Missouri Midwives, surprised Mary and Debbie by coming to the front to recognize them for their years of service and present them with beautiful bouquets, thanking them for all that they have sacrificed over the past four years to make midwives legal in Missouri.

"In their time as unpaid, volunteer lobbyists, they [Debbie and Mary] gave up a great deal for the betterment of families in Missouri and the midwives who serve them. And they did without complaint or of asking for much beyond our presence at the Capitol. They dug deep into their pockets to pay for gas and meager dinners of canned beans and donated food.... After dinner, sleep was scarce and work hours were long as they strategized and planned for the daylight hours ahead...
The intensity and selflessness of Mary and Debbie's work may never be fully understood or appreciated. But the magnitute of their work will resonate each time a midwife takes her CPM exam, each time a mother-to-be locates a legal midwife to assist her patiently and lovingly through pregnancy, and each time a baby utters it's first sounds of greeting upon birth in the great state of Missouri." - Samanda Rossi

The crowd in the rotunda, listening to Debbie tell the story of how her midwife was arrested two weeks before her due date, leaving her with nothing to do but have her baby at home alone or go to the hospital. Debbie spoke of how that experience led her to spend years of her life working to make midwives legal for every other pregnant woman in Missouri.

Debbie Smithey, Jennifer Block, Mary Ueland, Sarah Greek listen to Elizabeth Allemann, MD. "We've hunted midwives down and thrown them in prison for 50 years in Missouri," she said. "Now, we've decided that they shouldn't be criminalized. But what should Missouri do with them now? I suggest that we integrate them into our maternity care system!"

Halley Watson, Debbie Smithey, Mary Ueland, Sarah Greek - the "old" lobbyists and the "new" midwifery lobbyists!

All together with their heroes - Senator John and Dr. Gina Loudon!

Sarah and Mary discuss the Supreme Court ruling with Steve Walsh, reporter for the MissouriNet news service at the Capitol.

An interview for KWMU news. Homebirth slideshow playing in the background.

After the rally, we spent some time in a basement hearing room with
Jennifer Block, discussing the state of our modern maternity care system
and how to reach women with information and options.

Members of Friends of Missouri Midwives and Missouri Midwives Association leadership went to dinner with Jennifer Block at Panera bread to continue our conversation. We are so grateful to Jennifer Block, author of "Pushed: The Painful Truth About Modern Maternity Care" for taking time out of her busy schedule to speak at our rally, and for coming to spend Cookie Day promoting midwives at the Missouri Capitol! Thank you, Jennifer!

And lastly, a picture of Sarah Greek and Halley Watson, the new faces of midwifery seen at the Capitol every day in place of Debbie and Mary's continual presence. Their job is to make sure that Certified Professional Midwives STAY legal!
Thank you so much Halley and Sarah!

1 comment:

Amber Sebold said...

I can't tell you how glad I am that midwifery is legal now! Just reading this post made me well up. I used to live in Missouri and I remember frantically baking cookies and printing little pictures for the bottom of each plate urging legislators to support midwifery.

I live back in the UK now where midwives are the norm and although home birth isn't very common where I live, the law is on my side so I can have one regardless. I hope by the time I move back to MO midwives are fully integrated into the 'system' and available to every woman, income aside!