Well our midwifery gathering was a resounding success. I will report more on the day in a future post but for the moment I wanted to address the topic of rumors. At our meeting a midwife suggested using a phone tree to halt rumors about a difficult birth. The phone tree could alert fellow birth workers that so and so had a rough birth, and that they would like to discuss it at the next peer review (for example) and that in the mean time they would appreciate the community's support. Now the phone tree idea might not be very practical but perhaps we can all, whether a birth worker or a mom, commit to stopping the rumor mill. Rumors often lead to the process of judging others and are not at all empowering.
While I am on the subject of the rumor mill, I wanted to post a statement from Kristina Zittle, who has been the subject of more then one rumor lately. Her story has been in the press but, as is often the case with the media, much of the story, especially the piece reported by the Board of Medicine, was left out or changed. When we read the media's take on things, or a fellow blogger's and argue that we do not agree with some of the choices that were made on behalf of Kristi or her clients, it is important to remember that we don't have the full story.
If I have learned one thing from Kristi's story, it is that I had better get good breech skills because I think the surprise breech when transport is not an option is always a possibility. My dream is to move to Senegal for two years, reconnect with old friends, and do birth work (and hopefully get some breech skills in the process).
So without further delay, here is Kristi's statement:
****Well, the story hit the front page of our local paper today. And without comment by me--which my attorney felt was best--they succeeded in painting me out to be the most heinous and wicked of all people alive; unqualified and having no wits about me to determine what is and is not safe.
It is sad most of all that the precious families involved will have to deal with yet another issue when they should be left to move through the grieving process and even sadder still that no mention of the safety of homebirth or the truth to either of these cases will ever be mentioned or extolled. The facts will remain that babies are born all over this world and in some cases regardless of where they are born, they will not make it. I suffered this loss personally and was even in the hospital through it. Of all people, I should know the sting of and the pain of great loss!
At any rate--I simply wanted to send one last update on the status of this situation which is mixed with many lies reported as fact in the newspaper this morning--I wanted you all who have prayed and supported me at some point over the past 8+ years to know the end of it.
I was planning to retire in January--why? Because I have 9 children who need me more than women need me to help them bring their babies into this world. The decision was in the making prior to the Lord testing my resolve with all that has occurred. I have learned so much through all of this and am sure I have not even touched the tip of the iceberg in all I will be taught by this but a few things I wanted to share:
1. It is absolutely amazing how strong and supportive those in the home birth community are! I have received massive outpouring of love and care even for those who did not know the full truth of the stories. They knew my heart, knew my skills, and simply trusted that they were not getting the entire truth but merely one very tainted side of the story. This has been most humbling to me as I know I do not deserve the kindness--but it has been God's way of demonstrating His mercy upon me in a very tangible and physical way.
2. I have realized that when babies die in the hospital, it is KNOWN that heroic measures must have been done finding no one to blame--but if a baby dies at home--heinous measures must have occurred and the one in charge will be blamed regardless. I have also been reminded of whom I serve and as long as my heart is right and pure before Him--I have nothing to fear.
3. I have learned that we do not have hindsight to make decisions based upon. We must use the resources we have at the moment and do the very best we can--because of this we must understand that when others use hindsight to scrutinize us we have to glean what we can glean and release all the rest. At the end of the day--being in peace with God is most important.
4. I realized that you can be blamed for lack of truth. But then I also remember that Christ was slandered and reviled; falsely accused and blamed--why? All for lack of truth and truly finding out the real character and person that He is! And through this I remember that He did not vindicate Himself. He never said a word in His defense. I am not saying this is like what He went through--nothing even close--but I can learn from His example and refuse to give place to the lies of these accusations.
The outcome of this has changed my life and further emphasized my need to retire for my own sanity and well being--it was too close to home after my own loss and trying to help them through theirs.
I can handle the slander; I know the truth before God. I can handle the comments calling me a bad midwife; prior to these cases, I had never even had an emergency transfer and have well over 200 families who can attest to my skill and thoroughness of care. I simply struggle to handle the fact that this will most likely draw out this grieving process for these dear families all the more! I want them to have closure. I want them to be left alone to grieve as they see fit. So, I ask for you to please pray for these two families. I know this is so hard on them. They know that I did my best and did not neglect them or do heinous things or make bad decisions on their behalf. They know I directed them and allowed them to make the choices they saw fit to make. For me this boils down to a society who believes they can make and force choices on individuals in the "guise" of what is best for them. Because, as a parent, I feel it is my right to choose what is best for me--and knowing my personal history and the unlikely ability to be served as I would desire--I feel I must fight for these rights to determine what is best, not on their standards but on my own before God. My great concern here is that if the medical community has their way--women like me who have many "risk" issues as well as those who only have a few issues--will not be able to hire the midwife of their choice to serve them at all--for that matter; they will most likely not be able to ask advice of an herbalist or natural nutritionist if that herbalist or nutritionist is not saying exactly what the government wants them to say. Our rights are at stake here. I simply do not believe it is their right to determine who can and cannot birth at home. Just like it would never be right for them to say everyone must deliver at home unless deemed a medical emergency. Every couple should be able to choose what is best for them and have the ability to be able to be supported in their choice.
As for the hearing--since I was already going to give up my license in January--I have simply chosen to do so now. I signed an order last week relinquishing my license to the state. The order is still full of non-truths that are heinous; but the most important fact is that for me, this page of the book is over. There are wonderful midwives in this state who have taken over the care of almost all of my clients and the rest had either already safely delivered at home or had transferred care out of homebirth.
It is sad to me that hundreds of great deliveries must be ignored to highlight two very sad and grievous ones; but as I stand before God I know I did the best I could under the circumstances at the time. I love these precious families and my prayers will go out for them as long as I am here on this earth. I know I gave them my all and although I wish the outcomes would have been much different, can only know that God knew what the outcomes would be and perhaps knew having lost children before myself, I might be somewhat equipped to help them through the grieving process.
I appreciate all of your prayers and support and the many financial gifts I have also received for my legal fees. God does always provide all that we need.
If any of you have any specific questions you feel you need answers to, please feel free to contact me directly and I will be more than willing to share as much as is possible without compromising the integrity of my clients. I know it is hard when you all are bombarded with in the media and with the Board of Medicine is absolutely not going to be filled with firsthand truth but second hand speculation from two organizations who want to rid the state of midwifery and home birth.
Bless you all,