Tag Archives: midwifery

An Interesting Conversation

Just a glimpse into some of the day to day conversations that get thrown my way. Here is a conversation online that I recently had with a woman that I do not know on a post about the safety of home birth. I will call her “Birtha.” She jumped in on the middle of conversation and here is what she had to say:

Birtha: I don’t even know where to start with all this. Clearly, as a mother, I would do anything and everything to make my child’s life better, and to give her any advantage I can give her. That is why I stupidly fell into the propaganda and tried a home birth. So I understand where the gals are coming from here. However, it is shocking to me to hear that this is being framed as a “woman’s choice” argument rather than what it should be framed as: what is best for the mother AND a baby’s health. VBAC- Say mamma wants to do one at home. Or do a breech birth at home. How narcissistic and selfish is it for a mother to risk her child’s life simply to gain bragging rights of having a “natural” child birth? Because that is what this is about ladies, and you’re all fucking kidding yourselves if you deny it. This is about being able to walk down the street holding your stretched out vagina for all other lesser epidural-receiving and C-Section-having mothers out there to see and covet. This is a female-instigated, anti-feminist competition amongst women to prove they are stronger and better than other women. Think for a moment if men started telling women to ignore the FACT that child birth is the leading killer of women on this earth, and MEN (and god forbid they be males in the dominant patriarchal paradigm of the monetized birthing industry) telling women to forgo access to life saving medicines, technologies and doctors even though hospital births are proven SAFER, ya’ll would have a shit fit. But since this propaganda is being pushed by WOMEN, women are accepting it. And another thing! (RABBLE RABBLE RABBLE) Last time I checked, midwives charge money for their services too. So are midwives now corrupted? Maybe all midwives should accept payment with dried corn or fancy lace to keep their holier-than-thou purity. Next, I am a licensed (non-medical) professional. And if anyone ever attempted to do what I do without a license, I would immediately report them to the Board which oversees my profession and lobby strongly for harsh discipline. There is a reason why licensure is required…and it is to protect the public. Just as I don’t want a cabbie doing my dialysis, I wouldn’t want Lindsay Lohan as my cabbie. If you want to practice in a PROFESSION, then get a license AND INSURANCE. Lastly, the link on the crazy fucked up things the Oregon midwives do to NON- CONSENTING BABIES…I can tell you, speaking falsities about someone’s professional business acumen is defamation per se. There is no defense to defamation per se except truth. My assumption is, any of these black dots or red squares who felt they were lied about would shut that blog down with a single cease and desist letter. Lastly…it never ceases to amaze me that the same women who so ardently condemn conservatives for denying global warming when all scientific data points to the reality of global warming, are the same women who deny all scientific data on birthing at home. Super lastly, it’s super natural for male chimpanzees to eat baby chimpanzees. In going the home birth route, I initially wanted my husband to chew the head off my daughter when she popped out…but thought it may have negative ramifications in the media so ultimately I chose against killing my baby. Not because I cared about my baby, but because I cared about what other people would think about me. Super dooper lastly, I told my midwife 3 or 4 times that I needed to go to the hospital because something was wrong. Each and every time she said “You know if you go to the hospital, they’ll give you Pitocin, and you’ll end up having a C-Section. Do you want that?” And she would walk out of the room. Ultimately, I asked her to permanently leave the room, and told my husband to take me to the hospital and to not let the midwife stop me. Why in the fuck would someone who is allegedly for women’s choice repeatedly stand in the way of a birthing mother’s knowledge of her own body’s limitations? That, my friends, is the ultimate anti-choice move, and it was motivated by her desire to keep her transfer statistics low. Ultimately, I endured 27+ hours of needless labor because my baby was sideways, and the midwife didn’t know. The stupid cunt. But would I change anything about it? Absolutely not because I’m not an insufferable, judgmental bitch anymore about the absolutism on natural child birth. Actually, i would change one thing. I would have covered up my titties before having the Cedars valet park my car. In my book, character and credibility is everything when it comes to touching vaginas. You want ad hominem? I give you ad hominem: https://supportmidwifekatiemccall.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/the-gift-i-received-june-1-2012/ You were found guilty of practicing medicine without a license. Yet you show no remorse. No wonder it is so important for you to be right about something that can be so dangerous. Because it if is dangerous, you’d have to admit culpability to almost killing a woman through gross ignorance and arrogance. Again, if your former client is a liar, then sue her. It’s defamation per se and you would win. I make mistakes all the time. But I own up to them, and learn from them. You, on the other hand, are extremely dangerous because you do not learn from your mistakes. Rather, you’ve decided to paint yourself as poster child of the Pro-Home Birth Movement, and martyr for the rights of women everywhere. I believe this conversation is over.

Me: So, if you were at a birth where a mother refused transport as a student, you would just leave I assume? If you truly believe birth is so dangerous, my guess is you would anticipate the need for someone with skill to be present. Yet you attack me for saving a life? I don’t know where all your anger comes from, but I pity you. I was a believer is self-ownership and liberty long before I was ever pursued by the medical board. I pray nobody ever goes through what I did, including you. That is why I continue to fight for your liberty to birth (or not) wherever you like. Attack me all you like, but if the tables were turned and someone wanted to force YOU to birth at home (as you allege your midwife did), you would kick and scream for your right to do otherwise. Funny you posted this and not the response to it. https://supportmidwifekatiemccall.wordpress.com/2012/06/03/a-more-detailed-response/
Birtha:Why haven’t you sued your former client, her husband and the acupuncturist for slander and libel if what the three of them are saying is false? I cannot believe you have not taken responsibility for your actions even after this. There is a phone. There is 911. You were not, and are not, the victim. Would I leave? No. Would I try to birth a baby myself, and sew someone’s snatch without a license? No. And you have yet to respond to the study I posted. And I read your second post. The more detailed response. The “contradictions” of the mother you point out are collateral matters and do not change the reality of the situation. Your attorney’s statement in open court does not disprove anything. Attorney comments are not admissible evidence. Just because the plea offer is not in the records of either party does not mean it did not occur. Just because the mother did not see your hands ungloved while extracting the placenta does not mean her husband or the acupuncturist did not see your ungloved hands. Just because the father saw you holding a phone does not mean you actually called someone. Did your defense attorney subpoena your phone records to prove a good faith attempt to contact one of the unlicensed midwives you allegedly called? Your last link just attempts to obfuscate. But importantly you admit to practicing medicine without a license. And you need not worry about a Board going after me. I would never do something like this in a million years.

Me:I’m still not at my computer. I have not sued anyone because their stories corroborate mine in the most important places. I was not found guilty of not calling 911. An emergency situation was proven by the three medical experts and the EMT who was present. The question was whether I practiced medicine. I did. I’ve never said I didn’t. I’ve only said that if I had not someone may have died. That is all. The recent anonymous letter does not say who it is from, so who am I to sue, especially since it says the opposite of what the witnesses said under oath. So, either the author was not one of the witnesses or the author is guilty of perjury. Either way, I have no way of knowing who wrote it. And may I remind that the only LICENSED medical provider at the birth ALSO did not call 911. Why do you think that is? There is a PICTURE of my gloved hands. Phone records are inadmissible as hearsay. The father did not just see me with a phone, they also said I called the midwife. Nobody saw you when you were alone with your child, does that mean you are guilty of beating him? I’m very concerned about the path we are on here… A sad future for our children indeed. It now appears you are just wanting to attack me personally. Why is that?

Birtha: Just in case anyone one was wondering: 1. Phone records are not inadmissible hearsay. They are an exception to the hearsay rule if verified by the custodian of records of the service provider. 2. If someone defames you online, you may file suit in Los Angeles Superior Court against DOES 1-100, and then use the case number to issue a subpoena against the ISP to gain identification information of a) the owner of the email address and/or b) the computer from which the message was sent. 3. Or you can just go sue the only other three people in the room with you and subpoena all their computers to find out who it was, and dismiss them when their computers turn up nothing. 4.  here is a copy of the midwife’s IC agreement: http://www.centerfornaturalbirth.com/documents/welcome/CNB_Informed_Consent.pdf You will see there is nothing in there regarding the fact that 37% of all nulliparous women stand a chance of transfer to a hospital, nor are there any references to increased infant mortality. Also interesting, is that a birthing mother must agree to go to the hospital upon recommendation of the midwife. (Meaning, if the midwife is responsible, and recognizes an emergency situation, even if the mother does not want to be transferred, she has waived that right to object to transfer.) You will also note, the midwife agreement only covers LICENSED MIDWIVES. Not aspiring midwives or shoe salesmen. 5. Just for your info.
Me: ‎1. That’s not what my judge said in court 2. There was no ISP as the letter was posted publicly by a third party who said she got it from a friend who got it from a friend and refused to disclose her source. Further, you think I have money to hire a PI or something? I’m a single mother over here who’s job has been stripped from her. 3. Three people in the room? Who are you talking about? 4. That’s not MY IC or the midwives I work with. And yes, agreed… all the more reason the only LICENSED person at the birth I attended should have been the one to recommend the hospital and yet she argued against my recommendation.
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In Conclusion

Today is my friend’s birthday. He is a single father  in the middle of a messy custody battle. DCFS is involved. I don’t claim to know anything about his baby mama’s case. But regardless, he felt the need to ask DCFS for permission to have me come over to his house. You know, because I’m a felon and all.

Just now he contacted me to let me know he is not allowed to associate with me. He got a “finger wagging” from the social worker.

Ironic that. Ironic all of it. I’m now too dangerous to associate with children, or even be present in their home. Hurry up and hide them! This midwife is dangerous.

It’s taken me a good couple weeks to write an update because the update I have is so heart-wrenching for me I couldn’t bring myself to write it.

A couple weeks ago on… oh, never mind, I’ve apparently blocked the date from my memory… I signed away my right to: 1. Have my midwifery license in the state of California and 2. Ever defend the Medical Board’s accusations if I attempt to ever obtain a medical license from the state of California for any reason ever again. Read: Never work in the state of CA again… not even if I went back to school and became an MD.

If California was like so many other states and recognized a woman’s right to birth WHERE and WITH WHOM she desired, I would be able to work outside of the megalomaniacal Medical Board.

In exchange, I get to relieve my pro bono attorney who has been tirelessly fighting on my behalf without a penny since the fall of 2010. I also get to know that I will have “surrendered” my license as opposed to having it “revoked”… semantics, really, but one that may make a difference in another state.

If I fought the Medical Board any further, I ran the risk of them back charging me tens of thousands of dollars. And, well, as a single mama with no ability to work in her profession, I really can’t afford that.

And, honestly, my supporters are tired. I watch the responses to my emails dwindle as time goes by. And my local birth community is too busy to care, most of them.

None of this changes even if my felony conviction is overturned after appeal.

The thing I find most ironic about this is that this state has many midwives who have been found guilty or plead guilty to crimes– most after the death of a baby– who are still working here, peaceful as peaches with their licenses intact. And further, let’s not get into the doctors who have continued to work.

So, I claw at the dry earth around me and hope to carve out some essentials as the kids and I attempt to make ends meet while I’m forced to remain in this county by the CA probation department. Without a job.

I clean houses, and babysit and teach classes here and there. I scrub toilets and paste canvasses and run errands for people. Whatever it takes. My friends at least trust me for these things.

And I see my children barely at all.

My daughter has taken on irrational fears ad nauseum and my son is incredibly angry. What do I do about it? Nothing. I don’t have time.

And I dream of the day when probation is done and I can leave this awful, ignorant, assaulting state. When I can burn the bridges I had with the Socialist Republic of California. And I look forward to another life in another state where midwifery laws aren’t so ridiculous.

But I’m ANGRY. I’m oh, so angry. My family’s blood is in this land. Our tears, our sweat. I’m FROM this place. My grandfather and grandmother served here as medical people. Gave their lives to the health and well-being of its citizens. We volunteered and voted and went to church.

And now the taxpayers of this state have seen fit to strip me of all of my life’s work, my family, my friends, my roots. They have seen fit to toss me out and give not a care to whether we live or die. Is a cage worse than being exiled?

Well, I guess I could stay… but then I would continue to work these 10-12 hour days and my children would be missing two parents instead of the one.

The words I want to write here are not suitable for children so I will leave this at that. Image


Phoenix Rising

Well, after all of that work, I dropped off of WordPress for over a month again. This time I just needed some time to sweat, garden, cry, dig, dance, and sweat some more. It’s been a grueling process. But just as I was about to dig myself into a little hole and never venture out with my outside of the box thinking again, I was given a bonfire of encouragement from Pete Eyre and his voluntaryist and libertarian friends.

I was so blown away to hear of all the stories they have to tell. My story is NOT unique. I just happen to have been involved with midwifery. So many other trades have been affected by the prosecution of victimless “criminals.”

Pete’s encouragement came right at a moment that I about cracked from the craziness of it all: the Medical Board of CA sent me a letter asking me to allow them to continue the hearing I must have before them (to decide if I will have my license revoked or be put on probation for eons). This was a request THEY made because they wanted to have the hearing next January 2013, not this June 2012 as scheduled. When my attorney agreed (hey… big deal… I can’t practice anyway, what does it matter to me?) they sent him the stipulation for me to sign.

In the stipulation, the wording said that I agreed that I had been found guilty of practicing negligently (something I was never even charged of!), that I agreed to have my license suspended (huh? Don’t I need a hearing before they decide that FOR me?) and that I promise not to be found in any place where “midwifery might be practiced” including employment, other than as a patient or the family member of a patient.

HUH??

So, I asked my attorney to politely decline their continuation request. I may be tarred and feathered, but I’ll be damned if I’ll help them do it.

Oh! And in case you, like me, are wondering why I can’t just send them their silly paper and quit even TRYING to practice in the People’s Republic of California, there’s this regulation that keeps things from being that simple.

So my hearing is in six weeks. I’ll keep y’all updated on what happens, but my hopes aren’t high. Nothing about anything related to this process has produced anything but disillusionment in me. Which is a LOT for an idealist at heart to take. Especially one who was also a statist. Heck. I was basically a socialist until this whole thing started. Now I truly fear for the future of our country. We continue to encourage our publicly funded civil servants to make more and more and more rules and laws and regulations.

Oh, and my book will be out soon. Please order a copy if you haven’t. It is the first and only place that I have told my story. You can pre-order it here. The forward was written by Dr. Stuart Fischbein and the Appendix of action items was compiled with an introduction by Pete Eyre; Like two solid bookends on a very messy, emotional female memoir.

My appeal is also still in process… it’s a bit like watching hair grow and hope it doesn’t become ingrown in the process. I am so grateful to my appeals attorney. She rocks.


It’s Been a While

Life goes on. I’ve moved after finding some work under a rock and pushing it around a bit to make it grow.

I miss midwifery.

I’m planting a real life garden to help me process my philosophical one. There are lots of rocks in it and the weeds are outrageous.

I plan to warm baby chicks and eat their eggs when they are bigger. Happy Spring!

And I’m writing. Writing, writing, writing.

This book is done. Please order it.

And I’m working on another.

I still have three days of CalTrans. Apparently I’m not ready to be done with it. I will get to it during spring break and my kids can be cared for.

In the mean time, I’m still trying to swallow the pill I’ve been dealt. It’s monstrous. But there will be glory when I’m all done. And God is here to guide me.


CalTrans Day 2: 24 Hours Remaining

I took the day off yesterday to visit with a fertility gynecologist. I have been struggling with premature ovarian failure since my arrest. I assumed it was just stress. I mean, being arrested is pretty stressful. Especially when you have NO CLUE they are coming for you.

The doc was very intelligent and mentioned, after unsympathetically mentioning that he sees no follicles anywhere, that only 1% of women with POF do not have premutated x chromosomes.

Say what???

He went on to explain that my daughter’s autism diagnosis is probably fragile x derived. For those, who, like me, are saying “fragile whaaa?”… It’s a chromosomal abnormality on the x chromosome. The good doctor also casually began to rattle off risk factors to me for having these premutated x chromosomes.

He concluded by saying he was 99% certain this was the case for me, but that I can have it confirmed with a blood test. Of course I ran over to my office to have someone draw the massive amount of blood this particular test requires.

Then I spun in circles about it and the fact that my daughter most likely has a 50/50 chance of birthing a child more severely effected than herself. Call me sentimental, but I was looking forward to grandbabies someday. The POF was hard enough to swallow… I mean, who wants to go through menopause and age like a 55 year old before you’re 40? It kinda sucks.

When I was a teenager, I used to say I wanted to be young and then old. I didn’t want to have those awful middle years of adulthood where you aren’t cool at all. Be careful what you ask for.

So, I normally don’t allow myself to wallow in self-pity. I find it to be a huge waste of time. But today I wallowed in self-pity on the side of the freeway.

For the record, CalTrans work ON the freeway is a WHOLE lot harder than CalTrans work off the freeway. I picked up trash. Big deal. But the repetitive motion of doing the same thing the entire day in the heat really messed with my neck, shoulders and right hand (those trash grabber things are tough to squeeze after the fourth hour of repeatedly squeezing it).

The entire of experience was a flashback to jail, only in the sunlight. Same etiquette and rules. Same mannerisms and speech.

Except the head boss guy was kinder to me than the others. He asked me what my crime was since I had not worked there before. I told him and his face softened.

“Midwifery is an honorable profession. I’m so sorry.”

He’s a black fellah in his mid 50s. His age puts him right at the time black babies were still being delivered into the hands of granny midwives. He went on to tell me that he was in the room with his wife when his son was born even though that wasn’t typical. “Jes me and my wife and the doctor. And he’s there tellin me everything he’s doin. I watched a miracle right there. Then two days later, my knees started knockin about how big a miracle that was.”

His words to me were kind after that.

The wind from the vehicles beside us blew clouds of dust into our faces. My eyes, ears, nostrils… black with dirt. My face was smeared with it and sweat from the heat of the sun. My lips were gritty. I don’t mind hard work. If I could have changed the motions of my body occasionally I woulda been alright. It was the repetition that killed me.

Here I am, going to die young of heart disease after aging prematurely and looking like a fat old lady when all my friends are young and fit. Or maybe I will survive the heart disease and live to be old enough to develop fragile x tremors and parkinson’s like symptoms from my mutated chromosomes. Why wouldn’t God have provided me with a partner if I was going to suffer so much? And who would want to marry this fat, saggy, infertile lady now? Why would my children have to go through so much stress now, only to prepare them to have to be left alone or have to take care of a mother who can no longer hold her hands still enough to paint and who yells expletives at them and forgets basic life skills?

As you can see, not a happy place to be there on the freeway. The freeway didn’t make it, my mind did. Sitting there in an emotional cage all my own.

In that moment, I noticed a little lizard in the dirt in front of me. Poor fellah was in shock. His entire home was being hoed and raked and dumped. All he was left with was dirt. He played dead, not knowing what else to do.

I picked him up in my dusty gloved hand. “Poor guy.” I said to him, feeling huge amounts of empathy for such a small little creature that nobody else noticed.

I placed him to the side of my by a tree for shelter.

And then it occurred to me. “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!” These words, attributed to Jesus of Nazareth in the account of Matthew, rang in my ears.

God has infinitely more compassion on me than I have on others. I can trust and believe that. But even as I did, my heart cried out, “I don’t see it at all right now, God!”

I remembered how, on New Year’s Day, a guest speaker at our church spoke about “the God who gives and takes away” and that it is ok to ask Him why He does. And, I did. Finally after this whole crazy journey, I asked Him on New Year’s Day 2012… Why, God?

And I think I am going to start getting answers. At least, I see now why I went through the pain of losing my third pregnancy. And if I think back, that was the moment that everything began for me. The loss of my third pregnancy was the beginning of a long, seven year path through pain.

As I returned to picking up trash, the next item I grabbed was a photograph of a woman. I looked at it in the trash bag for a moment and wondered who she was and then moved on to pick up more trash to toss in over her.

A strange question entered my mind as I did so. “Why did you have compassion on the lizard and not the woman?”

My response was “The woman was only an image. The lizard was alive.”

The point became clear. This body I’m living in is simply an image of me here on earth. The soul is what is alive. God cares far more about my character and soul development than He does about my temporary comfort in a body that will perish with the using.

It’s a hard lesson. Learned in a very hard place. Somehow it’s easy to think I will live forever, stay young forever, wake up tomorrow… but the reality is so very different.


Wednesday’s Child

The dull ache at the base of my brain is like a relentless lover scorned. It’s giving way to a kind of vertigo that has shifted the real world into a dream as graspable as black smoke. The stench of it chokes me and turns my stomach. My tongue dries out like it’s licked the heart of the desert and been forever changed. I swallow hard to moisten the scar in my throat and soften the fortifying rock below my solar plexus. My heart beats to a random drum in staccato. Faint and without much interest in continuing.

I’m watching the credits roll and I don’t remember most of the movie. I’m too tired.

Every breath carries a thousand griefs. The tears are so stuck I don’t remember what it’s like to cry but I’m afraid if I suddenly recalled how to sob I would cry out every last drop of blood in my body. My flesh carries the marks of this beating and I’m afraid to look at them in fear I’ll find the bullet hole that went straight to my brain.

I remember a time so long ago that it feels like it belongs to someone else and not me.

There was a wide eyed girl with a heart so open she could have swallowed the whole earth with it. She believed in happy endings and prince charmings. Even though her father died tragically when she was four, she held out for the end believing it would justify the loss.

The darker the tunnel the brighter the outlet will be. The deeper the grief the greater the glory in the end. Every fairy tale says so.

Her hope would not be muted. Not by a hundred insults. Not by the false accusations of wagging tongues. Not by jealousy of lazy narcissists. Not by the inconvenience of the cubicles. Not by the misunderstandings of the ignorant.

But in the end she curled herself up in my head and went to sleep. And left me all alone. Her weight pressing in on my spinal cord.

From my quiet, forgotten corner, I watch as lovers unite and ride off into sunsets. I gaze into the eyes of the hopeful who have felt little pain in their pursuits. I inquire about the arrivals of kings and queens, born into the hands of another. I listen to the complaints of those who do not love the liberties I’ve lost.

I fell off the merry go round very early. The boy who pushed me just offered me a piece of rotten candy if I don’t tell anyone it was him. He doesn’t want it to ruin his holiday in the sun, after all.

I look down at the rags and blood and filth I’m wrapped in. I feel the patches of head where hair used to be. I lift the lids that are heavy with wrinkles and blink hard to moisten the eyes that are so dry it hurts to see. I caress the body that sags into the shape of an old woman prematurely.

And I ask her to press harder in sleep so that the credits will end. I can close my eyes and click my heals and finally go home if it’s still there.

I open my eyes to find that re-entry is never what they tell you. It’s awkward. For everyone. Some things can never be the same again. For the war-child, home vanishes in the smoke.

 

 


A Moment of Silence

There is so much grief I’ve carried this last year. All within my heart are pockets stuffed with tears. If you saw the Nessie short at the beginning of Captain America, that’s me.

But when I look back through the last few years for a reason for all of this, I can only see a long trail of sacrifices I made for mothers and babies. When I examine the root for why I went into midwifery to begin with, I only find the love I felt when my first baby was placed in my arms for the first time. That mother love was so profound it spilled out into everything I touched from that moment on. It rang out and splashed out on everyone I met. The passion to share that joy was engulfing and consuming. I find no other motive.

I’m sad the judge said I could not have done what I did for altruistic reasons. I’m sad for him that he doesn’t know women like the ones I’ve been honored to work beside. Fellow birth servants who are bing lit by the same fire to serve families until we breathe our last breath.

Our hearts sound like this song. We dance to the beat of a different drum than the one most of society hears. Our rhythm is a  timeless feminine song that is the love of mothering as old as women. It is a song that has been missing in our country and is desperately needed RIGHT NOW.

————————————-

The song, linked above, is called Suo Gan and is a Welsh lullabye from mother to child. The lyrics, translated, are:

Sleep my baby, at my breast,
’Tis a mother’s arms round you.
Make yourself a snug, warm nest.
Feel my love forever new.
Harm will not meet you in sleep,
Hurt will always pass you by.
Child beloved, always you’ll keep,
In sleep gentle, mother’s breast nigh.
Sleep in peace tonight, sleep,
O sleep gently, what a sight.
A smile I see in slumber deep,
What visions make your face bright?
Are the angels above smiling,
At you in your peaceful rest?
Are you beaming back while in
Peaceful slumber on mother’s breast?
Do not fear the sound, it’s a breeze
Brushing leaves against the door.
Do not dread the murmuring seas,
Lonely waves washing the shore.
Sleep child mine, there’s nothing here,
While in slumber at my breast,
Angels smiling, have no fear,
Holy angels guard your rest.