And we carry on! We came together once again, a dedicated group of individuals and organizations, to continue the work of improving access and choice for birthing families in our community. In some ways this feels like a battle of simple perseverance. We must show up and we must remain vigilant.
Important FYI: This post is the third in a series about the changing of the birth center regulations here in CO. Please be sure to read the first two posts to have the full background. You can read part one here and then part two.
As I shared in my last post, the December meeting was both disheartening and infuriating all wrapped into one nice package. During and immediately afterwards, I felt wounded and discouraged and I know that I was not the only one. Instead of giving in to the negativity and worry, we took deep breaths and we rallied; gathered our energies and forces to come back strong this month. We stood our ground, pushed back against the “powers that be” and used our resources. We engaged the community, both consumers and professionals, asking them to let their voices be heard. We gathered all the data and research available to back our position and sent it in. And guess what? IT WORKED! I was reminded of a powerful quote by Margaret Mead;
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed its the only thing that ever has”
Here are some highlights;
- Consumer Involvement was key! The meeting started off with CDPHE noting how many emails and messages they had received from the community and how these perspectives helped them to understand the importance of birth centers. The overall tone of today’s meeting was a 360 degree turn around from last month. Yay team!
- Stand Your Ground. Standing strong in the face of disbelief, in the face of confusion and simple miss-understanding is powerful. By standing our ground, I mean non-aggressive but firm commitment to getting it right, to continually showing up and explaining what we do as many times as necessary.
- Birth Center Care is Unique. Unfortunately, at this time, we are not the mainstream and educating all the participants about how we are different is required. That our care model is holistic and focuses on the family as the locus of control, that true informed consent happens and what it looks like matters. When we maintain our focus and repeat the same information enough times, it starts to sink in.
- Gender and Sex are different. This is one change that may seem small; changing the requirement to document “newborn gender” to “newborn sex” happened today. For the same reason that “giving birth” is very different from “being delivered”…. language matters! In bringing it up, there was opportunity for open dialog and education on the importance of these details.
Now, lest you believe that all the work is done, please know that it is not. There are more meetings on the schedule and the process will not be final until September of this year. One very big point about today’s meeting and how positive it was; certain physician stakeholders did not attend. Don’t worry though, we will continue to show up and be sure that our voices are heard. To us, this is important and demands attention and focus. We will not be absent. We know that this work is not over and we will need to remain strong in our stance and preparation, we will not be lulled into complacency again. We won this fight but are aware that the war carries on.
Again, I would like to focus on the people pictured; these are your Warriors! This is your “small group of thoughtful, committed” people who are showing up every day to fight for the rights of all birthing families in our state. Pictured are representatives from your local, independent birth centers who make up the Colorado Birth Center Coalition (CBCC); Mountain Midwifery Center, The Birth Center of Boulder, The Denver Center for Birth and Wellness and Bloomin’ Babies. Also pictured are representatives from Elephant Circle, the Colorado Midwives Association and the CO Chapter of NACPM. And also offering support is the CO Chapter of ACNM.
Are you interested in becoming involved? Please contact Elephant Circle for how to get involved.