…we are planning on huffing and squeezing this little babby out here at home under the care of a private midwife of some 30 years experience who has been caring for me now for a couple of months already and will continue to do so with increasing frequency up to the birth and beyond. The same professional every time. Taking all my details, measuring all my particulars and getting to know me, M and Babby really well all the way through the process as we get to know her too.
Our only other option was public hospital care, which I am led to believe is very good, but for me the preference was for continuity of care and the option to build a familiar and trusted relationship with my caregiver. This is of immense importance to me.
We have no private insurance and could never afford an obstetrician. Our midwife will cost us a couple of grand and after giving her a small deposit, she is happy to wait for us to get our Government Baby Bonus after the birth to receive the balance.
Babby is due in April 2010.
Guild Insurance has withdrawn their policies for independent midwives (they were the only insurance provider for the field) with the result that from July 2010 any midwife working outside the hospital system who would continue to practice antenatal or postnatal care or attend births would be operating outside of the law.
There has been some move for the Government to come to the rescue by providing Medicare funding and indemnity insurance but our Health Minister, Senator Nicola Roxon, is managing to continue to put the careers of midwives in further jeopardy and once again take away the choice for affordable and experienced antenatal care and the option of home birth.
An amendment was made to Government policy in September giving midwives a 2 year stay of execution from the dreaded July 2010 ‘cease-practice-or-be-damned’ date but that only allows them to attend home births without insurance – pre or post-natal care will be illegal. This is awkward enough, but now sneaky Senator Roxon has slipped in a new bill that proposes that while midwives WILL still be allowed to practice by attending births, this shall happen only under the supervision of an obstetrician. And still no pre or post-natal care by midwives allowed. This is referred to in the bill as ‘collaborative arrangements’.
This again means no home births and a model of continuous care only for those able to afford private health insurance or their own obstetrician.
I ask you – how could the government of a progressive, modern nation allow this to happen all for the sake of insurance monies?
Our choice of a home birth with private midwife is not only because we believe hospitalisation is for emergency or illness (touch wood all will be fine – of course I’m prepared to go if tiny sprog needs me to) but also for this valuable continuity of care.
The chance to get to know the person who will help our baby arrive with what will be extremely intimate (although gentle) intervention, over six months of care is invaluable. Throughout this time we laugh and share and palpate and listen to the heartbeat and swoosh of the placenta as she passes on the wisdom of her considerable experience and helps us prepare for the biggest day of our lives.
Postnatally she will drop in every day, a couple of times if necessary, to assist and make sure we are feeding and managing well. She will make herself available for three months afterwards for calls and queries and nervous new-mum visits.
She will stay with me as long as I want/need her to in labour and let it take as long as it takes, rather than rush or induce which would likely either cause a tear or require a cut, things many people now take for granted as a necessary part of the birth process. She will coach me to slow things down to allow this all to happen naturally.
She also knows when it IS time to go to hospital. She works there too.
All this for less than half of the Government baby bonus.
I am shocked that had it taken us a mere 3 months longer to conceive, that the option to do this in what we believe is the best and safest way for us, would be taken away. How can the Government allow this option to be taken away from us should we choose to have a second child ? Away from everybody? How much does a public hospital birth cost anyway before Medicare steps in and takes care of it for me? I bet it’s considerably more than our birth plan is costing us now. How much money are those who choose home-birth saving the already drained public health system per year and why is this not acknowledged and supported?
Until December 11, the end of this week, the The Senate Community Affairs Committee will be accepting submissions addressing the terms of reference laid out for the inquiry into the bills put forward by Senator Roxon. I am part way through writing mine but I just wanted to post this in case anyone else out there feels strongly enough about this, either because of their own pregnancy/birth experiences or simply because they support the right of parents-to-be to choose the model of care that suits them best without discrimination of class or income level.
The invitation for submissions is here and the terms of reference are laid out here . There is also valuable discussion which may help you frame your submission on the Australian Natural Parenting Forum here.
I won’t be posting my submission here (legally it will invalidate it) but feel free to get angry with words yourself, just remember to address the terms of reference in order to keep it relevant (and heard).
..and thanks for sitting through this (if you are here at the end). It’s important to me.
Back to art and bunnies soon enough.