February 10, 2009
Health and Human Services Committee
c/o Senator Tim Gay, Chairperson
State Capitol, Room 1402
P.O. Box 94604
Lincoln, NE 68509
Dear Members of the Health & Human Services Committee:
REGARDING: LB 481 Support
I am writing as an invested Nebraskan consumer. LB 481 is tentatively scheduled for a hearing on March 6th and I am asking that you vote in favor of it. Please add my letter to the written testimony.
In 2005, our family relocated to Nebraska from Texas. After our previous hospital birth experiences, we desired a safe and gentle home birth in 2008. We were surprised to discover that we would be required to birth completely unassisted if we chose to home birth in Nebraska. Our birthing options were already limited because we live in a fairly secluded area of the state. Fortunately, we found a very capable and experienced Certified Nurse-Midwife (CNM) willing to assist our out-of-hospital birth if we could handle extreme travel arrangements during my labor. Despite the fact that my family qualified for 100% Medicaid coverage for a hospital birth, we quickly found all necessary funds to cover my prenatal care, the birth, newborn care, and post partum treatment with a home birth CNM. It was, by far, the best care I’ve received to date.
Though our journey was complicated, the birth was simple. On March 27, 2008 my water broke around midnight. We woke our children, loaded the car, drove 4 hours, in the heavy snow on ice-covered roads, crossed two state lines (South Dakota and Wyoming), and arrived at a rental home at 4am. Shortly thereafter, my baby was welcomed into this world in the most peaceful and non-threatening environment, surrounded only by my family and two care providers. This birth couldn’t have been more perfect considering our legal constraints and lack of in-state options. In fact, the liberating story will be published in a national magazine this March. However, should we be blessed with another bundle in the coming months, we do not plan to leave our own Nebraskan home to give birth. Not again.
Nebraska is one of only two states that still restrict Certified Nurse-Midwives from attending home births. After experiencing the attentive, lower-cost care of a Certified Nurse-Midwife, I am now more than frustrated by the prohibitive and oppressive laws of our state. In fact, it’s no surprise that birthing choice is quickly becoming a human rights issue all across our country. I am a grown, home owning, taxpaying adult. Studies here and abroad fully indicate that for low-risk pregnancies, home birth is just as safe as hospital birth. I will not be “treated” for my normal, healthy pregnancy by someone who is less conversant with the relevant research than I am. The bottom line: if mothers labor at home, their bodies are created to give birth with or without help. It seems only prudent to have the option of an invested care provider to watch for potential warning signs in case an unlikely emergency presents itself.
Please vote YES to move LB 481 out of committee and on to the floor of the legislature. This bill would strike the restriction on CNMs attending home births and greatly improve the quality of life and access to care for childbearing families in Nebraska.
teachertools (at) gmail (dot) com