Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Sore throat, or throats?

Conversation at my house recently...

Daughter who is 4 and a half, well, technically anyway, had a sore throat for a few days, like us all. We are the BEST of shares with bugs around here!

DD "I need the medishin"
Me "Is your throat still sore?"
DD " Yes, it is hurting one, no two throat!"
Me "So two sore throats? at the one time?"
DD "Yes, cough, cough, two throats need the medishin"
Me "Deary me, this does sounds serious"
DD "Very sheri-us"

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Playing catch-up

I know!!! How long has it been? Sorry for my absence. March is a bit of a crazy month in my family. 5 birthdays in the space of 2 weeks!!! 2 in my own little family. Me being one of those and middle son now 7! is the other.

Our baby, who is now a big one years old, and others may say toddler. No, uh uh, she is still the baby. Her first birthday was perfect. A lovely day spent with our little family, and then birthday cake with some family and close friends.

Here are some recent pics to show you just how big she is getting.

This first pic shows on of her favourite places to be. Leaning on my legs while I am in the kitchen. She will sit and lean against me with a little toy car or doll. Happy just to be close. It is both annoying and very cute.

Here she is with big brothers and sister, and 'the family' teddies, dolls, bears, and even a turtle! They all have bibs on as it was lunchtime of course!

The birthday girl on her new present from Nanna and Poppy. This present was, and still is a huge hit. She loves it! Now she can scoot around it quite fast, and even have it on two wheels around a corner. I have to be careful around the house. The older kids also love it, and I am forever saying to get off. Their own bikes are clearly not as much fun.

On her Birthday again. Our little woman LOVES shoes! She doesn't mind who's, so long as she can put them on her hands and walk around with them, laughing as she goes.
It still amazes me that she has been with us for a year. Like every child, after they are here with us, it feels like there was never a time when they were not.
She waited to join our family, and we are all madly in love with her. The older kids all adore her, and she them. Especially her oldest sibling. She hears him come in our room in the morning when she wakes. He will call out "Where is my babeeeeee" and she will giggle her head off and jump around the bed, anticipating him coming to get her.
It is lovely to see, and I know they will keep a special bond forever.

Here she is in her beautiful knitted dress. It is "an april" and just gorgeous, of course!It fits her wonderfully, and will for quite a while. This pic was the best of many. It is very hard to get a picture of a child standing still. Let alone a child with several siblings who want in on the picture too, and who keep making her laugh and run away. I will take some more and post them soon.

She is walking everywhere and has her first pair of soft soled shoes. Of course she loves them, and even when we are staying home she brings them to me, then sits down and lifts her feet. It makes me laugh every time.
She will stand up, look down at her feet, then do a few quick steps and laugh. I see a future with a lot of shoes!

She sleeps in bed with mummy and daddy and I wouldn't have it any other way. There is nothing more delightful than waking up in the morning to a smiling baby. I only wish I had the confidence to do it with my first babe when I felt it was right, instead of listening to others telling me it was a rod for my own back. Easy for them to say, they weren't the ones getting up out of bed every 3 hours, to feed and change the baby, then trying to get back to sleep before the cycle started all over again! Now that was my worst sleeping period in my life. I felt like I was falling through the days. Live and learn.

So much to be learned and discovered as we all go through our own parenting journey's. I look at our youngest daughter and am amazed and humbled at how relaxed, calm and content Hub and I are nowadays. She has the blessing of being a younger sibling. Her older brothers and sister paving the way for her.

I came into the kitchen the other day and she was under the table chomping on some toast that had fallen to the floor. With my first baby I would have grabbed it off him and wiped his hands and mouth. Now, I am not concerned. Yay for her for hunting out her own food. With 4 other siblings, you get what you can when you can in regards to food.

Things that worried us, or we were a tad strict about, we have since relaxed our ways. I don't see it as us not caring as much, more that we are not more aware, and focus on the more important things.

I am sure you are keen to hear about the other birthdays and happenings, but I will post about those on their own. So they get all the attention, and don't have to share.
I promise not to wait so long next time.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Please sign the petition for every woman..

For every woman to be supported in the choice she makes with her own body, baby and birth.

My hospital births were fully funded and supported. My homebirths were not. Why? Why should I miss out on funding and support in my homebirths because I chose to birth in my own home?

Why is it so hard for people to understand that choosing to birth at home is not the same for every mother. I did the research. I spent hours and hours educating myself on birth and what was best for me.
It was a decision I came to through lengthy and intelligent discussion with my partner and others.

If midwives are not supported to care for and be at women's homebirths what will happen? Whether you support homebirth or not this decision will affect you. It will affect your children. Taking away peoples choices is taking away their freedom.
What next? Will the they start to force every woman to stay in hospital from 38 weeks? Will woman be told what hospital they have to go to? Will they decide we are not allowed to have anyone in the birthing suite with us, like not long ago?

Do you see where I am going? Every woman right to choose and be supported is at stake here.
We are ALL affected.


Please sign today.

View this montage created at One True Media

Friday, 6 March 2009

Whose body is it anyway?

Do you have complete say over what you do with your body?

The Maternity Services Review report, released last weekend, was an attempt to deliver continuity of care and midwife-led services to more Australian women. In so doing, it has stripped that very same care and service from the only women who currently have it - homebirth mums.

The fact that it did this in the face of having received the majority of its submissions from homebirth parents is galling and speaks volumes for the way "public consultation" occurs in this country. But the fact that the report's recommendations, if accepted by the Government and made law, would criminalise the high quality care currently delivered to women who choose to give birth at home by registered, professional, independent midwives to their clients is radical and dangerous.

Good intentions have paved the way. The MSR was established partly in response to rising birth intervention rates and widespread concern that women were being poorly served by a maternity care system that was fragmented, expensive and increasingly medicalised.
But the process became hijacked by professional lobbying, deal-making and perhaps a strange reflex of governments to favour institutionalised power over the rights of individual constituents.

The report is fairly forthcoming about this:
"In recognising that, at the current time in Australia, homebirthing is a sensitive and controversial issue, the Review Team has formed the view that the relationship between maternity health care professionals is not such as to support homebirth as a mainstream Commonwealth-funded option (at least in the short term). The Review also considers that moving prematurely to a mainstream private model of care incorporating homebirthing risks polarising the professions..."

So as long as the AMA and RANZCOG are hostile to homebirth -ideologically, not evidentially - the government is not prepared to stare them down. In the next paragraph, the Report notes the existing small-scale state-funded public homebirth schemes, with no evidence that such models were polarising, or that they were being undermined by a poor relationship between maternity health care professionals, or that there were any justifiable safety concerns. But the MSR is not engaging with the evidence, it's playing politics.

The public consultation process is made farcical when over half the submissions are lightly dismissed without reasons of substance. Such deal-making reveals a government prepared to bend to the powerful medical lobby even against the weight of public submission and international evidence.

The Review concluded that, "while homebirth is the preferred choice for some women, they represent a very small proportion of the total." Since when has being in the minority constituted an acceptable reason for discrimination? The fact that only a small proportion of the population will need heart transplants is no reason to ban them or block public funding to them. The small minority of families who choose private education due to religious beliefs are still supported by Commonwealth funding. And of course homebirth will be unpopular when it is the only way to give birth in Australia that receives no public funding whatsoever.

The report notes that in countries where homebirth is publicly funded - New Zealand and the United Kingdom, for example - homebirth rates are ten times those in Australia.

But the MSR report goes further than merely continuing to deny homebirth funding. It becomes dangerous when it takes a back-door route to criminalisation of homebirth.

Under the proposed new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme, to apply to midwives from July 2010, midwives must have professional indemnity insurance to obtain registration. This is not currently the case - hospital insurance schemes cover their employed midwives; homebirth midwives work uninsured. The report notes that this latter situation is unacceptable. Homebirth consumers and midwives agree and have repeatedly sought Federal assistance in obtaining appropriate insurance.

But the report, while recommending Commonwealth-supported professional indemnity for midwives in collaborative team-based models, withholds such support where homebirth is concerned, since "it is likely that insurers will be less inclined to provide indemnity cover for private homebirths and, if they did provide cover, the premium costs would be very high."

Neither evidence nor logic support this. The reason insurers have not offered coverage to privately practising midwives since 2002 is not the risk profile of midwives. It is that the pool of homebirth midwives shrank to an uncommercial size during the insurance crisis in 2002 - which was caused by astronomical compensation payouts against obstetricians, not midwives.

Everyone in the industry suddenly became uninsurable, yet the then government's bailout package, under the Premium Support and High Cost of Claims Schemes, saved only GPs and obstetricians. So midwives had to work uninsured or give up their practice. Unsurprisingly, many quit attending homebirths. Even if the risk profile of homebirth practice did make premiums too high, that would only put midwives in the same boat as GPs and obstetricians, who receive substantial government support under these schemes.
The simple, obvious answer is to extend the schemes to midwives.

Instead, by cutting midwives loose on insurance, the government is effectively outlawing homebirth, since by mid-next year uninsured midwives will be unable to obtain registration, and unregistered midwifery is a criminal offence. There is no surer way than this to make homebirth unsafe.

Consumers rely on registration to ensure that they are choosing a skilled and professional carer. To remove this indicator of quality away from consumers, not on the basis of professionalism but on the availability of a suitable insurance scheme, puts women at risk. More women will birth unattended.

Women are entitled to choose where they give birth and with whom. They are entitled to refuse treatment and to choose it. They are entitled to give birth in a hospital, a birth centre, a home or under a tree if that's what they want to do. Research shows that a woman is safest birthing in the environment where she feels safest. And to make it illegal for a woman who chooses to birth at home to access appropriate care is surely not the intention of this government.

However you feel about homebirth, whether you'd want it for yourself or not, the removal of a woman's right to birth where she chooses is indefensible and should be a matter of grave concern to all women, just as if women were denied access to breast cancer treatment, epidurals, or condoms.

The government can't ban homebirth any more than it can ban sex, but by banning professional, registered midwives from attending homebirths, it greatly increases risk.

Not funding homebirth is just bad policy: cost-ineffective to Australian taxpayers and unfair to Australian women. But making homebirth illegal is paternalistic, internationally isolated and dangerous.

Homebirth with an independent midwife is a great model of care for lots of reasons, key among them that it provides continuity of care with a known carer - something the Maternity Services Review says it wants to see in hospital -based models. So why is it killing off the only model that reliably delivers that care?
Giving birth at home with a highly skilled and qualified midwife is not new or radical.
Outlawing it is.

Written by Alison Leeman

Also, a reminder of where you can write and show your support for all our rights.

The Hon Nicola Roxon,
MPMinister for Health and Ageing
Parliament House
Canberra 2600

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Every woman's birth choices are jeapordised

(re posted with authors permission)

Australian Government , Violating The Fortelesa Declaration

The Australian Government is in the process of violating the human rights of Australian women. They are doing this through the latest Maternity Services Review which stands to extensively restrict the choices women have with regard to where they give birth and who they can hire to be their medical care provider. The recommendations of the Maternity Services Review stand in violation of The World Health Organisation's Fortelesa Declaration. In particular, article one which states:

1. The whole community should be informed about the various procedures in birth care, to enable each woman to choose the type of birth care she prefers. And the opening statement of the declaration which states:

Birth Is Not An Illness
These 16 recommendations are based on the principle that each woman has a fundamental right to receive proper prenatal care: that the woman has a central role in all aspects of this care, including participation in the planning, carrying out and evaluation of the care: and that social, emotional and psychological factors are decisive in the understanding and implementation of proper prenatal care.

The latest Maternity Services Review in Australia is removing the rights of Australian women by refusing to publicly fund home births, thus restricting the availability of home birth to many Australian families. And forcing independent midwives to be part of a national registration scheme. This registration will include mandatory professional indemnity insurance for all midwives, the alternative is to practice midwifery unlawfully.

In order for midwives to access professional indemnity insurance they must work within a "collaborative team", however no definition of "collaborative team" has been provided. It is possible that "collaborative team" could mean not working independently (as many homebirth midwives do) in which case insurance would not be available to these midwives and their decision to attend homebirths could lead to prosecution and incarceration.
The Maternity Services Review clearly states that these decisions were based on presumptions of risk for homebirth. No medical evidence was consulted regarding homebirth and the review goes as far as to make the outlandish claim that there is no medical evidence which they could base their judgments on.
Ultimately The Australian Government has furthered obstetricians' monopoly over maternity care and has prioritised the medical model of maternity care over the midwifery model, despite the fact that the midwifery model is the safer model for the majority of women. By further empowering the already powerful players in Australia's maternity system, The Australian Government has aggressively restricted the rights and freedoms of birthing women. Perplexing behaviour for a government committed to raising the national birth rate!

For Those Of You Who Don't Homebirth

At this time I refer to the author of Empowering Birth Blog's reinterpretation of "First They Came For The Jews":

"First they came for the unassisted birthers, but I did not speak out,
because I do not free-birth.

Then they came for those who birth at home with lay midwives, but I
would would not speak out, because I would not have a home-birth with a lay

Then they came for those who birthed with Certified Professional
Midwives, and I would not speak out, because I would not have a home-birth with a CPM.

And then they came for those who birthed in birth centers and with
Certified Nurse Midwives, but I would not speak out because I would not have a
birth in a birth center or with a CNM.

And then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for

When one woman's human rights are attacked, all human rights are attacked! No one is safe when a government takes to such heavy regulation of the choices women make with regard to their bodies, their babies and their birth experiences!

What Can You Do?
You can send your letters of disgust and demand to The Department of Health and Aging:
Central Office postal address
GPO Box 9848,
Canberra ACT 2601,

And your feedback to Maternity.Services.Review@health.gov.au

And The Office For Women:
Australian Government Office for Women
Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
PO Box 7576
Canberra Business Centre
ACT 2610
Telephone 1300 653 227 Facsimile +61 6212 9572Email women@fahcsia.gov.au

Send them to the parties in opposition to the current government as well:
The Liberal Party

The Greens

The Democrats

Family First

What Women Want

(I do not endorse any of these parties. I provide links to them so that readers have access to the information required to contact political power holders in Australia in order to apply pressure to these groups and individuals to do something to change this unacceptable position Australian women and independent midwives find themselves in).

Please also read more about others thoughts, opinions and explanations about the review here at Bustin' Out Baby and also here at Confession Time.
Lisa, at Homebirth ~ A Midwife Mutiny talks about the Review from a Midwives perspective, thank you Lisa.