I am sad (and relieved) to announce that ICAN of Greater Missoula is officially closed. I really don’t understand why it wasn’t sustainable in this community. Here are a couple of thoughts . . .
1. The homebirthers and homebirth midwives are doing their part for sure, but unless you know someone personally who has birthed at home or who has used a midwife or is a midwife, you just won’t know much about how that works here in the greater Missoula area.
2. The traditional birth culture prescribed by the medical community does not want to change. Sure they built a “birth center” at the hospital, but all that really means is that women now have private bathrooms, tubs (I wonder if women are even allowed to use them?), and nicer accommodations. I don’t think anything has fundamentally changed to make birthing healthier for women and babies at our hospital. If I’m wrong, I’m happy to update this post at any time. Our docs participate in a town-wide on call group. What this means is that if you don’t birth your baby during office hours or during your doctor’s on call duty, you’re not likely to have your doctor help you birth your baby. There are a few doctors that this does not apply to, and the key is to be with one of them. Our medical community “killed” the birth center established by Dr. Montgomery, but kudos to Jeanne Hebl, CNM for establishing a successful homey birth center after Dr. Montgomery’s untimely death. By November 15, 2011 Hebl’s birth center had assisted with 100 births.
3. Women (families) in this town don’t know that they are “allowed” to have an opinion about birth much less how to have the birth experience that best suits their needs and wishes. This is where I feel like I failed. For example, when I was planning my HBA2C I ran into an acquaintance whose wife was getting ready for her 3rd cesarean. They were told they weren’t allowed to do a VBA2C in Missoula. I didn’t birth my baby at home, much to my surprise and chagrin, but I did have a most unlikely and uncommon VBA2C at the local hospital with a very good OB who did his best to scare the shit out of me during my appointments. However, when push came to shove (literally) – HE WAS THERE.
Support for women and families in this community will always be there. I hope families continue to seek out the best birth experiences that fit their needs and their dreams. I will continue to offer support when and where I can. And VBAC/CBAC support in Missoula does have a Facebook presence. Click here to reach our page.
Here’s a recent picture of my amazing VBA2C baby: