Here's my letter. Do y'all think I should add anything?
To the Board of Trustees of the Northeast Health System:
I am writing to you in light of the news that a proposal will be made to you on November 18th, 2008, that women will no longer to be able to labor and birth at the North Shore Birth Center. This proposal, were it to pass, I feel would be a great disservice to women looking for a real choice in where and how they birth.
I recently gave birth to my daughter at the North Shore Birth Center on August 1st, 2008. While I had had a tour of the labor and delivery area during my 36 week meeting there and thought that as far as hospitals went, it looked very nice, that tour only reinforced my feeling that I had made the right choice to birth at the NSBC. Very knowledgeable midwives staff the Birth Center, and the environment is calm and inviting, similar to that of a nice, cozy home. My daughter’s birth was powerful and intense, and I felt completely at ease in the care of Eva Wax and Debbie Black. Had I been forced to birth in the hospital, despite me being low risk, I feel strongly that it would have impacted my labor and birth negatively, opening me up for interventions that would have been completely unnecessary otherwise.
If I had really wanted a hospital birth, I could have gone to a more local hospital to me, Lawrence General. However, neither their philosophy of medicalized birth nor their setup appealed to me in any way. Making the drive from North Andover to Beverly was very much worth it. I know that other people from much further away also make the drive during labor for the express purpose of birthing at the Birth Center.
There are only 2 bona fide birth centers currently in MA, and while they are not for every woman, those who are low-risk and who desire a natural birth above all else deserve to have the choice to birth where they wish. Closing the birth center would either encourage more women to birth at home (a valid option in its own right, though getting insurance to cover homebirth is tricky at best), or to drive to one of the birth centers in New Hampshire. Either way, business would decline at the Birth Center, and ultimately Beverly Hospital.
Birthing at the Birth Center was one of the greatest experiences of my life. Please do NOT take away that choice for other women in Massachusetts. Besides being cost effective in this age of skyrocketing health care costs, women who are low risk need CHOICE in how they birth.
Come ponder with me about food!