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Amber Plyler Changes Her Mind

I got the most delicious email the other day. Sharing, with permission.

“Yep, it's me!  The dreaded GBS doula....  So much has changed since our last encounter on your blog, and I just wanted to share! 

I had completed 9 months of training to become a CPM when we had our 'encounter' on your blog about my GBS post.  I have since researched, read, observed, studied, prayed, and soul searched and have done a complete transformation of my path.  I quit the CPM program and am now pursing midwifery as a CNM instead.  I'm in nursing school and will be finishing up my nursing degree and then on to my masters in nursing with a midwifery specialty. 

There were so many things that caused me to stop and think and change my mind - calling people out is tough.  For the one being called out and made a public spectacle, it feels horrible!  All eyes are on you as you are criticized, belittled, and attacked.  Many said I handled it with grace, but I almost cracked!!  That being said, it's those call outs that cause you to stop, think, and re-evaluate and maybe - just maybe - realize what you are saying and the direction you are going is dead wrong.  So thank you.  Thank you for being one of the one's to call me out, make me stop, think, and re-evaluate where I was headed. 

I'm blogging my journey and thought if you were interested in the mindset of a student midwife turned nurse midwifery student, I've poured my heart out in these posts..... 

Be the Change You Want to See in the World 


Lack of Standards

The “encounter” Amber speaks about was my “This is Informed Consent?” piece that comments on a post (since revised) she wrote about using Hibiclens in labor for GBS positive women. Amber, a doula and student midwife, was giving a lot of medical advice and very little fact to back things up with. Granted, I learned a couple of things in the same thread, namely that the Hibiclens “wash” is really a “douche,” which makes me like it even less. But, as I detailed my pretty pointed (even harsh) comment, I was read the flippin’ riot act about naming Amber, her business and her website in the first place. 

“I think it's a little harsh to call the writer out by name. In all honesty, it feels a bit dirty to me. Was it not enough to simply communicate directly with her? I don't quite grasp what there is to gain here.” 

“… just wanted to address the fact that I'm sorry that this discussion has been directed at a specific person posting...and by name. I believe it could have been done with more integrity had it been addressed off-line and Amber had remained nameless.” 

“To provide information is one thing. A post sharing these same thoughts could quite easily have been made and names omitted. To contact a person you do not agree with and share information is one thing. To publicly use their name and then post your opinion is another….” 

You get the gist.

I, of course, defended my calling her out and, happy to say, Amber was a part of the discussion throughout the comments… and she went and revised her post and I wrote about that, too; Babies in Bloom GBS Redux. Amber’s “Blossoming Babies” blog has since been taken down… replaced with Midwife{ology}

So, Amber, as I said on your blog, I am so proud of you I could burst! Thank you so, so much for sharing your path with all of us. I, sometimes more than others, totally understand what it’s like to just put yourself out there. You are a remarkable woman; never forget that. 

Sometimes being addressed by name isn’t the end of the world, but the beginning of a whole ‘nother one.

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Reader Comments (8)

*Gush* So, so proud of her!!

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBambi C

But I would want to know what is in the whole other one?

If it is a CNM like the one who came to my last (as in final, not as in recent) birth, who simply came and was with me, examined me only once when I asked her to because I was curious about something (not to know my dilation, which it never even occurred to me to think about, but because I felt a bulging bag of water when I went to the bathroom, and it felt so thick and meaty to me, I wasn't sure what it was) and otherwise just caught (and got soaked doing it.)-if she will be a CNM like that, able to do more if it is needed but also able to do nothing at all but be there if that is what is needed, then I will say Hooray! But if we are going to get a hospital medwife out of the deal, I say bad bargain.

Like everyone else, I judge by my own experiences, in which the medical world made me into a woman with a bad obstetrical history, had I had but two children, when what I turned out to be really was a woman with a large pelvis who gave birth easily to large babies without any intervention at all. So if the medical world, even back then, could do that to me, it tells me that its judgments of women's abilities are not to be trusted.

But-where can the wisdom be found, to trust birth exactly so far as it can be trusted, and no farther?

Susan Peterson

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Peterson

Easy to see where you've been hanging around, Susan. *sigh*

August 3, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

My head is gonna explode if I hear 'trust birth' one more fucking time.

August 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKristina

Oh, dear, Barb, where to start? I know YOU know how I feel about all this.
Any midwife who defends our lack of education is suspect, in my book. Why is ignorance considered a valuable quality in midwifery? A sort of, "What we don't know won't hurt us" attitude....it goes hand in hand with "Trust Birth enough and nothing bad will happen".
I read comments from questions posted on FB from midwifery pages (and I had to block all that Trust Birth rhetoric from my feed because it made my blood pressure boil) and seethe with embarassment at the lack of basic knowledge coming from "midwives".
Why *wouldn't* we want to be CNMs? I know for damn sure I do, and I am trying hard to make it work. I love homebirth midwifery, absolutely love it. But I recognize the limitations of being a LM/CPM......how I wish I could write prescriptions instead of sending my mamas to a OB/GYN. How I wish I could help them with their family planning needs! How I wish I could keep seeing them years after their babies turn 6 weeks for their annual exams! I wish I could transfer them to hospital if needed and continue to provide care as their midwife.
I practice in what is arguably the best state for LMs, and which has one of the highest standards for education and licensing, and yet, still......it's not enough.

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterColleen, LM

There's a comment on one of Amber's posts that makes some snide comment about the "extraneous" education a CNM has to go through. Something like, "What does a broken bone, psychiatry or wound care have to do with midwifery?" If I'd have been drinking something at the time, I would have spit it all over the computer screen in horrible laughter. Of course I had to EXPLAIN to her what those things AND MORE have to do with midwifery. I really hope she's so fucking embarrassed she signs up for Nursing School this morning.

August 4, 2011 | Registered CommenterNavelgazing Midwife

Amber is taking a lot of heat from her "friends" over her conversion. I'm proud of her, because it's never easy to change one's beliefs, even in light of hard evidence.

I hope that she does become a "hospital medwife." I find it amusing that that's considered an insult. I love my hospital-based CNMs. I had a totally unmedicated birth, pushed only when I felt the urge, changed positions during labor and pushing, etc. I also had prompt care when I began to hemmorhage immediately after delivering the placenta. I'm glad that my medwife had the skills to recognize a cervical laceration and get me into an operating room with an O.B. She saved my life.

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered Commentermoto_librarian

I swear on all that's holy, I *love* you guys! LOL Its so refreshing to hear honest talk about lay midwives! I am getting ready to start my classes toward my CM in 3 weeks (holy crap!), and my whole first semester is nursing classes. Although my admissions counselor (who is a CNM) admitted that "learning to treat bedsores probably isn't something I have ever needed as a midwife," I am looking forward to learning as much as I can about nursing, and a dear friend just gave me a bunch of books on nursing to help me in my studies. My plan (because in NJ, CM's also can't prescribe) is to get my RN after my CM. I had applied to a nursing program, but when life took a different turn, I decided to go straight into midwifery school, with the plan to complete my RN after. I can't wait! Thank you, Barb, for your unwavering, critical attention to non-nurse midwifery! Keep it up!

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJen B

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