For the Love of KY Babies
6 years ago, (already 2 years into working with Kentucky Home Birth Coalition) I met with Senator David Givens for the first time. We met with a group of constituents in Glasgow, Kentucky, at a local coffee shop. It was my first time ever meeting with a Legislator, and here I was leading a meeting. Sen. Givens was kind and attentive, and the meeting left me feeling confident that I could continue to do this (despite not yet knowing what “this” would become).
I met with him again privately in Frankfort, Kentucky, 4yrs ago. During the meeting, I delivered a large stack of handwritten letters of support I’d collected from constituents and I shared my birth story with him. I was only 6 months postpartum and had my baby on my lap. I had never shared the details of my traumatic hospital transfer with anyone outside my inner circle before. My message to him was not that hospitals are evil, but that a bridge between midwives and the hospital could have made that transfer experience easier on everyone involved. He again made it as easy as possible and was very attentive and understanding. It was this year that he gave me the advice to run a marathon; not a sprint. It was that advice that helped me to see the big picture each year and has helped me hold out hope for 4 more years (even when it was extremely hard).
Here we are, 8 years in, and 6 years since I met with Sen. Givens for the first time. We’ve had countless conversations and he has come through for us on several occasions. One year, we brought a group of supporters to the Capitol so big we wouldn’t fit in any conference room. Still he stood in the hall with us and heard every story. Another year, we were struggling, and I started to lose hope when Sen. Givens walked by quickly reaffirming he was with us without missing a step; later realizing he had worked behind the scenes to keep us moving forward. When I’ve been worn out, he’s reminded me to stay calm. When I’ve worried about our future, he’s pointed out how far we’ve come.
The truth is, I may not agree with Sen. Givens on everything politically, but I believe he’s really in Frankfort to fight for his constituents. This grassroots movement has nothing to offer him, but he fights for us. In a quiet and dignified way; he fights for us.
I write about him, because he is my Senator, but truth be told, there are senators like him all around the state fighting for us. Senator Tom Buford has been our bill sponsor from the beginning. Senator Julie Rauque-Adams has fought tooth and nail for us and has made herself extremely available to our Coalition. Yes, we have opposition, but after 8 years of hard work I can say that this grassroots movement has earned the support of many esteemed legislators. This year, 3 out of 5 Senate leadership members are cosponsoring our bill. Now it’s time to move into the house and finish the marathon. I don’t know how long this race will run, but for the first time in 8 years, a feeling of “our time has come” fills the air.
Thank you to all the senators like mine who fight for families, babies, moms and dads who have nothing to give in return except our appreciation. Thank you to the families who have been working to get midwives in Ky recognized for the last 40 years. Perhaps our time has come.
Continue to follow & support the bill SB84 (An act related to the licensure of Certified Professional Midwives. It would increase safe birth options in the state of KY) this legislative session, by following Kentucky Home Birth Coalition on Facebook and Instagram. Or by signing up for our newsletter at kentuckyhomebirthcoalition.com. Donations can be made on the Kentucky Home Birth Coalition website too. Letters of support and phone calls to your legislators are always appreciated. Join us on Lobby Day! Support SB84!!
Learn more about SB84: https://kentuckyhomebirthcoalition.com/legislation-2019/