The Campaign to Save the North Shore Birth Center

Reflections on the Rally

Posted on: November 19, 2008

What an amazing day.  If any one had any doubt that we as citizens can influence our community, today was proof positive that we can and have made a difference.  The rally was a great success – although the proposal to cease births at the Birth Center is still on the table, the vote was postponed, as our group demonstrated just how important the North SHore Birth Center is to our community, and that this proposal needs to be more closely scrutinized. 

I overslept – one of the hazards of having a recent Birth Center baby at home :).  I woke up at 5:30 – just when I had planned to leave my house in Boxford.  Amazingly, I managed to nurse Bridger, and bundle both of us up in half an hour.  We arrived at the rally at 6:35, and it was such a thrill to see the sidewalk in front of the hospital packed with families!  As I drove up to park on a side street, I was even more encouraged to see all of the local news crews out to cover our event.  Bridger and I settled in with a sign.  The mood was festive, drivers passing by as a whole were so supportive – lots of beeps and thumbs up.  There were easily over 100 people present by the time the Board began arriving.  Several people were interviewed, myself included, and later at home I watched as we were covered on all the local news stations.  We also had speakers – including the first woman to birth at NSBC – what an inspiration to see not only the new birth center babies – but grown adults carrying ‘Birth Center Baby’ signs.  The group did then walk onto the hospital property, only to be told by the administration to leave.  Our wonderful midwives had food and coffee at the birth center, but unfortunately there was a security person standing out front to keep rally participants out.  I was told that only patients could be on the property – but I still get my well woman care there, so…  Several of us did get by to warm-up and nurse our kids – thank you midwives for having goodies for us!  I got home just in time for the noon news. 

What a fun day – although I would have loved for the propsal to have been denied outright, this was a major victory.  We were heard, we made a positive impression on the Board, and we have brought awareness and attention to such important health issues.  Because protecting birth options is not just a woman’s issue – this is a family issue and community concern.  My sincere thanks to the Steering comittee, and to all those who wrote letters, picketed last week, and showed up this morning in the cold.  Let’s keep up this good work!!

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