blogging briefly from a way overpriced hotel in washington dc
4 middle aged midwives sharing a very compact hotel room, two to a bed.
I brought an airbed along but there doesn't seem to be floor space for it. Oh well, at least there is high speed internet access - even if the price is a little steep.
One thing I really like about these conferences is the chance to reconnect with old friends in the birth biz. One of these is Robbie Davis-Floyd. Now, I don't know how many of you have heard of her work, but she is an anthropologist who started studying birth in America (especially the USA) in the early 1980s. I met her for the first time in 1985 at an ICEA conference in Chicago. At that time, she was working on her book Birth as an American Rite of Passage. She and I got into a conversation after that conference, and for the last 19 years we have been reconnecting at this or that conference. I learned today that she has a new book in the works, Mainstreaming Midwives: The Politics Of Change. I guess I know where some of my Mother's Day amazon gift certificate will go!
I was looking around to see if Ina May Gaskin was here. So far, I haven't seen her, but there are a couple of the Farm folk here. Just saw them across the room, but haven't had a chance to say hi. However, tomorrow night will be the MANA reception, and if she is at the conference she will be at that event.
Other old friends encountered included Barbara Harper, who told me that she has a new edition of her book Gentle Birth Choices available. This one includes a DVD, I think. I have to stop by her booth on the exhibit floor tomorrow and check it out.
On a somewhat disappointing note, I observed once again how much of nurse-midwifery is connected to the contraception industry. The name badge holders we are given (really neat little pouches with zipper compartments for cash and cards) are all sponsored by NuvaRing. The swipe card for the exhibits is also an ad for the ParaGuard IUD. The fabric bag given out with all the registration paper in it is an advertisement for all the Ortho contraceptive products.
On the exhibit floor, there is one booth for NFP - it is the Georgetown University's Cyclebeads being promoted (along with the 'two day' method). I would estimate that close to half the available floor space for exhibits was devoted to various other methods of contraception, including an experimental form of female sterilization using a caustic chemical (quinacrine) as well as a booth promoting an office based hand held uterine aspiration device (usable for both 'cleaning up' after a miscarriage and for performing first trimester abortions).
It is ACNM's 50th anniversary this year, and to celebrate they held a gala party at the opening Saturday night. Of course, this was also a fundraiser, but the ticket prices were reasonable. I had been planning to attend until I learned that the honored speaker was going to be Faye Wattleman, and after I had protested to ACNM (without even getting the courtesy of a reply) I elected to boycott the event. If you read her bio, you will understand why.
Tonight's fundraising event was a lot more fun, anyhow. The Capitol Steps is political humour that skewers idiocies on both the left and the right. Equal opportunity satire, often harsh but extremely funny. My favorites were "Super California Recall Freak Show Was Atrocious"
("Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious") and "Help Rwanda" ("Help Me Rhonda"). I was ROTFLMAO - actually I was laughing so hard that I started wheezing and realized that I had left my inhaler back in the hotel room.
Lest you think that I am having entirely too much fun, I have already collected 4 hours of continuing education and on Tuesday, I will join some of my colleagues on Capitol Hill as we lobby our federal representatives for equity in reimbursement, affordable malpractice insurance, and other boring but important issues. Erik, don't laugh! I know that you would prefer a dictatorship, but I have to work within the sytem we currently have.