This story is very personal to me. A little background as to why and then Charlie Rae’s story. I had heard about this bus on the Barefoot Birth facebook page but hadn’t read all of the details, and when I got to the bottom of this post, I gasped aloud! I KNOW HER! Well, actually I know her mom. I “met” her mom online many years ago, and knew about her mom 18 years ago. How? I Googled my first daughter’s name after she was born to see if anyone shared the spelling of her name, and Charlie’s mom popped up. I followed her online over the years and we later became facebook friends. Turns out, she had known who I (and my daughter) was for just as many years and for the same reasons. We spoke about our children and their personalities, and I’ve always loved Charlie. So when I discovered that SHE was the one behind this bus, I was just in awe of the amazingness of the internet. I had originally intended on posting this nearly 2 months ago, but due to a series of fortunate and unfortunate events it is only now that I’m able to share it with you. There are only 10 days left of their funding campaign! Here is her amazing story. ~Ruthie
When I was pregnant with my daughter, we did everything “right” to prepare for her arrival.
We hired a nurse midwife who was a friend’s mother in a hospital practice (you know, just in case!), took 6 weeks of independent childbirth education, and read until our brains were aching. We were doing everything possible to assure we would have our natural birth in the hospital. Unsure of dates, we had about 3 possible “due dates” with the later probably being the most accurate. I arrived at my first due date and had an appointment with my midwife that same day. She determined that my daughter was clearly already over 10 pounds and that I should go to the hospital immediately for an induction to avoid a definite cesarean if we waited any longer.
I can spare you the hospital induction birth story, it sounds like nearly every other one. One intervention lead to another and lead to another until finally my daughter, my 6 pound 5 ounce daughter, came flying into the world. The moment she was placed on my chest I knew. I knew she was just a little peanut. I remember mumbling the word ‘baby’ repeatedly and asking them to weigh her. WEIGH HER. The very reason I was just tortured to get a baby out of me was not true. I felt deceived and taken advantage of.
After my daughter’s birth I grew more and more angry with the system I was just rushed through. I began reading and researching about birth in our country. I consumed the words of Jennifer Block and Marsden Wagner late at night when I was up nursing- waking up my husband to tell him all of the alarming things I wished we would have known before we welcomed our daughter. With this new knowledge I learned about real midwives, and that my midwife was NOT what midwifery was supposed to represent as a whole. I knew there was a greater purpose for my newly discovered passion, but never knew how that may unfold.
Over that first year of my daughter’s life I evangelized to everyone I knew that was pregnant about the issues they were about to face (and didn’t even know of!) and essentially began inviting myself to friend’s births. Just like my birth, the snowball effect took hold and the next thing I knew I found myself working as a doula and midwife’s assistant on my way to becoming a midwife myself.
I have spent the last 5 years working with women throughout their childbearing years in all sorts of reproductive issues and now is where my story really comes full circle.
When I began midwifery school, my pie-in-the-sky dream was to have a mobile easy access clinic to provide prenatal care to low income and at-risk families. We have so many women who want and NEED quality midwifery care but face barriers such as transportation and accessibility to that care. I knew I needed to make the quality care a midwife provides accessible to the families that need it and deserve it!
Through some beautiful and unbelievable serendipty, I found the amazing Jeff and Kelly Halldorson who live on a converted bus, traveling across the country as they learn and adventure with their unschooling teenagers. They were the perfect people to help us transform an old blood mobile into our dream, The Barefoot Bus.
I am taking my exam in August to become a Certified Professional Midwife, and upon my passing will become a Florida Licensed Midwife. Once my licensure process is complete we will begin taking the bus out into the community 1-2 days per week to see women for prenatal visits. We are hoping to connect with our local Healthy Start Coalition, local churches, and public women’s health services to make them aware of where the bus will be situated for visits each week and how they may go about referring people for care. Women will be able to access information on women’s health, pregnancy, early childhood health, find assistance with applying for Medicaid if needed, and of course be seen for prenatal and/or postpartum care. No births will take place on the bus. We will continue to serve women who are good candidates for homebirth, but provide women who desire a hospital birth with excellent prenatal care and a doula to accompany them to the hospital. They would then see the on-call physician or nurse midwife at the hospital of their choice–the same way they might if they were to receive care at a public clinic or health department.
In order to make such a large scale community project come to life we have to have supporters. We still have the final pull to make the bus operational. Normal maintence, the stocking of supplies, and the finishing touches.
Did you have the awesome care of a midwife during your pregnancy? A great outcome because of it? Help share that with another family! Help us reach hundreds of families and start the pendulum of birth care swing in the more positive direction. We have started this funding campaign with lots of awesome incentives for our supporters. Everything from funny bumper stickers, in-home massages, all the way to adding your company’s logo to the bus to be seen all across Tampa Bay! Our funding goal is $10,000- with every bit of that going into the bus. We are setting our sights high, and hoping that you can help make this very important vision come to life.
Even if you cannot donate, we appreciate you spreading the word about this project with your friends, family, colleagues, and clients!
Feel free to contact us with any questions you have–we are all so excited to share our vision with you!
Here is my blog of the bus story:
And the campaign funding page: