Sunday, January 6, 2008

Year in Review, Part 11

Last Day at the Capitol

Victory at last! Well, sort of.
The last day of the 2007 legislative session ended with our bill/amendment still intact, on the Governor's desk. Would he sign it into law? We couldn't tell any of our supporters, but an hour before session ended, a couple of us had been given the Governor's word that he would... Still, we knew that everyone would be tensely waiting and hoping that nothing would go wrong until the day that he picked up his pen and it was done!

One of the senators was hurrying down the hall to the Governor's press conference with the Leadership from the House and Senate shortly after session ended, and invited us to come along. So we followed him right through the Governor's office and out onto his private portico and listened to the legislators speak about all the things they had accomplished. It was hard to believe that one of the bills they were talking proudly about having passed contained the language that could free Missouri's midwives from the criminal charges they currently face if practicing!
Afterwards (above), we stood around and tried to decide what to do next. It was hard to believe that this day had come and it looked like midwives might soon be legal in Missouri. We wanted to party, take a nap, cry and shout for joy all at once!

It was with very mixed feelings that we packed up our stuff from all of the offices where it had sat for five months and said goodbye to the many legislators who had become our dear friends.
We hugged a few of the lobbyists and staff who had shown us the ropes around the Capitol, and looked back at the building that would always hold a piece of our lives. I didn't know if I'd be there on a regular basis ever again or not... I didn't know if in a few short months professional midwives would be legal and I would be back to pursuing my midwifery training and certification.
Little did I know of all that loomed ahead, and that the doctor's groups that opposed decriminalizing midwives weren't planning to give up any time soon!

(Note: The Governor did follow through and sign the bill a few weeks later, and our supporters flooded his office with thank you letters.)

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