Credit: Nokomis Rhodes

Credit: Nokomis Rhodes


I am thrilled to announce that on September 12th, 2013, the Board of Directors of SJGH in Comox reconsidered its January 2013 decision, and approved my application for hospital locum privileges as a registered midwife!

This decision comes after 7.5 months of discussions between myself and SJGH, and after an astounding and heart-warming display of community support. The monetary donations and fundraising initiatives that contributed financial support to my legal fund allowed me to continue to work and live in my home community during this difficult time.  I am truly grateful for all the words of support and encouragement that kept me motivated, and demonstrated a strong support for access to midwifery care in the Comox Valley.

I am expecting my first baby later this fall, and as I settle into preparations and “nesting” for the new and exciting journey of parenting, it means so much to have this issue resolved, and to look forward to continuing to live and work in this wonderful community beyond my year of maternity leave.

To my dedicated coworkers (and their families!), who went above and beyond to continue to provide continuity of care to our clients, working many hours beyond their regular schedules over the past 7 months… Thank you!

To the women and families who are our clients, for their patience, understanding, and support… Thank you!

To the hard-working, ever-enthusiastic individuals and groups who fundraised and organized to bring us to where we are today, having achieved an amicable agreement between both parties, and leaving only minimal legal fees not covered by fundraising: Arzeena Hamir, Tasha Archer, Shawna Robertson, Moss Dance, Rhiannon Webb, Emma Kwasnica, Advocates for Birth Choice in the Comox Valley, Natalie DeGoey, Kalina Christoff, Rory Robinson, and Amber White… Thank you!

To all of the individuals who donated funds via the fundraising website, and each and every person who offered words of support, and helped to spread the word…Thank you!

I look forward to enjoying these last weeks before my maternity leave begins working unhindered in my community, able to provide care to my clients wherever they chose to birth, and to returning to work again here when my maternity leave is complete.

Blessings, thanks, and love to you all,


To make a donation to Katie’s legal fund, click the button below:

20 thoughts on “Home

  1. Hello,
    I am a friend of Arzeena Hamir that visited the Comox Valley recently. I run a podcast on iTunes and my blog on sustainability issues and can offer to put up your story in your own voice, if you will, through a telephone interview that can be converted into another podcast.
    You can find the podcasts blog at : http://www.tonu.org/category/podcast/

    Tony Mitra

  2. You are an amazing woman and an amazing midwife Katie. Your website (just that there is one) brings me to tears. Stay strong! Lots of hugs and love, Aly.

  3. I would donate for a silent auction as well! A glass pendant that my partner as made!
    PS your fabulous and I would be more than happy if you end up being the one delivering my baby :)

  4. I will support you Kate. I was a midwife for 40 years and can not think why the original Sisters of ST. Joseph of Toronto would not support you, I certainly would. Perhaps the Diocese in Victoria and local corporate members used the term “Collegiality” and the archaic version that was used by Catholics in the 16 Century, the dark ages.
    I will donate some money and I will send you a few books for a silent auction if you like.
    The books are “Bloody Practice: medical tales from arond the world” and “Wake Up Call: tales of a frontier doctor.” {Caitlin Press}

  5. Katie, not sure if you remember us, but you caught our baby Beatrice in Vancouver (at Women’s Hospital) in 2009 when you were doing a practicum with Pomegranate, with Beth! I’m so sorry to hear you are going through this and we will make a donation and help spread the word. We live on the Sunshine Coast now and would love it if you (or any other midwives) would move here – we currently are underserviced (in fact I don’t think there are any midwives practicing here right now). For our second baby we had to go with our family Dr, who is luckily fantastic, but would have jumped at the chance to work with the midwifery model of care again. You were fantastic to work with and helped answer so many of our questions during the pregnancy and postpartum process. I distinctly remember you reassuring me when the breastfeeding was tricky at the start that it would happen and the baby would thrive. You were right of course.
    Hospital privileges matter! Best of luck with your fight Katie!
    xoxo ione, peter, beatrice, and baby mavis

    • Congratulations on your new baby Ione and Peter! Of course I remember you :) Thank you for your support. I’m so happy to hear that you are living on the Sunshine Coast living your dream, and I hope that midwifery will come to your community soon.

  6. Hi Katie: we haven’t met, but I’m a practising family physician in Salmon Arm, and was proud for about 25 years to call myself the local “pseudo-midwife”, offering women the opportunity to be an active part of decision-making around their birth experience. I was also an active supporter of the Midwives Association of BC, and can honestly say that Ina May Gaskin’s “Spiritual Midwifery” — especially the back pages where she documented the details of 1000 births — was the guide that I most used to inform my own approach (along with a few progressive papers in the medical literature — and some very well-informed patients!). Needless to say my interaction with colleagues was not always congenial in this area, but I have the delight of looking back on many wonderful experiences of birth that richly rewarding for me, and I hope satisfying for the women and their families in my care. I am still practising about 3/4 time, but haven’t attended births for about 7-8 years or more.

    I am well aware of the intransigent and entirely politically-motivated resistance of my profession to the presence and practice of midwifery by actual midwives — here in BC it can be worse than some other provinces. But it is changing steadily.

    You will prevail eventually, I have no doubt, both in your court case, and in developing a successful practice of your own or in collaboration with other midwives.

    I commend you for your commitment, and wish you all good fortune as you work to change the birthing experience for women in the Comox Valley or elsewhere.

  7. Hi Katie, I have a tradition of saying thank you to the Midwife who helped us give birth every year on the birthday of our child. Lulu just turned two and you were in my thoughts. You gave us just what we wanted in a birth: warm water birth at home, no complications, just fantastic support! Once you arrived, my labour went quickly because you provided the reassurance I was waiting for, just your wonderful calm warm presence alone made me relax and a few hours later Lucia arrived into our arms! I just wanted to say thank you to you, you are simply amazing! Keep shining brightly! By the way, Lulu is talking lots now and she told me the other day, “Mama, I sing to flowers.” That’s my girl!

  8. Katie – Anna here (Emma and Sarah’s Mumma). As you know, you attended Emma’s birth and were THE reason that Sarah’s was able to breast feed. You’re a hero in our family. I’m a professional writer – what can I do to help you?

  9. Hello Katie: I support you in your advocacy efforts and wonder if BC’s Ombudsman could help with improving women’s choice and registered midwives right to hospital privileges. As unfortunately, your situation is not unique. Closure or denial of midwifery hospital privileges has been occurring throughout BC’s health regions. I think limiting privileges is an accepted form of institutional discrimination that happens because midwifery hospital privileges are ill-defined within most BC hospitals. Secondly, the significance of hospital privileges on women’s access to services and to the sustainability of quality maternity services is yet to be recognized.

    Every pregnant woman in BC, regardless of her provider or actual birth place is enrolled at a hospital from around 25 weeks of pregnancy. Midwifery practice is considered primary-care level one service and as such, on a macro-level registered midwives and women enrolled in their care need seamless access to higher levels of service, as well as to auxiliary healthcare services. Evidence shows that integration of services is significant for quality within healthcare. Limiting midwifery privileges marginalizes some midwives and prevents women accessing care. Privilege categories and definitions established for doctor practice are simply unsuitable for 24hr/365days a year midwifery services, where woman’s choice and continuity of care are fundamental and where services are provided in the community, in women’s homes and at hospital.

    On a micro-level hospital privilege mechanisms that support 24hr/365 days a year maternity services need to enable work-life balance and improved movement of providers within health regions and practices. Regardless of the type of hospital privilege (short or long-term locum; temporary active; permanent active or a new kind) criteria for these need to be better established and be equitably applied throughout the province. After 15 years of regulated BC midwifery, 200 practicing midwives and research that shows cost-effective quality care, surely differences in personality and practice style can be better tolerated, rather than discriminated against. To enhance access and women’s choice, surely BC midwives can be supported to provide full-scope midwifery services, maintain established services and expand services as needed. Best: Vera Berard RM

  10. I’m not surprised to read this. I’m so sorry to hear that this community is forced to endure this dictatorship that has no doubt lead to the poor level of care and abuse that now exists in that hospital. This is very common for this management who use this technique to silence an critics.

    • We have just posted a brief update- see above, and stay tuned in the weeks to come! Thank you for your ongoing interest and support…

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