About Nora

nora-mcneillNora McNeill has been providing midwifery services for 39 years, since 1975.  During that time, she has assisted with over 1,500 births.

She did not attend a formal midwifery school, but learned from the “school of faithful women.”  She is grateful for the many confident women who allowed her to learn from them as they trusted their bodies to birth their babies.  In 1975 there were no other midwives in her area that she could apprentice with and so she had to depend on mothers and their wisdom to help her learn the art of midwifery.

Her educational background includes:

  • Associate of Science in Nursing, 1986, University of the State of New York
  • Registered Nursing Licensure, 1986, California
  • Midwifery Equivalency Exam, 1997, Seattle Midwifery School
  • Midwifery Licensure, 1997, California
  • Certification as Lactation Educator, 1999, Re-certified 2010
  • Current Certification in CPR, First Aid and Neonatal Resuscitation

Nora’s Philosophy About Birth

Home birthing allows the personality of each birth to unfold as it is designed to, in the midst of each family’s choice of location and unique gathering of friends and extended family members.

Most families that consider home birth take great responsibility for themselves and their children.  Because of this mature responsibility, they often go to great lengths in trying to ascertain the possible risks involved for the mother and infant.

Statistics speak very favorably of home birth.  Many countries have lower infant and maternal mortality rates than the United States and have a higher percentage of home births attended by midwives.

A baby may die or be damaged because of drugs and/or unnecessary medical interference in a hospital.  Some may be assaulted by lethal bacteria that would not be encountered in the home.  On the other hand, a hospital that can prepare for a cesarean section within minutes can save lives in those rare instances when dealing with a prolapsed umbilical cord or a drop in fetal heart rate that does not correct itself.

When a baby dies in the hospital , the parents are exonerated from guilt because our society has accepted the particular set of risks that accompany a hospital birth.  Parents who lose their baby at home could experience deep guilt and regret for their decision unless they have consciously and fully accepted the particular set of risks associated with the choice of home birth.

Life is fraught with risk and is impossible to avoid.  At best we choose one set of risks against another.  What is important and what will sustain us in the event of grief is to have deliberately and responsibly chosen the particular set of risks we will take because of our deepest values and convictions concerning life.

The choice for home birth is not just about the option of one statistically safer set of risks over another.  Concern for physical safety plays a part in the decision, but most people choose home birth because of the deep psychological and spiritual advantages to their families.

Even if all the statistics leaned in favor of hospital births, there would probably be little decline in the home birth movement.  This movement comes, not from a concern for sheer biological survival, but from a commitment to the highest quality and richness of life to be given our children

Midwifery empowers women and their families through the experience of birth, and provides an important component to the full spectrum of obstetrical services.  Midwives are trained to specialize in assisting families through normal pregnancy and childbirth, and to make appropriate referrals to physicians and hospitals when necessary.

The rate of cesarean deliveries is very low for midwives and home births, compared with hospital births.  In the practice of midwifery, labor and childbirth are a natural process.  Unless there is distress to the mother or baby, the process is not interfered with through drugs, medical interventions or cesarean delivery.

Throughout history, women have attended and assisted other women during labor and birth.  Today, the majority of women around the world continue to give birth in non-hospital settings.  It has only been in the last century that the natural act of birth has moved from the traditional home environment to the clinical hospital setting where medical interventions are a common place and cesarean section rates are unnecessarily high.

The transition from the home to the hospital was intended to improve infant and maternal mortality.  Yet, the United States ranks 28th in the world for infant mortality.  That means that there are at least 27 countries that lose fewer babies than we do in the U.S..  These statistics reflect the use of medical interventions intended to improve the outcome of pregnancies.  While very appropriate for high-risk pregnancies, these interventions may actually cause harm to mothers and babies with normal, uncomplicated pregnancies.