Book Releases

Tempting Fate (Colorado High Country #4) —
Chaska Belcourt’s story is out! Head back to Scarlet Springs for more Rocky Mountain Search & Rescue Team adventures and more humor and sexy romance. The book is available in ebook and paperback at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo, Smashwords.


Barely Breathing (A Colorado High Country Novel) — The first book in my new Colorado High Country series is now only 99 cents at all ebook retailers! This new contemporary series is set in the small mountain community of Scarlet Springs and focuses on the lives and loves of members of an alpine search and rescue team.


About Me

My photo
I grew up in Colorado at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, then lived in Denmark and traveled throughout Europe before coming back to Colorado. I have two adult sons, whom I cherish. I started my writing career as a columnist and investigative reporter and eventually became the first woman editor of two different papers. Along the way, my team and I won numerous state and several national awards, including the National Journalism Award for Public Service. In 2011, I was awarded the Keeper of the Flame Lifetime Achievement Award for Journalism. Now I write historical romance and contemporary romantic suspense.

Members

Seductive Musings

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giving birth in chains — my day at the state capitol

This shouldn’t be part of any woman's prison sentence.

What a day. It started with a really awful night.

Y'all know that my body has been through the wringer. There’s the whole falling-of-the-cliff gig. There’s the broken neck thing. And then there’s the gave-birth-to-a-baby-with-a-15-inch-head incident, which tore my cervix, caused permanent damage to my lower spine and even made my hips hemorrhage internally. (Can they really do that? Yes. TMI? Sorry, I’m a journalist. There's never any such thing as TMI.)

Somehow yesterday I did violence to myself and set off the lower spine problem. I’ve had physical therapy, massage, steroid injections and every other thing that can be done short of that special Klingon spine replacement surgery they do for Worf on Star Trek. I would sign up for trials for that, but no one’s doing them yet...

To make a boring story shorter, I couldn’t even lie down last night without serious pain. I finally took narcotics and got maybe four hours. What does a newspaper E-in-C do she's been awake all night? She gets up and goes to work.

Today was our press day — and we made our deadline — but it was also the day I was supposed to meet the president of Colorado’s Senate to see whether there was any chance of getting legislation going to make it illegal to put women inmates in chains when they're in labor.

And... It went really, really well. I took the packet of materials I had put together out of my own research on the topic, met with him privately in his office, and gave him my impassioned plea to end this practice. He got a funny look on his face and said, “Do you mean to say that they actually shackle a woman by her wrist or ankle to a hospital bed even though she’s already under armed guard?” And I said, “Yes."

He read through the materials I’d brought and told me that he’d give his approval for the introduction of this as a late bill — we are past the legislative deadline for new bills for 2010 — provided I can find a senator willing to introduce it. Too bad there isn’t really a Reece Sheridan for me to turn to... (for this and other reasons)

The photo I had in mind for Megan when I wrote Unlawful Contact.

Elated, I left his office and got lost. Then I got on the elevator and meant to go to a different floor and wondered why the elevator wasn’t moving. Then I realized I kept pushing the button for the second floor... and I was on the second floor. And that explained why the lobbyist in the elevator was giving me strange looks.


The Colorado State Capitol in downtown Denver

So there’s a lot more to do to get this effort underway, but I feel things are converging. When I got back to the office — which entailed driving through a short blizzard — I found I had a message from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) saying that they had hoped to get legislation rolling about this for next year but that if I already had something underway they’d throw their weight behind it. And so it’s on!

I feel very happy about this. It’s something I’ve tried to make happen for a long time, but I haven’t been able to persuade a lawmaker to take up the challenge. Now I’ve done the research they’ll need to pass the bill, and I’m willing to throw the newspaper behind it. Is that objective journalism? Do I care?

Back when the Founders created the First Amendment, newspapers played an advocacy role on behalf of things they believed were important issues. Nowadays “advocacy” is saved for the editorial pages. But sometimes that’s not enough.

Too many people don’t care about women, and especially about women in prison. I have to change that somehow. I can’t exactly say why this became so important to me, but it is. When my mother told a friend what I was working on, her friend said, “Well, I guess they shouldn't have landed in prison.”

But birth impacts the baby, too. And no prison sentence should include being chained while doing that uniquely beautiful thing that only women can do — bringing a new life into the world.

I am staking myself to this one.

I know it has nothing to do with fiction or Naked Edge, which I’m supposed to be promoting now with tireless zeal. And though it was mentioned in Unlawful Contact through the character of Megan, it really has nothing to do with my novels. But it has to do with what’s important to me on a soul-deep level. And so here it is.

If you’re interested in checking on or changing the policies in your state, please let me know! I’ll hook you up. If you want me to blog on this topic, baby, I’m all yours.

Time for more percocet... If only I had some chocolate!

Now back to your regularly

17 comments:

Mary G said...

Wow Pamela.
We all wish we could make an impact like that. We always think to ourselves "What can one person do?" You've shown what one person can do. I am amazed, impressed, in awe. So sorry about your back. Feel better soon. I'm in the middle of Naked Edge & it's just luscious, delicious. I want to just savor it but it's too good.

Scorpio M. said...

I hope you feel better soon. Spinal pain is so terrible.

Your work as a journalist is so commendable. I am not a mother, so have never gone through the experience of child birth, but seriously, no woman should be shackled while giving birth.

I really don't know how you do it. Work full time as a journalist and manage to create such great works of fiction. I feel so lazy! :)

Reel said...

Very good work! I am proud of your fine efforts.

Diane W. said...

Oh my gosh, I'm reading this clenching my legs together. Hemorrhaging in your hips, torn cervix, 15 inch head???? Was this your first or second child? If it had been MY first, I probably wouldn't have the three I do now. Wow.

And, fabulous job on the legislation!! What a great feeling to know you are making a difference. It's so amazing to be able to stand up for a segment of the population that is truly helpless. And, so often, these women are victims of circumstance. A terrible upbringing, an unsafe home life, a lack of education...so many things that shape their futures before they are even old enough to have a say in their lives.

During my journalism days, I had the medical beat and I did have the opportunity to do one story on women's healthcare in our Utah prisons. We weren't focusing on childbirth (it was on substance abuse treatment), but now you have me wondering what the policy here is. I'll check it out.

Hope your back feels better soon! I think chocolate covered Percocet may be your answer.

Diane (on Chp. 28 of NE and biting my nails!!)

Debbie H said...

Whoo, Hoo! I am so glad this got moving! You're right, it something your soul needs to do. It's part of why you are on this earth and I'm glad you are doing it.

I hate that you had to do all of this in pain. Did the Chiropractor help at all? I hope so. Take your meds and get some rest.

I'm so very proud of you!

Hugs

Ronlyn said...

Way to go!!! I knew you would rock it!
I'm so sorry you did some type of violence unto yourself last night. (((hugs)))
Now, I'm wondering...do they do this in every state? I am only one degree removed from the Gov of Wa. Hmmm....Lord knows I've told her other stuff that's much less important. LOL.
I'm proud of you Babe!

Barbara said...

Hey Pamela! I hope you are feeling better soon!

Oy, 15"?! Bless you woman. I had two c-sections. Unfortunately, I'll never know what it's like to have natural birth, and I cannot even begin to imagine what you went through with that.

As for your efforts and passion to help others: I think that it takes great courage to do the work that you do.

Hugs,
Barbara

wow! I don't know how you do it. you're amazing pamela. WOW! Feel better soon and i hope you found your chocolate! :)

Linda A. said...

Congratulations, Pamela! As you said before, it must have been a man who came up with the idea of shackling women during labor. So many of these women have been treated terribly throughout their lives, and it's just another example of kicking a person when they're down. I have no idea if this is done in Canada, but I intend to find out.

Thank you for caring. And look after yourself! Feel better soon!

Crystal said...

Good job, Pamela!

Hope you feel better, I honestly have no idea how you manage all you do - I feel woefully inadequate!

So the next step for you is to find a Senator-sponsor for the introduction of this bill? Perhaps a woman Senator would be the most helpful in the shortest amount of time, but really - gender shouldn't matter on this. Humanity shouldn't be reduced to a chromosome count.

Lori said...

Wow - so glad for you! Sounds like it was a productive day (the whole back thing aside).

And I'm hoping that your back will miraculously feel better. Chocolate always makes me feel better! (At least until I step on the scale). But seriously... 15 inches? I though my kids had big heads, but that one takes the cake.

Hey, everyone. I'll catch up with you later today, but first some good news!

I have a senator to carry the bill through the state senate!!!!!

Hurray!

Now to move to the House and get the ball rolling there. :-)

KristinCP said...

Wow! I was going to say, i hope you find your real life Reece to get behind this, but I just saw your comment that you found one! YAY!

Pamela, I'm so proud of you and in total awe right now. You're doing something so amazing that is going to affect a lot of women, and hopefully open up a lot of blind eyes.

I'm so sorry to hear that you're in so much pain right now. I hope you find some comfort in the percocet, at the very least.

As for the damage giving birth caused you? Wow. And OUCH! But I'm not going to let that horror story keep me from trying to have a baby next year...(I'm telling myself that anyway...)

Oh, and thanks for the bookplate! I stuck it inside NE :)

I hope you have a great rest of your week! The weekend is almost here and I'm going house hunting! :)

Kristin

Ronlyn said...

WOO HOO!!!
GREAT news!

Megan said...

Wow. You are, quite simply, amazing. Your passion is contagious, both in the real world and in your books. I'm so happy that you found your senator to back you!

Hope your back feels better soon. Those babies... beautiful little creatures, but man can they do a number on ya. :)

JennJ said...

Hi Pamela sorry I'm late but my internet was down all day! Grrrrrr shakes fist at AT&T. Girl I so hope you are feeling much better now and that you get some much needed pain relief your in my prayers hon.

I think it's awesome that things are going so well! You go girl that is awful and terribly unfair to have them shackled like that in labor. Good grief anyone that has had a baby or seen someone else have one knows that running away would be the last thing they could do at that time. Keep up the terrific work hon you are amazing! And God bless you for thinking of others like you do. There should be more who care like this. :)

Luci said...

Pamela I am so sorry you get in so much pain. And being in pain at night is somehow that much worse than during the day.

I am so happy about your positive meeting with the Colorado Senate President and i wish you loads of luck with lobbying for the legislation to pass through!

Post a Comment

Follow Me

Search

Seduction Game

Follow by Email

Blog Archive

Labels

Favorite Writing Quotes


"I am an artist. I am here to live out loud."
—Emile Zola

"I am tomorrow, or some future day, what I establish today. I am today what I established yesterday or some previous day."
—James Joyce

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery."
—Jane Austen

"Writers are those for whom writing is more difficult that it is for others."
—Ernest Hemingway

"When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth."
—Kurt Vonnegut

"The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar is the test of their power."
—Toni Morrison

"No tears in the author, no tears in the reader."
—Robert Frost.

"I'm a writer. I give the truth scope."
—the character of Chaucer in
A Knight's Tale