As a little girl, I knew I wanted to be a midwife. In middle school I read a novel called “Jacob, have I loved.” Have you read this wonderful story? I was enthralled. Later, in high school I learned one of my dorm parents birthed her daughters at home with a midwife. I couldn’t believe helping women have babies was a job. I bought Elizabeth Davis’s “Heart and Hands” and poured over the pencil drawings. I left rural Maine for Philadelphia to study nursing and midwifery and though I loved Penn, I couldn’t wait to get back home. Looking back it’s clear to me that Midwifery was less of a career choice than a realization of who I am.
I’ve been practicing for 16 years. I’ve worked in big hospitals, little hospitals, birth centers and at home. I am as enthusiastic about the future of midwifery now as I was the day I started my first clinical rotation. Exciting things are happening in the worlds of midwifery and childbirth! I find the acknowledgment from mainstream medicine that there is value in physiologic birth and that old paradigms were flawed, deeply satisfying. It’s clear that the exponential rise in the cost of health care is unsustainable as well as unnecessary. Midwives are experts in providing care that is high quality and high value. The challenges are great but we are well positioned to be part of the solution rather than the problem.
And...I’m interested in integrating more body work and healing through plants/food/herbs into my practice.
My friend Carol was in labor with her first baby. I was working in the ICU, so after my shift, I snuck to the 2nd floor to see how she was doing. When I got there, Carol was working hard in labor. I tried to duck out as I was a bit intimidated, but she called me back and then grabbed my hand. I ended up staying for the whole amazing birth! And then, there she was, this little, sweet beautiful baby girl- and she arrived without the central lines or infusions or beeping cardiac monitors that I was accustomed to in the ICU. There was just a strong momma, her hard work and the support of those around her. Wow! That was it, I had found what I wanted to be. It was just like that.
I am so lucky to have been able to become a midwife and there is nothing else in the world I would be.
I have loved practicing in Maine and getting to know the women and their families I care for. It is incredibly rewarding to be able to be with women for one or more of her children and then continue to see her for well-woman care as time goes by. When I was a new midwife, I used to struggle with office visits, but now it is often like having tea with friends as I have gotten to know these women and enjoy seeing them and hearing how those babies are growing and how their lives are unfolding.
I am also extremely blessed to have great midwife partners that make the tough days bearable and the joys all the greater for being shared. One of my favorite parts of our practice is our Centering Pregnancy program. Group prenatal care that allows us more time with our patients and creates community with our families. We have had over 600 families participate in this program and while it is a lot of work, it has been an absolute joy.
The pandemic has changed so much about healthcare, but we are continuing to provide a virtual version of Centering and birth is still birth. Perhaps now we have to wear masks and goggles and gowns, but those babies are unafraid and just continue to bring new light and hope to this world.
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