My Personal Journey to Midwifery:
My own personal journey of childbirth was instrumental in leading me to midwifery. In 1987 when I was pregnant with my first child I went to my ob/gyn. There was no option in Augusta, Ga then other than a male ob/gyn so I didn’t think anything of it. My childbirth educator was a very good friend and I knew she was worried about my doctor’s high C-section rate. But I was armed with my Bradley classes and a supportive husband coach so I was naively confident. After my 20+ hour labor with 3 hours of pushing ended in a C-section, I felt differently.
When I got pregnant a couple years later, I went to a CNM in a tiny birth center in Bamberg, SC. Thanks to the tremendous patience of De Ette Nicholson and my labor support team, after a very long, very difficult labor with another 3 hours of pushing, I succeeded in a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I was thrilled.
For my surprise third pregnancy, I went to a friend in Oregon who is a traditional midwife. Not only am I thankful for that child who came to me when I thought I was done having children, but I am eternally grateful for that pregnancy and birth experience. It was amazing. Labor was difficult again but shorter, even though I did get stuck at 9 centimeters for 3 hours. When Clarebeth asked me what I was afraid of, I surprised myself when I answered that I was afraid to push because it was so difficult with my others. The baby was born 10 minutes later, with his big brother and sister right there, in the comfort and privacy of our own home. Now, I could never imagine having a baby anywhere but home.
•My first position as a midwife was in a small town on the coast of Oregon. Another midwife and I attended births in a tiny 21 bed hospital there in Florence, Oregon. There were no ob/gyn’s in Florence so one of the 5 family practice docs was available if we needed assistance. By the time I left Florence in late 1997, I had caught just over 100 babies.
•I worked for Harmony Center for Women in Fort Collins starting early in 1998. Dr Norma Stiglich and I had a great working relationship, each respecting and appreciating what the other did. Once we hired another midwife, Dr Stiglich encouraged and helped us to start our own practice. All About Women was born in 2001 but closed one year later after Dr Stiglich moved from Fort Collins. By that time I had caught just over 300 babies.
•From 2002 to 2011 I worked in an advanced practice nursing role at Platte Valley Medical Center in Brighton, Colorado. While this allowed me to continue working closely with women and families as they birth, participating in 1000+ births in those 9 years, I missed following my own clients. Through the years I have kept my belief in home birth on the back burner while I worked with women who chose to give birth in hospitals. Increasingly I felt that I could not be true to myself or to women by continuing in that setting. I believe I have a duty to use the skills, knowledge, and profound faith in birth that I have to help women birth in a more undisturbed environment… their own home… and also to further the home birth movement so that more families might have this option available.
13th Moon Midwifery, Inc. was born in November of 2010. The beauty, peace, strength and joy I witness in the women, babies and families that I work with (something over 200 since then) keeps me going, and reminds me that I am doing the right thing.