Why did you become a midwife?
As a young nursing student in the early 70's, I witnessed the barbaric treatment of women in labor and knew there had to be a more humane way to give birth. I was passionately drawn to dedicate my clinical career to improving a woman's experience in childbirth. After working for many years as a childbirth educator and LD nurse, I was privileged to work at a birth center in NC with nurse-midwives. I immediately knew that nurse-midwifery was in my future.
What do you wish women knew about pregnancy and birth?
I wish women would trust their body. For most women, pregnancy and birth are normal events in their life, not a disease state. It is also very important for women to find a provider that listens, educates and truly employs shared decision-making. With the appropriate care, most women can have a safe and satisfying birth experience even if complications develop.
What were your own birth experiences like?
I had three very positive birth experiences. I had three normal, unmedicated vaginal births attended by family practice physicians in my community since there were no nurse-midwives practicing in my area. I was able to be mobile in labor and was an integral part of decision-making when complications arose. I was very self-confident and self-actualized, knowing that my body knew what to do and with the support from my husband, nurses and physician that I would have normal births.
If you could change one thing about women's health care, what would it be?
If I could change one thing, nurse-midwives would be the preferred provider for all normal, healthy women during pregnancy and birth. As the evidence shows, this would not only improve maternal and fetal outcomes and reduce healthcare costs, but also provide women with more options for a safe and satisfying birth experience.
Experience: I have been a nurse for 9 years and a midwife for 5 of them. I always knew I wanted to be a midwife and worked hard in my early years to prepare for midwifery as a maternity nurse and childbirth educator. I have worked in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas in every setting from rural hospitals to a birth center to a tertiary care center with very high-risk women. I have loved it all! I have also worked for the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers performing site visits of birth centers across the country.
Why did you become a midwife? I saw midwifery as a combination of everything I wanted to do: provide education, build relationships, and empower women through healthcare.
What do you wish women knew about pregnancy or birth? Education, nutrition, exercise, and choosing your provider are the only things you can control in pregnancy. Focus on them and learn to let go of what you can’t control, it is an important lesson for birth and parenthood.
What were your own birth experiences like? I have one son, Howie, who is almost 2 years old. Unfortunately, things didn’t go quite as planned with his birth. I had to be induced for preeclampsia and it was a long and hard process. However, I think that the greatest lesson from the experience is to surround yourself with people you trust and who know your wishes, so they can advocate for you and support you when things get hard.
If you could change one thing about women's health care, what would it be? Cost! Healthcare is a right!
Years of practice: I became an RN in 1978. I worked in L&D, Emergency, NICU, PedICU for 20 yrs before becoming a nurse-midwife.
Why did you become a midwife? I became a nurse-midwife because I wanted to have a more progressive role in caring for women. I wanted more advanced education and training. I thought about going to medical school to become an obstetrician, but realized that I was most interested in the midwifery model of care.
What do you wish women knew about pregnancy or birth? I wish that women were more empowered, in pregnancy, childbirth and motherhood. I want to be a source of knowledge and empowerment for them to make their own best decisions and choices.
What were your own birth experiences like? My first pregnancy was at age 19. I was completely unaware of what was happening to me. In those days, we never heard our babies’ heartbeat or saw an ultrasound. It was all a mystery. We had no support in labor and birth. It was all scary and lonely. I want to make sure the mothers I care for feel respected, heard, guided and supported.
If you could change one thing about women's health care, what would it be? If I could change one thing about women’s health care it would be to train more nurse-midwives. I believe the future will need more of us and we need to be ready. I love this work!