MY EDUCATION, TRAINING AND EXPERIENCE
I have a B.A. (cum laude) in Theatre Arts, and Elementary education (1970) (Transylvania University, Lexington, Kentucky), and an Associate Degree in Midwifery Science (1998) (Miami-Dade Community College, Miami, Florida). I graduated with Departmental Honors in Theatre, and Clinical Honors in Midwifery.
I began my midwifery journey in 1974 in rural West Virginia before the birth of my first child.
I read and studied obstetric texts, and joined forces with a friend who was also interested in Home Birth/Midwifery. We taught both hospital and home birth prepared childbirth classes, and attended births all across West Virginia. We formed the West Virginia Midwifery Council (now M.A.W.V).
I was the West Virginia state delegate to the national conference for practicing midwives (now MANA – Midwives Alliance of North America) in 1976, and the N.A.P.S.A.C. in 1977 and 1978.
In 1980, I moved to the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area and spent 14 years working in private OB-GYN offices. I worked closely with two different physicians – each in solo practice and delivering over 300 babies per year. An average of two to three days per week, I examined all prenatal patients (usually 20-25), and I daily triaged all OB-GYN calls, performed Level I (limited) sonograms, NST’s, venipuncture, injections, and handled all lab work. I also acted as a labor-coach for clients during their vaginal and surgical birth experiences.
In May of 1998, I graduated from Miami-Dade Community college with an A.S. in Midwifery Science (summa cum laude), and was elected to Phi Theta Kappa Academic Honorary Fraternity. I completed my clinical residency at The Family Birth Place at West Florida Hospital in Pensacola, and also performed births at the Tallahassee Birth Center. I successfully completed the Florida examination for Licensed Midwives (the NARM Exam) in June 1994, and became a nationally Certified Professional Midwife in 1998. I have been a member of the Escambia County Health Start Coalition since 1994, and serve on the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Committee, as well as volunteering on the Santa Rosa County Healthy Start Coalition. I have also volunteered on the Escambia-Santa Rosa Breastfeeding Task Force, serving two years as chair, and have been a member of La Leche League since 1975.
Over the years, I have attended numerous OB-GYN continuing education conferences for physicians and nurses, and have received certificates from Georgetown University Hospital, the Lombardi Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins Medical School, Columbia Hospital for Women in Washington, D.C., the University of Virginia, and the Medical College of Virginia.
Since 1976, I have attended and addressed national and regional education conferences sponsored by MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America), the Midwives of West Virginia (MAWV), the Chesapeake Midwifery Guild (CMG), and the Midwives Association of Florida (MAF). I have instructed workshops on: Risk Screening for Home Birth, Recognizing and Handling Complications, Breech Births, Physician Back-up, Nutrition, Death and Dying, Postpartum Hemorrhage, Spiritual Midwifery, Infant and Adult CPR, and Using Informed Choice Documents in a Home Birth Practice.
During my Home Birth Practice (1974-1980) in West Virginia, clinical training and practice as a Licensed Midwife in Florida (1998-present), I have encountered the following situations:
In the hospital, I have observed and assisted with the delivery of vaginal breeches, twins, cesarean sections, forceps and vacuum-assisted births, episiotomies, vaginal lacerations and repairs.
While working in the OB-GYN office, I correctly identified, referred for care and implemented appropriate counseling and treatment for the following conditions: Pre-existing diabetes complicating pregnancy, Gestational Diabetes, Multiple Pregnancy, Ectopic Pregnancy, Pre-Eclampsia, Pregnancy Induced Hypertension, Varicosities, Edema, Threatened Premature Labor, Renal Agenesis, Twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, Spina Bifida, Trisomy 18, Trisomy 21, Anencelphaly, Incomplete Abortion, Placenta Previa, IUGR (growth restriction), Polyhydramnios, Oligohydramnios, Cystic Hygroma, and SGA/LGA fetuses.
Since I began practice in 1975, I have attended over 1500 births, and transported some women to the hospital, but rarely (2) in an ambulance/emergency situation. All mothers and babies were released from the hospital after treatment for the condition requiring transport. A few newborns have been transported to the NICU for respiratory distress, but none had Group B Strep infections.
Approximately, 5-8% of first time laboring mothers will be transported to the hospital to complete the birth – the majority of those transports are simply for lack of progress in labor.
My lifetime cesarean section rate is between 1-2%. All mothers and babies did well.
MY PRACTICE PHILOSOPHY
For a healthy woman, pregnancy and childbirth are normal, natural states of body and mind. I offer assistance and guidance during pregnancy and childbirth as an advisor, teacher, and counselor. Midwives are skilled specialists who give care and advice to the mother during normal pregnancy, labor and birth, and who care for the mother and newborn following the birth. A midwife is trained to detect abnormalities in mother or child before, during, or after birth, and refer to or obtain emergency medical aid, should the situation warrant. I am trained in the use of emergency measures in the absence of medical aid. I maintain respect for the integrity of the birthing family and the naturally bestowed ability of a woman to bear a child. Out of respect for the birthing process, I believe that unnecessary interference is an unwise interruption of the body’s function. I carefully watch and guide, assisting the family to give birth in the place and manner of their choice, respecting the sacredness of the family and this rite of passage, and protecting the health and safety of both mother and infant.
I also admit, as in any passage, that there are no absolutes or guarantees, but attempt to minimize any known risks. Pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum and newborn periods are not 100% risk free, even in the presence of the best technology. While tremendous advances have been made in the ability to diagnose and assess many conditions prenatally, there may still be unexpected complications. These circumstances may arise during a Home, Birth Center, or hospital birth. In some cases, the place of birth, the personnel present, and the facilities available may contribute to the eventual outcome. In other cases, it may not. You must be comfortable with whatever level of risk you feel is appropriate.