Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Potential Midwife

Questions to Ask When Interviewing a Potential Midwife

Baby Tirzah helping Mommy do office work!

Are you looking into the possibility of working with a midwife, and trying to decide if it’s the right choice for you? If you’re blessed to live in an area with several options, it can be a great idea to take the time to “interview” each one, and see which one feels like the best fit for you and your family. Most midwives (myself included) offer free consultations that can give you a chance to sit down and ask your questions in person, and this can be a great opportunity to explore whether or not you and this care provider will be a “good fit”.

While I think it’s a good idea to look into your options for ANY medical provider, it can be especially important when thinking about a homebirth. Your midwife will be coming into your space, and you want both yourself and your husband to feel completely comfortable with this person, which facilitates clear & open communication, thus providing you with the best care possible. So besides some specific questions (which we’ll get to below!), also think about the intuitive side of how you connect and communicate throughout the interview. Another important component in this interview is dad’s perspective, so whenever possible please have him attend this initial consult, as this can give him the opportunity to ask questions he might have, and help establish a good working relationship from the beginning.

There are many posts out there that cover long lists of questions, but I want to get you started by giving you a few basic questions, which might bring up more as you go along. It’s a good idea, too, to do your own research before you meet with a perspective midwife. For instance, does she have a Facebook page or website? Are there reviews you can read by previous clients? Is there information listed about the types of services she offers, or things that set her apart from other options in your area? What type of credentialing/training does she have? Do the philosophies expressed on her website correspond with what you are looking for? Do what you can to find out as much as possible before meeting up, as this will enable you to get the most information out of your time together, and may raise specific questions that you might have missed otherwise. It will also keep you from wasting time that you could be spending looking into other options!

So let’s get started:

  1. What kind of training did you go through to become a midwife?

Some midwives have attended midwifery school, others have been trained strictly through apprenticeships. Some midwives have credentials that indicate a certain level of training, and require a stated number of continuing education hours to be maintained. There are midwives who have gone through rigorous school programs and have delivered few babies outside of the hospital, and others who have done minimal studies and have only delivered babies at home. This question is not meant to dictate which type of training and educational experience is best, but rather to help you think through whether the training this midwife has received is adequate for your own comfort and safety concerns and desired birth location.

  1. How would you describe your style during labor & delivery? Hands-on or hands-off?

Depending on your preferences, this may help you determine if you can work together well. If you know you want someone very involved, or you want to be left alone as much as possible, the midwife’s answer may shed some light on how her style could affect your labor. Some midwives are very good at adapting to their client’s wishes, and some have their own set way they want to see things happen.

  1. What do you provide or include in your services, and what will be my responsibility?

Depending upon your state, local regulations and/or your community options, a midwife’s care package may include the ability to obtain lab work and/or ultrasounds or refer you to providers for these items, or you may be responsible to figure these things out for yourself. Some midwives include a “birth kit” as part of their package, while others ask clients to purchase this separately. A birth pool is included in some midwives care bundle, while others provide options for rental. Some midwives are able to give your baby vitamin K or provide mom with RhoGam if needed, while others need you to get these items from your pediatrician if you want them. Most midwives are able to file the needed paperwork to obtain a birth certificate and social security number, while there are a few who need you to do this legwork. Asking clear questions and getting an idea of what is and isn’t included will hopefully eliminate unmet expectations and surprise expenses as you continue through your pregnancy!

4. What tests & procedures do you routinely offer, and am I given the freedom to decline when I prefer?

It’s great when your midwife is willing to discuss the pros and cons of different tests and procedures, and allows you to make a true informed choice on each of these. Depending on the political environment, local standards of care, protocols, etc the midwife may have more or less freedom in these areas, or she may have personal preferences as to certain tests.

  1. What are some of your recommended resources for pregnancy and for birth preparation?         

This question may give you some insight into the birth philosophies the midwife has, as well as indicate how in-touch she may be with more up-to-date resources and educational material. Some books and resources are old classics, but there is also a wealth of more recent publications that can help you to be prepared. Are her health suggestions in line with your perspective and preferences? Does she require certain books to be read or DVD’s to be watched? Does she provide some resources for clients, or are you expected to purchase certain materials? Does she encourage a parenting style or lifestyle that you may be uncomfortable with, or that you find helpful?

  1. What is her client load typically, and what happens if two mamas are in labor at the same time?

While this doesn’t happen often, it does occasionally, and it’s a good thing to discuss. This question will reveal what sort of back-up plan the midwife does or doesn’t have, and will give you some indication with how well she works with the midwifery community around her. It also helps you to think about the “what-if’s”, since birth can’t always be controlled like we wish!

  1. What do you see as your role during labor, and would you encourage me to hire a doula?

It’s great if a prospective midwife can be honest about the support she can provide. Some midwives operate with a large team or a small client load that allows them to spend more time coaching and supporting a mom throughout labor. Most midwives are glad to support in whatever way they can once you’re in active labor, but they need to conserve their resources so that they have the energy and alertness they need for the time of birth, which means that if you really want hours of support early on, you’d probably be best served by considering a doula. This question can help you determine what the midwife’s expectations are for when she would come to you, and what sort of support you can expect, and will help you to define the role she would see herself filling at your labor.

  1. What are some of the reasons I would be risked out of care?

This gives you an idea of the midwives range of comfort, and whether she takes a more cautious or more relaxed approach. Each approach has it’s place, but you need an approach that makes you feel most comfortable and safe. It’s also good to remember that each midwife should only operate within a realm that they truly feel is providing safe care, so this is not a “good vs. bad” topic, rather a way to understand and communicate. Is this midwife comfortable with breech delivery? With a mom that goes past 42 weeks? With a baby that decides to come before 37 weeks? Continuing if gestational diabetes develops?

  1. What happens if I need to transfer care for some reason?

Does the midwife typically accompany clients to the hospital, or send them in by themselves? Does she have a doctor she works with, or a preferred hospital? Why or why not?

  1. How do you handle emergencies, and which ones have you encountered the most often?

This question will give you some insight into the midwife’s perspective: does she rely only on herbal remedies? Does she carry medications? Is she trained in NRP? Does she take a proactive approach to prevention? Does she see many emergencies? The answer may vary according to your area, too, as some incidents of complications can depend upon the clientele and area the midwife works in.

I hope this list can help you as you think through what is most important to cover as you interview your potential midwife! If you find it helpful, or if you have other questions you think should be added, I’d love to hear from you. Feel free to comment below, and be sure to share this list with others that might be looking into hiring a midwife for their maternity care!

answering questions after a birth…
End of Year Update for 2020!

End of Year Update for 2020!

Some highlights of the year!

Dear friends and clients of Gentle Delivery,                                                

      As 2020 comes to a close, I am reminded of the fact that we really do not know what the next day or year will hold. Last year at this time our family was anticipating the arrival of our fifth child, little knowing how many strange twists and turns the New Year would bring to everyone all over the world. I am grateful to rest in the confidence that nothing takes God by surprise, and that He cares about the details of our lives, which provides strength & courage to press ahead into the future!

       After adding baby Tirzah to our family last December, I enjoyed a lengthy maternity leave, and felt so blessed and cared for during those first postpartum weeks. Thanks to many of you for your part in this! It’s true that you learn some things by experience that you couldn’t learn through academic study, and I am more committed than ever to encouraging moms to get adequate rest, adjust expectations, and take the time to really recuperate during those first postpartum weeks. It really is worth it! This baby has been our most contented, too, and while there are many things that probably play into this, one key factor that seemed to make a difference was the addition of infant probiotics into her daily routine from the very beginning. If you have struggled with fussiness in your baby, please take a minute to check out the blog post I wrote where I detailed this information—I really want to see more families benefit from my own challenging experiences!

            As you can imagine, the COVID pandemic has affected midwifery in more ways than one. After the initial quarantine I have been doing prenatal and postpartum care visits for local clients in their homes, as it reduces the exposure for those coming in and out of my home office. I’ve also had more inquiries into homebirth this year than ever before, as many families are concerned about hospital restrictions and germ exposure. Between this added level of interest in midwifery care and my added family responsibilities, I have needed to limit the distance I can travel for births, which has meant turning down requests in outlying areas even for a few clients I’ve worked with before.  

            One fun aspect of care this year has been the large amount of repeat clients I’ve been privileged to serve! It was really special to catch my first “fourth baby” for a family, and have the opportunity to see babies that I have caught in years past welcoming baby siblings. With one more 2020 baby left to go, the current stats for the biggest baby this year was 8#14oz, and the smallest was 5#14oz. The earliest baby came around 2 weeks early, and the latest was almost 2 weeks late, which goes to show that there is much variation in the range of “normal”. Assisting my back-up midwife with the home delivery of twins was another extra-special experience this year! Speaking of my back-up midwife, I am grateful to have the assistance of RoseMarie Spicher to care for clients when I am unavailable, and I’ve been glad to have a working relationship with a community of midwives in the general area who have all needed to pull together to cover for each other at times due to COVID exposure or for other reasons. I’m also excited to be working regularly again with Lynelle, as she plans to attend births as my assistant this next year after taking some time off to welcome her own baby this past summer.       

            Heading into 2021, I’m anticipating meeting many sweet babies, and I’m enjoying making new connections with many families who are choosing midwifery care and homebirth options for the first time. I continue to feel a sense of gratefulness towards each of you for giving me the privilege of working with your family as you journey through this intimate season of life. It truly is a gift to witness the miracle of birth and the wonder of that first cry, and the wonder of that moment never grows old!

            As I close, I also want to thank my family for their support as I do this work, and in particular thank my husband as he quickly and competently cares for our home and children during my random absences. It takes a special family to deal with the unpredictable aspects of having a midwife for a wife and mother, and I’m grateful for all they do behind the scenes to make this option available to the families I serve. It’s a joint effort, and I could not do what I do without Joel’s encouragement and work behind the scenes.

            May God bless you and your family throughout this next year!

           ~Kelsey Martin/Gentle Delivery Midwifery

Be sure to regularly check out this blog and the facebook page to stay updated on current news, helpful information, health suggestions, birth stories, and announcement of special events. I’m really hoping that playdates can resume again sometime in 2021!

Resources and Info on COVID-19: Links, Practice Changes, Recommendations & More

Resources and Info on COVID-19: Links, Practice Changes, Recommendations & More

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With the COVID-19 crisis in full swing, it can be hard to know where to go for good information. As a midwife wanting to give my clients the best, up-to-date, evidenced based care as possible, I have found it extremely challenging to navigate all the information being thrown around as everyone scrambles to learn what they can about this new virus. Even information from reputable sources can contradict each other, leaving one’s head spinning, and making you unsure of what measures should be taken to protect your clients and your loved ones from any unnecessary exposure, while also caring for the emotional and physical needs of expectant moms! I’m sure you’re probably in a similar boat, so I’m wanting to make available some information sources for you as you try to understand how the current crisis may or may not affect you, your baby, your care, and your birth.

Here are some links that I have found helpful:

Aviva Romm Series on Covid-19 Info

WHO info for Pregnant and Nursing Mothers

National Association of Certified Professional Midwives: Covid-19

WHO Info-graphs

While information is changing on a day-to-day basis, I am currently implementing the following changes to my practice in order to minimize risk for my current clients, and enable safe midwifery care to continue in my community:

  • I am available to answer any questions clients might have via email or phone/text at any time.
  • Pushing prenatal visits further apart to minimize person-to-person contact.
  • Practicing social distancing and limited exposure for myself and my family, and not seeing any clients if myself or one of my family members are sick.
  • I will be performing April prenatal visits in client’s homes to reduce the risk of transmission or exposure. My current client load is light as I am just coming off of maternity leave, so this feels like the best option as I look into ways to make my home office space more practical for office visits due to the stringent recommended disinfectant protocols.
  • I am not taking on new (non-repeat) and/or long distance clients during April. I hope to resume new client consults and prenatals in May, but will base this on information as it becomes available, as well as on how able I am to handle the extra time needed to maintain the possible new protocols, etc. Having to unexpectedly homeschool two children this month, as well as juggling the demands of a nursing infant (and trying to understand what risk there could be to her health) all combine to make my days extra full right now, without adding in the hours of research needed to stay on top of current medical news!
  • If you are just beginning to look into the option of homebirth due to concerns with exposure at the hospital, I would suggest you begin by reading these two links:

I am also asking clients to follow these guidelines:

  • Please reschedule your visit if you or one of your family members are experiencing any of the typical Corona symptoms, including:
    • Fever
    • Coughing
    • Shortness of breath
    • And remember that Covid-19 care is outside of the scope of practice for your midwife to advise you on, so please contact the proper medical authorities if you suspect you may have contracted it!
  • Try to limit your exposure to illness by practicing safe social distancing from ill persons, and practicing good hygiene and hand washing.
  • Due to the unknown severity of respiratory complications for both mom and infant, a home birth will be out of the question if you test positive for COVID-19 over the time you are in labor.
  • Realize that there may be some changes in birth practices as more information and studies become available, so feel free to reach out with any questions, and stay tuned as I continue to research and keep you up to date on current research and practice guidelines/changes. Some of these changes may include restrictions on children attending prenatal appointments, amount of people in attendance at your birth, etc. As time goes by, I hope to have more concrete information to guide our practice protocols for the safety of everyone.

I would also strongly encourage all expectant moms to do what you can to boost your body’s (and your family’s!) natural ability to fight any virus (there are other illnesses out there you don’t want to catch, as well!). I don’t think we need to just sit back and hope we don’t get sick-you can be proactive in assisting your body in being able to resist and fight illness right now. There are some great resources available that help you to consider how healthy eating (low sugar, lots of whole foods) combined with adding some immune-boosting supplements (such as high-quality vitamin C, regular vitamin D, probiotics and others) and regular exercise can help you and your family to stay healthy and strong. Here are some resources to get you started in thinking about the possibilities:

Advice from a Pediatrician

Aviva Romm on Natural Remedies

If you’re interested on hearing additional perspective on the crisis from a well-known, more “naturally minded” pediatrician, then you may appreciate Dr. Sear’s podcast series: Coronavirus Update: Are We Doing it Right? Pt. 1

And finally, some practical ways to help you handle the extra challenges from social distancing right now, tips on reducing anxiety, and helps in understanding more about the virus: COPE Updates on Covid-19

If you have found a source to be especially helpful as you navigate the news surrounding Covid-19, I’d love to hear about it. And if you are in a different area, I’d love to hear how your midwife/care provider is implementing changes to their practices. Blessings to all of you expectant mamas navigating this new territory during this time in your life-I know it’s a challenge, and I am committed to continuing to provide you with personal, safe, gentle midwifery care!

 

2019 Year End Update

2019 Year End Update

img_3054.jpgDear Friends & Clients of Gentle Delivery,

As we come to the end of the year, I have to think about how blessed I have been to work with so many families during 2019 and to experience the special privilege of being involved as you welcome new life into your homes and families. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to participate in these sacred times!

I’m also grateful for the women who have served alongside me as assistants.  Due to a variety of reasons (maternity leave, relocation, etc.) there were a number of faces to the assistant role, and I am thankful for each one! I also enjoyed getting to involve several students who were completing their requirements for certification, and I’m grateful for those of you who allowed these young ladies to participate in your care. A big thank you to Kristina, Marcile, Hannah, and Lynelle, as well as to my back-up midwife, RoseMarie, whose willingness to cover several times made it possible for me to enjoy some quality away-time with my own little family throughout the year.

It’s always fascinating to see how a year plays out and the variety that it can contain. Baby sizes ranged from 6lb 10oz up to almost 9 lb. Families served were expecting everything from baby #2 to baby #7, and I especially enjoyed serving several families for the second and third times-it’s special to be able to work with families for multiple pregnancies, and to see the older babies growing up! As usual, there were fast births (one little lady didn’t wait for me to arrive!) and those who took their time, and smooth pregnancies & births as well as those who experienced numerous complications—we were so thankful to see God answer specific prayers for the health of these moms & babies who are all thriving and doing well now.

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One of our recent playdates!

I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to continue connecting with clients during our quarterly playdates throughout this past year. If you haven’t joined us, please consider it! You can watch the Facebook page for updates, or email me to be put on the update list. It’s a great way to stay in touch and meet other moms and homebirth babies who are in similar stages of life!

My own family is doing well, and the children are growing up so quickly, making us want to treasure this time we have while they are young. The biggest event in our lives this year was welcoming Tirzah Raquel into our home on December 14! Once she IMG_0933decided to make her appearance she came quickly, and we were once again thankful for Lynelle’s help as there was no way our midwife could arrive in time. I had really hoped to try using the birth pool this time, and was so grateful for how this helped the intensity! (I’ll post her birth story on the website sometime this next year, so be sure to follow so you get the notification, or watch the Facebook page!) We are thoroughly enjoying time to relax and recover as we adjust to adding a fifth child, and our older children are thoroughly smitten with her. It’s so special to see how much they love having a baby sister to snuggle and love on.

IMG_2695    As 2020 begins, I’ll be taking some time off call to concentrate on my own newborn, and to do some traveling as a family. But I’m already looking forward to the anticipated arrival of babies as we head towards the summer months. In closing, thanks again for your support, and blessings as you head into the New Year!

~ Kelsey Martin for Gentle Delivery Midwifery Services

2018 End-of-year Note

2018 End-of-year Note

Recent & current clients received this letter in December. I’m posting it here to keep readers and followers current with Gentle Delivery as we head into a New Year:

Dear past & present clients of Gentle Delivery,

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Many of my #bornathome babies from 2018!

As the year draws to a close, I want to express my appreciation to each of you for allowing me to work beside you as you have welcomed new members to your family, or are anticipating new arrivals. It is such a privilege to be included in these beautiful times of life, and I am grateful to each of you for your continued trust and friendship.

In 2018 we welcomed many more boys than girls, with the smallest arrival being 7#1oz, and the biggest being 9#12oz. An interesting note is that about 75% of our babies were born in water this year! Lynelle continued to assist me with births this year, until she welcomed her own little boy in September. Since she has been taking a break, I’ve been grateful for the help of several other ladies including Kristina (who has been working with a local doula agency for some time) and Hannah, a midwifery student from the Lewisburg area. My latest birth was assisted by Rose, a long-time friend and soon-to-be licensed CNM!

I also continue to appreciate the help of my back-up midwife, Rose Marie. Having her available to cover when there is a special occasion, or being able to travel knowing that clients have someone local to call in case of emergency is a gift I don’t take for granted!

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Thankful to have such an array of great assistants and back-ups!

Another new feature that I was excited to add this year was connecting with an actual insurance biller who specializes in billing for midwifery care. This will hopefully result in better coverage and faster payment for those wishing to utilize insurance. More info is available at Napier Midwifery Billing.

I’ve enjoyed seeing many of you at the playdates we held every few months! This has been a great way to connect other local homebirth-minded mamas, and will hopefully help to build relationships in the community. I hope to facilitate more of these throughout 2019, so stay tuned for details.

My own family continues to keep me busy, with my oldest two being in 1st & 2nd grade. They attend a small co-op type school each morning, and I’ve enjoyed spending time helping out with some classes there, too. The two preschoolers are trying their best to catch up to their older siblings! We enjoyed several family trips this year, and are trying to treasure this time while our children are little. My husband, Joel, continues to work full time for All-Nations Bible Translation, and he’s been busy this fall finishing up his graduate work online. I am thankful for his support and help in making midwifery work feasible, as without his flexible work schedule and willingness to babysit, there would be no way I could keep up with midwifery responsibilities!

I’m looking forward to meeting a number of new babies already in the new year, and it looks like 2019 will be a busy one! May your new year be blessed, and thanks again for your interest in midwifery and home birth options in Centre County and beyond!

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The Martin Family – Fall 2018

The Return on Your Midwifery Investment

The Return on Your Midwifery Investment

KeoniThe beginning of October found us celebrating “National Midwifery Week”, and the posts on social media about midwives and the personal care that they provide to so many moms and families got me thinking about the investment that midwifery care requires, on the part of both midwives and clients. Of course, one of the biggest investments that clients make is the cost involved. Sadly, many insurance companies are not willing to cover the costs of midwifery care, especially when it comes to delivering at home. This means that families have to weigh the costs, and determine if they can afford care out-of-pocket.

Oftentimes, it is easy to see the price tag (midwives are good at giving you all the costs up front, so you know what you are paying for at the beginning!), and think that a midwife must be making pretty good money.  But I wonder, have you ever stopped to think about all the “hidden costs” that are involved with midwifery? It’s easy to think that the only time the midwife is investing is the time you are with her…your appointments, your birth (and maybe you’re one that has quick births, so it doesn’t seem like THAT much time!), and a handful of home and postpartum visits. In communication with other midwives, I have realized that many clients don’t realize all the “behind the scenes” time and costs that a midwife incurs in order to offer safe, up-to-date, competent  & individualized care to each of the families she serves. So here’s an attempt to help you realize how much you are actually receiving in return when you choose to invest in midwifery care:

  • TIME: and not just the time you see her for your appointments and birth. On average, I spend about a minimum of 20-24 hours total with a client in-person (8-10 prenatal visits, 3-4 postpartum visits, and the birth…and of course, this amount of hours can be much more than this depending upon many factors!). However, there

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    After-birth paperwork

    are many hours spent on each client that you don’t see: writing notes about your history and ongoing care, filing paperwork for records, birth certificates, & tests, research when clients have questions or develop issues, answering questions via email, text & phone, submitting reports when required, attending state-required conferences, creating handouts with updated information, and the list goes on…

  • ONGOING TRAINING: if you stop and think about it, you don’t want to trust your life and the life of your baby to someone who practiced something 10 years ago, but has never reviewed her training OR has not continued learning, right?? But ongoing training takes time & money, especially when it oftentimes requires traveling for classes. Maintaining current CPR, Neonatal Resuscitation Certification and accumulating the needed CEU’s to keep your NARM certification current, CPM re-certification fees, and regular peer reviews are all ongoing commitments and costs that a midwife must stay on top of.
  • COLLABORATING CARE & NETWORKING: When a client develops a complication the requires more medical intervention, it can take a number of hours to locate medical professionals willing to see them, copy and fax records, contact the proper offices, and obtain referrals.
  • COMMUNITY RELATIONSHIPS: Another aspect of good midwifery care that is oftentimes overlooked is that of having good relationships with the local midwifery community. In order to have back-up arrangements (both for planned trips AND for unpredictable emergencies, which will occur at some point in a midwife’s career), a midwife MUST have a solid relationship with other midwives, and facilitating these relationships doesn’t just happen. Another aspect of community relationships is the side of the local medical community. To facilitate good transports when needed, a midwife needs to have a good relationship with local care providers.

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    Grateful to have good relationships with my back-up and colleague, Rose Marie!

    This translates into taking the time for peer reviews, staff meetings, staying up to date on local situations and politics, taking the time take thank you gifts and notes personally when services are received, and so much more. Having a positive relationship with local hospitals and doctors translates into better, quality care for clients, so it is a very worthwhile investment of the midwife’s time and energy.

  • OFFICE FEES: These costs are more obvious, but real nonetheless. You want to be able to reach your midwife anytime, ASAP, right? So she must maintain cellphone service and a working phone. Then there is the fax service that most medical offices require for sending/receiving medical records. Internet for research, copier for providing records for other medical providers & clients, ability to print forms, handouts, etc. I might also add that most midwives are doing all of their own office work, too, so time to order supplies, keep track of bills, payments, answer inquiries and all the paperwork that is required to run a business has to happen at some point!
  • EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES: quality equipment must be purchased and maintained in order to provide excellent, safe care. Dopplers, birth stools, testing machines, ability to sterilize instruments, repair of equipment when needed…all of these go into maintaining a midwife’s supplies.

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    Birth supplies ready during a labor

    Medications also need to be purchased in order to always have them on hand (even if you don’t use them frequently, you want your midwife to have them-and many of these items are not cheap!). Keeping emergency supplies to deal with the unexpected is also a real cost, as these things need to be keep up-to-date, which mean some items need to be purchased regularly, whether they are consumed or not.

  • RELIABLE TRANSPORTATION: You want your midwife to be able to get to you anytime…which means she needs a reliable vehicle in working order. Just last month we replaced all the tires on our vehicles, as my husband felt they were getting too thin to count on them during the winter weather. We also pay more to run an AWD vehicle as we have lots of snow & ice in PA. A midwife always needs to keep her gas tank full, and regular maintenance is a must.

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    A flat tire meant new tires for the vehicle had to be purchased ASAP!

    Oftentimes a midwife will routinely drive a separate vehicle to events in order to be able to leave at a moment’s notice, instead of driving with friends or family. This is additional expense she must pay for!

  • HOME & FAMILY COSTS: Another aspect of midwifery life, especially if your midwife has a family, is that of having reliable and available babysitting at a moment’s notice. Meals that can be prepared quickly, or household help during times when mom has missed lots of sleep attending births are also very real costs. A family certainly must work together in order to let mama help other families, and I am blessed to have this type of support from my husband and family. But we do pay for it-bringing in food/eating out at times and getting regular cleaning help are two ways our family has made midwifery life sustainable.
  • ON CALL STRAIN: The last item I will mention on this post is the physical, emotional and mental strain of being on-call. While most midwives stay in this field because they genuinely love serving families as they bring their babies into the world, there is the very real downside of always being on-call. If a midwife has a small, independent practice, this generally means that she is the one who always answers the phone unless she has arranged back-up. No matter how much you love what you do, there is a toll that it takes on your body to always be available. You honestly never know when the phone will ring, and you will need to totally re-arrange your plans and be ready for whatever is at hand, day or night. Most midwives’ friends get used to all plans being made with the contingency of “unless I’m at a birth”, but the honest fact is that sometimes it’s not a birth. Sometimes a client has an emergency right when you’re in the middle of a much-anticipated event, or right as you closed your eyes after being up for 40 hours, or…you name it! I’m not sure how one can put a price tag on this aspect, but it’s well worth whatever your midwife charges!

My hope is that this post can encourage families that they are making a wise investment when they utilize midwifery services, and perhaps give you a greater appreciation for all your midwife is doing to ensure that you receive quality, informative, excellent care. I’d love to hear your thoughts as you’ve read through this. If you’re a midwife, what would you add to this list (I know I haven’t covered everything!)? If you are a client who has benefited from midwifery care, what would you add or comment? Did any of these factors surprise you? Thanks for sharing your comments!

Birth Photographers: Local Options!

Birth Photographers: Local Options!

If you’ve been following the Gentle Delivery Facebook page (go like and follow here), you’ll remember seeing some photos this month of adorable newborns. April has brought some really cute babies! And there is something so precious and amazing about how these babies look in the first minutes and hours that can’t be captured at any other time. I am personally SO grateful for the dear ladies who took photos during those initial moments with my babies (one of my highlights of my baby born last year!), and it’s been something that I wish more women could have access to.

However, when I moved to State College, I was quite surprised to find out that birth photography itself isn’t a “thing” in this area. There are some great photographers willing to do newborn and “Fresh 48” sessions, but there’s not options for the mom who wants professional photos taken immediately before, during and after delivery. Now, to be fair, birth photography is a challenge-you’re asking someone to be on call, drop what they’re doing whenever you call, and to commit without knowing when, how long, and all of those details that make planning challenging.

But today I’m delighted to introduce you to some local options for birth photography that have very recently surfaced in this area! So, if you’re interested in hiring a photographer for your birth (one that can take lovely photos instead of the inexperienced shots that your midwife and her assistant get!), hopefully this list can help you by giving you some leads. If you’re wondering what all is possibly entailed in having a birth photographer at your birth, or what types of photos, etc., I would highly recommend you check out the sites of a few birth photographers that work in other areas of the country. A few of my favorites are T. Marie Photography , Monet Nicole, and Lyndsey Stone.

Catherine Malizia: Catherine recently contacted me, telling me of her interest in the area of birth photography. She stopped in my office for a visit, and I had a delightful time chatting with her and hearing about her vision to capture the amazing and special moments of birth for families. She is acquainted with birth in various settings, especially after spending some time serving with Midwives for Haiti. I think Catherine would do a beautiful job of respecting a family’s space and wishes in a birth setting-she definitely had the type of rapport that I think many moms would connect with. If you’re interested in hiring her, I’d recommend getting in touch and asking questions…she may be running some specials as she gets her “birth side” of her photography business off the ground! Besides her website (linked in her name), you can also contact via email: catherine@CatherineMaliziaPhotography.com

Denae VigilanteDenae also works as a doula with the Doulas of Central PA agency. I had the privilege of attending a birth with Denae, and was impressed by her kind, gentle mannerisms. Birth photography is something Denae is doing more of these days, and you can check out some of her albums on her website!

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Photo Credit: Denae @ Vilgilante Photography

Sara BloseSara has recently joined the State College community, and is exited to offer the option of birth photography to her photography options beginning with due dates in November. I’m looking forward to meeting Sara in person, but am glad that there is yet another option for families in this area.

Are you planning to hire a birth photographer for your birth? Or are you local to the Central PA area, and you used a birth photographer? I’d love to hear about your experiences, how you chose your photographer, and what you’re looking forward to the most, or what you appreciated the most about utilizing a photographer. I’m sure other families would love to hear of your experiences, too, so thanks for sharing!!

Topics for 2018 & a Give Away!

Since my fourth child arrived in  May, I’ve been pretty quiet on this site! But now that baby has reached 6 months, and life is settling into more of routine, I’m thinking about the new year. Here’s where I need your help: I would LOVE to hear your ideas of what you would like to see covered in future blog posts! I’d like to realize my goal of one post a month throughout 2018, but I could use some input as I try to sketch out a plan for the next year. I often try to post about topics that are relevant & beneficial to my clients, and for families who are considering midwifery care and/or healthful, natural living. So send me your ideas, and topics you would like to hear more about!

And here is your incentive: each person who submits an idea (either in the comments below, or on our Facebook post with this same title) will be entered into a drawing to receive a copy of one of my favorite pregnancy/birth related books that was published this year. The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Gide to Pregnancy & Childbirth is a wonderful addition to your pregnancy and birth library. Think of it as a “natural version” of the old “What to Expect” favorite. “Mama Natural” covers everything from nutritional needs, what is happening to baby & mom each week of pregnancy, how to prepare for natural birth, pros and cons of multiple caregivers and birth locations, and so many of the questions that moms wonder about during pregnancy. I think you’ll love it, and if you don’t need it yourself, you just might have a friend that would enjoy it!

So here’s the details: submissions can be entered until midnight on Sunday, December 10, and a winner will be announced on Monday, December 11 (unless a baby changes my schedule-I’m a real life midwife, so there’s always the possibility that I may have to announce the winner later!). Entries can be made below in the reply/comments section, or you can enter by leaving a comment below the facebook post with this headline. I’m looking forward to finding out what you all want to discuss, learn and/or find out more resources about in the next year. Thanks for helping me out!

Feel free to share this with friends, so they can enter too!

Celebrating Birth Expo 2016 Photo Report

Celebrating Birth Expo 2016 Photo Report

Thanks to each and everyone who helped to make the Celebrating Birth Expo a success! With over 30 different services, care providers and businesses sponsoring the event there was a great variety of information, goodies and prizes! If you attended and have helpful feedback for possible future events, I’d love to hear from you. Here’s a few photos to give you a glimpse into our day:

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Some of my fantastic helpers for the day…couldn’t have done it without Beth and Hannah!

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Getting everything set up and ready….

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Gift bags for each of the attendees to carry their goodies in

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My junior helper-she just HAD to attend the Birth Expo, too! 

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Gentle Delivery’s display and welcome table

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The cafe all ready to serve refreshments

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Heidi Loomis, CNM giving comments after the film screening

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In the auditorium getting ready for the screening of “Why Not Home?”

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The Calvary Harvest Fields location was a lovely place to host this event…

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Lots of fantastic displays and community interaction! 

I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see many of “my” babies, and am grateful for the opportunity to learn more about what our community has to offer new and expectant families. In case you missed it, I’ll post a link to the event page where you can see a list of all the sponsors, along with their contact info and/or websites. If you’re interested in a future event like this, send me an email with your thoughts and comments. Thanks!

Celebrating Birth Expo & Why Not Home? Screening