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!

February Travels…and what the CPM Title Actually Means

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Beautiful palms and lots of green-we soaked it up while we could, and then returned to 12 in. of snow still on the ground at home!

Happy March to each of you! I am really ready for winter to be over, especially since this one seems to be stretching on and on. This past month has been busy, and I even enjoyed a 6 day reprieve from cold when I took my 15 mo. old to Costa Rica in order to attend a dear friend’s wedding. It was a great trip, though not without excitement (like when I realized I left my wallet behind when I arrived at the airport and was ready to depart…or when flights were cancelled due to weather…and other such things….so grateful for how the Lord took care of every detail!). The chance to reconnect with old friends was very special, and it was fun to introduce them to my little fellow, though it would have been even better if my husband and 2 yr. old could have joined us. They seemed to manage quite well on their own, but we were all ready to be back as a little family once again!

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The way to travel with a toddler…

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Matthias LOVED playing in the water-this same day it was -10 in PA!

I was trying to come up with a good idea to write about this month, and then I thought that perhaps I could blog about one of the items on my list of things that I want to add to my prospective client handout folder. One question, or series of questions, that comes up frequently during the initial interview has to do with my certification, and what exactly it means. There are so many different names and titles out there that it can be confusing at times! When you go to figure out what care provider is right for you, it is helpful to have an idea of what his/her qualifications are, and what all is entailed with those. So, here’s a brief look at what the Certified Professional Midwife title means…

The North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) was founded in 1987 by the Midwives Alliance of North America, and they oversee the certification standards of the CPM credential. In order to become certified, one must first show that she can provide competent, safe, and qualified care to mothers and babies throughout the birth and postpartum process, both by completing academic studies and by demonstrating care in a clinical setting. This requires that a prospective midwife both study through a NARM-approved academic institution, as well as complete an internship under the supervision of other certified midwives. Proving that one has the mastered the skills necessary to provide knowledgeable care takes time, and there is an extensive set of qualifications that must be met before one can sit for the final exams that cover questions relating to each phase of maternal and infant periods. Once the exams are passed, re-certification must take place every 3 years, which requires ongoing continuing education and re-certification of CPR and NRP.

When I first looked into obtaining midwifery education, I decided to pursue getting certification, even though the state I was working in did not recognize the credential. It was important to me that I do my best to provide the best care possible, and submitting to the qualifications necessary to become a CPM helped prospective clients to know that I took my job seriously and that I had demonstrated the ability to pass the national standard for midwifery care. In areas where licensure is not offered for homebirth midwives, this certification also gives clients the assurance that a certain level of training has been taken, instead of not having any idea of what a midwife’s qualifications may or may not include. Interestingly, many of the states that offer licenses to midwives are using the CPM as the basis for their training requirements. While many midwives who do not have the CPM title are competent and experienced, I feel like having a standard of competency for certification helps to ensure safety and high standards of care for each mother who desires to birth out of the hospital.

Finally, I like the way this quote sums it up, taken from http://www.nacpm.org/what-is-cpm.html
“A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a knowledgeable, skilled and independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). CPM is the only international credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital birth.”

If you’re interested in looking into this topic further, I’d suggest you check out these links:
http://narm.org/advocacy/narm-brochure-text/  gives a good overview of the Midwifery Model of Care and how CPM’s help to promote this, and http://midwifeinternational.org/how-to-become-midwife/certified-professional-midwife-vs-certified-nurse-midwife-whats-difference/  details the differences between the CPM and CNM titles.

Feel free to let me know if you have questions, or if you’d like to add a comment regarding this…thanks!

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Little M ready for his newborn exam…a March baby who will be having a birthday soon!