My passion is to empower women. I bring over two decades of knowledge and experience to provide holistic midwifery care that addresses the needs of your mind, body and soul. Our journey begins with monthly meetings, increasing to every two weeks, then weekly leading up to birth. These visits start with a cup of tea, herbal infusion, or a home-brewed glass of kombucha as we take time to truly connect. It’s a time for you to share what your dream birth looks like and how I can walk with you on that journey. I trust the innate wisdom in all women. I consider myself a guide, someone who will inquire about what you want, and help you accomplish that—without judgment or imposing my preferences.
Birth is so intimate, an important part of our prenatal time together is to get to know each other. The mainstream model of care takes the individual out of the equation, and forces cookie-cutter protocols. Many of my clients have experienced the inadequacies of this model first-hand before finding their way to home birth. I want you to make the decisions that affect your body and your baby. I will share evidence-based research to allow you to decide what makes sense for you. You decide which tests, foods, or supplements feel good for you. One of the most important parts of my care involves giving true informed consent, which by definition has no bias. My job is to help you connect with your inner knowing and intuition. I will be learning about you, your family, and what type of labor and birth experience you desire. We will work through any fears you have, and let go of the cultural chatter we may have in our heads that birth is risky and unsafe—this includes any past birth traumas you may have experienced. It’s important to me to support you and meet you where you are. The goal is for you to trust yourself, your body and your baby.
I offer all of the traditional clinical aspects to prenatal care and prefer to primarily use the fetoscope to check baby’s heart rate. I also provide you with a fetoscope of your own and instructions on how to listen to your babe at home. Together we discuss nutrition, movement, and any pregnancy discomforts and concerns you may be experiencing. We will learn about the benefits of the age old tradition of fermented foods in pregnancy. I maintain living S.C.O.B.Y.s (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) to share with instructions on how to make kombucha of your own if interested. I also have a lending library of books and videos available. I don’t recommend a lot of supplements, instead it’s my desire to help you get what you need through foods and herbs. A key part of my practice includes the use of organic herbs, tinctures, teas and infusions. Properly nourishing the body not only helps to make you feel good, but it also supports the needs of your growing baby and strengthens your body preparing it for a healthy, low-risk labor, birth and recovery. I’m excited to be a part of your unique, transformative journey.
Labor and Birth
For the birth my care includes contact by phone, at which time we will discuss what is happening and keep in contact by phone. I will make recommendations and we will decide together when the right time for me to arrive at your home. My goal is to arrive with plenty of time to support you and your family, but not too early as to disturb your early laboring time. I try to respect a woman's innate need for privacy during labor. Services include midwifery care and support for labor and birth, this includes but is not limited to emotional encouragement, massage, aromatherapy, reiki (upon request), informed consent on all recommendations and checking on mom and baby to make sure everyone is doing well. This is your birth and you get to do it however YOU want! I am just a guide to help you on your journey to motherhood.
The postpartum period is a sacred time for a woman, her baby, and the whole family. We live in a productivity-focused culture where women feel such pressure to bounce-back. The influence of social media often leaves women feeling like they are failures if they aren’t doing it all perfectly, glamorously, and without struggle. This is leaving mothers chronically depleted, emotionally and physically. In other cultures around the world, the mother receives support during the first 40 days after birth. This is a pivotal time for the health and wellness of both mother and baby. These cultures are guided by thousands of years of wisdom that honor this time of transition from maiden to mother.
It is my goal to support you during your time of healing and integration. Together we will formulate a postpartum plan for rest and nourishment that works for you and your family’s unique circumstances. This includes Ayurvedic postpartum essentials, consisting of nourishing meals, herbal teas, homemade tinctures, massage oil, and more to help you renew, heal and restore. Included are the ingredients for an Ayurvedic meal of rice congee. At the onset of labor, these ingredients are put in a crockpot, and your postpartum tea is put on the stove to steep. The aroma of the spices fill your home while you are in labor. The congee and tea are warm and ready to immediately replenish your strength after your baby has arrived earth-side. Mamas rave about the nourishment and benefit these provide in their depleted, exhilarated state. After birth we give you time to bond with your precious baby. We stay until all clinical needs are addressed, the newborn exam is complete, and we’ve left your space clean, calm and tidy. We return within 24 hours, 3-5 days later, and 10-14 days later with more Ayurvedic teas, meals, a herbal/floral bath, and, of course, our love, encouragement and support. I’m always available during this time to answer any questions that may arise and look forward to our final 6-week visit with our new lifelong friends.
I am a Reiki practitioner and provide this service prenatally and during labor, upon request.
Reiki is made of two Japanese words Rei meaning "god's wisdom or the higher power" and Ki meaning "life force energy". Basically Reiki is a ancient traditional healing method using energy to reduce stress and promote healing. Reiki is a very simple way of helping your body to heal itself, which it wants to do. It uses a practice called palm healing or hands on healing. It is extremely relaxing and meditative. Reiki is not associated with any religion but is a spiritual connection. Reiki is growing, as of 2007 15% of American hospitals offered Reiki as a hospital service. Nurses and doctors report that Reiki reduces stress, decreases the amount of pain medication required, improves sleep and appetite, and accelerates the healing process. I have been a Reiki practitioner since 2012 and find it to be an effective, safe healing method.
Umbilical Cord Burning
I practice delayed cord cutting. The baby leaves 1/3 of its blood in the placenta which needs to then be pumped into the baby after birth. After all of the blood has transferred out of the placenta to the baby you have the option of how you will sever the umbilical cord. I offer umbilical cord burning as an option. We have access to sterile scissors and clean environments so we have a choice on how the umbilical cord is severed. In third world countries where tetanus is a concern, cord burning is a safe alternative to unsterile scissors. Some families in the U.S. choose cord burning as a gentle ritual. It allows for two people in the family to be involved in the burning and is a sweet moment for the family. Cutting the cord is like cutting hair, it doesn't hurt the baby but they always cry when it gets cut. They sense the separation. Babies don't seem to cry as much when the cord is burned off rather than cut. Another advantage is no plastic clip tied to the end of the cord. I have a cord burning box and candles if you desire.
For more information on cord burning:
One of my beautiful families had a rough birth. Baby's heart tones went down dramatically and consistently right before pushing and when her waters released we witnessed quite a lot of meconium. Meconium by itself is not a reason for transport. Meconium with consistently lowered heart tones is a sign of MAS (meconium aspiration syndrome), this baby girl did have MAS. She was transported and ended up being born in the ambulance. The paramedic was wonderful and allowed me to continue care in the ambulance and I was allowed to help catch the baby, resolve a minor shoulder dystocia and help to provide resuscitation to baby! This is quite unusual. Lets just say a lot of emergency support will arrive at a home birth and not understand and be kind of hostile, wondering out loud what kind of witchcraft is going on here hehe. We were so fortunate. When I asked if I could go his response was "I want you to". He later told me he had caught 14 babies in the field and he and his wife had all their babies at home too:)
Bradley did have to stay in the hospital for treatment for MAS but was home after a few days. It was terribly disappointing for the family to not have this baby born at home and in water, like was planned.
I recommended to the family that we do a Rebirthing Ceremony. It was such a beautiful and healing experience for the family, friends that were in attendance, and even for me. I highly recommend this for any mama whose birth didn't go as planned. It DOES matter how a baby is born, not only that the baby is healthy. There is impact to mama, baby and family (and midwife). I love this family and I am so grateful to Melissa for sharing this information publicly. I love you Melissa Lawrence James Lawrence, thank you for trusting me and for all of your support, love and openness!
Below is Melissa (the mama's) perspective on the rebirthing ceremony.
Bradley's Rebirthing Ceremony - March 13, 2017
No matter how much you plan and prepare, birth is one of the few amazing things in life that is really left up to fate. You can envision what you want and how you want things to happen and you can do everything in your capability to prepare for that but in the end you cannot control it. The mystery is part of what is so special about it.
Taylor & Jordan were born in the hospital but we used the Bradley Method and they were born free from any medical intervention. So for Bradley, we decided to have a home birth. I had acted as a doula at a friend’s home birth a few years before and I knew that’s exactly what I wanted - my baby being born quietly and peacefully in the comfort of our own home surrounded by our family and closest friends.
Her birth story didn’t go as planned. Her heart rate began to drop significantly between contractions and when our midwife, Christina, saw the amount of meconium in my water when it broke, we decided I needed to be transferred to the hospital in case the baby needed advanced breathing support when she was born. She ended up being born in the ambulance on the way to the hospital. She had to be resuscitated and ended up spending five days in the NICU. I believe all of the choices that we made, including the home birth, were for the best and brought us to the best possible outcome for my baby, but it was certainly not the beautiful, peaceful start to life that we planned for her.
Since we had such a traumatic experience with the birth, Christina recommended that we get everyone together who was there the night of her birth and do a Rebirthing Ceremony. When Bradley was about 7 weeks we had everyone over. First we all sat around in a circle and we each shared a memory from the birth that scared us as well as a memory that made us happy. Even Taylor & Jordan participated. It was really interesting to hear everyone else's perspective on the evening. It definitely brought up some mixed emotions but it also made everything fall into place and allowed me to come to peace with everything that happened.
Next we all went into the our bedroom where I was in labor. Christina prepared a beautiful bath with herbs and flower petals. We lit candles, put on peaceful music and diffused oils, and then baby and I got into the bath together. James, my friends, midwife and kids sat around next to us and we took all of the beautiful pictures we never had a chance to at the birth.
Afterwards, my family and I relaxed on our bed and Christina weighed the baby just like we would have after the birth. Christina and my friends said their good-byes and my family and I spent the rest of the night snuggling in bed just like we envisioned after the birth.
I highly recommend a ceremony like this for anyone who has had a traumatic birth experience. It allows you to create new and better memories and to come to peace with those things that we cannot control.