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National Midwifery Week: A Q-&-A with Laurie Mueller

It’s National Midwifery Week. To highlight the work of a midwife, we talked with our moms who recently gave birth. Here, they share their experience in their own words.

Laurie Mueller, a 32-year-old mom of two, gave birth to Vivienn in September and worked with Kathrine Simon of North Metro Midwives.

You recently gave birth and worked with a midwife. Was it your first time working with one? Yes, when I had my first daughter, Mackenzie, I delivered with an OB in Denver.

How did you settle on a midwife? I was induced with my first daughter because I was six days overdue. With my second pregnancy, I wanted to try to avoid as many medical interventions and try to have as natural of a birth as possible.  I was about halfway through my second pregnancy when I started to wonder if a midwife would be a better fit for what I wanted. However, I was a little apprehensive about switching to a midwife because there’s a strong message that if you’re pregnant you need to see a doctor and that’s the only safe way to deliver a baby. I began to look for different midwives in my area, and I came across North Metro Midwives in Plymouth. I emailed Kathrine Simon with some basic questions which she answered and she encouraged me to come and meet with the midwives. After emailing back and forth with Kathrine and meeting with Kristin a few days later, I knew that I wanted to work with a midwife.

During the pregnancy, what was it like working with a midwife? It was wonderful! It never felt as though I was going to a medical appointment, and I think it’s because my midwives had such a holistic approach. Obviously they did an outstanding job of addressing the physical needs of me and my baby, but they also took care of my emotional and social needs as well. The first appointment I had with Kathrine she asked me to tell her about the birth of my first daughter, Mackenzie. I gave her the details about how I was induced because I was six days overdue and how the labor was very long and hard, which led to several other interventions and problems; I also told her how I had a very serious post-partum hemorrhage right after delivery and as a result of that I remember very little about the first day of Mackenzie’s life. After hearing how I was only able to hold my daughter for about 30 seconds before she was taken out of the room so the medical team could work on me, Kathrine asked me how I felt about the experience. To be honest, I was taken aback by the question because no medical professional had ever taken the time to ask me how I felt about the experience.  Kathrine listened as I told her I felt very sad when I think about how the first few hours of my daughter’s life I was separated from her and that I never had the chance to just hold her and enjoy her right after she was born. Kathrine said that I was going to have a “healing birth,” which was exactly what I needed, I just didn’t know it at the time.

How’d the delivery go? It was hard work, but also so empowering! My labor started around 9 p.m. and at 11:30 p.m., I called Kathrine to let her know I was in labor. She gave some suggestions to help ease any discomforts I was having, and she would periodically call me at home to assess how I was doing. It helped to be at home in the early stages of labor because it helped me relax and it just felt more normal. When we arrived at the hospital around 4 a.m., the first thing I said to the nurse who was assessing me was, “Is Kathrine here?” Over the last few months Kathrine had become such a comforting and safe person to me that I just wanted her there in that moment. Ten minutes later she arrived and as soon as she came into the room, I remember I felt much more relaxed and the contractions seemed much more manageable just by her presence.

I labored for about another nine hours, and I don’t recall Kathrine ever leaving us, which was the exact opposite from my first delivery. She walked the hallways with us, she made me food, and she distracted me with funny stories in between contractions which helped the whole process feel normal. When we realized that the baby was posterior and not completely lined up, she gave several suggestions to help ease the back labor and to help turn the baby into a more favorable position. Kathrine seemed to know what I needed before I ever had to ask whether it was distraction or encouragement when I was doubting myself.

Kathrine did such an amazing job of normalizing the whole labor process, which helped me feel calmer. Despite it being a 16-hour labor, I never was worried that she would say that my labor wasn’t going fast enough or that we needed to speed things up with Pitocin.

Finally, a little bit before 1pm our daughter, Vivienn, was born. She weighed 9 pounds, 7 ounces. Best of all, Vivienn and I were both healthy. My husband and I spent the rest of the day holding her. Thanks to Kathrine, I can say that this was a very healing birth for me—any lingering sadness or fears from my first delivery have gone away.

Is there anything else you want to share about your experience? I cannot say enough wonderful things about the midwives at North Metro Midwives, especially Kathrine! There is no one else I would have wanted to attend the birth of our second daughter. I’ve never felt so cared about as a person, not just a patient, as I did with Kathrine. When Kathrine is with you, there is nothing else going on in her world except you! You can tell she loves what she does and truly cares about her patients—she’s amazing! I highly recommend them to anyone and if we have a third child, I will definitely be using them again!