WBKC: Hi, Jaime! Thanks for meeting with Welcome Baby KC. We’re excited to hear about you and your work. How did you find yourself interested in women’s healthcare?
Jaime: I first became interested in healthcare during my anatomy class in high school, I was fascinated with the uterus. It’s amazing, it helps to grow and birth a baby. The placenta is amazing. So this sparked my interest; I started college pre-med, but it was during school and after the birth of my son, that I learned about midwifery.
I’ve done a little bit of everything as a nurse; labor and delivery, mother baby, NICU, and nursery and that gives me good confidence with babies at births. I actually did my midwifery clinicals with Lindsey and Crystal [midwives at SWC].
WBKC: What misconceptions do you hear about hospital midwives?
Jaime: They think there’s a lot we can’t do. Can’t do hospital, can’t do epidural – that kind of thing. And they think that all we do is deliver babies. People just don’t realize what we can do. As a Certified Nurse Midwife, I deliver babies in a hospital setting. My patients are educated on pain management options including the use of epidurals, but I fully support an un-medicated birth too. People don’t realize though that we do a lot more than just deliver babies.
WBKC: What else do you do?
Jaime: I love the education part of my job. Working with adolescents is very rewarding, both in preventing pregnancy or prenatal care. Besides supporting women through childbirth, we play a vital role in women’s health, including well-woman exams, gynecologic care, family planning and contraceptive counseling, management of peri/menopausal symptoms. In other words, we do everything that an OB-GYN does, except surgery. We treat/educate women on their healthcare needs throughout their entire lifespan.
WBKC: How did you get interested in working with young women?
Jaime: Working with adolescents is very rewarding, both in providing prenatal care and in preventing pregnancy. I had my son as a young adult and I think that I realized how much I didn’t know after his birth. This really opened my eyes to how successful a young mom can be with a little extra support and education. They can be successful women/moms and meet their life goals with someone who spends a little extra time with them.
WBKC: What other areas of women’s health does your midwifery group provide?
Jaime: We also focus on preventative care and management of things like obesity with a weight management program, treat infections and screen for STIs; we do all kinds of birth control and much much more. Lindsey and I both are trained to do Colposcopies a test sometimes needed during the management process after an abnormal pap smear. Crystal has a special focus on urinary issues.
WBKC: Tell me about your midwifery partners! What are they like?
Jaime: Amy is newest; she started with us in January of 2015 . She was a labor and delivery nurse at St. Joe and is great for moms flexible with birth preferences. Lindsey’s been a midwife for 12+ years and really cares a lot for her patients. She is a great listener and her patients really love her. Crystal, like myself, has worked as a nurse in several different kinds of women’s health care jobs; this carries over into her care as a midwife where she focuses on empowering women and education them to make the best choices that are right for them. A little fun fact: Her passion is volunteer work and she typically goes on a yearly mission trip. Ultimately, what you should know is… If you like me, you’ll love my partners. We all practice very similar.
WBKC: How do most of your patients find you?
Jaime: Most find us by referral and word of mouth. And social media. Check out our practice’s Facebook page! We work with lots of military families, so our Lansing office is primarily Tricare referrals.
WBKC: What kind of maternity care are your patients looking for?
Jaime: It’s a mix, some of our patients come in knowing exactly what they want. They are seeking midwifery care and they have a specific birth plan in mind. Others may have been referred by a friend and aren’t sure what to expect with midwifery care. The midwives in our group offer a meet and greet appointment for those patients to get to know us. They can just call the office to schedule and for more details. Others just don’t know what they want in general and we will help them figure that out along their pregnancy journey.
WBKC: What tips do you give women preparing for a low intervention birth?
Jaime: Don’t Be Induced! Follow ACOG recommendations and let pregnancy continue to 42 weeks, if there are no medical complications. If you want a low intervention birth, as long as everything is healthy, you wait and we don’t intervene. I encourage patients to go to the low intervention childbirth class offered through HCA. Consider a doula – especially if you are a first time momma! Come in to see your midwife more often [outside of regularly scheduled appointments] for support of guidance if you need it. And most importantly, have a positive mindset for birth and be open and educated about the possibility of unexpected changes to your birth plan. I find that women who are most happy about their births, go into it well educated and with an open mind.
WBKC: What do you think about birth plans or preferences?
Jaime: We do encourage birth plans. It helps encourage families to think about choices. But it’s very different if you go in [to birth] thinking “I don’t want, I don’t want, I don’t want…” Be educated, voice your preferences, but realize birth can sometimes be unpredictable.
WBKC: What else would you suggest?
Jaime: It’s very important to have supportive people around you, whether that’s your provider, family or a doula. Doulas can be helpful. I encourage doulas to come to a prenatal visit with mom typically around 36 weeks to be sure we’re all on the same page. I also don’t want my patients to be afraid to come to the hospital [in labor]. I won’t intervene unless I need to.
WBKC: How much time do you spend with your patients in labor?
Jaime: It depends on the patient. Sometimes I’m hanging out with them as soon as they get to the hospital. For others, it’s whenever they’re in active labor. It’s whatever they need. They aren’t going to be pushing without me in the room though! And just an FYI, I rarely hold babies. They go right up to mom. Half the time, I don’t even know the gender because they go right up to mom. In a perfect birth scenario, I literally just catch babies.
WBKC: What’s your favorite part about birth?
Jaime: Birth is amazing, but Dads crying, it gets me every time. But it’s rare I don’t get all YAY!! at a birth.
WBKC: Do you stay for a while after baby arrives?
Jaime: Yes. Sometimes, I’ll show off the placenta. I love to share it with patients, explaining how it works. I’ll stay and help with breastfeeding too. If baby is showing interest, it’s time to get them latched! But I also respect the importance of family bonding, and if mom and baby are doing well, I’ll gracefully sneak out of the room 🙂
WBKC: It sounds like you do a lot! What can moms do to improve breastfeeding success?
Jaime: A breastfeeding group or class is really helpful. It’s important to do lots of preparation before baby arrives. Skin to skin with baby is important too – not skin to blanket! We have a very high initial breastfeeding rate with our group.
WBKC: Tell us about you a little. What did you learn about birth growing up?
Jaime: Nothing. It just never came up. My dad’s an architect and my mom’s a librarian. When I told my grandma I wanted to be a midwife she said, “You want to do what?” But my life experiences lead me to where I am today, and I do not regret any of it!
WBKC: What’s the hardest part of your job?
Jaime: I think there’s a lack of respect/knowledge of nurse midwifery from colleagues and other specialty care providers, and sometimes, the community in general. The blanket term midwife and the associations with it can be frustrating. The political side is hard, too. But with education, social media, marketing and just being great midwives we’re making great changes. It is things like this blog, that also give me hope that in my lifetime, people will be more excited about and more understanding of midwifery and midwives will become commonplace in the healthcare system in the United States!!