WBKC: Hi, Cathy! Thanks for sitting down with me at your new beautiful birth center. How did you come into midwifery?
Cathy Gordon: While serving as a family nurse practitioner doing mission trips abroad. I attended birth in many countries as well as in the USA. This influence aided my decision to seek my nurse midwifery education.
WBKC: What did you learn about birth growing up?
CG: As a kid, I had a group pf “science buddies”. There were three of us, me and two boys. We had a pack to become OB/GYN/s and did our projects on birth. Funny thing is that one became an Ob/GYN, one a lawyer and me, the midwife.
WBKC: Was it different when you were raising your family, did they learn more about birth?
CG: My kids were familiar with birth, breastfeeding etc. It is normal to them. They learned all about it! They’re all really into natural birth and breastfeeding.
WBKC: Tell me about your own family.
CG: I have four fabulous kids, all were natural birth. I love hanging out with my kids too. Two that live locally and two that live outside of the state and nine grandbabies. One of my son’s isn’t married if there’s any single ladies reading! He’s a pretty good catch, has a great job, great benefits, big blue eyes, and is buff.
WBKC: When I first moved here in 2011, NBC was just opening. How did it come about?
CG: I started Mercy and Truth Medical Missions (MTMM) in 1994. Over the years, MTMM hosted many international teams at one time had 4 clinics and a a birth center offering for the underserved and uninsured. Due to the success of the birth center, my vision was to add another center and take patients who had health insurance also. MTMM was not interested in this model, so I left and started New Birth Company, with Kendra. Kendra and I met while she was a patient at the original Sage Femme Birth Center.
WBKC: How many midwives are on staff now?
CG: We have 7 midwives on staff at the Overland Park location and 2 that come over to the KCK location. Some of the midwives also offer hospital births if a transfer is needed, or your risk out of our care at the birth center. We are adding more nurses and midwives as both locations grow.
WBKC: Stacie recently joined you for a birth at St. Joe. What a unique opportunity! What are the benefits to having hospital privileges?
CG: It was important to us to have the birth centers near hospitals where we have privileges. In the case of a mom risking out or needing to transfer for assistance, we have the opportunity now to join them at St. Joe and soon, other hospitals in the area. Our focus is on birth center care, but co-managing with the physicians in these cases to reduce fear, making the experience better than it ever has been. We like to continue midwifery care and our culture at the birth center. Stacie came in to photograph a cesarean birth of a client we both were serving. It is great to encourage mom & dad, even in the OR, to initiate skin-to-skin and breastfeeding immediately. Stacie was great help with this too!
WBKC: With so much growth at NBC OP, the kck location seems like a no brainer! How did the idea come about to expand to Kansas City, Kansas?
CG: After the Mercy and Truth birth center closed, I personally was very sad. Kendra and I both desire to continue serving the community and wanted to re-open that same location. We believe we can change vital statistic outcomes in Wyandotte County with education and the wellness model of care teaching families to better care for themselves and their babies.
WBKC: What services aside from births will you offer in this new facility?
CG: We offer care to women throughout their lifetime, from menarche to menopause. We’ll have classes on natural family planning , fearless birth, breastfeeding, mom groups, childbirth education, sibling preparation and preconception wellness. We have a nutritionist on staff and many other providers for various areas of expertise such as pelvic floor health or breastfeeding. Like the Overland Park location, we’ll have community based outreach with postpartum, birth preparation, and relationship support groups. We’re also hoping to continue Babywearing International.
WBKC: How many birthing rooms are there?
CG: Three birthing rooms at each location.
WBKC: What are your favorite features of the rooms here?
CG: My favorite feature is of course the emphasis on family centered births. At the new location, we’ve added more on the vertical model with squat bars and slings to fully utilize gravity!
WBKC: Love the new tubs! Can you tell me more about water birth? You’re the only option for water birth in Kansas City! Pros/cons/experiences? How often do you see water births?
CG: Water birth can be tough on the midwife! But we’re willing to do it because we know how much it helps moms. Most moms like it for labor. The tubs at KCK are deeper, with access to mom on three sides. Water is such a great tool! When we renovated here, we donated one of the old Mercy and Truth tubs to St. Joseph Medical Center – they haven’t installed it yet.
WBKC: I recently had the pleasure of joining your new CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) for a few NBC babies. What are the benefits to having CNMs and CPMs on staff?
CG: CNMs and CPMs are the best match! We did this at Mercy and Truth birth center as well. More cpms and cnms working together – they’re the perfect team. For example, we can have a CPM at the birth center with the CNM available for hospital transfer if necessary.
WBKC: What missions or goals do you have for this birth center?
CG: [Zip codes] 66102-7 has one of the highest infant mortality rates, not just in Kansas City but in the entire United States. The midwifery model of care will help encourage good decisions for mom and her baby. This model of care has the ability to be the change needed in this community. I’d like the birth center to be a sanctuary for this area.
WBKC: You’re very active in serving the community here and abroad. Please tell me about your outreach and mission experiences.
CG: Locally: Oh I do lots of things! I’m on the fetal mortality review board and right now, I’m helping with legislation to remove the collaborative practice agreement.
Abroad: I’ve delivered babies in 10 countries and worked in 40! New Birth Company is also sponsoring a local birth doula on a trip to Haiti to learn more about the birth centers and model of care in that area.
WBKC: Where do you see midwifery growing in Kansas City and Kansas? What changes would you like to see?
CG: I believe that midwifery will soon become the standard of care in Kansas City. It lowers health care costs and improves maternity care. We do need to have the full practice authority for nurses to create this kind of change and we’re working hard to make that happen.