Patient Story 8 October 2021
My Midwife Story: Reaching Empowerment
Written by Breann May
Ivinson’s Communication Specialist, Breann May, welcomed her second son in March. This blog shares her story of her midwife experience under the care of Liz Rowe.
In August 2018 when I had my first son, there were no midwife services in Laramie. I had never seen a midwife and I was clueless to the services and support they offer. Three years and a second childbirth later, my midwife experience has changed the way I view women’s health and helped me find a deeper strength within myself.
What is a midwife, and what do they do? Midwives are trained in women’s health with an expertise in supporting patients to maintain healthy pregnancies and have an optimal birth, recovery and postpartum experience. Midwives offer very individualized care that is rooted in caring for the whole person.
Liz Rowe, Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), joined the Ivinson team in November of 2018, bringing midwifery back to our community that had previously been without midwife services for several years. Liz will tell you that her practice is built on a foundation of trust between her and her patients.
“I have the opportunity to spend nine months getting to know women and their families, to deliver their baby and then to support them through their postpartum experience,” Liz said.
Preparing to be a second-time mom, I was intrigued by the midwife philosophy and the very personalized care they offer. My first labor experience, like many first-time mothers, was a marathon. With the encouragement from Dr. Ewell, and the entire Family Care Unit nursing staff, I crossed the finish line 26 hours (and one epidural) later, giving birth to a beautiful baby boy with a head full of hair.
Entering my second pregnancy, I knew I wanted the next labor to be very different. Entertaining the idea of trying for an un-medicated labor, I knew I needed to see an expert, someone that could coach and support me through such a daunting undertaking. Knowing she has helped many mothers like myself, I knew I needed to see Liz Rowe.
A common misconception of delivering with a midwife is the belief that midwives only do un-medicated births or home births. This is false. Liz works to support each individual’s birth wishes, offering all modes of pain management on a wide spectrum from aromatherapy and meditation to medical interventions such as an epidural.
Liz works alongside Ivinson’s team of OB/GYNs to support all hospital births from unmediated deliveries to supporting high-risk pregnancies and necessary cesareans. I was able alternate between seeing Liz and continuing to see Dr. Ewell. I was able to build my confidence working with a care team that I connected with and trusted to guide me through this process.
Throughout my pregnancy, I was never sure if I was mentally, emotionally or physically strong enough to power through labor and successfully deliver a baby without any pain interventions. With Liz in my corner, and a lot of prenatal yoga, I felt brave enough to try anyways.
In our visits, she informed me of alternative methods for pain-management during labor like hydrotherapy, music, use of a birthing ball, frequent position-changes, massage, acupressure, and enlisting a continuous labor support person. My appointments with Liz always felt like informative pep talks. I always left feeling a little surer of myself than when I sat down.
Late in my third trimester, I was not 100 percent confident in myself, but I felt like I had all the tools in my tool belt to try. When contractions started in the early morning at 39 weeks along, I labored at home using all the coping methods I had learned in my classes and with Liz in the office. When things didn’t slow down, the pain began to push my limits. I had prepared for this. Today, we were going to have a baby.
When I arrived at the hospital Liz and the labor and delivery team did not miss a single beat. Meanwhile, labor was moving fast and furious. Knowing my birth wishes, Liz and the delivery team coached me through alternative laboring positions, breathing, pushing and the toughest of my labor pains. In the instances I struggled, Liz held my hand. When I was unsure, she was unwavering.
With words of encouragement (and a lot of very hard hand squeezing), a 6 pound 13 ounce baby boy entered the world.
Holding him in my arms, I had never felt so much strength. The act of childbirth, by any means, is very powerful. For me, this experience brought me so much empowerment and assurance in myself, which I could not have done without the support of Liz and each member of my support system.
This story accounts for only a fraction of the work midwives provide our community. In addition to supporting every type of hospital birth, midwives provide care for women in all stages of life from wellness exams, family planning, contraception, prenatal, postpartum, lactation support and menopause care.
Working with a midwife like Liz, who practices alongside a highly skilled OB/GYN team, supports getting patients the birth experience they envision, while also promoting lower cesarean rates. This collaborative practice, along with expertise from the labor and delivery team, has contributed to Ivinson’s cesarean section rate of 8% to be about a third of the national average of 25%.
“To me, birth is not only about bringing new life into this world,” Liz said. “But it is also about creating strong and confident mothers.”
Breann May is a writer and marketing professional for Ivinson. Breann began her career at Ivinson in 2015 as an office specialist at Ivinson Medical Group and worked full-time while earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Wyoming. She graduated from UW in 2017 and made the jump to Ivinson's marketing team shortly after.