Many of you know the story of my call to midwifery-of my first birth experience with midwives at a freestanding birth center in Pittsburgh (BirthPlace-an old Victorian home on Baum Blvd, which has since evolved into the Midwife Center for Birth and Women’s Health in a new location), and how when we moved to Cleveland when I was 6 months pregnant with Claudia, I asked where the local birth center was. People looked at me like I was speaking a language they didn’t understand. There wasn’t one, and few people understood why I was in search of one. That was twenty-two years ago. I spent the next two decades raising children and steadily pursuing midwifery by first becoming a doula and a childbirth educator, then by going back to college to get a nursing degree so I could eventually get a masters degree in nursing/midwifery. It’s been a long road. It’s twenty-two years later and I’m still wondering where the local birth center is. The laws and culture around birth and midwifery in Ohio just haven’t budged, making it challenging if not impossible for me to practice in a way that is in true alignment with my head and my heart. My experience with Mt. Eaton Midwifery and the Amish and Mennonite communities is as close as I’ve come to that, and has been an amazing experience that I will always cherish. Maybe the laws will eventually change-once again there is legislation pushing for independent practice, but for now it is what it is, and changing a law doesn’t quickly change a culture.
In the span of the last month or so, I interviewed for and received an offer for a position with a private midwifery practice in Buffalo, where the laws around the practice of midwifery are completely different than they are in Ohio. In New York state, midwives licensed by the state practice independently (New York state passed the Midwifery Modernization Act in 2010). This unique practice encompasses full-scope midwifery in all birth settings (home, birth center, hospital), with the majority of clients choosing out of hospital birth. Due to challenges on multiple levels, this model simply doesn’t exist in the state of Ohio. I had a weekend-long whirlwind of an interview a few weekends ago (while Dave explored the city, which he loved) and met a whole lot of of supportive and amazing people from the Buffalo birth community (midwives, RN homebirth assistants, doulas, labor & delivery staff, etc) including a role model of mine who is the founder of the Birthing Center of Buffalo, where I will have privileges, and who will be my consulting physician/sponsor for hospital privileges at Oishei Children's Hospital. And so, with lots of support from loved ones (for which I feel incredibly lucky and grateful), I have accepted the position and will officially be starting January 1st.
Here is a link to the practice, which recently bought a historical home (the oldest house in Buffalo!) where the practice will be based (and babies will be born!) beginning in January. https://www.fikamidwifery.com/