Why did you choose to become a CNM?
I have always been interested in working with women. I have an undergraduate degree in Economic Anthropology. I studied women’s issues in international economic development. I spent a good portion of my undergraduate time in developing countries working with very, very rural women in impoverished areas of India, Bangladesh and Peru and ya know, studying grass roots development programs in the gender specific issues that women encounter in those programs. I wanted a useful skill that I could use to help take care of women at home and abroad. So I became interested in midwifery. A lot of times because in these rural communities it’s the traditional midwives providing care and are the contact for the community as a whole. So I liked that my title would translate well across cultures. That was the goal. I’ve always just been really passionate about being involved with women and caring for women and it definitely led me here.
I’ve been with Valley for about 4-5 years.
I traveled with a group to India for the first time I went to do research there. And then I actually went back by myself for 8 months with a mentoring professor and went into rural areas and actually lived at a Buddhist nunnery in a Tibetan refugee colony and took oral life histories of former political prisoners. And worked with small women organizations that taught basic farming skills out in the rural areas of the Himalayas and India, so mostly I took notes and collected data and after so long that I thought I don’t just like taking notes and collecting data, I need a skill, something that is more useful to the people I’m working with.
After that I came back and went to Nursing school. I got my RN and immediately started my Master’s program and actually worked for the Provo Valley group while I did my Master’s. I worked with them mostly during the holidays because I got my Master’s in Connecticut at Yale. I came back and worked as a Nurse during the holidays and then I came back and did my clinical rotations with this group of midwives and then was hired on by them. So I worked for the Provo group full time while I was doing my clinical work.
First/memorable birth experience?
I attended my sister’s births and was involved in a very limited way internationally .I knew I wanted to be involved with healthcare and I knew I wanted to be a midwife, but I feel like my first very impactful birth experience was when I was in school in connecticut and the first patient that I took care of by myself without anybody supervising me was a 16 year old girl who was unmedicated. I put counterpressure on her hips and got her in and out of the shower you know through the whole birth and watched her deliver and how proud she was, how impactful that experience was for her and she was surrounded by all the women in her family. She had lots of support. But it was just such.. I can’t even describe how powerful it was for any specific reason – she was so young, but she was so strong and it was a beautiful birth and it was the first time I was by myself.
I had like 20 nieces and nephews by the time I started doing my nursing program.
What do you love about Valley?
They feel like a family. I trust them all. They all know me. I feel like I can talk to them all about my personal life, they know my family. The people I work with as a whole feel like my friends and family. I know all the doctors, they know my children. My kids love coming here. They love coming and hanging out and saying hi to the nurses and bringing Valentine’s and treats and… ya know, they all feel cared for. And you know, when my oldest daughter’s mother died (I’ve adopted her) the office came up with a huge gift basket and she just feels so safe here. She goes to school up the street and she loves to walk here after school and just hang out and practice her Spanish with Dr. Melendez and Mirta and everyone just feels so safe and it’s just a loving, supporting environment. My 6-year-old sends all the midwives Marco Polo’s.
As far as the patients go, I know my patients that I love and care for, because you do you’re so involved in such intimate parts of their lives, you care for them so deeply and I know that whomever I need to refer them to or whoever they meet with is going to care for them just as much as I do. Everyone is interested in taking care of them and not just getting them in and out and signing off their labs.
What is your favorite thing about being a CNM?
It’s hard to pick one thing because I love… obviously, I love delivering babies. It is such a privilege to be so intimately involved in such an important part of people’s lives you know adding additions to their families. And you know those really intense moments, you know that can happen at birth whether it’s everything is medically normal, but it’s you know helping someone transition from 8 cm to complete or helping them find that last little bit of energy to get that head to crowing and get that baby out, you know. It’s such a privilege to be there for those moments. But I love being there for women throughout their lifespan, women who are just starting birth control and going away to college, young women who have really painful periods and they don’t know how to deal with it, or women who are… I have a patient who I’ve taken care of my entire career who is you know approaching an age where she is getting diagnosis that will be the last diagnosis that she has. It’s special to take care of women through all these stages of life.
What do you wish all women could know?
Probably just their own personal value. I think that’s something that all my patients of any age probably struggle the most with knowing how valuable they are to everybody around them. Recognizing your value as a mother and how you take care of your children, recognizing your value in a career, people will find those parts of themselves that are gifted in certain ways and how they apply those gifts whether that’s as a mother or a CEO or a wife or wherever their gifts are best applied.
How can you help someone with loss and what do you think is important?
Validating their feelings and making sure they are allowed to experience all the emotions that come along with loss without feeling necessarily like they have to fix them or like they are wrong in some ways or like there’s something wrong like I feel this way and I shouldn’t feel this way. I see that a lot. Whether it’s with birth like I don’t want to feel this way about my birth, but I do, I was so loud and I was screaming and I wanted to be in control and helping them feel normal for the emotions they are feeling but also not dwelling on them and kind of finding a way to move past that.
One of the most beautiful births I’ve ever attending was a termed stillbirth. Beautiful in the saddest way possible, the most heartbreaking way possible.
Tell me about your family.
I like savory food. I like really good fruit – apples and oranges.
Really right now everything is family activities. You know I saw one of those commercials for Idaho, the 18 summers commercial and it made me bawl, I mean it’s ridiculous and I feel like I have to get as much time in with my children as possible, so all my hobbies are family activities. I love to hike and be outdoors. We’re really into geology and rock hounding and fossil hunting. We spend every moment we have a few days in a row we take our little camper out into the desert, we were out in deserts of Arizona and Utah and all over there. We’d like to go somewhere where my daughter can practice her spanish. She’s relatively fluent and practices every day. We plan to travel to South America soon, we’ll see.
My kids are really into aerial acrobatics right now, aerial silks. It consumes a lot of out time, like I’m there all the time, so if I’m ever going to become really physically active on a routine basis I’m probably going to have to do aerial acrobatics so I started a class. I’m horrible and it’s humiliating, but it’s really good exercise. It’s at Aeris in Sandy. They are fantastic. They also do a lot of work with anxiety and depression and work with therapy programs to do motion therapy. So I stay afterwards for the adult beginner class and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to do what my daughter does, but I’m doing it and I’m getting strong, that’s what matters.
One of our favorite trips has been to Blanding, down near Bear’s Ears. There are fossils and we bring four wheelers and we hike and look for fossils and there’s a lot of native american history there. We like to find Petroglyphs.
I really like to make my own food. I think one of our favorite family experiences has been crawdad fishing at Strawberry Reservoir. We threw out crawdad traps and then proceeded to have a big crawdad boil on the picnic table on the beach at Strawberry. That has probably been one of my favorite meals ever – a big ol’ pot of corn, potatoes, sausage and crawdads.
My kids favorite restaurants is Olive Garden. We like Cafe Rio too.