Erica is midwife with our American Fork group! She has two Bachelor degree’s, one in Community Health Education and one in Nursing. Continuing her education at the Frontier School of Midwifery & Family Nursing she received her Master’s in Nursing and has been a Registered Nurse since 2002. She has been a practicing Certified Nurse Midwife since 2010. Erica loves spending time with her family, enjoying the sunshine and being at the beach or pool. Her passion for women’s health runs deep and wants women to know how awesome they are!
Why did you choose to become a midwife?
In college I discovered that I am fascinated with women’s health. At the time I was completing my Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Education. During my last semester I took a women’s health class and was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I loved it! It wasn’t until finishing college that I realized I wanted to work in women’s health, so I actually went on to become a nurse afterwards. All through nursing school I continued to be fascinated by women’t health and was able to get a job working in labor and delivery. While working in labor and deliver, I had some experience that made me want to advocate for women in labor, to support them and make sure they had the best outcome possible.
I loved studying the reproductive anatomy and physiology and learning how amazing it is that a woman can ovulate and sustain a pregnancy. All the hormones and the intricacy of it was so fascinating to me. In school we also learned about a variety of women’s health issues and different problems that women experience. It was then I realized that women are so important! There are so many people that depend on us and our health influences how we are able to do that, how we’re able to take care of everyone. That was also a piece—I just feel like it’s so important to take care of women. We are taking care of everyone else, someone has to take care of us. That’s something that I love and feel really passionate about.
Do you remember your first experience delivering a baby or a memorable one?
I wish I could say that there was, but there wasn’t. I think I was actually kind of nervous all the time working in labor and delivery. A lot of it was because of what I saw, just how some of the doctor’s worked. I felt like women weren’t being taken care of very well. I don’t really have an experience where I was taking care of a women and I felt like “I can do this!” It was more of like “I have to do this!” I have to get more education and I have to take care of these women and give them a different option. I kind of went out on a whim to become a midwife because I didn’t have a ton of experience as a nurse and was not entirely comfortable in that role. It was more of a feeling of just needing to advocate for women that I was willing to go out on a limb and do it.
After finishing my master’s degree and becoming a CNM, I felt so much more comfortable in that role. Because of the specific environment I was in as a nurse, it kind of made you feel like something was going to go wrong at any second, like you couldn’t trust the process and that you had to intervene. But going through midwifery school and learning what midwives know that birth is a normal thing, that pregnancy is a healthy process, our bodies are made to do this, it really instilled a lot of confidence in me, like hey, this isn’t a disaster. Bad things sometimes happen and we’ll intervene if we need to, but in general, if you just let it happen, birth is a normal, happy, healthy process. I didn’t learn that as a nurse, I learned that as a midwife.
What has been your most memorable experience as a midwife?
What stands out is continuity over years and developing relationships with women—delivering their first baby, second and third. There are even situations where I’ve delivered families. I’ve delivered this sister’s baby and this sister’s baby and this sister’s baby. I’m friends with them now and we go to lunch. Out of all the experiences I’ve had, the relationships I’ve built with people are the most meaningful.
What do you love about working with Valley Women’s Health?
As we were looking around for a practice to join, Valley OB really stood out as having it together, being super well organized and having a vision for how to grow their practice. They treat their providers really well. As a midwife, sometimes you’re viewed as a mid-level provider, kind of like second-class citizens. At Valley they don’t treat their mid-level providers that way—as a midwife and nurse practitioner they respect me and they value what I have to offer. Everyone has their role and everyone is respected. That’s something I LOVE!
What is one thing you wish all women could know?
They need to know how awesome they are and that it’s okay to need help and support. Whatever they do, whether they are a mom or not, is so important that it’s almost crazy to think that women would do that all on their own. It’s okay to have a support system, to need help. You can still be a “supermom” while having people supporting you. In this area there are too many people that feel like they have to do everything, do it perfectly and do it all by themselves. That’s not true. Other places don’t have such high expectations.
Has there been a specific patient or family that you’ve connected with?
Yes, it was about 7 years ago that a patient came to our clinic in labor. She had been in labor all night and had come into the hospital and been sent home before coming in to see me. By that point she was exhausted and wanted to be admitted. Her husband was deployed, so her sister was there with her for support. I had evaluated her and determined she was in labor and should go to the hospital. I was on call and took care of her. Because her husband was gone, he was on a video call. We had the computer there and he watched the labor and delivery that way.
She had this amazing circle of women around her—her sister’s, her mom, her grandmother. It was the most awesome birth because there was so much energy and femininity! Her sister helped me catch the baby, helped cut the cord and it was an amazing feeling! That’s the same family I’ve noe delivered two her sisters’ babies, one of her other sisters’ babies and we’re friends. I’m friends with those 3 sisters and we go to lunch and on girl dates. It all started with this amazing birth experience!
Tell me about your family.
My husband and I have been married for 18 years and have 3 children together. I have a daughter that’s 12 and then I have boy/girl twins that are 4. That’s my little family! My husband is a farmer. You don’t always hear that, but he is a full time farmer. I’m from California and a city girl. I’ve been living in Utah since college, so I’ve been living here longer now. My husband is from Roosevelt and that is where our farm is. He commutes and goes out to farm for a few days and then be with us for a few days. You could say he’s a cattle rancher and a farmer. He grows hay and corn and has a lot of cattle too. I think he has like 400 head now, I think. I work part time and am in 2 days a week.
What’s your favorite treat?
Pretty much anything chocolate. Brownies. Cookies. Hot chocolate.
Is there something your patients don’t know about you?
A lot of people wouldn’t know that my husband is a farmer. Usually my labor patients will ask. Because we are with them for hours, I get to know my labor patients really well. Or maybe that I’m from California. I don’t know that everyone knows that I’m Hispanic. My mom is from Costa Rica and so I do speak some Spanish.
What are your hobbies and favorite things to do?
I love to read, crochet and spend time with my family. We like to go to the movies, play games, watch movies at home, watch sports and travel a little bit. Everyone in our family loves to swim so we love the beach and sometimes we just go to a hotel that has a pool and let the kids swim.
What always puts you in a good mood?
I would say music. Growing up I played the piano and danced. I was really into dance growing up, music has been a big part of my life. Good music will put me in a good mood. That or sunshine. Maybe it’s from growing up in California, but sunshine is my favorite.
What’s your favorite restaurant?
Ruth’s Chris. We usually go for our anniversary.
Learn more about Erica Nelson