Kathryn graduated from Brigham Young University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing, and continued on to earn her Master’s Degree in Midwifery from the University of Utah. She has been a registered nurse since 1998, and nurse practitioner since 2002, and a practicing Certified Nurse Midwife in Utah County since 2003. She is Board Certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB). She loves spending time with her four children; 2 sons and 2 daughters. In her spare time she enjoys golfing, skiing, cooking, ballroom dance, traveling and music. It was great getting to know why she chose a career in midwifery and love that she is part of our American Fork Midwife Group! We hope you enjoy getting to know more about her.
Why did you choose to become a CNM?
Originally I wanted to become an OB/GYN. My uncle is a retired OB/GYN in Georgia and has been my mentor through the years. Ever since anatomy class in high school I wanted to do medicine. For my undergraduate degree I attended Brigham Young University and was pre-med, an accounting major and music minor. I really wanted to do everything! I love business too, but I really love medicine. After talking to the College of Nursing it was just a gut feeling that it was the right path. Being a mom was also important to me too! I went into Nursing and loved it. Along the way they brought in different graduate programs before we graduated—certified nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, nurse administrators, you know, all those different things. When I saw nurse midwifery again I knew I wanted to be part of birth.
As a nurse, I worked in critical care for 2 years and then, after working for a while, I decided to become a nurse practitioner and applied to the University of Utah. Even at that point I wasn’t sure about midwifery, but knew women’s health was something I was passionate about. During that time I worked in labor and delivery to get a feel for it. After seeing birth’s attended to by nurse midwives and physicians I absolutely knew that I wanted to become a nurse midwife. Both physicians and midwives are wonderful! For me it’s a difference in style and I loved the style of midwifery and how they supported women. Many midwife patients are unmedicated since those that desire an unmedicated birth go towards a CNM for the hands on labor support. In 2002 I completed my Nurse Practitioner and worked for a family practice physician who delivered babies. At that point I opted to complete a post-graduate degree. While working part-time as an NP, I finished my schooling and became a licenses nurse midwife in July 2003. I’ve been practicing midwifery for 16 years this summer.
I had my own practice for a while and loved it! At that point I was still single and could be on call pretty much all the time, but as life started getting busy with patients and situations arose I sought to work in a practice with other midwives. The lifestyle was hard on my own—I would go 3 days and get maybe 6 hours of sleep in 72 hours. That’s the lifestyle of Obstetricians that don’t have a group practice. I began working with a group in 2004 and had known Claudia Killebrew through the University of Utah when I did my experience to pass off to graduate. Becoming a midwife has always been brewing in me and I’ve always wanted to be part of birth. Birth never gets old! It’s enjoyable, wonderful and marvelous! Making a difference for women, helping them when they are having a hard time or feel like they can’t make it through their labor and offering the support they need is what I really love. The attachment and love you feel for your patients develops bonds that last forever!
What do you love about Valley Women’s Health?
First of all, I feel like the relationship we have with the physicians is ideal. We are partners, they support us and are great consultants. At any point we can call any of our physicians to ask them questions. It’s an important thing when you work as a nurse midwife to have a physician relationship where you are never afraid to call or like they don’t respect you. I feel respected and appreciated. We are different than physicians in style and our physicians at Valley respect our style and what we do. Sometimes the philosophy with mid-level providers, like nurse midwives or nurse practitioners, is that it’s dangerous or we don’t have the skills. Of course we aren’t going to do high-risk, complicated pregnancies, but with the support of our physicians we have all options for our patients at Valley Women’s Health.
The midwife group we have right now is one of the best cohesive groups of women! We are similar on our philosophy of birth, practice and how we support our patient. I think one thing patients are hesitant about when they start going to a practice with many providers is what if I love this one. I want patients to feel like whomever is going to come to their birth, they’ll have a great experience with all of us.
I love that Valley offers care to any patient, any woman, whatever they want or need. If they want a Nurse Practitioner, they’re here. If they want a Nurse Midwife, they’re here. If they want and Obstetrician, they’re here. If they want a Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, they’re here. We have an Oncologist and soon, a Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist. For women’s health, this is the place!
What is your favorite thing about a CNM?
My favorite part is being part of a woman’s life through all the different stages—from adolescence, to college, hrough their reproductive years, through years of thriving with their family and through their menopausal years. Overall the relationships I develop with patients over the years is probably my most favorite thing.
Again, the highlight for me is being a part of birth and the magic! It’s such a special moment to be part of and I really feel like it’s a privilege. Some will say they feel like it’s a calling, they’ve been called to be a midwife—like in your life, that’s your mission in life to help during that stage. That’s why we have so much passion about what we do.
What do you wish all women could know?
I want women to feel more empowered and be very proactive in their health. My focus as an NP and CNM is preventing versus treating disease. When a woman comes in for her physical, I educate them on vitamins, activities and exercises—different things to help them have good health versus fixing a problem later on. No one wants to come get pap smears and many don’t like mammograms, but getting those done helps us help you. It’s also important to choose a provider that you feel comfortable with and it becomes a safe place for you to discuss the issues you are having.
Tell me about your family.
I’m a “late bloomer” and didn’t get married until my early 30s. My husband was in his late 30s for a first marriage. My husband is a Physician’s Assistant in a family practice so we both have the medical background. We understand each other’s life and he is so supportive of me, my job and what I love to do. I’ve known my husband since I was 13 and had a huge crush on him since I was 13 years old. I think I’ve loved him since I put my eyes on him. We became great friends in our 20s and actually worked at the same practice together when I was a Nurse Practitioner. He helped recruit me to the family practice physician I worked with and even the doctor that worked with us couldn’t figure out why we weren’t dating. We would tell him that we were just good friends and he would say, “It seems like you are best friends. Don’t you want to marry your best friend? I would highly suggest that!” We dated on-and-off for 8 years and were just good friends. I guess you could say that I did marry my best friend. We now have 4 children—2 boys and 2 girls ranging from age 2 to 10. We’ve been married 12 years. We love skiing, traveling and the outdoors and spending time with family.
I was born and raised in Provo, UT and have kept my roots where my family is. When we first got married we thought we’d move to Arizona, where my husband went to grad school. He loved it there, however when we had our first child I wanted them to know and be around their family. There are many benefits and blessings of having people close by to help you. As they say, it takes a village to raise a family and children. I love that my village is where my roots are. My kids bring me so much joy. Finding the balance where I feel like I can be a wonderful mom and being part of my children’s lives and also be a wonderful midwife and be present in my job is very important to me. It can definitely be hard, especially on weekends when I’m gone for 24 hours. My kids are getting old enough that they ask questions about my job and my daughter, who is 8, says she wants to do what mom does and be with babies. As a woman, it’s so important to have balance and do what you love.
What is your favorite treat?
Magelby’s buttermilk pie with raspberries
What are your hobbies or favorite things to do?
We enjoy snow skiing and music. I sing, play the piano and danced ballroom in college, but I don’t do that now. I love traveling. My favorite place to go and relax is Maui—I love Hawaii! Spending time with my kids, even just the simple things of sitting home and watching a movie and playing games. I love playing games. I like the game Nerts or Code Names. They have a Disney Code Names and my kids love it! I love to cook too.
What is your favorite restaurant?
I love Italian. My favorite restaurant is Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
Learn more about Kathryn