Every Woman Deserves A Midwife

I am a Midwife and this is MY Moment of Truth.  When my husband and I decided to start our family, well let’s just say, a long time ago; I realized that I wanted something more, needed something more from my healthcare provider.  I chose a nurse midwife.  All three of my children were born into the loving hands of the women who also raised me, lifted me up, taught me to be who I am today.  For bringing my children safely into this world, for helping me to be a mother, for mentoring me, I am forever in your dept.  Thank You from the bottom of my heart!!

I believe that God called me to be a midwife, just as God called me to be a wife and a mother.   I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I have always said that I wanted to give back to women the gift that was given to me (us).  My husband and my children do just that as well.  They understand the gift that we were given and understand the mission.  When mom is on call and duty calls,  all is well.  Life is fine.  My children are no worse for the wear.  My hubby rules the roost:)

This is just a little piece of heaven that I get to experience with women…made for me by a very special patient….take a look….

Just as I accepted the calling in the beginning, I have resigned myself to the fact that my new role is now one of advocate.  My mission, my partners’ mission, has always been to serve the women of Northern Ky.  We were born here, we were raised here, we consider the women of Northern Ky. “our women”.  Now, the choices for midwifery care have been limited yet again.  We believe that women deserve choices.  We believe that every woman deserves care that is respectful, that is focused on her own set of unique needs, that includes her as a partner, and is driven by sound, evidenced -based care.  This is the type of care that we provide.

Over the last several weeks, this is just a sampling of the things we have heard women say….over and over and over again.

You (ladies) were the first people that ever listed to me

I came to you because I wanted a midwife

I want a natural childbirth and I know that you will be with me

I am staying with you

You need to open your own practice

You need to open your own birth center

Women are tired of having the rug pulled out from under them

There is no way that I can possibly articulate each woman’s story.  They are very personal and I cannot possibly do them justice.  However, there is a way for everyone to be heard…to use our voices!!!

Get Involved in Our Moment of Truth

Rather than telling you how you should maintain your health or who you should be working with, Our Moment of Truth™ encourages you to become aware of your health care options and make informed decisions based on what’s best for your own needs and preferences. Our Moment of Truth offers education and options so that you can seek the best type of care and provider for your needs and improve your well-being through campaign information and resources.


By participating in the Our Moment of Truth campaign, you can help increase understanding of women’s health care needs and the types of services that should be available to meet them. Let’s work together to make change happen—learn more about easy ways to get involved and share Your Moment of Truth.


Take the Pledge [link to http://ourmomentoftruth.midwife.org/OMOT_TakeThePledge]

Share Your Story [link to http://ourmomentoftruth.midwife.org/OMOT_ShareYourStory]

Please, also leave your stories on our page here or on our Facebook page.  How has this affected you?

Our Moment of Truth and the American College of Nurse-Midwives


The American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM)—one of the oldest women’s health care organizations in the United States—is the national organization that represents certified nurse-midwives and certified midwives in the United States. ACNM has embarked on an ambitious plan to help the United States refocus on and improve women’s health care services and, as a result, women’s health. With Our Moment of Truth, ACNM aims to redefine how women understand the health care options available to them.


Learn more about ACNM by visiting www.midwife.org.


Visit www.ourmomentoftruth.com to learn more about how the high-quality care of a midwife can address women’s needs.

It’s time for a change!!!!!!



Until We Meet Again: The Dissolution of a Practice


Gianna, daughter of Lindsey and Nick Martin, being welcomed into the loving hands of Shauna Zerhusen

It is with great sadness that we announce that The Christ Hospital has decided to dissolve The Christ Hospital Physician’s Certified Nurse Midwifery practice after only ten months.  We are sad for our women especially who took the great leap of faith to follow us, believing that we would be by their sides for the most important and intimate times of their lives.  We believed that this would be a permanent home for us, and we would never had asked women to follow us if we thought that this wouldn’t be the case.  For this we are truly sorry.  That fact that we will not be by our women’s sides, to be there for the birth of their babies, to see them through their journey to becoming parents, truly breaks our hearts.


The truth of the matter is this, health care is a business.  Women need to have choices in the type of care that they receive and they also need to let health systems know that money should not be the only force that drives the decisions of policy makers.  Our Midwifery practice had less than an 8.75% cesarean rate, a 4% episiotomy rate, a 70% natural child birth rate, all with exceptional maternal and neonatal outcomes. Yet our care was not supported.  We believe that every woman deserves a midwife for her obstetric and gynecologic care should she so choose.  We also believe that woman are best served when a partnership is created between midwives, their collaborating obstetricians and a hospital system that all respect and value the services each bring to the table.  We have found that recognizing such physicians and systems is harder than it seems, but it is possible.  We have been overwhelmed by the tremendous outpouring of support that we have received from our patients, fellow midwives, physician colleagues, friends and families.  We are very hopeful that we will find a new group of physicians to back us and we are actively working on securing a new home for our practice.  As we know more, we will continue to keep you updated here.

In the mean time, we understand that woman need to continue their care.  We know from experience that it is women who make the health care decisions for their families.  Moving forward, we hope that everyone is able to continue with care givers that provide the same level of service that we provided in our practice.

“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.” -Maya Angelou

Make Mother’s Day Count for Every Mother

Embed from Getty Images


There should be a song for women to sing at this moment, or a prayer to recite. But perhaps there is none because there are no words strong enough to name the moment.”   Anita Diamant, The Red Tent


Being a Midwife allows me to have the joy of bringing new mothers into the world every day.  It is the most awe inspiring profession in the universe,  one of great importance that has been handed down since the time of Moses.  As Midwives, my partners and I are there not only to make sure that a woman’s physical and medical needs are being met, but also to accompany her on her journey to becoming a new person herself, a mother.  Becoming a mother is not a moment in time but a process that begins when a woman contemplates her pregnancy.   Sometimes it is even unplanned, but still a tiny little miracle that grows and blossoms inside.  To watch the changes that happen in women throughout their pregnancy and to travel this road along with them gives us a sense of connectedness to all of those who have come before us and to all who have yet to come.  This sense of connectedness is what carries us through the tough times, and helps us lift our moms up where they need to go.  Our job is to make them feel so important, so powerful, so confident in their abilities to bring forth new life into this world that they can say “I did this!”, and then carry that feeling inside for a lifetime.

However, some women are not so lucky.  Each year,  287,000 women die each year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth.  That is one woman every 2 minutes.  In some regions of the world, many woman give birth alone, without the help of a skilled birth attendant to see them through their journey to becoming a mother.  They must walk alone, traveling long distances before they reach help.  Many of them die along the way.  99% of maternal deaths take place in developing countries.  Even in the U.S., some woman are not getting the proper prenatal care they need.  The U.S. ranks 50th world wide in terms of maternal health.  We lose 2 women in the U.S every day.  90% of all of these deaths are preventable.

What can we do to help?  Visit Everymothercounts leading up to mothers day and every other day to become part of the solution.  Here are five easy ways you can help:

Become an Advocate:  Share your birth story with Every Mother Counts.  Be the voice for other girls and women who can’t use theirs. By simply telling your own birth story, you are helping to raise awareness about maternal health.  By sharing on social media, you are creating your own network to join the fight to end the suffering.

Walk, Run, Bike:    This is really cool!!!  Click here to download the Charity Miles app, an app that lets you earn 25¢ per mile for Every Mother Counts, whenever you run OR walk, and 10¢ per mile whenever you bike.  You can do this while taking a stroll around your own neighborhood.  I soooo know some friends to recruit to do this with me!!!!  Don’t forget to like this post at Musingsofamidwife on Facebook or post a comment when you download the app to help us spread the word 🙂

Recycle your old cell phones:  these old cell phones put health care workers in remote areas in touch with what they need to help women.  It’s as easy as packing them up & printing out a prepaid shipping label.  

Volunteer:  At home and abroad, many of the organizations that Every mother counts supports through grants are in need of volunteers.  A full list can be found on the website, Midwives for Haiti included 🙂

Host a showing:  Share Christy Turlington Burn’s documentary No Woman, No Cry & inspire more people to become involved in the fight to end needless suffering.


Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart 🙂
~ Unknown




Nora is TWO!

I am showing this post from “I will carry you” as it describes perfectly what it means to care for a special needs child.  As Midwives, we are often in the position of breaking the news to patients that their version of the “perfect” child will not be.  That is not to say that life will not hold many special gifts for them and that life will not be wonderful in the long run.  However, this is a very difficult concept for parents to grasp.  This is a beautiful illustration of letting go and letting be, whatever life has in store for us.  Thank You Nora for teaching us what a beautiful life this can be, for all of us!!!!



So here we are with a big giant 2 year old little girl. Nora’s birthday was April 17th and I am astounded at how fast the time has gone by. I look back to those scary newborn days and can hardly believe how far Nora has come; how far we have come.


One of our awesome nurses, Kate C. getting us ready to be discharged from the hospital ~ April 2012

As we left the hospital that sunny afternoon, we stepped blindly out onto the dark water as Peter did. Jesus beckoned us forth with arms outstretched. Taking a baby home from the hospital who was SUPPOSEDLY “incompatible with life” certainly made about as much sense as walking on water. “How in the world are we supposed to do this????” we pleaded. It was an outrageous proposition! We weren’t equipped with a medical background. We did not possess some sort…

View original post 916 more words

A Midwife’s Guide to Skin Changes in Pregnancy

Embed from Getty Images


I have been a Midwife for a long time and to this day I am still amazed at all the wondrous little changes that need to take place in our bodies in order to bring forth our babies.  One of my favorite things to point out to our moms-to-be is how all of this is built into our DNA from the very beginning and how our body has all the information it needs to make the process happen.  One of the changes that prompt the most questions in our midwifery practice are the skin changes of pregnancy.  Here are just a few and some helpful hints to go along with them.

Overall Skin Sensitivity– Your skin is much more sensitive during pregnancy leaving you prone to sunburns and mild rashes.  Be sure to lather on the sunscreen an use a mild soap such as Dove or Dial when your cleanse.

Acne– The increase in hormones and the increase in blood flow which causes increased oil production during pregnancy can cause an increase in pimples.  You can use a mild oatmeal based facial scrub to help unplug oily pours.  Prescription anti-acne treatments such as Accutane, Retin A cannot be used during pregnancy .  Also be sure to ask your midwife/doctor about any topical creams you may be using as they may contain chemical that are not safe.  You may use benzoyl peroxide.

Mask of pregnancy- In medical terms this is called chloasma.  Not all women will see this but it will usually start to appear sometime during the second trimester.  It is when the pregnancy hormones estrogen and progesterone stimulate the melanin cells in your skin to produce more pigment although unevenly.  It can happen anywhere on your face but usually appears around your eyes, giving you the appearance of a mask.  Avoiding the sun and applying make up to even out the appearance of the mask can help.

Darkened areas- freckles, moles, birthmarks on your skin will darken.  Even your areola (the darker area around your nipple) and nipples of your breast become much darker.  The moles, freckles, etc. will revert back to their original color.  However, your nipples and areola may continue to be a little darker than they were pre-pregnancy.  The purpose of the darkened areola is to help your baby find his/her way to the breast (along with their sense of smell).  Unmedicated babies, if placed immediately on mom’s belly after birth, will crawl to the breast.   See it in action here.  It is sooooo  cool!!!!!

Linea Nigra- This is the dark line that extends upward from the pubic bone to the navel and sometimes upward from the navel as well.  I like to think of it as a road map.   Part of the system above, this line helps baby make his/her way to the breast.

Spider veins- are caused by the increased hormones and increased blood volume.  The body will make additional collateral circulation near the surface of the skin to handle this additional blood volume.  Some of them may not go completely away after pregnancy.  If they are bothersome a dermatologist can treat them with a special injection after your pregnancy is over.

Stretch Marks-These little marks seem to cause the most worry for moms to be.   Stretch marks happen when your body grows faster than your skin can keep up with. This causes the elastic fibers just under the surface of the skin to break, resulting in stretch marks. About 90% of all women will get stretch marks in areas that are growing the fastest, i.e. tummy, buttocks, thighs, breast.  The marks often start out reddish or purple, but after pregnancy they gradually fade to white or gray.  So, how do you avoid stretch marks?  Notice I said that stretch marks are caused by a break down in the fibers below the skin rather than on the skin itself.    I am sorry to say, no skin cream in the world is going to help.  Do not be fooled by anyone or any add that tells you so!!!   Women who are of average weight to begin with should gain 25-30 pounds for a healthy pregnancy.   10 pounds of this is during the first 20 weeks and 20 pounds thereafter.  Therefore, in order to avoid stretch marks, it may be a good idea to gain this weight at an even pace rather than in big bursts.  These stretch marks usually occur in the last month when you are usually putting on a pound a week.  For most women, one or two stretch marks may just be a fact of life.  Genetics also plays a big part.  If your mother gave you the gift of good connective tissue, you may avoid them!!!  Look on the bright side, they fade after pregnancy and become less noticeable over time 🙂

Ending on a Good Note!!!  The Pregnancy Glow- We see it enough to know that it is real.  Some woman are lucky enough not to get the acne, but this.  During pregnancy, there is increased blood flow, and hence increased oil production in the skin,  which gives the skin in the face a slightly waxy sheen.  The increase in small vessels just under the skin also make the skin look slightly blushed.

Try to take it all in stride.  Your body is doing everything it is supposed to be doing.  Pregnancy is only nine months and it is over before you know it.






March For Babies

The Hurtt family knows all too well the pain of having a child born too early.   Their first child; Parker, was born prematurely at 32 weeks.

Born a little too early

Parker, born a little too soon…

Thank heavens for them he is now a healthy six-year-old.  The Hurtts understood the importance of “going the full 40” and would do anything to spare any future children what Parker had to go through.

Fortunately by the time Jillian Hurtt became pregnant with her other children, advancements had been made in the treatments for preterm labor.  Under the care of her Nurse-Midwives, Jillian received weekly hormone treatments that helped her carry her babies longer.  While this advancement in the treatment of preterm labor is certainly exciting, more research is needed to help prevent the first preterm delivery.  This is just one of the many areas of research that the March of Dimes is working on to improve the lives of babies.  The March of Dimes is also committed to ending birth defects, providing community education and emotional support to families with ill infants.

Not only do the Nurse-Midwives of The Christ Hospital work diligently on a daily basis to make sure moms and babies are healthy, but we also want to help support the work of the March of Dimes.  On April 27th, our practice will be participating in the March of Dimes March for Babies!!!!  We are praying for beautiful weather and hope that you will help us support this great organization by joining us on our walk.  It’s a great way to enjoy a beautiful day, beautiful babies and beautiful downtown Cincinnati!!!!  Of course, your generous donation to support this great organization is always appreciated.  Click here to see our March for Babies team page and to join us in our fight to make the world a better place for babies and families….

Our Ambassador kids... Parker, Lillian & Luke

Our Ambassador kids… Parker, Layla & Luke


Packing for Your Baby’s Arrival-Don’t Leave Home Without It

Spring makes me think of flowers, and babies, and taxes…taxes…but we don’t want to go there!!!!  I really prefer to stick with the happy things in life.  I started to think that a packing list for the hospital might be helpful.  Being the research queen, I went online to see what was out there as far as recommendations go and found that many publications seemed to have parents packing for a short vacation!!!!  Lordy, we really do not want you staying in the hospital more than you have to.  We want to get you back home where you will be comfy and cozy.   Short and sweet is best in my book.  Here is this Nurse Midwife’s packing list for baby’s big day:

Luggage set

In Your Purse for the Hospital Pack

  • Your driver’s license, insurance card.
  • Your birth planIf you feel you need one.  You will have discussed this with your provider already but this copy is for the nurses.
  • Contact list-whether this is separate or on your smartphone, to make the big announcement after baby arrives.
  • A small amount of cash and change for dad to use at the gift shop, cafeteria or vending machines (most hospitals do have ATMs to use in a pinch also).
  • Mints or a few hard candies for dad- I can’t tell you how many times I have had poor dad be accused of having bad breath.  All because he hasn’t had time to get a drink and because he has been huffing and puffing with you.  Do him and yourself a favor!!!!
  • Eyeglasses-if you wear them or if you wear contacts that may need to come out later.
  • Your cell phone and charger.  Do not forget your charger!!!! Especially if you own a smartphone you know how invaluable this will be later on for your contact list, pictures, announcing the birth and ordering take out!
  • Camera or video recorder if you plan on using one separate from your smartphone.  Check your hospital’s policy on video recording during labor and birth.
  • Music or relaxation tools-check with your hospital or support person to see what type of equipment they have before packing, this may not even be necessary.  Our hospital plays nice relaxing music on our TVs that is perfect for labor.  Other items to consider include lavender oil or back massager.

For Your Bag

  • T-shirt, leggings, sleepwear, robe, nursing bra, several pair of undies.  Sports bra or bathing suit if you plan to get in the tub.  In our practice you may opt to wear your own clothes or a hospital gown during labor.  You may wear/or not wear whatever you feel most comfortable in for the tub.   A robe is a must in case you decide to walk up and down the hallway during your labor.  The hospital provides what we call our beautiful “victoria secret” stretchy mesh panties and pads but afterwards you might feel better in your own.  Comfort is the key…and of course, your outfit to go home in.
  • Slippers, socks, shoes to go home in-Something comfy to cover your feet during labor and to walk the halls in afterwards.  Remember, your feet may actually be more swollen after labor than they are now, so plan for it.
  • Toiletries-shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, contact solution, makeup, lip balm. You probably will just feel better with your own.
  • Outfits for baby-remember baby will be having his/her first photo op.  Also, he/she will have sharp little finger nails so pack an outfit that comes with the cute little covers for the little hands.  Invaluable!
  • Your baby’s memory book-so that we can put your baby’s foot prints in this for you.

Things on other lists that I would leave at home.  Remember; what you cart in you have to cart back out (plus a newborn)!!!!  We want to make this a stress free as possible.

  • pillows-the hospital has plenty I promise.  We know how to position them for comfort, labor and for breastfeeding!!!!
  • breast pump-If you are going to breastfeed we want to get baby to the breast.  If you need a breast pump, the hospital has the appropriate one for you to use.
  • nursing pads, nursing creams-your breasts make only a couple of drops of colostrum after the baby is born.  No need for pads at this point.  We will supply any nursing cream (lanolin) if you need it.
  • Feminine pads-we provide those too…along with the “victoria secret” mesh panties!!!
  • nail clippers for baby-experienced moms will tell you that you should not clip your baby’s nails right away, it is an accident waiting to happen.  See my comment above about covering your baby’s hands.
  • watch-not to worry-we have equipment for timing contractions too.
  • white noise machine-please….again, what you cart in, you have to take out.
  • books, magazines-You will now have a new family member to get acquainted with!  We will be giving you lots of information and handouts, plus lots of personal attention.  In between, we hope that you will be resting.

As you can see, the list of what not to pack is almost as long as what to pack.  Even if you were to forget your bag, it is not the end of the world.  We have all the necessities to get you through until someone can go home and get your personal stuff.  No worries!!!!

ACOG Releases Statement to Reduce Cesarean Sections

Anyone who knows me personally knows that I am a research geek.  I thrive on keeping up with the news, especially anything that pertains to health care.  The internet is my personal heaven on earth for all that is going on in the world.  I can subscribe to what seems like a hundred different news feeds all in one place.  I really about fell off my chair last week when all of my social media sites started to blow up with shares about the joint statement that was released by the American College of Gynecologist (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal -Fetal Medicine entitled Safe Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Delivery  (full article).  See Science & Sensibility for a great synopsis of the article.

I hate to say I told ya’ so  but I’m going to say it…Seems like Midwives have been saying this exact sort of thing for years!

This document should have been titled The Midwife Solution-Prevention of the Primary Cesarean Section!!!

One of the things ACOG mentions in their position statement is that the Friedman curve should not be utilized any longer and that the Consortium on Safe Labor Data (study 2002-2006) be used in assessing length of labor.  The Consortium basically says that normal labors are longer than previously described by Friedman, a conclusion found by Leah Albers, CNM in her studies dating back to 1996.  Glad to see some more validation and hope that they put the statement into action.

Another point that I found interesting is that this statement found that labor support by doulas has been shown to be beneficial and is probably under-utilized.  Funny the report makes no mention recommending care by  Midwives, even though the Cochrane data base and a 2012 US systematic review published in Women’s Health Issues found that midwifery led care was safe, satisfying and should be offered to all low risk woman.   See the American College of Nurse Midwives press release here.  ACOG has another position statement which states that their members should work collaboratively with CNMs, but nowhere is that statement referenced in this one.  Are they getting a little territorial?

At the end of the day in our practice, it really doesn’t matter what ACOG’s position is on this matter.  Because you see, we (Midwives in general and our practice specifically) do not have a problem with cesarean sections.  What I come back to is that I feel very fortunate to be a part of a profession that takes excellent care of women and babies.  I also feel very fortunate to have a great group of back up physicians who practice evidenced- based medicine, who do not rush to cesarean sections if mom and baby are doing well (their cesarean rate is well below the national average).  We collaborate with each other.   We realize that each of our professions have something unique to bring to the table and that by working together, we improve the health of women more so than by working alone.   This makes me happy!!!!!

Woman Power Through Natural Childbirth

I have been thinking quite a bit about natural childbirth lately.  Nothing sends a Midwife over the moon like a good natural childbirth.  In our midwifery practice, we have seen a huge increase in the number of women who are choosing to go the unmedicated route for their births:) I really am not sure why that is.  Is it a growing trend?  I hope so…or are we just attracting more of these types of patients because we have made the reputation for ourselves for being supportive?  I do know that woman were meant to give birth, and that natural childbirth certainly has many benefits, some that last a lifetime.

Women have been giving birth for millions of years, without the aid of pain relief. Our bodies were built for this. When we are able to complete this task successfully, we gain a special insight and ability to trust our inner strength. This carries over for the rest of our lives.

Once we tap into this innate strength and power, we tend to have a different outlook on disease, fatigue, parenting, difficult situations, life itself. We can do anything, face anything!

When we choose natural childbirth, we are in control. We choose how the labor will go and accept the challenge rather than being a passive participant. This leads to a more positive birth experience in many instances.

When we choose natural childbirth, our hormones peak at exactly the time that nature intended rather than being misplaced on the anesthetist.  Moms become lost in their babies.  Babies are more alert and nurse better.

Unmedicated births are safe!

I once had a nurse I worked with tell me “you know, they don’t give out medals for going natural”.  How wrong she was.  A woman carries that “medal” with her for the rest of her life.  I call it Medal001

If you are interested in a great resource for natural childbirth, check out Mindful Birthing by Nancy Bardacke, CNM.  I was able to attend a workshop given by Nancy many years ago as a young midwife and Mandy and I will be attending another one this year at the ACNM conference in Denver.  We are so excited!!!  Read a review of her book here.  You can purchase the book on Amazon.

  Feel free to leave your babbles on our page.  We would love to hear from you!!!!