Has the thought of natural birth or a low intervention delivery ever crossed your mind as a birth path you would like to take?
Imagine delivering your newborn baby in a “home away from home” birthing suite, with ample premium amenities, including a tub to labor in, with a midwife by your side the entire time. If this caught your attention, the new midwifery program at Ascension Sacred Heart is your dream come true! “We wanted this to be similar to a birth center but in a hospital setting. We have a living room for the families, many of the comforts of home, but with the safety of the hospital right there,” Amber Price, CNM, stated.
With the recent opening of five birthing suites at Ascension Sacred Heart, pregnant women in the Pensacola area who desire a low intervention or natural birth can also have the “peace of mind” that comes with delivering down the hall from the region’s only Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Northwest Florida’s only children’s hospital. In addition, Ascension Sacred Heart is the only local hospital with an onsite obstetrician 24/7, in case an emergency were to arise, and the regional center for high-risk pregnancy. The hospital’s personalized birth experience program, Monogram Maternity, begins during pregnancy. Women can meet with a birth designer, who will ask questions about your pregnancy and your labor and delivery preferences and help you choose from various amenities and birthing options.
It is truly the best of both worlds.
What is a Certified Nurse Midwife?
If you are wondering what exactly a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is, you are not alone. To newly pregnant mothers, the word “midwife” may be a foreign concept, especially in our local area. All certified nurse-midwives have completed both nursing school as well as an additional degree in midwifery.
Esther Davis, CNM, and Amber Price, CNM, both began their medical careers as registered nurses. Coincidentally, yet many years apart, they both received their bachelor’s degrees in nursing from the University of South Alabama and went on to receive master’s degrees and midwifery certificate from Frontier Nursing University. They are board-certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board.
Certified nurse-midwives follow low-risk pregnant women throughout their pregnancy while emphasizing wellness and normalcy. They help empower women and allow them to take greater ownership of their health, their birth plan, and the possible outcomes of their pregnancy based on the decisions they make together.
Esther Davis, CNM, has been in the “baby business” for more than 40 years, including 20 years as a nurse in labor and delivery/couplet care and 20 years as a certified nurse-midwife. Amber Price, CNM, has more than 13 years of labor and delivery experience, four of those being active duty Navy, and even a stint as a nurse at Ascension Sacred Heart eight years ago.
Why Choose a Midwife?
If you’re looking for a deeper relationship with your labor support person, a midwife may be for you. Midwifery care creates a trusting relationship between the pregnant mother and their care provider. They share the decision-making process and view pregnancy as more than just a condition to manage. Because doctors are often managing diverse and complex caseloads, midwives are able to spend more time with patients during both prenatal visits and delivery.
Esther and Amber rotate seeing patients with each visit so that when the delivery time comes, the patient is familiar and comfortable with both of the midwives. The midwives are overseen by OB-GYN Lynda Gilliam, MD, and also coordinate care with the OB hospitalists if needed during delivery.
“During every visit, we give moms a little pep talk and help prepare them both physically and mentally for their own personalized birthing experience. Labor and delivery is hard work and takes a lot of encouragement. That is what we are there for,” Davis stated. “We are just as excited as the moms are when that baby comes out because the mothers did it, mostly by themselves!”
Studies show that women who have chosen midwives as their pregnancy providers have reduced cesarean rates and also reduced rates of other medical interventions, without compromising the safety of mom or baby. Esther and Amber mentioned that they will do everything they can to make a mother’s birth plan happen while ensuring each decision is in the best interest of the mother and baby’s health.
The overall sentiment from both Esther and Amber is a desire to empower women not only throughout pregnancy but also during the delivery process. “I want your birth to be as awesome as mine was. We are there to hold your hand, rub your back, and help YOU deliver your baby,” Davis stated.
Even though my own family is complete and there are no more babies in my future, there was a brief moment while speaking with Esther and Amber when I actually wanted to have another baby just so I could experience delivery with them! I immediately felt a connection with them because of their passion for what they do. I can’t fathom the relationships they form with their patients over a nine-month period. These women are truly there for the pregnant woman undergoing all of the physical and mental changes that one does throughout pregnancy.
“You can’t run a marathon tomorrow unless you practice today. That’s what we are here for. We prepare you for your personal marathon during each visit,” Davis stated.
While I will never deliver another baby, or run a marathon, for that matter, I can tell you I would be completely confident with Esther or Amber by my side during either one. I can’t wait to see what this amazing new program at Ascension Sacred Heart will do for the moms in our area.