Originally from New Jersey and a graduate of Brown University ('86), I relocated to Seattle in 1989 to attend the Seattle Midwifery School and have since made the Puget Sound my home. My husband, Gary May, and I have two daughters, Camille and Olivia, both born at home with midwives and our families in attendance.
The word "sovereignty" is the best descriptor I have found for what I wanted as a pregnant and birthing woman: freedom to be my own authority. I believe that as women, as families, we have a right to the quantity and quality of information that enables sovereignty for each of us. In any setting, this is what we deserve. This is the standard of care we are committed to providing for each and every one of the families in our care. More than a medical event, we facilitate the opportunity to experience birth as what it is: a life-changing event worthy of whole presence and participation
– body, mind, heart and soul.
I was tremendously fortunate to have joined the Puget Sound Birth Center, in 1999, as the practice partner of PSBC founder, LeeAnne Shelley. Following LeeAnne's retirement I am very pleased to be in practice with my dear friend and colleague, Ali
Tromblay, LM. We are committed to the Midwifery Model of Care
– informed choice, risk management, evidence based care and continuity of relationship
– that makes modern professional midwifery safe and satisfying.
Ali Tromblay, CPM, LM,
I was raised by a very loving, close-knit family, who instilled
in me a great respect for the importance of the family unit as a
foundation for successful movement through life. It is from this
place that I see the importance of my job.
birth of a baby is an initiation and an enormous transition in a
family whether it is your first baby or your sixth. If you come
away from your birth experience feeling informed, respected and
empowered, then I feel I have served you well. It is from this
place that I hope you will then feel empowered in future
decisions concerning the health and well-being of your family.
The midwifery model of care makes it easy to provide quality
care to families, and I have such a good time doing it. I am
privileged to meet interesting people, share stories and
information, get to know different families and lifestyles, and
share with them the beautiful moment of bringing their child
into the world. The fun is also in getting to custom make my
care to fit your needs as I learn more about what works for you.
Birth is always an adventure, each one is different, and I
learn something new from each family and each experience...
midwifery definitely never gets boring! Now that I have two
children, both recently born at the birth center with midwives,
I feel even more deeply the importance of what we offer
families. In a word, time. This world moves so fast these days,
I treasure the time, stillness and connection with people that
my work as a midwife offers to me and to the families I serve.
I did years of doula work before and after graduating pre-med
from the University of Washington. This time of providing doula
care to new families opened my eyes and my heart to midwifery
care and I knew instantly upon attending my first birth that I
wanted to be a midwife.
I then went on for my midwifery education at Seattle Midwifery
School. I have studied and worked with many different doctors
and midwives over the years, and I feel so blessed by my
partnership with Valerie, and by the opportunity we have here at
the birth center. Puget Sound Birth Center is the perfect
peaceful environment for our practice, and we are lucky to have
great relationships with many area doctors to consult with as
needed to provide safe and satisfying care to our clients.
Tracy Cooper, LM
It was the experience of going to my first birth that
really hooked me into doing this work. When my cousin invited
me, spur of the moment, in labor, to come be with her, I didn’t
know I’d be right there holding her leg and watching up close
the birth of her baby girl…along with my mother, her mother, our
grandma, and the baby girl’s adoptive parents. I witnessed her
fiercely determined face as she pushed her baby out, and felt
the love and anxious anticipation on each face encircling her in
that hospital room. It was the coolest thing I’d ever seen--a
person coming out of a person! My mind was blown for good, and I
knew I needed to learn more about this experience of birth. The
gift she gave me changed the direction of my path.
degree in English Literature, I thought I might become a teacher
or a writer, a student of the drama of human life. However, I
was also interested in issues related to women’s health. It soon
became clear that midwifery was the way in which I wanted to
support what is a natural process involving the mind, body, and
spirit—a physical event our bodies are well designed for, but
also an emotional, psychological, spiritual, cultural, even
political event. A process that women and families have the
ability to be informed about, make conscious decisions during,
and be active participants in. Midwifery holds all of these
aspects together, offering women information, support, and
guidance while honoring that ultimately, the decisions rest in
her hands. I came to Seattle and attended Seattle Midwifery
School where I graduated in 1998, and began Expecting The Best
Midwifery Care with my partner and friend Michelle Sarju.
I come from a family where service to others is highly
valued, so my own family biography prepared me for midwifery. My
great grandmother was a midwife. My grandparents were
missionaries for 60 years. My father is a retired firefighter,
and my mother worked for 25 years as a medical assistant in an
OB-GYN/Midwifery practice. I also heard painful stories from my
grandmother and other women in my family about their own birth
experiences. I wanted to make sure that I could work in a way
that would lessen these kinds of experiences by providing women
with options and support. Like many midwives, I feel this work
is not just a job, but a calling.
Ideally, every family
having a baby would have a network of support providing them
with access to every appropriate tool available to them. I view
birth as a normal process that usually needs lots of support and
very little intervention. I also believe in the appropriate and
judicious use of technology when it is becomes necessary. My
best skill as a midwife is my ability to listen and care.
In 2011, I came to work with my friends and classmates at
Lake Washington Midwives. We welcome former clients of Expecting
The Best Midwifery Care.
My husband and I are also
satisfied consumers of midwifery care, and have two girls who
were born at home.
Hughes, LM, CPM
I became quickly amazed and intrigued with midwifery
care following the home birth of my nephew. In the year that
followed, I explored childbirth options and also chose to have a
midwife attended home birth. In doing so, I discovered that
choices in pregnancy, birth and infant care have profound
impacts on our lives and well-being; and that our experiences in
birth, giving birth and being born, play an important role in
how we relate to ourselves and the world around us.
The care that I provide as a midwife is guided by my
understanding that pregnancy and birth can be a time of great
joy and challenge. My hope is to create an environment of care
where mothers and families feel supported and empowered.
I attended Seattle Midwifery School, and stand on the shoulders
of many great midwives who facilitated my training. I currently
serve as Secretary on the Midwifery Association of Washington
State Board of Directors and Project Coordinator for the
Washington State Perinatal Collaborative quality improvement
initiative Smooth Transitions: Enhancing the Safety of Planned
Out of Hospital Birth Transports.
My personal interests include gardening, cooking, art and above
all spending time with my family.
"Thank you. Gosh, how inadequate those words
are! Two syllables cannot possibly convey the depth of the
gratitude and affection I feel.
Valerie, thank you for the wonderful care and support you
gave me throughout this pregnancy, and for the wonderful
postpartum support too. Thanks for your patient, quiet,
loving support during Katie's birth. Thanks, especially,
for the three words you spoke so soothingly when I felt
overwhelmed in the moment before birth: ‘Let it be’.
You are a remarkable woman, in a remarkable profession."