Lake Washington Midwives
Lake Washington Midwives is one of the two resident practices at PSBC-Kirkland, holding clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Read on to learn about each midwife...
LM, CPM, Co-owner
The discovery of my life’s calling, amazingly enough, happened on a Mother’s Day. In 1993 I was asked to video and photograph a friend’s home birth. I eagerly said yes, as I was pre-med at the University of Washington and had never attended a birth before. As time disappeared and the awe inspiring process of labor and birth unfolded, I found myself enraptured, at peace, and so grateful for the privilege to bear witness to such a miracle. I felt at home in the atmosphere of birth, and as the first sounds of the newborn rang into the room I realized I had found my calling. Many years have passed, and almost 800 births later I am still in awe of the birthing process, and thrilled that I get to offer the midwifery model of care which I believe in so deeply, to so many different kinds of people. What makes our care different, in a word, is listening. My intention when I sit with people in a prenatal visit or during their birthing process is to offer a quality of listening within the moment. This allows for a more fluid sense of time to evolve. I believe that within such a quality of timing, everthing is possible and balance and a sense of flow are more accessible. Questions find their answers, conversations create connections, and babies discover how to nurse.
I am always learning from this work that I love and the people I meet in it, and always I am humbled by the power that women possess and the wisdom in the eyes of the newborns.
I have a similar awe in my garden when new seeds poke their noses through the earth. Gardening in the sanctuary that is the land we live on, brings me great joy and balance. As well as “catching babies”, tending to growing families, and being one of the owners of Puget Sound Birth Center, I am on faculty at Bastyr University Department of Midwifery and I sit on the Department of Health Midwifery Advisory Committee. It is really only because of my incredibly supportive and lovely wife that I can do all of this, as well as tending to our two beautifully passionate boys and the myriad of four legged and winged creatures we share our home with. My other passions include growing food, baking (I’ve finally mastered the gluten free pie crust!), making pottery, sewing, being outside, and listening to the birds, all of which are exponentially better of course when shared with my family!
I grew up in New England and had never heard of midwifery or homebirth until I moved to California after college. There, I met women who had given birth at home, and I was enthralled. It struck me as beautiful, a little crazy and at the same time the most natural thing in the world. I began to learn all I could about birth, and enrolled at Seattle Midwifery School in 2003.
After becoming a Licensed Midwife in 2006 I worked for the next 8 years caring for families on the Olympic Peninsula with my long-time mentor and friend Kathy Luch. I loved being a small-town midwife and seeing bellies, babies, and families growing over the years. My own two sweet fierce daughters were born at home with Kathy's quiet and unflagging support.
When my younger daughter started school, I was ready to work more at this job I love so much. I considered registering as a midwife in Canada, where midwives attend both hospital and home births, and I completed a training program in Toronto to gain hospital birth skills. I embraced the new challenge of managing epidurals and inductions, but Washington midwifery still felt like home to me. The truth is that I don't want to manage birth. I want to support you, and help you feel comfortable and safe, and occasionally offer suggestions and options, and then hold space for you as you find your own unique amazing way to bring your child into the world.
This year marks a full decade for me of being both a midwife and a mother. Both are callings I feel incredibly passionate about, both required a huge leap of faith, and both occasionally involve losing sleep! My decision to become a midwife was in some ways similar to how I tackle tough parenting choices, and to how many of our clients come to choose midwifery care and home or birth center birth—we gather information, do our research, and trust our intuition. Part of what I love about this work is facilitating those choices, listening, and honoring the process as it unfolds. Just like in parenting, there is no perfect way and very few rules, and what’s right for one family might not work for another. We need information, resources, and respectful support—not judgment and not spoon-fed answers.
In order to do both of these oh-so-important jobs of midwife and mother, and to do them well, I need a supportive team, a sense of humor, time to devote to my family, and a moment here and there for reflection and self-care—which for me means running, dancing, gardening, getting out into the woods, and doing the crossword puzzle. My work at the Puget Sound Birth Center with my beloved colleagues Ali and Melissa feeds my soul, honors my family, and offers me the opportunity to provide care for truly wonderful families. I feel overwhelming gratitude and commitment to this work, my fellow midwives, and the diverse, amazing individuals and families who choose us for their care.
I found my way into midwifery during a major transition in my life. At the time I was feeling unfulfilled with my job in advertising and was ready for a career change. I was searching for a field where I could share my heart and passion for supporting women, but I hadn't yet found that field. Desperate for a solution, I tried something new - I began to meditate! How we start our days determines how we spend our days, and I wanted to spend my days doing work that I was passionate about, so I spent 10 quiet minutes every morning before work asking for answers to my career dilemma. It turned out that meditation was not one of my natural talents, so it took a year of practice and patience before I got answers! But it was worth the wait.
As soon as I learned that my lifework is to be a midwife, doors opened rapidly for me. Within a few weeks I was enrolled at National Midwifery Institute and had launched my doula business. I quickly fell in love with witnessing birth and I was delighted by the new information and experiences I was soaking up. Everything about midwifery felt natural and familiar to me - like I had found my way home.
As a student I apprenticed under multiple midwives along the California coast and after graduating I opened my private practice. My practice was founded on my philosophy that pregnancy and birth are normal, healthy experiences for women and babies. However many women in our modern world are missing the education and support system to help navigate the journey to motherhood. My role as a midwife is to offer a woman my attention and knowledge so she feels supported, heard, and educated - I love offering this care! I want women to know that our entire integrated system is built for pregnancy, birth and motherhood. To support that system, I practice integrative medicine which combines traditional and modern medicine for optimal health. This includes paying thoughtful attention to mental and emotional wellness, because our mental game forms our outlook on life and emotions show us what needs our attention.
Running my private practice taught me a great deal about myself, midwifery, contributing to my community and operating a business. It was an important step in my development, however solo practice is not my niche. I am meant to work on a team of midwives, so I began to search for my people - which is how I came to join the amazing women at Puget Sound Birth Center! I look forward to being a part of your journey to motherhood as one of your Lake Washington Midwives!