Lake Washington Midwives
Lake Washington Midwives is one of the two resident practices at PSBC-Kirkland. Valerie Sasson, Ali Tromblay, Tracy Cooper and Melissa Hughes hold clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays. They use electronic charting through Private Practice, which clients love for the ability to access their own medical records and test results from their computer or phone at any time.
Read on to learn about each midwife...
LM, CPM, Co-owner
I did not grow up with midwifery. It was the wrong time, wrong State, wrong country. Raised in suburban New Jersey and educated at Brown University in Providence Rhode Island, I don't know who among my foremothers were midwives, though certainly there were midwives among those who emigrated to Pennsylvania from the Alsace region of Germany and France. I was in my mid 20's before I met my first home birth midwife. Ina May Gaskin addressed the Brown Medical School community about breech birth and was warm and welcoming to the eager young woman I was then.
By luck and grace and opportunity, I have become a midwife of the old ways and the new. I am so grateful to say that not one of you reading this can say it is the wrong time or the wrong place for midwifery. No doubt the oldest profession, midwifery has returned like a phoenix out of the ashes to re-set the standard of care for women and families across the United States.
I moved to Washington in 1989 to attend the Seattle Midwifery school following an invaluable seven year detour in community health at Country Doctor clinic in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood. I've lived here a long time now and my husband, daughters, brown lab and I have made a wonderful life in a little hollow in nearby Kenmore. I have been blessed with incredibly satisfying work among gifted colleagues at the Puget Sound Birth Center.
I want to share a few things I love and believe in, some things that matter to me as a midwife/woman/mother/human being:
- the beauty/sovereignty/surprise of birth
- fierce determination/subtle yielding
- food with food in it/bodies in motion/fresh air
- all forms of family/mothers/fathers/babies/kids/elders
- listening well/talking softly/laughing loud
- excellent/equitable outcomes for moms and babies/surpassing our wildest expectations
- wonderful hospital/skilled physicians/science and technology/in my back yard
- emerging/aspiring midwives from within every community/wisdom/legacy of those who came before
I love this good work.
I hope you will too.
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 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.
My professional midwifery journey began in 2005 when I enrolled in the direct entry midwifery program at the Seattle Midwifery School. Since 2009, I have been providing midwifery services as a Licensed and Certified Professional Midwife (LM,CPM).
The care that I provide is guided by my understanding that our childbearing years, the season of pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, can be a time of tremendous joy and great challenge. As a midwife, my hope is to create an environment where mothers and families feel supported and empowered. I firmly believe that all women deserve providers who align their practices with the Midwifery Model of Care.
I stand on the shoulders of many great midwives who facilitated my training and have gratitude beyond words for my colleagues at Lake Washington Midwives.
My personal interests include art, gardening, mountains, fresh air and above all spending time with my family.
I was holding my cousin’s leg, looking into her determined face as she pushed her baby out. She was encircled by the loving and anxious faces of our family, and the baby girl’s adoptive parents--I had never seen someone work so hard or look so fierce. Her strength at a vulnerable time, and the support she received, transformed many lives that day, and changed my path in unexpected ways. I knew I needed to learn more about birth, so I left Colorado with my degree in Literature to attend Seattle Midwifery School and graduated in 1998.
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. I found that being a midwife is not just a job but also a calling.
Birth is a natural process of the mind, body, and spirit—a physical event our bodies are well designed for, but also an emotional, psychological, spiritual, cultural, even political event. Midwifery holds all of these aspects together, offering women information, support, and guidance while honoring that ultimately, the decisions rest in her hands. I view birth as a normal process that usually needs lots of support and very little intervention. Ideally, every family having a baby would have a network of support providing them access to appropriate options available to them.
Since 1998 I have worked as a midwife in birth centers and homes, taught at Seattle Midwifery School, Bastyr University, Open Arms Perinatal Services, and served on various Midwifery and Birth Center boards.
My husband Matt and I have two girls who were born at home.