The new Puget Sound Birth Center Renton is fully open for prenatal, birth, and postpartum care.
Below, Valerie, Tracy and Jenn describe their paths to becoming midwives and how they see their role in your childbearing year.
They would love to meet you! To book an appointment, please call (425) 207-8769 or email Renton@BirthCenter.com
LM, CPM, PSBC 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 whom among my foremothers were midwives, though certainly there were midwives among those who immigrated 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 was addressed the Brown Medical School Community and was 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 Labrador 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.
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.
MSM, LM, CPM
For most of my adult life, I had forgotten the fervent wish I made when I was 10 years old – to catch babies and care for their parents. How grateful I am that my exciting and circuitous path brought me back to that original calling. My home is filled with my two kids, our ever evolving menagerie of pets, our beloved garden, and what seems like millions of incorrigible blackberry brambles. I have lived in Kent since 2006, choosing this community specifically to serve the families here.
I graduated from Bastyr University with a Master of Science degree in Midwifery. Since becoming a licensed midwife I have worked for PSMBC in Kirkland with Eastside Midwives and have been serving families at PSMBC Renton for over a year. I am filled with humility in the face of the strength of those I serve and the wisdom of babies, and I come to this profession with experience, knowledge, skill and a deep love of what I am called to do.
I was born in and have spent about half of my life in the Puget Sound area. Prior to birth work, I spent 25 years in theatre, writing, performing and directing mostly musical theatre and opera. After graduating with my associate’s degree, I packed two suitcases and followed my dream of living in New York. 2 years later, I returned to Washington to continue my education. My undergraduate studies brought me to the Los Angeles area, where I completed my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and my Bachelor of Science in Psychology.
Then the wind blew me across the ocean to the University of Hawai’i, where I completed my Master of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Directing. My pregnancy and birth experience shifted my priorities from theatre to wanting to understanding more about pregnancy, birth and parenting and advocating for family education and autonomy in the childbearing year. It all crystallized when I attended my first homebirth about a year later. I engaged the care of a midwife for my next pregnancy, and son was born in the water at home – a personal triumph for me. Feeling strong and empowered from the experience, I started my own doula practice and began my midwifery journey after a few years of attending births. My skills and knowledge in birth work are greatly informed by the time I spent in training on The Farm, my work as a doula, and my education, and rich life experience.
As a midwife, providing you with non-judgmental, unequivocally excellent care is what I strive for every day. My mission is to provide this care to all families, including competency in caring for folks single parenting by choice and LGBTQ identified individuals. I will create a safe space for you to be exactly who you are.
Having a midwife changed my life, and gave me the confidence and power to discover my potential. My deepest desire is to give you the space and care so that you too, might discover all the power and beauty you have inside. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you and your family. As your midwife I bring to you experience, compassion, knowledge, wisdom, and love.