The first thing we noticed about Karen was that she took her time. She wanted to get to know us. Our initial appointment was relaxed, which made us feel comfortable and at ease. This mattered a great deal, as I had found my way to her after feeling rushed and put-off by the baby factory vibe of my OBGYN’s office. After just that one visit, I knew switching to Karen was the right decision.
We have stayed with Karen through two pregnancies now. When we arrived at the birth center to deliver my second child, it was near the end of Karen’s shift, but she stayed on, sacrificing time with her own family to help grow ours. It wasn’t a short labor. But Karen stayed. And stayed. She never tried to rush things or push meds on me. She was patient. And creative. When things weren’t progressing, she was calm but confident. She kept suggesting different things to try, while making sure the baby was okay, until something worked. Her fortitude and belief in me was the inspiration I needed to endure.
After the baby was born, she stayed even longer, and lovingly and skillfully attended to my body with the same focus and patience she gave the birth of my son.
Unfortunately, we live in a world in which a woman who wants a natural birth must often advocate for herself. Even in delivery, an immensely vulnerable state, she can feel isolated and ignored, but thankfully, with Karen as my midwife, I have never felt like this. She is a professional and reliable healthcare provider, but her experience and talent also help her know what a mom needs in other ways as well.
For example, she delivered troubling news about the health of my baby during my pregnancy—he has a cleft lip and palate—frankly but with compassion, in the best way I could imagine. She gave me lots of time, information, and support. She even connected me with another mom to talk with. Her positive demeanor helped us stay excited about the pregnancy even though we were worried about our baby’s health. Then, without prompting, she advocated for us to deliver our son with a midwife in the birth center, because she knew that was what we wanted, and she believed the birth could happen safely and naturally despite his diagnosis. Thinking about the kind and proactive way she handled this stressful situation still brings tears to my eyes.
I have always felt, from that first appointment almost four years ago, that Karen, a mom and a talented and passionate medical specialist, was on my team. But I also felt in control of my births, which is what I wanted all along. I am grateful and impressed that she knows how balance those responsibilities so beautifully.