I feel like the current day culmination of Barefoot Birth has been a beautiful winding road of so many special folk’s stories and experiences. So far we have had 10 years and then some of supporting hundreds of families during life’s most sacred transitions. We’ve forged the deepest friendships and professional bonds with some spectacularly skilled birth workers. This has all given way to the Barefoot Bus project and then subsequently The Community Roots bringing even more families together. We joke that it is ‘blood in and blood out’ over here, but that is really true. We all believe we are so much stronger together. To take the best care of our clients we have to be a deeply bonded team who has like-minded goals and ambitions. While we all bring very different personalities, backgrounds, and skill sets to the table we all certainly exist in the same realm of morals, principals, and heart for serving others. Bennett came to us with birth background but looking for something more. We are so happy she found us and are so grateful to know her heart. We know our families from the last 3 years can agree and we hope she will be around for many, many more years and families to come!
“I didn’t know I wanted to be a midwife. So many of my friends and colleagues say midwifery was a calling. I’ve found Midwifery for me was a soft whisper. There were hints starting pretty early in my life and retrospectively we all should have know that midwifery is maybe where I would land, but I didn’t really hear the “call” until after my babies all made it earth side.
The first hints were dropped when I was 3-4 years old. This was the time in my life where my sister and my cousins made their way into the world. My mother and aunt sort of took turns having babies in 1991 and 1992. This is where some high level curiosity came in for me. The women in my life didn’t shy away from explaining conception, pregnancy and birth to me, quite the opposite. They each spent hours explaining, showing me pictures, and even sometimes drawing to help explain. I was completely fascinated. They paid for this in some ways- for example at my dad’s squadron party where I declared loudly that when I grew up a doctor wasn’t going to cut my baby out I was having my babies “out of my vagina” (sorry mom and dad, but also you’re welcome).
A few more hints in high school where so many of my friends came to me for advice about all things relating to their bodies. I felt like the unofficial sex educator explaining to my friends who were afraid to ask their families about normal discharge, periods, breast pain, puberty and STIs. I didn’t parade around school throwing unsolicited information at my peers but they found me. Then senior year I gained a whole new knowledge base, I became pregnant with my first son. I had him in a hospital- not even knowing that out of hospital birth was an option. I was cared for by a family practice doctor who respected me and who honored me as an individual. I credit this doctors care for empowering me to go into childbirth without fear of what may happen. My kiddo was born just months before graduation and 3-year-old me was right… he was born vaginally.
My next birth happened about 5 ½ years later, we had just moved to Tampa and I was searching for a provider when I saw a Facebook post by a friend catching her baby in the water. Immediately showed my then boyfriend the picture and said “I want that”. So I searched google for midwives in the area who accepted my Medicaid. I had one visit with each midwife in the practice and then went into labor with my second. He was born in the water, just like my friend’s picture. It was an incredible experience and I thought to myself “I want everyone to have access to this”.
Only 10 months later I was pregnant again, I excitedly called my midwife and began to prepare for another great birth surrounded by those I loved. This pregnancy and birth would not be that. This was the experience that was going to teach me the hardest lessons about motherhood, pregnancy and birth. At 28 weeks, the day of my glucose test I had a placental abruption. I’d read entirely too much so I knew exactly what was happening and I told my husband we need to drop the kids off and go straight to the hospital. My son was born late that night by emergency cesarean under general anesthesia. I didn’t see my baby until the next day. I didn’t hold him for over a week. He spent 3 months in NICU after that. I had officially learned that we are not in control. Cesareans were not an enemy instead they were an important intervention that saved mine and my child’s life. This is where the whispers about midwifery got louder. At my 6-week postpartum visit I told my midwife I was going to start planning for midwifery school.
The whispers became a bit more obvious in the beginning of 2013. My midwife messaged me, she needed a birth assistant and I had come to mind. I of course jumped right on the opportunity and worked with her and the other midwives in her practice for 2 years, before applying to the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery.
In 2016 I decided the pace of birth center work wasn’t what I had in mind for myself and sought out a home birth practice to continue my apprenticeship with. This is where Charlie and Erica enter. I started working with Barefoot in April 2016. I think I maybe joined a gang? It didn’t matter- I had found midwives who felt the same way about parenthood, pregnancy and birth as I did. Whose ideals and practice styles fit with mine and now after 3 years of learning from and with my friends and preceptors I have finally checked my boxes and passed my final test. Now that a little more bureaucracy is complete I am the newest Florida Licensed Midwife, MW381. Ready to serve families in our community no matter where or how they choose to birth……so take that 3-year-old me!“