This past year (2012) has been a rather fabulous year for the practice. We celebrated our fifth year of providing the community midwifery care with a wonderful anniversary party and added a new street sign to the practice.
As this year comes to a close, we wanted to take a moment and look back at how far we’ve come and consider resolutions for the new year.
Gretchen Knight joined the practice as our full-time nurse in early 2012, which was a real blessing to the primary midwife, Penny. Clients too have been very grateful for her contribution to the practice. Gretchen assists in most all births and works in the office full-time, as well as facilitates the childbirth education and shares in providing home visits.
Sarah O’Neill Bailey joined the practice as our new Administrative Assistant which has also been a tremendous blessing to the staff. Sarah assists in all the many tasks Gretchen and Penny struggle to accomplish. Her resourcefulness and energy have proven invaluable.
Penny returned for her doctorate at the Frontier Nursing University and will focus her studies on assessing fetal well-being and neonatal resuscitation in the out-of-hospital environment. More importantly, this year was a turning point in finding that balance between managing a busy midwifery practice and being an attentive mother and wife.
As many of you may remember, Penny Lane DNP, CNM practice owner, fell down a flight of stairs and broke her arm at the end of December, 2011. She required surgery and physical therapy through March of this year. Holly resigned in February, and Penny began catching births again mid-March.
Upon her return, Penny attended 41 births for the year, two of which were hospital transfers during the intrapartum period. One resulted in a cesarean for a rate of 2.4%. This has been our only VBAC transfer to date in the five year history of the practice.
Penny did risk one term client out of homebirth this year, who did not prove to be a good vaginal breech candidate (version and all other tricks were unsuccessful – ten pound baby with a tight nuchal cord). However, Penny and her team did attend a planned vaginal breech birth at home as well this year.
Holly attended four planned homebirths in 2012, transferring one mother in labor which resulted in a cesarean section. Holly also transferred a newborn born at home, and risked out two mothers at term, one due to preeclampsia and another because of premature rupture of membranes.
This year the practice launched a new website! The journey felt similar to birthing an enormous child after a long, yet encouraging labor. We could not be more thrilled with our final project and we want to express our immense gratitude to Valerie Wininger for her website development and to all our amazing families for sharing their baby and birth pictures which is the essence of our website.
The Red Raspberry Boutique was also introduced this year, and its own equally amazing website. Again, Valerie Wininger worked magic for us. This project grew simply because Penny was often recommending natural products which clients then struggled to find within their community. As a practitioner, particularly a student within an herbalist program, Penny was able to obtain these products at wholesale pricing. Our inventory grew beyond our ability to display in the office so it became clear a website was necessary; however, we also began to recognize as a practice, the benefits of retail sales. Although we have no desire to be “sales women,” as a solo midwife attempting to extend reasonable costs to clients, it can prove nearly impossible to maintain well trained staff without supplemental income. We hope that the Red Raspberry Boutique will benefit our clients not only in offering complementary healthcare items at reasonable prices, but will off-set the cost of midwifery care and continue to allow us to provide the highest level of care we can possibly dream up!
The New Year brings exciting changes as well. Penny has partnered again with Dr. Rixa Freeze and they have elicited the help of Cindi Denbow MSN, CNM in hosting another Vaginal Breech Simulation Workshop with Dr. Peter O’Neill in Niceville, Florida.
This year we are excited to add to the workshop, a Breech Version Simulation utilizing Ultrasound guidance. Cindi and Penny discussed during the previous workshop that while they are thrilled to offer vaginal breech birth as an option to their clients, their referral sources for breech versions were diminishing quickly leading to more cesareans or vaginal breech births than would otherwise be necessary. Peter as well was excited about teaching this simulation, sharing that midwives were certainly capable of offering such technique. The idea was born and we certainly hope midwives around the country take advantage of this incredible opportunity.
As mentioned previously, Penny has a heart for neonatal resuscitation in the out-of-hospital environment and is a certified NRP instructor with the American Academy of Pediatrics. She will offer a NRP certification workshop and share her doctoral studies to date on the third day of this event.
Dr. Freeze has lots of exciting opportunities as well, including a round table discussion and movie night! A WORKSHOP NOT TO BE MISSED!
Our goal for this year is to increase our public speaking opportunities. Gretchen will be teaching about midwifery quarterly at Baby’s R Us, in two downtown Indianapolis locations. We look forward to connecting with hospitals, ambulance services, legislative leaders, medical practices, chiropractor’s offices, community groups, churches, and anywhere else we might be invited. If you have a venue in mind, we would appreciate any coordination efforts and would welcome the opportunity to share.