Midwives provide important service

(Photo courtesy of Aspirus) Certified Nurse Midwife Cindy Beale cradles newborn baby boy, Daniel, in the birth place at Aspirus Keweenaw. Beale delivered Daniel at noon on Friday. He is the newborn son of John and Laura Naglak of Atlantic Mine.

LAURIUM — When Cindy Beale was a registered nurse at a hospital in Milwaukee, she had wanted to be able to provide water birth for mothers.

When she came to Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, she was happy to see it offered here. Other mothers coming to the Keweenaw from larger cities have said the same thing, Beale said.

“We’re small in size, but they get really great care here and one-on-one attention,” Beale said Friday, shortly after delivering a child. “I think it’s a really great place.”

There are two certified midwives at hospitals in the Copper Country, Beale said. Beale sees patients at Aspirus Keweenaw, while Christiann Rosemurgy sees patients at Aspirus Keweenaw and Ontonagon.

The first meeting with a midwife usually happens in the first trimester. The midwives do lab tests and look at the mother’s medical record to figure out if they will have special needs during the pregnancy. During every visit, they will have discussions with the patients, and give them information handouts with advice for healthy pregnancies, Beale said.

“We try to get to know our patients, spend time with them and do more education,” she said.

Mothers have the option of a water birth in a tub, as well as the use of nitrous oxide to ease discomfort. But while people often associate midwives with natural childbirths, that isn’t necessarily the case, Beale said.

“We’re happy to be there to support your ideal birth,” she said. “If you want a completely unmedicated birth, we’ll be with you for that. If you want an epidural, we’ll still be there for that. We give them choices.”

When their patients go into labor, Beale likes to be in the room providing support. The end of labor is when midwives “run the show,” Beale said. They will look at readings such as blood pressure and interpret lab tests to figure out the best course of action.

“It’s a team effort,” she said. “There’s good nurses, we have good anethesia. If they need the OR (operating room), there’s a good OR team. Everybody works together to get the baby delivered.”

Although certified nurse midwives are most associated with childbirth, they provide services for women throughout their life. That can include aiding adolescents dealing with their first menstrual cramps or helping people who want to get started on contraception.

Beale started as a registered nurse, working in labor and delivery. To become a midwife, she went back to school for a master’s degree in midwifery. She then went on to an internship, which gave her hands-on experience with the complications that can ensue during labor and delivery.

Following that, Beale passed a national certification exam.

“When you come to a certified nurse midwife, you’re coming to someone who’s educated and trained and has a lot of experience doing this,” she said.

Beale enjoys being able to support women and accompany them on the journey of becoming mothers.

“You meet them at the beginning, working with them through the whole thing, and help them deliver their baby,” she said. “It’s very rewarding to do that, and I love that, giving them support and options, and helping them with their vision of what their ideal birth is.”