I can’t believe the Flagstaff Birth and Women’s Center has been open for almost 5 years. I realize a lot of you may not be able to put the face with FBWC, that certainly wasn’t my intention and I hope while you read this you can get to know me better.
My fascination with women’s health began at an early age.
I became pregnant in my teens and decided to place my son up for adoption. While this was a very tough decision, it was my midwife that became my saving grace and to this day has been a big force in my life. I ended up moving to Tucson to live with my Aunt and decided to receive my prenatal healthcare at a birth center. Although my first pregnancy ended with a C- section I was later able to have two out-of-hospital births which further led to my midwifery obsession. Midwives have been part of my life for over 35 years.
I started my professional journey in nursing and worked in women’s health and home health while I finished my undergrad degree at the University of Montana. I ultimately realized that being a nurse was not for me and decided to go to massage school. I became a massage therapist for over 20 years and focused my practice solely on women’s health. I taught Anatomy and Physiology and massage techniques, including the first prenatal massage curriculum, in Seattle area massage schools. I waited until my children were a little older to go back to graduate school and in 2012 achieved a Master’s in Science in Midwifery from Bastyr University.
Moving to Flagstaff
After my middle son graduated from high school we decided it would be nice to move closer to my mother who lives in Mesa, AZ. My husband and I have always loved cute, quaint mountain towns and were lucky enough to stumble upon Flagstaff. When we got to Flagstaff it was love at first sight! We couldn’t get past how friendly everyone was, even checking out neighborhoods was a heartwarming experience with the smiles and waves from folks working in their yard. My husband was lucky enough to get a job at Flagstaff Bone and Joint and that sealed the deal, we were moving to Flagstaff! When our journey landed us here I was in my final year of graduate school and my clinical rotation was at the hospital in Tuba City.
The Dream Begins
One evening while on rotation in Tuba City I was visiting with one of my preceptors, Linda. While talking Linda and I had an “ah ha” moment that there wasn’t a birth center in Flagstaff. Ambitious and ready for the next chapter I blurted out that we should start one, and Linda agreed. It took 2 years of Linda and I plugging away at making our dream a reality but we did it. Making this dream work would not have come to fruition without both Linda and I working together. I realize the perception is that I’m the bread and butter of FBWC but the reality is that it took both of us. I needed a mentor midwife by my side while I started this and for that, I couldn’t have done this without Linda.
Continuing to Grow
The first 2.5 years of FBWC being open I was the primary midwife on call and in the clinic. We now have 3 other amazing midwives and are continuing to grow. As I’m sure you can imagine it was a challenge opening up the birth center, being the only midwife on call and trying to get the word out that Flagstaff has a new place for women’s healthcare. Last fall, I started working on my doctorate in midwifery and I’m proud to say my class will be the first in the United States to achieve a Doctorate in Midwifery. My doctoral research is focused on how to implement birth centers on a global scale. I am so confident in what a birth center offers in a community that I want all women around the world to have the chance to receive holistic care in a safe health facility, particularly those who live in rural and poverty-stricken areas of the world. I know that all of the midwives working with me at FBWC feel the same. I also currently sit on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Birth Centers as well as the Board of the Arizona Association of Birth Centers.
So why choose Flagstaff Birth and Women’s Center for your health needs?
We are unique. We are a group of advanced practice providers who have a community heart. What we offer is the best of both worlds. We get to know you and treat you in a holistic manner, you are not just a number to us. When you come for your first annual well-woman exam we do a 60-minute visit so that we can ask questions and get to know all aspects of your healthcare needs. With new prospective birthing clients I take time to personally meet them and make sure they know who we are, all the services we provide and to answer any and all questions. We provide mainstream medicine but also recommend supplements, diet and nutrition and natural remedies.
In keeping with our commitment to the Flagstaff community, we offer several classes and services.
We offer acupuncture, massage, and classes including Qi-Gong, Baby and Me Group and yoga. We have nutrition classes, a lactation consultant who oversees our outpatient breastfeeding center (Flagstaff Breastfeeding Center), and a chiropractor who specializes in prenatal, postpartum and pediatric care. We strive to be involved in various community functions and have our Breastfeeding Sanctuary Tent at different family-friendly festivals and events around town, just look for the purple tent!
Since opening, my goal has been to make Flagstaff Birth and Women’s Center accessible to all members of our community. Sometimes there is a perception that out of hospital care is not within typical financial means, but FBWC is committed to providing as low-cost care as possible. We are a preferred provider for most insurance companies including AHCCCS and the facility is also covered by most insurance.
So I encourage you to call and talk to us about all we have to offer. We are so much more than just a place to give birth. We can take care of your annual well-woman physical exams (with Pap or no Pap), order mammograms or any other annual physical exam needs, and help with the transition through menopause. We offer classes that can help you with all phases of life. Look for the purple house across from the library. We are open Monday – Thursday 9am-4:30pm. Check out our website at flagstaffbirthcenter.com.
Thank you for taking the time to get to know me and I look forward to seeing you around town, during Bloom on April 14th or at Flagstaff Birth and Women’s Center!