Meet our Midwives: Julie Kellon, CNM

Julie Kellon, CNM
A Neighborhood Family Midwife

Julie bear.jpg

Why did you become a midwife?  
I had been working in advertising for about five years and was finding myself unfulfilled.  I really wanted to do something to help women/people, not just try to get them to buy different products.  I had been exposed to midwifery in college previously. I shadowed a friend who did an independent study on midwifery in Holland (we were there for school) and had a teacher that showed home birth movies during our child psychology class.  Also as I was starting to rethink my profession in advertising, I had my first child with a Certified Nurse Midwife in Jacksonville, FL.  While that birth ended in a cesarean section, I fell in love with the profession. Shortly after my daughter's birth, I quit my job and went back to school to become a midwife.  It was the best decision I've ever made.  I adore what I do.

What is your favorite thing about being a midwife at NFP?
I love the diversity of our moms.  I love their strength and determination to make the best life possible for their families.  I love the entire supporting cast at NFP: the nurses, patient advocates, behavioral health specialists, the family practice providers and all of the administrative staff without whom we could not do our jobs.

What is your most memorable birth?
There are so many it's hard to choose. I've been doing this for over 17 years. One that comes quickly to mind is a mom who birthed at Lakewood Hospital in one of the portable tubs. The lights were dim, we had lullabies playing in the background. The mom was in the pool, her husband by her side, holding her hands, encouraging her.  And all through the birth she just kept repeating, "I can do this, I can do this, I can do this." Even during the hardest part, transition, she kept saying the same thing.  And boy did she do it!  She had a beautiful birth in the tub.  Many tears during that one, the patient, her husband, me, the nurses.  It was great!

What is the one thing you want people to know about midwives?
While we do birth really, really well, we do so much more.  We care for women throughout their life time, from puberty through old age.  Sometimes those visits/interactions with patients are even more meaningful—helping a mom and her partner work through infertility issues, figuring out irregular bleeding and correcting it, educating women about their bodies and their health, etc.

What is your favorite piece of advice for mommies-to-be?
Kegels, kegels, kegels till the day you die!  And, remember to take time for yourself.  If you only give, give, give, you will be empty eventually and not have anything left to give.  It's hard for women to give ourselves permission to do for ourselves, but it super important.

Meet our Midwives: Kate Lawrence, CNM

Kate Lawrence, CNM
A Neighborhood Family Practice Midwife

katelawrencemidwife

Why did you become a midwife?
I had been a labor nurse for seven years. In a matter of a few months, I had five situations where I ended up catching the baby because the baby came before the doctors made it to the room. It was an incredibly exhilarating feeling, and I knew that I wanted to go back to school so that I could always be the one catching.


What is your favorite thing about being a midwife at NFP?
The patients. I love getting to know all the patients and their families. It's an honor to be able to care for the women. we see here. I think equally favorite would be my coworkers and support staff. I feel Incredibly blessed everyday by everyone I work with.

What is your most memorable birth?
They are all so memorable! It's hard to choose. One that stands out, and was very special to me, was a rainbow baby. She was born almost one year to the day after this mom had lost a pregnancy. I was able to care for her in both situations. There wasn't a dry eye in the room at the birth of her baby girl. Truly tears of joy!

What is the one thing you want people to know about midwives?
We are here for you! We pride ourselves on being available to our patients, to the best of our abilities, at any time that they need us. We will be at your birth with you, and are available for all of your postpartum and breastfeeding needs.

What is your favorite piece of advice for mommies-to-be?
It's impossible to spoil newborns. Love and hold your babies as much as you possibly can. I highly suggest a baby wrap for baby wearing. You will ultimately have a happier, more secure baby the closer you are to them in the early months of their lives.
 

Meet our Midwives: Emily Sadri, CNM

Emily Sadri, CNM
A Neighborhood Family Practice Midwife

emilysadrimidwife

Why did you become a midwife?
Becoming a midwife didn't feel like a choice for me--it felt like something I was always meant to do, and one day I finally listened. I've always stood in awe of witnessing the act of becoming a mother. From pregnancy, to parenting an infant and a growing baby, women are changing and evolving as much as their children are. In labor, these changes are huge and dramatic, and women are pushed to their very edges as they cope and work to birth. Then as new mothers, women work in subtler, but still difficult ways to adapt themselves to their new role. These changes and struggles fascinate me, and it is an absolute gift to have the job of supporting women during these monumental times. 

What is your favorite thing about being a midwife at NFP?
NFP is an incredible place. I love working on this team because the organization gives the midwives so much support through our other team members, and in the way our practice works cooperatively with the family practice providers and behavioral health team. Knowing that there are so many resources for our patients makes it easier to do what I do best: provide excellent midwifery care that is compassionate, individualized, focused and empowering. 

What is your most memorable birth?
They're all so memorable! Truly, every single day I recall moments from births I've attended. I remember women's incredible strength, poise, and wisdom--those stay with me from every birth. But if I had to choose one, it would be the first birth that I attended as a birth assistant to a home birth practice in NYC. It was the first out of hospital birth I'd seen and I was blown away by what it looked like to see a woman laboring in her own space, not attached to wires and monitors. She was incredible, and she worked all through the night to birth her nine pound baby boy. I worked really hard to support her, and also to assist with clinical duties (I was an RN at the time). After the birth, the mom was in a daze of adrenaline and good birth hormones and she said to me, "I'm so proud of me. I'm so proud of me AND you!"  I'll never forget that moment. 

What is the one thing you want people to know about midwives?
Midwives aren't a lesser version of doctors. We each have an important, and slightly different role to play. We are experts in normal birth, and supporting the normal processes of labor- emotional, social and physical. We understand that a healthy pregnancy and birth isn't just about tests, screenings, or education. It's about how a woman is made to feel, and how she is empowered. We know the value of one-on-one care, and are really lucky in our practice to be able to sit continuously with women in labor. Our close attention to women is what makes our care special. 

When there are complications, midwives are well trained to consult and collaborate with our physician colleagues, and we are so grateful to work with wonderful back-up doctors! But for normal and straight forward pregnancy and birth, a midwife may be all you need. 

What is your favorite piece of advice for mommies-to-be?
Eat really well, and drink to prevent thirst, rather than treat it, especially in the weeks and days leading up to labor. The ideal conditions for going into labor are: well-hydrated, well-rested and well-nourished. If you were about to run a marathon would you go shopping all day, eat chips and drink just two bottles of water? No way! At the end of pregnancy, treat every day like it could be Labor Day. Take naps, cook wholesome food, spend quality time with the ones you love. This will prepare your body and heart for the life-changing event you are about to embark on. 

Meet our Midwives: Katy Maistros, CNM

Katy Maistros, CNM
A Neighborhood Family Practice Midwife

katymaistros

Why did you become a midwife?
I did a lot of birth and women's health advocacy in the community. I realized that I could be the provider of the care I wanted every woman to have. The more women centered midwives and women's health providers, the more choice women have. I also really love to see women realize how amazing they are! 

What is your favorite thing about being a midwife at NFP?
We have wonderful collaboration of care with the primary care, behavioral health, and dental providers. I love that we have the resources to help women with any need they have. As a provider I feel empowered to care for women and their families. 

What is your most memorable birth?
My own three births! I have three beautiful boys who had a peaceful entry into the world. I was cared for and empowered by midwives. They inspired me and loved me.

What is the one thing you want people to know about midwives?
We provide high quality evidence based care with a healthy dose of love and compassion. Our practice is based science and medicine, but with knowledge that life and circumstances play so much into your health. We see women as a whole person. 

What is your favorite piece of advice for mommies-to-be?
Be gentle with yourself. Educate yourself about birth but know that your body is made for birth! Stay active and keep moving
 

Meet our Midwives: Emily Leslie, CNM

Emily Leslie, CNM
A Midwife at Neighborhood Family Practice

emilylesliemidwife

Why did you become a midwife?
I have always believed in the strength and power of women and have been amazed by the awesome things our bodies and minds can do. I knew I wanted to help empower women so they could feel confident in making their own choices about whether to have children, and how and when to do so.  I originally wanted to be an OB/GYN, but then I discovered that midwives specialize in getting to know their patients and empowering women and families throughout their lives, and knew this was a perfect fit for me!

What is your favorite thing about being a midwife at NFP?
Although I am new to NFP Midwifery, this is totally my dream job. I love the sense of community both with my coworkers and my patients. I love the diverse patient population and learning new things every day about different families and cultures. Getting to know my patients and being able to share their journeys with them is the best!

What is your most memorable birth?
My most memorable (besides my own) was the birth of my niece! I was fresh out of midwifery school, and didn't even have my first job yet. I went up to Nova Scotia, where my sister lives, to be there as emotional support when she birthed her baby. I helped her through most of her labor at her home, then we went to the hospital when she was about 7cm dilated. After being there almost 4 hours, she was progressing quickly and her attending doctor, who was supposed to be coming in to the hospital from home, was nowhere to be found! The nurses said she should be on her way. Before we knew it, my sister was fully dilated, and pushed for a very short time before I could see the baby's head coming, and still no doctor! I told the nurses I am a midwife (totally nervous since I had never done this by myself before), and that the baby was coming so someone needed to be ready. I hopped onto the bed, threw on a pair of gloves, and caught my gorgeous niece as she was born.  It was an incredible, beautiful, terrifying, joyful, surprising experience, and I am proud to now be able to say she was officially my first birth as a licensed nurse midwife (even though not licensed in that hospital/country)! I wouldn't wish that level of anxiety on any midwife, but in retrospect I'm so glad it happened the way it did and will certainly never forget that birth!

What is the one thing you want people to know about midwives?
We want what is best for moms and babies, and we know that one of the best ways to do that is to keep women informed, engaged, and empowered as much as possible in each decision along the way.  I would most want to dispel the myths that midwives don't work in hospitals, that we only work with patients who want unmedicated births, or that we only see pregnant patients. We love working with women throughout their lifetime, including adolescence, for family planning, in pregnancy, and through menopause.


What is your favorite piece of advice for mommies-to-be?
Can I give 5 pieces of advice? It's okay—and necessary—to ask for help, even if it isn't your first time as a parent. Lean on your village, including partners, family, friends, neighbors, community resources, and healthcare providers! Babies are flexible, resilient, and love you unconditionally. A bad day does not make you a bad parent. Trust your instincts. Take care of yourself. 💜