We had so much fun stopping by Lauren’s home office to chat about childbirth, babies and the unique needs of our island. Read on to learn more!
VH: From where do you hail?
Lauren: I was born in Chicago, raised in Australia (Melbourne, specifically), and have lived in the Pacific Northwest for more than 20 years now.
VH: How did you land on Vashon?
Lauren: The magic of the island! We had been looking to move here for many years, but our situation never allowed it. Then, it a beautiful happening of serendipity, Vashon needed a midwife at the same time we were able to make a move, and my kids needed new schools! It all just came together.
VH: Tell us all about your Vashon Island Midwifery.
Lauren: I am a licensed midwife offering prenatal, postpartum and newborn care here on the island. I provide labor and birth services for home births and at birth centers on the mainland. I also offer prenatal and postpartum care for people who prefer to, or have a medical need to have their babies in a hospital. I offer the same screening and diagnostic options as standard OB care, including all prenatal testing.
What sets midwifery apart is the approach and level of care. I believe that most of the time, pregnancy and birth are a healthy function of the human body, and that each pregnant person is the authority on her own pregnancy. So, I use a model of care that provides the information that allows each person to make informed, empowered decisions about their pregnancy. I spend up to an hour with families at each prenatal visit, answering questions, building relationships and checking in on the health and development of the baby and of the parents.
It’s really family centered, community centered care! I also teach community classes like Childbirth Education and Fertility Awareness, and I hold a weekly Drop-In Breastfeeding Support Group, which is really just an opportunity to be in community with other new parents and get some breastfeeding support at the same time! My passion is supporting women and gender non-conforming folks to have strong, healthy, empowered pregnancies and births!
VH: What inspired you to become a midwife?
Lauren: Oh, there are so many levels to this question! I have always been drawn to women’s health care, and have been a birth worker for almost 17 years now. First as a massage therapist specializing in perinatal massage, then as a doula, childbirth educator, lactation educator, infant massage instructor, PEPS group leader and birth assistant. You name it in the birth world and I’ve done it! It’s my calling and my passion.
However, there is also a real need that midwifery care addresses. In the United States right now, we are having a maternal health care crisis, especially in rural and under served areas, and among women of color. What we have learned from countries that receive a majority of their maternity care from midwives is that midwifery care may be the answer to lowering our maternal mortality rates and improving outcomes and birth satisfaction! I believe we need drastic change in our health care system, and community based, individualized care can help create that change.
On a personal note, I received midwifery care when I was pregnant with each of my children, and it was life changing. My midwives showed me how strong I was, and their belief in me changed how I saw myself. Powerful stuff! I have a well loved hoodie that was a fundraiser for student midwives of color as UCSF, it says “The Revolution Will Be Midwifed” and I can’t think of a better motto for how I feel about the impact of this work!
VH: What is your superpower?
Lauren: Jumping up from a dead sleep in the middle of the night and being completely ready for whatever bodily fluid is coming for me! Plus, being calm in the face of a storm. I might cry about it later, but if you need me, I got you!
VH: When you have company visiting the island, where do you like to take them?
Lauren: We live close to Shinglemill creek, and the magic there is palpable all around! So that’s a favorite spot to take our visitors, and so is Island Center. Snapdragon has been a special favorite of my whole family for many years now, and we are falling in love with the Wild Mermaid, too!
VH: What’s next for your business?
Lauren: Well, I am closing out my first year in practice, so it’s a time of reflection and looking forward. Now that things are humming along I am excited to be expanding my community class offerings, and increasing awareness and access so that all Islanders wanting on-island maternity care know that I am here, and that this type of care is an option for them.
Lauren: VH: What’s the best thing you ever bought at Granny’s? 🙂
That depends on who you ask in my family. But my personal favorite were a couple of super funky vintage 70’s dishes. My youngest daughter would say her Harry Potter mug that shows the marauders map when it heats up, and my dog would say the ball thrower that is his new best friend! There’s no shortage of treasures, that’s for sure!
Be sure to check out Lauren’s website to learn more about her practice – especially if you have baby plans or know someone on Vashon that is.