I’ve worked with birthing families since 1980 in various settings. Over this time I've gone from being an RN in a small, rural hospital to a Level 3 High Risk center to an out-of-hospital birth center, with some interesting detours along the way, including a medical mission trip to Honduras where I got to practice one of my other loves, painting! I've been fortunate to be exposed to many people, cultures, philosophies and ideas, gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience. Currently I’m an RN and Board Certified Lactation Consultant at the CABC accredited, El Rio Birth & Women’s Health Center in Tucson, Arizona where I get to provide a full range of nursing care to families. I find the birth process always amazing but even more amazing is the transformation that occurs in new parents as they are birthed and grow into their new role. Then there are the babies who are just so fascinating when we take the time to pay attention and learn their language.
Being a Birth Center nurse means I get to wear many hats and see families throughout the pregnancy and into the 4th trimester. Our Certified Nurse Midwives attend both Birth Center births and hospital births at Tucson Medical Center so I'm still in touch with hospital-based care. The life of a Birth Center nurse is nothing if not varied.
My husband and I were married for several years before we decided to have children. Health issues at the beginning of my first pregnancy caused me to look for something to help with anxiety. That was my first introduction to mindfulness meditation. We went on to have 2 beautiful, healthy sons, now in their twenties, whose births were amazing, emotional, draining, and scary. As a laboring labor nurse it was hard to ignore the what ifs.
The postpartum period was difficult for me. I experienced postpartum depression and breastfeeding was a struggle for the 8 or 9 months I was able to manage it. It was at that time I became aware of the importance of both the birth process and breastfeeding for the mother as well as the baby.
As a practitioner of mindful meditation for 10 years, I learned about Mindfulness Based Childbirth and Parenting (MBCP) a few years ago. After reading Nancy Bardacke's book Mindful Birthing, I sought out an opportunity to study with her. I've taught many types of childbirth education but always felt there was a piece missing. Finding MBCP was an ah-ha! moment-parenting and the rest of life were the missing pieces. We don't get to parent in a vacuum where we can put the rest of life on hold, we parent in the midst of the full-catastrophe, to quote Jon Kabat-Zinn.
I founded the Southern Arizona Lactation Consultant Professional Group which meets quarterly to provide education and support to IBCLCs and those on the Pathway to sit for the board examination. Because of my own postpartum experience I work to increase awareness of postpartum mood and anxiety disorders and am a member of the Tucson Postpartum Depression Coalition. Other important parts of my life are biking, camping, building with earth and straw, yoga, creating small watercolor paintings and textile art.
I teach MBCP in Tucson at Mindful Birth Tucson. Mindfulness transformed my life and I enjoy sharing it with others. This is truly soul work for me.