It is daunting to even try to find the words to describe how incredible Susanna was as a midwife. I cannot imagine what my pregnancy and birth would have been like without her. She is completely dedicated, passionate about what she does, and committed to her belief that women’s and families’ choices about childbearing should be honored and respected. I never felt a moment of judgment from Susanna. For the endless questions that I constantly texted her or called about, she had a thoughtful and well-reasoned response. When I asked questions that she did not know the answer to, she undertook some fairly significant research and got back to me quickly, having read articles and spoken to other professionals. I felt I had an expert caring for me at all times; she was never more than a phone call away and I truly felt that I wasn’t bothering her no matter how much I needed her.
Susanna is a charming, funny, down-to-earth person. That is a big part of having her as a midwife: she is easy to connect to. I was concerned that some midwives might have such strong beliefs about how childbirth should go that I might feel judged if I deviated from them; that is impossible with Susanna, who truly can and does honor and respect all choices. However, while she is just a lot of fun to be around as a person, she is a consummate professional guided by great experience and training. She knows what she is doing. I can honestly say there is nothing better than having prenatal visits at home in my living room or on our back porch, hanging out with our dogs, drinking tea, and generally appreciating a less medicalized view of pregnancy. Having prenatal care at home was a huge benefit to having a home birth.
We were able to see Susanna’s true skills during a lengthy and somewhat complex childbirth. We wanted a home birth and I labored for 12 hours or so at home. During that time Susanna was indispensable. She understood perfectly what I needed before I even had to say anything and set the energy around the birth to be positive. After many hours she noticed the baby’s heartbeat became irregular and she quietly made some calls and conferred with her assistant and then informed us we needed to go to the hospital. I trusted her completely to know that the trip to the hospital was necessary, and she was right. Once at the hospital I was in labor for 24 more hours. She stayed with me the entire time, and longer.
Susanna was absolutely the biggest reason that we had a positive hospital birth experience. I was given Pitocin and eventually had to have a C-section, both things I did not want; Susanna made me trust entirely that they were necessary interventions and would be done in a respectful way. She asked the doctors all the questions that I was too exhausted to ask and made sure that the C-section felt like a birth and that my desires were respected. She stood by me in the operating room and the moment my son was born, she helped him latch onto my breast and nurse successfully. The entire experience was absolutely wonderful, but had Susanna not been present I would have been utterly overwhelmed by the unexpected transfer to the hospital and complications.
She made the hospital experience feel as much like a home birth as it possibly could! Even the little things were so helpful; she made sure my husband ate so he could continue to function, and she joked with him and with me when things were intense to keep the mood up. I could go on and on- Susanna’s postpartum care was absolutely wonderful and I credit her with solving my breastfeeding issues and making sure that I took good care of myself during my recovery. But I will simply say that my husband and I could not have had a better experience than we did with Susanna. She was crucial to us having the wonderful birth that we had and we cannot imagine a future birth without her.