Crystal Fink CPM, LM
I began attending births in 1998 when I was pregnant with my first child. I first pursued certification as a doula, with an ultimate goal of becoming a nurse-midwife. I started attending Virginia Western Community College in 2001. Shortly after beginning the clinical component of nursing school, I decided nursing may not be for me. I decided to become a full-time doula and childbirth educator, and pursue midwifery from a more holistic and traditional perspective. I continued at Virginia Western as a Health Science major, taking classes that complimented my desire to become a midwife.
I completed my official doula coursework in 2003 and sat on the board of CAPPA as the VA-State Representative for about a year. I was also on the local ICAN board and participated with the NRV Birth Association. As much as I enjoyed my doula work, my ultimate goal was still becoming a midwife. In 2004, I started my apprenticeship with an amazing direct-entry midwife. Through a 5 year extensive apprenticeship, various skills workshops, and countless hours of self-study, I completed the certification requirements and passed the certification exam in 2009 with the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) and became a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and a Licensed Midwife (LM) with the VA Board of Medicine. I attend peer review and am continuously learning through research, study groups, and hands on experience.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What type of midwife are you?
I am a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM), through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). I am licensed through the VA Board of Medicine (BOM) to practice midwifery and am in good standing with both NARM and the BOM. I am not a nurse; all of my training is specific to midwifery and the childbearing year. See the midwives model of care for more information.
What training have you had?
I am a traditional midwife. I trained through a vigorous and extensive 5 year apprenticeship with an experienced homebirth midwife. In addition, I completed 93 credits of Health Science/Nursing classes, with a GPA of 3.6 in my curriculum. I have attended dozens of peer review workshops and completed training for labor doula, postpartum doula, and childbirth educator certification through DONA and CAPPA. I have certified and recertified in Neonatal Resuscitation, CPR, and First Aid. I have completed continuing education in various topics including: Building Obstetric Collaboratives, Postpartum Depression, Breastfeeding, Vaginal Birth After Cesarean (VBAC), Placental Abnormalities, Postpartum Hemorrhage, and much more. I believe that a midwife can NEVER complete her education, as there is always more to learn. As of 03/2014, I have attended over 150 births, 1,000+ prenatal visits, 500+ postpartum visits, assisted with breastfeeding countless times, and given birth myself three times (twice at home).
What parenting/birthing options did you choose for your family?
This is a very important question. Midwifery is a personal relationship so it's ok to ask personal details. I homebirthed my 2nd and 3rd daughters. Wanda Smith CPM, LM was my midwife. You can read my birth story on our facebook page, if you like. I have breastfed all of my children. I had normal 1st baby issues and ended up supplementing then formula feeding by 3 mos with my 1st child. My 2nd nursed over 3yrs and I'm currently tandem nursing my baby and toddler. I follow attachment style parenting by co-sleeping, wearing my babies, nursing on demand, and using positive discipline. I homeschool and do not vaccinate. I also would not circumcise, should I be blessed with a little boy in the future. IMPORTANT: these are MY personal decisions, however I believe all families need to make their own choices and if a family believes differently than I, it does not impact my ability to be their midwife and be supportive of their informed decision(s). I have worked with families from all walks of life that have made different decisions than my own countless times. This is YOUR birth and YOUR baby.
If there is a complication, how do you handle it?
As a midwife, I was trained that most complications can be prevented. If I cannot assist you in preventing a complication, I will first treat you naturally and holistically with traditional methods such as nutrition, exercise, herbs, homeopathics, chiropractic, accupuncture, etc. If an issue can not be resolved this way or warrants immediate response, I may need to my midwifery skills to resolve the issue. Good examples of this would be a shoulder dystocia, umbilical prolapse, hemorrhage, etc. In an event of emergent need for medical intervention, if it could not be quickly resolved at home, we would transport to the hospital. It is important to know that most complications have early signs that can help a midwife correct the issue or transport to a hospital long before mom or baby are distressed. I have a respectable relationship with the area hospital and transports typically go very smoothly, as I transport with my clients and provide important records to them.
Do you bring anyone else to the birth?
Yes. I will arrange a 3 person birth team. In addition to myself, two apprentices or assistants will accompany me to assist with labor support, charting, clinical skills under supervision, clean up etc. I am a teaching midwife, but client need, safety, and satisfaction always takes priority over teaching. Apprentices are required to attend doula, homebirth assistant, and neonatal resuscitation training prior to providing any care. They will also build a relationship with each family prenatally by attending prenatal office visits, home visits, childbirth classes, and being a part of all aspects of client care.
Savanah Songer (540) 339-2841
is a doula, homebirth assistant, and apprentice. She has been attending births as a doula since 2010. She is currently developing her assistant skills (Phase 2 Apprentice) and hopes to become a primary midwife under supervision (Phase 3 Apprentice) this year.
She is a mother of four. She has birthed twice (2 are adopted), her second a triumphant HBAC (homebirth after cesarean) to a baby a pound bigger than her cesarean baby! I was honored to be with her both times, first as a doula and then as her midwife.
Sherrie Bocock (540) 818-9943
is a doula and phase 1 apprentice. She attended the Breath of Life Midwifery Birth Assistant training in Aug 2013 and began attending births as a doula shortly after. After many of my clients requested her for their births, I added her a an official member of the birth team. She is mom to Logan born in 2012. She is an avid birth, lactation, and respectful parenting activist.