UW midwives mark 25 years ‘catching’ babies

Celebration scheduled for Sunday
UW midwives mark 25 years ‘catching’ babies

At UW Health’s West Clinic, there are a group of women who have given the phrase “good catch” new meaning.

“We catch babies, we don’t deliver them. Mamas deliver them, we catch,” explained Melissa Kaminsky, a certified nurse midwife.

Before her interview, Kaminsky met with mom Emily Johnson and 6-week-old Miles, part of post partum care.

“How are you doing now? Are you getting much sleep?” Kaminsky asked Johnson. She replied, “About as much as you can get.”

Kaminsky is one of eight midwives with the UW Nurse Midwifery Service, a program marking its 25th year of service, the profession has been going on for ages.

“Because it is such an old profession I think some people think it’s based on having been taught or learned from mothers and grandmothers. All of us are nurses who have masters degrees or doctorate degrees.

“I think the difference in the care that we provide is we have more time to spend with women. So we spend a lot of time educating women about health care,” said Jodi Wagner, manager of the UW Midwifery Program.

The program started with one midwife at one clinic. Now they have eight midwives at five different clinics. There are described as experts in low-risk health, pregnancy and births.

Work as a CNM has offered people like Kaminsky a chance to make strong bonds with families, but it can be grueling.

“We’re working for 24 hours straight sometimes, and providing labor support is a very emotionally and physically tiring job,” described Kaminsky.

However, while catching babies is part of Kaminsky’s job, the families have caught her heart.

“It’s worth it to see how proud of herself a woman is and how excited everyone is to welcome this new life. It’s just magical,” said Kaminsky with a smile.

The Midwifery Program will celebrate their 25th anniversary Sunday Oct. 5. Over the year the midwives have “caught” 8,760 babies. They will be recognized for leading way in group prenatal care and water births in our area.