Spotlight on: Heather Karp, RN

If you have been in labor during the night, you may have been fortunate to have the nursing care of Heather Karp, RN. She loves to take call as birth assistant overnight for the peace and quiet of night time births. It is ideal for her life, as she spends her days with her almost three year old daughter.

Heather gave birth to Livy at AAMC in October 2014 with Joanne as her midwife. She had a long labor and remembers every midwife spending time with her one on one and feeling truly supported.

Some of Heather’s favorite experiences are with women who had prior hospital experiences and are transformed by their birth center births. She wants more women and families to know how wonderful, peaceful and supported birth can be!

Special Beginnings Waterbirth Baby Growing Up!

Today we bid farewell and best wishes to Eli Jacobs. Our clients may not know her face because she has been providing behind the scenes administrative support for Special Beginnings, but she is dear to all of us. If you have sought lactation support, you may know her grandmother, Flossie Rollhauser, IBCLC.

Eli was the first waterbirth baby at Special Beginnings on April 16, 1998! She was born in the jacuzzi tub in Birthing room #2. She became a birth center “office elf” in April of 2016. Eli received her Associate’s degree in Creative Writing from Anne Arundel Community College this past spring and heads to St. Mary’s College of Maryland next week. She plans to major in English with goals to pursue writing and publishing.

We wish Eli all the best in her endeavors and thank her for her hard work and reliably positive attitude!

Severna Park Voice Article

Thank you to the Severna Park Voice for this nice article in today’s paper! http://www.severnaparkvoice.com/business/special-beginnings-has-offered-alternative-childbirth-options-20-years

A little more than 20 years ago, Nurse Ann Sober met a midwife and realized that she wasn’t alone in her philosophy on childbirth. Continue reading…

Special Beginnings Receives Best Practice Designation

Special Beginnings is very proud to have received from the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM) the designation of a “Triple Aim” Best Practice for the year 2016. This means that we achieved nationally established benchmarks for physiologic birth including high breastfeeding rates, low preterm birth rates and low primary cesarean rates.

ACNM gathers data every year to monitor, maintain and improve the quality of midwifery care in this Benchmarking project that aims to provide quality assurance by midwives and for midwives. The data analysis provides evidence of the improved outcomes that midwifery care produces and emphasizes how important it is that all families have access to midwives!

For more information, see the ACNM website at http://www.midwife.org/Benchmarking.

A Message from Director Ann Sober

Hi Friends,

I heard a rumor that Special Beginnings is closing! We are definitely not closing! We are building a great midwifery team, updating to electronic medical record and investigating the purchase of an ultrasound machine. We have seven fantastic midwives working to meet your healthcare needs, including gynecological care for women of all ages. My team and I are committed to midwifery care and we will continue attending families having safe, healthy births in the locations they choose. So rest assured: Special Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center is here for you.

Ann Sober, RN, Owner and Director of Special Beginnings Birth and Women’s Center

Thank you!

Special Beginnings clients and staff members are as so devoted to the birth center that they brought their families out to celebrate our 20th Birthday, despite the rain on Saturday, May 13! So many smiles were shining through the dreary weather… We LOVE our families! A few pictures from our party are included below, and we will be sharing additional stories as our milestone year continues. Thank you for celebrating with us!

Meet Leah, a Lactation Consultant at SBBWC

I became interested in becoming a lactation consultant after the birth of my first child 14 years ago. Our breastfeeding journey was a difficult one. My son had difficulties latching after my long labor and birth and a deep suctioning. We did not have the best of starts nor did we have the support we needed like you find at our wonderful birth center. After he lost a lot of weight, and I needed to start supplementing breastfeedings, my husband and I hired a lactation consultant to come to our home. She was wonderful. She was patient and kind. She didn’t speak down to me. She sat with me as I cried. I will never forget her kindness. Nor will I forget that she saved our breastfeeding relationship.

As the birth of our second son rapidly approached I found out that there was a breastfeeding week long education course that I could take. That was the start of my journey, 11 years ago, toward becoming an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. I wanted to help other mothers. I saw the gap in help for breastfeeding. I saw the lack of good knowledge by most care providers. I saw the tears and felt the desire to help fix the issue and dry the tears.

Not only was I determined to help in the community, I ultimately went to nursing school to become a lactation consultant in the hospital. I was so smitten with nursing care that I spent a year working in adult critical care. I learned so much! All of my knowledge working in critical care in Florida as well as neonatal critical care lactation work in Texas has given me an amazing knowledge base to draw on for our patients here at Special Beginnings. I am so blessed to be here to provide lactation help for our patients as well as any other breastfeeding mothers that come to us for help.

Please feel free to call or text me with any questions, concerns, or desires to schedule a lactation appointment at 813-420-8382

Leah Mason-Virgin, IBCLC

On Motherhood and Midwifery

When my second son was born in December 2009, I transitioned from midwifery into a more supportive role at Special Beginnings. Since then, I have managed our social media platforms, taught baby care, sibling preparation and the occasional breastfeeding classes. I have continued to attend births in the nurse’s assisting role. I love being a midwife, it is the joy and purpose of my life…second only to being a mother! I gave birth to a daughter in 2012 and I am incredibly fortunate to be a mostly-at-home mom while continuing to support family centered, beautiful birth center births.

The bittersweet milestones of our children’s lives bring them ever nearer to their independence. It’s the juxtaposition of our jobs as parents to prepare them while we cherish their smallness, their unfolding. My youngest will enter kindergarten in the fall. My big guy just turned ten and my little guy is in first grade. My kids are nowhere near moving out and moving on! However, my days of nursing babies and toddlers and diapering and existing as the center of their universes have developed into days of cheering on their endeavors and marveling at the thoughts they think. I still kiss ouchies and hold hands, and now, we read bedtime stories to each other. I create boundaries and keep them safe. But I no longer smell like breast milk, nor do I follow the kids around the playground.

And so, it is with great pleasure and contentment that I return to the role of Certified Nurse Midwife with the practice at Special Beginnings in a part- time position. I love getting to know our clients and families during prenatal appointments again. It makes birth all the more precious to me when my hands have tracked your baby’s growth and we have sat together and envisioned your baby’s birthday.

I am thrilled to return to gynecological care. I like to solve problems, like a woman’s health Nancy Drew, and I love the stories that women have to tell. The strength and persistence of women is the story of the earth itself. I look forward to working with you.

Melissa Youssi, CNM

 

Our Laurel Flies South

laurel

There is no doubt at all that Laurel loves babies.

Laurel Naff, RN, IBCLC, came to Special Beginnings in 2002 as a LPN and birth assistant. In the 14 yrs since, she has become an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and a Registered Nurse. She took on the role of Director of Nursing. After hundreds and hundreds of births, so many sweet new babies assessed and kept warm, so many nursing mamas helped through struggles, so many strong birthing mamas and the loving families that surround them, so much traveling from Easton to Pykesville to Takoma Park to Lutherville and everywhere in between for postpartum home visits…  Laurel is leaving the birth center and moving to Naples, Florida. Though it breaks our hearts to say good-bye, we know that the mothers and babies down south will be as blessed as our birth center families have been to have the benefits of Laurel’s smile, skill and caring touch.

Safe journeys to Laurel and Chuck as they sail south. She will be sorely missed. Feel free to leave comments and notes to Laurel below to express your own gratitude for how she impacted your pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences.