Rebekah Lake, registered midwife
With Mother’s Day just around the river bend, everybody is thinking about Mom. But how often do we consider the people who helped a mom become Mom? We asked for insight from Rebekah Lake, a registered midwife with Capital Midwifery, and the conversation spawned multiple topics, such as yoga, some unique birthing situations and her idea of a perfect Mother’s Day.
What made you want to be a midwife?
I knew you were going to ask me that question. Midwifery is one of those things that you can’t not do. Yeah, you can’t not do it. It’s not something that you go, “Huh, I’m going to do that.” It kind of calls you, it draws you in.
When did you know that this was something you wanted to do?
After I had my last baby at home, the difference between having a baby in a birth center with a midwife and having a baby at home with a midwife was very different. Huge difference. And at that moment I was like, “You know what, this is how it’s always been done, this is how it should be. This is real care.”
What are the some of the benefits of home birth?
The benefits are personalized care. A lot of woman have had a baby in the hospital and then they realize that they don’t want to do that again. They want to have one person who cares for them through their whole pregnancy and they want that same person to deliver their baby and then care for their baby for six weeks. They like having hour-long appointments, they don’t have to wait in a waiting room, they don’t have to shuffle around the health care system, they avoid that whole mess. Healthy young people usually don’t interface with the health care system until they’re pregnant and then they go, “Holy shit, this is a nightmare and it’s super stressful.”
That’s when most people run into just how that system operates.
Right? No one goes to the doctor … and then they are like, “Oh! I’m pregnant, now I need to go to the doctor.” And then they are faced with their health plan and restrictions and, “Oh, well I can’t get you in for 12 weeks,” and then they sit there and wait an hour-and-a-half in the lobby for a 10-minute appointment and they don’t get their questions answered and, in the era of Google, where everything is instant, young families today, they’re not having it. … They want someone who can give them advice on nutrition, yoga, like the hippie stuff. Well-being, health and wellness. And someone who’s younger and can hang out with them and make it an experience. It’s like boutique care, it really is. Bringing the ancient traditions that midwives have always used with what the medical system has to offer. Kind of bridging the two.
What is prenatal yoga?
For me specifically, I became a yoga teacher in 2000 before I became a licensed midwife. So I use yoga, I use Ayurveda in how I practice midwifery. And keeping the body fit is so important, staying active is so important. And making sure the baby is in a good position for birth and making sure a woman is fit for birth is critical. And making sure that the mind is right. Labor is hard work, and for a woman preparing for a natural birth, at home, there’s no epidurals. There’s no pain management, it’s really her ability to meditate, her ability to work with her body and the power of her own body and her own mind. And that’s where yoga comes in. … Yoga lets you feel intensity in your body and labor is going to be intense on your body. If you can get through hard yoga for an hour, you can get through a minute-long contraction.
What are some common misconceptions about midwives?
That we’re not regulated. That’s a big one. A lot of people think of midwives as unlicensed Little House On the Prairie, coming in on horseback, boiling rags. And the reality is we bring emergency equipment, everything that would be in a labor and delivery room in a birth center, we carry.
What is your idea of a perfect Mother’s Day?
My idea of a perfect Mother’s Day is hanging out with my kids watching them be the total blaze that they are. Which involves basketball and video games.
What are the most inconvenient places you’ve had to deliver?
I recently delivered a baby on a landing of a stairwell. I’ve delivered babies in every room in a house. In a kitchen, in a very small bathroom, in a shower stall, in a bathtub, in a back yard, in a birth tub, in a garden. You name it, I’ve had to be there.
Were those by choice or happenstance?
The landing was happenstance. The garden was choice. They had a beautiful backyard with a garden and that’s where they wanted their birth. But a lot of times, it’s wherever mom gets the urge to push. … That’s the goal, mom is in charge and the midwife works around the mom.