It was a celebration.
Guelph Midwives recently reconnected with past and present clients at its annual Picnic at the Park at Riverside Park.
Justine Sauve was one of the clients who came along to share in some family fun festivities with her 22-month old daughter, Evelyn.
“I love Guelph Midwives. I’ve had a midwife for both of my children, and for both, it was such an excellent experience,” Sauve said.
The picnic brought out a large crowd of children, parents and grandparents eager to share and reminisce with the midwives who helped bring their children into the world.
Sarah Cressman has been a midwife with the organization since 2012.
“I love coordinating events. The picnic fizzled out for a while so in 2013, we decided to restart it and we’ve held them every year since,” Cressman said.
“Often, we don’t see past clients until the picnic and it’s just so lovely to know that they care and that they will travel to come see us. It really is moving for us to know that they want to reconnect and that we are valued, to know that we are important to these people.”
Guelph Midwives has been providing obstetrical and newborn care in Wellington County since 1996.
It continues to support local mothers and has welcomed over 5,000 newborns.
There are currently nine registered midwives from diverse backgrounds who offer personalized, professional and evidence-informed care.
Guelph Midwives is focused on promoting normal birth and client-centred care throughout pregnancy and into the postpartum.
All midwives are registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario and maintain current certifications in CPR, newborn resuscitation and emergency skills. Midwives must also participate in continuing education to maintain their college registration.
Midwives are graduates of a four-year degree through the Ontario Midwifery Education Program. This is offered through three Ontario universities including McMaster, Ryerson and Laurentian.
Guelph Midwives has two clinics. The first is located at the Community Health Centre in downtown Guelph and the other is at its sister location, in central Fergus.
“Right now, the demand is great. And with people becoming more interested and having good experiences, it does grow. Currently, there are people on waiting lists as we only have a certain amount of spots per month,” Cressman said.
Midwives are registered primary health care professionals dedicated to providing information, advice and support for new mothers and their babies.
If a complication arises during pregnancy, labour or postpartum, the midwife will consult with the appropriate health care provider and a client’s care may be transferred to a physician.
However, the midwife will continue to provide support, education and advocacy to their client.
“Our goal is to support even if other experts are required. We want to add people to your team and make sure you are not losing anybody,” Cressman said.
In Ontario, midwifery care has been funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care since 1994.
There is no cost to clients.
“There are still some old-fashioned theories around,” Cressman says. “Midwives do not pressure natural births and if an epidural is required, then we would agree.”
Cressman also says that most births take place at the hospital but there are a dedicated few, about 25 per-cent of clients, who do prefer a home birth.
If interested in a midwife, it is recommended that contact is made as soon as pregnancy is confirmed.
Midwives provide care from early pregnancy through to labor and birth followed by care for mother and baby, six weeks after giving birth.
And there are no age restrictions. If a potential client is healthy and low risk, they are eligible for midwifery care.
“As soon as your pregnancy is confirmed, you can register with Guelph Midwives online,” Cressman says.
For Guelph Midwives, its about care, support and trust.
“Being a midwife takes a certain stamina,” Cressman says. “It can be emotionally intense. For me, it’s stimulating intellectually to provide clinical care, but it also provides a great deal emotionally because we get so close to our clients. So, it’s gratifying and satisfying for my heart too. It’s such a lovely balance.”
Guelph Midwives is thankful for another successful Picnic at the Park.
“We have a family who have had six children with Guelph Midwives. And it’s so lovely to see the continuity, to see these babies become toddlers and then become big siblings,” Cressman said.
“It’s so amazing to see them grow.”