JUDY DEFREITAS, RM

My first exposure to midwifery occurred when I was attending McMaster University. It was during a women’s study class that I first heard the word “midwife”. Initially I had no idea what a midwife was. The more I researched it the more I became drawn to the profession. I truly believe in the philosophy of care that respects a woman’s body and I relished the idea of sharing knowledge so that each woman could direct her own care.  Although I was certain of my aspiration of becoming a midwife the journey was a long one that took me to the other side of the world. I attended Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand to study midwifery. I graduated in 2004 and moved on to work, as a hospital employed midwife, in Sydney, Australia. By 2005, I had become homesick for Canada and decided it was time to come home. I spent another year completing the PLEA registration process in BC and became registered in 2006. I spent a short time working in Vancouver before my partner and I relocated to Prince George.  I opened my own practice, New Beginnings Midwifery in January 2010 as a solo practice. I have had the pleasure of serving women and their families in Northern BC for the last 13 years. In October 2019, Becca Mlikotic joined New Beginnings Midwifery as my practice partner. I’m thrilled to be able to provide care to more women in the North in partnership with Becca.

My first exposure to midwifery occurred when I was attending McMaster University. It was during a women’s study class that I first heard the word “midwife”. Initially I had no idea what a midwife was. The more I researched it the more I became drawn to the profession. I truly believe in the philosophy of care that respects a woman’s body and I relished the idea of sharing knowledge so that each woman could direct her own care.

Although I was certain of my aspiration of becoming a midwife the journey was a long one that took me to the other side of the world. I attended Otago Polytechnic in New Zealand to study midwifery. I graduated in 2004 and moved on to work, as a hospital employed midwife, in Sydney, Australia. By 2005, I had become homesick for Canada and decided it was time to come home. I spent another year completing the PLEA registration process in BC and became registered in 2006. I spent a short time working in Vancouver before my partner and I relocated to Prince George.

I opened my own practice, New Beginnings Midwifery in January 2010 as a solo practice. I have had the pleasure of serving women and their families in Northern BC for the last 13 years. In October 2019, Becca Mlikotic joined New Beginnings Midwifery as my practice partner. I’m thrilled to be able to provide care to more women in the North in partnership with Becca.

becca mlikotic, RM

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Please, call me Becca.  I was born in Vancouver to immigrant parents but lived most of my life in Kelowna ~ part of the unceded territory of the Syilx/Okanagan people. In 2014, I completed a BSc in Biochemistry at UBCO. I was strongly considering medical school at that point, until I attended a UBC Midwifery program information session. 

During the presentation a midwife shared experiences from her practice and a spark got ignited in my heart. I was inspired and attracted to the holistic and person-centred approach of midwifery care, the time spent with families cultivating relationship, and how uniquely midwifery can bridge the clinical and relational dimensions of maternity care. 

A year later I was accepted into the UBC Midwifery program and since then have attended births literally across the province: Vancouver, Penticton, Prince George, Parksville, Williams Lake, and Nelson. Attending nearly 110 births in both rural communities and large tertiary centres has given me a deeper appreciation for the spectrum of normal birth. It has also shown me the importance of trust and communication between midwives, our clients, our maternity care colleagues, and how integral these relationships are in providing safe and empowering care.  

As you may have noticed, I completed one of my practicum placements at New Beginnings back in 2017. I am both excited and humbled to be back working with the team and serving you no longer as a student, but as a New Registrant! My deepest gratitude for giving me the opportunity to grow and learn from you and your families. 

Outside of work, I love board games, chocolate, getting lost in a good book series, and organizing messy rooms. And while I am a midwife, I am also a full wife (sorry, bad joke) to my new hubby, Simon! We recently got married in September 2019 and look forward to building community in PG.

Vanessa Kay

Vanessa will be on maternity leave starting August 2019

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Hello! My name is Vanessa Kay. I grew up in the fishing industry of the Coast Salish territories of Vancouver Island.

Before becoming a midwife, I pursued a Fine Arts degree at Emily Carr then moved to Women and Gender studies and Indigenous health care at the University of Manitoba. The work of midwifery melded many of my interests namely, a deep passion for accessible, autonomous and compassionate health care.I started birth work as a volunteer Doula and was accepted into the Ontario Midwifery Education Program in 2013 where I completed my degree in BcH of Sciences in Midwifery. As a student my placement in Southwestern Ontario serving a large Amish and Mennonite population grounded my practice in normal home birth. Working in Toronto I worked with privileges in 4 large urban hospitals and gained valuable experience working with new immigrant populations. I have since done midwifery work in White Rock, Squamish, and Vancouver. I am licensed to an expanded scope of practice to provide contraception counseling and working towards certification in administration of IUDs.

My experiences as a midwife affirm for me that the well-being of a pregnant person is the well-being of their whole community. I am humbled and inspired by he transformative experiences clients and their families move through over the course of pregnancy, birth and postpartum and am deeply honoured to be invited to be a part of it.

When I am off call, I can be found hiking in the woods with my dog and partner, gardening, or reading. I am excited and grateful to be a part of this growing community and look forward to meeting you and your family on your journey.

 

Sandra Schlogel, OFFICE MANAGER

I’m proud to say I was born and raised in Prince George.  I first started working with Judy in August of 2013.  Since that time, I have worked with a total of 13 midwives and student midwives.  My interaction with the midwives has made my respect and fascination with the profession grow.  

I feel very fulfilled by my work and love the connections I have been privileged to make with all of the amazing woman who come through our doors.  I consider it a privilege to work with the midwives and to advocate for the mama’s to be. I am grateful for the flexibility my work at New Beginnings Midwifery allows me create a healthy work/life balance.

 

SUMMER/FALL 2019 LOCUM MIDWIVES

CARMEN WIEBE

My name is Carmen Wiebe. I grew up in Hazelton, BC and am dedicated to northernmaternity care. I’ve had the privilege of enjoying the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’enterritories throughout my upbringing and in my current work and hobbies.

Midwifery has felt like a calling to me since my first exposure. Having a baby is a remarkable journey – one that influences a person’s future experiences, memories,and ripples into family and community well-being. I feel fortunate to share such a complex and profound time with people.

My introduction to midwifery was through the book, The Birth House, by Canadian author Ami McKay. I was drawn to the portrayal of family-centered care, reproductive justice, and gender equity. I trained to be a doula, and attending births affirmed my desire to pursue midwifery. Between working as a literacy coordinator and a pregnancy outreach program, I attended births as a doula, and completed Midwife Assistant training in the U.S. Eager to prepare my application for midwiferyschool in Canada, I studied Gender and Women’s Studies at SFU in Burnaby andvolunteered as a doula in Honduras. I was accepted into Laurentian’s MidwiferyEducation Programme in Ontario, and graduated with a B.HSc. in Midwifery in 2018.

My training took me to Ottawa, ON where I gained substantial experience in home and birth centre births, as well as working within a large, urban hospital. I was fortunate to complete part of my training in northern BC with rural midwives and an experienced obstetrician. During my senior year in Collingwood, ON, I honed my midwifery skills at a busy and well-integrated midwifery practice.

Working as a midwife in Hazelton since graduating has reinforced my commitment to culturally safe and accessible care. The power of birth continues to leave me in awe. I am very much looking forward to spending time in the birthing community of Prince George!

In my time off, I like to take advantage of the recreational opportunities in the north. I love mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, and skiing. I also enjoy choral and solo singing and am happy when my garden grows.

Emily Rigney

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I’m passionate about encouraging positive change in the world. Building upon foundations as a biologist, artist and public educator, I chose to follow the path of becoming a midwife after being inspired by a good friend and rural midwife in Smithers, BC. I am excited to be part of maternity care that empowers women and their families by providing informed decision-based, natural childbirth options.

I graduated with my M.Sc. in Midwifery at Bastyr University in WA State (formerly Seattle Midwifery School) where I attended mostly out-of-hospital birth. I became familiar with the BC Model of Care while completing the Internationally Educated Midwives Bridging Program through UBC, including practicum in the Cowichan Valley of Vancouver Island. Attending 160 births as a student midwife confirmed my fascination with the power and physiology of birth. Prior to my midwifery journey, I worked as a wildlife biologist and researcher throughout BC. During my B.Sc. in Biology I became involved in public outreach and volunteered as a birth educator and doula for the Tillicum Lelum Friendship Centre in Nanaimo, BC. This work was highly inspirational and helped me to recognize the importance of serving communities that can benefit most from midwifery care.

For fun I like to be active outdoors, and on my time off I can be found hiking, rock climbing, camping and foraging in the forest. I also enjoy regular yoga practice, creating artworks and delicious healthy foods, and reading. I am honored to be part of this community, and serve you as best I can!