JUDY DEFREITAS, RM
While completing my undergraduate degree at McMaster University I first learned about midwifery. I became fascinated by the philosophy behind midwifery and in particular the notion of being "with woman"(which is the translation of midwife). The more I researched midwifery, the more I became drawn to the profession. I really identified with the notion of working with women. I was drawn to the idea of helping guide women through their pregnancy, labour, and transitioning to parenthood. I have found tremendous fulfillment watching women grow and change as they nourish a new human being. Every birth reinforces the beauty and strength of the female body.
Although I was certain of my aspiration of becoming a midwife the journey was a long one that took me to New Zealand to study. I graduated from Otago Polytechnic in 2004. Following graduation, I moved to Sydney Australia and worked at Westmead Hospital as an employed midwife. Upon returning to Canada I completed the PLEA registration process in British Columbia and became a registered midwife here in 2006.
My partner and I moved to Prince George in 2007 and have been here ever since. After two years of working in Prince George, I established my own practice, New Beginnings Midwifery. I have been providing solo midwifery care for women in the north for over 10 years now.
Emily Rigney, RM
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!
Vanessa Kay, RM
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 2019 LOCUM MIDWIVES
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.
A Midwife arrives to her calling in a limitless number of ways. Some of us are blessed enough to let these callings also double as careers. And even fewer of us are further blessed to practice these deeply moving careers here in beautiful British Columbia.
In 2001 I moved to New Zealand, a land forever dear to my heart. In 2005 I graduated with a Bachelor of Midwifery at Otago Polytechnic in Dunedin. During my Kiwi career I caught babies all over the country. I practiced in both high and low risk hospitals, as well as a home birth midwife in both urban and rural settings.
In 2012 I became registered in BC through the UBC bridging program. After catching babies in Comox, Victoria, Vancouver, Kelowna and Squamish, I am currently pursuing studies in Traditional Chinese Medicine in Victoria BC. However, a midwife is always a midwife, and I am delighted to be providing Midwifery care to the families of Prince George this summer.
Being a daughter of a Midwife, it was always known at our house that women were strong, and that Mum came home with a certain glow around her when a baby had come earth side. It wasn't until years later when I began practicing midwifery myself, that I truly understood how strong we are, and felt that glow for myself as I stood alongside people transforming into mothers, fathers, families.
Building relationships based on trust, compassion, and kindness, working in partnership together is where we start. Transformation, new life, deep challenges, a few tears, and a few laughs is where we go. The rest is up to you. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you all.