Which Midwife for a Home Birth?

Parent Q&A

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  • Hi everyone!

    I just found out I am 4 weeks pregnant. I have a toddler already that I did a homebirth with, and the midwife team I used was terrible during the labor, despite perfect reviews online. I don't want to go through that again, the labor was very traumatic and the exact opposite of what I expected a natural experience to be like.

    So this time I need to validate I guess more carefully. Please provide any detail possible, from how prenatal and postnatal appointments were, to how you felt during the labor, to the position you were in when you delivered, to whether they allowed you to be in the water tub for comfort, to how they handled complications or long labors, and how compassionate they were with you.

    I didn't have a doula last time, I had my husband helping me, but everyone I talk to swears by them and it was exhausting for my husband and he was not the greatest at helping me with things like pain management, and he moved slow when I needed help immediately. So I will take any doula recommendations as well, please.

    Near North Berkeley is highly preferred so I dont get stuck delivering while they are commuting :-) My midwife was in and out constantly--if yours stuck around, I'd love to know that too!

    Thank you so much for your help, I deeply appreciate your time and support!

    Hi! I had a hospital birth, but I highly recommend Emma Reyes! She was incredible- couldn’t imagine doing it without her. 


    I am so sorry to hear about your prior birth experience. It sounds like you're doing absolutely the right thing by asking these questions.

    I am currently pregnant and planning to deliver at a hospital, but my doula, Yula Paluy, whom I found through BPN reviews, mentioned at our prenatal meeting that she also works with home deliveries. She is an excellent communicator, evidence-based, responsive, kind, and thorough. I feel in extremely good hands with her. She is completely respectful of the birthing parent's wishes and wants to make your vision for birth happen; she will not push any birth choices on you. She expects partners (e.g., spouse) to be present at every prenatal meeting, which I absolutely love--even though she is my doula, I still want and expect my husband to be there as my birth partner, and I know that because of her guidance and presence, he will feel more confident, informed, and comfortable about how to help me. She is based in/near North Berkeley, so she should be a good fit for you in that regard, too!

    Yula utilizes a sliding scale for her fees based on your gross household income, and has a fund that allows her to offer doula services to people with lower incomes, which I think speaks volumes about her thoughtful, community-based values. You can learn more at her website: https://yulapaluy.com/doula. I am really happy about my decision to hire Yula based on our prenatal meetings so far. Wishing you the best of luck!

    Hi! Im so sorry you had a traumatic birth experience. On that front, wanted to pass along the Birth Trauma Mama podcast (hosted by a therapist named Kayleigh Summers). I’m a perinatal therapist and many of my clients have found it helpful. 
    I don’t have a home birth recc, but on the off chance you’re open to a midwife-based birth center, I highly recommend Pacifica family maternity center in Berkeley. Happy to share more details if you’d like. 


    I had the most incredible experience with Michelle Welborn of Welborn Baby and recommend her wholeheartedly. I didn't have an easy birth by any means, but everything from prenatal through birth and postpartum care was the BEST healthcare of any kind I have ever received. She's extremely knowledgeable and skilled, deeply compassionate, went way above and beyond for me and my whole family throughout the pregnancy, birth, and postpartum periods. She's based in SF and we're in N. Berkeley, but she knows how to make contingency plans for births during rush hour, etc. I would be happy to share more details if you're interested. Can't recommend her enough!

    Good luck!

    I highly recommend doula stephattaran [at] gmail.com

    (925) 708-5277

    Our midwife was an absolute dream. We had to hospital transfer and she stayed by our side every step of the way. And she’s been by 3 times this first week. 

    Alana at Ritual midwifery 

    Our incredible midwife who delivered our baby at Pacifica Family Maternity Center recently went back to supporting home births. She is beloved by everyone I’ve met who has worked with her, very seasoned and compassionate. My wife and I looked forward to every prenatal and postpartum appointment with her, and were super sad when our care with her ended! I went into labor just as she got home from a delivery, and she went right back to the birth center (after a shower!) and was 100% present for the birth of our daughter, and spent an additional hour carefully and cheerfully suturing me back together. I felt incredibly safe and held the entire time. I recommend A’maya without reservations.


    I am sorry you had a traumatic labor experience. I had a high risk labor and definintely needed the support from my doula. I swear by them now as well because they are the one person in the room that is there for just you and your partner and we needed that extra support person with a clear mind because I'll kindly say my husband was going through it that day too ha. 

    Brijett with Mama Bear Birth Services is amazing. Calm, kind and really knowledgable as well as had a great balance of when to step in and make sure my birth plan was being followed. She recommended I labor on all fours as an option and I found it way more easy to stay in my labor zone that way and ride the contractions. Brijett made me feel really comforted, and kept boosting my confidence when I was feeling doubtful of the process. I am really thankful for that. This was similar to her prenatal appointments, she boosted my confidence each time, really listened to me, didnt dismiss my fears but helped me work through them. She is also a pre/postnatal pilates instructor so she also helped with my comfort throughout pregnancy and then prepared me for labor positions and great exercises for optimal baby position and comfort at the end of labor.

    Check her out, and feel free to message me if you have any questions.


  • Hi all,

    I have 2 questions: I would really like to work with Michelle Wellborn as a midwife but she is not responding to emails/calls. Does anyone know if she's currently working?

    And second, I am looking for home birth midwife recommendations, someone seasoned and preferably middle aged+


    I don't know anything about Michelle Wellborn but I worked with Ellen Levitt at https://www.wombservicemidwifery.com/ and had a wonderful experience.  She meets both your criteria and caught my postpartum pre-eclampsia well before western medicine would have. I'm happy to share more if you're interested. 

    Hi! Congratulations first and I cannot answer your first question but I just had a homebirth in February and had a wonderful experience with my midwife team. It was through Community Birth Works and both Cynthia and Sophia were amazing throughout my care and the successful HBA2C. 

    I received amazing midwifery care from Amanda & Jeannie at East Bay Midwives!

    I also received amazing midwifery care from Amanda & Jeannie at East Bay Midwives - highly recommend them!

    A second to the wonderful experience with Amanda and Jeannie of East Bay Midwives! Jeannie delivered both my boys and we couldn't have loved our experience with them more. 

    I worked with Alana Diamos, who is a colleague and peer of Michelle Wellborn's and I LOVED her. Happy to chat one on one about my experience with her if that would be helpful to you, just contact me directly.

    I'm here to third Jeannie & Amanda at East Bay Midwives. They are wonderful!

    I worked with Cynthia at Community Birth Works for my most recent pregnancy & delivery, and Amanda at East Bay Midwives was on my first midwifery team back when she was still an apprentice midwife. I can heartily recommend both. Cynthia is the more seasoned and older of the two (I believe she’s been a midwife now for 25 years? My partner and I estimated that she’s probably attended no fewer than 1,000 births), but Amanda has a very delightful and warm presence, which really counts for a lot when you’re doing something as intense as labor ;)

  • Hi parents, 

    I am searching for a home birth midwife for my second home birth. I live in Oakland but will be moving to Alameda soon. Can someone recommend a few awesome midwifes? 



    I highly recommend my midwife Kirstin Soares who helped me through my first delivery at home in Alameda. Her phone number is (510) 473-7567. She also practices craniosacral therapy. https://www.gentletoucheastbay.com/


    Id love to recommend Alana Diamos! She was my midwife for my first birth at the SF birth center. And was my doula for my second birth at the birth center in Berkeley. Had I know she went back to doing home births when I first found out I was pregnant with my second I would have considered doing a home birth with her instead of the birth center (though the Berkeley birth center was great!). 

    Alana is incredibly kind, calm, understanding, and informative. For both births, her presence and sense of calm made the labor experience feel relaxed and peaceful. She especially shines as an educator, she has a wealth of knowledge and experience. 

    Her website is ritualmidwifery.com 

    Esther Healey was my homebirth midwife two years ago and she was amazing! 

    I highly recommend my midwife Kelly Murphy. She delivered both of our babies at home and we couldn’t imagine doing it any other way. The website is womenborn.com 415-516-2770. 
    Good luck! 

    Congratulations on your pregnancy! I just had a beautiful home birth with the East Bay Midwives. They were lovely and kind and nurturing and did all the prenatal, newborn, and post natal care up to 6 weeks postpartum.

    A second recommendation for East Bay Midwives! I've had two babies with Jeannie now and if I ever have another, I can't imagine anyone else delivering it. 

    I delivered with Treesa McLean in 2018 and had a great experience. I had to transfer to the hospital (Kaiser) after the baby was born because the placenta wouldn't deliver and Treesa came with me as a support person which was super helpful to have. BirthWithTreesa [at] gmail.com

    I also highly recommend East Bay Midwives! Jeannie and Amanda are the most loving and thoughtful care providers I've ever had period, not just throughout my pregnancy. I ended up being induced in the hospital and they could not attend the birth because of the pandemic restrictions, and even considering that I wouldn't hesitate for a second to use even knowing that they wouldn't be there at the birth for the prenatal and postpartum care alone. Having them come to my home 3 times in the first two weeks to take care of me and baby felt like such radical love and tender care that I didn't feel I'd have ever gotten in the normal medical system.

    I just had a homebirth last month and highly recommend my midwife, Michelle Borok! She is a fantastic care provider, and based in Oakland. My pregnancy and homebirth were everything I hoped they would be and more, thanks to her experience and guidance.

    Her website is https://michelleborok.com/nourish/

    Grace Bender https://www.10moonsmidwifery.com/about

    and Hannah Weiss https://www.oaklandbirthandwellness.com/midwives

    They are awesome midwives!! They had their office at Oakland birth and wellness on Shattuck, a beautiful space. They took care of me and my baby when I gave birth in the third week of the pandemic, a crazy time.  I highly recommend them to everybody. 

  • My partner and I are expecting in August and we are currently looking into home birth midwives. We are interested in working with a midwife of color who does home births. Would love to have any recommendations or contacts that might be a good fit. Thanks in advance. 

    Gingi Allen! My wonderful doula who is also a midwife: http://www.theartofmothering.com

    Hi - I'm not sure whether Marea identifies as a person of color but I know she is very intentionally focused on an inclusive midwifery practice.  She was the midwife assistant years ago for one of my homebirths and she is truly amazing.  I highly recommend her!  https://www.restoremidwifery.com/gettoknowus.html  

    Haven't used her as a midwife, but we took a childbirth class with Gingi Allen in Berkeley. She is a homebirth midwife of color, and can likely help you or steer you in the right direction of someone who is available.

    Here's her website:


    My wife just gave birth with the expert support from Andrea R. midwife here - http://www.oaklandpartera.com/index.html

    She is deeply committed to making homebirth more accessible to POC in the Bay Area. Highly recommended :) 

    Congrats and good luck finding the right midwife!

  • Dear community.  

    My partner and I are expecting our first baby and have struggled and struggled with our insurance company to find the most economic midwife option for us.  We've finally come to terms with the fact that our true heart's desire is a home birth, as well as the fact that our insurance more than likely won't cover any of it.  Can anyone recommend any highly experienced, trustworthy, wonderful midwives who are or accept low-fee?  Or, are there programs for low-income people (not on Medical) to get access to home birth midwifery?  

    Thanks very much for any support.  

    I think you may find what you are looking for if you contact Bay Area Midwifery. My home birth midwife sees clients there.

    Curious what you would consider affordable and where you are in the bay? I have seen midwives with sliding scale fees, but don't know much about how wonderful they may or may not be, and even with a sliding scale their fee was still at least a few thousand dollars. Also, many midwives wont travel outside a certain distance so it would be helpful to know where you are located.

    I have seen folks crowd fund to get their home birth option to come true. 

    I had originally wanted a home birth for my first, but ended up risking out after working with my midwife into my 30th week. I delivered at Alta Bates with a fantastic midwife, RN, husband, and doula, and was told that it was the most home birth feeling delivery they had experienced at the hospital. However it happens for you, be confident in your body and your decisions and remember that no plan is guaranteed. Good luck to you and yours!

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Looking for homebirth midwife in Berkeley

Sept 2013

I am planning a homebirth and am looking for a midwife. Can anyone recommend a fabulous homebirth midwife in the Berkeley area?

I can't recommend my midwife highly enough. Pearl Yu is knowledgeable, compassionate and calm. She is worth every penny of her fee and so much more. I have blood pressure that is susceptible to stress but during our visits it was low low low and never went up. I felt better after each visit. I can still remember the few and poignant words she spoke during my labor. (She would talk more if you wanted or needed it but she respected my request for a quiet presence.) They were exactly what I needed. Ultimately she supported me and my needs which are fairly unique. I got the birth of my dreams. During postpartum she was fantastic. I cannot say enough good about her. Contact her @ pearlfin [at] gmail.com Janelle

My husband and I wholeheartedly recommend Nova Midwifery (www.novamidwifery.com)! There are two midwives in the practice, Mason and Mollie (who was on maternity leave but is now back). Our midwife was Mason. Our prenatal sessions were tailored to our needs and questions, and Mason responded promptly to questions via email and phone through the prenatal and postnatal period. We're so thankful our homebirth for our firstborn was everything we hoped for - Nova Midwifery helped make that happen. We also recommend our doula Jessica Premsangha Prakasha (www.premsangha.com) - she is a perinatal yoga instructor and skilled masseuse - being in that community she is a fount of perinatal resources. Home Sweet Homebirth

Home Birth Midwives - Dublin or Alta Bates

Oct 2012

I'm going to be moving to the tri-valley area next month and I will be almost 30 weeks pregnant with our second daughter. I am looking at our options for birth and would love to hear what is available or any recommendations. I grew up in Walnut Creek, Plea
sant Hill area my whole life so I am very familiar with the area. We are moving back from Colorado, which has wonderful birthing center and very midwife friendly. I'm greatly considering a home birth with a midwife. Would love recommendations on anyone who can come to our home in Dublin, what the charges are and what should I expect. Another option would be to deliver at Alta Bates with Lindy Johnson, CNM. She knows my family and delivered 4 babies within our family so far. I'd love to hear experiences with Alta Bates in general and also if anyone has delivered with Lindy. I'm looking for a very holistic birth, all natural and drug free. I did not have the best of experience with my 3 yr old and am looking for a better birth experience. Any insight or recommendations on either of birthing options. Thanks so much! Jessica

I had a wonderful experience with Deborah & Juli at Awakenings Birth Services. They were supportive, caring, grounded, and knowledgeable. They provided amazing prenatal and postpartum care and helped me feel confident in caring for my little one after she was born. awakeningsbirthservices.com/ I was also seen by Esther Healy at Mandala Midwifery for a well-woman check up several years after my daughter was born and I know she also does home births. www.breathe-esther.org/ If you have specific questions about them please feel free to ask. Good luck! Simona

Midwife for homebirth in Fremont

August 2012

Hi! I just found out i am pregnant with my second child! With my first baby, i gave birth naturally, in a hospital setting. I utilized the bradley method as well as ideals from ''Ina May Gaskins Guide to Childbirth'' and ''The Thinking Womans Guide to a Better Birth'' by Henci Goer. This time i would like to do the same, however, at home with a midwife. Can anyone recommend a midwife that attends home births in Fremont, that is familiar and supportive of both natural husband-coached childbirth with the Bradley method, as well as the methods and ideals from those two books? Thank you in advance for your thoughts on this! -Jennifer

I highly recommend Treesa Mclean (http://www.birthwithtreesa.com/). Prior to becoming a midwife she was a doula for 20 years and we worked with her as a doula for the births of both of our daughters. She is amazing - extremely knowledgeable about all things pregnancy, birth, and post-partum related, calm, and an excellent communicator. We had two very different pregnancy and birth experiences and Treesa gave us invaluable help with every aspect - decision making, handling emotional stress, the labor and delivery, my recovery, breastfeeding, etc. Based on your posting, I think she would be a great fit.

I highly recommend the team from Awakenings birth services (http://awakeningsbirthservices.com/). I had the pleasure of working with these women throughout both of my pregnancies and home births of my two boys. They have an incredible wealth of knowledge AND experience and it really shows in their service. Both my husband and I felt that they brought a very holistic approach (physical and emotional health), providing knowledge and confidence while respecting our individuality. They visited me in my home which was awesome and the care was so focused and specialized. They prepared me and our whole family (husband and son #1 (when pregnant with #2)) so well, that they will always hold a special place in our hearts and life. Three of my friends also worked with them and quite randomly, in the last few years we've met at least 3 other families that have also worked with them and also had great experiences. I can't say enough about these ladies. I know there are other choices out there but you should definitely give these women a call. Lan

Need midwife recommendations for home birth

March 2012

Hello - My husband and I recently found out we are pregnant for the first time and are planning on a home birth. We have interviewed a few great midwives but would love some reccomendations and feedback from members of the community. Specifically we have been looking at Nova Midwifery, Tres Lunas Midwifery with Cindy Haag, Leopi Sanderson, Kristen Cates and East Bay Home Births. However if you have had a great experience with a midwife not mentioned above, we would love to know about that as well. Thank you for sharing. JR

I just had my third child and Cindy Haag was our midwife for this one. We had a different midwife for the first two for logistical reasons. Cindy and her whole team are excellent. She is a very skilled midwife, who is exceedingly professional, and also very warm and personable. Throughout my prenatal visits, the delivery, and the postpartum visits my husband and I couldn't have been happier. When we were deciding on a midwife for this pregnancy I met a mom who said that she loved working with Cindy so much it almost made her want to have another child. I have friends who have delivered with Leopi so I don't think you can go wrong there either.

We are blessed to have many gifted midwives in our area. As you meet with them you can ask all of the technical questions, but ultimately it is a matter of fit. Your midwife will be an integral part of one of the most powerful events in your life and having someone with whom you are truly comfortable makes all the difference. 3 time homebirth mama

I cannot say enough good things about Cindy Haag. I had a homebirth with her in 2010 and I will definitely be going to her for any subsequent pregnancies. Cindy has been a midwife for over 20 years and it shows in the quality of care. She KNOWS her stuff and has a calm, loving confidence about her. She is great at giving you the information you need to make an informed choice and also encouraging you to do your own research. She is respectful, caring, and always there for you. She is careful without being alarming.

Perhaps most importantly she knows how to sit back and let your body do its job. When I birthed my son I was impressed with the balance she struck between letting me feel the reassurance of her presence while at the same time maintaining a hands-off approach and allowing me the space to birth the way I needed to. She is not afraid to step in with a pointer if you start to feel out of control, like I did a few times, but she will not get in your way.

After my son was born he had (what turned out to be) a minor issue and Cindy was great. She stayed with us for many hours and tried to resolve it. He wound up going to NICU as a precaution and Cindy went, too. She stayed the whole time he was there, and spent many hours with us in the days afterward at the doctor's office getting tests run, monitoring him at home, etc. If you have more specific questions I would be happy to answer them. Feel free to email me. amyenelsen[at]gmail.com Best of luck to you, whoever you wind up going with! Amy

I had both my kids with Beah Haber and Michelle Edgar, two of the three midwives in East Bay Homebirth Midwifery. They were amazing and wonderful, I can't say enough good about them. (Their third midwife I have also heard excellent things about, Nicole Sellers.) Their prenatal care was thorough, nurturing, and competent. Both labors went smoothly and are wonderful, cherished memories for my partner and I. We had to transfer to the hospital for my second birth when I started to push because of some heart rate issues. It was an excellent call on the midwives part, because he had a hard time with the transition to breathing (what they suspected would happen based on what they were hearing with the heart tones.) So, they are amazing and skilled women. I wouldn't have my babies with anyone else. Happy with EB Homebirth Midwifery

I had a wonderful home birth experience with my first and an emergency C delivery of twins the second time being pregnant. Both times the most important person (besides my husband) to help me through the pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum period was Angelika Nugent from SF Midwifery. I contribute my healthy twin pregnancy to 38.5 weeks mainly to her expertise, wisdom, intuition, and respect.

Having her as my midwife with my first-born was one of the best medical decisions in my life! She will spend a lot of time with you during your pregnancy, answer all your questions and worries, get to know you really well, before your birth and will make the right decisions during and after the birth of your baby. I have trusted her from the beginning, she is down to earth, and knows her field, has delivered so many babies, and got her training at one of the most prestigious hospitals in Berlin. All of my friends who had her for their first child, chose her for any other pregnancy afterwards, no matter if delivered at home or not. Her website is: www.sfmidwifery.com Oh- and I'm not a buddhist, and neither is any of my friends- but her calm and spiritual manner definitely helps you a lot in those emotional times! mom with two great births- even if as different as can be

Hello - and congratulations! I highly recommend Nova Midwifery. They are a wonderful wonderful midwifery team. They helped with both my babies. My first is now 30 months old and my second is almost 6 months old! Mason, Mollie, and Megan (and now Laurel too!) are wonderful, caring women who consistently and continue to provide my husband and I with love and support in all aspects of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and parenthood. They really listen and care. They offer you advice (if you want it and ask for it, of course)and a great deal of information & perspective with their combined wealth of knowledge and experience. They also offer much needed laughter at times too nova mama

Congrats for choosing a homebirth! They truly are an amazing experience. I had a homebirth with Nova Midwifery in Sept of 2010 and I absolute LOVE them. Megan and Mollie were both with me through the labor and were amazing the entire time. They are both extremely calming people and made things so easy and smooth. I moved across the country at 37 weeks and so had only met Megan, Mollie, and Mason 4 or so times before I went into labor but because of their great personalities and welcoming hearts that was enough time to know them well enough to feel perfectly at ease with them throughout my labor and once my son was here. I will be going back to them the next time for sure! Not only did I love their personalities and calming nature, but I also appreciated their no- nonsense and not so out-there approach to birth. While I wanted a homebirth, I also believe Western medicine is appropriate in many situations and didn't want a midwife who was too touchy feely or just way too out-there for my taste. I think a lot of finding the right midwife is finding who fits with your personality and they were just perfect for me. They also continue to play a part in our lives with book clubs, yearly meet-ups, and other events. Oh and as a final, positive note, their billing company somehow got our Aetna insurance to pay for about 85% of their fee, even though Aetna has a written policy against homebirth reimbursement. Extra bonus! If you want any more information about them please feel free to contact me anytime. Marne

I highly recommend Awakenings Birth Services. My husband and I had the homebirth of our dreams with Juli Tilsner and Deborah Simone in Sept. 2010 and are pregnant with #2. When I confirmed the second pregnancy part of my excitement was about the fact that we get to plan another homebirth with Awakenings! With baby #1 I started prenatal care at Kaiser but at 20 weeks (after a series of events which coincided with educating myself about birth as a natural physiological process) we made the leap to plan a homebirth. We interviewed other midwives but Juli and Deborah were the ones who had the right combination of experience, parameters of care provided, energy, and open-mindedness that we were looking for. They make house calls for every prenatal visit, explain all of our choices for prenatal, birth, and postpartum options without judgement, making it clear the decisions we make are to be our own, they were merely providing information for us to make the decisions. They handled all the labs, etc, everything they did for us at Kaiser but without the hassle and germs of going to the hospital. They fully prepared us for the birth, including having a team meeting with us and our doula in advance so we were all on the same page about what everyone's role was on the day of (mine was just to be cared for while baby made his entrance). The birth was everything I hoped for, calm and totally unmedicated. Not to mention I didn't have even one tiny tear, thanks to the counter pressure the midwives applied while I was pushing. When baby was born however, he had a bit of trouble breathing, so the midwives gave him some oxygen. He continued to have a rasp in his breath so Juli slept on our couch all night, set her alarm to wake up once per hour, and checked on him continuously until it cleared up. She did tell us that if we wanted to go to the emergency room she would come with and support us, but since she and Deborah had seen this before clear up on its own, we decided to wait a few hours and see. I'm so glad we did, I couldn't imagine going to the hospital at 4am after hours of labor for something that cleared up on its own. Also, baby had trouble breastfeeding at first and Juli came back over the next day after he was born to go over more ways to hold him, which we kept trying until we found something that worked. Lastly, I think one of the best things about Awakenings care are the postpartum visits. I couldn't imagine having to take a tiny baby to the hospital in his first few weeks of life. Juli and Deborah cared for both of us postpartum extremely well, including baby's genetic screening tests. After explaining to my Kaiser pediatrician the care baby was receiving, Doc agreed we didn't need to come into the hospital for baby's first visit until 2 months. I know this was a lengthy review, but we clearly LOVE Awakenings and I've been meaning to write a recommendation for them for a long time! Rebecca

Hi! I recently had a homebirth with the midwives from East Bay Midwifery- Beah Haber, Nicole Sellers and Michelle Edgar. I HIGHLY recommend all three of them! They also delivered my niece and nephew. They are compassionate, informed and very good communicators. They are open to receiving feedback. The birth of our daughter was a beautiful experience because we were at home with some much love and support around us. Their postpartum care is also incredible- they're always available to answer questions and support new moms with all of the things that come up with our bodies after the baby is born. They also have a great system where each of their clients gets vouchers for massages in their office which was such a great addition to my pre-natal care. My husband and I would show up at all of our appointments with long lists of questions and we never felt rushed- they took so much time to answer all of our questions and explain everything really thoroughly. I'm very happy with our whole experience and eternally grateful that they delivered our amazing daughter! Jenny

Jeri Zukoski, CNM of Midwifery Services is terrific to work with - she helped deliver both of my children and each was over 9lb! Jeri provides excellent care A to Z. She was warm and caring during prenatal care - sharing encouraging stories and practical advice on nutrition, exercise and other topics. She was there for me during both deliveries and made the critical difference turning the baby to alleviate my back labor pain. After the delivery she made home visits to check on me and the baby which was much less stressful than travelling to a doctor with a 1 week old child. And finally she really emphasized what I could do to get back in shape after the birth, which I think will make a long term difference in my health. I heartily recommend working with Jeri as a midwife and you can find her at www.jerizukoski.com. Mom of Two

I can not say enough wonderful things about East Bay Home Birth Midwifery - I just love them. It was a great match for us! I loved getting to know each of them. They are amazing women, mothers and midwives; experienced, patient, loving, honest and gentle. I especially loved our memorable home visits with Michelle, Nicole and Ellah; our then 2.5 year old really enjoyed participating and helping measure my belly.:)We had an amazing birth with Beah, Ellah and Nicole. They were with me through it all and I was so pleased that we had a birth tub and had planned a home birth. And the majority of the cost was covered by our insurance. There were also regular gatherings for expectant and new parents - it was a great opportunity to hear birth stories, get to know the midwives and made me feel part of the local birth community. I would be happy to give you more details and answer any questions.(415)559-9852 TJ

I recommend you give Noah Singman at Aniche Midwifery a call. Noah is an absolutely wonderful midwife that I cannot recommend highly enough. She helped me though my last pregnancy and the homebirth (hbac) of my daughter in August 2011. Noah provided unsurpassed, holistic prenatal care, birth assistance / support, and followed it up with 6 weeks of unbelievably supportive postpartum care. She also provided the best baby checkups that our family has ever received. If you're looking for someone that is highly skilled, has a wonderful philosophy of care, will treat you and your unborn child with respect, and will be available 24/7 for questions & support, give Noah a call. Her contact info: 510 684-4867 & website: http://anichemidwifery.com/ My birth story, if you're interested: http://doublethink.us.com/paala/2012/01/08/amelies-birth-story-my-lovely-hbac/ Paala

I can highly recommend Noah Singman of Aniche Midwifery! We worked with Noah for the home births of both of our babies - my son in October 2009, and daughter in October of last year. Noah is knowledgeable, gentle, patient and extremely thorough, and through the process of both pregnancies and births our family has grown to love and respect her dearly. With Noah, I never felt rushed, knew I could share any thought, concern, or fear around my pregnancies, and it would be taken seriously and really considered, discussed, or researched if necessary. Beyond the birth itself, the postpartum care I got from Noah was truly amazing. Those first weeks are so vulnerable and raw, and I felt so cared for and nurtured by Noah. Behind her calm and down-to-earth demeanor is a true professional; her focus on safety and planning was especially important to this somewhat anxiety-prone mommy! Certainly take the time to interview different midwives to find the one you connect with best...this is an important decision, and such a special and intimate time to share with someone. I also had wonderful experiences with Ellen Levitt (she and Noah were partners at Wombservice Midwifery during my first pregnancy), and Cindy Haag (who assisted at my first birth)--they are both amazing people as well! Good luck in your search, and congratulations! Brandie, a happy home birth mommy

Congratulations on your pregnancy! You have lots of good choices for midwives in the Bay Area. I absolutely loved Michelle, Beah, Nicole, and Elah at East Bay Homebirth Midwifery. I joke that I want a second child just so I can hang out with my midwives. From the beginning, their care was different from anything I've experienced before. My check-ups were as focused on my mental health as my physical health. The midwives were always extremely knowledgeable and answered my questions completely while allowing my husband and I to make our own decisions. We never felt pressured toward any course of action. They had a good relationship with our Doula, Stacia Biltekoff and Elah was actually in our mindful birthing class with us! They helped with all the logistics of a home birth - supplies and birthing tub, etc. By the time I was ready to give birth, I was completely confident in their abilities, felt like we had excellent communication, and that, like good friends, they would be able to support me through the journey of birth - no matter what it looked like. Additionally, the midwives host monthly gatherings with all their families, where I met the moms who formed our baby/toddler playgroup and made very good friends. Through the smooth parts and rough parts, the midwives were there for us, demonstrating a level of commitment, compassion, and deep skill that is awe inspiring. Leah

This January, our second son was brought into the world by the loving hands of Jeri Zukoski. I cannot imagine how i would have done it without her. A lot of our family called me crazy to use a midwife vs a doctor, but every doctor i met felt sterile, had about 10 mins for me and couldn't care one bit about my birth plan. When our first son was born in 2008, i met with over 10 doctors in the bay area. Jeri was so clear and calm about how her practice worked. She didn't just give you a ''check up'' she spend time with my husband and I on every appointment. We discussed diet, the husband/partner's role in birth, emotional stress of being pregnant and so much more. Our 1st son had complications and Jeri caught them quickly recommending a perinatoligist and monitored him twice per week. He was born 3 weeks early and she kept us calm and still allowed me to have a natural/ no-drug vaginal birth. For our second son, we knew we wanted to see Jeri again. We had the same calming, nurturing experience. She is so well respected at Alta Bates and works well with the nursing staff there. I cannot recommend her enough. With love, Maureen

Homebirth Midwife Recommendations in East Bay

Aug 2011

Hi, I'm hoping for some newer (than what is currently posted on the BPN recommendations) recommendations for homebirth midwives in the East Bay. I know it's a very personal decision, but I'm hoping to narrow it down even just a bit! Ursula

My midwife was Kristen Graser (www.fruitsoflabor.org) in 2009. She works with Amanda Caslor, who at the time was her back-up mid-wife, but I think they offer their services together now. I highly recommend Kristen! She had just relocated back to the Bay Area from working at a very busy birthing clinic in New Mexico when I worked with her. I always felt listened to, understood, and respected under her care. She definitely cares about what she does and who she works with. By choice, I did most of my birthing prior to Kristen's arrival. For the short time at the end of my labor that Kristen was there I felt very well cared for and totally trusting of her. I got to work with Amanda post-partem and she is also very caring and attentive. Both are very knowledgeable and helped me figure out how to get enough iron to reverse prenatal anemia as well as breastfeeding issues and moral support postpartem. I recommended Kristen to a friend who gave birth to her child at the end of 2009; that friend loved working with Kristen and has asked Kristen back as her midwife for the upcoming birth of her 2nd child. If and when I have a second child, I will definitely be returning to Kristen. Happy homebirther

Here's a resounding recommendation for my fabulous midwife Ellen Levitt of Womb Service Midwifery! Ellen attended the births of my oldest (11 years) and youngest (8 months). She's got that wonderful earthy midwife vibe combined with absolute no-nonsense hardcore experience. I didn't have any concerns about birthing my babies at home, but my partner has a pretty low risk tolerance. Ellen calmly and respectfully answered all his questions and put him at ease; he was reassured that we were in capable hands. Ellen puts in lots of time on prenatal visits, getting to know the whole family and keeping in touch with where you are not just physically but emotionally as well. I'd be happy to tell you more. All the best with your homebirth. dl

I had a great experience earlier this year with East Bay Homebirth Midwifery (http://www.beahmidwife.com/). The midwives are Beah Haber, Nicole Sellers and Michelle Edgar (plus a couple of apprentices) -- All were wonderful though I especially clicked with Beah, who also has an incredibloe amount of experience (something like 4000 births). I liked signing up with a practice rather than a solo midwife to ensure they would be available when I needed them. For what it's worth, I am pretty mainstream (never thought of myself as the homebirth type, til I had a bad time at the hospital for my first birth). Their knowledge and calm presence made me feel very comfortable with homebirth, and I trusted them to recognize if medical intervention/hospital transfer was prudent, which it was after my baby was born. I wholeheartedly recommend them! Homebirth fan

I highly recommend Treesa Mclean! (birthwithtreesa.com) Treesa was my doula for my first birth, and my midwife for by second birth. I just found out I am expecting my 3rd (surprise!) and she was my first call.

She is a true nurturer, which is just what I needed during my birth experiences. She provided calm and guidance for both me and my husband throughout my pregnancies and during the births. I felt she really listened to me and helped me figure out what I wanted in my birth. She understood my choices and supported them, never pushing her own agenda.

In addition to the essential emotional support she gave, she provided top- notch medical care. I was very pleased with all that she did, including the multiple home-visits after the birth (3 post-partum visits as my midwife). Even months after my birth, she was available through email for miscellaneous questions. Feel free to get my contact information from the moderator if you'd like to talk more or have other specific questions. Sarah

Hello, I'm recommending Beah Haber Pedersen, CNM. She is currently at East Bay Homebirth Midwifery. I had a homebirth with her 10 years ago and it was wonderful experience. She is so professional and warm, I would do it again with her in a heart bit, but it was my last child she delivered... Anon

Hi there, We have had a very positive experience with Deborah and Juli at Awakenings Birth Services. They are professional, competent, wise, insightful, and respectful. We find the work that we did with them during the pregnancy to be extremely empowering and enlightening to us as expectant parents. They offer complete, affordable prenatal and postpartum care. They know how to handle things, and they are great in terms of helping you understand the importance and implications of things that might not seem important at first glance, such as how sitting in a certain position during the pregnancy and avoiding other positions can help baby settle into the ideal position for labor and delivery. They handled some unexpected stuff that came up for us during the pregnancy very, very well. They have excellent connections to other practitioners in the community that can help make the pregnancy and birth and postpartum truly optimal, and they helped us form a wonderful and sensible network of professionals around us and the baby. Sara

Hi, I wanted to weigh in on your choices for a homebirth midwife. We made our decision to work with Beah Haber's East Bay Homebirth after reading all of the wonderful reviews for Beah Haber herself. She used to work on her own, but then opened a joint practice with two other women who do not have as much experience as her as she works towards retirement. We enjoyed their pre-natal care, but ultimately were NOT happy with their treatment during the birth. When Beah did show up (for the last hour) she was GREAT, but I would not work with the practice again unless it was just with Beah. I just wanted to put it out there for other home birth enthusiasts who read the many many wonderful reviews for Beah that she is working on retiring and if you work with her ''group practice'' you really will NOT be working a lot with her (unless you are very lucky) so keep that in mind when you make your decision. Good luck with your homebirth and be sure to share your experience with the rest of us if you have a great (or not so great) experience!

Just wanted to chime in (a little late) w/ another recommendation for Ellen Levitt and Wombservice midwifery. We had our second baby at home with her last year (first homebirth for us) and she was a great fit for our family. In addition to her years of experience attending births, Ellen is a lovely, empathetic, open-minded human being with a great sense of humor. I was actually leaning towards another midwife whom I'd already met by the time I interviewed Ellen but my gut told me to go with her. I especially enjoyed having all my prenatal visits in my home. The birth was fast and uncomplicated and Ellen was totally present and responsive throughout. I should also add that my partner and I had some unexpected results at several points during the pregnancy from prenatal tests we'd opted for; there were several times when we had to make decisions as to pursuing further testing/procedures or not. These were some stressful moments for us and Ellen was completely supportive and nonjudgmental, heard our concerns and clearly would have supported whatever choices we made. Homebirth Mom

I HIGHLY recommend Amrit Khalsa... She is also a lactation consultant. She delivered my son and navigated me through a difficult home birth. She has been a mid-wife in the bay are for around 35 years and is now a ''Grandma-Midwife'' (her words). She is delivering babies from the babies she has delivered. She has been a neonatal nurse as well. She does not take risks and is very conservative with your and your babies health. She is amazing! CONTACT HER NOW! http://www.amritkkhalsa.com/ Keri

Looking for a homebirth midwife

July 2011

I am looking for a homebirth midwife and am currently considering, Judy Luce, Tenaya Jackman , Cindy Haag or Maura Daly.If you have had experience with any of these midwives would love to hear what you think. I have appointments with them but have yet to meet them all in person. Thanks! Mb

We've just had our second with Judy Luce and love her. She has decades of experience, encyclopedic knowledge of birthing, and really understood the intangible/spiritual/personal side of being a midwife. When we were interviewing, we found her to be the least interventionist (there is a range, even with homebirth midwives), and I suspect her statistics would back that up. We paid her out of pocket the second time around because we wanted to have her as a midwife so much. She's also got a great assistant, Lael Stimming. They're a perfect balance. Feel free to email! j.

Hello, Congratulations on your pregnancy! Homebirth is a wonderful option, we also chose to have a homebirth with our daughter who is now 21 months old. Cindy Haag was our midwife. She was AMAZING I had phenomenal prenatal care and Cindy was totally in her element during the birth. Our daughter was born at home after 21 hours of labor. The birth was a life changing experience Unfortunately, we had to transport our daughter to the NICU the following morning due to her respiratory rate not acclimating properly (tychipnea). Cindy flawlessly navigated the transport, was very familiar and at ease in the hospital environment and was also so supportive during our 3 day stay in the NICU (she visited us twice during that time). She was at our home waiting for us when we were finally released from the hospital. I can't tell you how much it meant to feel so supported through not only the birth (and pregnancy), but also through the difficult emotional experience of taking your newborn to the NICU. She had the perfect mix of experience and compassion and will always hold a special place in our hearts. Good luck in your search and follow your gut Feel free to contact me off list if you have any further questions. Best, Carol

I can't recommend Leopi Sanderson highly enough. When we found out we were pregnant, I decided I wanted prenatal care from a midwife, but wanted to deliver in the hospital in order to have every option of modern technology available during birth, ''just in case.'' In my heart I really wanted a home birth - I am a big believer in the natural process of birth and the power of women to deliver healthy babies with minimal intervention. But since it was my first birth, I wasn't sure if I would want/need pain meds and I wanted emergency care at arm's reach in case anything happened.

After meeting with a few hospital-based midwives, we werenbFinding a midwife: sliding scale or financial support optionst finding quite the right fit. Then we met with Leopi, who came very highly recommended. Given my vision, Leopi suggested we work concurrently with her during the pregnancy and labor and a close obstetrician colleague of hers during delivery in the hospital. She said she could come to our home to be with us during early labor, and then she would join us at the hospital in the role of a doula. The doctor also supported this plan and we felt excited to have this unique birth team that met all of our wishes. With each prenatal visit, we grew to love Leopi more and more, and we were so glad to know she would be by our side during the most important time in our lives. She is so knowledgeable, she answered all of our questions, offered sound advice and alleviated our concerns throughout the pregnancy. When we got a diagnosis of partial placenta previa, Leopi gave us her thoughtful recommendations to try get the placenta to move naturally, but she also talked with us candidly about the possibilities of needing a c-section (luckily the placenta moved before labor started). As we got closer to the birth, she walked us step-by-step through what we could expect in the hospital during delivery, explained what her role would be in the hospital and gave us suggestions for how to make the experience as positive (read: non-invasive) as possible. I really appreciated how she was able to share our vision and give us tools for non-invasive strategies, but was also realistic about the interventions we could expect if necessary. Leopi also spent time talking with my husband about his role as a partner and soon-to-be father, which helped him feel like an integral part of the pregnancy and birth, rather than just a bystander. She also talked with us about the changes and challenges we could expect in our relationship, both during pregnancy and after the baby was born.

During early labor at home, Leopi was by our side, there for anything we needed but also gave us space to be together and labor alone as a couple. Without words, she always seemed to know when to come check on us and offer her wisdom, and when to give us space. When my labor progressed more quickly than we could have imagined, we decided that staying home to deliver the baby was the safest thing (I was progressing so quickly, she said I might have had the baby in the car if we tried to get to the hospital - not safe!). Leopi had been monitoring me closely the whole time and knew that I and our baby were both in good condition to deliver at home. Even though my intention had been to go to the hospital, I felt fully safe and protected with Leopi attending our birth. Our healthy baby daughter was born healthy and strong, with no need for any pain meds or hospital interventions. For both my husband and myself, Leopi's steadfast support and calming presence gave us the serenity and confidence to have the kind of peaceful yet powerful birth we had only dreamed of having. I can't imagine our experience without Leopi there with us on our journey. She has helped us become strong as a couple and even stronger as a family. I can't recommend her highly enough. Ingrid

Congratulations! I attended a friend's birth with Cindy Haag. My friend was very happy with her care and Cindy was calm, competent, and caring throughout the delivery. My own personal experience is with midwife, Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds. I gave birth with her August 2009. She has 25+ years of experience. Not only is her clinical judgement excellent but she is warm, loving, and acutely perceptive. Her care is bar none. http://sanctuaryleopi.com/index.html lfr

Tenaya Jackman was our midwife for the birth of our son in July 2009. It was such a big and difficult decision to make but in the end we could not have been happier with our choice. We had a beautiful homebirth. Tenaya is caring, super grounded, experienced and reliable. Despite some minor complications I always felt in good hands with Tenaya. I'd be happy to talk to you if you'd like more info. Kelly

Cindy Haag is fantastic. We had a homebirth with her last Summer and we couldn't have asked for a more attentive, caring or knowledgeable midwife. She was excellent through all of our prenatals, through the birth experience and then post birth, as well. We interviewed extensively, too, and she rose to the top, bar none. If we have another baby we wouldn't consider anyone else. HomebirthMama

We used Cindy Haag as our midwife for our last pregnancy and she is really wonderful. Very nurturing and well-versed in midwifery. She tends to take a mid line approach to home birth and I felt very confident with her taking care of me and my baby. boho mama

Tenaya Jackman was my midwife for my daughter, born in July 2010. I saw her through the Sage Femme Midwifery, a San Francisco birth center where she was working part time in addition to her own homebirth practice. I liked her a lot and felt that she did a great job supporting us through the pregnancy and birth. She was always easy to get ahold of, no matter what the hour, and was very gentle and competent with any exams or tests that we decided we wanted to do. Also, my family is Muslim and I was very appreciative of Tenaya's sensitivity and acceptance of my family. I had a bad birth experience with my first child, which is why I switched to a midwife for my daughter, and I couldn't have been happier with Tenaya's care. I would definitely recommend her. Congrats on your pregnancy and good luck!

Hi there, I know they're not on your list, but have you considered Juli and Deborah at Awakenings Birth Services? Because they are a 2-midwife practice and both attend the birth, they make a really strong team. We've been really happy with them and their thoughtful, respectful, comprehensive care. Sara

I chose Judy Luce for my homebirth and had a fantastic experience. She's a wealth of info and is very talkative. For me it was a good fit because she made me feel very taken care of. It was sometimes hard to get a word in. But her assistant Lael is great too and complements Judy's style. I can give you details if you're interested. anon

I'm not sure if the enquiring person will get this, but yes, Leopi is a great midwife not only for baby delivery (she was stellar when my baby got stuck at the shoulders and pulled him out safely after some serious maneuvering) but she helped me and my partner heal from an emotionally traumatic first baby delivery. She is trained in trauma and somatics work in ways that now seem to me to be a crucial part of the process instead of a perk. And she has a wicked sense of humor. wowl

Sept 2010

Seeking homebirth midwife

long story, but my homebirth midwife ended our contract with me now at 28 weeks pregnant. i was under huge amounts of stress with a move and remodel; partner with bad back and dealing with parents... just nightmare situation overall for past 2 months... and amidst all of that things came to a break with us. things have settled down now and are much, much better, but now i am without a midwife. she was very, very new, just graduated and was offering me a very low rate due to that. (i was to be her 2nd client as a primary midwife.) does anyone have recommendations for a homebirth midwife who will work with someone for $1500/less? i am receiving excellent prenatal care at Marin Maternity HHS, have 3 volunteer doulas who are helping me along, as well as a friend giving me weekly acupuncture and another friend giving me weekly massage. so prenatally i am feeling really covered and held... but i desperately need to now find a midwife for the actual birth. thanks

Hi- I highly recommend my midwife Michelle Edgar. She offers a sliding scale and I don't know where her prices begin, but you can certainly discuss this with her. She assisted in delivering my first son at the Birth Home in Pleasanton in March 2005 and she delivered my second son at my home in October 2006. Both times the care that I received from her was absolutely amazing. She is warm and caring and comforting and knowledgeable. I cannot say enough about her or recommend her highly enough! You can reach her through East Bay Homebirth Midwifery or at 510.655.BABY (2229) or via e-mail at midwives [at] eastbayhomebirth.com. Best wishes in your homebirth, Happy @ Home

Not sure about financial details, but Awakenings Birth Services, 2 midwives Juli Tilsner and Deborah Simone, are amazing. http://www.awakeningsbirthservices.com/Site/AwakeningsBirthServices.html Happy Awakenings Mama

May 2010

: Queer-knowledgable homebirth midwives

My partner and I are in the insemination/possibly early stages of pregnancy and looking for a queer-friendly midwife to see us through the whole process. We want to deliver at home and have as few doctor's appointments as possible along the way. An East Bay-based midwife is preferable since we live in Alameda. Recommendations? Sammy

I know Cindy Haag is queer-friendly, as well as an amazing midwife. www.bayareahomebirth.org Good luck!

Ellen Levitt is an amazing midwife and queer- knowledgable. I had a wondeful homebirth with her almost ten years ago. She lives in Alameda. Her number is (510) 459-8708. I can't recommend her highly enough. anon

Hi Sammy, Congratulations. I am queer and have a 2 year old. My partner and I were living in MI when I was pregnant (and gave birth at home) but flew to the bay area to attend a weekend workshop for queer/trans parents to be at MAYA Midwifery in Walnut Creek. Google them - they are AMAZING

Please check out east bay homebirth midwifery. http://beahmidwife.com/index.html Beah Haber assisted with my homebirth and her collegue Michelle Edgar helped with my at-home insemination. They were wonderful and extremely queer friendly. Excellent care all around! I couldnt have felt more comfortable. happy homebirth

There are many queer-friendly midwives in the East Bay. One place you might start is with Beah Haber (www.beahmidwife.com). One of the midwifes on her team--Michelle Edgar--also provides conception services to families, queer and otherwise. I have not used services of either but am bookmarking for the future! I know Beah is extremely experienced, and I have multiple friends who have worked with both Beah and Michelle, and they have great things to say. good luck!

East Bay Homebirth Midwifery (Michelle Edgar, LM,CPM, Beah Haber, CNM and Nicole Sellers, LM) http://beahmidwife.com as well as Wombservice Midwifery (Ellen Levitt, LM)are truly amazing. They are all sensitive, down to earth, and extremely skilled midwives and definitely queer knowledgeable. You can't go wrong with either practice. Good luck! Anna

You have lots of great options: Michelle Edgar, Deborah Simone, Ellen Levitt, Cindy Haag, and a newer midwife, Rebecca Plum to name just a few. - Queer-friendly SF midwife

Look no further than Cindy Haag - one of the most respected and experienced midwives in the area - she's your gal. She caught both of our babes and her expertise is unparalleled. She definitely meets your requirement. homebirth mama x 2

Hi, and congratulations! I would highly recommend Julie Tilsner with Awakenings Midwifery. She is in the East Bay. Maria Iorillo would be an awesome option too, although she's based in SF, and I'm not sure if she goes outside of the city.

We had a wonderful home birth experience with Nancy Myrick of Rites of Passage. They are based in San Francisco but they support East Bay families, in our case Oakland. Our prenatal visits were a combination of group visits and private appointments that took place in our own home. The group visits involved three other couples in Berkeley/Oakland. Each family took a turn hosting one meeting and while the exams took place in a separate room, everyone else could share experiences and questions. Although we are not queer, another couple in our group were lesbians having their second child. Best wishes! The Rites of Passage website is www.ihomebirth.com jun

Try Awakenings Birth Services: http://www.awakeningsbirthservices.com

or Judy Luce: http://www.judylucehomebirth.com/index.html JB

Jan 2010

: Recommendations for homebirth midwife

I've heard great things about Beah Haber and will contact her. Do you have other recommendations? Please let me know what it was that you loved about your midwife. Thanks!

Awakenings Birth Services. Amazing midwives. http://www.awakeningsbirthservices.com/Site/AwakeningsBirthServices.html. Beah H. may not do home prenatal visits, something that was important to me. Happy Awakenings Mommy

I highly recommend Jessamyn Meyerhoff, LM, CPM, as a knowledgeable, capable, and loving homebirth midwife.

More than anything, I appreciated Jessamyn's flexibility--she came to our home for all of the prenatal visits, she really paid attention to and worked with my wishes, and when her careful monitoring revealed complications during the birth (the umbilical cord was pinched, causing a decreased heart rate), she immediately arranged for us to transfer to the hospital, where she took on a doula role for the remainder.

I encourage anyone considering a home birth to meet with several midwives before making their decision. We met with Beah and liked her a lot, but felt that Jessamyn was a better fit for us. Good luck! Lara

Nov 2009

I'm thinking of having a homebirth and was planning on interviewing with Ellen Levitt and Noah Singman. Does anyone have any experience with them? Thanks so much. anon

We had Ellen and Noah as our midwives a couple months ago. We loved them and miss them now that our son is 2 1/2 months. They really listen and care for you, your partner, and you family as a whole. Noah and Ellen compliment each other well. They have different styles and expertise, which we found very helpful. We ended up transfering to alta bates, but they handled the transfer well and stayed at the hospital the whole time with us. It was great to have their presence and knowledge at the hospital.

I had a home water birth last August with Ellen Levitt and Noah Singman and recommend them highly. The prenatal care was thorough, sensitive, and warm. They were very knowledgeable and supportive of a healthy and family-centered birth. jk

After researching a number of midwives, we chose to work with Ellen Levitt and Noah Singman, because we had the best connection with them, thought they had a lot of good experience, appreciated that they work alongside each other (instead of in turns), and really valued that all of our appointments happened at our home. We ended up needing to transfer to a hospital because it became too risky to continue to try to birth at home. But, even now, I'm glad we chose to work with Ellen and Noah, because I don't think we could have gotten better prenatal care. Our appointments were a minimum of one-hour (often longer), so we had plenty of time to ask questions and just talk. We continued to benefit from their advice at the hospital, and have gotten support late in the night and on weekends when something important came up. They're both very personally committed to their clients and we really benefitted from that. I highly recommend setting up an interview with them. Tracy P.

I used Ellen Levitt of Wombservice in April of this year for the birth of my son and was incredibly happy with her. It was really an amazing experience and it was because of her and her care. She is so insightful, sweet, smart, funny, accepting, loving, listening, patient and honest. When I first decided I wanted to try to have a homebirth I was very nervous because my first son's birth (in the hospital) was complicated and I was afraid that I would have a similar experience. I was also afraid of the pain and/or of something going wrong. Whenever my fears would come up, we would talk in depth about what my specific fears were and she always managed to help calm me and assure me that I was doing the right thing, without pushing any agenda on me. She was so good at listening. I want to have another baby (which would not be a good idea for me at this point) just so that I could hire her as my midwife again! If you want to talk more about her, I'd be happy to. Allie

Ellen Levitt and Noah Sigman with Wombservice Midwifery Care are our amazing midwives! They have been incredibly supportive, knowledgeable, and full of great recommendations and resources. We have been working with them throughout our pregnancy and feel in such good hands. We look forward to every visit with them and their great assistant, Jaime, who also does placenta encapsulation. We are looking forward to our birth at home with them. They cover all our medical needs - blood tests, urine test, blood pressure, fetal heartbeat, diabetes screening, etc, all in the comfort of our home. They are very experienced, capable and we so much enjoy working with them and give them the highest recommendation. You are welcome to email me off list with any questions. Happy Birthing! amy

I whole-heartedly recommend Ellen Levitt. She was my midwife over 2 years ago and was WONDERFUL! I am a bit of a nervous person, and Ellen helped calm me during the entire pregnancy and birth process. I ended up having to be induced and have a hospital birth (I was really late, and we tried everything to get my stubborn little son out), and Ellen was there through the whole process (all 28+ hours at the hospital, too). Before this, we went over what to expect for a home delivery, and then she went over what would happen at the hospital during the inducing process, and this helped me make educated decisions about the hospital labor process. Having her there really alleviated much of my stress. During my postpartum care, Ellen gently helped me find my ''mothering gene'' buried beneath my fears by really listening to my concerns and making suggestions when I wasn't sure what to do. Ellen is a true healer, and I feel blessed to have had her presence and guidance during such a significant part of my life. As a sidenote: I haven't met very many people who are working in careers that are so in sync with who they are at their core (i.e. really following a deep calling) - witnessing this through Ellen was an incredible inexperience in itself. Amanda

Sept 2009 : Homebirth midwife and lacation consultant

I am looking for up-to-date recommendations for homebirth midwives. I was born at home and want very much to follow in my mother's footsteps! It would be ideal if the midwife were also a lactation consultant. Thank you! Happy About Homebirth

My midwife, Amrit Kahlsa, is fantastic, with years of experience. I had a great home birth with my second child with Amrit. She's also a certified lactation consultant. Give her a call. 510-235-4878 Andi

Congrats on your pregnancy and wanting to do a homebirth. I recently gave birth to my third child in July. My midwife was Judy Luce, Berkeley (you didn't say where you lived) ; 510-428- 1419 http://www.judylucehomebirth.com/index.html . I had interviewed 3 midwives, and I decided to go with Judy because of her experience/s with homebirth. She was able to give me MANY detailed stories of her experiences. I asked her questions about emergency situations and that if I needed to go to the hospital how long would she wait before the transfer and how we would get there, and would she go with me. I was very confident in her abilities. She also was the only midwife that took my situation of having short and simple births seriously. She respected how I wanted to birth my child. When the time came she did everything I asked for. She let me birth the way I wanted. As this was my third child, she supported me to let my body do what it needed to have the baby. She was also very much present if I need her. Judy was also great at having natural ways to address any concerns ex: allergies whilst pregnant, headaches, without the need to take modern medication. Judy was very informative about the tests needed to take throughout pregnancy and helped me make the right choices and decisions when it was time to decide. If I were to have another homebirth, I would call Judy, with no reservations. She was also very helpful with reminding me how to nurse. My husband and Judy had a great relationship, which was also very important to me. My husband was also very pleased with Judy, especially because Judy gave him the opportunity to be very hands on in my labor. My husband assisted Judy and he was able to catch our son into his own hands. Judy also respected that I didn't want my other children to witness the birth and that I wanted only my husband and her to be present. I wouldn't recommend anyone else. The midwives that will be recommended to you will be the better and well known ones. I'm glad I found Judy, as it was like 'finding a diamond amongst some old stones''. Here are questions to ask a midwife; http://www.sandiegobirth.com/homebirth_midwife_questions.html Good Luck with your search. If you would like to hear more about my experience you can email me offline. I will be happy to tell you in more detail my experience. Happy home birthing! hb

We had our birth with Tenaya Jackman. She's part of the Bay Area Homebirth Collective and practices mostly in the East Bay. We chose her because she was very supportive of my husband participating fully, she was interested in educating us but always let us make choices about interventions, and she was a perfect personality mix of laid-back but very organized. Our prenatal care was fantastic. We started working with her at week 7 and enjoyed all of our hour+ long visits. She helped us navigate concurrent care with Kaiser (use Walnut Creek!) and do preparation for parenting, as well as the birth. When we needed a lactation consultant (for my son's sucking reflex), she had several in her network to fix the problem quickly. If I birth another child, I will definitely choose her again. I'd also recommend Sonja Jolles (http://birth-support.com/)and Jenna Forder (www.empoweringmama.com) as doulas. Good luck and congratulations! Molly

I had a wonderful homebirth with Mason Cornelius, LM CPM. her website is www.novamidwifery.com. She also provided great postpartum / lactation support. If you'd like more details, I'll be happy to talk to you about my experience. rasa

I really recommend my current midwives- Maura Daly (http://www.nestmidwifery.com/) and Racha Gossett (http://www.traditionalrootsmidwifery.com/)out of Berkeley. I haven't given birth yet, so I can't vouch for that experience, but so far their care throughout my pregnancy has been so great (which I now only have 2 weeks left to go). They spend a lot of time with me for every visit, and they come to my home! There has always been plenty of time to answer all my questions and concerns and I never feel rushed. They give me lots of information about the different tests for pregnancy as they come up and always, always let me make my own choices about it and respect my decision either way. I feel very comfortable with both of them and really trust them. In comparison, I've been seeing another midwife, Jeri Zukoski, occasionally for testing and such, and while she is very nice, she is extremely rushed all the time. I don't mind that she's always running late, but I do mind that once I get into her office I can sense that she wants to move on to the next 2 people who are already waiting outside for her. I always feel like I have to hurry up and that she really doesn't have time answer any questions. I think she probably just takes on too many clients. Additionally, even though she is a midwife also, I don't feel comfortable with the way that she has presented my options to me (whether or not to do certain tests/treatments). Comments like ''well, your baby could get brain damage'' as a response to my reluctance to proceed with a certain procedure after I thoroughly researched it myself did not make me feel good and was really unnecessary and disrespectful to my freedom of choice. A 38 week and counting preggie

I highly recommend our midwife and lactation consultant, Amrit Khalsa, who provided incredible, thorough prenatal and postnatal care, and support for my amazing home birth experience. Amrit has 40 years of experience with homebirth, a warm and down to earth manner, extensive knowledge of local medical providers and institutions, and brings her insight, passion for birth and babies, and holistic understanding of the processes of pregnancy, birth and postpartum to her work with families. We looked forward to our relaxed prenatal visits at home, each of which included extensive information, emotional support, engagement with our 3 year old and with both of us as expectant parents, and immediate responsiveness to the issues that we raised. My partner had more concerns about having a homebirth, and Amrit addressed each one with expertise and knowledge. She instilled the utmost confidence in her, and I felt complete trust in her going into the birth. Her presence at the birth was focused, peaceful, supportive of all who were present, and she brought the calm reassurance I needed to give birth for the first time. I can\xc3\x82\xe2\x80\x99t imagine giving birth without the close relationships she had developed with all in our family. She dealt with necessary interventions after the birth at our home with the utmost care, and went above and beyond what I would ever expect to ensure that I was healing. Amrit attends to the whole family, and because of this, our children have had such a strong start to their relationship. She provided extensive lactation support when I had some challenges in the early weeks of breastfeeding, and provided loving care for six weeks for our family. I believe she is working as a lactation consultant with Bayside Medical Practice, and she is continuing to have her homebirth and lactation consultancy practice as well. Working with Amrit made for a completely transformative and powerful birthing experience that I am so grateful for. She can be reached at 235-4878. grateful for amrit and homebirth!

Sept 2009 : Homebirth midwife and lacation consultant

I am looking for up-to-date recommendations for homebirth midwives. I was born at home and want very much to follow in my mother's footsteps! It would be ideal if the midwife were also a lactation consultant. Thank you! Happy About Homebirth

My midwife, Amrit Kahlsa, is fantastic, with years of experience. I had a great home birth with my second child with Amrit. She's also a certified lactation consultant. Give her a call. 510-235-4878 Andi

Congrats on your pregnancy and wanting to do a homebirth. I recently gave birth to my third child in July. My midwife was Judy Luce, Berkeley (you didn't say where you lived) ; 510-428- 1419 http://www.judylucehomebirth.com/index.html . I had interviewed 3 midwives, and I decided to go with Judy because of her experience/s with homebirth. She was able to give me MANY detailed stories of her experiences. I asked her questions about emergency situations and that if I needed to go to the hospital how long would she wait before the transfer and how we would get there, and would she go with me. I was very confident in her abilities. She also was the only midwife that took my situation of having short and simple births seriously. She respected how I wanted to birth my child. When the time came she did everything I asked for. She let me birth the way I wanted. As this was my third child, she supported me to let my body do what it needed to have the baby. She was also very much present if I need her. Judy was also great at having natural ways to address any concerns ex: allergies whilst pregnant, headaches, without the need to take modern medication. Judy was very informative about the tests needed to take throughout pregnancy and helped me make the right choices and decisions when it was time to decide. If I were to have another homebirth, I would call Judy, with no reservations. She was also very helpful with reminding me how to nurse. My husband and Judy had a great relationship, which was also very important to me. My husband was also very pleased with Judy, especially because Judy gave him the opportunity to be very hands on in my labor. My husband assisted Judy and he was able to catch our son into his own hands. Judy also respected that I didn't want my other children to witness the birth and that I wanted only my husband and her to be present. I wouldn't recommend anyone else. The midwives that will be recommended to you will be the better and well known ones. I'm glad I found Judy, as it was like 'finding a diamond amongst some old stones''. Here are questions to ask a midwife; http://www.sandiegobirth.com/homebirth_midwife_questions.html Good Luck with your search. If you would like to hear more about my experience you can email me offline. I will be happy to tell you in more detail my experience. Happy home birthing! hb

We had our birth with Tenaya Jackman. She's part of the Bay Area Homebirth Collective and practices mostly in the East Bay. We chose her because she was very supportive of my husband participating fully, she was interested in educating us but always let us make choices about interventions, and she was a perfect personality mix of laid-back but very organized. Our prenatal care was fantastic. We started working with her at week 7 and enjoyed all of our hour+ long visits. She helped us navigate concurrent care with Kaiser (use Walnut Creek!) and do preparation for parenting, as well as the birth. When we needed a lactation consultant (for my son's sucking reflex), she had several in her network to fix the problem quickly. If I birth another child, I will definitely choose her again. I'd also recommend Sonja Jolles (http://birth-support.com/)and Jenna Forder (www.empoweringmama.com) as doulas. Good luck and congratulations! Molly

I had a wonderful homebirth with Mason Cornelius, LM CPM. her website is www.novamidwifery.com. She also provided great postpartum / lactation support. If you'd like more details, I'll be happy to talk to you about my experience. rasa

I really recommend my current midwives- Maura Daly (http://www.nestmidwifery.com/) and Racha Gossett (http://www.traditionalrootsmidwifery.com/)out of Berkeley. I haven't given birth yet, so I can't vouch for that experience, but so far their care throughout my pregnancy has been so great (which I now only have 2 weeks left to go). They spend a lot of time with me for every visit, and they come to my home! There has always been plenty of time to answer all my questions and concerns and I never feel rushed. They give me lots of information about the different tests for pregnancy as they come up and always, always let me make my own choices about it and respect my decision either way. I feel very comfortable with both of them and really trust them. In comparison, I've been seeing another midwife, Jeri Zukoski, occasionally for testing and such, and while she is very nice, she is extremely rushed all the time. I don't mind that she's always running late, but I do mind that once I get into her office I can sense that she wants to move on to the next 2 people who are already waiting outside for her. I always feel like I have to hurry up and that she really doesn't have time answer any questions. I think she probably just takes on too many clients. Additionally, even though she is a midwife also, I don't feel comfortable with the way that she has presented my options to me (whether or not to do certain tests/treatments). Comments like ''well, your baby could get brain damage'' as a response to my reluctance to proceed with a certain procedure after I thoroughly researched it myself did not make me feel good and was really unnecessary and disrespectful to my freedom of choice. A 38 week and counting preggie

I highly recommend our midwife and lactation consultant, Amrit Khalsa, who provided incredible, thorough prenatal and postnatal care, and support for my amazing home birth experience. Amrit has 40 years of experience with homebirth, a warm and down to earth manner, extensive knowledge of local medical providers and institutions, and brings her insight, passion for birth and babies, and holistic understanding of the processes of pregnancy, birth and postpartum to her work with families. We looked forward to our relaxed prenatal visits at home, each of which included extensive information, emotional support, engagement with our 3 year old and with both of us as expectant parents, and immediate responsiveness to the issues that we raised. My partner had more concerns about having a homebirth, and Amrit addressed each one with expertise and knowledge. She instilled the utmost confidence in her, and I felt complete trust in her going into the birth. Her presence at the birth was focused, peaceful, supportive of all who were present, and she brought the calm reassurance I needed to give birth for the first time. I can\xc3\x82\xe2\x80\x99t imagine giving birth without the close relationships she had developed with all in our family. She dealt with necessary interventions after the birth at our home with the utmost care, and went above and beyond what I would ever expect to ensure that I was healing. Amrit attends to the whole family, and because of this, our children have had such a strong start to their relationship. She provided extensive lactation support when I had some challenges in the early weeks of breastfeeding, and provided loving care for six weeks for our family. I believe she is working as a lactation consultant with Bayside Medical Practice, and she is continuing to have her homebirth and lactation consultancy practice as well. Working with Amrit made for a completely transformative and powerful birthing experience that I am so grateful for. She can be reached at 235-4878. grateful for amrit and homebirth!

Feb 2009 : Midwife for a home birth

Hello Mamas: I have to choose a midwife. I reviewed past posts on recommendations, and I feel so overwhelmed. Right now, I meet with Lindy Johnson, CNM. I used her services for baby #2, only to find out that she is a hospital midwife. I'm looking for someone like Lindy. Down to earth, that has a nurtured spirit. Lindy recommended Amrit Khalsa, R.N. Lindy also recommended Beah Haber, C.N.M., has anyone in the network had experience with any of these midwifes? I would like to hear your experiences and get a rough idea of how they charged you for their services. I'm also open to other recommendations or if you're a midwife hear about your services. My due date is July 2009, if all goes well over the next 5 1/2 months.

I have a HMO, and I'm under Hills Physicians Group. My HMO doesn't cover a home birth. Lindy said I can see her as long as I wish before transferring over to another midwife. My #2 birth was fast and was billed by Alta Bates for a 30 minute birth, drug free and one day postpartum stay at 11k. Having a HMO, I'm responsible of 33% of the cost. Approximately, $3,360. I have a feeling and discussed with Lindy that baby #3 might arrive in the same amount of time. I work part time and have 1 income coming into my household. I highly desire a homebirth.

Can anyone recommend a midwife that works with mothers that are low income and have a desire to have a home birth? I'm also looking for a midwife who is experienced if the ''worst' case scenario were to happen and can stay came and focused in the trying times, as well as administer IV's if needed. I prefer to be emailed offline as I can keep a track of your responses and create a excel sheet of all your midwife recommendations when it comes time for me to call all your wonderful midwifes. Thank you. Really wanting a home birth in 2009. hbd

I am madly in love with Beah Habor. She has had 7 babies of her own. She's delivered over 3,000 babies. I trusted (& would trust her again!) with my life! Beah is lovely! She is ''Mama'' to the utmost, incredibly compassionate, & just simply gorgeous in spirit (on top of completely knowing what she's doing!!). I truly cannot recommend her more. super inspired/happy mama, & full of praise for Beah

We just had a wonderful homebirth experience with our second child with Beah Haber. Our first child was born in a large university hospital. With Beah I had really outstanding prenatal care. Our meetings made me feel nurtured, listened to, empowered me to trust my body and my choices, and most importantly helped me celebrate the joy and magic of pregnancy, something that gets lost a lot of time in traditional ob care?s focus on ruling out pathologies. Beah has many years experience delivering babies in all different settings, and it shows in the care she provides. I felt very safe with her. She is conservative when necessary and yet knows how to step back and be hands off allowing me to listen to my own body and helping my husband feel safe enough to be able to support me through the labor. She is a nurse midwife so her fees are often partially covered by insurance. We had a beautiful, easy delivery of an 8 lb baby girl in our home earlier this month, something I know would have been much more difficult for me in a hospital setting. We feel so grateful to have found Beah & recommend her highly. Sarah

Jan 2009 : Midwife Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds

Hello, I'm considering a homebirth with Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds. The reviews in BPN are from 2006 or earlier. Anyone have recent experience with her? Anything out of the ordinary come up? If so, how did she handle it? Leopi works with Amrit Khalsa from what I understand but Amrit will be out of town during my birth. So I'm interested too if you've worked with Leopi & someone else. Thanks for your input! homebirth bound

My experience is from 2006 but I wanted chime in with thanks and praises for Leopi. I had a great experience working with her as did my husband and 4 year old son. Appointments were thorough, relaxed, and heartening. She was excellent in exploring and supporting what was coming up emotionally for me and my family; sensitive to relationship dynamics and really helpful in supporting communications with my husband. I felt that I was in skilled hands and deeply nurtured throughout my pregnancy, during the birth and afterwards. I feel so lucky to have had her as my midwife. Feel free to contact me off-list if you like. Enjoy and all the best to you regardless of who you choose as midwife. brenna

We had the most beautiful homebirth with Leopi in September 08! She is just incredible. Creative, passionate, unbelievably knowledgeable and competent -- I just can't say enough about her. She came to our house for 1-2 hours for each prenatal visit and I learned more than I ever knew I needed to know! About childbirth, parenting, our marriage, loving my body, bonding with my baby ... We are so grateful for her. We had a bit of an emergency after birth when I wouldn't stop bleeding, and she and Amrit handled the situation with SUCH professionalism that I knew I was safe the entire time. What a phenomenal experience! I highly, highly recommend Leopi. so-o-o in love with my homebirth!

Leopi was the midwife for my homebirth last summer (Amrit was the second midwife). She is a wonderful, warm, caring, empowering, reassuring, competent midwife. My husband and I both had a wonderful experience with her. She spent a lot of time with us during the prenatal and postnatal visits. We dealt with some issues at the end of the pregnancy and she was fabulous. Everything during the birth was pretty straightforward. I would wholeheartedly recommend her! Loved Leopi

We had our first baby at home with Leopi and had a beautiful experience, she couldn't be more highly recommended. She is a gifted midwife. We are planning to have our second with her this summer! juliana

Dec 2008 : Ellen Levitt, Homewife Midwife

We are in Berkeley and looking for a homebirth midwife. We would love to hear from anyone who has experience working with Ellen Levitt. Thanks! ama

It is good news for the world of parents and babies that Ellen Levitt is working as a homebirth midwife again. She is WONDERFUL. Ellen delivered two of my three kids, and I couldn't have asked for a better midwife. She is incredibly experienced and utterly competent in any way you could ask. Plus she is gentle, empathetic, kind, supportive. When you pick a homebirth midwife, you pick someone you are going to spend a LOT of time with during pregnancy and post-partum. With Ellen, all that time will be a joy. You are really lucky -- she's fabulous. (If you want to hear more gushing, feel free to email me. I could also connect you to many other satisfied clients.) Judith B.

I hired Ellen as my doula as I was planning a natural childbith in the hospital. While I ended up needing to have a c-section due to my baby's breech position, Ellen was with me every step of the way in her intelligent, experienced and caring way. Her home visit follow-up care was amazing as she helped me enormously with breastfeeding, checked baby's overall health and weight gain, checked up on my recovery and offered so many practical suggestions for greater ease and well-being for the whole family. She definitely helped ease the transition from hospital to home, as I could trust her advice and know she was drawing from her years of experience as a midwife and mother of a 5-year-old. I am very grateful Ellen was a big part of our childbirth care team! Rebecca M.

August 2008 : Midwife for homebirth or birth center

This is my second pregnancy and I am positive that I do not want to be in a hospital for this birth. I had an awful experience with my first born and since then have done some research and have decided the hospital is not for me. My ideal situation would be a home birth, but I'm not sure if we'll be able to afford it, if the midwife does not take our insurance. I'm also open to a birthing center. We have a PPO, so we're not completely stuck with in network providers. Even if you do not know this kind of information but have a good recommendation for a midwife that is warm, good communicator, loves people and what she does, then I would still like to know. Many thanks for any leads you can give me!

We are having a homebirth in the Fall so I can't share delivery experience with you yet. However, I would highly recommend our midwife, Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds. She is such a warm, generous, and exceptionally experienced woman; we feel just so grateful to be working with her. She comes to our house in Berkeley and her prenatal visits have been about 2 hours long, and she gives us tons of information and advice. She considers her prenatals to be educative gatherings and welcomes my husband in as many sessions as he can come. We feel we have learned so much from her -- I know I've learned more from her in the three times I've met with her than in all the months I'd already spent with another midwife who I was seeing for a birth at Alta Bates. She's also a very creative woman who sees childbirth as a rich spiritual and artistic blessing. I highly recommend her! 510 717-5060, leopi [at] leopinicola.com. Also I met another midwife while I was interviewing people who I also really, rea! lly admired. Shiela Vandermeer, www.comadresmidwifery.com. About insurance: we have Aetna PPO and they do not provide any reimbursement for homebirths. However, many, many insurance providers do -- just give yours a call. From what I've learned, you'd pay your midwife upfront, and she would help fill out the forms you'd submit to your insurance for partial (often 60%) reimbursement. By the way: you might be interested in homebirth childbirth education classes with Laura Todaro, lctodaro [at] sbcglobal.net. - happy homebirth mama-to-be

I wanted to post how happy I have been with my Midwife, Debbie Coleman. She delivered my daughter three years ago, and will deliver my son later this year. She is a great midwife, delivers at Alta Bates, has back-up with another mid-wife as well as East Bay Perinatal Group for all the higher medical testing & needs. It is very rare for me to wait past my appointment time, and I love how easy it is to talk with her about anything and everything with my pregnancies. She also tries really hard to deliver all of her babies. I highly recommend Debbie Coleman as a Certified Nurse Midwife. Jill

I would like to recommend Awakenings Midwives - they are truly amazing women!! I had a home birth with them and received perfect care before, during and for a long time afterwards. I felt so safe and well cared for. Julie and Sharon attended my daughters birth, they were incredibly present and gave me so much. If you would like to talk further, I can be reached on 510 865 2622. Una

I had a wonderful (homebirth in water) experience last year with two midwives - Abigail Reagan & Sue Baelen, both with the Bay Area Homebirth Collective. It was my 2nd birth and I felt very well-cared for, respected, and empowered to create a wonderful birth experience for myself & my baby. I also love the BAHC community - you might want to attend a ''Birth Stories Potluck'' - held once a month. You'll hear people's stories and can ask any questions you have. You can find the schedule, as well as links to the BAHC midwives at www.bayareahomebirth.org Annemarie

July 2008 : Midwife for homebirth in Oakland

I am interested in finding a midwife to perform a homebirth at the end of February. I live in Oakland. I am looking for someone who is very experienced. Recommendations are appreciated! Thank you! gretchen

To the women looking for a homebirth midwife, I can't say enough good things about the midwives of Awakenings Birth Services - Juli Tilsner, Deborah Simone and Sharon Craig. I had a wonderful homebirth in April. Their experience and care is outstanding. Please feel free to email me if you would like. Kelly

I used Judy Luce for the birth of my son at home in Oakland last year. I was also looking for someone who had a lot of experience. I wanted someone who would let my body do what it knows how to do (i.e., carry a baby and give birth) but who had enough experience to know when something was going awry. Judy was the perfect match for me! Her website is http://www.judylucehomebirth.com good luck!

I've had two births with Awakenings Birth Services and just loved them. The midwives work as a team and provide a lovely balance of styles and personalities. Pre natal appointments and the births all were handled with great warmth and skill but it was during our post partum weeks that they all but worked miracles especially with our second baby who had major nursing/adjustment issues. My family came through a very rough first month healthy and intact in large part because they cared for us so well. sabineh

July 2008 : Midwife Shiela Vanderveer

Hi, Does anyone have any experiences you can share with Shiela Vanderveer at Comadres Midwifery? I'm looking for a homebirth midwife. Thank you! - mama-to-be

Shiela is an absolutely fabulous midwife and I would highly recommend her as her peer & fellow midwife. She is both skilled and very loving with her clients. momma2zahn

Shiela will be our midwife for our homebirth and, though we haven't had the baby yet, we feel we can highly recommend her. She has years of midwifery experience in Taos, New Mexico, and has recently moved to the Bay Area where she has already developed a solid reputation amongst the midwifery community (I base this on the number of midwives I called who recommended her since they were booked). She just exudes competence and experience, and has a relaxing, beautiful spirit with a delightful sense of humor. We have complete confidence in her, we love working with her, and we can't wait to share our birth experience with her! Shiela's webpage hasn't been updated since she moved to the area, but all the contact information is there: www.comadresmidwifery.com. 505-613-2530 - mama-to-be

April 2008 : Advice about Sue Baelen - Sacred Birth

I am seriously considering homebirth for my baby to be (due in the fall). I live in the East Bay and would greatly appreciate advice about Sue Baelen of Sacred Birth, Tania Jackson, or Jessimon Mierhoff (I might be mis-spelling names, but they all practice in the East Bay). Thank you for any information you can share. I have checked online and have not found much. Thanks again in advance! wanna be momma

In response to a question about Sue Baelen - Sue was our midwife for both of my pregnancies and subsequent home births. Sue is warm, reliable, responsive, smart, and extremely competent. She provided excellent care to me during both pregnancies and at both births. I would highly recommend Sue to anyone looking for a home birth midwife. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have more questions. eva

March 2008: Midwife who will support a home birth

I'm looking for recommendations for an Midwife (certified or...?) who will support a home birth in the East Bay. I have looked at the previous postings as well as bayareahomebirth.org but wanted a more personal sense of who might be the best. I'm also unclear about what kinds of questions to ask during an interview so if there's suggestions on topics to cover, that would be helpful too. Thank you. First Time Momma

I'm sure you will get many personal responses for local midwives. As for questions to ask, there are lists of thoughtful questions in the back of the book, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. It includes questions for homebirth midwives, hospital-based midwives, obstetrician or family practice doctors and doulas. Kim

I just started working with Judy Luce. Here's her website: http://www.judylucehomebirth.com/index.html. I also liked the women I interviewed at Awakenings Birth Services: http://www.awakeningsbirthservices.com/Site/AwakeningsBirthServices.html Good luck, JB

Our son and daughter were both delivered by Mason Cornelius with Nova Midwifery (http://www.novamidwifery.com/). Mason is a fantastic midwife. She comes to your home for all the prenatal care, which is especially nice when you're at the end of your pregnancy and you need to be seen every week. She also comes several times after your baby is born for after care. She serves the East Bay. Both our children were born at home in Benicia, so I know that she'll go that far North. We opted for a water birth (in a birthing pool) and she completely supported that and we had fantastic deliveries. I highly, highly recommend her! joj

I highly recommend the midwives of Awakenings Birth Services. http://www.awakeningsbirthservices.com They were extremely helpful and supportive throughout my pregnancy. My birth experience was complicated and against all of my wishes we ended up at the hospital. The midwives continued to be supportive and knowledgable and helped make what could have been a terrible experience much, much better. I felt that they were partners in my birth process -- warm, experienced, calm, and helpful. While I wish a home birth had been possible for me, ultimately I feel good about the choices I made and the support I had and really that is in no small part due to the midwives of Awakenings. They also provided great post-partum care.

As for questions to ask, I would ask how much time they spend at visits, what their practice culture is like, what are top reasons they transfer to the hospital, what she/they consider their specialty, what is their back up plan if they are not available, etc. If you have something specific that concerns you (such as single parenthood, health issues, etc.) I would raise that issue and see their response. Ultimately, this is a very personal decision so I would trust your intuition. If you are not comfortable with someone, don't go with them. happy mama

hi, i had fantastic midwives, but they were in napa county. however, on their website, they have a comprehensive list of questions that anyone seeking a midwife should ask. here is a link: http://www.homebirthmidwife-napa.com/html/questions.html good luck! another home birth enthusiast

I'm responding to your post looking for a home birth midwife in the East Bay. First of all, CONGRATULATIONS!!

I've had friends who have had wonderful experiences with Cindy Haag and Beah Haber. What's crucial, however, is that you feel comfortable with whomever you chose. A midwife who may be a perfect fit for one person might not be a good fit for another. It's an intimate relationship so feeling really good about them after your interview is important. Speaking with a few recent clients is also helpful.

There are lots of good and competent midwives out there however and I wish you well. best of luck

I know this is late but I wanted to add both a specific recommendation for a midwife, and some guidelines I wish I'd had. I've had two homebirths, with two different practices, and the first one didn't go well. The second was fabulous.

So first, my second practice was Metta Homebirth Midwifery. Amrit Khalsa, has been catching babies for years, and her partner Lior Mayor has that facility for quoting all the recent studies in obstectrical research. They are both kind and compassionate, and both have had kids, so they were incredibly helpful on all sorts of fronts. They helped me deal with my fears and feelings about the first birth, helped me have a fantastic birth and supported us when our baby had medical issues unrelated to his birth (and not foreseable or preventable).

Second, there are tons of places you can get lists of interview questions. I asked tons of questions the first time, and less the second. I did add, ''How do you feel about having family present'' and ''How do you feel about my recording the birth'' to the list. Also make sure you know what your options are if the relationship doesn't work out.

Otherwise here are some questions for you to ask yourself as you are making a decision. In some ways this is more like dating than picking a service provider-it's a very emotional relationship and the quality of your birth can depend on that relationship.

Do you like the way this person answers your questions? How do they take follow ups? Do you feel like you are treated respectfully? Do you feel like you could raise issues/have differences of opinion with the person and it would be okay?

If you hire a team, make sure you understand how they work, do they split up the care evenly? Who will be present at your birth? How do they handle post-natal care?

Also if you do hire a team, make sure you feel comfortable with anyone of the individuals being your midwife as a solo. Done it twice

I can't recommend Amrit Khalsa and Lior Mayer enough. My partner just gave birth on April 9th at home and it was incredible. We had a scary moment during the birth (a few minutes of funny baby heartbeat during pushing). Because of the relationship we'd built with them and the knowledge that Amrit has attended over 1500 births and that Lior recently trained at UCSF as a CNM, I was able to to feel completely safe and confident in their abilities. I think if we'd been in a hospital, the doctors would have jumped in and done a bunch of invasive things but Amrit knew enough about us and our baby and physiology to wait minute and not have my partner push through a few contractions. He recovered immediately (he probably would have had an emergency C-section in the hospital b/c they really want to cover their butts even though he was fine in the big picture). He is quite happy and healthy and the birth was really the most powerful thing I've ever seen- in large part due to our midwives.

They are also phenominal after birth- Amrit provided incredible lactation support and alternatives that our pediatrician hadn't even thought of. Even if you end up transferring to a hospital, having Amrit and Lior as guides through the process is priceless. Jaime

Feb 2008

I used Judy Luce for my home birth in September and can highly recommend her. The prenatal visits were long and relaxed, as much about getting to know one another as anything. Judy was very straightforward and practical, and always had good suggestions when problems arose (though they were few). I always appreciated her trust in a mother's instinct and in the body's ability to take care of itself, and that was a quality that really came through in the birth. She was calm and reassuring through more than five hours of pushing, and in the end did an amazing job of helping out a baby that was not in the best of positions. With a less confident and experienced midwife I might not have been able to stay at home for the whole birth. Afterward, she came over much more often than she was obligated to, and really helped both me and my husband tap into our parenting instincts. Feel free to email me if you want to talk more about my experience with her. Julian

I highly recommend the midwives of the Bay Area Homebirth Collective. You can find them at http://www.bayareahomebirth.org/ I had a wonderful experience having a homebirth in water this last August with Abigail Reagan, Sue Baelen & Sue's apprentice Rebecca Plum. They are based in San Francisco but attend births in the East Bay. (I live in El Cerrito.) And there are other midwives in the BAHC that are based in the East Bay. The BAHC is also a great community to be a part of - you can attend a ''Birth Stories Potluck'' as a prospective parent to get a sense of people's experiences. I'm also happy to talk with you more. Good luck with your search, and have a lovely birth! Annemarie

Just a week ago I had a wonderful waterbirth at home assisted by Mason Cornelius, LM CPM and her apprentice Liesl. I was very happy with my prenatal care, labor, birth and postpartum support. I highly recommend her. I would be glad to answer any specific questions you might have. rasa

I didn't see the original posts but I'd like to chime in.... I also had a wonderful experience with Awakenings.... Deborah and Dana were present for the birth of my first child, and Deborah and Sharon for my second, and both were amazing experiences. I felt completely in good, knowledgeable, intuitive, experienced hands. My prenatal care with Deborah and Juli this past time was also great, and when Sharon joined the practice toward the end of my pregnancy I didn't think I would have much contact with her. However, by a fluke she ended up at my birth and had a really grounded presence, unobtrusive but very helpful and competent, and calm energy. As my experience has been mostly with Deborah, I can say with complete assurance and confidence that I think she is fabulous at labor and delivery, as well as the rest of it.... but I definitely think i would feel comfortable and in good hands with Juli or Sharon as well. I'm happy to talk more about my experience if you want to contact me directly. shoshana

Jan 2008

If you are thinking about having a homebirth, I would highly recommend Beah Haber. She attended the birth of our daughter in November and provided exceptional prenatal and postpartum care in addition to labor and delivery. You can view her website at www.berkeleymidwife.com or contact her at (925) 449-7666 or beah[at]aol.com. She has 30 years of midwifery experience, including a number of years as a labor and delivery nurse. Michele

August 2006

Hello all, I'm a first time mom and just pregnant, looking for a homebirth midwife for the east bay. I know they can be a little hard to track down, so I wondered if anyone had a great experience lately and what made it so great. I'm a doula and know the basics about birth and also have strong opinions about doing it naturally and at home. I'm looking for someone pretty grounded, not flaky. Thanks guys first time mom

We are using Cindy Haag, CPM, LM for our first baby due in January. She is utterly fantastic--experienced, logical, and compassionate--basically everything we hoped for. We feel so lucky to have gotten the chance to work with her. She can be reached at 510-704-8366. I'm also a doula (and an aspiring midwife). I've been thinking about forming a pregnant first-time moms group/circle. Please don't hesitate to contact me if you're interested! Best wishes for a happy, healthy pregnancy and birth. Meg

There are several excellent midwives practicing in the East Bay, and I think many of them are listed in the BPN archives. We had our first with Cindy Haag (510-704-8366)and are going to have our second with her in Dec. Cindy is extremely professional and knowledgeable as well as wonderfully caring. Our daughter was a big girl (10 lb 10 oz) and had mild shoulder dystocia (stuck for about 50 sec), and labor was a little tricky. Cindy handled everything so well and it was an exhausting but very good experience for all of us. Feel free to contact me at kara at vuicich dot com, or you should feel free to call Cindy. She has regular gatherings at her home for her clients and others interested in homebirth, and these are great opportunities to talk with other families about their experiences. Kara

I had a fantastic first-birth homebirth experience with Beah Haber and Michelle Edgar. They were very grounded and I trusted them completely to support me appropriately and to transfer if necessary (it was not!), which allowed me to relax and really trust that I was safe. They were a great combination of emotionally tuned-in and medically sound. I can't recommend them highly enough. You can reach them at (925) 449-7666. Beah is based in Pleasanton and Michelle lives in Oakland; they see patients in both places and they both made it in plenty of time to my birth (in Oakland). Feel free to contact me with any further questions. Nina

Lis Worcester was my midwife for both of my births- and I love her- She is so calming, reassuring and supportive, as well as knowledgable and capable. She lives in SF, but works in the east bay all the time 415-255-7028

I highly recommend Lucero Dorado as a homebirth midwife. Wise, gentle and experienced. You can reach her at (510) 644-1617 Katia

I had a wonderful homebirth last December with midwife Cindy Haag of Tres Lunas Midwifery, 510-704-8366. It was my first pregnancy. Cindy is a wonderful person with excellent skills. She respects your decisions and needs for birth, providing great advice based on years of experience and training. My homebirth experience was exactly what I wanted it to be and Cindy was there to guide me, my husband, baby and attendants through the process. I cannot say enough good things about her. Good luck and congratulations! Happy Homebirth Mom

I highly recommend Cindy Haag, of Tres Lunas Midwifery. She was our homebirth midwife and we think she's terrific. Very down-to-earth, experienced, dedicated, and just an all-around great person. Her number is 704-8366. Congratulations on your pregnancy! Rachel Z

I am a nurse-midwife and Beah Haber attended both of my homebirths. I highly recommend her (and her amazing colleague Michelle, also a midwife), both professionally and personally. Beah has been a CNM attending home and birth center births for years. She is highly experienced. I felt safe with her judgement. She knows what she's doing. She makes you feel special, and LISTENS to you, which is a huge part of both prenatal and intrapartum care. She's an earth mama, but also grounded in reality, not flaky. If you're a local doula, you will have already heard about Beah. She books up super fast, so if you're even thinking about interviewing her, call her immediately (her practice is called Motherwell Midwifery, and she has offices in both Pleasanton and Oakland), because she is also quite good at keeping balance in her life and limiting the number of births she takes on per month. I would go back to her in a second! happy homebirther

Hi I work with Rosanna Davis LM, CPM, a homebirth midwife that does birth is the south of Alameda Co. I am not sure where you are but you can check out her website http://rosannadavis.com/ I am her assitant and a Doula, Treesa

I am a doula and have been present at two lovely homebirths with Cindy Haag as the midwife. Cindy is extremely knowledgeable, and radiates calm, quiet, laid-back support. She is definitely not someone I would categorize as ''flaky.'' There are lots of recommendations for her on the BPN website under ''Midwife for Homebirth'' in reviews--health & medical-- midwives. doula

I didn't see the original request, but I wanted to let everyone know about my great homebirth midwife for my first baby, now 8 weeks old. Judy Luce, Womancare Midwifery, 510-428-1419, is a recent transplant from Vermont (and Boston before that) with over 30 years of midwifery experience. She has a warm, caring demeanor, and is incredibly knowledgeable. Our prenatal appointments (always at least an hour) were thorough, informative, and FUN! Judy is a great story-teller. I chose homebirth partially because I feel that the hospitalization of birth is robbing women of confidence in their abilities to give birth, and making the whole process of birth an ordeal to be suffered through, rather than an empowering experience of great spiritual potential. I felt that Judy shared my confidence that my body was capable of giving birth naturally, and was a tremendous ally in preparing me for the physical and emotional challenges of a long labor. Even when my faith in myself faltered, Judy was right there to tell me I could do it, and she often made me laugh in the process. She was a wonderful coach for the birth itself, too, helping me push the baby out in under an hour with very little tearing. Judy was also a great help postpartum, checking up on us frequently, and offering great advice. With 30+ years of experience, Judy's medical knowledge is very solid, and I always knew I was in good hands
Delighted with my home birth!

Lindy Johnson delivers at Alta Bates and is fantastic! There are several recommendations for her on BPN already, but they're a few years old. My baby is now 9 months old. As a first time mom, there were times during pregnancy when I felt like I might be asking stupid questions (overly worried about little aches and pains, etc.), but Lindy always reassured me and answered thoroughly. Though I delivered in the hospital, the birth did not feel like a medical experience because of Lindy's presence. She is sensitive, down to earth, and definitely knows her stuff. I felt well taken care of throughout, and couldn't have been happier with my choice of midwife
a happy newish mama

Lindy Johnson is fantastic. Lindy was our midwife for birth of both our kids, now ages 8 and 10 -- both born at Alta Bates. She's warm, caring, relaxed, a really special person and perfectly suited as a midwife. Prenatal visits were a pleasure, and she was just great for both the LONG labor for our first and the really quick birth of our second. And she was really knowledgeable and helpful regarding coverage by our health insurance. robin

I had a wonderful experience with my midwife who delivered my 7 month old son. Her name is Lindy Johnson, CNM at 2323 Ward St., Berkeley, Ca 510-644-0104. Lindy was there for me from the beginning of my pregnancy, all throughout my hospital stay, until post-partum check-up. She is an incredible woman and very experienced Cherie

I can't recommend Beah Haber and Michelle Edgar highly enough for a home birth. I started out working with an Alta Bates- based midwife and my experience was significantly more personalized and focused with the home-oriented team...Beah and Michelle gave me wonderful, warm support all the way through my pregnancy and then guided me through what I would consider a perfect home birth. If you want to ask me more about my specific experiences with them, feel free to send an e-mail. My son's birth was one of the most empowering, beautiful experiences of my life. Be sure to contact them soon if you want to work with them, because they book up early. Motherwell Midwifery:(925) 449-7666 Nina

There have already been so many glowing postings about Cindy Haag, some of which have been archived, so I don't need to add another one except to say that she is amazing and all the great things that have already been posted about her are still true. You can reach her at 704-8366, but she doesn't take many clients, so call soon Lucky to Have Found Cindy

I would highly recommend Cindy Haag, Tres Lunas Midwifery, 510-704-8366. She is in Berkeley, and does about half her prenatal appointments out of her home (the rest are at your house). We will be having our second child with her in Dec., and her prenatal and postpartum care was wonderful. We had a slightly tricky birth (our daughter was 10lb 10oz with mild shoulder dystocia - she was stuck for less than a minute) but she handled everything expertly and all of us were (and are) in great shape. I don't think she can deliver at Alta Bates, however. If you planned a home birth and needed to transport, she would go with you and more or less act as a doula and advocate once you get to the hospital. You might also want to stop by Waddle and Swaddle on Shattuck in Berkeley. They have a great resource room and a lot of midwives put up cards on their bulletin board. - a happy homebirth mom

Feb 2006

Hi - I'm looking for recommendations about Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds for a homebirth. The one in archives is very positive, but I'd love to have a little more feedback since she's apparently quite new to the area. thanks, Katherine

Leopi was our backup midwife -- she was at the homebirth of our son last August and provided some postpartum care when our primary midwife was out of town. I am so grateful for the opportunity to sing her praises -- I can't sing them loud enough!! I had only met her once before the actual birth but felt completely comfortable with her and appreciated her warmth and attentiveness. The day of our birth she provided such incredible wisdom and comfort throughout a very long labor. She came very well equipped with some critical tools that helped us during labor. She has a profound ability to match her technical knowledge with in the moment observation. I found her suggestions and guidance throughout the labor so on point. Her nurturing during postpartum was equally priceless. Processing with Leopi afterwards highlighted the uniqueness of our labor experience while connecting it with the universality of birth. She may be relatively new to the area but her wealth of experience is so apparent in the quality of her care. We felt honored to have her at our birth. I would be more than happy to share more details about our experiences with Leopi if you would find it helpful. Please feel free to contact me. maria

If you are looking for a midwife I highly recommend Leopi Sanderson- Edmunds. She was wonderful for my pre-natal, and amazing at the birth. She also provides extensive post natal visits. She is highly experienced, grounded, intuitive and warm. I couldn't have asked for a better midwife! Leopi's telephone number is 510 717-5060. RJita

May 2005

I just discovered today that my insurance which is Blue Cross will reimburse a ''preferred'' licensed midwife for home birth services and delivery. Can anyone recommend such a midwife? If not, did you have a home birth and were you able to get reimbursement of any kind? I would be very greatful for any information. Thank you. Liesl

As far as I know, and I would love to find out otherwise, there are no licensed midwives who would be considered ''preferred providers''--meaning a network provider--by Blue Cross. However, my homebirth was about 60% covered by Blue Cross when my midwife, Cindy Haag, submitted the necessary documentation for both the prenatal visits and the birth. I got at least an hour, and sometimes more, of Cindy's time at every appointment compared to less than 15 minutes with a CNM or OB/GYN. Plus the convenience of having her come to my house instead of dealing with driving, parking, and waiting and waiting at a doctor's, in my opinion, made up for any increased costs. Homebirth--worth every penny

First, I have to say that I don\x92t know if my midwife would be a preferred provider for Blue Cross, but I wanted to recommend her anyway. It\x92s definitely worth contacting her to find out. We didn\x92t have any insurance, so reimbursement wasn\x92t an issue for us. I thought to contact you because if cost is an issue, and you can\x92t find someone you like to accept Blue Cross, then Lis (my midwife) would most definitely work with you on the financial part. She\x92s committed to providing care for those who can\x92t afford the going rates for homebirth.

Anyway, her name is Lis Worcester and her number is 415/255-7028. She\x92s in San Francisco, but has no problem working with folks in the East Bay (we live in Oakland). We had such wonderful experience with her! Our first daughter was born at the birth center in SF and that\x92s where we met Lis. She was working there at the time and was our primary prenatal care provider. We developed a close relationship with her and then when I was pregnant again 3 years later she was licensed to do homebirths. We worked out a financial plan so that we could have the homebirth we wanted. She worked with us from the beginning of the pregnancy and we had such a great homebirth \x96 exactly how I wanted it. I had two pretty different births and Lis was exactly the right match for me both times. The first time around I felt like I needed a lot of help and reassurance \x96 and I got it. The second time I felt so much more capable and didn\x92t need much help \x96 and Lis really let me do things my way.

I could go on and on. I would be happy to talk with you more, if you\x92re interested. I just wanted you to know about the options. I hope this has been helpful. I realize that I didn\x92t really answer your initial question. I hope you have a wonderful homebirth! I highly recommend it - however it happens. Brooke

March 2005

I'm looking for a Homebirth midwife recommendations. I saw great recommendations for Cindy Haag and Beah Haber on the website and am looking for info. on Sarah Pontell and Abigael Reagan. Others, too! Thanks. Looking early

i just gave birth in december. my midwives were great. awakenings birth services. a team of midwives - dana fox, deborah simone & juli tilsner. 415.835.0663. they live in the east bay, but work in both s.f. & east bay. i've also heard good things about sarah. happy birthing! happy mom

Just a short note to say that you saw so many great recommendations for Cindy Haag because she is a fabulous midwife. She provides both empathy and medical knowledge--an amazing combination. Grateful

There is an amazing, experienced, homebirth midwife who has recently moved to the East Bay named Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds that I would like to recommend. Leopi is both knowledgeble and intuitive. She provides midwifery care that creates a sense that you are being cared for on every level. She only takes 1-2 clients per month so she can provide her clients with all of the attention they want or need. Leopi's telephone number is 510 717- 5060 or feel free to contact me if you would like to hear more about my experience with Leopi. Good Luck! sonja i wanted to recommend Kristen Graser. here is a link to her web site: http://www.fruitsoflabormidwifery.com her care was wonderful. if you want any details feel free to e- mail me. Tami

Nancy Myrick, of Rites of Passage in San Francisco, was our midwife for the home birth of our daughter last March. Nancy (and Deena Malareddy, who was working with her at the time, not sure if she still is) was wonderful during the pre-natal appointments, the birth and post-natal visits. I think this link will get you to the Rites of Passage website: http://www.ihomebirth.com/services.html. If you have questions or need more contact information, please let me know. robin

I highly recommend Amrit Khalsa ((510) 235-4878), who attended the homebirth of our second child. Our prenatal sessions were, at the shortest, 1 hour each and lasted as long as they needed to in order to answer all my questions. I had experienced pre-term labor with my first child, and Amrit was knowledgable and practical about developing a plan to minimize the chance of it happening again (it didn't),and was endlessly patient with my fears and worries about pre-term labor. I found Amrit to be extremely competent (she's a direct entry midwife, but used to be an RN in a neo-natal intensive care unit), fully supportive of our desire for a homebirth, and balanced in her attitude towards conventional obstetrics. (She isn't an alarmist in the least, but if a situation arises that would be best handled by a doctor in a hospital, she's going to get you to the hospital.) About homebirth in general -- I loved the peaceful, transcendent quality of laboring and giving birth at home (peaceful, somehow, despite all the HARD WORK of labor), and the gentle arrival of the baby into our regular old bed,our older child coming in and out as she pleased. But there was definitely a moment (an hour or so into the pushing of what turned out to be a very large baby) when it became very clear that there was no easy escape. If pushing seemed impossible, my back-up fantasy of a quick c-section at the hospital seemed even more impossible -- it would be no trivial matter to have to get to the hospital in advanced labor. Best of wishes for a happy and healthy birth for you and your baby. Alysson

I had my beautiful baby boy at home in December with a wonderful, very nurturing, sensitive, and experienced midwife. Since my baby was due in December and not many midwives were working, I spoke with A LOT of midwives, and she was definitely my favorite! Her name is Valeri Webber and she lives in Benicia, but she will travel to most East Bay and North Bay locations. I love this woman! She helped create s sacred, peaceful, and special environment for our birth. Her number is 707-745 Cecily

Jan 2005

I'm currently looking for a homebirth midwife in San Francisco and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations. The midwives that have been highly recommended on this site are mostly in the east bay and don't service SF. I have heard of Abigail Reagan, Maria Iorillo and Liz Worchester that work in the area and would love to hear some feedback along with any other names and experiences of homebirth midwives who service SF. Thanks in advance. Tracy

I wanted to give you my reccomendation for a midwife in SF. I was surprised and excited to see you had already mentioned her name, but my midwife was Lis Worcester. She was my primary midwife when my first daughter was born at the birth center in SF over 3 years ago, and then she was my homebirth midwife for my second daughther born last July. I love Lis!! She is very caring and spends so much time with you. She doesn't take on too many clients at once, so you never feel as though she's not available. I had a wonderful experience birthing at home with her and would love to tell you more about it. She is also the midwife for a friend of mine who is due in a few weeks and I'm sure she would happily talk to you as well. Just to throw a couple more names out there - Awakenings Birth Services (Dana Fox, Deborah Simone and Juli Tilsner) are also really wonderful women to work with and they work primarily in SF. Good luck and feel free to call or email me for more details. I love to talk about my birth! 510/763-2105 Brooke

I took a Bradley childbirth prep class with Juli Tilsner who I believe now has a home birth practice and is associated with Sage Femme. I really liked her and would've hired her if I hadn't been too scared to go with a home birth. danielle

July 2004

I am currently interviewing midwives for an upcoming home birth and am wondering if anyone has experience (good or bad) with Awakenings Birth Services (Dana Fox, Deborah Simone and Juli Tilsner) or Nova Midwifery (Mason Cornelius and Beth Graham). I haven't found anything about either practice on the website. Many thanks anon

Hi, I am due early January '05 and am looking for a homebirth midwife. I looked at what's already been posted on the network and didn't find what I was looking for. It's been a challenge finding an available caregiver since most take time off for the hoidays. Would appreciate any recommendations or shared experiences that other couples have had with a dec./jan. baby. And any recommendations of particular midwives used. I am also looking for feedback from clients who have used these following midwives. Julie Hunn, Beah Haber, Cindy Haag, Sarah Pontell, Roxanne, and Danu. Thanks, in search of an available midwife

I had Jennifer Hess and Beah Haber for my homebirth of my 2nd son 2 years ago. They were great. I had another midwife when my first son was born 4 years ago whom I would not recommend (she was not one of the ones on your list.) Please feel free to contact me if you would like any further information. pc

Julie Tilsner was my Bradley class teacher in San francisco and I absolutely adore her. I just can't say enough... Good luck Katja

Beah Haber is truly an outstanding midwife. She is incredibly warm and sensitive, and has a great sense of humour. She and her partner, Jennifer Hess (who I also love, but you didn't ask about her!) attended at the birth of my daughter at home in October and I would definitely recommend them. My prenatal visits were so relaxed and I always looked forward to going to see them. There were some complications at the birth which they handled with the utmost skill and complete calm. The care I received post-partum was also excellent. Good luck in your search! ed

i am a birth doula/massage therapist/ yoga teacher and photographer in SF and had the pleasure of working with Awakenings (Deborah Simone, Dana Fox, and Juli Tilsner) at an amazing homebirth in March (i was the doula, etc). They are very caring, committed, knowledgable, grounded, and spiritual women who provide excellent, holistic care for the women they work with. Many of my massage clients or prenatal yoga students have worked with them, and all of the feedback i have received is positive. I have also attended Juli's childbirth classes and attended births with her when she was working as a doula and deeply respect her knowledge and passion about supporting women in natural childbirth. I would be happy to act as a reference for them if anyone wants a doula's perspective on the midwifery care they provide. the number for Awakenings is: 415-835-0663 or 415-871-8190 (juli tilsner) blessings, Britt 415-821-2699 britt

I highly recommend Cindy Haag as a homebirth midwife. My first child was born in December 2001 and I am now pregnant with my second and am working with Cindy again. She is compassionate, present, intelligent and extremely skilled and experienced. I can't imagine being pregnant or birthing without her support and involvement.

I also recommend interviewing several midwives to see how you feel with each of them. There are many excellent homebirth midwives in this area, but ultimately it's about finding a match for what you are looking for and finding someone you trust and feel comfortable with. I did some initial phone interviews and then a few in-person interviews. After meeting some midwives it was clear that Cindy was the ideal midwife for me and my partner.

Please feel free to e-mail me if you have any additional questions about working with Cindy Haag. Congratulations on your pregnancy and good luck in your homebirth midwife search! Catherine

I had a wonderful homebirth with Cindy Haag. She has a reputation as one of the best homebirth midwives in the Bay Area. She is highly skilled, experienced and knowledgeable, and also caring, empathic and responsive. I don't think she takes too many clients a month, though, so you will be lucky if you get to be her client. I highly reccommend her. Would Do It Again

Our baby was born at 34 weeks so we did not have a homebirth, but Cindy Haag was with us for the intense part of labor and went with us to the hospital (Alta Bates) and did after checks on me and the baby and she was wonderful. I had only met her the day I went into labor (long story) and I immediately felt comfortable with her. She was terrific to have around during labor, helpful, gentle, good about making sure my husband and I had time alone when we might want it and there when we needed her. I'm a doctor and I thought her medical knowledge and expertise were impressive (and better than the ob-gyns in some situations!). Can't answer as to her availability. lucky to have had Cindy at the birth

Cindy Haag 510-704-8366 delivered our baby girl five weeks ago and I cannot recommend her highly enough. We interviewed two other midwife teams, and while they all probably would have done an excellent job, I have absolutely no regrets or complaints about choosing Cindy. And I'm a pretty tough customer. As an added bonus, right now Cindy is working with an equally fabulous apprentice, Robin Doolittle, who accompanies her to every apointment. If you want more detail, you can ask Cindy for my phone number (although you already know I'll be an enthusiastic reference). David

We had a home birth with Jennifer Hess and Beah Haber for our first baby, due December 2003 (born in November...). They were great all through the prenatal visits, birth and postnatal checkups. Most visits, and the birth, were attended by both of them. I'm planning to use them again if we have another baby. If you have any specific questions, please feel free to email me. Heather

I had my son with Dana and Deborah from Awakenings and the whole experience was wonderful! The prenatals (all done at my home) were relaxed (and long). I had plenty of time to sort out many fears and concerns. Plus, they did a wonderful job of educating me about birth. By the time I was in labor it seemed like they really knew and understood me and what I would need to labor successfully. D & D's styles are very different which I also found a helpful balance. Dana is more action oriented. When I called to complain about a cold that was lingering, she offered heaps of symapthy and at least a 1/2 dozen ways to take care of myself. Deborah is more quiet and reflective. She was so good at listening and seemed comfortable just sitting with me as I worked my way through a particular question or concern. The place they really shine is in labor and post partum. They were just so calm and gentle and fiercely confident in my abilities as a mom. And they did my dishes right after the birth! Who could ask for more? Finally, I don't know if this is an issue for either poster, but another reason we chose Awakenings was because D & D are really welcoming of whatever religious/spiritual practices and beliefs their clients have. My partner and I are an interfaith couple and we felt so supported in our attempts to honor the sacred dimension of birth and partenting. Either poster is welcome to email me directly with specific questions. sabine

October 2003

Well, I've just spoken to someone at Hill's Physicians Medical Group and she told that they do indeed cover homebirth (all of it!). I can hardly believe it. Anyway, I've got a list of 6 names of midwives in the Hill's Group and I'd like to get some recommendations. I've seen the archives and see that Hsiu Li, Lindy Johnson and Nancy Barnett Moore all come highly recommended. I'd like a little more input on Deborah Coleman and Laura Hooper (and it would be even better if you used them for homebirth!). Also, if anyone has any experience with Hill's Physicians/Blue Shield coverage of homebirth, I'd love to hear about it (I keep thinking I have been misinformed). Thank you so much.

I think it mainly depends on whether you have an HMO or PPO, and not really the medical group you are with. We are also with Hill Physicians, but had an HMO that covered only hospital births with midwives. Lindy Johnson is a highly recommended CNM, but she only does hospital births. The best thing for you to do is call each midwife that Hill Physicians recommended to you, and interview them over the phone. Their experience is important, but getting along with them is even more so, esp. because you will have very close interaction with your midwife (or midwives). If you like what you hear on the phone, then most of them will visit you at home for free, for a more personal meeting. Bear in mind that there are many different kinds of midwives, too. So, you should do as much research as possible to know the differences (Licensed Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Certified Nurse Midwife, Lay Midwife, and so on....).

We are going through our other insurance coverage, which is a PPO, so that we can have a homebirth that insurance will pay for. Our most EXCELLENT midwife is Cindy Haag, of the Bay Area Homebirth Collective and Tres Lunas Midwifery. She is very knowledgeable, is a L.M. and a C.P.M., and is very personable. The BAHC also offers childbirth classes geared for homebirths, among other services. Every midwife of the BAHC (a few other names: Jen Bauman, Kristin Graser) is really great - you should call them, as they do homebirths in the East Bay and in SF: (415) 273 5185 OR http://www.wisewomanchildbirth.com/bahc.html Good luck!! anon

I used Lindy Johnson recently (at Alta Bates) and was happy with her, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't do homebirths anymore. Jennifer

After having a nightmare of an experience with my first attempt at a home delivery in 1992, I sought the services of Lindy Johnson, CNM in 1995 to assist in the delivery of my son.She informed me that at that time, they no longer could legally assist w/ home births but she could work w/ us through Alta Bates. I found her to be ''ok''. Not as nurturing and up on holistic tx. as i would have preferred..but she was great in the delivery room. I delivered a healthy beautiful boy..so i'm not complaining. ~Omolade

Your posting comes just at a time when I'm considering trying a home birth--Debbie Coleman has been my midwife and I was thrilled to see that she does home births--thanks for this information! I am almost 8 months pregnant and have been seeing Debbie throughout my pregnancy. Overall, it's been a really positive experience. I also interviewed Sho-Li but wasn't as comfortable with her. Debbie is often overwhelmed and busy but as soon as she sits down with me she's totally focused and present. She never seems rushed once she gets into the examining room. What I've liked about her most is that I can all her at any time with any question about my pregnancy (something I've done numerous times). Whenever I've called her--on her pager--she calls back in less than 5 minutes. This has been really reassuring. So far, all my interactions with Debbie have been great--she also has a very kind and informed support staff--her nurse is great, the women in the office are wonderful...Now I want to see if I can have her assist in my birth at home! elena

July 2003 

We are considering homebirth options for our first child, due in early March. I have read the archives, but would appreciate any updated recommendations as to trusted midwives who do homebirths. Also, if anyone is willing to share their experiences about their homebirths (whether you had to transport or not), we would greatly appreciate your insights. Julie

i would HIGHLY recomend Dana Fox & Deborah Simone of Awakenings Midwifrey. 415-835-0663 (they serve the east bay even though their # is 415 area code) their prenatal visits lasted for about two hours (rather than 10 minute doctor visits) they address not only the phisical aspect of my maternity, but really got into the spiritual and emotional needs I was interested in. they Gave us great written material addressing relationship of me and my husband parenting together, vacinations (so I could make informed decisions), Infromation about circumcision (my husband is jewish, I am not.) They are fantastic lactation specialists as well, and can address any problems you might have in this area. I also found them to be the most affordable, though I chose them because I really connected with them. New statistics show that planned hombirth involving healthy full-term pregnancy is as safe if not safer than hospital birth. however I was one of those 1 in a million cases where after a perfectly smooth labour and delivery, we had to transport my son. He developed a breathing problem shortly after birth (would have developed it wether in the hospital or home) when we got to the hospital the doctors were very respectful and non-judgmental of us. They told us that our midwives saved our sons life, because of the measures they took. I would also recomend buying MOTHERING magazine (buy it at Picadilly Circus on University ave.) mothering has some great articles on homebirth, Vacines, breastfeeding... Jessica

I had a great homebirth with Cindy Haag, who provides an amazing combination of knowlege and empathy. She isn't listed in the archives, although I have seen her mentioned here several times. You can find her at 704-8366. Happy With My Homebirth

I highly recommend the Bay Area Homebirth Collective, 415-285- 9233. Jennifer N.

July 2003

I'm hoping to become pregnant soon (my first time) and want to get a handle on the birth options way ahead of time. I'm very interested in homebirth. My questions are about insurance & who in the East Bay does homebirth. I've been all through archives and have the names of the Midwives that could be covered by my insurance (Blue Shield HMO) if I switched to the Hill Physcians group. Do the CNMs in Berkeley (often cited on this site, Jeri, Nancy, & Lindy) do homebirth? Has anybody switched primary physcians to do this?

Any information/experiences would be helpful. I've searched the web and tried writing several places for information, but it's all a little vague, so I thought I'd try posting.

Thanks so much! wanna be mama

I switched from my primary physician to a midwife during the middle of my first trimester. Interestingly, it was my primary physician who recommended midwives (or at least gave me information for that route). I am seeing Jeri Zukoski. She does homebirths as well as hospital births at Alta Bates, with Hill Physicians. Lindy Johnson also works at Alta BAtes (although I'm not sure if she does homebirths). Insurance will not pay for a homebirth, or at least PacifiCare won't, so Jeri will be delivering our baby at Alta Bates. If you need information, both Lindy and Jeri will respond fairly quickly via phone, even if you are not yet expecting.

On July 10, 2004, Birthways in Oakland will be holding a free information night on ''Homebirth Information and Birthing Options''. It's at 6:30pm. You should call them to see if there is room for you to attend. Their address is: 466 Santa Clara Ave., 3rd Flr and their number is: 510.869.2797.

I think it's great that you are preparing so early! I read up on my options and did interviews with midwives and doulas one year prior to TTC (AND started taking prenatal vitamins!), and now I don't feel like it's all a mystery to me (although a good majority of it still is).

Good luck! anonymous

I don't know about the CNMs, but I had a great homebirth with Cindy Haag in Berkeley, and both my insurance companies (my work switched in the middle) covered the appointments and the birth with Cindy as a ''non-participating provider'' or whatever it's called.

By the way, I found the midwives listings in the archives on this site to be pretty out of date--I've seen lots of references to midwives in the past year in the newsletters, none of whom are in the archives. Happy With My Homebirth

I changed my insurance to Hill Physicians to go with Jeri (but they only covered hospital birth). I labored at home (for 2 days), then we went through transition in the car on the way to the hospital, then pushed for two hours at Alta Bates, then left after 6 hours. We had a fantastic experience, very safe, very comfortable, (because I felt safe and was surrounded by family), and paid for by the insurance.

Jeri advocates for moms to be proactive and to be aware of all their options. We had a natural childbirth with no interventions and I think a lot of it was because we had prepared as well as we could (Ellen Klima's Bradley class was terrific).

Jeri also does home births but it would be out of pocket, we couldn't afford it at the time but we had the best of all worlds. Contact me for more info if you like, I think that as a first-time mom, you need to learn as much as you can and I'd love to discuss options with you. Good luck! Monica

It's a great idea to check out your options before getting pregnant. If you want to be cared for by a midwife, you basically have four options:
1) Nurse-midwife in a hospital setting 2) Nurse midwife in a birth center setting 3) Nurse-midwife at home 4) Direct entry/lay/licensed midwife at home 
I had a beautiful homebirth in April with the nurse midwives from Motherwell Midwifery: Beah Haber and Jennifer Hess. They were wonderful and I can highly recommend them. They also run The Birth Home, a free-standing birth center in Pleasanton. Their main office is in Pleasanton, but they have weekly office hours in Oakland. Phone: 925-449-7666.

There are only two other nurse midwives or groups of nurse midwives in the East Bay doing homebirths that I know of: 1) Jeri Zukowski, and 2) another group whose name I can't remember, but one of the CNM's is named Erin.

If you want a licensed (non-nurse) midwife for a homebirth, Amrit Khalsa would be a great choice.

For hospital midwifery, Lindy Johnson or Hsiu-Li (pronounced Show-Lee) Cheng are wonderful.

Insurance coverage for homebirth is a whole other issue. Some midwives take insurance, but usually you have to pay up front and get reimbursed yourself from the insurance comapny. Most midwives have either a sliding scale and/or payment plans to make it possible for those who choose to go outside their insurance to pay. Good luck! Emily

I am having a homebirth with a midwife as well (in just a few weeks!) but I can't be of much help with insurance. I'm using a direct-entry midwife (as opposed to a CNM) so it's been a ridiculous struggle to try to get my insurance to cover it. However, I did want to recommend to you the Bay Area Homebirth Collective - they have lots of referral services, including a childbirth preparation class that is specific to homebirths. I took it and loved it! Here is contact info for them: (415) 273 5185 or (510) 540 6223. Good luck. Amy

I've had a number of homebirths, and hate to be discouraging about insurance issues, but homebirth is a reproductive choice that most insurers don't support, and the law does not protect. The only contribution I've ever gotten from my insurers was an unexpected $500 check from Blue Cross, which was given as coverage for using an ''out-of-network'' provider. MediCal does pay for homebirths, but the sum they pay is well below the going rate. It doesn't sound as if you're MediCal-eligible anyway, but if you are, you could consider offering to top up MediCal's payment with cash. This is illegal, so you or your midwife may balk.

In parallel with being under the care of a midwife, my approach has been to get traditional prenatal care through an obstetrician, and have my insurance pay for the latter (after all, you will not know until your baby is born whether the emergence of some problem or other will result in your needing to be hospitalized, receive expensive diagnostic tests, or treatments, or even give birth in the hospital). I believe that around 30% of first-time mothers who attempt homebirth end up being transferred to a medical facility. You will have to lie to almost any East Bay obstetrician about your intention to deliver at home, or he or she will refuse to take you as a patient. It can get pretty unpleasant if your pregnancy goes past your delivery date when the induction harassment can get intense. UCSF is more tolerant of this approach, and I recommend them.

The lack of insurance coverage for homebirth meant that I paid most or all of the midwifery bill out of my own pocket. Sometimes, it was our entire savings. We are a family that has experienced periods of real financial exigency. Nonetheless, these payments, which seemed huge at the time, were the best money we ever spent. I am always astonished by the difference between my/our feelings about the births of our children, and those of my friends about those of their children who were hospital born. The births were some of the high points of my life, and gave me a new strength and belief in myself. They were a wonderful foundation for my relationship with my babies, and my husband. So many of my friends felt abused and violated (at worst) and disappointed or full of wishes that things had gone differently (at best) with their hospital births. In my view, a homebirth is a ''luxury'' worth paying for out of your own pocket.

To my knowledge, Lindy hasn't done homebirths in many years. It's a pity: she did one of mine, and I can't speak highly enough about her. The reason she gave me for ceasing to attend homebirths was that insurance companies forced her to choose between home and hospital deliveries - they would not allow her to do both.

One of my midwives was Amrit Khalsa. I highly recommend her. She does have patients whose home births are covered by insurance. Perhaps it would be worth consulting with her, especially if you are not yet pregnant and can still change insurers, to find out how to get a homebirth covered. If you do plan to do this, call soon. She's in high demand. Homebirth zealot

Midwife of color for home birth

May-June 2003

Does anyone know of any midwives of Color [especially African or African American] in the Bay Area??? I'm looking for someone for my second homebirth. anon

I had a wonderful african american nurse at Summit, who is also a doula. Perhaps she can recommend a midwife for you. Her name is Tora Springer, try contacting her at Tora941 at aol.com or 510-848-9724. Heather

I don't know an African-American midwife, but Beah Haber is Latina. She works in the Birth Home in Pleasanton, but also does home births. The doula who worked with me for my birth in January, Samsarah Becknell, is African American. You can contact her at bayareabirthpros.com. Good luck!

There is an african-american midwife who works primarily at Highland Hospital, but also works Thursdays at women's clinic at San Francisco General Hospital. Unfortunately I only know her first name: Dana, but you might be able to track her down. good luck

For the person looking for a midwife of color - there is a home birth midwife in the East Bay named Lucero who is Latina, and another midwife told me she is a good midwife - but I don't know anyone personally who has used her services. Sorry I don't know her contact info - but you might be able to find it at Natural Resources or another business serving the home birth community.

I had a wonderful African American Doula. She is also a nurse, My daughter is 2, so she may have become a mid-wife, I'm not sure. Her name is Tora Spigner. Good luck.

Tracie Enis is a practicing African American midwife. I used her as my doula prior to her becoming a widwife a few years ago and had great results - she is wonderfully supportive. She can be reached at http://www.tracie-ebonymidwife.com/midwifery.html. She is very committed to extending the traditional midwife services to the African American community. She also has an extensive network of African American birth and post birth resources. Good luck! Liz

April 2003

I recently found out I am pregnant and I really want to do a home birth this time. I've consulted the website and the info is mostly out of date and not exactly what i'm looking for. Can anyone recommend any midwives or referral websites to find one. Also, does anyone know how I can find a midwife in training that might do this for a lower fee so they can get more experience? Any recommendations about how to have a successful home birth would be greatly appreciated.

I recommend Maria Iorillo, 415-285-9233, mydwife at aol.com, for a homebirth. She's part of a collective of midwives, and they run a homebirth prep class. Jennifer N.

I highly recommend Amrett Kalsa, 510-235-4878 to do your home birth. She extremely experienced, very smart, easy and fun to work with, and all around wonderful. She delivered my second very large child (10 lbs, 3 oz) in my home. It worked out wonderfully. I'd use her again in a heartbeat. She lives in El Cerrito. JoAnne

I would love to recommend my midwives, Beah Haber and Jennifer Hess, who practice throughout the east bay. 925/449-7666. They have 20+ years of experience between them and also work with a wonderful nurse assistant. I had my third baby with them last fall and cannot say enough about the home birth experience itself and my midwives in particular. They charged $4000 for the entire pre- and postnatal care, as well as the delivery. I hear your concerns about price, but I'm not sure you really want to compromise safety and quality by getting a midwife in training to do your delivery on the cheap. I have also had babies in a hospital and in a free-standing birth center, so I'd be happy to talk more and share my experiences with each setting. Congratulations and good luck! swidule

I don't think you can do any better than Beah Haber. She and her midwife partner do homebirths and are a great team. Give them a call and interview them yourself- they are warm and professional and love helping in the birth process. If you decide that home birth doesn't really work for you you can always go to the Birthhome (www.birthhome.com). Beah works there as well and they provide birth services in a home environmnet but only minutes away from a hospital- just in case. In terms of looking for an apprentice midwife you can check out the midwife association. They may have information on folks that fit this description.try www.midwife.org. Happy birth! Juliette

I highly recommend our homebirth midwife, Cindy Haag (510-704- 8366). She is wonderful, very experienced, humble, skilled, reassuring, and has excellent judgement. I'm an ob/gyn nurse practitioner, and my husband is a family doc, and we both felt completely comfortable in Cindy's hands. Please feel free to email me for more info. Debbie

I would refer you to Birthways, a great local resource for the pregnant family. They put out a great newsletter as well as offer lots of birth-related classes and services for both home- and hospital-birthing types. (Doulas, midwives, massage, etc) I think they've recently moved to the GrandLake area? The number is 869 - 2797. There's also Birth and Bonding, a storefront on Solano near San Pablo in Albany, with similar services. Good luck. Bonnie

I didn't deliver at Summit, but I had my prenatal ultrasounds and testing at East Bay Perinatal, but delivered at Alta Bates with Nancy Barnett-Moore, who I highly recommend. I originally considered going with Sho Li but found that I connected better with Nancy and I also wasn't wild about the East Bay Perinatal atmosphere, although it was fine for ultrasounds. Nancy Barnett-Moore was wonderful, and my husband and I are firmly convinced I would have had a c-section if it hadn't been for her. I'm quite petite, and we had a 9 lb 5 oz baby girl who was in the posterior position. We ended up having 62 hours of labor, with Nancy's assistance the whole time, and ended up with a very healthy baby. She also was wonderful throughout the prenatal visits, very willing to talk and address any concerns you might have. Alta Bates was fine, although you do have to spend the extra money for a private room, unlike Summit. Vali

I just had to switch from Alta Bates Medical Group to Hill physicians in order to work with my midwife Nancy Barnett Moore, who I am very happy with. She delivered my first baby as well. I did quite a search to find a new primary care physician and came across Nina Birmbaum at Bayside Medical Group with James Eichel. Because she is new at the practice I had to officially list Dr. Eichel as my PCP with my insurance company, but the office knows she is my PCP. I've only had one visit with her but I was very impressed. She was very nice, listened well, and really took her time. So if you are planning to switch to the Hill group, I highly recommend her. My midwife felt that anyone in the office would work well with her. Good luck! another mom-to-be again

I know that many people love Lindy Johnson, but I ended up choosing Nancy Barnett-Moore, who shares office space with Lindy and who is also covered 100% through Hill Physicians, if that is an option with your insurance. My husband and I both think she is fabulous, and she limits her patients a bit more so that she can come and be there for the entire birth, and meets you when you check into the triage unit. She is very experienced, caring, and willing to take the time to address any and all issues you might have. I would recommend interviewing several midwives until you find the best match. anon

Nancy Barnett Moore is wonderful; strong, intuitive, wise. She works extensively providing birthing care to needy and unserserved women in Oakland, and also does private midwifery for women throughout the Bay Area. Valerie


I have an eleven month old baby who was born at home under the guidance of Deborah Counsell. She was the best pregnancy care I have had and seen given, and I have experience with several as I used to be an administrator at the Marin Birth Center (MBC). She is a direct entry midwife, among the first group to be licensed in the state, and her experience is vast - thousands of births. I originally opted for the Birth Home in Pleasanton but I became unhappy with them in my 36th week and decided to have a home birth. Thankfully, I found Deborah and she gracefully stepped in. We had a very long labor, and thanks to Deborah and the decision to home birth, everything was mellow and un-rushed. I probably would have ended up with a c-section because OB's tend to want to hurry things along. Also, my baby's hand was obstructing her descent, so Deborah and me do some exercises to get the little one to move it. She did, and an hour later, she was born. The only word of caution is that Deborah is pretty bad with paperwork, so follow up with her assistants, Rene and Sue are terrific also. Good Luck, and study everything you can get your hands on regarding labor and delivery- the more you know the happier you will be and the more confident making decisions.

Oct 1999

I gave birth at home three months ago (second child) with the exceptional help of Amrit Khalsa and her two apprentice midwives Sara and Erin. Amrit had been recommended to me by two women who she assisted in the last few years. Amrit and her team were all wonderful, knowledgeable, and supportive. Amrit has been assisting with delivering babies for almost 30 years (8 in hospital settings as a RN, the rest at home). The prenatal visits were all done here at home - and what a difference. We often spent over an hour talking about my pregnancy, the birth, and a host of other issues that were related, but that my last OB never seemed concerned with (nutrition, sleep, relationship with other child and spouse, etc.). When the time came to deliver (and went - I was two weeks late), she was extremely helpful and professional. Feel free to contact me if you want more information. She is in El Cerrito. Amrit - 235-4878

Oct 1999

The doula we've hired is actually a midwife, in SF, but she has East Bay clients too, and is available as a doula as well. She's wonderful. Her name is Jen Bauman, and she can be reached at 415/431-5006.

I had both my kids at home in Oakland and I have lots of great things to say about Jen Bauman, 415 221 5959 and the Bay Area Homebirth collective in general 415-273-5185. The main thing to keep in mind is that you will be spending alot of time with your midwife so the personal connection is very important. Congratulations.

Nov 1998

I can't give you any recommendations for home-birth friendly OBs, but I can describe something about my own experience with a similar situation. I saw an NP at my former OB/Gyn office to get confirmation of pregnancy and for 2 (very early) prenatal visits before I had settled on a midwife. I was committed to a home birth and didn't see any use for a doctor at all. The NP, Carolyn Hand had delivered her daughters at home and was really supportive, and even gave me recommendations of midwives to consider. But absolutely NO ONE ELSE in that office was supportive, and actually a few folks (like the woman in the accounting dept, strangely enough) were downright antagonistic or hostile. After those 2 prenatals, I just let the midwives handle all the prenatal care, which was excellent, and I opted out of all the routine testing. With several friends having delivered with mid- wives at home since then, I am yet to hear of a totally supportive MD backup for home birth.

Unfortunately, I did end up transporting to a hospital because my labor wouldn't kick into gear. I went to SF General (my midwife called in advance to say we were coming) and the midwifes (Jen Bauman's mentors, I believe) accompanied us into L & D. The nurses were mostly fantastic, and the delivering doctor just came in for the last nitty-gritty hour. I didn't get any vibe or commentary about home birth (or failed home birth in this case), from the MD or anyone else. SFGH has the lowest rate of C-section in the SF Bay Area according to my research, and I figured that was the most important issue of transporting from home (the perceived need for extreme intervention). The only problem with this arrangement was getting the billing sorted out which took a lot of phone calls because SFGH doesn't bill Health Net through Alta Bates.... The pediatricians on duty gave Simon his newborn exam, and a month later, we went to out first pediatric appointment with Lester Luz, who actually congratulated me on trying to deliver at home. Claire