What is your favorite way to exercise or where do you spend time outdoors in Austin?
I love walking my neighborhood with my girlfriends and spending time boating on Lake Austin and Lake Travis with my family.
How would your encourage women or what would you say to the about the process of pregnancy and delivery?
Surrender and trust. Years ago I was attending a birth with a midwife whom I greatly admire. The mother was laboring so peacefully and I whispered to my peer, “This is so beautiful! She is in complete control.” My wise friend said, “Siobhan, it is the opposite. She is not in control, she is completely surrendered.” Educate yourself about options for birth, surround yourself with people who believe in you, create your plan, then emotionally surrender once labor starts.
What was one of your favorite moments in a birth?
There was a beautiful birth recently at our birth center (and this mother knows how much I admire her!) As a first time mother she was on her hands and knees in the tub, gently blowing little puffs of air through her contractions. With no change in expression, she quietly said to me, “I think something is coming out.” Since she was not visibly pushing, I reached under the water, expecting to feel the tip of the baby’s head. The entire head had gently emerged as this mother so peacefully welcomed her baby! As the baby arrived, the mother rotated so she could sit back in the tub, with just the baby’s head above the warm bath water. The baby let out two strong cries, cleared her lungs, then spent the next few minutes pink and healthy as can be, blinking up at her parents. It was truly one of the most peaceful births I have ever witnessed.
How long have you been in practice?
I have been working with mothers and babies for 21 years, first as a registered nurse, and have been a nurse-midwife for 15 years.
What is the most interesting thing you have learned lately?
That crocodiles have a “v” shaped mouth, are brown and their dominant teeth protrude from the bottom jaw. Alligators on the other hand, have a “u” shaped mouth, are green and their dominant teeth protrude from the top jaw. This I learned from my six year old nephew in the car drive to school. It may not be accurate information, but it is tucked away in my brain, and now in yours. Someday it may be useful.
How is your view on birth different now that you have experienced it so may times?
There are a million right ways to birth. I am reminded of that all of the time. Each woman has her own journey and each birth unfolds differently.
What are some of the ways you strive for optimal health.I am a huge advocate for healthy eating and living life in moderation. Nurturing our emotional health is just as important as physical wellbeing. I try to create time to relax with friends and family and spend time outdoors. I am not always successful in creating this balance, but I try!