My Credentials and Affiliations:
University of Applied Sciences, Vienna, Austria, graduated 2007
Licensed Midwife (LM) by the Montana Board of Alternative Healthcare, License #1344 (boards.bsd.dli.mt.gov)
Registered with the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM.org), as a Certified Professional Midwife, Certification #16050006. I received the CPM certification in 2016 which requires passing a written exam and verification of experience requirements and is the highest certificate available from the Midwives Alliance of North America.
I grew up as the second of six children on a farm, in a small mountain town in the Austrian Alps, located southeast of Salzburg. I became fascinated with the miracle of new life when I was very young. At the age of eighteen I was able to do an internship in Canada where I worked for two different veterinarians, one who specialized in horses and the other in small mammals. I assisted in their operating rooms and also honed my English skills.
After graduating from an agriculture and nutrition focused high school, I studied for a year in nutrition and biotechnology at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna, Austria. While there, my interest and passion about birth grew steadily stronger. I was thrilled when the word came that I was accepted into the University of Applied Sciences in Vienna where I began my study of midwifery in earnest. It was a highly competitive program that included didactic work, clinical experience and a rigorous qualifying exam. I graduated with a degree in midwifery in 2007.
One of the many reasons I was drawn to midwifery was a desire to help women all over the world give birth. After my clinical hospital studies in Vienna I had the opportunity to live and work in the Democratic Republic of Congo in Central Africa in a small jungle town called Tshumbe. While there, I served many women as their midwife in a local birth center. One of my most vivid memories from those days in Congo was of one of the first births I attended.
The level of poverty was so great that often the women arrived with virtually nothing but the clothing on their backs. My local tribal language skills were still quite rough then so I had to use all my other senses to attune to my patient mothers’ needs. I had to be especially observant and intuitive, which is something I find most helpful to this day. At this particular birth, the mother’s first question to me was “Is my baby alive?”. When she heard that it was, she rejoiced with her mother who came with her, recognizing what a gift this new life was. But there was nothing for this new baby. They wrapped it in a scrap of cloth. There weren’t any sanitary pads for this new mother either, so the new baby’s grandmother tore a piece of cloth from her dress to give to her daughter to use as a sanitary pad. The joy of this new life was palpable in the room, in spite of the poverty. This experience left me with an indelible mark of what it means to be so poor and how incredibly strong women are.
I loved serving these strong happy women. Often, when the mothers arrived to give birth, I was aware of the severe malnutrition suffered by them and their other children. As a result, I also successfully opened a nutritional center for these infants and children where we fed more than twenty children a day and taught about nutrition and child care. These women taught me to receive the gift of life with an open heart, and they helped me learn that it is easier to find joy when you have less. I also learned that I can trust myself as a midwife and that helping women give birth is my passion and my gift.
It was in the jungles of Congo where I met my husband. Our journey together brought us to Billings, MT in 2012 where we were blessed with two children of our own. In Billings, I began working with Katrina at First Breath Midwifery Care where we served women at home births and at the birth center there. I received my Montana Midwife Licensure in the year 2016. I loved working with Katrina and serving the women in Billings, but our journey moved us forward. In June of 2017 we moved to Missoula, MT and although my locations have changed, my passion about child birth and woman centered care has not.
I was just recently invited to assist Certified Nurse Midwife, Jeanne Hebl, at The Birth Center here in Missoula. I love learning from every single woman and family. It makes me humble and fills my heart with joy, as I am honored to travel with each family during this precious part of their life. As a midwife, my job is to protect and honor your birth and witness the normal process and correct any deviation from normal to make sure you and your family are getting the safest place to birth your family your way.