I got the chance to sit down with Sarah Darby, a midwife at Women’s Healthcare Group in Overland Park Ks. I wanted to get a feel for who Sarah is as a person since so many of our clients see her as their health care provider. I am often asked about her and what she’s like. Well, here ya go!
HEIDI: What did you want to be when you grew up?
SARAH: I didn’t know I wanted to be a midwife when I was a child. I was always fascinated with mothers and their babies. I was the kid following the new mothers around and asking if I could hold their babies. I was full of questions about how it felt to be pregnant and was in awe of the bond between mothers and babies even before I could put it into words. I always wanted to be a mother for sure but becoming a midwife was an unrealized dream until the birth of my first child.
HEIDI:When did you first know you wanted to work in women’s healthcare? What led up to it? What was the path you took to get to be where you are now, a midwife?
SARAH: I was attending the University of Iowa for nursing school when I got a job at the OB/Gyn clinic. I was a phlebotomist/nursing aid. It was there that I discovered midwives. I didn’t know they existed! I asked frequently to be allowed to work with them so that I could get to know them and the care they provided. It was then that I saw the difference between physician visits and midwife visits, so it was an easy decision to see a midwife for my pregnancy and birth of my first child. When I was at my two week postpartum visit, my midwife Anne Peacock, CNM, knew I was moving back to Kansas City and mentioned that KU was starting a midwifery program. It wasn’t until seven years later that I felt ready to make that leap.
HEIDI:When you aren’t working with women, what are you doing? (hobbies, or habits)
SARAH: When I’m not working, I’m usually home with my family. I am rather boring as I spend a lot of time reading and I watch way too much TV. I do try to exercise a few times weekly and am thinking of running again.
HEIDI: As doulas people often assume certain things about us, we’re all hippies, we’re all birth junkies, we are biased about birth etc. What are some common myths, stereotypes, or incorrect perceptions about midwives you’d like people to understand more?
SARAH: I am a hippie at heart so that misconception of midwives is okay with me. As a certified nurse-midwife my care of women extends beyond pregnancy and birth. Patients will often assume that once their babies are born, they have to see a physician for contraception and well woman care. While midwives are “experts” at low intervention and natural birth, we also are capable of ordering pain meds if the patient desires. This is one misconception that a few of my patients have had about midwifery care. I am still disheartened that I have to explain to the general population that midwives are a safe option for pregnancy and birth and that yes, some of us deliver in hospitals.
HEIDI: If you could give women having babies one (or two) bits of advice what would you tell them? Particularly first time moms?
SARAH: My advice to women who are pregnant for the first time is to do your research. Say yes to positive affirmations about pregnancy and birth, but say no thank you to those that want to scare you about what may happen. Know what kind of care is available to you, who you want to be with you when your birth your baby. Know that it’s ok to say no to the long list of friends and relatives that want to stare at you while you labor. This time is sacred and should be treated as such. Also, no one needs to see the baby immediately after birth. The first few hours are special and should be reserved for you and your partner/support person. This is time with your child that you will only experience once.
HEIDI: When you drive to work are you listening to anything- music, news, traffic, weather, children… and what is it?
SARAH: Music is a huge part of my life. I love it when there is music in a labor room. It not only calms the mother but allows those around her a glimpse into who she is as a person and what makes her happy. When I am driving to work I try to play something calming to me. Usually it’s Mumford and Sons, Brett Dennen or the Beatles. Sometimes when I need a pick me up or motivation I will play Enimem.
HEIDI: What is your favorite part about your job?
SARAH: It’s hard to pick one favorite part of my job. I love labor sitting, the moment I pass baby to a waiting mother’s hands, the first moments of love and joy. I really like postpartum visits because that’s when I finally get to snuggle those sweet babies and listen to a mother review her birth story, share her joy and comfort her through the tough first weeks with a newborn.
HEIDI: Being a midwife you may be up all night and then work in the office all day the next day. What kinds of things do you to keep going? How do you take care of yourself?
SARAH: There are times where I have been awake all night with a patient and have to work the next day. Fortunately, the day after typically is a short clinic day. Usually filled with lots of coffee. I allow myself to take naps and sleep in whenever I can. I have learned the art of “defensive sleep” meaning on my call nights if I’m not already at the hospital, I’m on my couch asleep usually by 8pm. Every minute counts when you can get called at a moments notice..ha!
HEIDI: Don’t we know it, Sarah! Tell me about the women you work with? The other midwives in your practice- who are they?
SARAH: I work with an incredible group of doctors and midwives. We are a cohesive team and more like family at times. My midwife partners are Valery Webb, Michaela Galimba, Jeane Ward and Sarah Yeamans. I feel so supported and loved by these women and since we are all mothers ourselves, we understand the stress of managing caring for our patients and caring for our families.
HEIDI: What is one thing on your bucket list?
SARAH: I have been fortunate that I have achieved so much on my bucket list. I am a mother, skydived, travelled to Africa and get to deliver babies. I have always wanted to run at least a half marathon. I suppose I should sleep less , watch less TV and get to running…
HEIDI: Thanks so much for this interview, Sarah. You are so connected to your patients and have such a huge heart for the work you do and it definitely shows! Kansas City Doulas loves working with you and your patients!
This blog was written as part of the World Doula Week Blog Challenge
Photo provided by K Tork Photography