By TRICIA HILL
When a woman first finds out she is pregnant she goes through the initial stages of announcing her excitement to the world, and is then faced with the issue of finding the right health professional to help her through labor. While some mom’s will take the route of just going through a routine hospital delivery, some may decide to have an at-home delivery with a midwife to help them through the birthing process.
With Southwest Wisconsin Technical College offering a Direct-Entry Midwifery program, it seems midwives are popping up all around Southwest Wisconsin. One team of midwives that graduated a year apart from each other took a leap of faith in each other and opened their own Trillium Midwifery Services business outside of Wauzeka last September. Trillium Midwifery is run by Alison Peralta, Wauzkea and Heather Kramer, Eastman.
“When we started, we had never really done births together, but we ended up working together really well,” Heather said.
Alison enrolled at Southwest Tech in January of 2012 in the Direct-Entry Midwifery program and earned her license in May of 2014. During her time as a student, she attended roughly 65 births under three different midwives, while receiving extensive training.
“Ever since I started training, I wanted to have a practice in this area, especially with the Boscobel OB shutting down,” Alison said.
Alison is the mother of three children and has had an opportunity to experience two home births and one hospital birth with a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM). It was the births of her two youngest children that set her desire to give all women an opportunity to experience the joy that comes with a natural birth.
Heather is a mother of 10 and has birthed her children in a variety of settings from hospital to home with both doctors and midwives.
“Through my own birth experiences and working as a nurse, it just drew my interest into more of a natural birth,” Heather said.
She began her interest in home births during her nursing career, which began in 1999. She has been working since then as a Registered Nurse (RN) in a variety of hospitals caring for women and their families. During her 12 years as an RN she helped families welcome roughly 200 babies into the world. With that she gained appreciation for the normalcy of birth as a result of her witness of the overuse of unnecessary interventions that can sometimes occur in the hospital.
Heather also pursued midwifery at Southwest Tech through the Direct-Entry Midwifery program, which she graduated from in December of 2014. She fulfilled her hands-on preparation primarily with a very busy midwifery practice in Portage, attending to her midwifery practice in Central Wisconsin and attended over 65 births.
“I really was drawn to midwifery from one of my homebirth experiences. I was really pleased with the care I received and the amount of time that the midwife spent with me, which was way more than I had gotten in the hospital,” Heather said.
At Trillium Midwifery Services, clients are provided with comprehensive care to both the expecting mother and the family during their childbearing years. Every client is invited to meet with Alison and Heather for a free consultation, giving them a chance to explain what a home birth is all about and answer any questions the expecting parents may have.
“A person doesn’t have to be committed to home birth at that point, they can come to us just to explore their options,” Heather said. “A lot of times you will go to a clinic and you don’t really know who to pick and you end up getting stuck with somebody.”
Their comprehensive home birth services include preconception counseling, infertility counseling, comprehensive prenatal care, laboratory services, homebirth/VBAC/waterbirth, postpartum and newborn care, breastfeeding support and counseling, newborn exams, screenings, and wellness care, nutritional counseling, family planning, childbirth education, insurance billing, referrals and consultations, 24 hour availability of your midwives. In addition to home services they also offer the following additional services: childbirth education, breastfeeding consultation, doula services, and placenta encapsulation.
There services do not include circumcision, consultation and/or hospital fees, ultrasounds, supplements, birth kit and waterbirth supplies.
When it comes to the prenatal care of the clients, Alison and Heather alternate visits with the patient, so clients are able to get to know them both very well. Then in the final stages, they come together and perform the birth.
During the prenatal visits, a great deal of time is spent making sure you stay healthy and remain within the safety zone, as state regulatory agencies have developed protocols ensuring that they maintain care with only low-risk pregnancies. They do this by reviewing lab results with the client in detail and explaining the meaning of any findings they may come across.
“We offer the same clinical care that you would get at a typical medical provider’s office, with an added personal touch given to it,” Heather said.
Alison and Heather will also use the prenatal visits as a time of communication for them to discuss with their client about having a proper diet, exercise routine, and any changes and development that the mother and baby are going through. Those visits are also a time for the clients to discuss with them any feelings or concerns they are having.
“Our goal is to get women through a normal and safe pregnancy, progressing to a normal and safe labor process,” Alison said.
Their prenatal appointments usually are every four to five weeks until the 28-week mark. Then they are every two weeks from 28 to 36 weeks, and then weekly until the birth of the baby. The visits generally take place at the Trillium Midwifery home office in rural Wauzeka, and typically last about an hour. However, for the 36-week visit Alison and Heather travel to their client’s home. At that time they will ensure that home preparations are made, finalize the plans for the client’s birth, and conduct a normal prenatal visit.
Besides the expectant mother being able to feel comfort in the fact that she is giving birth in her own home, this is also the least expensive route to travel when having a baby in most cases. Alison and Heather charge $3,200 for their global home birth deposit.
“This is significantly less than what hospital care would cost,” Alison said. “The care that we provide and the amount of time is exponentially higher than what you would get from your five minute ob visit, where you will get checked out, told you’re good and go home.”
This fee includes regularly scheduled prenatal visits, a home visit at 36 weeks, on-call availability of midwives for births after the 36th week of pregnancy, labor, birth, immediate postpartum care for mother and baby, in-home postpartum visits at day one and day three postpartum, birth certificate processing, and all state-mandated newborn screenings.
A retainer deposit of $350 is due by the second visit to secure the client’s place on the birth roster. This is a non-refundable deposit and is deducted from the total global deposit of $3,200. All fees must be paid in full by 36 weeks unless an alternative payment schedule has been arranged.
“Insurances are more and more being willing to cover out of hospital births, but not all of them do,” Alison said. “We have a biller who does the leg work of contacting the insurance companies to see how much they cover or if they cover anything at all.”
For those families that have been on the fence of trying a midwife versus a hospital for the birthing of their baby, feel free to contact Alison and Heather at their home office (608) 379-3099 and set up a free consultation. They are located at 48210 Lewig Lane in rural Wauzeka. For more information their website is available at www.trilliummidwiferyservices.com.