Listen in as Emily Thompson and I chat about
Organic Homebirth and The Peak Midwife Collective.
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September Burton: I’m here today with Emily Thompson, who is the owner of organic homebirth. She is a certified professional certified CPM. And she is the co owner of peak midwife collective, which I really want to talk about that. But first off, will you just introduce yourself a little bit, tell us, how you got into midwifery and what your passion is for helping moms.
Emily Thompson: [00:00:36] I got into midwifery after. the really after the birth of my second child, my mom had both her two youngest at home and I was there for the birth of my youngest brother. And it was a very transformative experience for me. Yeah. And that I kind of hung on to that. Then when I had my first baby, I was planning a home birth, but then she was breech and I ended up having a C section in the hospital, which wasn’t how we expected it to go. With my second, I had, was planning a VBAC at home with a different midwife cause my first midwife had retired. and I remember in labor and I said to Laurie, my midwife, I was like, this is not as easy as having a C-section and she has. She just, encouraged me. She didn’t really address that.
[00:01:19] She just kept telling me I was doing a really good job. And then afterwards, and I got up and I took a shower and it wasn’t recovering from major abdominal surgery. I was like, Oh, this is why we’ve been doing it this way. This is easier, easier. Yes. And that was, it was then that I can, I kind of knew that I want to help women have this.
[00:01:40] And so when my daughter was about six months old, I called that midwife and asked her, if she would be willing to let me apprentice with her and she actually needed an, apprentice. So it worked out the rest is kind of history. So I have been in the midwifery world for 12 and a half years, and I got licensed in 2014.
[00:02:01] So I’ve been on my own for about five years. and I love midwifery, I think. That it is so empowering to women to be able to be fully a part of their care, to be in charge of their bodies. And there is nothing like handing a baby to a mom and it doesn’t no matter if it’s her first baby or if it’s her 12th baby. Like in that moment she has come through and become a mother again. And I think that’s my favorite thing is just to see that, that transformation that happens over and over, like how many people get to do that. It’s a miracle every day.
September Burton: [00:02:40] It’s beautiful. I love that. So you have three kids of your own. Tell us a little bit about your kids.
Emily Thompson: [00:02:45] Samantha is my oldest. She is 16. She is finishing up her sophomore year. And the thing I love most about her is that she is 100% bound and determined to be her own person. And so that yes, and I admire that in her. So much. And of course it has, it’s like moments of angsty teenagerness, but she is a beautiful soul.
[00:03:07] And I just a privileged to be her mama. And my 13 year old Sabrina is my mini me. Like we clash hard because she really has, it’s the same personality that I do. But for the most we get along really well and she’s like me, she’s like nurturing and, and. Bakes every week for her friends and those kinds of things.
[00:03:28] So I see a lot of myself in her and then my youngest is Spencer. He’s 11, almost 11. And he’s like, he’s a great guy. Like he’s super friendly. He’s kind. And I just thought being mom and to my, yes. That’s awesome. Thank you
September Burton: [00:03:44] for sharing that. So as a midwife, what type of care do you provide outside of pregnancy?
Emily Thompson: [00:03:50] so for the most part in Colorado, CPMs do just the pregnancy childbearing year. we can do just normal, like, well, women annual check type things. we always have, I always tell people with the caveat that if there’s anything that I find, then you’re going to have to go to another provider because, you know, we don’t do more than normal midwives are the experts in normal.
[00:04:15]certainly, Certified nurse midwives are able to do a little bit more than we are in the sense of that they have prescriptive authority. And so they have a little bit bigger of a scope outside of care. but we try to do, I know Jennifer, my partner does a, fertility class, like how to chart, how to know, when you’re fertile, when you’re not.
[00:04:35] So we, we do a lot of that kind of thing. but for the most part, our emphasis is on. The childbearing year, of course, we’re going to take care of mom and baby for those first six weeks or so, six weeks after birth.
September Burton: [00:04:49] Can you explain a little bit about the difference between a CPM and a CNM?
Emily Thompson: [00:04:56] a certified professional midwife is the CPMs, a national credential that, is administered by norm, which is the North American registry of midwives, it’s basically a non nurse midwife credential. In the terms of our scope of practice for the childbearing year, it’s the same. and the CPM is recognized in almost all of the States. Now I think there might be five or six that it’s still not recognized. The certified nurse midwife is where you become an RN/BSN, and then you go on to become and do your masters in, in midwifery.
September Burton: [00:05:35] So, so an RN is a registered nurse
Emily Thompson: [00:05:38] And it’s a bachelor’s of science in nursing. And so you have to get the bachelor’s before you can get the masters. So most nurses working in hospitals today are bachelor’s of science. Although an RN is associate. So, yeah, we have, we definitely have different training.
[00:05:55] I would like to, I like to say that a nurse midwife is a nurse that has then has advanced training in midwifery and most of the time that is done in a hospital setting. So it’s more. there’s a little bit, it’s a little bit more of the medical model, but the heart of all midwives is for moms and babies.
[00:06:14] So it’s not about the heart. It’s just about the training. Whereas certified professional midwives. Most of us have been trained in either a birth center, but most of us have been trained at home. And so we really have we’re the experts in home birth.
September Burton: [00:06:29] And a CPM only does homebirth?
Emily Thompson: [00:06:32] CPM in Colorado only does homebirth. Laws vary from state to state. There are lots of States where CPMs can do birth center birth. They can run their own birth centers. That is not the case in Colorado.
September Burton: [00:06:43] What are some of the benefits of a home birth? Why would a woman even want to choose that?
Emily Thompson: [00:06:55] Honestly, and truly the biggest advantage of having your baby at home is afterwards. After the baby has come. It’s always going to be hard to give birth no matter where, what your setting is. but you do tend to feel a little more comfortable. You don’t have to worry about going anywhere.
[00:07:13] You don’t have to worry about am I going to the hospital too early? There are midwives will come to you and the vast majority of the time they time it. Right. And every once in a while I’ll get to a birth and I’ll be like, you know, I think you’re doing great. I’m going to go get lunch. I’ll be back.
[00:07:26] That’s always, you know, it works out fine, but, I think it’s the action. The words, because you’ve had your baby and the focus is still on you and your comfort and yeah. Of course, we’re looking for safety and making sure that mom and baby are safe, but we are also just like, yeah, lay in your bed and bond with your baby while we clean up the mess and we make food for you and we start your laundry and you know, there’s just, it’s all about you and the baby and just facilitating those first moments that are so important.
September Burton: [00:07:58] Yeah. I, I, my favorite part of home birth was always just laying in my bed. Yeah, just really just you lay down in your bed and
[00:08:05] Emily Thompson: [00:08:05] down in your bed and
[00:08:05] September Burton: [00:08:05] your little baby.
[00:08:07] Emily Thompson: [00:08:07] Exactly. Exactly. There’s no bed transitions. You don’t have to change rooms. You know, we, we are usually there between two and three hours after the birth.
[00:08:16] And of course we remain completely on call. I always tell people if there is anything that you’re concerned about, you call me and I will come right back. But you know, you get to go to sleep. Nobody’s going to come in and rub your belly every half an hour, and then wake up your baby an hour later to do vitals on the baby.
[00:08:32] We just assume that this healthy mom and this healthy baby are going to be fine and healthy and they are. And so you do you get that nap and your family’s there and they’re just. Around you. So I think that’s
September Burton: [00:08:47] the best part. Yeah. That’s wonderful. Tell me a little bit about your education, because we talked a little bit about, before we started recording.
[00:08:54]but you are a very educated person. And so, one of the misconceptions I think is that there is that a lot of midwives are not educated, should like to debunk that myth. Sure.
Emily Thompson: [00:09:04] so I. I was homeschooled. I started taking chemistry classes in my junior year of high school at UCCS. so I took my first two years of chemistry cause I’m a little bit of a nerd.
[00:09:16]and then I went to Hillsdale college and I got my bachelor’s of science in chemistry there, and had every intention of going onto graduate school. and then I came home and met my. A future husband. So that kind of derailed that plan. But I do have a very strong background in science. I know how to read a research paper and I know how to interpret the results.
[00:09:36] And so that was very helpful then when I decided I wanted to start midwifery is that I knew how to read, not only a textbook, but also the studies and how to deduce those. I took certainly I took neonatal resuscitation, those kinds of specialized classes, medications for pregnancy, the, that I needed to take classes on in order to learn.
[00:10:02] Specifically for midwifery. so I took all of those kinds of classes and then did a lot of self study. and then apprenticed with an experienced midwife and with the whole apprenticeship model is well done and that you start out. Mostly observing. And then you continue on becoming more of a helper.
[00:10:23] Then you start making decisions together. Then you start making the decisions with your preceptor and your teacher in the background going, yep. She knows what she’s doing. So it’s this progression okay. Of, responsibility. So that, by the time I, by the time I was on my own. I had already had multiple clients who were quote unquote mine in the sense of I was directing all of their care.
[00:10:48] But with my experience teacher, Making sure that I was doing everything right, right. So it wasn’t like, okay, you’ve done all that. And now, now watch yourself out. It was okay. Nice little progression. And so it was easy then to go, okay. Okay. Now, yes. I know what I’m doing and I can do what I need to do.
[00:11:08] So this show is for the fertility conference. So we work with couples who are struggling to get pregnant. So is there anything that a midwife can do if, a couple is not getting pregnant on their own, what do you guys tell
Emily Thompson: [00:11:20] couples? we usually start with the basics. Like, are you charting? Do you know when you’re ovulating, do you know if you’re ovulating?
[00:11:28] So we, we go through, we always say, midwives are the. experts in normal. So we, we will certainly talk with couples about, how much about your fertility. Do you know, lots of couples don’t know a lot about it, their own fertility, and then we will kind of go, okay, so here are some, herbs, essential oils, things that you can do to help with your fertility.
[00:11:50] I would say. We know a lot more about women than men. we’re, you know, if it’s like, we know, you know, if it’s a guy problem, you’re not going to be able to do much about that, but in the sense of, for women, we try to help them get a good sense of their own bodies. and, Then we’ll look for more resources for them.
[00:12:06] If it seems like, okay, this thing I’ve been doing these things, they’re not working, then we’re going to try to find as many natural resources as possible, acupuncture and yoga and those kinds of things. We would much rather try before. Sending you to a fertility doctor.
September Burton: [00:12:21] you know, I, yesterday I read an article, I think it was on time.com.
[00:12:25]and I posted it on Facebook and the, the title of it was the silent shame of male infertility. And it was, a man talking about how he had taken steroids when he was younger. And then when he went to impregnant his wife, it didn’t happen and got his sperm checked and there was absolutely zero sperm.
[00:12:41] And so it, to me, it’s a very interesting thing in our culture where men are taught to suppress emotions and things like that. That when they’re the ones and it’s 50% of the time. It’s 50%. Yeah. 50% of the time it’s male factor infertility and 50% it’s female factor fertility. and so it’s very, very common.
[00:13:00] And, I don’t think that we’re taking care of the guys enough now. I’m not saying anything about the midwives because you guys are focused on moms. You know, we get that. But, I just wanted to point out that I don’t think that we’re taking care of the guys. I really don’t. And so one of the things that we’re doing at the conferences, we’re actually having a man cave.
[00:13:15] And so we’ve got a specific room where a couple of the talks are going to be specifically for the men and how to process the emotions of infertility and then how to actually improve sperm, quality, and quantity and things like that. so, but I just wanted to mention that because I think that we just don’t talk about it.
[00:13:33] Emily Thompson: [00:13:33] there’s such a focus on women in the sense of who has birth control, all women do. I mean, for the most part. Our society and culture in general has always focused on women. And it’s your job. You’re the fertility part is your job. Whether you want to be pregnant or you don’t. So it makes sense that the guys are just assuming that they’re fine.
[00:13:53] Right. And I didn’t, I did not know that statistic. I didn’t know that 50%.
September Burton: [00:13:57] Yeah. It’s 50%. It’s high. That is very high. Yeah. And, men today have about half this firm count that men in the 1950s did and that’s average, that’s the norm. Anyway. So, and that’s, you know, lifestyle factors, diet factors, all of those kinds of things.
[00:14:11] So it’s all affecting us. so let’s talk a bit, a little bit about you were saying, Tracking. And do you know if you’re fertile? Do you know if you’re ovulating, things like that? What are some signs of ovulation? What should she be looking for to know whether or not she
Emily Thompson: [00:14:23] ovulates? okay. So the number one thing is, well, in my book, the easiest thing, I shouldn’t say number one, but the easiest thing in my book is.
[00:14:33] So when you get this, of course, you know, it changes and you should get goopier and you should get egg white. And you also, you should feel just more sexy, like yes. More desire. I mean, definitely that is a definite part of it is like, Oh yes I am. yeah, that’s, that’s a being part of it. Usually some women can feel themselves ovulate.
[00:14:56] Yeah. I can’t every once in a while, that’s not a sign or not, but it is something to kind of notice. and then of course, temperature, you know, the basal body temperature will slowly rise and if you take your temperature every morning before you get out of bed, you can track that. that can be a little bit.
[00:15:13] More irritating to you until you get into the habit of it, but it is, those two were the big things.
September Burton: [00:15:19] It’s important to mention that you need a basil thermometer. Not just,
Emily Thompson: [00:15:23] yes. I think this was the monitor. Cause it has, you can track those tenths of a degree because it’s not a big rise in temperature, but yeah.
[00:15:30] Yeah. Those were things that I start with. Okay. Track your track, your cycle. There’s a million apps now. Yes.
[00:15:40] It’s so easy. You don’t have to have a piece of paper or anything. You can put it in your phone.
September Burton: [00:15:45] Yeah. You know, it’s interesting. You were talking about how you should feel sexy when you’re ovulating. The beauty company is actually know this. And the beauty companies profit off of this, they sell more makeup because they’ve studied how much time a woman spends in front of a mirror.
[00:15:58] And it, when she’s ovulating, she spends more time getting ready. She spends more time on her makeup and things like that. Fascinating. And you were saying you were completely oblivious. Right. Don’t
Emily Thompson: [00:16:09] know why, why do I feel this way? Right.
September Burton: [00:16:21] So, I think that’s fascinating that the beauty companies know they’re well aware that we are different. And one of the things that I like to talk to women about is that you actually have four different weeks of your cycle and you feel different. During those four different weeks, you know, when you’re ovulating, you feel sexy, you feel social, you feel like you want to be a social butterfly.
[00:16:41] You want to go out and do those. You feel a little bit more like an extrovert. And then, you start to be a little bit more nesting and then you kind of close yourself off a little bit when you’re actually on your period, that’s when you kind of go inside. And so it’s sort of like a seasonal thing, you know, there’s summer, spring, winter.
Emily Thompson: [00:17:00] Oh, that’s right. Yeah. That’s a great way to think of it. It’s
September Burton: [00:17:02] fascinating. And it’s every week, you know, you changed just a little bit, you’re just
Emily Thompson: [00:17:05] a little bit different.
September Burton: [00:17:06] it’s totally normal. It is. The nice thing is, is that once you understand that it actually makes it easier because you understand that you are a flowing being and that, if you go with the flow and you understand where you are in your cycle, it’s a little bit easier to get through life.
Emily Thompson: [00:17:21] I agree.
[00:17:22] Completely. Yeah.
September Burton: [00:17:23] Yes. So you talked about herbs and essential oils. So do you mind sharing what some of those
Emily Thompson: [00:17:28] are? Our kind of number one go to is Vitex or chasteberry? it’s been known for long, long time as the womans herb and there are. I’ll be honest. I’m not a hundred percent sure what the blends are, but I’ve had several moms who have used it either doTerra or, young living.
[00:17:46] They both have a, hormonal regulating blend of essential oils. And I’ve had moms who use both and I’ve had, I had one mom who had really like. Her parents were all over the map. And this was, this was before she came to me, she came to me pregnant, but she said she used this particular blend. And it was an estrogen balancing blend of essential.
[00:18:09] Yeah. And it got her into having her cycles every six weeks, which was like a miracle for her. That’s still a really long cycle, but she had a six week cycle and she can track it. And then they were able to get pregnant and she completely credited. That essential oil blend. so I was like, great. I mean, she recommends it all the time and I’ve, it’s something that I will say it’s worth a try.
[00:18:31] It is worth a try. I think that. awareness is huge because lots and lots of women aren’t super aware of their cycles or, I’m trying to get even my own girls right now. I’m like, you need to just write it, even if you don’t what happened at okay. Fine. But every, you know what, the first stage of your cycle every month, it’s just handy information to have.
[00:18:52] It’s really good to know. Am I regular or not? You know, having that awareness and then, once the awareness is there, we need to kick it up, trying these things first, and then if that’s not helping, then I’m usually like, okay, here’s, acupuncture as a, as a possibility exercise.
[00:19:08] What, what’s your diet like? that’s huge. Of course, I think, you know why we’re about that, but in the sense of, you know, you need to be. Nourishing your body, you are not going to get pregnant. If you are severely underweight, for instance, you just won’t. or if you have exercise induced amenorrhea, then you’re not going to get pregnant because your body doesn’t think that it can sustain the pregnancy.
[00:19:28]So we need a little bit of fat on us to get pregnant.
September Burton: [00:19:33] One of the things that I tell people is, magnesium, for instances of, it’s very common in our society for people to be deficient in magnesium and not have quite enough.
[00:19:41] And it’s like, if you don’t have enough for your body, How are you going to have enough to give to another human body to create it? Right. So we really need to focus on, I’m obviously a huge advocate for nutrition, and I’m really focusing on that. But, so yeah, well, that’s great. Let’s talk a little bit about the peak midwife collective and what that’s all about.
[00:19:59] Cause that’s a really, really cool thing. I think.
Emily Thompson: [00:20:02] Yeah, we are pretty excited about it. We came up. So, so there are four of us who work in our office. Jennifer and I work at organic home birth and Desere and Tiffany work at prep for birth, and we share an office space. It’s great. We’re all really good friends.
[00:20:15] And we kind of came up with the idea for the peak midwife collective because. There is definitely a need for midwifery care, but there’s also a disconnect with the price. I mean, not everybody can actually afford a, quote unquote, private midwife where, you know, most of us charge somewhere between $3000-$3500.
[00:20:37] It is a complete package and it’s cheaper than a hospital birth, but. most people don’t get their hospital birth paid for by insurance. So, and most of the time, time insurance does not reimburse us or reimburses us somewhat poorly. So a lot of times, people are like, can you bill my insurance?
[00:20:54] And I’m like, sure, but your deductible is more than my cost. And so it’s going to just go to your deductible so they end up paying it to me anyway. so we, yeah, we’re trying to come up with a way to say, can we make homebirth midwifery care services available for a lower price? So we basically poolled our.
[00:21:13]resources poolled ourselves as it were. And we have come up with the idea of having a group practice, where we see each, we rotate call. So everybody has a call week and, we keep them staggered so that you’re going to see. Every midwife in prenatally, at least two or three times. Most, if you come to this at the beginning of pregnancy, you’ll see us all multiple times.
[00:21:36]but that way, and then we take, we take turns being on call. So when you go into labor, whoever’s on call plus one other midwife will come to your birth.
September Burton: [00:21:44] So why do you guys do two midwives?
Emily Thompson: [00:21:46] Oh, it’s safety. Okay. For sure. You always want to have, I mean, if somebody throws a baby at you, as you walk in the door before your partner has gotten there, you do what you do, but we always plan for two people there.
[00:22:00]we, what, if the mom is bleeding and the baby’s not breathing, you really need to have to train people there. and so yeah, we always have to move so numbers. Okay. So, yeah, so that’s, I mean, basically what we’ve been able to do then is that instead of paying us a package price, we structure it as a monthly fee.
[00:22:18] That fee varies depending on when you come into care. but you’re going to get the same care. you’re just going to see it have a bunch of them midwives and instead of one, so. But we all talk, we’re all the same. We’re all the same in terms of like how we do our care. We have different personalities.
September Burton: [00:22:33] Yeah. So, yeah. Which makes it more interesting. Right?
Emily Thompson: [00:22:37] Exactly.
September Burton: [00:22:37] So I’m on your website right now and I’m looking at this and it says, that, do you guys provide a doula? Is that part of this service or
Emily Thompson: [00:22:44] we have, we have, partnered with doulas around town, who. Are willing to provide their services for a lower fee than they typically would.
[00:22:54] A doula is typically six to $700 in Colorado Springs. I think some of them were even more. And so they all agreed that we would partner with them to, they would provide their services for a lower fee. and it’s up to each individual client at the Peak Midwife Collective to meet with and hire that doula just like they would with any other client or any other doula, but they will have the advantage of having that for.
[00:23:20] A significantly lower cost. Okay.
September Burton: [00:23:22] And let’s talk just for a second about doulas. I have to say for my personal experiences, doulas are angels. I mean, midwives, you guys are phenomenal. I love you too, but there’s something about having a doula at your birth that just changes everything.
Emily Thompson: [00:23:36] Oh, agreed.
[00:23:37] Yes. Yes. I mean, so I always say that our roles overlap some. Right because a midwife is definitely, especially at a home birth is going to be there, who like we’re going to offer you comfort measures and press on your back. And. mop your brow. We will do those things, but if it comes down to, we need to listen to the baby or push on your back.
[00:23:57] We’re going to choose, listen to the baby every time, because our priority is your safety and not necessarily your comfort, your doula. Is going to be there and her priority is your comfort and that you understand that everything that’s going on. And, so we do, we overlap in that sense of it. I’m never going to do something to a mom that she doesn’t want me to do in her labor or any, at any point in her care.
[00:24:23] But at the same time, she’s hired me to give her Pitocin in her leg if she’s hemorrhaging. You know, that’s, that’s why I’m here. There is to make sure that the safety aspect is covered. And again, hopefully by that time we have in the report, or if I say you need Pitocin because you’re bleeding too much, you’re going to be like, okay, we’re not going to have that long drawn out conversation of all the benefits of, you know, Petocin is an anti hemorrhagic.
[00:24:49]but yeah, so doula is going to be able to 100% focus on you and. what’s going on with you emotionally. Whereas the midwife is very interested in how you’re doing emotionally and physically, but it’s, we might be like, well, yeah, we know you don’t really like this position, but it’s really, what’s going to help the baby, you know?
[00:25:10] And so then the doula will come alongside and help you persevere through that position. Yeah. it, with that encouragement of you can do this and this is what’s best. Yeah.
September Burton: [00:25:20] I recommend everybody have a doula. People looked at me for my homebirths and they said, why are you hiring a doula?
[00:25:25] And I said, because you just, you need a doula
Emily Thompson: [00:25:28] I need to love it. When there are doulas, we do, we love it. We always feel like, wow, like. You have nothing to do now? sure does.
September Burton: [00:25:37] Yeah. That’s awesome. Well, I really appreciate this interview. This was a lot of fun to have this conversation. Do you want to tell everybody how to get ahold of you?
[00:25:44]talk a little bit about organic birth.
Emily Thompson: [00:25:47] yeah, I mean, probably the easiest way is our website is organichomebirth.com and we have, we try to be like, Put everything out there, there, and then the peak midwife collective is peakmidwives.com. we are happy to schedule interviews, we always say, if you’re thinking about it by all means schedule some interviews, there’s no obligation.
[00:26:07] Nobody is ever going to try and pressure you into doing a home birth. We’ve all learned that, it’s not worth it, honestly, if you just have questions and want to kind of explore it as an option, We’ll be happy to spend an hour with you and sit down and answer all of your questions and then send you out the door and say, whatever you decide is,
September Burton: [00:26:26] okay.
[00:26:27] So I love that because I think it’s so important that mom feels comfortable with whatever decision she is making. Absolutely whatever kind of care is best for her is absolutely what’s best
Emily Thompson: [00:26:37] what’s best. Oh yes. 100%. Yes. I’m never going to try and tell somebody who was more comfortable in the hospital.
[00:26:42] Well, you should really have a hope. No,
September Burton: [00:26:44] no. Cause she should
Emily Thompson: [00:26:45] have, she, should you need to feel safe in your birth and my humanity? Yes. So if that’s in the hospital. Great. If that’s at home, that’s also fantastic. That’s the birth center also. Wonderful. Yeah. Just wherever you feel supported as the most important thing.
September Burton: [00:26:59] Awesome. Well, thank you again.
Emily Thompson: [00:27:01] Thank you. It was really fun. Thank you for listening, please visit www dot Colorado Springs, fertility conference.com to let us know what you would like to learn about next and to register for the conference.