[columns][column][/column][column]Adrienne Brown didn’t begin her career with a clear path in mind. She is naturally curious and, upon beginning her formal education, was intrigued by various subjects ranging from Buddhism to Quantum Physics. Once she entered the natural birth scene as an advocate for women’s health in many different capacities, she decided to enroll in a prestigious Midwifery School in El Paso, TX. She became a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) in 2003, and since then she has attended over 1000 deliveries.
Adrienne firmly believes every woman should utilize a midwife provider — whether birthing at home or in the hospital — to experience the safest delivery possible. She saw first-hand the benefits of a truly integrated system of maternity care, where midwives and obstetricians collaborate and not compete.
We want you to get to know Adrienne Brown and why she became a trusted caregiver in many communities. To give you this insight, we asked Adrienne a few questions, and we are sure you’ll want to read her answers.[/column][/columns]
Wasatch Midwifery: When and why did you develop a love for natural child birth?
Adrienne Brown: My interest began with birthing my own children. When I gave birth to my son, I knew I had experienced something profound. It wasn’t just the power of giving life or the miracle of the physiologic process, or the intense and incredibly deep love and connection I experienced when I first met my baby, but also the relationship I made with my midwife. I thought the world of her and realized that the bond that I developed with her was exceptional compared to mainstream healthcare models.
I come from a rural farming background and I quickly learned that birthing didn’t have to entail a lot of ‘fuss.’ Natural childbirth just made sense to me. A little fun fact is that I had a brief career as a dairy farmer, learned how to make cheese, manage herd health, rotational graze, etc. and some of my fondest memories are milking cows at 4:30 a.m. in the morning! Of course, my farming experience has taught me the most valuable lesson when it comes to human childbirth: don’t intervene unless indicated and then be prepared to competently manage, treat, and refer situations that may arise.
Wasatch Midwifery: Why did you start Wasatch Midwifery and Wellness?
Adrienne Brown: Women’s wellness and optimal health is very important to me. So besides creating a beautiful and safe space for birthing families, I am doing more with my training in Botanical Medicine provide herbal health consultation, so I can work with patients in the clinic with a range of health concerns from fertility, menstrual irregularities, to annual check-ups and/or lab work.
Wasatch Midwifery and Wellness was born out of a deliberate awareness for providing the best care by maintaining excellent systems, workflow, and team cohesion, as well as keeping a healthy balance for the staff and myself. It feels great to have a practice in which I can provide a truly individualized model of midwifery care and really ‘walk the walk,’ not just talk the talk, with everything we do. We truly love what we do, and we have a lot of fun doing it!
Wasatch Midwifery: What do you want people to know about natural birth?
Adrienne Brown: I would like them to know that childbirth is a normal, healthy function of the female body! As simple as this statement may seem, we have been led to believe pregnancy and childbirth are medical conditions. I would really like people to know that despite billions of dollars spent and the increased use of machines and surgeries in birthing, health outcomes regarding maternity care in the US are abysmal. I believe this is due to lack of access to quality maternity services and birthing options such as midwifery care. For a healthy person experiencing a normal, healthy pregnancy, the hospital is not necessarily the safest place to have a baby.
Wasatch Midwifery: What do you consider to be the most common taboos or concerns regarding natural birth?
Adrienne Brown: I feel the most common ‘taboo’ surrounding birth is the idea that it is dangerous, risky, and crazy unless it occurs in the confines of a large medical center. I hear so many people declare they want to be in a hospital “just in case”. As a midwife who has delivered hundreds of babies outside of a hospital my entire career, I can say with certainty that indeed there are cases where childbirth absolutely needs to take place in a hospital with all of the available technology and capacity for life saving procedures.
However, as a rule, high tech birthing is not appropriate for everyone. In fact, data suggests that in the case of a low risk labor and delivery, too much technology is a hindrance. We see this situation as the American College of OBGYN (ACOG) is trying to figure out why C-section rates are too high and outcomes for American women and babies are so poor. In contrast, in the UK the National Health System is encouraging low risk women to give birth outside the hospital with local midwife teams, and their results are far superior.
Wasatch Midwifery: Why do you think mothers should choose natural birth?
Adrienne Brown: Mothers should choose natural birth for a multitude of reasons. Although some mothers may not choose to labor without pain medication-or maybe they were planning a natural delivery, but the situation dictated otherwise- we know that when a birthing woman feels informed, supported, taken seriously, and encouraged, she makes excellent choices for herself and her baby and can actualize the best outcome for herself and the baby.
As a midwife, I know women can be completely successful at natural childbirth nearly 100% of the time. As long as they feel empowered and supported in their choices, they will benefit from having access to options for pain relief. Birth works! And ultimately, natural, spontaneous childbirth is the safest route for a mother and her baby.
Wasatch Midwifery: What makes natural birth at Wasatch Midwifery different from any other experience?
Adrienne Brown: Birth with Wasatch Midwifery is a unique option in the Salt Lake City community. Even across other midwifery practices and birthing centers in the area, we offer a style of care that stands out. Our center — described as having ‘a modern design, yet warm and inviting’ — was so much fun to create. I paid a great deal of attention to the design because I know the environment in which a woman gives birth influences her ability to relax and feel comfortable, allowing her to be successful in the process. Patients come to the clinic for their prenatal care and develop a sense of trust with the staff and facility. That helps tremendously when they eventually arrive in labor.
Wasatch Midwifery Center is fully equipped with the tools and materials, medications, and organization to safely manage deliveries. We attend homebirths, too, and are able to bring all supplies, maintaining an equal level of safety.
Wasatch Midwifery: What do you think are the best skills you bring to the table?
Adrienne Brown: I think the best and most important skills I bring to my work as a midwife are the ability to recognize risk factors and to work collaboratively with my patients to help them achieve their best birth experience. I rely on relationship building skills, attentive listening, and a sense of humor! I am blessed that I get to know entire families. In turn, they get to know me in ways that are meaningful. We create further bonds and lasting friendships.
Wasatch Midwifery: What goals would you like to accomplish with the birth center?
Adrienne Brown: A goal I have for Wasatch Midwifery and Wellness is to continue to create a community center for optimal health and positive outcomes for birthing families. I am also working on increasing accessibility to midwifery care. The most common barrier tends to be the cost, and I can proudly say that we are well on the way to accepting insurance as network providers. Whew!!
Wasatch Midwifery: What’s the best compliment you’ve received throughout your midwife experience?
Adrienne Brown: The biggest compliment I received as a midwife is when women tell me that I helped them realize something about themselves that they did not previously know. I recognize the value in what I do. However, it really makes me feel that I have achieved something big when I assisted creating the space and conditions for a woman to experience her strongest sense of self. Ultimately, that has little to do with me at all.
Wasatch Midwifery: Can you share a specific experience at the job that impacted you?
Adrienne Brown: I found myself alone in the bathroom with a woman who was obviously experiencing the ‘transition’ phase in labor where things become pretty intense. She began to fear that she would literally die. It was in that moment —despite already attending a couple hundred deliveries — I realized that childbirth is incredibly varied for all women; it is my job to meet women on their level and remain open to what comes.
The work of labor is overwhelmingly likened to a heroine’s journey: a miracle by all accounts, and something that holds magic. No matter how familiar it may become, it will always remain inherently wild and untamed. This woman went on to have a beautiful delivery — outside in a hot tub on a perfect summer morning at dawn. Shortly after, she herself walked that thin line of trust and surrender in her birth.
Wasatch Midwifery: How do you want your clients to remember you?
Adrienne Brown: I would like to be remembered in my work as a consummate professional, invested in providing the best care for my patients and helping expand access to midwifery care for all. Midwifery as a profession is often fraught with burnout, ‘compassion fatigue,’ and providers stopping the practice altogether. The cause is the intense workload.
I instead maintained my love for my vocation by revising my relationship to the work. These days, I have a greater sense of balance, personally and professionally. I am able to enjoy many hobbies, make time for self-care, my family, and friends. As they say, I can keep my cup full, so I can offer my full attention as a midwife.