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Open Door Midwifery

Meet the Midwife ~ Denise Doerr, CNM

My first two children were born in a hospital with an obstetrician in attendance, in 1975, and 1979. My third child was born at home with a midwife in 1983. That experience changed my life! I had assumed that having an obstetrician at my births meant that I was receiving the best care possible. No one told me the doctor would only be there briefly to cut an episiotomy, catch the baby, receive gratitude for this, and leave! When I had my third baby with a midwife, I was amazed at how comforted I was to have the constant presence of a care provider I had gotten to know well during my pregnancy. The security and privacy of being in my own home, with my family and midwife, allowed me to experience birth in an entirely new way. I immediately fell in love, not only with my baby, but also with midwifery and home birth, and I was inspired to become a midwife myself. I had earned a bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1973 and was a teacher before this transforming third birth in 1983. I began self-study of midwifery, became a childbirth educator with Informed Birth and Parenting, Inc. and joined a midwifery study group. In 1985 I began to train in earnest as an apprentice midwife, working through the process of becoming a licensed direct entry midwife in New Mexico. I passed the board exams and became licensed in 1987. I have attended home births as primary midwife since 1987, in various locations. In 1993 I decided to pursue further midwifery education to become a Certified Nurse-Midwife. I graduated from Regents College in New York with a degree in Nursing in 1995 and became a Registered Nurse. I graduated from Philadelphia University’s Institute of Midwifery and passed the board exam to become a Certified Nurse-Midwife in 2001. In December of 2002, I received a Master’s of Midwifery from Philadelphia University, having done my Master’s research on the safety of home birth. I am nationally certified through the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM), I am an Advanced Practice Nurse Prescriber (APNP), and I am licensed in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa. I hold current certificates in CPR and Neonatal Resucitation. My recent education has greatly improved my knowledge base and expanded the options I can offer my clients.

Experience Matters

As of this writing I have attended over 800 births as a primary midwife. By far the best midwifery education I have received has been these births. No amount of schooling can teach the most important lessons a midwife needs to know. Birth itself teaches those lessons. The most important lesson I have learned about birth is that if women are supported to find their own way through the birth process, if they are treated with respect, if they feel safe and are not disturbed with interventions, birth works just fine. And why not! If it didn’t our species would have died out long ago. A strong belief in the strength and safety of natural birth is the cornerstone of my midwifery care.