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Did You Know?Kim (Woodard) Osterholzer and Hannah SimondsBY KATHY BANFIELD SHAWDid you know that nearly 85% of the time, a woman is able to give birth spontaneously without requiring medical assistance if she’s properly supported? Thatstatistic was given to me by Certified Professional Midwives (CPM) Kim (Woodard) Osterholzer and Hannah Simonds and is provided by midwives nationally. Kim has assisted in over 560 births and her daughter Hannah has par- ticipated in over 300 births. “We provide prenatal preparation for the birth event so at the event we are as little involved as possible,” Kim says.Kim now serves as a midwife in Col- orado Springs where she moved to be with her husband Steve. Hannah, her daughter, took over many of Kim’s cli- ents in the Battle Creek area and is a product of home birth. Kim recalls that pregnancy, “With my first pregnancy with Hannah I remember I was sitting on the porch swing about half way through the pregnancy, feeling a bit of terror and realizing, ‘Oh my gosh – there’s only one way out of this!’” she laughs. “I wanted to try (homebirth) and since this is a pro- cess that millions of people have done surely I can do it too,” Kim says. “The process of birth when you do it un-med- icated is a powerful experience.” Kim compared it to any physical feat one tries that you think there’s no way you can ac- complish it (like climbing a mountain or completing a marathon). “You keep on working and when you do accomplish ityou realize, ‘Oh my gosh I did it.’” Han- nah (the mother of two home-birthed little girls) explains how the experience is life changing, both the experience of birthing your own children, but also be- ing a midwife and supporter of a moth- er giving birth with the family present, “First and foremost it needs to be safe for Mom, safe for the baby, and safe for the midwife,” Hannah says. “Even if it’s not your baby you’re going to see it and experience the birth. We develop a close relationship during the time of the pregnancy, and when the birth happens, whatever happens at that birth, it will be with me forever,” she said.The process of choosing home birth usually starts with a phone call. Hannah explained that many times families want to know first, will I be available for the birth itself... apparently during Michi- gan winters that is a concern that fami- lies have. Once that concern is answered families want to know what the midwife does in the case of an emergency during the birth. “They want to know what I do, what do I carry with me, and how do I handle emergencies,” Hannah explains.Recently the statistic of high birth mother mortality has been in the main- stream media, which is one reason for this article. What causes the differences in statistics of homebirths versus med- ical-intervention births? Both Kim and Hannah believe it has to do with the prevention care they provide in their prenatal visits as well as the caesarean rates in hospital settings. Nationally the number of caesareans in hospital set- tings is upward to 30% (closer to 18% locally), and with women who choose home births that number is between 3-4%. “One concern raised by Ameri- can modern medicine and the general populous is safety,” Hannah says. “... in fact the statistic for low-risk mothers giving birth at home is the same or bet- ter (than hospitals) for infant mortality rates and far better morbidity (babies’ Moms damaged during the birth pro- cess) rates.” Kim and Hannah state the national rate of satisfied clients of home birth sits at 97%. “We hold our own as safe providers,” Kim states.Hannah says what’s really important for a woman making a decision is un- derstanding she has options. Once the decision is made, no matter the decision Hannah says the woman, “...should have peace in your heart. Most of the time for low-risk women, births go just fine and we don’t do anything but monitor, clean up, and provide assurance that it (the birth) is going fine,” she says.Full disclosure: Kim is my niece and Hannah is my great niece. I couldn’t be prouder of both. BTW Kim is the author of “A Midwife in Amish Country” avail- able in bookstores and Amazon. The picture above includes my great, great nieces Evangeline (on the left) and Elyse in her grandmother’s lap.269-965-2979www.shawcommunication.comT. R. Shaw Jr. Co-Founder / CEO / 269-209-5555 cell / Kathy Shaw Co-Founder / President / 269-209-9719 cell / KSBANFSH@gmail.com8 SCENE 4309 I HEALTH ISSUE

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