ABOUT WILLIAMSBURG HOMEBIRTH
Name of Practice: Williamsburg Homebirth
Date Founded: May 2011 (moved to Virginia)
Midwife Name: Bridget Pelkey. Parents are given a choice on apprentices that they’d like to assist at their births and their bios are available on the Williamburg Homebirth website. My apprentices do basic skills and comfort measures, but are not the ones managing the labor or “catching” the baby.
- Graduate of Midwife to Be (not all states require graduation from a program. I practiced in SC and it was a requirement, one I’m happy to have met!)
- CPM (Certified Professional Midwife) from the North American Registry of Midwives
- LM (Licensed Midwife, Virginia)
- CPR for the Professional Rescuer (Red Cross for infants, children, and adults)
- NRP (Neonatal Resuscitation – specific to newborns)
- CIMI (Certified Infant Massage Instructor)
- CD(CBI) – Certified Doula from Childbirth International
- HBCE – HypnoBirthing Childbirth Educator*
- LC – Lactation Consultant, extra courses taken through Palmetto Health Richland (children’s hospital in SC).
* For births I do not require that clients use HypnoBirthing techniques. I’m also well-versed in Bradley, Lamaze and other methods. I believe the best childbirth method is the one that appeals to you. Birth plans are always honored and respected.
Number of births attended as of July 2012: approx 250
*Note: It is never my goal to be able to brag that I caught thousands of babies. Instead, I prefer to have a smaller practice that offers plenty of one-on-one care as well as decreasing worries that I may miss a birth due to high clientele. This is why I limit my clients to 2-3 per due date cycle (preferably 2) and am proud to say I’ve never missed a birth due to being overbooked.
Number of Williamsburg births attended: Quite a few. Williamsburg (and the surrounding area) is very receptive to home birth and I love being here.
Describe your approach to maternity care and birth:
I want to practice much like the village midwife did in days gone by. I do keep up to date on current research and practice according to responsible guidelines. I was trained by a European midwife as well as amazing other senior midwives that helped guide me into the midwife I am today.
For your maternity care you can expect it to be catered to you. Prenatal visits are generally an hour long and offer plenty of time for discussion and sharing. I want to know how you’re sleeping, if you need help finding a Pediatrician, and if you’re debating cloth diapers compared to disposable. I’m happy to take a look in the nursery and make suggestions if needed. I know many clients here do not have family in the area (due to military and moving) and I’ve been told by many moms that they’ve appreciated that it’s not -just- about clinical skills, but also that personalized care. I care about my clients and it shows in everything that I do. You can also expect a high level of respect given. I’m your guide along the way, not a dictator, and all suggestions are basically that. I encourage parents to make educated decisions regarding their care.
For your birth, you can expect the utmost attention given to your preferences. If Dad wants to “catch”, I’m agreeable to that. If you want a lotus birth, I’m happy to help. If mom wants privacy and for me to be as invisible as possible, I can. Or if mom wants to have assistance with breathing and bearing down slowly, I’m skilled in that as well. Throughout your pregnancy we will talk about how you envision your birth. I don’t give cookie-cutter care. I know that tearing is a concern for many and I have quite a few tricks up my sleeve for tear prevention, I can’t guarantee it, but I can assure you that I’ll do everything possible to prevent it. Warm compresses in ginger water, oil, massage, and various positions for birthing are all part of that. I’ve also attended births with siblings present as well as practically an entire sorority! I have lots and lots of experience with waterbirth too!
What would you like women to know about what they could expect of their birth experience with your practice?
Women are encouraged to eat, drink, and move (or not, as they desire) during their birthing. I do check in with baby regularly and listen with a doppler (or fetoscope if preferred – though later in labor this can be a challenge). My doppler is waterproof, so I can listen to baby even while you’re in the tub. It’s important to me to be responsible and know what baby is doing in response. Other vitals will also be taken, but with the utmost care to not disturb your birthing. Vaginal exams are kept to a minimum and obviously always done with consent. I want you to dream big about your perfect birth and share that story with me so that we can all work together to make it a reality.
What special services or features set your homebirth practice apart?
I believe there is the right midwife for every woman. My care is often described as calming, peaceful, and reassuring. I take time to listen and I’m available by phone, email, or text. A lot of clients have said they appreciate they can jot off a quick note to me and receive a quick reply in return for general questions. I also have evening hours and weekend appointments available to help minimize missed work for parents so they’ll have that time for AFTER baby is born. I never charge for a consultation and you’ll find that meeting with me is a casual, no-pressure event.
I am experienced with cloth and disposable diapers, baby wearing (didymos, moby, maya wrap, etc), AP practices as well as gentle routine scheduling for baby sleep, breastfeeding with challenges, self-weaning, placenta encapsulation, optimal fetal positioning, nutrition guidance, first time moms, close-spaced pregnancies, older moms (and grand multiparas).
When moms call me, they reach me. All clients have my home number as well as my cell phone. I welcome text messages if moms prefer that for quick questions (What time is our appointment on Thursday?) as well as calling for concerns that are on their mind. I believe that a lot of emotional nesting happens in pregnancy and offer full support for that process. I tell all of my clients that I don’t want them to stress over questions, I’d prefer they email or call instead. You’re hiring me to be your midwife during this process, it’s never “bothering” me to call to ask about round ligament pain or tips on heartburn.
Who attends a birth?
Bridget and an assistant/apprentice. You will meet the assistant during your pregnancy and get full say over whether you’re comfortable with her. If you have someone you desire at your birth to act as an assistant, I’m happy to meet with them and discuss those options. Again, this is your birth and it’s all about what makes you feel comfortable. I always have one person with me for a birth and how involved they are is up to you. Often times, I’ll have a doula that is volunteering care for a home birth and may be available to you. Please let me know if you’re interested in this option.
How late in a pregnancy may a woman transfer to your care?
Late transfers are commonplace, please don’t feel as if you’re a rarity! Quite a few moms take the hospital tour and then realize it isn’t for them. Or they find out late in pregnancy that their provider isn’t in agreement with their birth plan. Please call me and we’ll discuss your needs.
What is your recommended prenatal visit schedule?
- Every 4 weeks til 28 weeks, every 2 weeks til 36, and then weekly.
- We may do more visits if the need arises and there is no extra fee for them.
Are at-home prenatal and postpartum visits available?
Yes! Postpartum visits especially are nice to do in-home without worries about taking baby (and family!) out. I do a postpartum visit at 24-36 hours, 5 days, 4 weeks (optional), and then at 6 weeks. A 2 week visit also sometimes desired by parents and we can do that as well. My apprentice has over a decade experience as a LLL leader and so her expertise is there for lactation questions and consults. Sometimes just having someone sit with you one-on-one makes all of the difference with nursing troubles.
Are office prenatal and postpartum visits available?
Yes. My office is located in Williamsburg and a map is available on the website. Your children are welcome to attend with you if desired.
Length of a typical prenatal visit?
Usually around an hour, it varies depending upon need. If you are in a rush we can make it shorter and follow-up via phone later. The 36 week visit tends to be longer because we spend time talking about how to set up your home for the birth, going over supplies, and it’s a great cobweb-clearing session. I also encourage you to invite anyone that may be at the birth to come to that visit in particular. (They’re welcome at others as well.)
Discount for office visits?
Early pay, financial hardship, and military discounts are available.
Cost of services (and what is included in the cost)?
Self-Pay “midwifery package” fee: $2500*, includes prenatal care, labor/birth attendance, postpartum mother & baby care [* This fee is subject to change without notice.]
Types of payment accepted?
Medicaid, Insurance, Cash, checks, money orders, PayPal, and credit cards. Bartering is another option and I’m happy to discuss it. I like being the type of midwife that discounts in exchange for chicken tractors or oil changes. Please don’t be afraid to ask. I don’t want money to be factor that stops someone from having a homebirth.
Yes. We can discuss if your plan covers CPMs.
Installment plan offered?
Yes. This is clearly outlined in the financial contract provided during the consultation.
Additional travel fee charged for Williamsburg births?
No. Additional travel fees are never charged for births.
What is one Williamsburg-area resource you wish every local mom and mom-to-be knew about?
- This list is a great place to start. Thank you so much for putting it together.
What is one thing you wish every woman could enter her birth experience knowing?
- Knowing it’s her birth, she owns it. It’s not about someone “letting you” do something, it’s all about making the best choice for you and your child and making it a reality.
What is one birth myth you’d like to dispel?
- That midwifery care is somehow less than OB care. If you are a high-risk client you should be seeing a high-risk specialist/surgeon. If you are a low-risk mom then it makes sense to see a low-risk specialist. I highly encourage moms to read more about the UK and other nations that utilize midwives for better birth outcomes.
What are three pregnancy, birth, or mothering books you wish every woman would read?
- Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth by Ina May Gaskin
- Gentle Birth, Gentle Mothering by Dr. Sarah Buckley
- The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth by Henci Goer
What are three birth blogs or websites you wish every woman knew about?
- PubMed.gov – full of all kinds of evidence-based information.
- YouTube.com – type in “homebirth or waterbirth” and “dr jack newman” for amazing breastfeeding tips.
- DrBrewerPregnancyDiet.com – diet is the #1 thing in your control that you can do to help for a better pregnancy and labor.
I also add internet resources to my website as I find more to recommend.
What is one of your favorite birth quotes?
For labor? “You can do anything for one minute.” “Don’t look ahead, don’t look behind, be where you are.”- often said by midwives. Too often labor is thought of as a long process and not recognized as a series of small events. Contractions are handled one at a time.
“I -am- doing this!” – said by a mom during the height of labor.
Home/Office: (804) 824-8849
Cell Phone: (804) 824-8849 (All clients are given a special ringtone. If you call the home/office phone and there’s no answer, please call my cell phone.)
Location: Office – Williamsburg. Home – Gloucester. (Having an office in Williamsburg gives us a nice spot to be if it’s not quite time to be with mom, yet we’re needed nearby for “just in case”).
Address: See Website for Address/Map.
- Click on the “blog” link on WilliamsburgHomebirth.com
Facebook (business page):
Backup/Consulting physician(s) and their location: n/a
Testimonials available and always being added to. I apprenticed for years through homebirth midwives and Covenant Birth Center in Columbia, SC. Many of my “reviews” can be found through CBC.