Birth Assistants

Birth Assistants - Midwifery Model of Care

Anna Hepsø, RN, Birth AssistantAnna Hepsø, RN

Anna has been passionate about childbirth since middle school, when her aunt told her stories about her experiences as a doula and L&D nurse.  She became fascinated by the woman’s empowerment, transformation, and innate strength during labor and birth and felt called to support mothers during this life-changing and vulnerable time. She left her hometown of Waverly, Iowa, to pursue her passion for language and travel, moving to Norway where she met her future husband.  She has since earned a B.A. in linguistics from Williams College in Massachusetts, teacher licensure from the University in Trondheim, and a Master of Nursing from the U of M.  While Norwegian is the only language she speaks proficiently, she has studied several other languages, including three years of Arabic.

Anna founded the Twin Cities Doula Project, a local nonprofit organization that provides free doula services to mothers in need.  As both a nurse and a doula, Anna has had the opportunity to attend births in the home, birth center, and hospital setting.  She currently works as an L&D nurse, childbirth educator, and as a certified  lactation counselor.  Music is one of Anna’s main nonprofessional interests; she used to be a piano teacher and has been singing in choirs since childhood.  She and her husband enjoy cooking together, running and world travel. They look forward to regular trips home to Norway, the Boundary Waters, and enjoy long weekends visiting relatives around the country.

Leah Loucks, RN, Birth AssistantLEAH LOUCKS, RN

Leah is originally from Roseville, Minnesota. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science degree in Nursing from St. Catherine University. She has over sixteen years of high risk labor and delivery experience at the University of Minnesota – Fairview Hospital, where she is still on staff. While enjoying her work in a high risk hospital setting she also loves working in a less medical interventional type of care. Leah is excited to be at the Minnesota Birth Center where she can assist families in natural childbirth. She lives in Shoreview with her husband, Jim and three children. In her free time she enjoys exercising and hanging out with her family.

Amanda Peterson, RN, Birth AssistantAmanda peterson, RN

Amanda is originally from North Branch, Minnesota. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing from St. Catherine University. Amanda has always felt passionate about women’s health and knew in high school that she wanted to support women during labor and delivery. She has been a nurse for 4 years and has 3 years of labor & delivery and antepartum experience at the University of Minnesota- Fairview. Amanda absolutely loves the high risk work she does at Fairview, but is excited to work in a low stress environment that faciliates physiological birth at the Minnesota Birth Center. Amanda lives with her two Chihuahuas- Brutus and Gus in Blaine, MN. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with her family, going to movies with friends, trying new food, baking, cooking, and boating in the summer.

Amanda Hedin, RN, Birth Assistant

amanda hedin, rn

Amanda has a long history in healthcare with nearly 15 years experience. Only recently, though, has she transitioned to nursing. Already with a Masters Degree in Business Administration from Hamline University, she has recently added RN to her title (Rasmussen College) and found her passion in caring for patients. When not attending MBC births, Amanda works for Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in the operating room as a circulating nurse. Amanda loves caring for families who have low risk pregnancies and can feel empowered by their birth experiences. Amanda lives in Blaine with her husband Scott and their miracle daughter, Reagan. Her family has two dogs and enjoys spending time outside, cooking, and being active.

Lizi Liberman, RN, Birth AssistantLizi Liberman, RN

Originally from outside of Chicago, Lizi moved to Minnesota to complete her Bachelor’s degree at Winona State University. While in school, she had the opportunity to study abroad in Athens, Greece where she was able to travel, adventure, and immerse herself is various Eastern European cultures. Gyros and Falafels are still some of her favorite comfort foods. After graduation, Lizi worked for two years as a dedicated nurse in the Neonatal ICU, caring for the tiniest of patients and attending high-risk births. While she loved the work she did, she could not deny the pull she was feeling towards helping women achieve a more holistic birthing experience. Since starting at MBC, Lizi firmly believes she has found her niche: providing holistic and family centered care to all women. Unable to completely cut ties with the tiny humans who continue to inspire her, she remains a volunteer NICU photographer for the March of Dimes. Lizi is a St. Paul girl and lives across the river with her partner Nate and their dog (furbaby) Kiya. If she’s not working, you will mostly likely find her camping, hiking, at book club, or with a camera in her hand. Lizi is an avid photographer whose favorite subjects include: families, newborns, births, and nature.

Melanie ueland, RN

Melanie grew up and Minnesota and chose the University of Minnesota for her undergraduate studies in International Relations and German. It was during college that she met her husband, Ali, who is originally from Iran. They moved to Boston while her husband finished his PhD, and it was there that their two children were born. At the time, Melanie had to spend hours on the phone to get midwifery care covered by their insurance, but she knew she wanted low-intervention births, and even chose hypnobirth for baby #2. After staying home with her children for a few years, Melanie trained as a doula and then attended nursing school at St Catherine University. When Melanie is not at MBC, she can be found attending her children’s activities, taking care of her cats and dogs, and working as a certified OB nurse at the University of Minnesota Birthplace. There she is on the “flex team” –  working in labor and delivery, antepartum and postpartum. She is passionate about all aspects of women’s health and strives to provide care that is not only safe, but inclusive and welcoming. She knows how empowering the birth experience can be, and wants her patients to get the birth they desire, whatever that looks like!

Sarah Millam, RN

Sarah is originally from Minneapolis & after traveling the world for several years, she returned to her roots & is proud to call Minneapolis her home once again. It was through her travels, doing volunteer medical work, particularly in Haiti & India, that Sarah developed a passion for women’s health. She was struck by the contrast between the lack of skilled professionals & medical services available to pregnant women in underdeveloped countries compared to the over-abundance and medicalization of birth in the US. She ultimately felt called to serve low-risk mothers seeking undisturbed & low-intervention births. She returned to the US & earned her bachelors degree in nursing in Minneapolis while working as a phlebotomist at a local emergency room & becoming a doula through DONA International. After graduating, she moved to North Dakota where she gained experience, primarily as a postpartum & lactation nurse, with occasional shifts in the NICU, pediatrics, and gynecology. She then returned to Minneapolis in the summer of 2016 to join our team & also works at two nearby hospitals in Labor and Delivery where she gets the opportunity to serve women dealing with perinatal complications. Sarah is a self-described “research nerd” & likes to stay constantly updated with the latest evidence-based research surrounding women & newborn health. She was thrilled to become part of the MBC team, as she finds that our care model most closely aligns with her own values of using evidence-based medicine to promote physiological birth while respecting the autonomy of women and their families. In her free time she enjoys spending time outside with her pitbull-mix, playing with her nephew, listening to podcasts, exploring a plant-based diet, traveling abroad, reading medical journals & taking courses online to further her knowledge of evidence-based birth.

Savanha Winkel, Student Nurse

savanha winkel, RN

Savanha is beyond grateful to be working at Minnesota Birth Center and so humbled to help care for families in some of their most intimate, life changing moments. Originally from Forest Lake, Savanha has a Masters of Science in Nursing from St. Catherine University and a Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota. Savanha joined MBC as a student nurse intern after completing her clinical rotation at MBC in 2016. As nursing school often does, exposure to new areas of healthcare led Savanha to quickly develop a passion for maternity care in an out-of-hospital setting. While her original career goals focused on pediatric nursing, she has discovered that maternity care is truly the best of both worlds. Her scholarly work focused on helping bring awareness and education to healthcare professionals and the broader community on Paternal Postpartum Depression. She hopes to continue her passion for learning and providing family-centered care at MBC by finding new, improved ways to care for and support the partners of our moms. Savanha lives in St. Paul with her fiancé, Jordan Standish, and family of 4-legged friends; Dixie (dog), Noir (cat), Porter (cat), Simcoe (cat), and Mitch (bearded dragon). In her free time, she enjoys spending time in the outdoors, practicing yoga, traveling, and most of all, being with friends and family.

Kate melms, RN

After spending a year in Kenya in 1979, Kate felt for certain she wanted to someday return. However, after serving as a labor coach for a colleague in Wisconsin she became enthralled with the world of labor, delivery, and babies – a fascination that has lasted almost 33 years. Kate began her nursing career in high risk labor and delivery but quickly moved to community hospitals where the care was more personalized. The bulk of her experience was at a community hospital in Milwaukee that eventually became the second Baby Friendly Hospital in Wisconsin in 2005. Kate began to concentrate her educational credits on lactation and skin-to-skin research. and in particular how bodywork post-birth can help an infant improve her suck and overall sense of well-being. Kate became IBCLC-certified in June 2017 and will begin craniosacral therapy work in 2018. Kate says, “In our move to Minnesota the change to working at a birth center was like putting on the ‘glass slipper’. Our family has seen two sons graduate from Macalester so we were very familiar with the Twin Cities. The  healthcare culture here is rich with midwifery care and it is a pleasure to be a part of this community. The Minnesota Birth Center feels like home.”

Madeline Gardner, RN

Madeline was raised in St. Paul. As a teenager, she had the surprising opportunity to attend the home births of two different friends, thus starting her lifelong interest in supporting birthing women and families. She became a doula soon thereafter and worked for a Ramsey County doula program. She took a break from birth work in her twenties when she lived on both coasts and worked in social justice advocacy. Eventually the pull to come back to birth was too strong. Madeline switched careers and attended the University of Minnesota Nursing School.  She worked for one year on a medical/surgical unit and two years in Labor/Birth at the U of MN – Fairview. Madeline is currently in school to become a Nurse-Midwife through Frontier Nursing University. She feels honored every time she gets to be part of a family’s birth and early postpartum. She seeks to discover the needs/wishes of each family and do whatever she can to support them. When not at the MN Birth Center she can be found in her exceptionally large yard which is slowly being turned into an urban farm and orchard in South Minneapolis.  She lives with her husband and their two young children, one of whom was born at MBC.

Rachel Lamb, RN

Rachel grew up in Wisconsin and moved to the Twin Cities for nursing school. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Bethel University over eight years ago. Since then she has gathered a wide variety of nursing experience, ranging from pediatric behavioral health to managing a primary medical clinic in Haiti. She was fortunate to manage Seton Prenatal Clinic in St Paul before its closing, which served a diverse group of pregnant women with high social needs. Through that work she fell in love with working alongside women during pregnancy and promoting healthy babies and families. She entered into the labor world recently by volunteering at an amazing maternity center in Haiti called Heartline Ministries. There she was able to assist with labor and birth as well as other tasks. Rachel is excited to serve the families who come to the MN Birth Center and for the honor of welcoming the new littles into the world.

EliZabeth Summers, RN

Elizabeth obtained her Bachelor Science in Nursing from the University of New Mexico. She also has a Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree from Macalester College. She has worked in a variety of settings as a Registered Nurse including inpatient oncology, renal dialysis, and women’s health. She completed the Minnesota Birth Center Doula Internship program in 2016 and had the opportunity to support women birthing naturally and giving birth by C-section. She is married and has two children. Both of her babies were birthed with the support of midwives in hospital. When she is not assisting with a birth at the MBC, you can find Elizabeth at various networking events in the Twin Cities. She is a proud member of Business Network International and enjoys growing her network marketing and virtual doula business during the week. In her free time, you’ll find Elizabeth practicing yoga at home or at Blooma. She also loves to take long walks with her German Shepherd dog and her Australian Cattle Dog at the Minnehaha Dog Park.