10 Reasons Minnesota Birth Center is Thankful

At Minnesota Birth Center we have the great fortune of sharing significant moments with families- for example, the first audible thump-thump of a baby’s heart beat or that moment an exhausted and overjoyed Momma sees her sweet baby’s face for the first time. This Thanksgiving, we are taking time to reflect on experiences like these and to send thanks and gratitude to the wonderful families that have shared these moments with our team.

Here are 10 reasons Minnesota Birth Center Staff is THANKFUL this Thanksgiving:

1) To be invited to such an important part of a family’s life

2) To be a part of the fantastic Minneapolis birth community

3) I am thankful for MBC’s hot water- it fills our coffee mug when we need a pick-me-up, our tea mugs when we need a moment to relax and our birth tubs when a laboring Momma needs a space to find comfort and birth her baby.

4) After 18 years of assisting women in the hospital labor and delivery unit of a high risk, highly medicalized institution, it is a joy to be a part of this center.

5) To witness women as they are left with the all-powerful voice of their souls; the strength that emerges is incredible.

6) Doulas

7) To be part of such an AMAZING Birth Center

8) To work with such a passionate and committed team.

9) Fresh Baked Bread! It fills the Birth Center with such a comforting aroma and provides tired families with the nourishment they need post-delivery.

10) We thank you all,  pregnant and laboring women, for allowing us to take part in your journey to motherhood.

Wishing all friends and families of Minnesota Birth Center a safe and gracious Thanksgiving.

Q&A With Martha

Martha2It has been an eventful couple years for Martha; moving to Minneapolis to start her career as a Midwife and getting married to Joe. Once you read her interview, you will learn that Martha doesn’t shy away from adventure or pursuing her goals- we sure are happy that Minnesota Birth Center was one of them!

What professional experience did you have prior to working at the Minnesota Birth Center?
My nursing career began as a labor and delivery nurse at a women’s hospital in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  Then I had the opportunity to work with a doctor in northern Morocco providing care to women through rural health clinics.  When I returned to America, I worked in a women’s health/family planning clinic at a health department in Denver, Colorado.  While I was doing graduate work in nurse-midwifery, I worked in a family practice clinic to learn more about health care for the whole family.

What brought you to the Minnesota Birth Center?
My connection with the birth center started when I met Steve, our medical director, when I was doing my midwifery clinicals while living in Arkansas.  We discovered our shared philosophy of midwife-led birth center care, empowering women and their families to share responsibility for their health care choices, supporting natural labor and childbirth and providing greater access to out of hospital birth for healthy pregnant women.  I moved to Minneapolis from Fayetteville, Arkansas to work as one of the CNMs at Minneapolis’ first free-standing birth center!

What inspires you professionally?
At every step of the journey to parenthood, I’m inspired by women and their families.  The emotional and spiritual aspects of pregnancy, labor and birth, and the postpartum period are as equally important as to what is going on physically.  As a midwife, I’m continually amazed at the strength women have, the support their husbands/partners/families give, and the beauty that comes from welcoming a new little human into the world in a peaceful, supportive, and positive environment.

What is the main piece of advice you like to share with pregnant Mommas?
Rest A LOT and accept as much help as you can in the first few weeks after giving birth.  It really is amazing what a nap, a warm bath, and a cup of tea while nuzzling with your newborn can do for your spirit and body!

What are your interests outside of work?
I love reading (currently From Beirut to Jerusalem by Thomas Friedman), eating good food at ethnically diverse restaurants in the Twin Cities, being outdoors doing anything active with my husband Joe, traveling to new places/cities/countries, and spending as much time as I can with my family.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them.
This past summer, I got married to the kindest, funniest, most wonderful and supportive man, Joe!

What is your favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities?
Gandhi Mahal has the BEST Indian food in town.  I could eat their food every day.

What is the CRAZIEST thing you have ever done?
Scuba diving in the Red Sea in Aqaba, Jordan!

Happy 1st Birthday, Xavier!


On October 27th, 2012 one of our own, Mary-Signe Kelly, gave birth to her sweet son at Minnesota Birth Center, just barely. A year later, Mary-Signe shares the story of his birth.

I had 3 extra weeks to prepare for my birth at MBC.   I thought my water broke at the beginning of October and I had delivered by first baby at 36 weeks.  I don’t remember getting too anxious for baby.  I remember hoping for a November baby.  I was due the 28th but everything started on the 27th.  My brother and wife were flying through Minneapolis  on their way back to Green Bay from Germany and unexpectedly had the morning free to visit.  We spent the morning hanging out at our house.  Our friend, Gabe, and Michael (my husband) had planned on going out to lunch that day, so around 12:30 they were all leaving to get food and drop off my brother and his wife at the airport.  My water broke right before they left.  I whispered to Michael that my water broke and he needs to answer his phone if I called.  My water broke first with my first pregnancy as well and labor started 12 hours after with that pregnancy so I figured we had plenty of time.  I called my parents, who are 5 hours away.  They started getting ready to come take care of Ivan.

I put Ivan down for a nap early since we were planning on going to the Minnehaha Falls Halloween festival.  I laid down with him trying to rest but of course could not.    At 2:30 pm, I woke up Ivan and got him dressed in his fireman costume and walked the 10 blocks to the Falls.  I started to have contractions on the way.  I had one about every block and had to stop and sway with them.  By the time we got to the Falls (3:00), I was having contractions every 3 minutes.  Michael was meeting us there and parked the car around the same time we got there.  I got tickets and met Michael.  By the time I saw him I was having contractions that were pretty strong.   I didn’t want Ivan to be upset about leaving so let Michael take him around the festival for about 20 minutes, I spent that time leaning over a picnic table, swaying back and forth moaning.  I started calling friends to see if someone could watch Ivan.  My friend,  Nissa, was at a retreat for work but was able to come take him and could be at our house in an hour.  My contractions were getting really intense and I was having intense back pain but after each contraction I looked to see how far Michael and Ivan were, wishing them closer.  Luckily, they returned quickly and Michael took Ivan to get the car.  I went to the bathroom and felt so much better on the toilet.  I went outside and waited for Michael.  Two very concerned (terrified?) women asked if I needed anything and waited with me until Michael got there.  Timing in labor is so difficult to judge and it felt like an eternity.

In the car, I was moaning and Om-ing during my contraction.  Ivan was a little confused and I remember Michael saying “isn’t mama a good singer.”  When we got home our neighbors were outside with their children and saw me and took Ivan.  We got home around 3:45.  I went inside, called Martha and started a bath.  I kept telling Martha that I didn’t want to come in too early.  She said “I think you need to be here now.”  I stood in the bath and started feeling nauseous.  I remember thinking “I want an epidural.”  I knew if I sat down I wasn’t getting out without a baby.  I made my way downstairs where Michael was getting things ready.  I remember telling him that we had to go and to make sure we got the soup for after birth.   He decided he needed to get some candy.  I remember standing in the kitchen with him shifting through the bag of candy looking for the good ones.  (A side note, with Ivan’s birth, I woke Michael up and told him we needed to go to the birth center and he was taking his sweet time.   He started going into the kitchen looking for food.  I yelled at him to get going and he said “I need food, the list says I need food.”  He is very concerned about eating during my labors).

When we got outside, there were about 20 neighbors in our shared driveway enjoying the beautiful day.  I vaguely remember seeing neighbors and Ivan crying.  I told them to bring me Ivan since I was concerned he would be traumatized by us leaving while he was sad and then bringing in a new baby the next time he saw us.  Michael had latched the car seat in the van and I told him he needed to move it since I was going to be on hands and knees in the back.

We left at 4:15 and drove down Chicago Avenue hitting every red light.  I continued to have intense back pain and contractions every 3 minutes.  Around Lake Street, I felt another pop and a huge shift down and no more back pain.  “Oh no, don’t come yet.” I said.  I heard Michael honking the horn and driving faster.  Around 28th Street I felt the baby coming.  People joked and asked if I was going to deliver my own baby or if I had to deliver my baby if I was on call (which I was).   Of course not.  I had two great partners to help me.  But maybe that would just happen.

Michael sped through the back alley of the birth center and the baby was coming.  I reached down and felt his head.  I remember thinking “I wish I was in the water- it would hurt less.”  Michael jumped out the car in the parking lot and raced to the door,  pounding on it and ringing the door bell.  Tanya came running out and asked if she had time to get gloves.  She looked and said  “nope.”  She sent  Michael to get some towels.  I remember trying to keep baby in until Michael got back.  (He almost missed the first birth by going to the bathroom.  In his defense the midwife never checked me and we didn’t talk much in my birth).  The rest of the head came out and the baby followed.  The baby came out screaming.   “What is it?”  “I was wrong.” Michael answered.  We had a baby boy at 4:34, only 2 hours after my labor started.

We walked into the birth center.  I got to take a wonderful bath in the tub and breastfeed our baby.  Michael enjoyed his candy  We got home right as my parents got to our house.  It was so nice to introduce our baby to my parents and Ivan all at once.  We took extra long to figure out his name.  We called him TC for the first few days, in honor of his birth place, the Town and Country.  I have two interesting birth stories.  One in India and one in the car.


Photo Credit: Melanie Painter Photography