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


Getting to Know Mary-Signe

Mary-Signe2Mary-Signe Kelly is one of our kind-hearted and intelligent Certified Nurse Midwives. She has experienced birth around the world and has now settled in Minneapolis with her Husband and two vivacious sons. Read on for a glimpse into what inspires her career and fills her time outside of the Minnesota Birth Center.


What professional experience did you have prior to working at the Minnesota Birth Center?
The final year of midwifery school, my husband, Michael, was given the opportunity to work in Asia. We moved right after I finished my boards.  I worked in the Philippines at a birth center for 2 months.  Then we moved to India for two years.  I worked at a large hospital in Hyderabad.  I worked teaching the nurses and doctors about natural childbirth, birth with less intervention and hands off deliveries.  I, then, got the opportunity to work at a birth center in Goa, India.  I got to drive around Goa on a scooter doing home visits on the beach.  When we moved back to the US, I worked in Denver at a hospital-based OB/GYN & Midwife practice.

What brought you to the Minnesota Birth Center?
After the birth center in Goa, I realized that my passion is for out-of-hospital birth.  I was always on the look out for jobs at birth centers so when I saw MBC was hiring I called Dr Calvin right away.  His passion is palpable and I felt this was the right choice for me and my family.  I am originally from Wisconsin; Minnesota was a little like coming back home.

What inspires you professionally?
I am inspired by women in birth.  I am always amazed at how strong women are during this huge transition in their lives.

What is the main piece of advice you like to share with pregnant Mommas?
Trust your body.  It was designed for pregnancy and birth.


What are your interests outside of work?
I have a lot of interests outside of work and right now I’m working to incorporate those interests into my life while raising my two young boys: I love going to see live music and now we have a lot of dance parties at home; I love to hike, travel and camp and now I take a lot of “nature” walks at the park and camp in the backyard;  I love yoga and now do yoga with Xavier (11 months) pulling at my hair.  I am starting to like to run again and luckily there are great strollers for taking your children with you.  I know I will enjoy these things in all their glory in the future but right now, we are trying to raise kind, caring and adventurous boys.  Of course, I also love long walks on the beach.

Do you have a family? Tell us about them.
My husband, Michael, has been dubbed the International Man of Leisure.  He is the most positive person I have met and is always up for an adventure.  He has had every job that all 5 year-olds want: ski instructor, fire fighter and helicopter pilot.  He now is a stay at home papa for our 2 little boys.  Ivan, our 3 year old, is such a sweet little boy. He has a memory of a steel trap and cracks me up daily.  Xavier is our Minnesota Birth Center baby.   He is 11 months old now and such a happy baby.  I love how he gives me a huge gummy smile and flaps his arms in excitement when I come home.

What is your favorite restaurant in the Twin Cities?
We haven’t gotten to enough of what the Twin Cities has to offer but my favorite so far is True Thai.

What is the CRAZIEST thing you have ever done?
A lot of people would say selling most of our belongings and moving to India was pretty crazy.

Interview with Lindsay Snodgrass

We are starting a monthly blog series featuring mini-interviews with the women who are the Minnesota Birth Center.  The first post gives us insight into the lovely Lindsay Snodgrass our Canadian Midwifery student whose calm-presence and warm smile have been present at many births.

Where are you from and what brought you to the Minnesota Birth Center?
I am from High River, Alberta, Canada. I have been a registered nurse in a rural hospital for the last five years. During that time I knew I wanted to become a midwife. I am completing my masters in nursing at Frontier University, located in Hyden, Kentucky, to become a certified nurse midwife. I was determined to complete the practical part of my schooling at a birth center. Luckily the Minnesota Birth Center had an opening for a me! I started at the MBC in early March and will stay until mid September.

What have you loved, learned, found different while working in MN with the MBC team vs. Canada?
The Twin Cities are so progressive when it comes to pregnancy, birth, and parenthood!  CNMs in Minnesota care for women during their entire life, where midwives in Canada only care for women from pregnancy to 6 weeks postpartum. I love that the CNMs continue to care for women past pregnancy and birth.

What inspires you?
My inspiration around midwifery is to empower women and their families that pregnancy, birth and postpartum is predominately  a healthy normal event. My inspiration is to give women increased accessibility to midwifery led care in Alberta. Where women will have the choice of provider and birth location.

What are your career goals/hopes when you return home?
To have a family of my own and one day open a free standing birth center.

What is the main piece of advice that you like to share with pregnant mommas?
To embrace and trust their own pregnancy and birth for what it is. Make informed decisions that are best for you and your baby. Are you enjoying the Twin Cities? Yes, one of my favourite things to do is run by the river. I love big trees and the Twin Cities offers no shortage. I think the trail system is one of a kind:)

What are your interests outside of work/school?
I love being outdoors (hiking, running, walking). I play on a women’s volleyball team in the winter. I love home design projects.

Do you have a family? Tell us a little about them.
I am married to a wonderful man, and we have a rescue dog (Simon)  and rescue cat (Bok). My husband is a mortician, which always makes for great conversation.