Mary-Signe CHOJNACKI, APRN, CNM
Mary-Signe is originally from Wisconsin and her path to midwifery brought her to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Guatemala, the University of Miami and the University of Colorado. Mary-Signe worked as a nurse in labor and delivery for three years. She learned from the many midwives through her training and work that normal, natural labor was possible even in the hospital setting. She believes empowering women is the most important aspect of midwifery. Mary-Signe has worked as a nurse midwife in the Philippines and India. She has experience with both in hospital and birth center birth, and is one of the three founding midwives of the MBC practice. She loves being with women and families providing holistic woman and family centered care. Mary-Signe feels every woman has the power to deliver her baby on her own terms and, through her care, helps in this empowerment. She is interested in providing care to women and families of all walks of life and enjoys taking care of women from all cultural, educational and spiritual backgrounds. Mary-Signe has two boys, Ivan and Xavier (who was born at MBC).
Katie Ireland, APRN, CNM
Katie Ireland was born and raised in the North Metro, but journeyed to Minneapolis whenever possible. She is thrilled to have made Powderhorn Park her home for the last 13 years. She also has a special place in her heart for St. Paul, having worked there as a labor and delivery nurse for 15 years.
Katie feels her job as a Midwife is to provide the most accurate information and options available and support her clients to choose what fits best for their family. She welcomes the opportunity to work with people from all backgrounds, ethnic groups, spiritual traditions, sexualities, gender expressions, and family structures.
Katie is a proud graduate of Frontier Nursing University (MSN) and Coe College (BSN). She lives with her son and their two cats in South Minneapolis. She tries to play the ukulele with friends as often as possible.
Tasha Hale, APRN, CNM
Tasha Hale was born and raised in Minnesota, and has been living in Minneapolis for the past ten years. Prior to earning her MSN in nurse-midwifery, Tasha was a labor and delivery RN. During her professional career as a RN, Tasha had the privilege of serving a diverse group of women during pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum. In 2011, Tasha completed a 230-hour yoga study and teacher training program. Tasha has found that yoga and breathing techniques are wonderful tools to use when caring for women in labor, and beyond.
Tasha journeyed into midwifery to fulfill her desire to be an advocate, educator, and provider for low-risk women. She believes birth is a sacred, empowering and transformative event in a woman’s life. She is proud to promote physiologic birth, encourage women to be active participants in their care, and empower women as individuals and mothers. Tasha has a gentle and compassionate nature, and aims to provide holistic, individualized care to every woman she meets. Tasha enjoys caring for women from all walks of life.
Tasha lives with her partner, Kyle, and their cat, “Bear.” Being active, spending time in nature, promoting self-care, traveling, and energy medicine are a few of her interests.
Undergrad: St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN
Graduate: Frontier Nursing University, Hyden, KY
Courtney Moore, APRN, CNM
Courtney Moore is a graduate of Frontier Nursing University where she earned her MSN in nurse-midwifery. She is from Minneapolis and thrilled to be providing care to the women and families of the Twin Cities. Her nursing education started at Loyola University Chicago. Shortly after graduating she moved to Peru and volunteered in a maternity center, where she became fluent in Spanish and was first awed by the incredible power of working with women in labor and supporting physiologic birth. After two years in Peru she gained nursing experience in primary care, sexual health care, and as a nurse in labor and birth working alongside a large team of nurse-midwives, obstetricians, and family practice physicians. To Courtney, the most rewarding part of being a nurse-midwife is empowering women to make decisions about their health and supporting natural processes. Courtney and her husband Erik love to travel and experience the beauty of different cultures, hike, and explore the Twin Cities with their puppy Brutus.
TAYLOR MERTZ, APRN, CNM
Taylor was raised in South Dakota and has now made the Midwest her home. Her education in women’s studies and social issues led her to pursue a career serving women. Taylor believes midwifery is a model of care which uniquely upholds women as central and active participants in their healthcare decisions. Taylor earned her MSN degree from Frontier Nursing University. Prior to that, she worked as an obstetrics RN and a birth doula. She also worked in the research of rural and women’s health issues during her undergraduate education at South Dakota State University.
Taylor is sincerely invested in the individual needs and preferences of those she cares for, and she welcomes the opportunity to serve clients from all backgrounds. She values respectful, gentle, and evidence-based care as the foundation for promoting physiologic birth. She believes in women, and she believes in birth. Taylor says it is truly a privilege to support women’s wellness and to be present with families as they welcome new life to the world.
Outside of work, Taylor enjoys travel, meals with friends, reading, and willing her garden to grow. She lives with her spouse, Scott, and their two children, the second of whom was welcomed at the Minnesota Birth Center!
Christy was born and raised in Minnesota, spending most of her childhood growing up in Chanhassen. She has lived in Burnsville for the last 10 years. Prior to completing her MSN in nurse-midwifery, Christy worked as a labor & delivery, postpartum and charge nurse for nine years in a regional hospital.
Christy’s journey into midwifery started while job-shadowing a nurse-midwife during the summer while she was in high school. It was during this time where she became fascinated and in awe with the labor and birth process and the strength of women.
Christy respects the normalcy of pregnancy and birth and believes in holistic women-centered care that incorporates all aspects of the women’s life to provide optimal evidenced-based care. She feels very privileged to be able to attend births and loves to provide care and support to women and their families during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. She has a passion for using integrative therapies and water birth.
Interests for Christy include reading, gardening, photography, cooking and Twins baseball. She also takes pleasure in exploring the world through travel and enjoys experiencing the local food and culture. Yoga helps her wind down and keeps her centered. She is excited to become an Aunt for the first time this summer!
Amy’s love of all things pregnancy and birth began in nursing school and was cemented December 12, 1997 when she caught her first baby in a remote village in Cote d’Ivoire. She knew birth would be a part of her future. After returning to South Dakota from the mission field, she sought a job as a labor and delivery nurse which brought her to the Minneapolis area. A labor and delivery position led to graduate school at the University of Minnesota and now 19 years later, she is still in Minnesota and loving her opportunities to attend birth. Certified as a Nurse Midwife and Family Nurse Practitioner, Amy is has been practicing in the St. Paul area for 14 years.
Amy is excited to partner with women as they meet the challenges of pregnancy and birth. She understands the humbling and exhilarating moments of birth are formative. She believes birth has meaning, to the parents and to the child. Sometimes it is merely a memory to take with you, other times, birth teaches a very hard lesson, but as we integrate those memories and lessons, our lives become richer.
Amy provides comprehensive healthcare in both English and Spanish. She loves speaking Spanish, although she is far from fluent. However, after 14 years of learning with her Spanish speaking clients, she can hold her own.
Amy is excited to be part of the Minnesota Birth Center team. She lives in Nowthen on a 5 acre “farm” with her husband Jeremy, their four kids (Lucy, Joe, Rachel, and Matthew), and their new puppy, Harley. Their family of six enjoys using their land in all ways, from cross-country skiing and pulling sleds behind the 4-wheeler to a large garden, and raising chickens for both eggs and meat. Amy enjoys gardening (and all the weeding and canning that it entails), knitting, crocheting, reading, and many outdoor activities. Much of Amy’s extra time is spent volunteering at her church where she leads multiple children’s programs, enjoying children as they grow and learn about their faith. Amy remembers a time when she and her husband “traveled”, she looks forward to that time in the future when she can check the remaining two continents off her travel list.
Heide loves working with women. She is committed to providing clear health care options and education to women of all backgrounds.
Before finishing her master’s degree to become a Certified Nurse Midwife and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner through Georgetown University, she worked as a labor nurse in Houston, Texas. Heide is proud to have worked and volunteered in women’s health in Texas, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oregon, Washington, Massachusetts and now Minnesota. She has also lived in California, Virginia and Michigan and loves to talk to people about their experiences living in different parts of the States and the world. She is happy to call Minnesota her ninth residential state, but is equally grateful for the many friendships she has built while living throughout the country.
Heide believes that the choice of whether or not to give birth is the biggest health decision a woman makes with her body and she is honored to be a part of safe and holistic birth support.
Jessica is originally from Michigan, and has also practiced in Wisconsin and Virginia. She obtained her Master’s Degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Madonna University and a Bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies from the University of Michigan. Jessica practiced as a labor and delivery nurse for 8 years before becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife. She is also trained as a Certified Lactation Counselor.
Jessica chose to become a midwife because she believes in the midwifery philosophy of empowering and educating women so that they can make the best decisions regarding their health, pregnancy, labor and birth. She believes that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes, and works to provide evidence-based care that is high touch and low intervention. Her areas of interest include birth control, prenatal care, labor and birth.
She lives with her fiancé Doug, and has a dachshund named Finnigan. In her free time, she enjoys cooking, traveling, and crocheting. She also likes to garden, when it is not buried under two feet of snow.
Toni grew up mainly in Wisconsin, but married a Minnesotan, so the children have been raised in both places. She started in OB early in her nursing career and soon found the passion that drives her today. Toni received her B.S. in Nursing from Winona State University in 1997 and her M.S. in midwifery from the University of Minnesota in 2010. She knows that God has given women amazing capabilities. Honoring and promoting this as much as possible led her down the midwifery path with a healthy respect to use the wisdom given us to identify the more uncommon complications in pregnancy and childbirth and respond safely. She has witnessed this numerous times during her 13 years of nursing and seven years of midwifery service prior to arriving here at the Minnesota Birth Center. Midwifery also allowed her to focus on women’s health which directly affects the woman, family, community, and world. She enjoys this aspect of care, too. She has had the opportunity to partner with women and families from all walks of life and feels completely enriched by it.
Toni has been blessed with a supportive partner, Darin, of over 20 years, whom she credits for strengthening her and their family. They have two wonderful daughters, Hope and Chloe, who are growing way too quickly and starting to get out on their own in very different ways. Her mother, GG, is also under her care and a large part of her life. The other members of the family, their three dogs Tucker, Addie, and Chowder, also fulfill them and keep them busy. The family enjoys traveling, biking, lake life, and great eats. Toni is also a bit of a novice carpenter and always likes to have a project.
For Toni, the Minnesota Birth Center feels like home professionally and spiritually, offering healthcare in a safe, peaceful and loving place.
Brielle grew up around birth. As a child she was able to attend a few births alongside a family friend who was a midwife, and as a high school student she became a candy striper and volunteered on the maternity floor of a local hospital. Brielle attended the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, and through an exchange program with the College of St. Catherine, became a Registered Nurse. She worked Labor & Delivery first and then became a National Health Service Corps (NHSC) scholar, promising to serve in an underserved area once she finished nurse-midwifery school. After completing her midwifery degree at the University of Minnesota in 2000, Brielle fulfilled her promise as an NHSC scholar and attended rural home births with that client population. She was a key member in helping birth center legislation pass in MN in 2010 and later, she was the secretary for the Minnesota Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) Coalition. This organization helped all APRNs gain full practice authority in 2014. Brielle and her husband Philip have two girls, Greta and Linnea, who were both born prematurely and now are thriving. Most recently, Brielle became an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to help her clients in their postpartum journey. She also teaches nurse-midwife students part-time and enjoys her contributions to her students. In her downtime she studies non-violent communication, enjoys cooking with her family, and dreaming of their next trip!