The Cariboo has got its first midwives.
Megan Corbett and Krista Hamblin have launched Cariboo Midwives, which is expected to be fully operational this fall in Williams Lake.
By next summer, they hope to expand their services to clinics in 100 Mile House and some of the outlying reserves to make care more accessible.
The decisions on where they’ll go will be based on demand and the community’s needs.
“We (place) a high value on people having options in maternity care so we’re just here to provide another option outside of people having their family doctors,” said, Corbett, who visited the South Cariboo Farmers Market Friday to offer information and promote the natal practice.
“So we’re regulated care providers just like doctors or nurse practitioners. The difference is we don’t provide general practice.”
Cariboo Midwives was founded after Corbett, a practical nurse originally from the Kootenays, moved to Williams Lake after her husband, a paramedic, was assigned to the city earlier this year. While scouting the area, she met Hamblin, who was preparing to move to Williams Lake in May and the two decided to join forces.
Although her background is in practical nursing, Corbett said pregnancy and the childbirth delivery have always fascinated her.
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The fact that midwives works as autonomous care providers in partnership with a hospital was also appealing to her, as was the chance to work with mothers and fathers before childbirth and being present for the birth of a new baby into the world.
“I just find anatomy and physiology amazing, I think that’s what brought me to healthcare to begin with,” Corbett said. “I think what I enjoy about midwifery is because childbirth is such an influential time in people’s lives it just feels like an incredible privilege to be able to walk with people during that.”
One of the things a midwife places a high priority on, she said, is forming a relationship with their clients and working in small teams.
They also provide natal care pre and post-birth and are not just there for the actual childbirth itself. Corbett said they aim to be friends as well as care providers. Women going into labour would contact them and they would then accompany the new mothers to wherever they intend to have the baby and assist with the birth.
Afterwards, they stay in contact with the new parents for up to six weeks either by home visits if you’re in town, Corbett said, or by phone if you’re out of town.
The two women focus on all things related to the birth from arranging ultrasounds, providing medication and working with medical professionals in a support role should a C-Section take place or complications arise.
Corbett also mentioned that 70 percent of the births a midwife attends are in hospital so it’s not required for parents to do a home birth if they employ the services of a midwife.
So far, Corbett and Hamblin have been working to integrate themselves within the community, pick up clients and spread the word of what services they provide. The cost of a midwife is covered for all B.C. residents with a valid CareCard through the BC Medical Services Plan.
Currently, Corbett said they can only operate out of the Williams Lake General Hospital, meaning people would have to travel to Williams Lake for hospital delivery.
“People are really excited about having another option of care and people have already travelled to Kamloops and Prince George for midwife care specifically and people have moved from other parts of the province where midwife care is more well established, so they’re happy to have access to it,” Corbett said. “We’re just really excited to be here, I think both Krista and I feel like we’re in a place with our profession where we’re really willing to launch and work rurally. We’re excited to be in a smaller town and we’re excited to be providing a service people have been asking for.”
Hamblin is originally from Saskatchewan and has practised midwifery in Vancouver, Creston, Uganda and Maple Ridge before coming to Williams Lake where she intends to raise her family.
She also chose Williams Lake because of the demand she heard from families for midwives when she visited the city in the summer of 2019, according to a bio she wrote for their booth.
“My favourite part of being a midwife is the connection that I get to make with clients and witnessing such special moments in time,” Hamblin said. “The babies are pretty cute too.”
To learn more or to book their services call 778-267-9397, email firstname.lastname@example.org and check out their website at wwwcariboomidwives.ca.