What is your background?
I was born and raised in beautiful Montreal, Canada, the middle child in a close-knit trio of siblings. I moved to Los Angeles as a teenager and met the love of my life that same year- so there was no going back to my old life and friends in Montreal. In high school, I thought I might want to be a veterinarian and my first jobs were pet related. I also volunteered at Teen Line- a peer crisis hotline run through Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. I worked out, did well in school, had a great time with my then boyfriend and friends, camping and hiking and loving life! I married at 20 and had my first child a year later. I never traveled much, but this year (my 40th) I made it to Israel for an amazing solo 2-week adventure and appreciated it all the more for not having had the chance sooner.
Why did you choose to become a midwife?
I have been fascinated by pregnancy and birth since the age of eight, when my neighbor was pregnant and came home one day with a baby. When I was in high school, a friend became pregnant and I was a little closer to the whole process, but the tipping point came when I had my first baby. My provider had assured me that she would be there for me, but wasn't. I was treated poorly by the various nurses and doctors who managed my labor, and I left the hospital feeling bewildered and cheated. Physiologically, though, the birth couldn't have been more ideal. I was well prepared by the iconic Judy Chapman and her prepared childbirth class, and my body was amazing. I wrote out my birth story within a couple of days so as not to lose sight of the details, and I read it every year on my son’s birthday. While I was still nursing my first child I undertook training to become a doula. I knew I wanted to be a midwife, but with a young son of my own, I was not ready at that time for the huge educational commitment. I was a practicing doula for 5 years before I was ready to take the next step. I wanted the chance to make more of a difference as I knew that the hospital nurses could really make or break a birth, as they, unfortunately, had with mine. Becoming a labor and delivery nurse was my chance to make other women’s birth experiences more positive. Before going to nursing school I had a second son- this time in the care of loving midwives at the Hollywood Birth Center on Sunset Boulevard. I talked my sister into birthing there too and it was an amazing experience for both of us within months of each other! After an immersive two year program, I became a registered nurse at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in their labor and delivery department, where I learned how to honor the wishes of the pregnant person and communicate with their doctors in a way that ensured mutual respect all around. I loved my job so much that after my next birth- twin boys birthed in the care of a wonderfully attentive and fully present doctor at my own hospital- I chose to remain at Cedars-Sinai for another 10 years. I delighted in caring for my expectant mothers and their beautiful babies.
Four years ago, I decided to take the next step and become a certified nurse-midwife in order to truly give my families a full range of choice with their birth options. I began to assist Elizabeth at homebirths and then embarked on the final leg of my journey to midwifery, the 3-year program at Frontier Nursing University. As much as I enjoy supporting families to birth at home and GraceFull's Birthing Center, I saw there was a need in our community for a private hospital based midwife practice. I decided to be the change I wanted to see and applied for hospital privileges. I am thrilled to be a midwife and so honored to be able to continue to serve women in the setting of their choice, whether it be their home, a birth center, or the hospital.
What is your philosophy and passion for midwifery?
My education at Frontier Nursing University instilled in me a strong respect for and belief in evidence-based practice (EBP); however, I am also committed to honoring a woman's intuition, including my own while treating each person (and family) as an individual.
It is my desire to merge these seemingly conflicting concepts in order to provide safe, personal care while upholding the honor of the noble profession of midwifery and those wise women who paved the way for me to practice, especially my cherished mentor, the late Debbie Frank.
What do you do in your down time?
As much as I love to read, cook and bake for my extended family and friends, hike, and entertain our giant golden doodle puppy Royce, I mostly spend my time wrangling the three boys still at home (the 4th is now away at university in New York). Also, I love having playdates with other midwives and families with whom I have become close after attending their births.
What is your favorite baked good?
Something homemade and full of delicious dairy. My brother-in-law is my go-to person for such delicacies! I love cheesy lasagna, cheesy garlic knots, and warm brownies made from scratch with creme fraiche.
What is your favorite quote?
"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Gandhi
We are honored to have Naomi as a GraceFull Midwife, because not only does she midwife at your home or our birthing center but in a hospital too!