Certified nurse-midwife and advanced RN practitioner, Michele Jackson of EvergreenHealth Midwifery Care in Kirkland, recently celebrated the delivery of her 1,000th baby over the course of a 17-year career.
Like many health care facilities, EvergreenHealth had to pivot quickly to keep patients safe and navigate necessary changes throughout many medical processes.
Labor and Delivery was no different. With a number of hospitals reducing labor support staff to one or even none, Evergreen was fortunate to maintain at least two people in the role.
“It was difficult at the beginning with the fear of the unknown,” Jackson said. “Having our labor and support staff really helped. Imagine having a baby with no support staff. It also helped to keep our C-section rates down which would have climbed otherwise.”
Jackson, who followed in her mother’s footsteps as a labor and delivery nurse at Evergreen, took an open and honest approach in reassuring her patients during a time when things were constantly changing.
Procedures that may have looked and felt more natural or hands-on in the past were now austere as staff members were covered from head to toe in medical gear and taking every additional precaution.
According to Jackson, one of the biggest changes was on women in the postpartum period. The pandemic made it impossible for patients to share what is supposed to be a special time of joy and new life with family and friends.
“Women felt more isolated, and had fewer resources at first,” Jackson said. “That can be scary. Postpartum is hard enough without adding a pandemic.”
EvergreenHealth quickly switched to a virtual platform for parent-baby classes and increased support and resources to postpartum patients to help them feel more connected.
New moms also follow-up at the postpartum cheer center a few days after being released.
“That’s about the time that moms, dads, and partners are completely exhausted,” Jackson said. “Just because you had a baby doesn’t mean you’re done. This is really the beginning.”
Choosing a midwife can make for a more personalized care experience, not just through labor, birth, and delivery, but a whole lifespan. Jackson has seen young teenage patients through college, marriage, and on to become mothers themselves.
Jackson and staff work collaboratively with maternal-fetal medicine, the NICU team, and backup physicians both prenatally and during labor.
“A lot of women choose us because we focus on more personalized care, labor support, and education,” Jackson said. “The great thing about delivering at Evergreen is that we can give all of that, and a low-risk birth, but we also have our physician backup available to us immediately should we need them.”
There are many reasons Jackson continues to love what she does and has spent her entire career at Evergreen. Besides the overall joy of delivering babies and working with an amazing team, making lifelong connections with women has been an added blessing.
“Not only is midwifery great, but Evergreen is also a wonderful place to work,” Jackson said. “It’s our overall team there. It’s a great place to have a baby. It’s still small, but not too small. We really appreciate the special connections we have with our patients. This is definitely going to be our busiest year ever.”
By the time of this publication, Jackson has delivered 1,016 babies.