As a birth doula, I have the opportunity to work in a variety of birth locations, and meet many different care providers in Baltimore and the surrounding communities. Many of the midwives I have worked alongside have inspired me in my doula work, through their dedication, knowledge, and compassionate, respectful care. I realize that the average person looking for a care provider for pregnancy and birth doesn’t always have the same opportunity to meet the many wonderful midwives we have in the Baltimore area, so it is a joy for me to be able to introduce some of them through this series of blog posts.
For my third post in this series, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Monique Klapka, a Certified Nurse Midwife. Monique attends births at UM St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson, MD, as a member of Women’s Health Associates. I have been impressed every time I have seen Monique in action, caring for not only the patients of her own practice, but also working triage and covering the L&D Unit for obstetricians who are in surgery or not yet on the floor, and giving all of the women her full attention and excellent care.
Meet the Midwife: Monique Klapka, CNM
How long have you been a midwife, and what type of training do you have?
I became a CNM in 2002. Prior to that, I was a certified doula (1995) and a labor and delivery nurse in 1998. I did my doula training at Mercy Medical Center. I have two bachelor’s degree’s – the first from Hood College, the second was my bachelor’s in nursing from University of Maryland. My master’s degree and midwifery training were through Philadelphia University.
In what settings have you attended births, and where do you currently attend births?
When I was doing my training as a midwife, I did deliveries in both home and hospital settings. As a CNM, I work full time doing hospital births, but in 2009, I spent three months working with a midwife in rural Mexico, doing deliveries in the home.
What is your general philosophy of labor and birth?
I went into midwifery from a feminist standpoint…I wanted to provide care to women that allowed them to make informed decisions about their own health. I see myself as a facilitator, a guide, an advocate for women in labor and birth. I support women who choose to give birth in different environments – but I myself, am more comfortable with the safety net of a hospital setting – safety net meaning that there is immediate access to physician backup and NICU support in the event of an emergency.
Do you have children? If you have given birth, have your own birth(s) influenced the care you give to other women?
I do not have children, only cats. But I don’t think that not having children makes me any less capable in my role as a midwife or in understanding what a woman is going through in labor.
What is one thing you’d like your clients to know before they give birth?
Choose ONE thing…that’s hard….To have an open mind and to be flexible. For most people, birth is a normal process. But in some instances, things may not go as planned. If this is the case, I want them to trust in me to be there as their advocate and guide through the birth experience. It’s not a failure to be induced or if a CS needs to occur. The gift is a healthy baby and knowing that you were well cared for an supported along the way.
Thanks so much, Monique! For more information about Monique or the other midwives at Women’s Health Associates, check out their facebook page, www.facebook.com/WHA.Midwives, or UM St. Joseph Medical Center.