You’d be hard-pressed to find someone more excited about midwifery than Jualeah Early. Her joy in what she does is apparent from the moment she speaks, and it’s utterly infectious. If a woman comes in who isn’t sure about the birth center experience, a few minutes with Jualeah leaves that expectant mother feeling enthusiastic and optimistic. We interviewed Jualeah for our new ‘Meet the Midwife’ series, and here’s what she had to say.

An Interview With Jualeah Early, CNM

What is your educational background?
I got my nursing degree at Hocking College, my BSN from Rio Grande University, and my MSN at Frontier Nursing University. I decided in my second semester of nursing school that I wanted to be a midwife. It was so crazy – I didn’t even know what a midwife was, but we were watching a video of a birth for my class and it brought me to tears. I knew at that moment that I was called to be a midwife.

What brought you to Baby+Company?
I was working at a different practice, and they sent me over to Baby+Company to scope out the competition. From the moment I entered the clinic, I was drawn in by the warmth and ambience of the place. As I spoke with one of the staff members, I just kept shaking my head at how much we had in common. She was so warm and down-to-earth, but still professional and competent. By the time I left, I knew I wanted to work here.

What’s your favorite saying?
Confucius said “Choose a job you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I adore being a midwife. I get to empower women and get to know clients who are passionate and excited about welcoming a new family member. Plus, I love catching babies!

Tell me about your family.
I have three beautiful children; Nakita is 28, Storm is 24, and Erica is 21. We also have Gabe, our English bulldog. My husband, Orlando, is a basketball coach at NC State, so we are a huge sports-loving family. We’re really close and love to vacation together.

What are you most proud of in your life?
I am proud of my children, and I’m proud of the woman I’ve become. Before I met Orlando, I was a divorced single mother. We faced a lot of obstacles before I decided to become a midwife. I feel that God walked me down roads I never thought I’d walk to prepare me for all the awesome women I would encounter.

How would you describe your work life in three words or phrases?
Best job ever, never a dull moment, and very rewarding.

What’s your favorite birth story?
I was working in Louisiana with a patient who had previously had a C-section, but desperately wanted a VBAC. She searched online and found my name, and we met and made a game plan for her labor. She lived two hours away, so she and her family decided to stay at a bed and breakfast until it was time to head to the hospital. The day she started labor, the family drove down and settled in at the bed and breakfast. I came over with two pairs of gloves and checked her cervix. She was only at 3 centimeters, so I ran a bath for her and told her to relax and get some rest, as it might be a long night. Later, her sister called to tell me that they needed help. When I got there, the mother was in the tub, but I could tell she was more uncomfortable. I checked her with my last pair of gloves and she was dilated 9 centimeters. I called the hospital to tell them we were on our way, and she sat back down in the tub. Just then, her water broke! I covered her with a towel and got her into this giant monster truck we were using to get to the hospital when she screamed, “The baby is coming!” Now, I’m out of gloves, we’re in the back of a truck, and she’s a VBAC. Yikes times ten! We raced to the hospital and within minutes, she pushed out her beautiful baby girl. I’ll never forget that day – it’s my all-time favorite midwife story!

What’s the best advice you have for future/expecting parents?
With all the stuff on social media and Google, lots of patients spend most, if not all, of their pregnancy worrying about what could go wrong, and then they have a healthy birth without problems. I always advise my patients that they are experiencing a miracle. Only the baby and God will write the birth story, so they should relax and enjoy every moment of the experience.