Stephanie Godfrey, lead midwife at Baby+Company in Charlotte, has been with us since the birth center opened. Her commitment to our families, incredible sense of humor, and calm competence help to make our center in Charlotte shine. As a dedicated certified nurse-midwife, she’s been eating, sleeping, and breathing the birth center philosophy since her last semester of graduate school at University of Pennsylvania, which she spent working at a birth center in Delaware.
Stephanie recently gave birth to her first child, and we were so honored that she chose to have her friends and coworkers at Baby+Company support her care and share in her birth. Here, we chat with Stephanie about her career as a midwife and her experience ‘in the hot seat.’
When I went back to school for nursing, everything really clicked for me during my rotation in obstetrics and delivery. The minute I got on the floor, I knew that this was what I was meant to be doing. I just loved the environment and the intense, invigorating energy present during birth and delivery.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about your educational background?
Sure! I’m a certified nurse-midwife. I actually have two bachelor’s degrees – I basically collect them. First I got my bachelor’s degree in public health from the University of Maryland, and then I got my nursing degree from Johns Hopkins. After that, I went to the University of Pennsylvania, where I got my master’s in midwifery.
What motivated you to become a midwife?
This question is so hard! I got my first degree in public health because I wanted to help people, but I wasn’t really sure what form that would take. When I went back to school for nursing, everything really clicked for me during my rotation in obstetrics and delivery. The minute I got on the floor, I knew that this was what I was meant to be doing. I just loved the environment and the intense, invigorating energy present during birth and delivery.
What’s your favorite part about being a midwife?
You’re a witness to life emerging! There’s nothing more meaningful than that. I was particularly drawn to midwifery because as a midwife, I really get to know these women and their families. I see people from the very beginning all the way through to their second or third children, and I get to know them personally. A lot of the patients become my friends. It’s just a personal, intimate, and meaningful job.
What brought you to Baby+Company? How did you hear about us?
I did my last semester in midwifery at a birth center in Delaware, and I really liked the continuity of care that I saw there. I lived pretty close to Baby+Company’s Cary center, and interviewed there. I was so inspired by the people I met – they genuinely want to change the way that women receive prenatal care and experience birth. The timing didn’t work out for me in Cary, but I still wanted to work with Baby+Company. They have big goals that are close to my heart. They want to create these community-based centers in a way that’s nationally sustainable. When I heard there was an opening in Charlotte, I was more than happy to leave my friends and home behind and move to Charlotte so I could work with such a dedicated team.
Has your perspective of midwifery changed since you’ve gone through labor and delivery yourself?
Not really, although I’m glad that now I can tell my clients that I know exactly what it feels like. I was amazed at how much my body really knew to do. You can’t truly prepare yourself for the experience. I mean, labor is definitely work. I’ve seen so many women go through it, so I had certain expectations, but nothing is like actually being there, in the moment, giving birth to your child. I feel like women are stronger than they think they are. Your mind might have trouble believing you can do it, but your body is capable of amazing things.
How have you been enjoying motherhood? Has it been what you expected?
Honestly, it’s been great! She sleeps for four hours at a time. I’ve had a lot of experience with friends and clients who have kids, so I was ready for anything. I thought I’d have trouble breastfeeding, and that I’d be exhausted all the time. I’ve really been pleasantly surprised. She caught on to breastfeeding really quickly, she’s gained a ton of weight, and she’s sleeping well – no bumps so far!