Sep 292013

Patricia Couch, CPM, LDM

Tell us about your family:

I have a beautiful blended family. My husband returned to college about four years ago after serving in the Oregon National Guard and working for the Oregon Military Dept. He received a Bachelors Degree in Computer Science this year and works as a Research and Development Engineer.

We have five amazing children from 12-17, three boys and two girls. Our two oldest will be seniors in high school this year. Over this past summer, opportunities presented for Avianna (my step-daughter) to do a PRISM Internship at Texas Tech studying bats and for Rainey (my son) to go to Eastern Germany for a GAPP exchange. Avianna is beautiful and brilliant. She is currently trying to figure out where to go to college. I imagine it will be a big name school as she is very driven, we will see. Rainey plays rugby for Newberg, lifts weights, works at Burgerville and is also planning for college in a year. I’m hoping he doesn’t go too far away but I will be happy for him regardless.

Avryn (my step-son) enjoys music and he volunteers at the Kerville Folk Festival every year working at the Lovin’ Oven. He also loves gaming. Oak (my son) skateboards, bikes and loves being with his friends. Avalyse (my step-daughter) is a preteen social butterfly. Oak and Avalyse are the animal lovers. I imagine when they are grown they will both have a lot of pets. I am really enjoying this phase of parenting. I love teenagers.

We also have two dogs, two cats, seven Americana laying hens and an English Lop rabbit.

How did you get involved with midwifery?

Patricia's family

Patricia’s family

I gave birth to my fist son Rainey in a rural hospital in Northern California in 1995. My experience was a positive and transformative one that gave me the desire to support women in an out-of-hospital setting. I moved to Oregon shortly after that and began my midwifery studies in 1996. Over the next 10 years I focused on learning more about pregnancy and birth, midwifery, and the management of a midwifery practice. I studied for four years with traditional homebirth midwives. During that time I gave birth to my second son at home.

I then worked as an OB-Tech for several years at McKenzie Willamette Hospital followed by several more years as the front office coordinator and childbirth educator at McKenzie Midwifery in Springfield, Oregon. Following that stint, I did a traditional midwifery apprenticeship with Anita Rojas at Sacred Waters Birthing Center in Eugene. During that time I was also attending births as both a doula and a midwife.

I have attended births in both Mexico and Haiti. I was one of the founding board members of MamaBaby Haiti. I stepped down from the board last Winter.

Patricia in Haiti

Patricia in Haiti

What is the best part of being a midwife?

I witness miracles! I love caring for families as they journey through pregnancy, birth and parenting. Plus I’m a very social person and I get to talk to amazing people all day long.

What is the hardest part of being a midwife?

It’s really hard for me when a client has extended family with unrealistic expectations about pregnancy, labor, and birth. Over the years, I feel I am learning to communicate better about this. It is not uncommon for extended family members to not understand why people choose midwifery, out-of-hospital or natural birthing, and that each woman births on a different timeline. It is often hard for families to honor the birthing family’s wishes and to wait patiently through this process. I watch so many women feel pressured by this. I want women, especially as they approach their birth or while they are in labor, to feel well supported with the least stress possible.

It’s also hard living the on-call lifestyle with a cell phone 24/7. I used to be spontaneous. Midwifery does not really leave the space for weekend getaways to Eugene, where my family lives. I often find myself in a place of broken promises to my children as well. They understand that when I get swept away it is important, but that doesn’t mean that it is easy for them. I remember telling my Grandpa that I was going to be a midwife many years ago before he died. He said, “Are you sure? It’s a hard life.” I later came to find out that his grandmother was a midwife as well. I am thankful for the supportive environment that Andaluz has provided to help reduce these stressors.

What do you enjoy doing on your time off?

I enjoy swimming in the ocean, resting and spending quality time with my family.

List your top five favorite books:

I do not read for entertainment, only for education. So as you might guess I don’t really have five favorite books. I do, however, have shelves and shelves of educational books. I love the way the pages smell. I do not love eBook readers and I think they are among the things that are going to ruin the world. I think that books are a very important piece of humanity.

I do enjoy cookbooks and a couple of my favorites are Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Childs and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. Over the last year or two we have tried many recipes from both books. I love the homemade olive oil mayonnaise in Julia Childs book (I like it better with vinegar than lemon – I’ve tried it both ways). In Nourishing Traditions, we learned a lot about fermenting and experimented with both whey and salt fermentation. I personally like the whey fermentation better because I’m not a big fan of salty taste. The bone broth and chicken stock are both amazing as well.

I do have a very nice Bible that I read. It’s two shades of blue leather and my husband bought it for me. It’s lovely. If I could only have one book that would be the one I would choose.

My husband reads to me sometimes. I think he really believes I am missing something by not enjoying reading. It’s very sweet but somewhat of a joke most of the time when he reads to me. His voice is so soothing that I typically fall asleep on the first page.

List your top five favorite movies:

I guess I could say WristCutters (don’t be fooled by the name), Big Fish, Moulin Rouge, Blue Crush, Tenacious D in the Pick of Destiny, and Everything is Illuminated. They fall into the favorites because I can watch them all over and over again. When my kids were little I loved Kiki’s Delivery Service and I would watch it whenever I didn’t feel well.

Favorite restaurant(s)?

My current focus is eating healthy and not eating out too much. I’m trying not to have a favorite restaurant these days. However, there are many great restaurants in Yamhill county, where I live. It’s wine country! If I go to a restaurant locally, I tend to go to Red Hills Market in Dundee.

What’s one thing that might surprise clients about you?

It may not be a surprise to some, but I love CrossFit. I try to go as often as I can, sometimes twice a day. I love lifting weights, which was even a big surprise to me! I even CrossFit on vacation. It’s nuts. If you don’t know about CrossFit, you should look it up.

If you weren’t a midwife, what could you see yourself doing?

I love being a midwife so it’s not really something I ever think about too hard. I have spent so many years with midwifery as my focus that it’s weird to really think about doing something different. Currently, I guess I could see myself shifting gears and either being a dietician/nutritionist and/or a fitness trainer.

I did imagine the other day that if I won the lottery I would open a coffee and cake shop. Then I realized I don’t really know how to bake that well so I decided I would go to French baking school. It was a pleasant little fantasy.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned from being a midwife?

Never tell a woman in a prenatal that you think her baby will come tonight or that it will come in a week. They do not like it when I am wrong.

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