Jessika

Austin, TX

Trust. The thing about birth that isn't brought up a lot is how much trust

you need to have in your midwife or provider. You’re going to a place

you’ve never gone before, even if it’s not your first birth, this one will be

different. 

 

Embarking on sensations that will take your breath away, flooded with

hormones that your body provides to help you. But that leave you vulnerable

to others viewpoints. 

 

Trusting that the person to deliver your baby has you and your baby taken care of , as well as, if not most importantly That she completely trusts your body and your baby to do what you are both meant to do. Birth. That is what Joan Smith gives you. Unwavering trust.

 

It’s taken me awhile to write this review, as my heart swells with gratitude and I tear up every time I think of Joan.

If it weren’t for her, I’m 100% certain I would  not have had the VBAC I worked so hard for. 

 

Mentally, emotionally and physically, I tried to do everything in my power to prepare. But when the time comes, when the contractions are real- you must have a provider that wants it for you just as badly. 

There Joan was. 

 

My birth with my daughter Lake progressed as my first did with my son atlas. She wouldn’t engage and most everyone was certain I was having a repeat c section. But Joan, did literally EVERYTHING, in the most calm manner to give me the chance to birth naturally. (My god the woman sat next to me and knit my little girl a beanie while I labored for nearly 24 hours!!) 

The immense competence and knowledge that she possesses brings me to my knees. 

 

She was the most equipped, knowledgeable, sincere and strong CNM I had met. And I devoted two months to meeting a lot. I was terrified of giving birth, so I painstakingly researched. Not to say they all aren’t amazing, but from my first phone conversation with her in the parking lot of the Deep Eddy pool, I knew she was who I needed. I told all my friends I was meeting that day,

“I finally found the one!”

Not only did she tell me I COULD have a VBAC, she told me how, and why, and smoothed over my fears of uterine rupture with facts. 

Her extensive experience was clear, her manner was methodical and there was a comfort I found in her that was solid and warm simultaneously.

 

Also she had hospital privileges, so I was sure she would be the one delivering Lake, but at the hospital, in case any complications arouse. Which they did.

 

I ended up straying from a completely natural birth and getting an epidural and some pitocin. But under Joan’s care I whole heartedly trusted every suggestion she made. And they were all suggestions, she completely honored my process and dignity every step of the way. 

 

Every checkup in my pregnancy I felt completely reassured and safe. 

 

So imagine when I dozed off, accepted I was having a c section when I next awoke and instead Joan checked me, and announced I was nearly a 9 and could try pushing!!! 

Y’all- did I ever PUSH!!! 

And then Joan saw her head!!!

Omg she saw her head!!! And soon after, she let me know I could birth my baby vaginally!!! 

I was so stoked, beyond thrilled! I loved her ferociously and always will. So much so I had to have a photo of the moment....

 

If you’re deciding if she’s right for you-

Trust me, trust your gut and trust her!

You’re going to feel like a goddess with this woman!!! 

Megan M

Austin, TX

From the moment I met Joan, my partner and I felt comfortable around her and I knew wanted her to be my midwife. This was my first baby and she answered any and all questions either of us had (even staying late after appointments to help explain whatever asked), creating ease of mind for my prenatal care, birth, delivery, breastfeeding, and postpartum support. You can tell she and her team have a true passion for natural care and making midwife access be possible for all economic classes. I had planned a home birth, but ended up in the hospital for a couple of days after needing to be induced. Though this wasn’t my birth plan, Joan was there with me the whole time, supporting me with essential oil massages, pressure point help/directions for my partner, labor positioning, warm rice sock on my lower back, encouraging words and countless other things! The birth went very well and we now have a beautiful baby boy thanks to Joan. I appreciate all that she does for our community and empowering us mamas!

Alexis

Austin, Tx

Joan made it possible for me to have the birth I wanted in all the worst circumstances! To this day, I often think back to the day I gave birth to my first born and think to myself “I wonder how things would have ended up if Joan hadn’t been there”?

 

I was a client at the Austin Area Birthing Center, pregnant with my first child, and ended up coming down with preeclampsia at 37 weeks, it was a Monday. My blood pressure was crazy high (160/100) at my 37 week visit and I was sent to Seton for evaluation. Heather Satterfield, AABC’s clinical director at the time met us at the hospital and helped us though the initial decisions we had to make. We started the induction process, and Tuesday about noon started a drip of pitocin. Heather had been there through the night and she introduced me to Joan and assured me I was in the best of hands. Joan has privileges at Seton and she was able to manage the birth while the doctors managed my blood pressure.

 

Shortly after we were introduced I was catapulted into a very fast paced and quickly painfully escalating active labor. Joan was so gifted in being able to read and connect with me instantly. Being my first delivery, which we tried to have at a birthing center, but which ended up with induction and ivs, I did not know what to expect. The pain hit me real hard and fast, andJoan immediately knew to stop the pitocin. She encouraged me as I managed to get through each contraction and had me have a few contractions on my knees, leaning on a medicine ball, which was successful in helping my baby turn to a more favorable position. She brought the birthing center to me, while I was hooked to a hospital bed! There was a young nurse in the room as well, who was doing her own protocol and several times Joan backed me up and redirected her for my sake.

 

During transition, I felt I could not bare it any longer and in the midst of the pain blurted out I wanted the epidural. The nurse jumped on it real quick and was almost yelling at me “do you want it do you want it?” I didn’t respond to her because that’s not really what I wanted... I was in my own world just trying to hang on lol. Joan quickly intervened and checked my dilation, just as she was doing it I got and instinctive urge to push. Joan said “that was a push!” And she checked if I had any more cervix in the way and then helped me to transition to the pushing phase. She gave me all these pointers which helped me tremendously and when she noticed I was nearly strangling my husband during each push, using him to get counter strength for my pushes, she instructed the nurse to get a sheet and within seconds she’d made this rope like thing and had me grab one end and had the nurse pull the other end. That was just what I needed to get the baby out. 

 

Joan is a genuine and outstanding midwife. She knows her trade to the utmost! I would hands down entrust myself and babies to her over and over again. After the birth she took care of me once again backed me up with our wishes which were somewhat different than the hospital protocol. She took care of me and gave me some wonderful breastfeeding and positioning pointers, which were a lifesaver that first night after having been through all that. She continued to check on us post partum and was there for me when I got pregnant with my second child! She went above and beyond for me and I know she does for all her mothers. She has a true midwife’s heart and she embodies what midwifery is all about and makes it happen even in the most unfavorable of circumstances. She holds very dear place in my heart and I am looking forward to having her birth my next babies! 

Bernadette

Austin, Tx

My delivery at the hospital was unexpected. During one of my last checkups, I shared that I had been experiencing itchy palms and feet.  The midwife was quick to action and ran blood tests immediately. It turned out that I was experiencing pregnancy cholestasis in addition to preeclampsia, and that I would be on my way to the hospital. To be honest, I was saddened and disappointed by the direction of the birth. 

 

I had my older daughter 2 years earlier at the Austin Area Birthing Center south location and it was an incredible experience. It was everything that you would want to have happen at a birthing center. When I arrived at the hospital with my husband, we had previously discussed that he would be communicating our desired birth plan to the hospital staff - no medical interventions, whatsoever. The hospital staff was respectful of my wishes and only checked on me occasionally.

 

Joan Smith was my midwife that evening and into the next morning.  She took the lead with the staff on how to navigate the birthing process with me.  It was our first time meeting and when we said our hellos, I remember that we gave each other a big hug and I knew that I could trust her to support me through this process. She was with us every step of the way.  She is a calming presence and an expert in the space.  She navigated questions and concerns with ease, and validated and reassured us during the difficult decisions we faced.

Looking back on that experience, I couldn't have asked for a better situation. While the transition from the birthing center to the hospital was difficult, Joan and the hospital staff coordinated services and collaborated well with each other. My wish to move about the space as my body needed was respected and I was able to still minimize interventions in my birthing process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

~At the time of her birth in 2014, Bernadette and her family were able to take advantage of a unique partnership between Seton and the midwives of the Austin Area Birthing Center. Joan was a senior Certified Nurse Midwife with the practice who was given privileges to work seamlessly with any patient who was transferred into hospital care from AABC. There hadn’t been a midwife partnership at Seton since 2002, so the natural child birthing community was strengthened through this collaboration.

 

Now, Abundance Midwifery Service is the only midwifery service in Austin with both hospital privileges and home birth as an option.

Meg R

Austin, Tx

Joan Smith cared for me shortly after the birth of my first child, back in 2004. As a new mother I was overwhelmed and exhausted, but I felt calm and confident in her hands.  She helped me through some breastfeeding challenges (my nipples were raw and cracking) and she encouraged me to take time to nurture myself.  She was generous with her time and her knowledge.  I never felt rushed and I knew I could ask her anything.  I have had other family members benefit from Joan's care over the years as well.  She is experienced but also intuitive and really speaks to you "where you're at."  I am so very grateful that she was part of my journey into motherhood.

Bhargave Family

Austin, Tx

Joan is extremely dedicated to her craft.  She cares deeply for her clients and their well being and goes above and beyond the call of duty to do the best she can to ensure positive outcomes.  She stayed with us through every moment, and really took over leadership of a very difficult labor. She also put in an other-worldy effort, pulling out all kinds of arrows from her quiver. to try to facilitate the type of delivery we were looking for.  We highly recommend Joan Smith as your nurse midwife!

Jessica T

Austin, Tx

Joan and Varshna are both incredible women. They truly care about every expecting mother (and their significant others) they come into contact with. Joan was especially helpful in coaching me through gestational diabetes and anxiety about natural birth, and I particularly love Varshna’s no-nonsense straightforward answers and advice while still exuding her caring nature. It was an absolute joy getting to spend time with these women and learning as much as I could about my pregnancy and growing baby. They came to my home 2 days after I delivered and helped me with breastfeeding, managing my emotions, and general postpartum self care. If my next pregnancy is low-risk and I am able to consider a home birth, I will definitely be giving these wonderful ladies a call!

Clarissa G

Austin, Tx

I met Joan when she was one of my Centering leaders. Throughout my pregnancy we would see Joan every other other weekend for our group prenatal care. I really looked forward to seeing Joan. She listened to my questions and concerns when I had any; I knew that she really cared and wanted the best for my unborn baby and me. When the day came to deliver, I was nervous because I didn't know if I would see Joan or Varshna since they had followed me throughout my pregnancy. While I was in transition, guess who walks in? My heart was happy! I probably wouldn't have been able to do it without Joan in my corner! She is very knowledgeable, smart, and caring. I will definitely have her there for me during my future pregnancies!

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