Certified Professional Midwife, Owner, Clinical Director
I began my path to midwifery at the age of 16 after attending the birth of my nephew. When I was supposed to be doing my algebra homework I was reading pregnancy-related books! For Christmas 2000 my dear friend Melaine Copeland gave me a copy of Spiritual Midwifery by Ina May Gaskin. I was immediately hooked and knew that midwifery outside of the hospital was where I belonged.
Soon after, I began my midwifery studies while also completing my bachelor’s degree at Eastern Mennonite University, getting married, and giving birth to my own two children! Those were busy years and so very precious. In 2014 I gave birth to my third child in the Willow Suite tub.
My midwifery training has been a reflection of my commitment to caring service: I have worked with 9 different Virginia midwives, volunteered with Medical Ministry International (Dominican Republic), African Birth Collective (Senegal), interned at Casa de Nacimiento (El Paso, TX), and birth assisted at Heartland Health Clinic (Dayton, VA). I received my Certified Professional Midwife certificate and my Virginia License in 2010. On Labor Day of the same year I opened Brookhaven Natural Birth Center. I have been a certified preceptor from the beginning of my career and have trained more than 13 student midwives that have gone on to become licensed providers. I have attended over 700 births and thousands of prenatal and postpartum visits.
I currently serve as the President of the Virginia Birth Center Alliance, Vice President of the American Association of Birth Centers, as well as sit on the DEI committee, and am the liaison to the Standards and Education committees at AABC. I am also back at Eastern Mennonite University working on a Masters Certificate in the Trauma and Resilience in Health Care program.
Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife
I’ve had an interest in birth since childhood. At the age of nineteen, while browsing through various book titles at a local bookstore, I discovered ‘Spiritual Midwifery’ by Ina May Gaskin. Like others, I was captivated by the images and words written by women fully engaged in the birthing process; welcoming and celebrating the process of childbirth. Several books on childbirth later, I began my midwifery studies at the National College of Midwifery and the Northern New Mexico Women’s Health & Birth Center in Taos, New Mexico. Having graduated and completed my training, I sat for the NARM exam in August of 2003 achieving the Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) credential. Later that year, I became a mother with the birth of our son, born at home into the hands of a midwife and friend.
In 2006, I opened a small community home birth practice, Rockbridge Midwifery. Over the years I’ve enjoyed caring for women and their families, while also growing my own family with the birth of our second son in 2006 and our daughter in 2012.
Birth is powerful as are women! I believe in the intuition of mothers and that birth works best when a woman is in the environment she feels safest, with the people of her choosing. I’m happy to be working with the families of Brookhaven as we collaborate for the safest and most satisfying birth possible in the birth center or at home.
I am licensed to practice midwifery by the Virginia Board of Medicine, certified in neonatal resuscitation and adult CPR and a member of the Virginia Midwives Alliance.
Certified Professional Midwife, Licensed Midwife
I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2014 and immediately joined the first class of midwifery students in the Academy of Experiential Midwifery Education in Charlottesville. In 2015, after a year at the academy, I was honored to begin an apprenticeship at Brookhaven. I spent two wonderful years attending birth in the community and learning from these dedicated midwives. At the end of that two years I decided to leave Brookhaven for some world traveling and new experiences. Come fall of 2018 I was ready to return to Brookhaven to complete my training. I am so excited to step into the role of Midwife as I worked with many of the families I had served before as a student.
Office Manager, Billing Specialist
I am a Harrisonburg native and currently live in Rockingham County with my husband. I decided to become a part of Brookhaven Birth Center stemming from my own birth experiences and desire for more natural pregnancy and delivery.
I knew from the moment I discovered I was pregnant with both of my children that I would hire a midwife for my care. After having two natural hospital births I still somehow felt as if something was missing from my experiences. I wanted more options of birthing positions, being able to deliver in water, laboring at my own pace, and generally feeling more freedom. Having those options at Brookhaven, along with many others, are the reasons I feel blessed to have the honor of helping families achieve the birth experiences that they desire.
Sarah Katawicz-Front Office
Caeli Werner – Midwife Apprentice
My first memory with midwifery was when I was seven years old. My mom was laying on our couch and Robin, her midwife, was bent over her. I could hear the wosh wosh of the Doppler. I was fascinated. Robin was listening to the baby. Is this a real job?
As I grew up, I became more and more reverenced by the beauty of a life forming in a mother. And later I discovered the beauty of the woman’s development, too. I wanted to grow more in this knowledge and loved to listen to my friends explain what they were experiencing in pregnancy.
I decided to make a definitive step. I saw that my friends and all mothers needed caring and listening in their prenatals, freedom in their birthing, and knowledgeable caregivers. All of these factors seem most fulfilled in midwifery; so, I knew where I wanted to be. I started researching midwifery and love Elizabeth Davis’s book Heart and Hands.
Brookhaven has opened up an incredible opportunity for me to learn firsthand from knowledgeable, caring midwives. The care given at Brookhaven incorporates the whole person, body and soul, and celebrates the uniqueness of each family. These are the things I want to embody in my work as a midwife. The blessings that each child brings to a family, starting even before he is born, is an incredible gift, and I am excited about learning how to care for women during this miraculous time in their lives.
My interest in midwifery stems from my experiences supporting friends during pregnancy and early parenting. Many of these friends were in situations that were not ideal and most were unsupported by family. I was able to help them with relaxation and stress reduction and in gaining confidence in their parenting skills once their baby arrived. I hope to continue this legacy of supporting all mothers as a midwife, whether they have family support and especially if they do not. My passion is to serve and support young and single mothers with unintended pregnancies.
For the past ten years I have been working in assisted living facilities as a Certified Nursing Assistant as well as Registered Medication Aide. I really enjoy assisting the elderly with mobility and independence and love bringing them comfort. Honoring them where they are and acknowledging their feelings is a skill I feel I possess. I find end of life care to be not so different from the beginning of life care. It is a sacred space to bear witness to.
I grew up in central Virginia and met and married my loving and handy husband 11 years ago. We have a ten year old child that I consider my mini-me – they are crafty and loves animals. We have two cats and several goats that feel like family!
When I am not working you will find me in my yard gardening, collecting vegetables to can, herbs to be dried, working on the nearly hundred-year-old house we decided to fix up, or talking, playing, and relaxing with my goats. In the fall and winter, I get into making some herbal tinctures and teas to use throughout the year in my skincare products, and I also love reading and knitting.
Once I am a Certified Professional Midwife and our child has graduated high school my husband and I plan on making a major life move across the country to start a health center. Until then we want to keep them in a place that they know and can flourish into the bright young person we know they will become. I am truly excited to get started on my midwifery apprenticeship at Brookhaven and getting to know the mothers that make it possible.
Kateri Gibson – Midwife Apprentice
I have always had a desire to have my births at home as my mother had all my older siblings at home with a midwife. The thought of becoming a midwife began last year after hearing about the birth experiences of my friends during quarantine. The restrictive regulations
Hospitals had in place, especially only allowing one person with the laboring moms, gave me a sense of sadness and compassion. To me birth is supposed to be an extraordinary and spiritual experience, surrounded by those you love. The more I researched birth options; home, hospital, birth centers, the more I wanted to be able to help women through their pregnancies and births. The more I read up on midwives,
their model of care and respect for mothers, the more I fell in love with the practice. I wanted to be a part of the miracle of new life. I ordered some books and hit the internet for as much information as I could absorb in my spare time. During my research on schools and programs I
found Brookhaven and instantly knew it was where I wanted to be. As a kinesthetic learner I appreciate the hands-on teaching to become the best midwife I can be.
Erin Hurst LMT, BCTMB