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.
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 have attended over 600 births and thousands of prenatal and postpartum visits.
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 and youngest son. I am also a new grandmother to a sweet baby girl! 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.
My passion for healthcare began in high school when I met and shadowed an amazing OB/GYN who inspired me to pursue a career in women’s health. I attended and graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Public Health and a minor in Medical Humanities. During my time at the University of South Carolina, I had the opportunity to study public health internationally, traveling and working in village clinics and hospitals in countries such as Belize, Nicaragua, and Argentina. I also conducted field research on HIV/AIDS disparities in rural South Carolina. My senior graduation project involved researching and studying disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality, mainly addressing the high cesarean rate
s found globally. Through this project, I discovered the undeniable evidence that midwives are part of the solution to improving outcomes for women and infants. I became a birth and postpartum doula in 2016. Following my doula training, I also trained to become a childbirth educator. From there, I just knew my next step was to become a midwife in order to support women and their options surrounding birth and healthcare. I enrolled at the National Midwifery Institute in 2018 and gained some experience apprenticing at a water birth center in South Carolina. I am elated to begin my apprentice journey at Brookhaven and to learn from the wonderful midwives that practice here.
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.
Rebecca Amstutz-Midwife Apprentice
My journey towards midwifery began long before I was familiar with midwives and the midwife model of care. I wanted to become a maternal health care professional from the age of 14, as it seemed the perfect intersection of a desire to serve others and a fascination with birth and babies. With the goal of becoming an OB/GYN in mind, I went to Indiana Wesleyan University and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree with a double major in Pre-Medical Science and International and Community Development. However, as I learned more about medical school and hospital birth, I became disenchanted with the idea of becoming a doctor, and so after college I became a full time volunteer at a nonprofit in Chicago, where I met my husband. The desire to work with moms and babies didn’t go away, however, so over several years I tried to find my fit by training as a doula and a lactation consultant, volunteering in a maternity home, and working in infant care. Through this searching, I found the midwifery model of care and decided to train as a Certified Professional Midwife.
Erin Hurst LMT, BCTMB