Meet your merchant: Welcome to the world of Sweet Arrivals Midwifery
Sweet Arrivals Midwifery
P.O. Box 2301, Nevada City, CA 95959
By appointment only
Cindy Foxfoot, LM, 530-559-2009
Kathy Boyer, LM, CPM, 530-913-3841
Cindy Foxfoot and Kathy Boyer, both licensed midwives, casually laughed and chatted in their Nevada City office Thursday morning, but each sporadically glanced down to check their phones and pagers, just in case a client might be going into labor.
Few would be surprised to learn that midwives still need pagers in Nevada County, as not everyone has pristine cell service.
Living life on call is nothing new to Foxfoot and Boyer. Between the two of them, the duo has attended more than 1,375 births. Before the two became licensed midwives, business partners and opened their own practice, Sweet Arrivals Midwifery in 2006, their early experiences in the field seemed to parallel one another.
Both Boyer and Foxfoot became interested in midwifery while studying as undergraduates — Boyer at College of the Atlantic in Maine, and Foxfoot at UC Davis. Both women also went on to apprentice and work with longtime Nevada County midwife Alison Osborn, and both had the extraordinary opportunity in their early careers to train and work at Casa de Nacimiento, a now-closed birth center in El Paso, Texas. Situated on the Mexican border near the city of Juarez, El Paso’s per capita birth ratio is one of the highest in the nation, which made the center a perfect location for midwives to come and train.
“I was there for 110 births in three months,” said Foxfoot. “Overall, my Spanish isn’t great, but I can definitely do births in Spanish.”
The pair began working together with Osborn in 1998, a full eight years before branching off to start their own business.
“Alison, who now takes only one or two clients every few months, sort of pushed us out of the nest,” said Boyer. “Cindy and I have been together so many years — we know each other so well that sometimes we don’t even have to talk. Cindy was my midwife for the births of both of my children.”
“Kathy and I have a natural partnership,” echoed Foxfoot. “We’ve raised our kids together and sometimes they’re together when we’re at births.”
The name, “Sweet Arrivals Midwifery” just seemed to come naturally to the pair when they first opened their Nevada City practice. They rented two exam rooms in a former doctor’s office and knocked down the wall between them to create one welcoming space. They’ve been in that spot ever since.
“Our model is unique here,” said Boyer. “We believe birth and pregnancy are normal, healthy events in a person’s life, not a disease.”
Care at Sweet Arrivals is very family-centered and holistic, added Boyer, with an emphasis on giving respect and responsibility to their clients. Families are provided a lot of information designed to help them make their own decisions based on their personal belief systems.
“We don’t impose our own beliefs on our clients — we support families and meet them where they’re at, without judgement,” said Foxfoot. “Part of the art of midwifery is helping and supporting each individual birth, which includes coming up with a unique plan and scenario. It’s different every time.”
Services at Sweet Arrivals Midwifery include an average of 10 to 14 visits during pregnancy. This includes monthly prenatal visits until the mother is 28 weeks pregnant, then every two weeks until she reaches 36 weeks. After that, visits are weekly until the birth. Prenatal exams include monitoring nutrition, weight, blood pressure, urine, the baby’s growth, position and heart rate.
Private birth classes are given at 34 weeks and at the 36-week home visit. After the birth, visits include one the very next day, another three days out and a third at one week postpartum — all in the home. All appointments are an hour long, and much emphasis is also put on managing life changes and emotional or social stressors that could arise.
The practice also offers all the same clinical tests, evaluations and procedures that one would find in a medical doctor’s office, said Boyer, but Sweet Arrivals gives families options. Each client’s decision to refuse or decline something over the course of the pregnancy is honored.
“We treat the whole family — the mother, the birth partner and the children — we include all of them in our care,” said Foxfoot. “It’s not unusual to have the kids in the office too.”
Both Boyer and Foxfoot hold current and adult resuscitation certificates and are trained in handling emergencies. While the hope is always to have the birth at home, agreements are made between the families and midwives in advance as to when a transport to the hospital would be deemed necessary.
Of the 30 to 40 births they oversee each year, only once have two births occurred on the same day. When it comes to vacations, they never go away at the same time, making one of them always available, 24 hours a day.
Despite their wisdom and vast experience in the field, Foxfoot and Boyer maintain a certain humility and profound respect for the clients they see and all they are experiencing surrounding each birth. An added joy, they say, is when families come back for the birth of a second or third child.
“Midwifery is never about you, the midwife,” said Boyer, “We are here to serve the family. Nearly all of our babies have been born in the best health possible — vaginally, gently and at home. We have a really high breast feeding rate. Our babies have a pretty ideal start.”
“The most rewarding part of what I do is watching the mothers and families be transformed by the experience,” said Foxfoot. “It feels good to know that the children will go into the future with a healthy view of the birthing experience. We really try to make it an empowering experience, and you can definitely see it in the families we’ve come to know.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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