Meet our Midwives

What is a Midwife?
 
A Midwife:

 

  • Sees pregnancy and childbirth as a normal physiological process

  • Respects and supports clients so that they may give birth safely, with power and dignity

  • Is a trained professional who provides complete and comprehensive care to clients through all stages of pregnancy and birth and continues to care for both the pregnant person and baby for six weeks postpartum.

 

 

The International Definition of a Midwife:
 

...[someone who] has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practice midwifery. They must be able to give the necessary supervision, care and advice to people during pregnancy, labour and the postpartum period, to conduct deliveries on their own responsibility and to care for the newborn infant. This care includes preventative measures, the detection of abnormal conditions in the childbearing person and child, the procurement of medical assistance and the execution of emergency measures in the absence of medical help. Midwives have an important task in health counseling and education, not only for the patients, but also within the family and community. The work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood, and extends to certain areas of gynecology, family planning and child care. Midwives may practice in hospital, clinics, health units, domiciliary conditions, or in any other service.

 

 

Legal Status
 

The Midwifery Act is part of the Regulated Health Professions Act of Ontario which was proclaimed on January 1, 1994. Since proclamation of the Act, midwives are required to be registered with the College of Midwives of Ontario. Midwifery care is now publicly funded through the Ministry of Health.

 

"The midwives in our practice catch close to 400 babies each year"

The practice began with and continues to have midwives from various backgrounds. Some are graduates from the Ontario Midwifery Education Program based at Ryerson, McMaster and Laurentian Universities. Others are trained internationally and certified through the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program.

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Stephanie Arsenault (On Leave)

Meet Stephanie Arsenault. I was born and raised in Montreal. I first learned of Midwifery in college in 1994 during a women's studies course. I was so excited about this new/old profession in Canada that I rushed home to tell my Grandmother, a British nurse, about Midwifery! Needless to say, she was not surprised in the least. She had her first born at home with Midwives in England! Thus began my love affair with birth and Midwifery. I went on to have two children born at home with Midwives in two different provinces. While living in Northern Ontario I became very active as a consumer, promoting Midwifery. After my second son was born in 1994, I decided to apply to the Midwifery Education Programme. The rest is history. I completed my degree in 1998, and I have worked as a Midwife for the last six years at the Gatineau Birth Centre. When I am not practicing Midwifery, I am a soccer Mom. I can often be seen chauffeuring my two sons to and from soccer and basketball games.

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Melissa Dorsay

Introducing Melissa Dorsay. I was born and raised in Ottawa, then moved to Toronto to start what I thought would be a lifetime in academia. I first learned about midwifery in a Women's Studies class and fell in love with it. I started writing all about pregnancy and birth, but it was only while I was finishing my Master's degree that I realized I needed to step away from my books and start doing what I was writing about. I enrolled in the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson in 2005 and haven't looked back. After working for two years in Belleville, Ontario, moving back to Ottawa has meant being able to reconnect with my home community. When I'm not working, you can find me with my nose in a book, growing vegetables, crafting or experimenting with vegetarian cooking.

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Jess Fahey

I grew up in the Gatineau Hills on what is Algonquin and Anishinaabe territory. After many years spent all over North America, I live there once more, this time with my own little family in a century old cottage on the Gatineau River. 
 
The first time I heard about midwifery was from my grandmother who told the story of being caught by a rural midwife in 1918. Today, over one hundred years later, the practice of midwifery is flourishing, and I feel extremely fortunate to find myself surrounded by inspiring clients and colleagues alike. 
 
In my pre-midwifery life I lived in Montreal where I received a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from McGill, coordinated the Center for Gender Advocacy and managed a cooperative feminist bookstore. Throughout these years I organized with groups working to provide free prenatal care and labour support to folks without healthcare or in more precarious social positions. I continue to make this a focal point in my practice as a care provider. 
 
I had my first child the day I submitted my application to the midwifery program in 2014. Apparently hitting ‘send’ released the surge of oxytocin (or perhaps cortisol) needed to kick-start labour. Fast forward 9 months, I was pregnant again, and now have two amazing little ones.
 
I would be honored to work with you and your family in the childbearing year, and I thank you for welcoming me to be a part of your care team. Je parle français et il me fera plaisir d'offrir des soins dans la langue de votre choix.

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Marcia Geisterfer

Greetings, my name is Marcia Geisterfer and I am thrilled to be joining the team at the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa!
 
A bit about myself: I was born in Woodstock, ON to a Dutch immigrant family, and raised in Hamilton ON where I was initially introduced to midwifery. After completing a degree in French literature, I pursued my ambitions to become a midwife.  My first exposure to birth was in Russia and Holland.  Wanting to gain more experience, I apprenticed in Haiti with an American midwife; my circuitous path then took me to America where I became a certified doula in Hoboken, New Jersey. I worked there for over 7 years. I am a mother of three beautiful children all of whom were welcomed into the world in the comfort of our home, by a midwife.  I returned to school to become a midwife in 2012, and completed the Midwifery Education Program from McMaster University in May, 2016.
 
Midwifery is my passion- I have been a consumer of midwifery care, an advocate of the midwifery philosophy: continuity of care, informed choice, and choice of birthplace; I am honoured to support and empower women, and their families, during their journey through pregnancy and childbirth, providing quality care to ensure a positive, healthy and happy birth experience

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Elm Klemic (On Leave)

My name is Elm Klemic and I am excited to be joining the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa!

I was born and raised in Southern California and immigrated to Canada with my partner in 2008. We have three young children all born at home with midwives in BC and Ontario. It was my own wonderful experiences with midwifery care that fueled my decision to become a midwife in the first place. At my core I value providing safe, inclusive, anti-oppressive, and individualized care to my clients. I am committed to honouring every birthing family’s unique and complex needs and the importance of informed choice, regardless of what path their birthing journey takes.
 
Before entering Laurentian University’s midwifery program, I graduated from the University of Victoria with a Master’s in English (medieval and Early Modern studies / feminism) where I wrote a thesis on Shakespeare and historical renditions of sexual assault; and from the University of California, Irvine with a bachelor’s in English and philosophy. I also worked as a doula for low-income families in Vancouver and have assisted in research on induced lactation, co-nursing, waterbirth, LGBTQ+ care, and hidden homelessness. In my free time I enjoy reading, camping, video games, tabletop games, playing bass, and going on spontaneous road trips with my family.

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Brigid Matheson

My name is Brigid Matheson and I am thrilled to be joining the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa! I discovered midwifery partway through my undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo. I immediately feel in love with the model of care and the opportunity to provide client centered care to women and their families at such an important time in their lives. I completed the Midwifery Education Program at McMaster University in April 2015 and have been loving work as a midwife since. 

I have lived all over Canada, from the Saskatchewan, to the eastern most part of Quebec to Northern Ontario. I love traveling and exploring new regions and I am so excited to get to know Ottawa and to be working here. When I’m not doing midwifery you can find me running half marathons, cooking and baking up a storm and enjoying the outdoors with my partner.

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Lisa Middleton

Hi, my name is Lisa Middleton and I am overly enthusiastic to be providing care for women as part of the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa! For 10 years I worked as a sexual assault counsellor, sexual and reproductive health educator & advocate all over Ontario and South Africa which cultivated my love for all things birth and women. Being a part of women’s birth experiences and helping provide safe-space for all women to bring new life in this world is truly an honour. As a midwife, I deeply value that whatever kind of birth you seek/have that you have options, that you are supported in your choice and that you are respected.
 
I grew up in Brampton and I have mostly lived in Ottawa for the past 10 years while traveling all around the world. Prior to completing my degree in midwifery at Ryerson University (Toronto), I completed a Bachelor of Social Work and a Masters in Social Work from Carleton University (Ottawa). When I am not birthing babies I hang out with my ‘baby’ (my daughter), my wonderful partner, my two gigantic dogs and a cat. I enjoy dabbling in triathlons and marathons and have been an avid runner and swimmer for most of my life.
 
I look forward to meeting you and sharing in your birth experience!

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Wendy Thomson

My name is Wendy Thomson and I am truly proud to be providing midwifery care to the women and families served by the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa. Raised in Ottawa, my life has brought me down many roads. I first felt the pull of midwifery while attending university and homesteading in Nova Scotia. I became a supporter of the Nova Scotia Midwifery Coalition while providing labour support at homebirths.
 
My daughter’s homebirth, with the support of amazing midwives, confirmed my passion for this caring profession. It was the most empowering experience in my life and I feel compelled to help other women have equally positive experiences.
 
Prior to graduating from the Midwifery Education Program at Laurentian, I ran an artistic-blacksmithing business while raising my daughter. I have also worked and travelled extensively in Central America and hold a degrees in silversmithing, anthropology and herbology.
 
I have been blessed with the opportunity to live my dream and look forward to helping empower the mothers of our community through their birth experience.

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Vanessa Cates

Hello! I’m Vanessa Cates, I’m excited to be joining the midwives at the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa!

I first learned about Midwifery when a close friend had her daughter at home with Midwives. The model and approach to care resonated with me and has since become one of my favourite parts about the profession. I graduated from the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson in 2017 and have been working in Toronto ever since. I’m born and bred in Ottawa and am looking forward to rediscovering and working in my hometown!

In my pre midwifery life I graduated from Carleton University with a Bachelor of Arts in history and political science and worked at a nonprofit that provided community based health care.

When I’m not catching babies you can find me playing with my two nieces, reading, puzzling and all sorts of crafty pandemic acquired hobbies like macrame and embroidery!

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Megan MacDonald (she/her)

Hello! My name is Megan MacDonald (she/her), and I am excited to be joining the midwives at the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa! Having been brought into the world by midwives pre
regulation, it is really a pleasure to be welcoming babies into the world as a midwife myself.

I was born and raised in Stratford, Ontario and relocated to Ottawa in 2011 where I completed an Honours Bachelor of Health Sciences from the University of Ottawa. My undergrad also took me to Lyon, France, where I spent some time studying and travelling. Je suis bilingue et ça me fera plaisir de vous donner des soins en français!

My calling to be a midwife unfolded and solidified during my undergraduate degree. As a
student, I had the opportunity to work on a reproductive health research project. This project sparked my interest in sexual and reproductive health rights. In particular, the rights to informed choice and trusting relationships with one’s care provider was my motivation to begin studies in the Midwifery Education Program at Laurentian University. As a midwife, I look forward to supporting informed choice and continuity of care with my clients. I place significant value on upholding safe and trusting relationships, which ensures that my clients are in control of their care during their pregnancy and birthing experience.

When I am not on call you can find me cooking, tending to my plants, adventuring the outdoors hiking swimming & biking, and spending time with my partner, friends, and family!

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Emily Geens

Hi, my name is Emily Geens (pronounced like 'greens' with no 'r') and I use she/her pronouns. I am ecstatic to be joining the group of midwives and staff at the Midwifery Collective of Ottawa in August 2021. Originally from Cobourg Ontario, I discovered midwifery while completing a Bachelor of Science in Kingston. I moved to Toronto with my partner in 2016 to complete the midwifery program at Ryerson. I graduated in 2020 and worked just over a year at a busy downtown midwifery practice catching babies at home, the Toronto Birth Centre and one of the largest level 3 teaching hospitals in the province.

A small-town girl at heart, I am so happy to be moving to our capital city, where I've heard the cycling, green spaces, and people are all excellent. My partner and I welcome all advice about the best places to take our beloved, high-energy cattle dog/border collie mix. When I'm off call, you will find me reading romance novels while camping or at the cottage. When I'm working, my goals are to provide you with supportive, informed and individualized care. Congratulations on your pregnancy, I look forward to meeting and working with you!

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Rachel Walker

My name is Rachel and I'm very excited to be joining the Midwifery Collective. I was born and raised in Hearst; a small town in northeastern Ontario, prior to moving to Montreal which I called home for over a decade. Since graduating from the Laurentian University Midwifery Education Program in 2018 I have worked in the Durham Region but am excited to be returning to practice in the Ottawa area.

Prior to midwifery I completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from McGill where through my experience there with pregnancy and birth I discovered that I wanted to offer more to my clients and that continuity of care was a strong belief I held in providing care. This is where I began exploring midwifery and became hooked. I was lucky to be able to transition right from nursing to midwifery and have continued to love and learn about all we can do for clients and their families to support them through their decisions for their pregnancies, births and postpartum periods.

In my time off I love spending time with my wonderful partner and our two dogs. You can find me regularly on the trails hiking and mountain biking or snuggled up with a good book. I look forward to meeting you and your families!