at her new collaborative practice...
Phone (510) 775-2229
Fax (510) 751-4554
I was so fortunate to have Ellie Griffinger as my midwife for the birth of my son in February. After a tough emotional birth of my daughter 4 years ago during which I felt disempowered and unheard throughout, this time around, I knew I wanted something different for the birth of my second child, our son.
With our son, I switched to Ellie for prenatal care at 22 weeks of pregnancy. From the start, I felt at ease by her comfortable manner. She was in agreement that the success of a positive delivery is NOT limited to the often said “as long as mother and baby are healthy.” She empathized with my dissatisfaction relating to my first birth and explained that there are indeed many options available to a mother regarding her healthcare and that of her baby, even within a hospital setting. Because she is both a medical nurse and a midwife, she nurtured the mama in me while caring for medical needs as well. And because her deliveries take place in the hospital, I knew that should an emergency occur, we’d already be at the hospital where the medical equipment and technology was available should they become necessary.
Thanks to Ellie, throughout the pregnancy and birth, I was well informed and felt heard and empowered every step of the way. The issues that were important to me became important to her. At each prenatal visit, she took the time to hear my many, many concerns and wishes for the delivery, as well as those of my husband. As soon as she learned that I had had post-partum depression after the birth of my daughter, she respectfully and caringly provided resources including some to address the effects that the depression might have had on our family, something I didn't realize fully until then. She explained options and provided such accommodations wherever she could. She included our daughter in those pre-natal visits — the memory of our 4 year old daughter excitedly hearing our son’s heartbeat and her helping "Midwife Ellie,” as she called her, measure my belly will never be forgotten. Details like those allowed our entire family to feel included in the anticipation of the arrival of our newest family member. With each visit with her, my anxieties were quieted and I felt equipped with more resources to help me with my needs.
When the time for delivery came, I knew that this birth experience would be much different than my first. Ellie was waiting for us in front of the hospital when we drove in at 3AM. She promptly got us into a great delivery room and made sure that the nursing staff was brought up to speed regarding our birth plan. She wiped down the tray table in our hospital room with those ultra cleaning wipes while we were there because she knew that we were self-declared germaphobes. Ellie was in my room from start to finish, through the contractions, the different coping options — in the shower, in the tub, out of the shower, back in the shower. She was flexible when I changed my original decision for an epidural. Just having the same caretaker there alone felt so wonderfully different from my first experience, let alone one who knew us well and sincerely cared for us. It was very clear to me that Ellie did everything that she could to ensure that our experience matched our birth plan as closely as possible, while always keeping mama and baby safe and healthy and being flexible to any changes of preference we may have had during the delivery. She was kind, more than competent, encouraging, and supportive from start to post delivery. Although my labor and the delivery of our son was physically and emotionally taxing (he was nearly 10 lbs and I am 5’ tall), it was also one of the most empowering and wonderful moments of my life.
I am so glad that when our son was born, the hands that caught him and the face he saw were those of Midwife Ellie with whom we felt all the confidence in the world. After our son was born, I actually really missed our appointments with Ellie. I realized she was not only my caretaker but that she had also become our friend that had guided us through pregnancy to postpartum with the kind of care a friend would provide. The residual effects of her care have left me feeling more positive, more assured of myself as a mama and more empowered with my own health and family. I cannot begin to thank her enough for giving me the positive experience of our son’s birth.