Over the past three and a half years, Shasta Midwives has brought 112 babies into the world, said Licensed Midwife Sue Wolcott.

More Siskiyou County women are opting to have babies on their own terms at home or in the homelike setting of Shasta Midwives Birth Center in Mount Shasta. Over the past three and a half years, Shasta Midwives has brought 112 babies into the world, said Licensed Midwife Sue Wolcott.

For a fee of $4,500 – some of which is covered by insurance – mothers receive care from the time they learn they’re pregnant to six weeks postpartum. Shasta Midwives offers hour-long prenatal appointments with a holistic approach. They discuss a mother’s diet, nutrition, fluid intake, exercise and psychological/social health, as well as newborn care.

Shasta Midwives offers payment plans, said Wolcott, and they’re able to deliver babies at homes that are within a half-hour radius of a hospital.

The Birth Center in Mount Shasta is another option for families who live further away from a hospital – like in Happy Camp – or mothers who don’t want to have their babies at home but also don’t want to give birth in a hospital.

Tucked away at 703 South A Street in Mount Shasta, the center offers a luxurious birthing suite, complete with a full bed, private bathroom and large tub for water births. The center provides a comfortable kitchen and sitting area for family and friends, as well as a clean and inviting exam room where monthly checkups take place.

Shasta Midwives only accepts low risk moms who want an all natural birth, although emergency drugs and other equipment are always on hand. Midwives are Neonatal Resuscitation Certified and Electric Fetal Monitor Certified to perform all of the same assessments and procedures that would be done in the hospital.

Midwives offer “woman-centric” care, put an emphasis on normalcy and reduce risks by avoiding unnecessary interventions.

Shasta Midwives offers genetic testing as early as eight weeks as well as in-house blood draws so women do not need to go to a lab.

Wolcott said Shasta Midwives has a 15 percent transfer rate for first time moms who end up needing to go to the hospital, and six percent of those end in a cesarean section.

Midwives are regulated by the Medical Board of California, Wolcott added.

Why a midwife?

The most significant benefit of having a baby with a midwife is the fact that mothers can make choices for themselves, Wolcott said.

“They want to eat what they want, they want to be able to walk around, they want to wear their own clothes,” said Wolcott. “They might want a water birth, or to have the dad right there with them. They don’t want to have a nurse that they don’t know. They want consistency in their care.”

Wolcott said Shasta Midwives caters to mothers and grant any safe and reasonable request.

Laurel Bettinger of Dunsmuir said finding Shasta Midwives was one of the best things to happen to her family. She wanted to have a natural birth after a c-section with her first child, which isn’t recommended in a traditional setting.

Ada, now 10 weeks old, was born naturally at the Birth Center and Bettinger said the experience of an out-of-hospital water birth was “amazing.”

“I would do it again and again,” she said.

Student midwife Andrea Raymer, who has helped with more than 100 births on her journey to become a Registered Midwife, said it is incredible to watch women be empowered through the process of giving birth in the way she chooses.

After helping bring more than 4,500 babies into the world, Wolcott said the best part of her job is “watching really great parents become a family,” and seeing those families evolve.

“We stay in touch with moms and babies through a breastfeeding circle,” Wolcott said, which is held Thursday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon at the Birthing Center. It is hosted by lactation consultant Mona Angelini.

The circle is open to the public for any mother, whether breastfeeding or bottlefeeding, said Angelini. It provides a supportive place for mothers to learn from each other and exchange information, ideas and knowledge.

Angelini has also started Shasta Village Mamas, a system by which mothers who need extra support can have a meal delivered to them. If you would like to take advantage of the service, or want to volunteer to support a mother in the community, email shastavillagemamas@gmail.com.

To learn more about Shasta Midwives Birth Center, call Wolcott at (530) 918-5746 or visit their website online at www.shastamidwives.com.