Midwifery Education and Experience
I came to midwifery from my own birth experience with my first child in a small rural hospital in Québec, and the birth of my second daughter at home, attended by midwives and began attending births in 1991 as a home birth apprentice in Ontario and Québec, prior to legalization. I earned a 4 year Bachelor of Health Sciences, Midwifery degree, (the world’s first university-level direct entry midwifery program), from Ryerson University in Canada (1997) with distinction, recently completed the U.S. National Midwifery Institute program and wrote the North American Registry of Midwives exam to qualify for my California license. I have attended births in Canada, The Netherlands and the USA. My heart has always been at home!
I practiced as a Registered Midwife in Ontario and Québec doing home, hospital and birth center births (woman’s choice) until 2014, with the same wonderful ‘old babe’ midwives I apprenticed and trained with. As a midwife I have always been on call 24/7 (with the odd weekend and holiday off call), providing full continuity of care. My experience includes attendance at almost 700 births, many continuing education courses, dozens of workshops and conferences around the world. Over the past 20 years I have been a preceptor for many midwifery students in the Ontario B.H.Sc., Midwifery program and Québec’s Baccalauréat en pratique sages-femmes.
I am delighted to find myself working with a solid and collaborative community of midwives, doulas, acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors and other more mainstream medical care providers when needed. I feel extremely fortunate and happy to be a home birth midwife in this community. It is truly the icing on the cake for me!
Midwifery at the local and state level has always been a passion, and I regularly attend meetings to support the work of the California Association of Licensed Midwives. Midwifery in California is at a crossroads where political action is essential to maintain hard-fought gains, change restrictive regulations and increase women’s choices.
Prior Education & Experience
My prior education includes a B.A. in English/Film Studies. Until midwifery came along and kidnapped me my work was with or for Canadian non-profit women’s organizations at the local, provincial and national level. I was active in policy development, lobbying politicians, organizing communities, fundraising and assisting with community, skills and organizational development.
I strive to maximize possibilities, open up options within the context of your pregnancy, your health and the story of your life. I offer care informed by the best quality current best-practices evidence (which tells us that with normal, less intervention is better), balanced with your specific needs, values and desires. We do this through discussion, education and informed choice and refusal.
Deep faith in birth and in a woman’s inherent ability to labor and give birth is what keeps me motivated. Experience has taught me when to sit back and when to act. Birth is powerful. It can be transformative, empowering, magical. My goal is for you to have the birth you dream of, in the context of the best quality and safest possible care.
A life-long Canadian, I came to Santa Cruz in late 2014 for love. My husband and I met several years ago on a holiday in Mexico. We could not be happier together. You may find me teaching prenatal yoga or attending classes at Luma Yoga and Family Center, continuing to learn to kitesurf, at the movies, or walking the beach.
Kelly Olmstead, LM, CPM, Santa Cruz
Kelly Olmstead LM, CPM, Tari Neill LM, CPM and I are three independent licensed midwives that formed PacCom to allow us to offer the best quality care to women at all times. Having attended many births together, clients benefit from our experience with and trust in one another. We do not share clients but we do generally meet each others’ clients. Ask me about how it works.