I gave birth to my first child, Paloma, in 1997 at September Hill Birth Center in Montour Falls, New York. Even though I had been interested in and reading about birth for several years, I was still shocked by the raw power of the experience. It was then that I realized I wanted to be involved with helping expectant parents and their families experience birth in a loving and nurtured way. Out of this realization grew my desire to help empower parents and families through personalized midwifery care, education, and emotional support.
In 1999, I was present at the birth of my sister’s first child. This was the first birth I had attended (besides my own), and again I was incredibly inspired by the strength and power of labor and birth. I found out about doulas, and in 2001 I completed the requirements to become a certified doula through Doulas of North America (DONA). I attended many births as a doula, and as rewarding as it was to help birthing parents as a labor support person, I always had my eye on the midwife or doctor, watching and observing everything they did. I learned a great deal during those years, especially about hospital maternity care. I realized that much needed to change, and I wanted to be a part of the movement to improve maternity care.
My second child, Samson, was born in May of 2000 at home after a precipitous 2-hour labor. My midwife was present, but she acknowledged that I was doing fine, and stayed quietly available in the corner of the room. I learned from this experience that midwives fill many different roles, and sometimes doing less is more.
In 2002, I attended a Birthing From Within mentor training workshop with Pam England, and began teaching childbirth classes. Working with Pam helped me to better understand and acknowledge the importance of the spiritual, emotional, and psychological aspects of pregnancy and birthing. I expanded my doula business to include classes, and was busy for several years teaching classes, attending births, and offering postpartum and breastfeeding support.
My medical training began in 2004 when I entered nursing school. My formal education includes an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing in 2006 from Tompkins Cortland Community College in Dryden, New York and a Master of Science in Nursing/Midwifery in 2011 from Frontier Nursing University in Hyden, Kentucky. My clinical training as a midwife took place in a variety of settings, including home, birth center, and hospital. I am certified in adult and pediatric CPR, as well as neonatal resuscitation. I am a member of the American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), the Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA), the New York State Association of Licensed Midwives (NYSALM), and Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality (GLMA). I hold New York State midwifery, nursing, and nurse practitioner licenses and am nationally certified by the American Midwifery Certification Board (AMCB).
My practice is located in Ithaca, New York, and I serve the greater Finger Lakes region of central New York. I support and welcome all clients regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity, physical ability, family structure, or religion. All services are provided in a respectful, compassionate, and professional manner.
Sandra works with several different birth assistants. All are registered nurses and certified in neonatal resuscitation, with experience and training in attending births at home. As a client of BirthRoot Midwifery, you will have a chance to meet the birth assistant who will be attending your birth at the 36-week home visit.
Check out the wonderful families that we work with!