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Midwife 'catches' the keepers

"Mothers deliver babies; I catch them," says Karla Morgan, who feels that God called her to be a midwife and considers it to be her life's ministry.

She "caught" the first baby of 2010 in Port Angeles.

Morgan always has been interested in babies and their delivery. For a third-grade writing assignment, she wrote that she wanted to be a nurse and help mommies have babies. During elementary school she read all she could about medicine, again finding she was most interested in the information about babies and birth.

During high school, she had a couple of friends who became pregnant and she was fascinated with the growing babies and the changes her friends experienced.

At 22, after receiving an associate degree in general studies and a certificate in music, she was talking to a friend about her need to find her life's work. Her friend told her it was obvious she should be a midwife.



No abortions

Morgan looked into becoming a nurse but was distressed by needing to learn to participate in abortions.

That was against her religious principles so she looked for another way to be involved in birthing.

Midwifery was a perfect fit.

Morgan has been a nursing assistant and asked to be given night shifts and help with obstetrics. She has studied with doctors, nurses and midwives to learn all she could about catching babies. Her studies included the Seattle Midwifery School and with Dr. Nial Ettinghausen in California, who specializes in home births with no drugs. She spent about three years gaining the skills necessary to help with home births.



Started in '89

Morgan started helping mothers in 1989. Sometimes she will catch 12 to 15 babies in one year, other times as few as three or four. She jokes that she is going to write a memoir called "Midwife in a Retirement Community."

Actually, some of her work comes from people who have retired to Sequim and are visited by relatives who are pregnant. Morgan is glad to counsel the women and help monitor the health of mother and child while they are in the area.

However, Morgan cautions she is not a doctor and if she finds a medical problem either with the mother or the child, she urges mom to see a doctor.

"I have a great respect for medicine and medical professionals," she says.

"An obstetrician is necessary for a high-risk or sick mom or high risk or sick baby. A midwife can provide the care for a normal healthy mom and a normal healthy baby."

Until the 1920s most babies were born in homes.



Pre-partum advice

Morgan's care for a pregnant mother begins as soon as the woman knows she is expecting.

Morgan makes sure the mother has the proper nutrition, proper supplements, enough exercise and sleep.

She says it is like training for a marathon. She feels that long, difficult deliveries often can be avoided by proper training and care.

If a mother wants to have her child in a hospital, Morgan will act as coach and come to the hospital as an invited guest. She can advocate for the mother if she sees a need or act as a labor coach.

She says she works well with the staff of Olympic Medical Center and that they have no problem with her being present at the birth at the mother's request.

Morgan stresses that her work is about building a loving, trusting relationship with the parents while she shares this special time in their lives.

She wants everyone involved to be as happy and comfortable as possible and will provide whatever help the parents need or want.

Morgan focuses her work in Clallam and Jefferson counties but has attended births in several states.

Anyone interested in her services can contact her at 683-3972.



Reach Dana Casey at dcasey@sequimgazette.com.



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