New in West Seattle: In Tandem Midwifery opens in The Junction

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

Natural and alternative health-care options abound in West Seattle.

But if a family expecting a child wanted to explore the option of home birth with a certified midwife – there was no dedicated, midwifery-only West Seattle practice to turn to. Till now.

Taylor Hamil, LM, CPM (right), and Christine Tindal, LM, CPM, half the first graduating class from the new Department of Midwifery at Bastyr University, have opened In Tandem Midwifery in a warmly furnished Junction office, with a grand-opening event this Saturday.

Their first client is due in August. And they’re ready to welcome others.

Christine and Taylor are licensed, certified professional midwives, not nurse-midwives, though their training has included nursing care that may be needed to attend to mothers (prenatal and postpartum as well as during the birth process) and babies, to recognize complications if they arise, to stabilize until care can be transferred, and they carry medical supplies.

Taylor is a West Seattle resident; Christine says she will be, soon. They both graduated last year with master’s degrees in midwifery. They enthuse about their profession as one that “feeds the soul,” with memorable moments such as the instant when parent/s “see their baby and they forget you are in the room.”

Though their practice is new, together, as students, apprentices, and midwives, they have assisted in more than 300 births already. They say the Seattle midwifery community is excited about there being a dedicated practice in West Seattle, so they have many mentors to consult if and when necessary.

Why do moms choose midwifery care and home delivery? we ask. Taylor says the benefits include: “It’s the empowerment of knowing you can do this on your own, with a provider who trusts you have everything you need to do this thing you are meant to do.” Christine echoes, “Midwifery is inherently empowering to women and families,” as participants in decision-making, which isn’t always the case in relationships with health-care providers. She also observes, “Some women just don’t want to be in the hospital.” (Studies show that non-hospital low-risk births have a lower rate of medical intervention than hospital deliveries, and a comparable mortality rate.)

In addition to home births, they also can attend clients’ births at either of two birth centers in the city, the Center for Birth in Eastlake, or Seattle Home Maternity Service in Columbia City. Comfortable as their Junction office space looks, it’s not set up as a birth center, and West Seattle doesn’t have one of its own (though they point out, they attend home births with all the same supplies that are on hand at birth centers). The office is for pre- and postnatal care visits. They can also make home visits to bring that care to wherever you are, even before the 36-week mark in a client’s pregnancy, when they visit her home to make sure not only that it’s ready for labor/delivery but also that they know how to get there when the big day arrives.

After the baby is born – after that magic moment when the midwife leaves, with the new arrival and her/his parent/s all tucked in and resting – they have a schedule of postpartum visits, for both mother and baby, till six weeks. That includes not only health care for mother and baby, but also breastfeeding support.

Information and support are at the heart of the philosophy and practice of this kind of midwifery. There’s even a lending library at In Tandem:

How do you know that you would be a candidate for a home birth? Taylor and Christine say it’s not so much a list of prerequisites, as a list of exclusions, that covers their practice, by state law – “a low-risk ‘blanket’ falls over our scope of practice,” they explain. That might include uncontrolled high blood pressure or blood sugar, for example. But you can talk about that with them at a free initial consultation.

And yes, many insurance plans cover out-of-hospital births with certified-midwife care. Not all, though; the In Tandem billing assistant can help you figure out if yours does.

If you are not certain you want the full home-birth experience, they also offer other services – such as serving as a monitrice, a provider who will help you stay home as long as possible before going elsewhere to have your baby. “We’re trying hard to offer as many choices as possible,” said Taylor, “to (result in) a healthy mom and healthy baby.”

You can meet Christine and Taylor this Saturday as they open the doors to In Tandem Midwifery for a “grand opening” open house, noon-4 pm. (Everyone’s welcome, they assured us, not just the expectant or potentially expectant!) You can get to their offices from the breezeway at 4517 California SW in The Junction – take the stairs near the California entrance.

18 Replies to "New in West Seattle: In Tandem Midwifery opens in The Junction"

  • Marie February 20, 2012 (1:14 pm)

    This is awesome! I love we have lots of options in our community! I gave birth naturally all with 3 of my babies with midwives! It was so empowering and beautiful! Welcome ladies!

  • Valerie February 20, 2012 (1:17 pm)

    I’m well out of the demographic for their services, but I’m still happy happy happy to see them here! Welcome!

  • Amy February 20, 2012 (1:20 pm)

    I had the pleasure of meeting Christine when she subbed for my midwife on the Eastside last month. She is very knowledgeable, skilled and comfortable to work with. Great prenatal care.

  • Anna February 20, 2012 (1:42 pm)

    Yay! This is wonderful. I’m excited to inquire about their services if I find myself pregnant again. Congratulations on opening your new practice, ladies!

  • Kimberly February 20, 2012 (2:32 pm)

    I find this news to be very uplifting. When the time is right for me to have children, home birth and midwifery are at the top of my list. Thank you for coming to our community and I hope you help many empower many women and babies!

  • dameDonna February 20, 2012 (2:59 pm)

    This is wonderful! Congrats on your new office!

  • curious February 20, 2012 (3:38 pm)

    Fabulous news!

  • Meg February 20, 2012 (5:21 pm)

    YAY!!! Christine delivered our baby daughter at home when she was a student midwife and we had a great experience. So excited that you two are here in west Seattle!

  • Lorelee February 20, 2012 (9:06 pm)

    West Seattle needs more folks to deliver babies!!!! It’s kid central here!

  • Kgdlg February 20, 2012 (10:00 pm)

    Christine was at our birth too and was a wonderful support to us. Welcome to the neighborhood!!!

  • goodgraces February 21, 2012 (1:36 pm)

    I too had fabulous midwife-attended births and am thrilled that WS now has a dedicated midwifery practice. I also want to commend Tracy for a truly informed, well-written piece about midwifery. VERY impressive.

    • WSB February 21, 2012 (2:15 pm)

      Thanks, GG. Nurse-midwives at Virginia Mason, which doesn’t deliver babies any more, were my care providers before, during, and after my son’s birth 16 years ago; I wasn’t low-risk enough to even consider something like this, but I credit the CNMs with keeping interventions down to only what was absolutely necessary … TR

  • Diane February 22, 2012 (11:37 am)

    “Christine and Taylor are licensed, certified professional midwives, not nurse-midwives”
    what does this mean? what is the difference between a licensed midwife, a certified professional midwife, and a nurse-midwife?

  • M February 22, 2012 (9:17 pm)

    Diane, a CPM or licensed midwife jumps through whatever hoops there are in their state of practice to get their license. Some people can be apprentices, then pass their midwife test, and become licensed. It really depends on the state.
    Some states actually don’t require a license to practice midwifery, like Oregon.
    CNMs have a bachelor’s degree in nursing, and then add more years of education in midwifery.

  • goodgraces February 22, 2012 (10:49 pm)

    Diane, as M stated, the paths of training are different, but so, typically, are the places where they practice. CNMs generally only practice in a hospital setting. (There is only one local CNM who attends births in both hospitals and home/birth centers.) In WA state, CPMs and LMs attend births almost exclusively in homes and birth centers.

    As you might imagine, since the modes of entry and practice settings differ so markedly, the cultures of nurse midwifery and out-of-hospital midwifery are distinct. (Again, generalizations here.) Of course, at their core the two “paths” of midwifery share a belief in low-intervention, natural birth. But the particulars on how that philosophy is interpreted can vary greatly, depending on the type of midwife one is. IMHO. ;-)

  • Debra Z February 23, 2012 (6:36 am)

    Go Girls!!!!

  • Kate G. February 24, 2012 (2:00 pm)

    Congrats on the new space! So wish I could get to your open house but I’m working that day. Hope to see you soon!

  • WS Mom February 25, 2012 (8:48 am)

    How wonderful for West Seattle families! I delivered our babies with midwives in the 1980’s, which gave our family the best start we could imagine! So glad we now see midwifery supported and accepted as a mainstream — and safe — choice!

Sorry, comment time is over.