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Meet a Midwife: Certified Professional Midwife Staci Dasher of Cleveland, OH

February 28, 2024

Welcome to the Midwife Spotlight series! Whether you are an expecting parent looking for midwife care in your area, or you’re just curious about the world of birth, I hope this series helps to highlight the incredible birth workers we have available in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.  

If you’ve ever been curious about the ins and outs of working with a midwife to birth your baby at home, this one’s for you! Today, we’ll hear from Staci Dasher, a certified professional midwife serving the Cleveland area, and learn how she got into midwifery, her approach, and much more. Read on to learn more about Staci.

Quote from certified professional midwife Staci Dasher

How long have you been a certified professional midwife? What got you into midwifery?

I have been a certified professional midwife since 2014. I started my journey in 2006 when my husband and unborn daughter (I was seven months pregnant at the time) moved to Davao, Philippines. My husband and I had the vision to live overseas and serve women through pregnancy and birth, and we moved there to join a school/outreach that trained us to be midwives in their 10-bed clinic. 

What areas do you serve? Do you have an office space or do you travel to your clients?

I live in Novelty, OH, and serve within—and just outside of—an hour from my location. I usually visit my clients in their homes, but I do have a space in my home I offer to clients if they would prefer to come to me.

What’s your favorite thing about being a certified professional midwife?

My favorite thing about being a midwife is that it is an ancient tradition necessary to our society and community; it’s a practice that has been around for thousands of years. Midwives have always been and always will be. Whether a certified professional midwife, certified nurse midwife, direct entry midwife, or lay midwife, one thing is the same: we are all passionate about being with women during their birth journey. 

Walk me through a typical home birth, from the initial consultation to the postpartum follow-up.

The first time I meet with a client is at a free in-home consultation. This initial visit is full of questions and answers, and a desired connection. Once we agree to move forward we set up our first in-home prenatal visit, which lasts typically around an hour. 

We continue to get to know each other through these home visits. If there are other children or family around, I use these visits to build a relationship and rapport with them as well. We also do fetal growth measurements, fetal heart rate, and basic vitals on Mama during these visits. 

From 12 weeks through 32 weeks, we meet monthly. From 32 weeks through 37 weeks, we meet twice a month. From 38 weeks until the baby is born, I am in my client’s home weekly. And then of course I am there for Mama’s labor and delivery. 

Once the baby is born I visit Mama and baby at 24 hours, 3 days, 5 days, and 2 weeks; my last visit takes place at 6 weeks postpartum, which is always bittersweet.

I make myself available from that very first visit to the very last via text, calls, and in-home visits. 

How do you work with families to create a birth plan that fits their needs?

Working with families throughout pregnancy is a time of transparency. As a certified professional midwife, I spend a lot of time with my clients, which I think helps them to open up and unfold the desires of their hearts. I commit to listening and offer them the space to create their plan by sharing ideas or simply being a sounding board.

What would you say to someone with a concern or fear about giving birth?

I would remind a woman of her feminine strength and power, which shows up perfectly through surrender during childbirth. This power is awakened within each woman, not just during birth, but throughout pregnancy and the entire journey of motherhood.

What are some unique or innovative techniques you use during labor and delivery to ensure a safe and comfortable experience for the mom and baby?

I love using a combination of new techniques and traditional ones; massage, acupressure, Rebozo wraps, and gentle reminders and encouragement. In my experience, I find it helps to leave the parents alone to allow the intimacy to strengthen contractions.

How do you help families prepare for the possibility of transfer to a hospital during a home birth? In what circumstances do you decide it’s time to transfer to the hospital?

I value information and informed consent. During prenatal care, I make it a priority to educate my clients the best I can. In labor, we continue to have conversations, which empower us to keep striving forward together as a team. I love feeling like we are all working together as a team, even the children. 

Talk about the role of a dad or partner during a home birth. How do you support them in their role?

Sometimes we don’t get to know the father during prenatal care due to job and timing conflicts. But no matter the circumstance, I love love love making sure the husband knows his value in the birth environment. I commit to including him in the decision-making process and communicate to him what we are doing or what we think we should do. It’s critical to a healthy birth environment to ensure the husband is intimately tied into the birth setting.

As a certified professional midwife, how do you incorporate evidence-based care into your practice? What resources do you use to stay current on the latest research?

I love the Evidence Based Birth website for the latest information. I do my best to not give out opinions during pregnancy but rather give the information on both sides of the issue. If my client needs help I will walk with them further through the information, but ultimately I give them the power to make decisions.

Can you share any tips for families who are considering a home birth? How can they prepare, choose the right provider, etc.?

The beautiful thing about home birth midwifery is the free consultation. This is a chance for the family to discuss their hopes and desires with their potential midwife. This in-person, face-to-face consultation provides the opportunity for not only meeting the mark on physical expectations but also the spiritual mark. Two midwives can offer the exact same services but have a completely different spiritual/relational connection with their clients. I love that about midwifery and the opportunity here in Northeast Ohio; there are so many phenomenal midwives in this area!

My biggest tip and encouragement for anyone looking for a home birth midwife is to meet and interview at least three midwives. And if you don’t feel one of those three is a match, keep looking! There is a midwife out there for every family. 

What are some common misconceptions about home birth?

I don’t know if this would be considered a misconception, but home birth midwives do not have all the answers!

We discuss and cover so much information with our clients, but we are not going to make final decisions for our clients (unless it’s an emergency). The beauty of home birth is that we are here for our families to help them but we are not the dictators or the final say. It truly is a team effort, and we all have to work together to come up with what is best for each family. 

How do you handle emergencies during a home birth?

Handling emergencies has to be done swiftly at home. In my practice as a certified professional midwife, I have to be five steps ahead of the final emergency, so to speak. I have to assess the possibility of something becoming an emergency, so I can be where I need to be when/if the emergency occurs. 

Just like throughout prenatal care, I am constantly communicating what I’m seeing and what’s happening during labor. If a problem seems to be surfacing we discuss what possible decisions we have to make as a team. So much is involved when you have to transport care. The beauty of my care as a home birth midwife is the intimacy and connection that is developed throughout pregnancy, which creates an environment of trust. My clients know I will always put my best efforts forward and do what’s best for them. 

How do you work with families to ensure they have a positive birth experience, regardless of the outcome?

I always like to remind my clients that I will do all I can to help support them in their journey, but ultimately this is their journey and I am just here to support them. I often tell them, “I’m not doing this for myself but for you!”

My clients must be honest, not only with me but themselves. What they are willing to do nutritionally, mentally, physically, and, of course, spiritually really matters—all these aspects work together for a positive birth experience. 

How do you ensure continuity of care for families during the postpartum period?

I value the postpartum period. A commitment I made to myself early in my practice as a certified professional midwife is not to take on too many clients. The reason not taking on too many clients is important to me is so that I can be available for all the postpartum visits. When you have an abundance of clients in one month, it feels chaotic to do complete, thorough, and attentive postpartum care. 

How do you work with other healthcare providers to ensure the best care for families?

This is a work in progress for most of the midwives in our community. I enjoy it when my clients have what we call “co-care” with an OB or nurse midwife regardless if that OB or nurse midwife knows that my client is having a home birth.

If there is a need for transport, I am committed to walking in surrendered and willing to be at the mercy of the care that the hospital provides.

Can you talk about any specific training or qualifications you have that make you well-suited to assist with home births?

As a certified professional midwife, I am required to complete continuing education every three years. This includes adult CPR and neonatal resuscitation certification. Each recertification cycle allows me to learn and grow.

Can you share any experiences you’ve had with water birth and how it can benefit the mother and baby during labor and delivery?

I find that water birth can be a phenomenal tool to reset a mother‘s mindset! I birthed my older two children in a pool and know firsthand how water can bring mental and physical relaxation. It offers ease of movement during contractions, and even in between. It also helps soften the tissues, working in partnership with the baby’s head as they transition into the world. 

However, I don’t believe that water birth is for every mother, as not everyone finds water to be a healing tool. But providing that opportunity and option, and educating my clients on the benefits is important to me. If a family decides to do a birthing pool, they rarely regret it. 

Can you share any examples of how you have supported families who have had a previous traumatic birth experience and how they were able to have a positive birth experience?

I have been able to sit with families during the free consultation and weep with them over past traumas. Letting them know that we can continue to discuss and talk as much as they need throughout pregnancy has helped families feel safe, heard, and connected. 

I never partake in slanderous talk about midwives or hospital staff; I don’t believe that is a healthy way to hold space for my clients. But depending on the trauma, I try to educate myself as much as possible to help my client walk forward with new information and support. 

What pregnancy or birth-related resources do you always recommend to people?

I have a selection of books to lend out to clients and have a list of recommended blogs, podcasts, and classes I suggest based on my client’s preferred method of study.

Currently, I like anything from Lily Nichols and Aviva Romm. For the husbands, The Birth Partner

Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself?

I strive to never be complacent in my care and approach. Midwifery is an amazing service that I can provide families looking for a different approach to pregnancy, birth, and postpartum, and I see each client and family as unique from any other. 

Where can people connect with you to learn more about what you offer?

The best way to connect and learn about me is by calling and setting up a free in-home consultation!

I hope you enjoyed learning a little more about Staci and the world of being a certified professional midwife specializing in home birth. It’s a unique and empowering experience that can be a reality with the right support!

Click here to connect with Cleveland certified professional midwife Staci Dasher.

Click here to see more Cleveland birth photography or to inquire about having your birth photographed by me!

Hey there and thank you for stopping by! I’m Mackenzie, owner of Mackenzie Romagni Photography, a birth, newborn, and family photographer serving growing families in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio. I hope you found this “Midwife Spotlight: Staci Dasher, Certified Professional Midwife Serving Cleveland” blog post helpful. 

Are you expecting a new baby and hoping to hire a birth photographer for your hospital, birth center, or home birth? Contact me here to connect! Not quite ready yet? No problem! Follow me on Instagram or join my email list here to stay in the know.

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