We are happy to introduce Suzanne Zimmerman, CNM, a hospital-based nurse midwife. Originally from Williamsville, NY and having attended Frontier Nursing University (Like Jerri Walker!) you may have birthed with her at Miles Memorial Hospital in Damariscotta or her current baby-catching location of choice with Midwives of Mid Coast Hospital. You'll be sure to notice her smile the moment you meet her.
Maine Doulas: What’s your philosophy of birth?
Suzy Zimmerman: In the words of Ina May, "Your body is not a lemon". Women are strong and with love and support are completely capable of accomplishing this amazing task of birth.
MD: When did you know you wanted to be a midwife?
SZ: About 23 years ago, I was an RN working in the ICU. I went to visit a good friend in labor and ended up staying for the birth. I just got totally jazzed- and that was it. I knew I wanted to be a midwife!
MD: What is your claim to fame as a midwife?
SZ: I work with a great group of midwives!
MD: What makes your practice different or unique?
SZ: All 5 of us are very different, but we all really like each other and love working together. We share a common philosophy and work hard to be up to date and on the same page clinically. We also have a very supportive relationship with the OB docs at Mid Coast (thank goodness) and we have a great office staff.
MD: What is your transfer rate to OB care?
SZ: Rare- only a few a year. Complex medical issues; Gestational Diabetes (GDM) on insulin, seizure disorders requiring medication etc. We co- manage Twins, PIH, etc. with the obstetricians.
MD: What is your transfer rate to Maine Medical Center care?
SZ: Three in the last year: twins with severe twin to twin transfusion, a pregnant woman with cancer requiring chemo, and a non-compliant subtext pt.
MD: At what point would someone get ‘risked out’ of your practice? (e.g. how many weeks ‘overdue’ could a client go before you need to transfer to OB care)
SZ: A mom has to be 36 weeks to deliver at Mid Coast. We really like to have babies out by 42 weeks, but will do biweekly ultra sounds to assure fetal well-being after that if the mom absolutely refuses induction. They do not transfer to the OBs- we would consult.
MD: Who would you not take on as a client?
SZ: Only women who risk out as above.
MD: How many births do you take on per month?
SZ: The practice takes between 15-30 births a month. We average in the 20's.
MD: Are you familiar with external ways of assessing dilation? (e.g. vocalization, blue/black line)
SZ: Yes! Love the line ; )
MD: Who are your clients, typically?
SZ: No typical client
MD: Do you work with doulas?
SZ: Sometimes. We especially like to have our ladies who have to transfer to MMC for VBAC get a doula. Also, we use doulas for placental encapsulation.
MD: Would you do a breech birth or twins?
SZ: No vaginal breeches : ( But we do co- manage twins. Last summer we had 4 sets of vaginal twin deliveries.
MD: If you were a car, what would you be?
SZ: My real car is a yellow beetle with flowers and a peace sign! I've had it for 14+ years :)
MD: What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you at a birth?
SZ: I labored a powerful and energetic teen-aged girl who yelled and screamed through most of her labor. So much so that the nurses kept checking to be sure everything was okay with us. She wailed while pushing, but as soon as I handed her, her baby she took one look, smiled and said in a soft, sweet voice" that wasn't so bad!"
MD: What are three words to describe you?
SZ: Joyful, determined and supportive
MD: What’s your guilty pleasure?
SZ: Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia
MD: If you had a super power, what would it be?
SZ: You know that feather Dumbo used to help him fly? I would like to have the ability to give all women the confidence to know their own power, in birth and in life.
MD: What is one of the differences between your “on call life” and “off call life”?
SZ: I asked my husband this question and he said " Nothing- you're always on call".
MD: Is there anything else that you’d like to add?
SZ: Just that besides babies, my practice also does well-woman care at any age.
MD: How can interested pregnant mamas-to-be find you?
SZ: We are Midwifery at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick- just give Heidi, our awesome receptionist a call and she will set you right up! 207-721-8710. We do meet and greets too.
MD: If you had to use just one word to describe birth, what would it be?