Your Birth Team at A Gentle Beginning

Your Midwives: Catherine & Carissa

Catherine and Carissa share the on-call schedule  for phone triage, labors and births. Catherine takes care of all the pediatric calls. They met when Carissa interviewed Catherine to be her midwife for her first child 13 years ago. It was an instant recognition of kindred spirits and in a short time they began working together as midwife and nurse. Now their relationship has grown into one of mutual support as midwife partners. They both love being in private practice together, having the ability to offer families the best possible care for out-of-hospital births and at the same time having flexibility for each to receive self care and family time to insure you have a rested, healthy midwife attending your birth.

Learn more about Your Midwives, M Catherine Schaefer & Carissa St. Onge Carneiro.

Our Nurse Birth Assistants

We, at A Gentle Beginning, have a unique team in the out-of-hospital birth community.  Each birth is attended by a team of three:  your midwife, a student apprentice and a registered nurse (RN).  We work with a pool of five nurses: Rachel (our lead nurse), Jessamyn, Kristy Rose, Maggie, & Mary. All of our nurses are passionate about normal birth and find the opportunity to work in the out-of-hospital a dream come true. Unlike a hospital birth your midwife will arrive to your labor first along with a student apprentice. Once labor is closer to pushing or if the midwife feels a need, the nurse is called to assist as an additional skilled and experienced member of your team.  Once labor has begun your birth team will remain with you throughout, insuring continuity of care and personal support.  We make sure that you have the opportunity to meet and are comfortable with anyone who will attend your birth; building a trusting relationship with your birth team is of primary importance to us at A Gentle Beginning. 

One of our students with ALL the birth equipment!

One of our students with ALL the birth equipment!

Our Student Apprentices

The training to become a midwife always includes an apprenticeship. It is one of the oldest apprenticeship models of education. We are passionate about the continuation of midwifery and the training of future midwives to continue the ability to support women who wish to birth naturally. Our students are in their last years at the National University of Natural Medicine. They apprentice with us for approximately two years, attending one day of client visits with us per week and alternating call for the births. They bring a willingness to serve, an eagerness to learn and the gratitude to witness the miracle of birth.  We occasionally train nurse-midwifery students through Frontier Nursing University as well.  The students bring such willingness to learn and an extra set of hands to share in the service of the birth, or in the tidying up post birth.  You will meet the students in the clinic as they learn the full scope of midwifery.