Kristi Cunningham, LM
I am a Licensed Midwife, and have had my own home birth practice for over 15 years. I believe that birth works—and when women are left alone, and encouraged to trust in their intuition, they know exactly how birth their babies!
My journey to midwifery began with the home birth of my first daughter in 1996. At that time I didn’t know what a midwife was, or know anyone who’d had a home birth, but I DID know that I wanted to have my baby in the most natural way possible, and having her at home felt right. After a difficult yet successful home birth, I felt the calling to be a midwife, and began nagging my midwife to let me apprentice with her. In 1998, she let me start an apprenticeship with her rural home birth practice on the Oregon Coast. During that apprenticeship, she taught me the roots of traditional, faith-led, spiritual midwifery, as well as herbs and skills needed to serve women in rural communities.
In 1999 after becoming a certified Childbirth Educator and a Doula, I worked in Jamaica with a midwifery exchange program and gained experience with high-volume and high-risk hospital births in the parish of St. Mary.
In 2000, I began an apprenticeship at the high-volume birth center, The Andaluz Water Birth Center, in Portland, Oregon. This apprenticeship was crucial for my training as I was assisting and being primary midwife on approximately 10 births per month, primarily water births. Andaluz taught me skills in assessing blood loss in water, how to handle emergency situations from the tubs, and how to work as team.
In 2001 I sat for the NARM exam and became a Certified Professional Midwife. Immediately following I moved to Jamaica and started a small home birth practice. It was on the island that I met my husband, and spent time in the "bush" learning the traditional medicines, which I incorporated into my life and my practice.
In 2004 we had another child, a son, born at home in the water, and in 2006 I sat on the board and was a Preceptor for the Senegalese based non-profit, African Birth Collective. I took my first group of midwifery students to West Africa that year, and my husband and I helped raise money for the French translation and distribution of “A Book For Midwives” to the African diaspora.
After a trip to Senegal in 2009, we moved our family to Mendocino County, where I had my third child (daughter) at home in 2010. I am currently enjoying raising our five children, surfing, gardening and nurturing a thriving midwifery practice here in this community!
Heidi Marshall, LM
I started attending births 16 years ago, soon after the homebirth of my first child. I had been preparing for an unassisted birth at home when I found my midwife at about 6 months of pregnancy. The study time invested in preparing for an unassisted birth sparked my interest in midwifery.
I began attending births with Luna Armstrong in that same year and had the privilege of her mentoring for several years before we became midwifery partners in 2004. I have attended births in Jamaica and Senegal and have been practicing as a Licensed Midwife with the California Medical Board since 2009.
Currently I live in Point Arena and have a homebirth practice serving the Mendocino County Coast from Gualala to Fort Bragg and inland to Comptche, Philo and Bonneville. Like most midwives I have traveled far on this birth journey due to my deep love and trust of a women's entire prenatal and birth process. I have a strong background in herbal medicine, nutritional healing and waterbirth. I give thanks to my own mother and my four older sisters for instilling in me a deeply rooted appreciation of women and all of our unique paths.
Karen Miller-Han, BS, RDMS
My journey to ultrasound took many twists and turns, going through other careers in banking, catering and medical transcription, before finally settling on ultrasound in the late 1990s. There was always something so fascinating about never knowing what I was going to see when I started scanning a patient. I started off assisting the ultrasound technologists at St. Helena Hospital in St. Helena, CA and Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport, CA, and developed a love of working with people—not just getting images of a particular part of their body, but learning about their lives and what was special about each of them.
I trained over four years and eventually challenged the state board examinations to become a registered diagnostic medical sonographer. During that period of time I got married to a chiropractor and had our son, born by a C-section, followed three years later by our daughter, also a C-section. Up to that point I had no knowledge that there was really any other way to birth than in a hospital setting. I worked in various hospitals as a temporary tech because I wanted to be able to be at home as much as possible while the children were young. Once they reached school age, I started looking for more work outside the home and eventually was led to start a 3D/4D business in 2011 which grew into working with midwives as they found out about my services. By 2012 I was introduced to home birth and after attending my first birth, I was so impressed by what a birth could be, such a difference from my experiences in the hospital. I’ve since developed a passion for working with families and utilizing ultrasound for not only health care but also enabling the bonding process for the whole family.