Dragonfly Midwifery

Megan Chandler.JPG

Megan Chandler is the owner of Dragonfly Midwifery, named for her late mother’s love for dragonflies. Her company and vision were born out of a desire to help women fulfill the type of birth they desire that might not be accepted in the current state of the medical community. She believes that birth is a natural process that is a continuum of life, not a process that needs to be treated. She says that as a believer in Jesus this is further ingrained in her. She believes in fair treatment for all and supports women in rediscovering their internal strength and power during birth and pregnancy. She is a licensed midwife who is excited to work with women in Alabama who feel like they want to do birth a little bit differently than a traditional hospital birth.

 

A little bit about Megan: “I have truly been blessed with three beautiful girls and a loving supportive husband. I knew that the hustle and bustle of the hospital were not going to afford me the most precious gift of time with my girls so after much prayer and seeking God’s plan for my life I decided to take a leap of faith and leave my job to pursue home birth midwifery.”

 

Below is my interview with Megan which will give you a better glimpse into the role of a midwife.

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What is a midwife? What does a midwife do?

There are plenty of definitions as far as midwifery versus the different kinds of midwives. But pretty much midwife means “with woman”. So they help assist women as they bring babies into the world: with prenatal care or helping people get pregnant. It’s just holistic care of a woman and her baby and then postpartum as well.

What do you think are the qualities that a midwife needs to be successful?

There are so many! You have to be caring, loving, and open. Just really have to have a heart for it, you know? I think it has to be a calling to be in it cause it’s hard work. Not just physically, but mentally and emotionally and time-consuming as well. It just has to be something that’s in you.

Why did you decide to be a midwife?

Really I decided kind of from a TV show. As funny as that is, when I was working as a nurse in labor and delivery, one of my coworkers suggested the show Call the Midwife. I had never watched it. And I didn’t really even know what a midwife was. There just were not any at all around that I knew of in Alabama when I was working as a labor and delivery nurse. So I watched it and I was like, “Oh my gosh, this is it. This is amazing. This is so different.” I really didn’t like the way things were done in labor and delivery. So I was like, this is perfect. I just kind of went from there. I thought, “This is what I know I’m supposed to do.” I just started on the path from that.

Stethoscope with heart

You were working as a labor and delivery nurse? So you already kind of had an idea of what was going on in the baby world. That probably made it a little easier.

Yeah, it was helpful.

What do you love most about being a midwife?

The type of midwife I am now, like being a CPM, so doing home births and stuff, I like it. I like the aspect of being one-on-one with the patient for a long time. So instead of rushing through appointments like you do at an OBGYN office, where you’re there for 10 or 15 minutes, I’ll spend an hour at a time with each individual patient. So you just get to know them and get to know their family and you have more of a real connection than otherwise. I mean, I really like that part. And then, of course, welcoming new lives. That’s always the best.

What do you bring with you to a birth?

Doctor Bag

Essentially everything that you would pretty much find in a hospital room, I’m going to bring with me. So I have a suture kit, and I have scissors. I have a birth kit that has all the things that you would typically have in a birth kit. I have an oxygen tank with oxygen. I have medications. I have herbs, which you probably wouldn’t find at the hospital, but I have those as well that I like to use at births. And then, of course, a newborn kit, a sling, and a scale. There are just tons and tons of things that you take with you and generally an assistant that’ll be a second set of hands.

What are some ways that you support a woman in labor?

It really just depends on what they want. It’s something that we’ve kind of formulated throughout their pregnancy whether they have a doula or not. But in whatever way they feel they need support. Whether that’s counterpressure, whether that’s me being a police officer for people and making sure nobody’s coming in, or making sure she has silence, or making sure her music is playing when she wants. It’s really depending on the patient and whatever she needs. So whatever she needs, that’s what I’ll do.

How long have you been practicing? How many births have you done?

Well, as a midwife in total, I mean I’m thinking probably close to 150. That includes the hospital and everything. As a home birth midwife, I think maybe 20. I delivered at Huntsville Hospital for like a year and then started doing home births right after that.

I know that for a while midwifery was like a no, no in Alabama. And it’s only been recently that that’s changed.

That’s when I went back to midwifery school, when they changed that law.

What is the biggest challenge in your job?

I feel like it’s just always safety, just making sure that everything is safe. You know, there is a small risk involved. Most of the time everything works out fine, but there’s always a risk. So making sure that everything is safe, I think that’s the biggest. Making sure mom is safe. Making sure the baby is safe. Making sure our environment is safe and we’re safe to continue proceeding in the way that we are.

How do you stay motivated?

Where I’m at right now, it’s hard because there are not a lot of people seeking midwifery care in my region. So, just thinking back or looking at the births that I do have and seeing the people and the impact that it makes on them. That’s how you keep going when things seem like, “Oh my goodness, am I gonna be able to keep going?”

When you start with a patient, when do you actually go on call?

Pretty much then. I mean I’m on call as far as like if they need anything they can call me or they can text me. But call for births generally starts at 37 weeks.

Have you ever had it where you can’t make it to a birth? What happens if you can’t make it?

Yes. There are times occasionally when birth happens a lot faster than you anticipate. And that’s kind of a thing that we’ve gone over recently as far as if you think the baby’s coming, and I’m on my way, call me back. And if you notice the baby starting to come out, then I do like for people to call 911 just to have a backup there in case they can get there quicker than I can. It’s a lot easier to say, “Hey, thanks for coming, we don’t need you now”, than to need them and for them not to be there.

What areas do you cover?

I cover about an hour’s radius from Albertville and I can I go a little bit further occasionally if I need to, but pretty much an hour’s radius from here, which is as far as Huntsville. I don’t typically go into Madison, it’s a little bit of a further drive. And there are some great midwives up that direction. So I try to stay in the places that I know don’t have midwives at all. So out towards Fort Payne, Rainsville, all that section over there because they don’t have anyone at all. And then Gadson, that kind of area, and then of course Marshall County.

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What is the best way for a new client to get in touch with you?

You can either text or call is what most people do. They’ll call me and then we’ll kind of set up a time where we can talk.

Megan can be found on Facebook or at dragonflymidwifery.org.

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