Story by: Lynne Choate on March 19, 2018
Who knew that a simple gesture of sharing a childhood book and video would inspire a high school student to find her career as a certified nurse midwife? For Julie Mease, CNM, APRN, Advocates for Women’s Health, a Part of Norton Women’s Care, that gift from her best friend’s mother is all it took to begin her life-fulfilling work.
“Like many young people, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life as far as a career,” Julie said. “My best friend’s mother was a midwife, and she came in one day with a video and book and said, ‘I think you should watch this.’ I did and just remember being totally mesmerized and excited about the delivery process. I knew from that point that I wanted to be a certified nurse midwife and work with women and their families.”
Julie earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Michigan State University, East Lansing. While working as a pediatric nurse and a labor and delivery nurse, she returned to school a few years later at the University of Illinois – Chicago to train for her master’s degree in nursing. Shortly after graduation, she became board certified as a nurse midwife and was part of a practice in Chicago.
“I’m honored to be part of a new midwifery program at Norton Healthcare,” Julie said. “The care provided by a midwife is another option that women have to choose from when it comes to overall obstetric and gynecological care.”
Midwives now educate and provide care beyond childbirth
The first licensed midwives date back to the early 1700s, a time when few doctors were available and it was considered indecent for a man to attend a birth. The midwife would play a vital role in bringing a new life into the world, while keeping the mother safe during the often-dangerous delivery.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, and midwives are more than a support service during delivery.
“My approach to patient care as a nurse midwife is to practice holistically,” Julie said. “I want to provide education and knowledge to both a woman and her family, giving them the best and most compassionate care that I can.”
Although her most favorite part of being a midwife is watching the instant joy that families experience when a new baby is delivered, she is quick to point out that obstetric care is only part of what she does.
Every pregnancy is different. The specialists at Norton Healthcare are ready to ensure safety, during a routine pregnancy or a complex one.
Midwives aren’t just for natural childbirth
“I offer a full scope of care for women of all ages and at all stages of life,” she said. “If a woman is looking to establish a relationship with a provider for planning a pregnancy or is through having babies and moving on to the next phase of life, I can support her in the care, education and prevention screenings she needs.”
One common misconception about nurse midwives is that they only work with expectant mothers who want to have a natural childbirth, and Julie says that’s just not true.
“And while many of my patients plan for a natural childbirth experience, that’s not a must in my book,” she said.
Julie has patients under her care who choose epidural, nitrous oxide or natural child birth.
Mease and her husband have three children. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, doing yoga and playing the guitar.
The nurse midwife program is growing! Bianca Weaver, CNM, APRN, is joining Advocates for Women’s Health, a Part of Norton Women’s Care.
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