Tiffany Jorgenson has wanted to work with pregnant women since she was a teenager.
“I’ve always just loved moms and babies,” she said.
Her first instinct was to become an obstetrician-gynecologist, but that idea didn’t last long, she said.
“I realized when I was volunteering at a hospital in high school that OBs don’t get to do what the nurses do,” Jorgenson said. “I saw that nurses are the ones face to face with the clients every day and I really wanted that interaction.”
She received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from UCCS Beth-El College of Nursing and Health Sciences in 2010 and then started working as a labor and delivery nurse at a local hospital.
It was there Jorgenson had the opportunity to speak with several midwife nurses and learn about the profession, she said.
“Then, I started looking up state laws for becoming and operating as a midwife nurse,” she said. “Here in Colorado we are fortunate because there are great laws about independent practicing privileges that don’t require written collaboration with a physician.”
In March 2015, Jorgenson started Mountain Miracles Midwifery Inc. in a spare bedroom at her Colorado Springs home. That was about a year after receiving her master’s in nursing with an emphasis in midwifery from Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky.
“We are essentially OB nurse practitioners, but are called midwife nurses,” she said. “Certified midwife nurses specialize in healthy, low-risk and normal pregnancies, in most cases.”
Jorgenson only works with clients interested in home births; however, other midwife nurses often work out of hospitals or free-standing birthing centers, Jorgenson said.
“We are fortunate to be a very small practice,” she said. “It allows us to have long visits with our clients and that really opens the door to more intimate care. Our clients love the personalized care; they love that they know who we are.”
Jorgenson explained that certified midwife nurses are “very different” from certified professional midwives.
“They have no formal medical training like the nurses do,” she said. “It’s all apprenticeships for them, whereas, with nurse midwives you are required to get a bachelor’s degree in nursing and then a master’s in nursing with a specialty in midwifery.”
Jorgenson recently hired Lauren Blease, another certified midwife nurse, due to an uptick in clients, she said.
“My average was about four to six deliveries a month and then it was six to eight and then it was going to 10, and I was like, ‘I need help,’” she said, adding they currently average about 10 births a month with the occasional dozen.
“Word-of-mouth has been my biggest contributor to new clients — people recommending me on Facebook and the fact that I accept insurance,” she said.
Jorgenson said her practice carries malpractice insurance, which allows it to be in-network with most larger health insurance providers.
“We also take Medicaid,” she said. “I would say 60 to 70 percent of our clients use Medicaid. Accepting those clients was something I wanted to do to make sure that particular population has access and the choice of a safe home birth.”
Blease said they also provide care for women beyond pregnancy such as Pap smears, birth control and then care for clients’ babies up to 28 days old.
“We can also treat male partners for [sexually transmitted diseases] and can do basic infertility tests,” she said.
Both of the nurses said a challenge they often face is the misconception that home births are dangerous.
“There are people who think that all we do is sit in a corner, banging on drums, waving herbs in the air and that we have no medical equipment to address emergencies,” Jorgenson said. “I guarantee we have everything we need to address an emergency until we can safely get a client to a hospital if an emergency arises.”
Meanwhile, Jorgenson said another hardship for the duo is constantly having to be on call.
“Midwifery is exhausting emotionally, mentally and physically because we are so invested in our clients,” she said. “There is nothing more heartbreaking to me than to have to tell a mom, who was so excited about having a home birth, that we have to go to the hospital. Tears are shed and people are heartbroken, but our clients know we are always looking out for their best interest and would never compromise their safety.”