Midwifery Care – a personal story

Melinda Ganka chooses midwifery care
Melinda Ganka chose midwifery care for her first child, Jay. They are pictured with Winneshiek Medical Center's Certified Nurse Midwife, Emily Young Johnson, CNM.

Melinda Ganka and her husband, Terry, moved to Decorah from Grand Rapids, Michigan. Terry’s career led them here, and an independent streak made the move an exciting one.  Leaving family and friends behind, the couple made their way in an unfamiliar place.

Soon, Melinda found out she was pregnant with their first child. Without family or many friends in the area, Melinda knew she wanted someone who could dedicate a great deal of time to her pregnancy, and research taught her that a midwife provided that level of care.

“I have never been interested in a home birth or a natural birth – my desire to get midwifery care was because of the family-centered care a midwife provides,” Melinda says.

Emily Young Johnson, the certified nurse midwife at Winneshiek Medical Center became Melinda’s pre-natal care provider, and as Melinda’s term progressed, she worked through any and all pregnancy concerns with Emily. 

“I would spend so much time asking question after question after question!” says Melinda. “Emily did not bat an eye, even at the things that were basic or even a little silly.”

“A concern I had working with a midwife was what would happen in the event of complications. Emily did not offer more guidance than she was comfortable with – if she had a question about my condition, she would ask a physician. Emily and I would generally have the answer in minutes,” says Melinda.

As the birth grew closer, Melinda, Terry, and Emily discussed the birthing plan.  Melinda had no expectations that the birth of her baby would be born without pain medication. Emily talked about the risks of medication, and the possibility of things not going as expected during the birth, like an emergency cesarean section.

“Emily told us that even if I needed a C-section, she would be in the operating room with us. I was so comforted by the whole experience,” says Melinda.

In July, after laboring for 36 hours, a new baby boy, Jay, was brought into Melinda and Terry’s world. Melinda was deeply impressed by what a midwife offered during the actual birth.

“Emily was there the whole time,” she says. “She sat with us, talked with us, and advocated for us throughout the birth. After receiving care from a midwife with Jay, I am eager to work with Emily again. It was a very personal and fulfilling experience,” says Melinda.

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