Helping with a special delivery |

Helping with a special delivery

April E. ClarkGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Post Independent/Kara K. Pearson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. Jasmine Bissell calls herself a catcher.But she’s no softball player.Bissell is a registered midwife who provides holistic prenatal, home birth and postpartum care in Western Colorado. She helps mothers deliver babies in the comforts of their homes, without drugs.Just as women did before there were hospitals.Or state-of-the-art birthing centers.Bissell jokes that she’s just a “catcher.” Her role is to help a mother work through her labor pains naturally and be there to ensure her baby safely arrives.Sometimes, even, while the mother is submerged in warm water.

At age 10, watching her mother give birth to her younger brother at home proved motivational for Bissell’s career.The holistic experience made such a lasting impression, Bissell became a certified professional midwife and started Crystal River Homebirth in 2004, which serves the Western Slope. She is a trained emergency medical technician who practiced under certified midwife Jeanette Ware, until she was killed in a car accident July 1, 2004 on Highway 133.

In her role as a midwife, Bissell monitors both the mother’s and baby’s health before, during and after a pregnancy term. She meets with clients at their homes and in her office on Grand Avenue. She has assisted mommies-to-be from Vail to the Utah border, including rural areas in Meeker and Paonia.”I’ve also worked extensively with the Mennonite community near Grand Junction, in Fruita,” she said.On a sunny morning in May, Bissell visited with Glenwood Springs resident Reg Carlos, a 26-year-old client who proved the “pregnancy glow” wasn’t just an old wives’ tale.”She’s the most active client I have,” Bissell said. “I’m working with the healthiest women I know.”

Up until 34 weeks, Carlos and had been hiking, biking, swimming and using the elliptical machine and the treadmills at the Glenwood Springs Community Center. Carlos and her husband, Chad, moved to Colorado from Louisiana about 2 1/2 years ago to lead a healthy life in the mountains.”My husband thought it would be a great place to raise a family,” she said. “Here, it’s more natural.”

Exercise and maintaining a healthy diet have been priorities for Carlos in her pregnancy. Even her cravings are advantageous.”Any fresh, cold juicy fruits,” says the petite, brunette Carlos. “Watermelon, pineapple, mangos – anything cold and juicy.”During the visit at Bissell’s office, the two discussed Carlos’ diet, the possibility of a baby shower, and the upcoming birth.”How’s your visualization going?” Bissell asked, of Carlos’ thoughts on the delivery.”Good, I’m just keeping a positive attitude that it’s going to go quick,” Carlos said.

“I do want you to take it step-by-step how it’s going to happen,” Bissell advised. “Start seeing it step-by-step. Seeing your baby come out, holding your baby on your chest.”Carlos forms a smile, as the conversation turns to post-delivery.”What do you think you’re going to want to eat?” Bissell asked.”If it’s a hot day, a big smoothie.”Having the opportunity to make choices prior to, during, and after the baby’s birth such as whether or not a mother eats during labor makes home birthing appealing for some women, Bissell said.”I’ve seen a woman in the tub at 8 a.m. in the morning say, ‘Bring me some french fries,” Bissell said, smiling. “She was eating french fries and listening to Disney (songs) to relax.”Bissell then asks Carlos if a baby shower is planned.”I could help you put it together,” Bissell offers. “This shouldn’t be stressful for you.”For fun, Bissell suggests Carlos make a belly cast. Or she might try a (natural, safe) henna, or temporary body art, which legend says brings safety in childbirth and a happy baby.”This is about you, Reg, and your passage in your own life,” Bissell said.Carlos said she and her husband chose a midwife and home birthing for their holistic qualities.

“My friends at home think it’s insane,” she said. “I think birthing is the most natural thing.”For Bissell, June and July are busy months.”I have four ladies due between June 26 and July 13,” Bissell said.”Hopefully I’ll be first,” Carlos said. Carlos is due to deliver at home July 2.”I’m doing everything I can to make everyone comfortable,” Bissell assured.A midwife’s work is never done.Contact April Clark: 945-8515, ext. 16601aclark@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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