Below are a few of our midwives. For more information on our midwives, please visit www.ProvidenceNurseMidwives.com.
Sarah Ball Hakala, CNM
My journey toward midwifery began at the age of nine when my mother became pregnant with my little brother. She invited me to participate actively in the pregnancy and I jumped in without reservation. I joined my mother at many of her prenatal visits and attended childbirth classes with my parents. During labor, it was obvious to me that my mother was working hard, but the process never frightened me and I found myself transformed into a little doula. I was given permission to join my parents in the delivery room and supported my mother as she pushed. Soon after, I witnessed my first birth. It was indescribably beautiful and it filled me with an overwhelming sense of awe. I remember the feeling well because I still experience it each time I have the privilege of attending a birth. Having the opportunity to witness the power of normal birth for the first time at such a young age played a huge role in defining the person (and the midwife) that I have become.
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, I studied Spanish. Although I did not discover midwifery until my last semester of college, once I did, I knew immediately that midwifery was my calling. I went on to attend a second-degree nursing program at the University of Pennsylvania and was lucky enough to work for seven years as a Labor and Delivery nurse in both Philadelphia and Ann Arbor.
I have a special interest in providing new mothers with accurate and individualized breastfeeding education and support. During my time as a nurse at the University of Michigan Women's Hospital, I gained additional breastfeeding education and expertise as a member of the Breastfeeding Support Team. In addition, during my time in Philadelphia, I was trained as a doula and volunteered with an organization that provided on-call doulas to laboring women in need of extra support. My experiences as a doula taught me how to be present with laboring women and their families and how to be patient with the labor process. It was as a doula that I first experienced what a privilege it is to be invited into the sacred space of a woman's birth.
I earned my Master of Science in Nurse Midwifery from the University of Michigan. My midwifery studies included clinical training at Hutzel Women's Hospital and various sites within the University of Michigan Health System, as well as a final "integration" semester working with the Providence Nurse Midwives. Each of my clinical experiences was invaluable, as I was given the opportunity to learn from many wonderful nurse midwives and their clients. However, my experience at Providence was special. It was here that I experienced true continuity of care for the first time and was given the opportunity to build trusting relationships with women and their families. In the ABC, the nurses, midwives, and strong laboring women taught me more about normal labor and birth than I had ever learned before. After completing midwifery school (and then giving birth to my twin baby girls), I joined the Providence Nurse Midwives in October of 2011.
I am passionate about ensuring that women have the opportunity to be active partners in making decisions about their health care and about how and where they wish to bring their babies into the world. In fact, my son was born in a freestanding birth center outside of Philadelphia, with the help of a group of nurse midwives much like this one, and I experienced firsthand just how empowering a positive birth experience can be. I am thrilled to be joining a practice of midwives and physicians who truly value the wisdom of their clients and are passionate about providing evidence-based women's health care. I am committed to making this model of care accessible to more women in Southeastern Michigan.
When I am not working, I most enjoy spending time with my amazing husband, Josh, my son, Owen, and my twin girls, Emelia ("Emme") and Lucille ("Lucy"). I love seasons and I am happiest when I am outdoors. I am currently enjoying learning more about complementary and alternative health care and how to integrate it both into my own life and into my midwifery practice.
My path to midwifery began when my first grade teacher called my parents to report a shouting match between me and a boy in class; I had been proudly talking about my new baby sister, and he said that breastfeeding was "gross." It may have earned me a visit to the principal's office, but a future 'lactavist' was born.
After I graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Zoology, I worked for a midwife in Detroit while I decided between medical school and public health, with the intention of working internationally. That experience helped me to realize that I didn't have to leave the country to find a health system in need of change. I became a nurse through the second degree program at University of Detroit Mercy, and worked in labor and delivery for several years before getting my masters as an Adult Health nurse practitioner, and then my post-masters degree in midwifery, both from Wayne State.
I believe every woman deserves to have respectful, knowledgeable, nurturing, supportive care during her pregnancy and birth experience. Both of my children were born at the Alternative Birth Center, guided into the world by a Metro Partners midwife (and the excellent labor support of my husband, Phil). Joan Lynn caught my daughter, Anikah, in 2005, and Mary Davis' gentle hands greeted my son, Salem, in 2008. My son, Diontes, who is pictured with me, was born in 2009 and became part of our family in 2011.
I am thrilled to work with this team of midwives who believe in the power of women and birth and to collaborate with such supportive physicians.
Suzanne Ziemke, CNM
Susan Bilka, CNM
Jan Bartos, CNM