Welcome to Midwifery Services of Haliburton-Bancroft (MSHB). Our practice was approved by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in August 2008 in response to the Ministry's mandate to provide for care in underserviced areas. Negotiations to establish a practice in Haliburton-Bancroft began in 2006.
MSHB provides care to women and their babies living in a vast rural area (click here for a map of our catchment area). Families living in these communities must travel great distances to access much of their health care and many are affected by profound transportation and economic challenges. MSHB was established in part to provide care close to home for families that would otherwise be required to travel to access the same care.
At the time that MSHB was established, Haliburton Highlands Health Services Hospital offered low risk obstetrics to women. In February 2009, the Central East LHIN, however, recommended closure of the only obstetrical bed in the area, thus removing this service from the community. Presently, women must travel on average 100 km to access hospital delivery of their babies. The centralization of many health services is hurting women and babies and burdening vulnerable families enormously.
Currently we hold hospital privileges at Peterborough Regional Health Centre (PRHC) and Ross Memorial Hospital in Lindsay. Our clients can choose to deliver their babies in either of these hospitals or at home.
It is our goal to provide low risk obstetrics to women in their own communities. Haliburton County has one of the highest poverty rates in the Province of Ontario and it is our vision to provide women with the opportunity to make safe and appropriate choices around birth and choice of birth place. Presently, the choice of birth place within our community does not truly exist. The only choice of birth place close to home is a home birth. It is our vision to establish a birth centre within our community in order to bring choice of birth place back to women and their families.
Rebecca Weeks, R.M.
I first became acquainted with midwifery during an undergraduate anthropology lecture in 1987. A midwife made a presentation to our class and I thought, "interesting". I graduated in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and went on to a graduate program in Gerontology with special training in psychometry. I became a psychometrist specializing in brain injury and learning challenges. It was not until my first birth experience in 1992, when I delivered my stillborn son that I thought anymore about midwifery. It was during that dehumanizing experience when I remembered there must be a better way. When I became pregnant with my daughter in 1993, I approached a local midwife but because of outside pressures and fear mongering, I chose "mainstream and acceptable" care. My labour was induced and I had my baby lying flat on my back with my feet in stirrups in a delivery room with little participation on my part. Well, that wasn't it either I thought…So when I became pregnant again in 1997, I sought out midwives. I delivered my daughter into the hands of a midwife after fully participating in my care and taking charge of my own birth experience! Yes! That was it…In September 1999 I entered the Midwifery Education Program so that I could support other women in their birthing journeys. Another baby for me came along in 2001 and this birth experience would add to my life like no other. My son was born by emergency caesarean section after many eclamptic seizures at 36 weeks gestation. Luckily we did not die but spent many weeks in hospital. I feel empowered by my birth experiences—all of them—and feel as though they have prepared me well for providing good and appropriate care to women.
Kathleen Perecko, R.M.
I come from a long line of health care professionals. While I have the utmost respect for the professions of my family members, I knew they were not my path. Instead, the seed of midwifery was planted with a single comment from a facilitator during a university presentation. It was enough - I was intrigued, and as I researched more about midwifery, and what it stood for, the planted seed was watered and grew into a passion.
I love that midwifery uses my head to solve problems, offer sound advice, and guide my steps. I love that midwifery uses my hands to reassure, comfort, encourage, and, yes, catch! But most of all, I love that midwifery uses my heart to believe in, support, and bond with the families I have the privilege of caring for.
The midwifery program at Laurentian University took me all over the province, and I worked with communities in Barrie, Temiskaming, North Bay, and Cambridge. However, the Highlands were always where I wanted to be, and after witnessing and assisting with over 100 births, I had the opportunity to come home.
Thank you for welcoming me into your community to provide midwifery care. If you see my husband and I walking with our big Shepherd-Lab, please come by to say hi – we (and he!) love to meet new people!
Stephanie Simon, R.M.
I had the privilege of joining Midwifery Services of Haliburton-Bancroft in October 2016. I am grateful for the opportunity to walk alongside women and families during the journey from pregnancy to parenthood.
I am originally from the very small community of Margaree on the south coast of Newfoundland, which is where most of my family still resides. I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Acadia University in Nova Scotia in 2011.
I was always interested in the healthcare field, but did not enter Midwifery right away, only because I did not know that it was a career possibility in Canada! Midwives provide quality healthcare, but also allow for the time and space to form a deeper relationship with pregnant women and their families.
After realizing that my heart lay in midwifery, I spent a year teaching English at the Université de Poitiers in France. While in France, I applied and was accepted into the Midwifery Education Program at Laurentian University in Sudbury. My experiences during the midwifery program were both diverse and educating. I spent time in Elliot Lake, Barrie, Alliston, Newmarket and Halifax, NS. Every new placement reinforced the importance of all women having access to personalized and supportive maternity and postpartum care.
Having spent the last four years dividing my time between my studies in Northern Ontario and my home on the East coast, I am excited to be living a small town permanently and making a home here in Haliburton.
Elaine Mahler, Office Administrator
Elaine Mahler has lived in the Haliburton Highlands for eight years with her husband and two children. She was very excited to become part of the Haliburton-Bancroft midwifery team having the experience of midwives delivering both her kids in the Hamilton area.
Elaine understands the wonderful and detailed care midwives provide for mothers-to-be and she delights in meeting and speaking to each client daily.