Meet Paula Ross, RN, LLM, CPM, IBCLC
Midwife & Lactation Consultant
Hi, I'm Paula, a proud "homegrown" Arkansan! I received my RN license in January 1997, starting my career in cardiac/critical care. But from the beginning, I wanted to work with expecting families and babies, and I made the transfer to Women & Children in 2004.
During my time in the hospital, I especially enjoyed assisting new families with breastfeeding on the Mother/Baby unit and NICU. In 2015, I began working as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) at Baptist Health, which included inpatient, outpatient at Expressly For You, and answering calls for the Arkansas Breastfeeding helpline.
After my first home birth (with baby #5) in 2008, I became interested in midwifery and occasionally assisted midwives at home births. On New Year's Day 2016, I finally began a midwifery apprenticeship with Deb Phillips, the midwife who attended my home births. I became licensed in Arkansas and nationally certified in 2020.
My calling into this line of work began shortly after my first child was born. Midwife Ina May Gaskin said:
“Whenever and however you choose to give birth, your experience will impact your mind, emotions, body, and your spirit for the rest of your life."
That quote has resonated with me. Giving birth changed the direction of my life and planted the seed in my heart that would eventually bloom into supporting new and growing families.
I am a nurse and a midwife but not a nurse-midwife.
(Did you know there are different types of midwives?)
I chose to become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) rather than a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) for a variety of reasons, but mainly because I prefer attending home births over hospital births. Spending time getting to know families in the months leading up to the birth...watching labor, birth, and bonding unfold in the family’s own comfortable environment...continuing that relationship after the baby is born...these are rewarding aspects of homebirth midwifery.
I believe in the Midwives Model of Care. I believe our bodies are fearfully and wonderfully made, and I trust in our ability to give birth. I believe that for most healthy mothers and babies, the less we interfere with the process, the better the chances of a good birth outcome.
At the same time, I recognize when medical intervention is needed. Licensed home birth midwives are certified in CPR and neonatal resuscitation, complete continuing education, and regularly attend training and practice in birth emergency skills.
On a personal note...
I am a Christian who believes that my work should be rooted in love and respect for all people.
I have been married for 22 years and have birthed seven of my own beautiful children, both in the hospital and at home.
To ensure that I am giving my best to others, I make a point of regularly carving out time to replenish my mind, body, and soul. Some of the things that keep me feeling peaceful and joyful are my faith, practicing martial arts, playing guitar and piano, concocting herbal remedies, and enthusiastically cheering at my kids' activities.
Member of the Arkansas Midwife Advisory Board