Rita Chesney, Director

RN, MS, CNM, Certified Nurse Midwife. BSN, 1988, Seton Hall University, South Orange N.J.; MS,CNM, 2001, University of Maryland at Baltimore; Lieutenant Colonel, Army (Retired)

As a child, I always knew I wanted to be in the medical profession but it was the experience watching nurses take care of my father after an injury that started on my path toward nursing.  Shortly after graduation from high school, the school nurse knew I was going to nursing school and asked if I would help her teach a Lamaze class over the summer.  I watched these families learn about their pregnancy and birth and saw that with the information taught, they went from frightened to empowered and prepared for their births.  I was hooked.    (Thanks Mrs. Newfeld- you never knew what an influence you were to me)

I joined ROTC in college and applied for a scholarship to pay for college.  I was awarded a three-year scholarship to Seton Hall University.  That was the best decision I ever made.  I married my college sweet heart and shortly after graduation, we were commissioned and began a long career in the Army.

The Army afforded me the opportunity to travel and advance my career both with experience as well as education.  I worked at several different duty stations as a Labor and Delivery nurse and wanted more. I applied for and was granted a full scholarship for midwifery school at the University of Maryland at Baltimore.  I received great training and even better mentoring with the Army midwives as I joined this small but proud group.   I retired from the Army after 22 years and no matter where my path takes me or where I shall be planted, I will always carry a special place in my heart for service members and their families.

I found my home at the Midwife Group and Birth Center after being contacted by Jill Whitfield asking me to consider joining their practice.  I was unsure and a little apprehensive at first.  Then it happened. I saw my first water birth.  I had tears in my eyes. It had been a long time since I was so moved at a birth.  I saw this beautiful woman and her partner in the most imitate situation.  He was so attentive and holding her.  She was so strong and smiling as she held her baby.  The baby was quiet, alert and looking around.  No one took the baby away to a warmer. No one pushed meds and mom easily walked back to her bed.  It was truly beautiful.  I was overwhelmed and in awe.  I am glad no one could see I was crying because I saw how much I had been missing.  I learned from wonderful midwives and physicians in my past but it was the strength and trust in her body that made this mom my hero.  Nancy was the midwife attending and I watched, sat on my hands a bit but again was in awe of this art we call midwifery.

So here I am, a few years later with the daunting task of continuing the legacy Nancy and Margaret started almost 30 years ago.

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