There are simply no words to express how exceptional Jennifer Oquendo is as a midwife, so I will do my best to put into words our gratitude for her and share our experience.
Jennifer far exceeded my hopes and expectations as my care provider during my second pregnancy. With my first child in Arizona I had a very difficult and traumatizing birth experience. Upon finding out we were expecting again, we decided to move back to San Luis Obispo to have a better chance at the natural birth that was so important to us.
Selecting a competent and supportive birth team was essential.
From my very first phone conversation with Jennifer and through my entire pregnancy, birth and post-partum, Jennifer was compassionate, competent, patient, available, present, gentle, loving, honest, direct, reassuring, kind, supportive and nurturing. She provided the type of care that I believe every pregnant, laboring and postpartum mother (and family) needs and deserves.
I once again had a challenging birth experience due to prolonged ruptured membranes. In the time that I was at home preparing for my homebirth after my water broke Jennifer stood by me to try everything possible to get labor started and she supported me physically and emotionally as we needed to make some difficult decisions. Unfortunately, my body and my baby weren’t ready for labor to start and nothing we could have done would have changed that. We were required by law to transfer at that point, as midwives are unable to attend under those circumstances. I was devastated, yet felt fully supported by Jennifer and my birth team. Upon a transfer to the hospital she did not waver in her support. Jennifer was able to listen to my needs and help me to advocate for myself. Hospital protocol was to have a cesarean section upon arrival, as my waters had been broken for more than 24 hours.
However, the cesarean was not medically indicated as both baby and I were doing fine. We agreed that expectant management was the best course of action for baby and me. Jennifer’s unwavering commitment and support was essential in helping me stay focused, grounded and confident in the decisions I needed to make. As I faced these difficult decisions in the hospital over the days that followed Jennifer visited, stayed in contact, helped with research to better understand what was happening and what questions and conversations to have with the doctor and nurses. She made me laugh in the darkest moments, helped me to feel confident in my decisions, reminded me to stay connected to my beautiful baby, brought me food and even toys for my toddler to stay busy and entertained while he visited me in the hospital. Her support and compassion went beyond what I could have ever hoped for in a midwife. And it was everything I needed, especially in such a vulnerable time.
With this second birth being a challenging experience I could have very easily fallen into a traumatized state. However, because I had such solid support from Jennifer and my birth team I felt empowered in the decisions I made throughout the pregnancy and birth. It was still difficult, but that was my body and how the birth unfolded.
Postpartum, Jennifer’s support was essential to my wellbeing. I began to question the decisions I made and how the events of my birth experience unfolded. And she lovingly and patiently, so patiently, processed with me reminding me of moments that were foggy to me, reminding me of my strength in the decisions I made, and validating that it was a difficult circumstance I had to face, and reassuring me that that I did it and I did it with strength and grace. She listened to my story, my hurts, my fears, my joy, time and time again. And she never dismissed me and shared with me that she felt honored to serve and support. She listened with the most compassionate heart I have ever been blessed to know.
Having had such difficult birth experiences due to complications outside of her control or mine, I have had a difficult transition to motherhood. Birth matters. Jennifer reminded me in the most loving way of what it means to be a mother, both in conversation and by example. Having Jennifer as my midwife for my second pregnancy and birth has helped me to start truly healing from my experiences and to feel supported as a mother.
Jennifer Oquendo embodies the heart and spirit of a midwife. I wish every pregnant woman were blessed with her care and support. My heart is overflowing with love and deep gratitude as I write this. She touched my life in ways that go beyond what words can express. Jennifer has helped me to find my way as a mother. And I am forever grateful.