Tracy Santangelo, a midwife whose practice, BirthPointe, serves the Dallas-Fort Worth area, said that she had to turn away seven or eight women every week at the peak of the pandemic.
"People are willing to do a lot to make sure that their birth desires are really something that they can be attained and will be respected," Santangelo said.
But she could not get the supplies she needed to accept extra clients, although she went to great lengths to obtain supplies. She even bought a face shield from a Chinese food restaurant supplier.
"People were very panicked," Santangelo said. Most of the women who called her were already late in their pregnancies. "I don't know if they found somebody or not."
Women are particularly concerned about a policy, implemented in many hospitals around the nation, that bars family members from being present at birth.
"They can't even have their children come in to meet the new sibling," said Santangelo. "And for me, this is really, by far, my favorite part of the birth."
Santangelo said that one of her clients, a first-time mother, plans to give birth in a hotel room in order to allow her family to be present but also to be close to the hospital. It's actually something Santangelo has done before.
Women's concerns about not having family present at a birth go beyond sentimentality. Rodgers explained that in the case of a medical emergency, a husband makes decisions on behalf of his wife, if she is unable to do so.
"The woman doesn't have anyone to advocate for her," if the husband is not present, said Rodgers. "If she has to have an emergency c-section, there's nobody there to consent for her if she can't consent for herself. So that is a big issue."
Although many women did not plan to deliver their babies at home, Rodgers said that many say they end up preferring at-home births over hospital births.
"We're seeing people have these wonderful birth outcomes, that are saying, I want to do this again. There's no way I'd go back to the medical model of care," said Rodgers.
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As Catholic midwives, Rodgers and Santangelo serve women of all faiths with an understanding that birth is both physical and spiritual.
"It really is an opportunity to show people the grace that a woman of faith can give someone else," said Santangelo. She has the opportunity to connect with the Catholic mothers she serves on matters of faith, but has also found that non-Catholic mothers are often looking for a sympathetic ear.
"To come from a non-judgmental place and to truly serve women because that's the gift that God gave you, that's my greatest joy," she said.
"We are made body, mind and spirit by the Lord," said Rodgers. "If you cut out one of those… then you will be missing part of the puzzle piece to caring and giving this mom and baby the best care possible."