Meet our Midwives!
We are very pleased to announce that Shawna DeWitt will be joining our midwifery team in the Fall of 2017! Shawna is a Certified Professional Midwife and will bring years of birthworker experience with her. We are very grateful that she has chosen to continue her path with Riverside!
Nannette Jenkins CNM
Nannette founded Riverside Midwifery in 2010. She lives in Buckeystown, MD, with her husband and three beautiful children. She enjoys time with her family, gardening, bike riding, knitting, and reading, and attending church at Tri-State Baptist Church in Charles Town, WV.
Nannette’s educational background includes being homeschooled K-12, finishing at the age of 16, and then attending Shepherd University for her Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing. She began her graduate nursing studies in 2007, and earned her Master’s of Science in Nurse-Midwifery in 2010 from Shenandoah University.
Nannette’s course of training at Shenandoah included several phases. She served local county health departments for women in need of screening, education, family planning, and STD care. She spent 9 months in Lancaster, PA, working with an Amish midwife attending homebirths. She then finished with her midwifery training at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown, MD, caring for pregnant women in the hospital setting. This foundation of varied experience, combined with her past nursing experience, gave Nannette a balanced attitude and strong skill set.
After graduating and sitting for the American Midwifery Certification Board exams, Nannette founded Riverside Midwifery in September of 2010 and attended her first homebirth in December 2010. She then had her own first child in June, 2011, her second in April, 2013, and her third in January, 2016. Her first was born by non-emergency Cesarean for position problems after planning a homebirth, and her second was born by VBAC after a home to hospital transfer. Her third baby was born at home in water. Her experiences have given her a personal empathy and compassion for women who have births not quite to plan.
Nannette is a Christian and believes that God designed our bodies, and as such that we are perfectly capable of carrying and birthing our children under healthy circumstances. It is a natural, normal process that should be respected and protected. She believes her role as midwife is to guide and encourage the woman in having a healthy pregnancy, and to do the same in labor. Her role is not to manage or manipulate birth, but rather to safe-guard normal and use her skills and tools to guide the process back to normal when necessary. Nannette is grateful and awed to be able to witness the Creator’s design unfold so many times in womens’ labors and births in the sacred space of their own homes. She believes life begins at conception, and is honored to be given the role of walking with that life from start to birth. It is a privilege to see a mother and child come into being.
Nannette continues her midwifery training and skills development constantly. She went to the Advanced Midwifery Workshop at the Farm in Summertown, TN, meeting Ina May Gaskin and Pamela Hunt. She has attended multiple national conferences from American College of Nurse Midwives (ACNM), and a Midwifery Today, and has also completed several certifications including Neonatal Resuscitation, the Birth Emergencies Skills Training (BEST), Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO), and many more local and topic specific trainings and workshops. She has established and maintains vaginal breech skills. She serves as the Treasurer of the WV ACNM Affiliate, and the Treasurer of the Midwives Alliance of WV. She is also a member of the Association of Independent Midwives in Maryland(AIMM), Midwives Alliance of North America, and ACNM National. She has been active politically in West Virginia and Maryland seeking the advancement of independent midwifery practice in both states.
Chris Bontrager CNM
“As a mom and a midwife, I am excited to be joining the Riverside Midwifery team. I believe that each woman should have access to care that respects her as an intelligent, capable person and honors her intuition, and am honored to be a part of ensuring that women have options when it comes to their birth setting.
I had the privilege of growing up in a missionary family in East Africa, where I learned to appreciate the variety of human experiences found in this world. My family moved back to the US when I started college, and I graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in Harrisonburg, VA with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing. For the next 4 years I worked as a public health nurse in Virginia, a job I enjoyed but which did not satisfy me completely. During this time I began reading about the profession of midwifery, and discovered that everything rang true to me, especially the emphasis on wellness and normalcy and the respect for women as partners in their care. I enrolled in the Frontier School of Midwifery and Family Nursing, doing the majority of my clinical experience at Bay Area Midwifery in Annapolis (a free-standing birth center at the time). After graduating in 2001, I moved to Colorado and worked as a CNM in a rural hospital practice. In 2005, I moved back east to be near my family, and joined the CNM team at the Maternity Center, a free-standing birth center in Bethesda, MD. When the birth center closed in 2007, several of us midwives joined the OB practice of our consulting physicians. We maintained our own midwifery practice (Midwifery Care Associates) within the OB practice, and attended births at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, MD.
In the meantime, I met my husband, got married, and when we gave birth to our first child in 2010, I decided that it was time to take a break from midwifery to focus on my growing family. My first daughter was born at home in the water at 42 weeks, an empowering and validating experience that cemented my love of homebirth as an option for families. My second child, a son, was a planned homebirth who was born at the hospital (Shady Grove) after we decided to transfer at 42.5 weeks for medical reasons. We had a lovely, natural hospital birth, but the experience gave me a lot of empathy for those who have to transfer. My third child, a daughter, was born at home in the water at 42 weeks, with Nanette and Shawna in attendance; this birth was a healing experience for me and I loved being able to have my first two kids present for the birth of their sister. I have had the privilege to be at home with these little people for the past five years, but now I am ready to mesh my two identities, mother and midwife. I look forward to getting to know each of you in the coming years.”
Shawna Dewitt, student midwife, birth assistant
“I began reading about birth and interning with birth professionals when I was 22. In the 19 years since that time I have worked with many talented birth professionals, become a Professional Birth Doula, Certified Postpartum Doula, and Certified Childbirth Educator through Aviva Institute and toLabor. I have worked as a birth assistant for local home birth midwives for 6 years. I have been a student at the National Midwifery Institute for the past three years and have worked as a student midwife at NOVA Natural Birth Center for two and a half years. I have attended over 300 births in my years as a birth professional. My children, an 8 year old girl and 6 year old boy were both born at home with a midwife. I am passionate about offering education, information, and support around the prenatal period, labor and birth, and the postpartum transition. It is a honor to be allowed to help guide and safe guard your authentic experience.”
Brittany Coffman, student midwife, birth assistant
“In a world full of beautiful chaos, birth reminds us to slow down and trust ourselves. My interest in birth flourished after the birth of my first daughter, when I realized how important true support is during this precious time. Over the previous 10 years I had been working as a Physician Assistant in Maryland, so it was a big change for me to begin work in the birth field. My passion has only increased with time, and the amount of joy I experience is second to none. My background in medicine has proved to be a beneficial asset in combination with my holistic interests. My bachelors in Biology, Masters in PA Studies, work as a certified EMT, and Neonatal Resuscitation Certification have given me clarity and respect for when medicine is needed. My work as a doula, birth assistant, and student midwife reinforces my excitement for empowering women and families. I believe in serving women with love and view this time as a sacred journey, which brings forth profound realizations in trusting a woman’s body in pregnancy, labor, and birth. The education and empowerment women and their families receive during this time are transformative.”
Bergen Howlett, birth assistant
Sarah Scolaro, birth assistant
Jenifer Sincevich, office manager