laura baxter

A seed was planted the year I turned twelve. My mother was in nursing school, and I had found her Maternal and Newborn Nursing textbook. As I paged through its contents, I was drawn in to the incredible unfolding of life through the perspective of a caregiver. I spent my early teen years caring for my grandmother and went on to become a CNA at age sixteen. While my initial goal was to become a nurse and my heart was always in labor and delivery, I was pulled away from that and hired at what is now Aspirus Wausau Hospital onto the Medical/Pediatric unit. 

It was during my time at Wausau Hospital that a dear friend was expecting her first child and invited me to be there to support her. I was able to witness her become a mother as she brought her baby into the world and that planted seed took root. 

As it happens sometimes, life didn’t follow the most direct route, but with each season of life, I found myself in a place of labor and birth support, and it felt like home. 

After high school, I attended Viterbo University for two and a half years, studying Studio Art and Digital Media. I was able to have some medical illustrations published in a medical journal for a surgeon in Georgia. During that time, I was also able to support friends and family members as a few more sweet babies arrived. 

As I completed my Bachelor’s Degree in Animation with the intent to continue into medical simulation animation, I nannied for the children of two precious families in particular.

I was pleasantly surprised when I learned they were able to have their babies at home under the care of midwives! Looking back at the births I had witnessed, homebirth as an option made so much sense. 

I first met Jane and Christie at a home visit for a family I cared for. A brief “hello” was exchanged, but their presence reached my core. I was in awe of these midwives. Even the basic fact they existed, and in my area stirred my passion for birth, but for many reasons, I felt like it was a position out of my reach. 

A short time later, I met my husband and in the spring of 2011, we were married. In 2012, my husband and I were expecting our first child, and I knew immediately I wanted to have this baby at home. It was during one of our prenatal visits that I met Korina. Each of these women was unique and yet I felt completely at ease in their care and found myself looking forward to each appointment. In November of that year, our daughter McKinley was born at home. I was thankful for the ability to choose that for our family as it was where I felt most comfortable, empowered, and supported. 

In the summer of 2014, our daughter Charlee was born in that same room, with Jane and Korina present just like her sister’s birth and once again, I was beyond thankful. I was excited when Jane, Korina AND Christie were all able to attend the birth of our sweet Adeline in the spring of 2016. Our little William was born, at home, into loving hands just like his sisters, in November of 2017. Each time, I could not imagine it unfolding anywhere else. 

While pregnant or between our four babies, I had been honored to support friends and family as they brought their little ones into the world. The winter after William was born brought job changes in our family and while some doors closed, new ones opened. I was able to be trained through DONA as a doula. I wanted to expand my knowledge of what I had already been privileged to do. In going through training, and as other doors continued to open, I decided it was time to reach out to Jane about officially pursuing midwifery — something I feel I had been doing since the first time I opened that textbook as a 12 year old. 

The spring of 2021 will mark three years working with In the Beginning as a provisionally licensed apprentice on the path of certification through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM). I have been honored to learn from these amazing midwives and build on what I have been studying for years.