OLD TOWN, Maine (WABI) - Childbirth at home was once the standard of care.
Now, more Mainers are choosing to go back to the basics when it comes to bringing their baby into this world.
According to the latest study by The New England Journal of Medicine, the rate of planned out-of-hospital births increased by about 60% between 2008 and 2012.
Andrea Mietkiewitcz started delivering babies in homes 26 years ago.
She also provides midwife services at her own home in Old Town.
"I had no intentions of becoming a midwife," says Andrea Mietkiewitcz, thinking back to 1990. At that time, she was working as an Emergency Department nurse.
She had a colleague who delivered her baby at home.
"And I thought home?" says Mietkiewitcz. "I couldn't even understand why would someone do that. I thought it was something ancient, people like in the 1800s did that."
But circumstances led Mietkiewitcz to birthing her own daughter at home. It was then she realized her calling to become a midwife.
"When you do everything, one pair of eyes have seen the whole thing, you learn a lot and you don't have to have all these protocols," says Mietkiewitcz. "Protocols are because you're never seeing the same doctor."
Protocols is what brought Valerie Eldredge to Mietkiewitcz for her second pregnancy.
"I had a great experience the first time," says Eldredge, referring to the hospital delivery for her first born. "I just didn't like that they told me what I needed to do with my body."
Mietkiewitcz ended up delivering Eldredge's next three children at home. And, she was at the hospital where Eldredge's fifth child was born out of precaution for postpartum bleeding.
"My kids have aunts and uncles and grandparents," says Eldredge with a smile, "but they also have a midwife."
Suzanne Greenlaw found comfort in Mietkiewitcz's non-conformity approach.
"Our meetings would last two hours, much longer than you'd meet with a doctor," says the mother of two including a 10-month old daughter. "She would ask you - how is your health? What are you eating? How is your relationship at home? How is your emotional health?"
When Greenlaw's water broke a month early, Mietkiewitcz met her at the hospital for the emergency delivery.
"I liked feeling like I knew what was happening," says Greenlaw. "It decreased the fear."
Megan Judkins admits she and her family had some concerns about giving birth to her daughter at home.
"I was nervous a little bit but I knew I was in great hands with Andrea and the doula," says Judkins. "And they just made me feel like I could do this, and I did."
Mietkiewitcz says while rewarding, the work is also all consuming. She's on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"I have always been there for my women, every prenatal visit, at the labor," says Mietkiewitcz. "And then all the postpartum care."
She's actually tried retiring...four times now.
"I want to stop," says Mietkiewitcz, "but you cannot stop because you view the world through a midwife's eyes. Where I get called to is where the need is not being fulfilled."
Mietkiewitcz is now branching out to offer natural methods to help parents after birth, including lactation, getting babies to sleep, and homeopathic remedies. For more information, you can log onto https://www.clearlightholistic.com
For more information on midwives in Maine, you can log onto http://mainecpms.org/