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Published on January 09, 2019

Emily Rodriguez and Hannah Thorelli

Midwives for a new generation of Tomah moms

While preparing for her second child, Hannah Thorelli of Tomah put a lot of thought into her ideal birth experience. Knowing the positive midwife experiences her sisters had during their nine combined pregnancies, it was hard for Hannah to ignore the option of choosing a midwife for her second pregnancy.

Once she made her decision, it didn't take long for Hannah to create a friendship and deep trust with certified nurse midwife Emily Rodriguez, RN, at Gundersen Tomah Clinic.

"Emily is just awesome. She is so warm, and you feel like you can talk to her about anything. She is very kind and has a hometown feel. I don't know how else to explain it," Hannah says.

Originally from Norwalk, Wis., Emily is familiar with the type of community she now cares for as a midwife in Tomah.

"I grew up in the area, so I have a good grasp of the experiences and struggles of people in our community," shares Emily. "I've also had midwives for my own prenatal care, so I know what it is like to be on the opposite side of the exam room."

Having such positive experiences with midwives during her own pregnancies has helped Emily to recognize and advocate for her patients. Simply put, their preference is her priority.

"I really strive to empathize with my patients and understand where they are coming from," Emily explains. "I want women to feel safe and supported during their prenatal care, but also to feel like they have a choice. Pregnancy can stir up a lot of anxiety in women, and I want them to feel comfortable sharing their experience so we can keep them as healthy as possible."

Working as a registered nurse before becoming a midwife, Emily's ability to comfort and support her patients is second nature. Hannah explains, "I feel like, coming from being a nurse, the care was much warmer. Emily was a nurse before becoming a midwife, so she was very hands-on and wasn't afraid to be involved like nurses do."

Midwives are known to be "with woman" throughout the prenatal, labor and delivery, and even the post-partum phases of pregnancy. They support each woman's ideal pregnancy experience and the choices that go along with it. When a mom-to-be might not know what choice to make, a midwife is also there to help guide her to a decision that aligns with her birth plan.

"Our work is more than a job – it's a vocation," explains Emily. "I love the midwifery approach of being 'with woman' and meeting women where they're at so they have a voice in their care."

Is a midwife right for you?

Hannah asked herself this question while considering her options early in her pregnancy. After giving birth to a beautiful baby girl, Hannah was able to reflect on her experience. "If you are really wanting someone to listen to your needs and wants for pregnancy and delivery, a midwife is the way to go. I feel like my needs were met very well with Emily. She makes you feel safe and well-taken care of. I was offered many alternative choices and accommodations to my birth plan. It's not just a job to her. You know she loves what she does – it's very evident."

Our midwives care for patients in Tomah, Sparta and Hillsboro. For more information, call the Gundersen Tomah Clinic at (608) 372-4111.

OB provider options

Gundersen Tomah Clinic offers the care of two certified nurse midwives, in addition to an obstetrician/gynecologist and family medicine physicians for prenatal care and delivery.

Emily Rodriguez, CNM, RN

Emily Rodriguez, CNM, RN

Lyndell Wedyke, CNM, RN

Lyndell Wedyke, CNM, RN

Love + Medicine

Every day, Gundersen Health System staff deliver great medicine plus a little something extra—we call it Love + Medicine.

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