When my husband and I decided to birth in Haiti [we are missionaries who live in Port au Prince, Haiti] I felt a little uncomfortable birthing with my doctor and knew that I really wanted to birth with Joanna as my midwife.
I loved my monthly visits with Joanna because it was more like discussing my birth and the development with a friend rather than a stranger. I felt at ease with her.
When it came time to birth Joanna brought the peace and strength in the room that I needed. I had my husband with me who I knew I couldn’t have done it without, but he had no idea how to really help. I started to breath fast and Joanna was able to clam me down so quickly.
At one point my contractions were so fast and hard that I was on the ground on all fours. Joanna listened to the baby’s heart and it had dropped so she put me on the bed and gave me oxygen. A few more contractions and the baby came out!
Joanna placed my son on my chest and I just couldn’t believe that I did it and he was here! The whole birth was perfect.
I kept saying over and over again ” I can’t believe I just gave birth in Haiti… what was I thinking?!”
I would not have birthed in Haiti the way I did if I did not have Joanna as my midwife. I trust her and her experience. I know that she had my baby and I in her best interest and wouldn’t put us at risk. I’m thankful to have the amazing experience of natural childbirth with Joanna as my midwife.
Joanna was present at the birth of my second child. It was a wonderful VBAC. Joanna’s voice really brought peace to me as I delivered my baby. She knew just what to say and how to say it. She helped me through a very difficult part of my labor, when I was afraid I couldn’t go on, when I thought it might be the knife for me again. Just looking at her calm expression gave me peace. I, as a midwife myself, knew that Joanna was very experienced and knew just what to do for me. We were very blessed to have her there that night!
We had the pleasure of having Joanna participate in our first birth, after her work in the Philippines, but prior to her season in Haiti. As part of a team of three great midwives coming to our Boulder area home, Joanna’s approach was a beautiful balance of confident assertiveness, wisdom, and a supportive calm presence. Her assistance was just the right amount of direct support, while also giving us space to walk through the experience intimately as husband and wife, and eventually with our new daughter.
My wife Heather’s body had a few challenges in both birthing the baby and recovering afterwords, including one that brought up the possibility of transport (to the hospital). It was Joanna’s skillful hands in both situations that were able to assist Heather’s body to accomplish what was needed, allowing us to remain safely at home where we preferred to be. The wisdom and ability within her were just what was needed to overcome those challenges, helping result in a beautiful and precious experience for all of us.
Both at the birth and in later visits, Joanna also showed immense joy and delight in our new daughter. It was very meaningful having her share our sense of celebration over this new life in our lives. Having such a great experience with Joanna and the team at our first birth, we both have been inspired to continue home births for our subsequent children.
Joanna is a midwife who provides good care. Having Joanna for a midwife means more than getting good care, you also get a friend. Someone to encourage you through pregnancy and labor, and give you support when things get hard. I experienced it when I developed preeclampsia. She knows what she’s doing and her service is beyond reproach. I highly recommend her.
Midwife and Director of Heartline’s Maternity Program
Joanna Howard “Jonna” was my preceptor for two years. I learned a high level of care from Jonna that will undergird me in my midwifery career. Excellence would be the one word I would use to describe her midwifery. Jonna understands birth. She is thorough, proactive, understands the process and I never saw her taken by surprise. Her care is well thought out, her actions defended by pre-thought, her style is low key, low intervention and non-hurried.
I used to joke that Jonna has cameras on her fingertips. She could see with her hands. Years of giving her whole being to midwifery has made her a very skilled midwife. Although younger, Jonna has the experience of a seasoned midwife.
The births were all about the woman and baby never about the midwife. Jonna liked to keep births quiet, peaceful, and mom centered.
A mom to be choosing Jonna will be in skilled and loving hands! My learning under Jonna will be the foundation of my own midwifery. Blessed are the women who have delivered their babies with Joanna Howard!
Dr. Gail McClave MD
I am a Family Practice physician with a fellowship in high risk maternity and newborn care. I have had the privilege of knowing Joanna for several years. Her family lives here in Bandon, Oregon where I have founded a non profit rural health practice. We have spent many hours excitedly discussing women’s health and how to help empower a woman during the most sacred time of her life when she creates the miracle of a new life.
Joanna embodies quiet wisdom, warm compassion, diligent competence in midwifery, and a profound calmness and presence. She always has a twinkle in her eye and generous smile for those around her. Joanna believes passionately in helping a woman create the birth experience that is perfect for her, surrounded by love and reassured that she is in a safe and protected environment with a loving and very competent midwife there to assist her.
Joanna has shared many of her births stories with me. I marvel at the devotion she brings to each new mother. She supports each woman totally, through every stage of her pregnancy, delivery, and early infant/mother bonding. She knows each mom so well-what is important to her, what her circumstances are, what her support systems are.
I believe that home birth is the way that birth is meant to be. Joanna offers a woman the opportunity to experience childbirth at home, in a loving, natural, comfortable environment. She has extraordinary experience to guide a woman safely through her pregnancy, involving higher levels of care when that is occasionally needed.
Joanna is extraordinary both in her experience and in her compassion and humanity. I have loved watching her midwifery skills and her confidence mature. Her joy in life is giving to others!