In 1999, my family and I moved to New York from Carbondale, Colorado. We moved here for my first job as a midwife. We moved here with my job contract, a lot of hope, and more than just a few prayers. We drove a U-Haul filled with all our belongings and a station wagon filled with our three kids. We drove across mountains, plains and the great Mississippi. Our finances were tight (our budget could handle an occasional treat at Friendly’s, not gallons of organic milk). This move was a stretch for all of us, a leap of faith as a family to support my dream of being a midwife.
In 2009, ten years and a thousand births later, after working for others and attending births in hospitals for a decade, it was time for change again. This time the stretch was to create a private midwifery practice, a planned home birth practice. This time the dream was to become the kind of midwife that I would have chosen for my own births.
Again, there were both logistics and finances to consider. By now, our budget was a bit more comfortable; it did include glass-bottled milk but it also had college tuitions on the near horizon.
Many discussions occurred prior to starting Local Care Midwifery. There were talks in my own head (“Really? You are even considering this? You know that you don’t want to be a business owner. Are you crazy?”). And with my husband (“This is what you are meant to do. How can we ma this?I want other babies to be born like ours were.”). With other home birth midwives (“How can we help you?” “The Capital District needs this.” “Let me show you…teach you…give you…”). With several trusted obstetricians (“Good plan. Let me know how I can help”). The discussions would always start with my questioning whether or not to start this business and end with me one step closer to opening the doors of said business.
Many consultations were done: books, internet sources, lawyers, the NYS Department of Health, Albany Small Business Development Center, my local City Hall, Department of Vital Records and County Court House. The book, Growing A Business, was suggested to me by my eldest son. This book was priceless; it helped to clarify my vision and support the importance of starting on a well planned string-string budget.
There were so many details to attend to, and logistics to juggle. What to call the business? How to get start up money? How much money? Where to place the business? What zoning restrictions applied? How far should I travel to births? Should I have a DBA, a corporation or a PLLC? What about charts – paper, electronic, or hybrid? There were IT needs -cell phone, computers, GPS, fax, printing, scanning… Supplies had to be gathering (Staples was my best friend for a while). Client forms, everything from a Registration Form to a Newborn Exam Form, needed to be created, printed and collated. Billing companies were researched and one finally hired. There were the original website and brochures created on a shoe-string budget with me as the designer (thank you Google and Apple). Then there were two trips to Connecticut to gather a windfall of supplies, everything from dopplers to an exam table, speculums to library books (thank you Vicki Nolan Marnin!).
There were so many details that hinged on another: I couldn’t get a DBA until I decided on a business name. There was little point in printing business cards or brochures before I had a logo. (My youngest son, Cody, helped create the original logo. One day when I was stuck, deeply mired actually, in trying to finish the logo so I could move forward, he took the pen from me, added one simple line and it was perfect.)
Through all of this, I never doubted that clients would come. I knew that women wanted quality midwifery care; I could provide that. I also knew that many families wanted to birth at home; there was no reason this couldn’t happen with a licensed midwife in NY’s Capital District. Like the line in Field of Dreams, “if you build it, they will come’, I just knew that clients would appear.
When to open the business? Well, I knew that I needed a definite start date to keep me on track and motivated. I knew that August or September was realistic. Looking at the calendar, I realized that my entrepreneur dad’s birthday fell on the first Monday in August. So August 3, 2009 became Local Care Midwifery’s opening day.
Now, five years later, our fifth birthday, is a Sunday, and we are having a party, cake, and all. Come join us!
May all babies be born into loving hands
Stuff Needed To Open
Medications and Supply provider
NYS Birth Certificate blanks
Start up money! (loan against my mortgage)
Business checking account and credit card
Toys and books for kiddos
(and so much more…)
Folks Instrumental in the beginning
Marc and Joann Vorih
Dr Lawrence Parsley
Dr William Hennessey
Dr Jeffrey Altman
Vicki Nolan Marnin
Michael Lambert, DC
Amy at Albany SBDC
(And so many more. This list is just folks involved in initially getting the LMC doors open. Literally hundreds, if not thousands, have helped in the five years since LCM opened. If I left your name off, please forgive me, and then remind me!)