Your midwifery team at Freedom and the Seed believes in and supports the apprenticeship model for the training of future midwives. We believe that midwifery is an ancient art and “calling,” not just another professional career choice. Classroom learning with intermittent clinical experience would not equip a student properly for relating to clients with individual and unique needs. Apprenticeship is the absolute best model for teaching future midwives continuity of care for clients. Students see clients from the beginning of their pregnancies through birth and postpartum care. They learn to care about the individual, recognizing first-hand that what might be the “right” answer for one woman may not be for another.
We are very careful and selective about the students we choose to participate in our apprenticeship program. It is vital to us that our students share our values and are compatible with our personalities. For this reason, we hope that if you have hired us, you also will like our apprentices. Even though we are careful, we recognize that not every client always will be completely comfortable with every student, which is why we want you to know that you always come first. We encourage you to fill out occasional student evaluation forms which help both the student and our midwifery team know how they are doing and if there are aspects of their skills and/or training that need improvement.
Students always are supervised and they only are allowed to perform midwifery skills that they have been taught. We also only allow the students to interact with clients who are comfortable with them. If at any time you do not feel comfortable with our students, please let us know. It is very important that your needs are met first, and that you feel at ease with our entire staff.
Che Phifer, Apprentice
Hello, my name is Che Phifer. I am a wife and mother of three grown boys. I’ve worked in emergency services as an EMT, 911 operator, and dispatcher for over 20 years. In that time I was honored to serve and care for people from many communities during the most challenging times of their lives. I also worked to organize programs to teach both the public and emergency workers about diversity and inclusion. After retiring 3 years ago I decided it was time to follow that tugging in my soul to become a midwife. I am a DONA trained doula, childbirth educator, and an AZDHS trained breastfeeding educator. At home, I enjoy spending time studying herbalism, as well as creating teas, tinctures, salves, and creams to support the health of families. I believe that birthing people deserve to be fully informed, educated and supported in their choices. Being a part of that journey, holding space for them while they are in their power, is a humbling beautiful journey to be a part of. I am thrilled to be part of the FATS team and the Mill Avenue Midwives! The collective knowledge they bring and the dedication to evidence-based practice, education, and support for personal choice, is evident in everything they do.
Gaby Reza, Apprentice
Gabriela(Gaby)M. Reza is a bilingual midwifery student at Freedom and the Seed finishing her education to become a Licensed Midwife. She is also a native birthworker who provides prenatal and postpartum rebozo services and teaches classes to empower families to utilize the rebozo to support the birthing person in labor and delivery. She has been of service to pregnant persons, mothers, babies and families since 2009.
She is a first generation daughter of a migrant family from Chihuahua, Mexico. Her mother was born at home with parteras/midwives in Mexico. During her participation as a runner in spiritual run, “Peace and Dignity Journeys”, is where she met indigenous healers and parteras/midwives from different parts of Tawantinsuyo (South America). They discussed the vital importance of midwifery helping improve maternal & childbirth outcomes and encouraged the younger generations to learn how to keep parterismo/ indigenous midwifery alive not only for this generation but for the future generations to come.
Upon returning to San Diego- California, Gaby began to search for midwifery preceptors in the U.S. When the opportunity to become an apprentice with the licensed midwives at Birth Roots Women’s Health and Maternity Center in Chula Vista, she dove in full-heartedly. Gaby also attended births as a doula, supporting & advocating for mothers and families who wanted a Spanish speaking doula in San Diego, California. In addition to being of service to mothers, babies and families, her time was also dedicated to empowering youth and facilitating “Healing Circulos de Mujercitas” for Junior high and High School Students in the San Diego & Chula Vista Community.
On Gaby’s free time she loves being in nature and going hiking or swimming with her three-year-old daughter.
Jada Rush, Apprentice
Hi, my name is Jada Rush. I am a wife to a wonderful husband and a mother to three beautiful little girls: our oldest two who bring us such joy, and our baby girl in heaven whom we very recently lost during labor.
Though not currently practicing, I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) in the State of Oklahoma and the State of Indiana, with that journey beginning in 2008. I also have Masters of Divinity (M.Div) degree and a background in ministry, and I am a DONA trained birth doula. I have had a long time passion for women’s healthcare, healthcare in general, and all things mommas, births, and babies. I actually started out as Pre-Med/Biology & Spanish in college with the goal of becoming an OB/GYN. And although I took a different direction in my studies, what I came to call my “medical side” or “itch” never went away. I later came to realize that itch was midwifery all along, and that midwifery was always meant to blend together with all that I am.
I am excited to be a part of the Freedom and the Seed midwifery team and Mill Avenue Midwives, and I look forward to serving and supporting families, offering individualized and dedicated care.
Liliana Roth, Apprentice
Hi there, my name is Liliana Roth. From an early age I knew that I wanted to be part of the birth community in some way. In 2011, this idea became clearer after I had the opportunity to attend my first birth in a hospital, which happened to have midwives working directly with the OBs, this was my first introduction of midwifery. After graduating high school I learned more about midwifery and home birth, and a whole new magical world opened up for me. This is when I decided that I wanted to pursue becoming a Midwife. I began my journey in 2015, when I enrolled in the Via Vita School of Midwifery program. The same year, my partner Thomas and I moved from our home town of Anchorage, Alaska, to Phoenix so that we could both start our Schooling. I finished Via Vita in early 2017, and began working on completing my PEP through the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) to become a Certified Professional Midwife and Licensed Midwife (CPM, LM). In December 2017, I began apprenticing as a student midwife with Phoenix Home Birth, under Jamie Jones CPM, LM. During that time I attended mainly home births but was able to attend hospital births as a student and doula. In July of this year, I started working as a birth assistant under Crystal Pena for Willow Birth Centers- home birth team. When the opportunity arose to join as a student midwife at FATS and the Mill Avenue Midwives, I was absolutely delighted. The FATS and Mill Avenue Midwives is a community of women who are all so amazing and such an inspiration to be able to work under. I am so excited to be part of the team and I look forward to supporting and empowering birthing people and families.
During my down time I enjoy spending time at home with my partner Thomas and our two cats. I do various forms of art such as acrylic painting, drawing and pottery, it is a great way for me to express myself. I also really love getting out into nature, going camping and hiking whenever I am able.
Lakyhia Ellis, Apprentice
Lakyhia is a well-loved holistic labor and postpartum doula on our team. She trained through DONA and has dedicated over 10 years of her life in birthwork and caring for families. She wholeheartedly believes in the necessity of support and empowerment of the person bringing life into the world. Though it has always been her passion, after the experience of her own birth she felt more driven to support others and help them have the best experience, their way. She has supported many families, including, natural, cesarean, VBAC and home births. As a postpartum doula, Lakyhia flourishes. Caring for new baby, the entire family, cooking, cleaning, and connecting with children and parents comes easily. Prior to working as a postpartum doula she worked as a nanny for many years. Lakyhia has studied lactation, placenta encapsulation, trauma and postpartum depression amongst many other areas (as well as experiencing all of these things personally). Lakyhia is working towards owning a therapeutic holistic birth center that is centered around the support, empowerment, healing and spiritual growth. Families love her sense of calm, depth of knowledge, care and willingness to jump in wherever and whenever needed!