Solo Midwives

Shianna Pace

Kate Kennedy - Olds, AB

Chelsea McLeod Schneider

Paige Layden

Kersti Ojamaa

Shannon Sutherland - Joining the Clinic Spring 2023

Team Vivian and Erin

Vivian Maclean

Erin Braaten

Shianna Pace, RM

Owner of Cochrane Community Midwives and Shifra Centre

Since I was a young girl I have had a passion for babies and pregnancy. This passion flourished while growing up in a large family, and gained focus after experiencing the birth of one of my younger cousins.

The realization that this passion could become a career was made when I chose to “career shadow” Joy in a grade nine work experience project. I later discovered that my paternal great grandmother had also been a midwife.

After graduating from Cochrane High School I began actively pursuing a career in midwifery. This led me to a midwifery education program in the USA which involved a year of practicum in the Philippines, fulfilling my longstanding desire to aid the less fortunate in the developing world. While in the Philippines, I was able to acquire extensive midwifery skills while working with the diverse maternal and neonatal complexities facing the third world.

After six months in Manila, the capital city of the Philippines, my husband Brad and I had the opportunity to establish a charity birth centre serving poverty stricken families and woman from the tribes who were unable to access health care. Upon completion of my year in the Philippines I returned to Cochrane, obtained Alberta Midwifery Registration, and joined Cochrane Community Midwives.

While working as a midwife I have developed a strong commitment to enabling woman to make their own personal health care decisions. I believe that a woman should leave midwifery care empowered by her birth experience, and confident in her body. I look forward to helping more women to accomplish their goals.

Chelsea McLeod Schneider, RM

I thought I was becoming a midwife because I loved babies – which I do – but through the process, I realized that my deepest passion is working with women and helping them feel empowered by their birthing experiences. I also have a keen interest in natural fertility awareness and working with couples in this area help to achieve their family planning goals.

In 2002, I entered the midwifery education program in Ontario where I completed 2 years of my degree. Shortly thereafter, I became a Mumma myself and took a step back from my career goals to grow my own little family. Life took a few meanders including my greatest adventure to date... the 8 babes of my own! Along with my ever-supportive, incredible husband, we enjoy an active lifestyle managing the blessed joys and chaos of big family life!

In 2012, I joined Mount Royal University's bachelor of midwifery program, completing my degree in the spring of 2016.  I am passionate about women and their babies and, through all the twists and turns, I never swayed in my desire to one day serve them as a midwife. I feel like my life's experiences were an extended practicum!

I am still completely in awe of the processes of pregnancy and birth... the fact that we grow new humans inside ourselves never ceases to amaze me! I am excited and grateful to be serving the women of Cochrane, Calgary and the Bow Valley as a Registered Midwife! Thank you for allowing me into this intimate experience to support you and your growing family!

Vivian Maclean, RM - Moving to Birth Partnership June 2023

With over 29 years in Healthcare, 23 of them as a Registered Midwife, I can honestly say my passion for supporting women and families through pregnancy, childbirth and beyond grows daily. As a mother of two young adults myself I can understand and appreciate the importance of finding the right support to help guide you through the most intimate and life changing time in your life. I empower women to make the right choices for them with a non judgemental, natural approach to childbirth. I believe pregnancy and childbirth should be kept as natural and undisturbed as possible. I encourage my clients to be informed and gain confidence and trust in their bodies abilities to birth safely without interventions unless medically necessary.

Erin Braaten, RM

Along with my truly amazing colleagues, I am here to bring respectful maternity, well-woman and infant health care to our community. I was drawn to this path with my first pregnancy and could not deny its pursuit thanks to the exceptional midwifery care I received here in Cochrane. After I started midwifery school I learned from my grandma that her own gran had been a community midwife, this resonated with me and I knew I belonged in this journey. I graduated with a Bachelor of Midwifery, on the Dean’s honour roll, from Mount Royal University. I have also served my profession on the Alberta Association of Midwives board of directors. It is our great fortune to call Cochrane and surrounding area home. I consider myself lucky to be part of a team with the midwives I trusted through my own growth into motherhood. This work is humbling and I enjoy helping families reach their goals through their pregnancy, birth and postpartum. We have exceptional services and collaboration available to ensure care that is personalized for each family’s needs. It’s my hope that all families have choices regarding their maternity care experiences. I look forward to building a trusting relationship with you as you grow your own family.

Because birth matters,

Kersti Ojamaa, RM

Coming to midwifery was not a straight path for me. In 2007, I realized I wanted to be involved with women’s and children’s health during a medical mission trip to Nepal. After that experience, I pursued my desire to help families through volunteering, and graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Microbiology with honours, from the University of British Columbia with the goal of becoming a doctor.

After my older sister had her first baby with the support and care of midwives, my goal shifted, and I determined that midwifery would be the perfect combination for me. It was the first time I had seen the level of care and commitment midwives provide, and I was immediately attracted to the profession. Several years later, I graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelors in Health Sciences in Midwifery having begun to learn the art and skill of our profession.

As a midwife, I love the personalized care I can offer women, providing information and allowing them space to make the best decisions for their family. I also love the relationships that form. I greatly look forward to supporting, caring for, and working with the mothers in and around Cochrane. I grew up in Calgary and could not be happier to return to the Calgary area to work as a Midwife after a few years working elsewhere. It feels like coming home for me.

When not working, I love being around friends and family. Many times, that means I am exploring the mountains both locally and internationally, getting into a new project, or sitting in the backyard with a good glass of wine.

Paige Layden, RM

When I was having my own babies, I came to midwifery looking for a connection to my care provider and the freedom to make informed choices about my care.  Now, as a midwife, connection and informed choice are the reason why midwifery is the place I have chosen to stay.
My journey to midwifery began long before I knew what a midwife was. As a child I was fascinated by birth and by the physical transformation the body undergoes during pregnancy. I believe I have always wanted to be a midwife, though I did not have the words. I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Dalhousie University in 2010 and graduated with both a valuable understanding of how the body works as well as a profound respect for all of the miraculous things our bodies are capable of.
During my first pregnancy I found midwifery and immediately felt a sense of purpose and direction. I graduated from Mount Royal University on the Dean’s List with a Bachelor of Midwifery in 2018.
I believe in our bodies innate wisdom during this process and trust families to make well informed choices about their care. Pregnancy, birth and post partum are all incredibly transformative experiences and I aim to provide safe, compassionate and empowering experiences to women and their families throughout each of these important stages.
I am grateful to each and every family that has invited me to be a part of their prenatal care and into their birth spaces. There is nothing more humbling than watching you bring your babies into the world.
I have called Cochrane home since 2010 and feel so grateful to be serving the families of this lovely little community as they grow their families.  My husband and I have grown our own family here with these midwives and have four little Laydens that keep us on our toes.  Outside of midwifery, you can find me on a boat, at the barn or in my vehicle as a personal chauffeur to my children.
With gratitude.

Kate Kennedy, RM - Olds, AB

Hello Olds Community Midwives’ Clients!
My name is Kate Kennedy, and I am thrilled to join you on your pregnancy journey. I began my own journey towards becoming a midwife in 2007, when my first daughter was born into the hands of midwives. The entire pregnancy and birth helped me realize that people can be better served in a maternity care system when caregivers listen to clients and present them with the information they need to make decisions that are right for them and their families. This felt revolutionary to me at that time, and it was the first time I had ever considered a career in a medical field.

By the time my second daughter was born in our bedroom while her sister slept, I was sure I wanted to be a midwife and help other families experience the warm, competent, relationship focused care that I had received. I knew it would be difficult to go back to school with young babies, so I enjoyed my time as a mother and the owner of my own landscaping
business, while I volunteered and sat on the board of local parenting and birth related non-profits. I have collected thousands of birth stories, and I can see the patterns that develop in parenthood that stem back to feeling empowered and supported in birth~or not! Now that my children (and their long time friends) are in the teen phase, I understand how finding a supportive village makes a huge difference in our long-term relationship with our children.

My passions lie in holistic care. Outside of my midwifery schooling, I have studied parenting and infant communication, natural systems of healing such as herbalism and homeopathy, positioning and rebozo work in pregnancy and birth, as well as the human gut biome. I graduated in the spring of 2020 from Mount Royal University’s Bachelor of Midwifery program. Additionally, I have completed workshops in Spinning Babies, rebozo, homeopathy and attachment parenting, and took specialized training in physiologic vaginal breech birth through the University of British Columbia. My philosophy of birth is that it is a beautiful, transformative rite of passage, that only occasionally requires emergency skills. I am there to walk beside you on your journey, and while my job is to explain to you the options and the evidence behind them, your job is to choose what is right for you, your baby and your family.

When I’m not busy catching babies and supporting clients, I enjoy spending time with my children, our many pets, and growing as many vegetables, fruit and flowers that I possibly can in our short season. I love spending time in nature, having long chatty dinners out with friends, as well as cooking, canning and eating delicious food at home. Having grown up in Sundre, I love practicing in Central Alberta. I look forward to meeting you and being your midwife!

Sincerely, Kate Kennedy

Shannon Sutherland, RM - Joining the Clinic Spring 2023

I was blessed with knowing from a very early age that I wanted to help bring babies into the world.  Although I had the heart of a midwife for some time, I did not move directly into midwifery.  I first graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2003 and worked as a labour and delivery nurse in Calgary.  I then embarked on a traveling adventure for a few years, and worked in Scotland, where I was not allowed to work in maternity care. This time away from birthing families created a longing to return to maternity care and allowed me space to reflect on my philosophy of birth.  While I loved being part of one of the most exciting, rewarding, and intimate moments that an individual and family can experience, I struggled with having no connection afterward.  I also knew that I was not able to serve growing families to the best of my ability with no relationship before the birth.  With this realization I enrolled in a Master of Midwifery program in Melbourne, Australia. Upon completion in 2009 I returned to my hometown, Calgary, and began practicing midwifery full time. 

I deeply appreciate that I now have the opportunity to build bonds before the birth which creates the foundation for how I can best support birthing individuals and their families.  I value the opportunity to offer informed choice, and to help families feel empowered to make their best decisions. My reward is the joy I experience the moment a mother truly realizes their own strength.  The beautiful human connections I make fill my vessel and remind me of the gift bestowed upon me. That gift is having discovered with such ease that I am meant to be a midwife.

I recently I brought another dream to life.  Since childhood I longed to experience pregnancy, birth, and motherhood. In 2021 I welcomed my beautiful son into my own hands at home as a solo mother by choice. My experience created a deeper understanding of the the innate wisdom and intuitive knowing that mothers possess. I look forward to connecting and holding the space for you to bring your baby into this world, the way you dream of.