Frontier Nursing University (FNU) alumna Aubre Tompkins, BSN, RN, MSN, CNM is a self-proclaimed “midwife on the path,” a path which has positively impacted many mothers and fellow women’s health providers in her Colorado community.
Aubre, who graduated CNEP (Class 54) in 2009, is a nurse-midwife at Women’s Health Group in Thornton, Colo. She is newly on Faculty at the American Association of Birth Centers (AABC) and meanwhile, is also spearheading the construction and design of a brand-new birth center in Thornton.
It’s safe to say Aubre has a passion for birth centers and holistic women’s health care.
“I want to bring more birth centers to the community and to areas that really need them,” she said.
This wasn’t always the case for Aubre. It wasn’t until she was pregnant with her son that she began on the path to midwifery. Once her nurse-midwives helped Aubre deliver vaginally after her son’s posterior positioning and complicated labor, Aubre knew she wanted to empower women to do the same as a nurse-midwife herself.
She received her BSN from University of Colorado, but searched for a more holistic approach that focused on birth center care for her CNM. She followed that path to FNU, especially after her experience at the Frontier Bound orientation.
“I had an excellent experience at Frontier,” said Aubre. “When I went to Frontier Bound, my daughter came with me because she was still breastfeeding. Everyone was so accommodating, supporting me as a breastfeeding mother. For me, that cemented that I was in the right place.”
Aubre was hired on at Mountain Midwifery Center in Englewood, Colo., where she served as a nurse until she completed FNU’s distance education and came back as a nurse-midwife alongside a fellow FNU alumna. She continued climbing the ladder, eventually becoming Clinical Director for the final five years of her tenure. During that time, Aubre took another step along her path that would have a positive impact around the entire state.
As the oldest freestanding birth center in the state, the Mountain Midwifery staff became frustrated that the current Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) regulations and licensing for birth centers were outdated and not in line with current evidence-based practice.
Aubre, the MMC team and three other Colorado birth centers formed the Colorado Birth Center Coalition, hiring attorney Indra Lucero to file a petition for the CDPHE to open up the regulations.
The CDPHE complied, and Aubre met monthly with the Coalition members, CDPHE representatives and other community entities to rewrite the regulations, line by line.
On July 19, 2017, the new regulations were signed into law. They no longer require birth centers to have a licensed physician on call, and have loosened rigid clinical care instructions to allow for evidence-based scope of practice from health providers.
“It was a grueling, eye-opening process,” said Aubre. “I will always be proud of that as I look back on my career. It significantly changed the landscape of birth centers here in Colorado, and it’s had a positive impact on the community as more have opened.”
Around that time, Women’s Health Group reached out to Aubre to offer her an opportunity that would change her life. The project was to design, build and open a brand-new birth center. Aubre jumped at the chance to create a center that clearly reflected her own family-centered health care model and holistic values.
Throughout the development of Seasons Midwifery Center, Aubre cultivated relationships with several local health care providers. One of her biggest goals was to integrate the midwifery care with hospital care. The nurse-midwives at Seasons will have full admitting privileges – meaning, if necessary, the midwives can go with their clients to the hospital and continue to manage their care while there.
“One of the amazing things about this model is that it eliminates the trauma for clients who have to leave their midwives, and vice versa. It’s good for both the clients and the midwives,” said Aubre.
In 2018, she became Faculty for the AABC’s “How to Start a Birth Center” Workshops. Through her role, she educates students that would like to open up birth centers around the country by providing resources, training and guidance.
Even Aubre’s free time is spent thinking about midwifery. Her creative outlet is her blog, A Midwife on the Path, which she has been writing in since 2010. Her Facebook page of the same name has reached over 3,000 followers.
“I started writing a blog back when I first became a midwife to document my journey,” Aubre said. “Many midwives write memoirs at the end of their careers. What would it be like to have that insight for someone on the beginning of their path?”
In her “Poem for New Midwives” Aubre gives new midwives this advice:
Remember that you are not alone.
There is a history of ancestral knowledge behind you.
There is a circle of support around you in the now.
There is a place for you at the table in the future…and the view is glorious!
While Aubre loves her job, she encourages young midwives to strive for a healthy balance as they journey on.
“Make sure that midwifery is not the only thing in your life,” said Aubre. “The best provider is fulfilled, healthy, and has a well-rounded life.“
Aubre finds her balance through nature, photography, writing and reading. She also spends time with her husband and three kids.
In the meantime, Seasons Midwifery is finally open for business. Midwives will be available to attend births in March 2019.
We are excited for your hard work to begin its impact on your community, Aubre! Congratulations on your accomplishments, and thank you for representing the FNU community so well!