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Dee Dee Dirks, CNM, MSN
My long and winding path as a midwife began in the early 1980’s at LA County USC Women’s Hospital working as a nurse on the High-Risk Labor and Delivery Unit (5L) at a time when there were 50-80 births a day! This is where I first encountered midwifery care, inspired by the midwives’ calm presence instilling confidence in our patients. Loving what I experienced, I pursued midwifery and graduated from the USC Nurse Midwifery Education Program, onsite at Women’s Hospital, in 1988. I was privileged to join the staff and faculty working alongside 32 knowledgeable midwives, creating space for unique family-centered care for our underserved patients on the Normal Birth Center (8L). My experience with labor and birth over the years has been gleaned through a variety of settings: homebirth, community hospitals in the Pasadena area, birth centers, Kaiser Woodland Hills, and Kaiser Baldwin Park. I have grown to respect the beauty of how a woman’s body is designed to give birth with natural support as well as appreciate the availability of tools, if needed, to promote healthy outcomes.
I’ve been married to my dear husband Paul for forever. All three of our children were born at home with nurturing midwifery care which has served as my model. We are now empty-nesters up for adventures and doing life with our treasured adult children. Melissa and husband Ethan live in Oregon, Caraline and husband Noah are in the Pasadena area near us, and son Taylor is a pediatric nurse (the kind that sings to his patients) for CHOC (Children’s Hospital Orange County).
I continue to be awed by the miracle of pregnancy, birth, and the unfolding story of family life. Belief in building trusting relationships through sharing thoughts and feelings and the role of education with evidence-based information, I value each woman and family’s story of which I am privileged to be a part. I consider it a joy and honor to be a supportive presence with families as a UCLA midwife.