- Marsden Wagner
Welcome to Avoca Midwifery, Bend, Oregon’s newest homebirth midwifery practice. We offer comprehensive maternity care, birth, breastfeeding support and postpartum care for women and families in Bend, Redmond, Sisters, Sunriver, LaPine, Prineville and surrounding areas in Central Oregon.
The Midwifery Model of Care ™ is the central tenet of our philosophy. The Midwifery Model of Care™ rests firmly on the foundation that pregnancy and birth are normal life processes. We believe very strongly in supporting families through informed choice, up-to-date research and evidence-based care. Building trust, nurturing strong relationships and fostering healthy communication are very important to us.
Birth is a uniquely intimate and profoundly transformative experience. We believe that every woman has the right to feel empowered, informed and well supported through her pregnancy, childbirth and mothering journey. She has the right to express herself free from judgment. She has the right to birth in a way and in such an environment that allows her to feel safe, nourished and well supported. Healthy, low-risk women, when attended by skilled and experienced providers can be confident in their choice to birth their babies in the comfort of their own home.
Our services include complete prenatal care, the majority of which takes place in our office, a midwife on-call 24/7 from 37-42 weeks gestation, attendance in labor and birth (including water birth) by two licensed providers in your home, postpartum care for you (through 6 weeks) and your baby (well baby care through two weeks).
Merka was born and raised in Oregon. Seeking challenge and inspiration, she worked for two years as a volunteer in Americorps in various regions of the US to build trails, fight wildland fires, and provide other public services. Because she found she relished both physical challenge and service to others, she then trained as an EMT, obtained her National Registry Paramedic certification, and spent some time with a fire department in her hometown of Corvallis, Oregon. In 2001 she relocated to Bend, Oregon. To deepen her medical knowledge she worked toward what she hoped would be a fulfilling nursing career. But several years of work in a hospital as a phlebotomist convinced her that a traditional nursing career would not be a good fit for her energies and talents. In 2007 Merka started her own business in Bend working as a DONA certified doula, and in early 2008 she began working as a birth assistant to a midwife. Within a relatively short time, Merka knew that she had found her calling, and committed herself to deepening her skills and knowledge around birth. In the Fall of 2009 she began her Midwifery Education program through Seattle Midwifery School (now Bastyr University). As a part of her midwifery education Merka has enjoyed a variety of opportunities to work alongside skilled midwives in busy practices in Bend and Portland, OR as well as in Seattle, WA. She was honored to practice midwifery for a short time in a high volume hospital in Castries, St. Lucia, West Indies. Merka is a Certified Professional Midwife and is licensed in the state of Oregon. She graduated from Bastyr University in June of 2014 with her Master of Science in Midwifery. She relishes the beauty and adventures that Bend has to offer and is delighted to call Central Oregon “Home.”
“Merka helped deliver our second child at home. She entered the exceedingly fast and intense labor with utmost calm, confident skill, and true compassion. How truly precious it is to have such qualities combined in one care provider! She is a gem and precisely the midwife every birthing mom would be fortunate to have by her side. I felt honored and cared for in her presence and now a year later when I reflect on the very intense labor I continue to feel so much joy and comfort knowing she was there to assist me. Even my physician husband, not naturally a crunchy birth type but very supportive of my desire to birth naturally, really admired her approach. I recommend her with utmost confidence.”
~Erica Delgado MD
“Our son, Eamon Elias Reilly, was born at home, in water, and surrounded with love. Being our third child, our third unmedicated delivery, and second homebirth, we felt like “pros” in the birthing world, but still desired to have midwives present. Leading up to the birth, I expressed my desire to catch my own baby and really take the reins during the birth experience. I can’t tell you how honored I was that Merka respected every one of my wishes. Having two relatively quick births with our first two sons, we were anticipating another rapid labor and delivery. We had been on pins and needles for weeks waiting for our little man to choose his birthday. When the time finally came, I remember Merka dashing by my side yet respecting my wishes and truly holding my birth space for me. Merka was a gem to me, my husband and our boys that day and throughout our postpartum healing. I am forever grateful for her presence in my life.”
~ Amanda Reilly
“Merka was the midwife for my second son’s homebirth. Throughout my pregnancy she was supportive, kind and had the most affirming sense of humor I have ever encountered. Throughout labor and the birth, her gentle guidance and love helped the birth move along smoothly, calmly and without any drama. When needed, she had the knowledge and expertise to swoop in and take charge. But even then, she did it in such a loving way that it never felt like she was “taking charge” and the birth was all my own. I am so grateful for her humor and love. My son’s birth was an amazing experience.”
“Merka was by far the most memorable part of my pregnancy journey. I am terrified of blood draws, and she helped me get through it effortlessly. Her calming and gentle spirit really helped calm my nerves and give me confidence during appointments and postpartum. I felt as if she was an old time friend I have spoken to for years. Her skill and expertise reassured my husband and I in the best decision we’ve ever made- to have a HOME BIRTH!”
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