About Us

Principles of Midwifery Care

Continuity of Care

You will have the opportunity to establish a relationship of trust with your midwives. You will have the same caregivers throughout your pregnancy, labour, birth and in the postpartum period.

Informed Choice

There are many choices to make in pregnancy regarding your care. We support you as the primary decision maker. This involves discussing available testing, procedures and interventions and their advantages, disadvantages and research evidence. Our 45-minute appointments give us the time to discuss these issues so that you can make appropriate decisions.

Click here to view or download the Informed Choice Agreement.

Choice of Birthplace

Some women feel safer in hospital, while others feel safe and more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of their home. In accordance with international medical and midwifery research findings, we support the choice of planned home birth as a safe option for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies.

Midwifery care is free to women who are residents of Ontario. Funding is provided by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Midwifery care involves clinic and home visits, physical assessments, lab work, time to address your questions, and discussion of a number of topics such as:

  • Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle
  • Normal physical and emotional changes during pregnancy
  • Diagnostic procedures and medical interventions
  • Preparation for labour and birth
  • Abnormalities, complications and emergency measures
  • Infant care and breastfeeding
  • Postpartum adjustment and parenting
  • Fertility awareness and family planning

A complete explanation of our philosophy and services is contained in our Informed Choice Agreement.  The full text of the agreement is here.

Madawaska Valley Midwives
Get to Know Us


Suki Hardesty, Registered Midwife

Born in the UK, raised on a farm in Sussex, trained as a Nurse in London (the original one) then moved to the Devon/Cornwall border living in the beauty of Rural Dartmoor National Park.

I trained as a Midwife in the early 1980s – had a hospital birth with an Epidural and all the trimmings – then two years later a Home Water Birth, which at that time was still so uncommon I had to explain it all to my Midwife – who bless her was very supportive although obviously thought I was nuts! My now-adult children are currently in the UK. I moved to Canada with my husband in 2010 and have loved learning about how different we all are despite theoretically speaking the same language.

I have two cats and a horse that I am hoping to breed in 2022 and a garden that I am very not green thumbed in (it would be green fingered in the UK!).

I am still privileged to be allowed to get to know so many wonderful families and be part of that very special time in their lives that you never forget, and remain amazed at how much there is always left to learn. I love facilitating women taking control of their own bodies and watching families grow. Thank you.

Ashley Bennett, Registered Midwife

I was introduced to midwifery and home birth as a little girl with the home births of my two younger siblings here in the Ottawa Valley. Since then I have always had an interest in the health care field and have always viewed child birth as a normal experience to be shared with loved ones. Over the past six years, I have trained in rural Maine and in Arizona and also spent some time volunteering in Sri Lanka.

I came to meet the Madawaska Valley Midwives during my first pregnancy and had a sweet home birth with them in 2012. It was after this experience that I decided to return to the Ottawa Valley where my roots are, and grow my family here. I then attended Ryerson University to complete my training here in Ontario and have since grown my family by one (another lovely home birth with MVM) and as the fates allowed, landed a job with a wonderful group of women!

I am blessed to have this opportunity to serve the community I grew up in and look forward to continuing to learn and grow as a Midwife in the Ottawa Valley.

Keren Menashe, Registered Midwife

Hi sweet families of Madawaska Valley and area!

I am excited to join your team of midwives. My name is Keren Menashe, I was born in Jerusalem and moved to Toronto with my family when I was 10. I first became interested in human health during my first degree at Dalhousie in 2005 (Marine Biology) but I didn’t find midwifery until years later. I eventually graduated from the Ryerson Midwifery Education Program with honours in 2015.

I am an avid sewer, knitter, pottery-maker, and cyclist. I have varied life experiences in youth leadership, community building, gardening, and yummy food-making 🙂 I am looking forward to meeting you and participating in your pregnancy care.

Bronwyn Wearring, Registered Midwife
On Leave

I grew up on a horse farm in Foresters Falls and was exposed to birth as a normal physiologic event at a young age. I was able to witness the birth of kittens, puppies and foals which introduced me to the incomparable excitement and exhilaration that only birth can elicit.

Midwifery came into my life at the age of four while I was impatiently awaiting the arrival of my younger brother. I attended prenatal visits with my mom and it seemed only natural to me that he was born at home. My next exposure to midwifery care was at the age of ten when an endlessly patient family friend humored my fascination with pregnancy and birth by including me in her prenatal midwifery visits and allowing me to attend the birth center birth of her youngest child. The formative experience of seeing two of my most important role models supported during their pregnancies and births by midwives planted the seed that has led me to become a midwife myself.

I attended Laurentian University in the French stream of the Midwifery Education Program and I am happy to provide services in French and English. I have had the privilege of caring for families in the Midland area since graduating.

When I am not catching babies I can be found horseback riding, cooking, travelling, spending time with my family or exploring a new trail with my dog, Mika.

I am incredibly grateful and excited to be returning home to provide midwifery care to the families of the Madawaska Valley and I look forward to working with you!

Candice Viveiros, Registered Midwife
On leave from May 2023 to July 2024

Prior to completing the Midwifery Education Program at McMaster University, I obtained a Bachelor of Arts in International Development from the University of Guelph. It was during this time that I became passionate about reproductive rights and improving access to reproductive health care. This passion spurred my decision to pursue a career in midwifery.

Before moving to Petawawa to be with my spouse, I practised in the Guelph Wellington area for several years. I am thrilled to be joining you for your pregnancy and birthing journey, and look forward to providing care in this vibrant community.

When I’m not catching babies, I love traveling, cooking good food, tending to my plants, and being outside.

Emily Chartrand-Hudson, Registered Midwife

I am a registered Indigenous (Oji-Cree/mixed settler) midwife. I was born, raised, and educated in northern Ontario and am excited to be joining your care team in a new part of the province. I’ve learned to love the Madawaska Valley through exploring the area surrounding my partner’s family cottage, which is in Combermere.

I grew up on Manitoulin Island and was called to midwifery there at a young age. I went to my first birth at age eight — the home birth of my younger sister, attended by midwives. I’ve been hooked on labour and birth ever since.

Before becoming a midwife, I studied English Literature at Trent University and also lived for a time on Vancouver Island. I graduated from the midwifery program at Laurentian University in 2017 and learned “how to midwife” in Sudbury, Ottawa, and the Ottawa Valley. The majority of my midwifery work has been in North Bay, ON. I have also done some locum work in the far north, in Attawapiskat First Nation. I am a core leader of the National Aboriginal Council of Midwives (NACM).

I feel passionate about progressing and protecting Indigenous midwifery. I also feel strongly about ensuring access to midwifery care in rural/remote and Indigenous communities, providing culturally sensitive and trauma-informed care, as well as paving accessible pathways for midwifery education. I feel honoured to stand alongside families during this profound time of growth as my day (and sometimes night) job!

When I’m not at work, I can usually be found hanging out with my partner and our cats, at home or in the woods. We love canoeing, camping, and hiking. I’ve also been known to enjoy a good cup of coffee, pilates, and am a (very occasional) runner.

MVM welcomes Wendy Huculak, Registered Midwife

Wendy will be a locum with us January – March 2024

I became a midwife in the early 80’s in Britain. Since then I have practiced in
Newfoundland, northern Quebec and for over 20 years in Ottawa. Since early 2022 I have been going to parts of Ontario doing locums – short periods at another midwifery practice, as relief.

I look forward to being at Madawaska Valley Midwives.

Joanne Payne
will be joining us as a New Registrant Midwife sometime in 2024..

I’m a Mi’kmaw mother of three from Brampton, Ontario, with deep roots in Ktaqamkuk (Newfoundland).

Kwe (hello), my name is Joanne Payne.

From an early age I was fascinated by pregnancy and newborns. I’m the oldest daughter and granddaughter and spent a lot of time with babies growing up.

After experiencing the birth of my own three children, I knew that midwifery was the right path for me. I am passionate about midwifery care throughout all stages of pregnancy and early parenthood.

I’m committed to birth equity and justice and view access to midwifery care as a human right.


MVM is a teaching practice and welcome our clients to participate in training future midwives.

MVM welcomes student midwife, May 2023 to April 2024
Shanti Desautels-Roy

Hello! My name is Shanti (she/her) and I am a senior Midwifery student studying at the Toronto Metropolitan University.

I am very excited to be part of the Madawaska Valley Midwives team for the coming year! I am a francophone student originally from Montreal, but I have been moving around the country and the world in the past few years, working and studying in various environments.

Prior to studying midwifery, I travelled for three years, volunteered, learned Spanish, and earned a yoga teacher training certificate. I am passionate about social justice, holistic care, herbalism, nature, rural maternity care, and reproductive health. I feel very privileged to be able to learn alongside pregnant people and share their incredibly powerful journey. I am also very grateful for all the wonderful opportunities to grow as a student.

As a person I am dedicated, compassionate, passionate, and curious. In my free time I love reading, cooking, hiking, surfing, yoga and being outdoors. I am looking forward to meeting you:)

2nd Birth Attendants

Joseph Dunne, 2nd Attendent

I am very pleased and excited to have the opportunity to practice as a 2nd attendant for the Madawaska Valley Midwives.

My initial encounter and true appreciation toward the profession of midwifery developed during my wife’s first pregnancy. The Madawaska Valley Midwives provided exceptional care throughout my wife’s pregnancy/delivery and were truly instrumental in our decision to have home births. We are currently expecting our fifth child and are once again looking forward to another wonderful experience.

Outside of my busy home life, I am employed as an Advanced Care Paramedic with the County of Renfrew and a firefighter with Canadian Nuclear Laboratories.

Nikki Grills, RPN

My name is Nikki Grills and I am a Registered Practical Nurse working on the Maternity Unit at the Pembroke Hospital. I have been nursing since 2014. Since graduating from school, I have wanted to further my education to become a Registered Nurse and work in a Labour and Delivery Unit, or in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I am working at that dream by getting my degree through Athabasca University. I have always had a love for bringing new life to this world!

In my off-time, I am home with three beautiful girls ages nine, four and one. Having three of my own children and knowing how incredibly lucky I am to be their mother makes my heart so full. When I do get a moment of free time to myself, I enjoy playing soccer, horseback riding and taking pictures. My favourite style to photograph is outdoor family sessions. I love being surrounded by love and happiness shared within a family.

Victoria Fritz, RN, 2nd Attendent

Hi everyone! My name is Victoria Fritz and I grew up in southwestern Ontario. I became a mother to a beautiful little girl in 2006 at only 18 years old. It certainly wasn’t a planned pregnancy, but it was welcomed! I had a great support system and the transition to motherhood came naturally for me. My experience in hospital with my delivery is what sparked my interest in becoming a nurse! My partner and I welcomed our son three years later in 2009, and that experience solidified my desire to work in obstetrics.

My partner had joined the military prior to my son being born, and we were posted to CFB Borden in 2009. In 2010, we were posted to CFB Trenton. In 2012, at the age of 24, I finally had the courage and means to start my post-secondary education! By 2017, five years of schooling later, I had accomplished a certificate in Pre-Health Science at Loyalist College and a degree, my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BScN) with Honours between Loyalist College and Brock University.

My childrens’ father is currently posted to CFB Petawawa, and that is what brought me to Renfrew County. This is now home, and I intend to stay a while! I started working as a Registered Nurse at Pembroke Regional Hospital in 2017 on the medical unit and then what became the covid unit. My dream of working in obstetrics finally came true (14 years later!) when I took a position in March 2021 on the Labour, Delivery, Recovery and Postpartum unit. I’ve been introduced to the Madawaska Valley Midwives through work at the hospital and am so excited to now be a part of the team as a 2nd Birth Attendant! I love the holistic approach of midwifery and the continuity of care throughout pregnancy, birth and postpartum. I look forward to welcoming your little one with you in the home setting, but if you are planning a hospital birth, we may cross paths there as well!

Jenna Horth, RN, 2nd Attendent

I am excited to join the Madawaska Valley midwives in the role of second home birth attendant. I became interested in homebirths during my first pregnancy with my daughter in 2016. I decided (very last minute) to switch my birth plan to take place at home. The experience was wonderfully empowering. Recently I attempted my second home birth which ended up in a transfer to a hospital birth. I continued to feel incredibly empowered and supported by my birth team, and the experience sparked my passion for this area of health care.

I am a military spouse, and mom of two. As a Registered Nurse, I have six years experience in various hospital settings. I also co-own and operate a local business in Petawawa.

I look forward to working with you and your family!

Admin Team

Leslie Soopalu, Administrator

I graduated from Ryerson in 2004 with BHSc (Hon) in Midwifery, and was a founding partner of the Madawaska Valley Midwives in 2005. I practiced as a Registered Midwife until September 2010.

Currently I work as the Practice Coordinator and look after all the business details of a midwifery practice. I continue to be committed to rural women’s health and to ensuring that midwifery remains an option available to women in the area.

Alyssa Holly, Petawawa Reception

Born and raised in the beautiful Ottawa valley, I always knew I wanted to dig my roots deeper and raise my children here.

I was blessed to be able to birth both of my children with the Madawaska Valley Midwives, and now join their team in an administrative position.

I look forward to meeting you all, and watching your families grow.

Karen Stamplecoski, Killaloe Reception

Born and raised in Barry’s Bay, I moved to Ottawa for post-secondary education and spent 15 years there, but always knew I would eventually come back “home.” In 2016, my husband and I made the decision to move back to the Valley with our two small kids and shortly after, had our third child.  After experiencing the wonderful care of midwives for the births of all three babies, I am thrilled to be supporting the Madawaska Valley Midwives behind the scenes as the receptionist at their Killaloe clinic.

Sylvia Hicks, Reprocessing

After graduating from Algonquin College, I worked at the Pembroke Hospital for most of my career.  Looking for a change, I was excited when an opportunity came to work with the Madawaska Valley Midwives in the Petawawa clinic. I am happy and pleased to be working with such a supportive and caring team.

Out of sight but not out of mind…

Andrea Robertson, Registered Midwife

Our loss is Newfoundland’s gain. Andrea has left the Valley for Gander Newfoundland to pioneer midwifery services there. We will miss her dearly.

Kilmeny Heron, Registered Midwife, Retired from Madawaska Valley Midwives

Kilmeny was a founding member of MVM in 2005, along with fellow midwife Leslie Soopalu. Starting in June 2022, Kilmeny will be putting her skills to good use developing a new program called Collaborative Care Midwifery Clinic at the Petawawa Centennial Family Health Centre. Kilmeny will work in concert with the Pembroke Hospital Obstetricians providing antenatal and postnatal care, while the OBs will provide the intrapartum care – allowing Kilmeny to catch up on 17 years of sleep. We wish her all the best in her new adventure and thank her deeply for her ongoing commitment to the women and families of Renfrew County.

Bernice Daigle, Administrator

MVM has been lucky enough to have Bernice on our team since 2007. After more than 10 years of midwife wrangling and baby holding, those strong arms are taking a break. It is with awe and love that we wish Bernice a wonderful and fulfilling retirement. We will keep her picture here so she can shine some of her light onto all of us.