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 30-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.

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.

Candice Viveiros, Registered Midwife
Returning 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.

Lia Fisher, Registered Midwife
Starting September 2024

My passion for midwifery began very early on as my mother became a midwife, and when I witnessed the midwife-attended homebirth of my little sister when I was 9 years old. Since then, I have remained fascinated by birth and the incredible adaptations of the human body throughout childbearing.  I first attended McGill University studying Anatomy and Cell Biology, which confirmed my interest in healthcare and ignited my passion for holistic client-centered care. I then switched to Laurentian University to complete my Midwifery B. Sc. I have since practiced midwifery for 8 years, with 3 of my own homebirths and maternity leaves sprinkled in. I was raised and taught by so many strong and incredible women that I aspire to create such a space for more women to empower themselves during this incredible time in their lives.

I love to hike, camp, cook, do yoga and spend time with my partner, 3 girls and dog. I am extremely excited to be working at MVM. Thank you for welcoming me into your care, and I look forward to meeting everyone!

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!

Joanne Payne
will be joining us as a New Registrant Midwife in July 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 welcomes Wendy Huculak, Registered Midwife

Wendy will be a locum with us January – July 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.

2nd Birth Attendants

Nikki Grills, RPN, 2nd Attendant

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.

Jenna Horth, RN, 2nd Attendant

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.