Brandy Lendley: Mother of seven and Lynchburg midwife

{Editor’s Note: Tomorrow is Mother’s Day and this is the first of two interviews with local moms. Their stories stood out as interesting but we want to wish all moms a happy day.}

Brandy Lendley assisting at a recent home birth. The Lynchburg mom’s been present for over 150 live births in the past two years. {Photo Courtesy of Natasha Thomas Photography}

Motherhood is sacred and each birth tells it’s own story. That’s what Moore County native and local midwife Brandy Rutledge Lendley says when describing her journey as both a mother of seven and also one who brings other mother’s children into the world.

Lendley lives in the Charity community with her husband, Matthew, and their seven children: Justin, Isabella, Isaiah, Julianna, Jessie, Ileigh, and Jasper. Matthew works in the shipping department at Jack Daniel’s Distillery and volunteers as a Metro Firefighter.

Lendley says she always wanted to be a mother … and she grew up knowing she’s have six children (today she has seven).

“I always said growing up that I wanted six children. That I’d be a vet and my husband would stay home and care for them,” Lendley jokes. “When I had Justin (her first child), that changed.”

Because she knew she wanted to be a stay-at-home mom, Lendley enrolled in night school at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Shelbyville and earned her nursing degree. She worked as a LPN in the labor and delivery department of an area hospital for 13 year before deciding to pursue a midwife apprenticeship.

Today, she’s finished the long list of requirements necessary to become a certified professional midwife and will soon sit for the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM) exam. In total, she’s been present at over 150 live births in the past two years. She says she got interested in midwifery after researching the possibility of a home birth with her third pregnancy. It turned out she wasn’t a good candidate but the idea stuck with her.

Interest in home births has always been strong, Lendley says. When she realized that home births have always and will always happen, she became passionate about being an advocate for those women.

“In the 19th century, over half of babies were born as home with midwives,” she says. “It used to be the standard.”

Today, midwives are highly trained and play a big part in not only the birthing process but also prenatal and postpartum care. Midwives screen each mother-to-be carefully to make sure a home birth will be a good fit. Midwives see their patients every month until 28 weeks. After that, they see mom twice a month until they reach 36 weeks.

“After that, we visit every week until she has the baby,” Lendley says. “If we see any red flags, we immediately consult a physician for collaborative care.”

Lendley says each birth is highly individualized. Some moms want a alternative, natural approach and other moms want all the bells and whistles found at a hospital.

“We typically help someone who’s had a bad experience at a hospital or birth trauma … maybe a provider who didn’t listen to them,” Lendley says. “Our job is to facilitate a redemptive birth.”

Lendley says the best example of this is a recent patient. She’d been forced to have a c-section at the hospital due to complications and really wanted to experience a traditional birth this time around.

“The baby ended up being nine pounds and 10 ounces,” says Lendley raising an eyebrow. “But the look on her face at the end was like, ‘I did it.’ It was very empowering. “

On Mother’s Day, Lendley says she’ll spend her day with her family and probably visit her own mother, Debbie Rutledge. She also says there’s a better than average chance she’ll be at a birth. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Moore County … covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, the Lynchburg Music Fest, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

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