I found Leopi online with all the wonderful reviews and was intrigued that she was a midwife and did ortho-bionomy. I immediately scheduled an initial consultation and ortho treatment. Leopi was compassionate and generous with her time, she answered all my questions with knowledge and insight. Though I ended up choosing to give birth at a birth center due to family circumstances and other reasons, I continued ortho – bionomy treatments with Leopi. These sessions helped me with my tailbone pain, neck pain, and kept me in balance throughout my pregnancy. I would enter the session worried and tired, but would leave full of energy, and feeling positive. Leopi is encouraging, skillful, experienced, and intuitive. During the treatments, she would make comments about my labor that turned out to be true. Such as, “your labor will be fast” or “the baby is holding his hand near the head”. Ortho-bionomy has also helped me and my newborn during postpartum. After the treatments, my baby would be able to sleep much more soundly. I believe the work of Leopi’s hands played a important part in making my pregnancy a smooth and wonderful experience. Angela
I cannot offer enough lovely feedback for Leopi, both as a midwife and ortho-bionomy practitioner. Leopi’s masterful midwifery skills extend well beyond amazing pre-natal and birthing care – her post-natal offering of ortho-bionomy has brought a tremendous level of intention and love to both myself and my daughter.
The sessions Leopi has provided for my daughter have been thoughtful, serene and filled with care. Leopi speaks the language of babies – in her time with our girl she was able to melt away newborn discomfort and listen to what was needed in her little body. I witnessed my daughter’s state slowly transform from fussy to relaxed in her sessions, a wonderful experience for a new Mama.
And the same can be said for my own sessions, as well. After my first time giving birth, Leopi was perfectly in tune with what my body and spirit needed. Her healing touch and understanding way of holding of my experience freed tension and pain and invited a deeper connection to myself and what I needed. I left our sessions feeling relaxed and open, such a gift! I am very grateful for Leopi and her loving, intuitive wisdom – her ortho-bionomy care has been a wonderfully healing and restorative post-natal practice for us, one I can’t recommend highly enough! Amy
Leopi’s support was invaluable as we prepared for our first birth. Because we were to have a scheduled cesarean birth we wanted to have natural and personalized support as we were not good candidates for most birth classes out there. It was a fabulous decision to have a Concurrent Midwifery Care! We had our regular 15 min prenatal appointments at Kaiser and the tests we needed to have, but our incredibly supportive, relaxing and nourishing appointments with Leopi are what really prepared us.
Leopi was not just supportive in talking out the details as we created a birth plan, but in the calls and emails in between as the interesting symptoms of pregnancy presented themselves, and even in the form of a text when I was in the hospital after birth. She gave us some wonderful perspective as we were preparing as a couple to bring another being into our family. We felt incredibly thankful for access to such holistic care. It was so great to have Leopi come to our home after our babe was born, to support with nursing, and questions regarding infant care as well, she even met with our family to help us explain some important ways of caring for a mom and dad newborn after we came back from the hospital. We would totally recommend Leopi for anyone preparing to give birth in all of the many ways people give birth. Angela M
I loved working with Leopi!! She was my midwife and she was fantastic. Leopi was so nurturing, professional, intuitive, warm and loving. She provided care for the whole family, acknowledging everyone’s role and feelings in this transformational process. Her guidance during the prenatal, birth, and postpartum time was so valuable and really put us at ease. Many of the supportive comments she made were like mantras for us postpartum. Leopi’s approach is very intuitive – knowing when to provide more guidance and when to provide us with space and privacy. She respects all the participants and the sacredness of birth. Kathy M
Choosing a midwife is a very personal experience. It is so hard to guess what kind of support you’ll need when there is no way to predict how your pregnancy and birth will go. Leopi was our choice and one that we will never regret. In fact, I can’t imagine pregnancy/birth without her! She became a part of our family and a vital part of our son’s story. She helped craft what that story would be with her discernment, wisdom and love – in spite of the uncertainty and risk that inevitably comes with having a child.
In addition, she is extremely knowledgable and very experienced. In the medical world, it is easy to get lost in the terminology, requirements, and risks yet Leopi’s care was never once defined by these things. She serves the persons first, and then relies on the medical when she needs to. She transformed a potentially traumatic medical experience into a beautiful life transforming event as our guide, coach, and dear friend.
“I want to comment on midwife Leopi Sanderson. I’ve been meaning for far too long to get around to this. I’ve used BPN for so many of my own questions but I know the resources we have are often still so limited. So here is my experience for your consideration. Even in a field of wonderful, caring women, Leopi is a radiant star. She has made her midwifery practice so all encompassing, its really amazed me how well she’s taken care of us on so many levels. Our daughter will soon turn 1. Leopi is still a part of our lives. A wise woman once said ”choose the midwife you can open up with because that’s literally what you have to do”. When you meet her, if you feel that sigh of relief, than she’s the one for you! For us, it was her gentle approach, her vast experience and the strength and wisdom that come from it, how the birth process is so much a part of her life and her art, her reverence and awe of women and labor. Her guidance on our journey intersected so many things in our relationship as a couple, the birth itself, and our relationship as we embarked into parenthood – our communication, sex, trust, fluidity and beauty, our hidden inner strength. We quickly came to trust her completely and love her dearly! She so helped us transform our insecurities that we didn’t call her over until I was already transitioning (sorry Leopi!). We had a spectacular morning birth – she got me in the tub outside – just like I dreamt and drew out, as the birth I anticipated. She took tender care of me in the days and weeks that followed. Her post-birth care was a huge surprise to me – she did so much work to help me heal, methods I was not accustomed to – moxa sticks, and later orthobionomy (which I expected to be like rolfing but was truly the opposite and enormously effective as well!). We had a bit of a tragedy when our daughter was only a few weeks old. It was 2 days of the hardest experience of my life and Leopi was the one we leaned on, the expert we relied on, and always nonjudgmental and openhearted no matter what we faced. She’s got a ton of caring insights, community resources, and practical advice, but mostly you’ll melt in her loving hands in those moments you don’t realize you need a mama yourself and she’s just the one to nurture you. Leopi is truly an expert in midwifery and breastfeeding, and such a beautiful and generous person over and over again. We’ll have to stay in the area through our childbearing years, just so she can help us when we are ready to do it all over again! I hope you, too, can find the midwife that leaves you stunned at how blessed you’ve become! Its a gift to find yourself in Leopi’s care, as you become her student/daughter/friend. And I’d be happy to speak with you personally, if you’d like. She’s got plenty of references, but ask her for my contact info, if you’d like to speak with me personally. Good luck to you!” – Dre
“Leopi has helped deliver both my daughters within the past 3 years, with our second born Dec. 08. As far as midwives go, I think she brings all the best qualities to a birthing space: peace, love, respect for a woman and baby’s process and needs, respect for the partner’s place in the entire process (prenatal/labor/postnatal), incredible skill and wisdom, over 24 years experience, holistic knowledge (herbs, homeopathy, orthobionomy, visualization), and a very real and deep ability to connect with the body and baby in womb. I have had two incredibly beautiful births with Leopi and felt so protected, nurtured, guided and honored by her. And to note, Ortho-bionomy is a gentle form of body work that helps the body release old patterns/tension and creates space to instill new ones. I have received many ortho-bionomy treatments from Leopi since my last birth and saw a tremendous difference in my postpartum healing.” – Anastasia Chavez
“We had a phenomenal experience with Leopi. She was our midwife for the birth of our daughter in December 2008. For all of our prenatal appointments she was so thorough, caring, supportive and knowledgeable. She has a truly gifted combination of personal warmth, professional experience, and focused energy. Our birth at home was just what we hoped it would be, albeit extremely fast! Leopi was an unwavering source of calm and support, acting quickly when necessary and guiding me when the challenge seemed insurmountable. We also adored her backup midwife, Amrit – she was the perfect addition to our little birth team. Leopi also has a lot to offer as a healer. She offers knowledge
as a homeopath, and she has started to offer Ortho-Bionomy (related to Osteopathy) for new mothers and cranio-sacral work for babies. She’s also a certified lactation consultant. I don’t know how she has managed to do all that she has while remaining so grounded, attentive, and humble. Having a home birth is an amazing experience. I couldn’t imagine our birth being anything other than what it was.” – Robin
“We had the most beautiful homebirth with Leopi in September 08! She is just incredible. Creative, passionate, unbelievably knowledgeable and competent — I just can’t say enough about her. She came to our house for 1-2 hours for each prenatal visit and I learned more than I ever knew I needed to know! About childbirth, parenting, our marriage, loving my body, bonding with my baby … We are so grateful for her. We had a bit of an emergency after birth when I wouldn’t stop bleeding, and she and Amrit handled the situation with SUCH professionalism that I knew I was safe the entire time. What a phenomenal experience! I highly, highly recommend Leopi. so-o-o in love with my homebirth!” – Arden
“My experience is from 2006 but I wanted chime in with thanks and praises for Leopi. I had a great experience working with her as did my husband and 4 year old son. Appointments were thorough, relaxed, and heartening. She was excellent in exploring and supporting what was coming up emotionally for me and my family; sensitive to relationship dynamics and really helpful in supporting communications with my husband. I felt that I was in skilled hands and deeply nurtured throughout my pregnancy, during the birth and afterwards. I feel so lucky to have had her as my midwife.” – Brenna
“It hardly needs me to tell the world what an amazing midwife Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds is; all her families know it and between them passes nothing but praise for her and the knowledge that they and their children that she has ushered into this life share a very special thing. As a newly pregnant and trepidatious mother-to-be, my partner and I moved to the Bay Area when I was six months along. Leopi took us on as clients and stepped right in, spending the time to get up-to-speed with us and to make sure that the midwife-birthing couple relationship was as developed as it needed to be. By the time I called her to tell her that I was in labor and she’d better hurry up and come to us, I knew I was 100% certain that I was happy to trust her during the next few amazing and terrifying and wonderful hours! Beyond the great relationship Leopi developed with us as clients, I realized after the fact that her after-the-birth care is another aspect that makes her really special. Other mothers I talked to were surprised when I told them that Leopi came out many times after the birth, both to check on me and check on our baby. The level of this post-birth care went way beyond a simple “how are you feeling” and extended to talking about my birth experience, good advice and verbal and hands-on education on postpartum recovery, all the legal bits and pieces, and finally, cranio-sacral work for my baby and ortho-bionomy sessions for myself. Overall, Leopi is a midwife in a thousand, and anyone fortunate enough to have her help with birthing a child knows just what I’m talking about. Also, try the Moxa treatment after birth! It is Amazing and I think was one of my very favorite events in my post-partum care! ” – Sarah
“(Talia’s Story) As a long time advocate of midwifery and home birth, I wanted prenatal care from a midwife, but also wanted every option of modern technology available during birth. After meeting with a few hospital-based midwives, we weren’t finding quite the right fit. Then we met with homebirth midwife Leopi Sanderson-Edmunds, who came very highly recommended. Given my vision, she suggested we work concurrently with her during the pregnancy and early labor, and Dr. Farney, a close obstetrician colleague of hers, during delivery in the hospital. Dr. Farney liked this plan and we felt excited to have this unique birth team that met all of our wishes. More than we could have known, our decision to work with Leopi was one of the best choices we made, for ourselves and our daughter.
(Fast Forward 41 Weeks )
On Monday, March 7, around noon, sporadic contractions became regular, and a few hours later, my water broke. Leopi arrived at our house around 5 pm and checked my cervix. I was discouraged to find out that I was only one centimeter dilated. At about the same time, our friend Sarah arrived with the matzoh ball soup we had requested (a comfort food of mine since childhood). Sarah stayed with us to lend a hand should we need an extra driver to go to the hospital or someone to ensure Kevin had support while he supported me. We’re very grateful to Sarah for the soup, and for sticking around to help us more than we could have imagined…
The time between 5 pm and 10 pm is a bit of a blur, as the contractions were increasing in frequency and intensity. Kevin had stopped timing the contractions, and while he and I labored together, Leopi took over watching my progress. Our plan was to go to the hospital once I was about five centimeters dilated. We felt safe knowing that Leopi would help us determine when to go to the hospital and would also keep in touch with Dr. Farney.
As the contractions sped up to about 3 minutes apart and lasted a minute or two, I labored almost exclusively in the shower with the water on my back. Kevin stayed by my side, sometimes providing a firm massage on my back, other times just a hand resting on my leg to ensure I knew I was not alone. His touch, encouragement and belief in me made me feel like he was an extension of me, and helped me bear each contraction. I felt incredibly supported and protected by his presence, something to which I credit the positivity and amazing outcome of this birth.
During this time I used sound to release the pain. This was also a tough mental exercise for me, as I do not like making loud noise, and had (initially) been self-conscious about drawing unwanted attention from our apartment building neighbors. I felt the sound would help me feel a sense of power to handle the pain, which it did for many hours.
Around 10 pm, Leopi saw the signs that my labor was at the height of its intensity and said we might be getting close to going to the hospital. I could hear the disbelief in her voice when after she checked me she announced that I was only two centimeters dilated. The news came as a crushing blow. No, she couldn’t be so cruel, how was it possible that I had only progressed one centimeter after five hours of labor, and worse was still at a mere two centimeters total? I felt like all my hard work was for naught.
Leopi said we could go to the hospital now and they might offer me an epidural to help me to relax while my labor progressed. She said we could also stay home and plan to settle in for a long night. Though the prospect of pain relief was tempting, I knew that if I went to the hospital now I could easily go down that slippery slope of interventions that I was hoping to avoid.
Since I didn’t feel like I was at the edge of my pain threshold and I still felt safe being at home, I made up my mind to continue laboring at home until my intuition – or progress – told me to go to the hospital. In the meantime we had everything we needed with Leopi there. I felt like I still had more to give and that I needed to accept that we might not see much progress until morning.
I got back in the shower and labored on a yoga ball. Instead of making noise with each contraction, I went almost completely silent. Kevin said that I was so quiet he thought perhaps the contractions had stopped, but slowly noticed the pattern of my breathing and began to breathe together with me. I went deep inside myself, working hard to visualize my cervix opening, reminding myself that my body would not give me anything I could not handle, and that this was productive pain to help open the path for our baby to come. As the pain got stronger, this approach helped me feel more in touch with my body and less a part of the outside world, which had become distracting from the task at hand.
After a few hours, fear began to creep into my experience. Not fear of danger, but fear that I would not be able to tolerate the increasing pain any longer. The fear felt so much worse than the pain that I decided I needed to try to handle the pain without relying on counter-pressure I was getting from Kevin and the yoga ball. So we got into bed, where I laid on my side and Kevin laid down right next to me, rubbing my back to help me relax. With each contraction I told myself that rest would come momentarily, as soon as the contraction passed.
About an hour later (we think), my whole abdomen tightened and a jolt of energy shot through my core. I quickly realized this was the “urge to push,” though it was much more powerful than an urge, it was much bigger than I was and not at all within my control. I let out the first loud noise I had made in hours and I told Leopi I felt like I had been struck by lightening. When she checked my cervix, and I asked her not to tell me a number, fearing I couldn’t handle hearing it if I had made little progress. She was excited and surprised that I had in fact made a lot of progress in a short time – from two centimeters to almost completely dilated in just a few hours – and that she could feel our baby’s head right at the opening of my cervix.
She said that we needed to decide whether to go to the hospital now or to have the baby at home; since the baby was so close, Leopi said she feared we might have the baby in the car if we tried to get to the hospital. (Looking back now on how fast things progressed, we’re sure we would still have been on the road when Talia came). So we decided to stay home, and Leopi quickly sent Kevin and Sarah to collect her homebirth kit and other supplies. Leopi stayed by my side, coaching me to take shallow breaths that would minimize my pushing, and kept me engaged and calm by commenting on our beautiful wedding canopy hanging above our bed. Soon we were ready.
About 15 minutes later (four contractions or so), our daughter Talia was born into Kevin’s loving hands. He placed her on my chest, still connected to her umbilical cord. We had a scary moment when Leopi had to give Talia a quick breath to get her breathing started. Within seconds we rejoiced to hear her breathing on her own and she let out the cry we were waiting for to let us know she was healthy and strong.
The power and magic of our daughter’s other-worldly birth is now fading into memory, as with each glimpse I fall more in love with her earthly presence.
There are infinitely many ways to analyze how a birth progresses – some physiological, some emotional and some beyond our ability to explain. I feel our birth was part maternal determination and confidence in the natural process, part security of my surroundings and steadfast, skilled labor support, and part the strong will of our baby girl, who chose when to come. No matter what the explanation, when I lay in bed under the chuppah where Talia was born, I still feel the incredible sense of protection that we had with us and watching over us that night. First and foremost, I feel gratitude beyond words for the incredibly skilled hands, heart and mind of Leopi, who helped me feel safe and capable every step of the way, who protected me and Talia from harm and who helped our daughter take her very first breath. I feel an even deeper bond of commitment and partnership with Kevin, who labored with me through each contraction, as if he was an extension of me, and who received our daughter into his protective embrace as soon as she entered this world. And I feel an incredible love and appreciation for our friend Sarah, who played a part in our daughter’s birth that none of us ever would have imagined.
More than words can express, I feel so incredibly blessed to have had the kind of powerful yet gentle birth I had dreamed of but never imagined would become our reality.” – Ingrid
“When we found out we were pregnant, my wife told me that she wanted prenatal care from a midwife, but wanted to deliver in the hospital in order to have every option of modern technology available during birth, “just in case.” At first I couldn’t understand why we’d need what seemed to me like redundant care – if we were going to deliver in the hospital, why not just see an MD for prenatal care? Since my wife has worked in women’s health advocacy for more than 15 years and trained as a doula, I deferred to her expertise to create the birth team she envisioned. Plus, she was the one who would be pregnant and birthing our baby, so it was important to me that she feel supported and safe throughout the experience. In the end, I feel that using a midwife was the best decision we made concerning the pregnancy and birth of our daughter.
After meeting with a few hospital-based midwives, we weren’t finding quite the right fit. Then we met with Leopi, who came very highly recommended. Given my wife’s vision, Leopi suggested we work concurrently with her during the pregnancy and labor and a obstetrician colleague of hers during delivery in the hospital. She said she could come to our home to be with us during early labor, and then she would join us at the hospital in the role of a doula. The doctor also supported this plan and we felt excited to have this unique birth team that met all of our wishes.
With each prenatal visit, we grew to love Leopi more and more, and we were so glad to know she would be by our side during the most important time in our lives. She is so knowledgeable, she answered all of our questions, offered sound advice and alleviated our concerns throughout the pregnancy. When we got a diagnosis of partial placenta previa, Leopi gave us her thoughtful recommendations to try get the placenta to move naturally, but she also talked with us candidly about the possibilities of needing a c-section (luckily the placenta moved before labor started). As we got closer to the birth, she walked us step-by-step through what we could expect in the hospital during delivery, explained what her role would be in the hospital and gave us suggestions for how to make the experience as positive (read: non-invasive) as possible. I really appreciated how she was able to share our vision and give us tools for non-invasive strategies, but was also realistic about the interventions we could expect if necessary. Leopi also spent time talking with me about my role as a partner and soon-to-be father, which helped me feel like an integral part of the pregnancy and birth, rather than just a bystander. She also talked with us about the changes and challenges we could expect in our relationship, both during pregnancy and after the baby was born.
In addition to being a wealth of knowledge, Leopi was our spiritual guide through our journey to starting a family. She routinely spent two or more hours with us during our visits, paying import not only to the biological miracle that was unfolding before our eyes, but also to the psychological and spiritual components of bringing a new life into the world. With a gentle hand and deep compassion, she guided us through this magical time; teaching us the wisdom of women’s bodies and how to work together as parents. We felt a strong bond with her right away and I always looked forward to our time with Leopi.
During early labor at home, Leopi was by our side, there for anything we needed but also gave us space to be together and labor alone as a couple. Without words, she always seemed to know when to come check on us and offer her wisdom, and when to give us space. For both my wife and myself, Leopi’s steadfast support and calming presence gave us the serenity and confidence to have the kind of peaceful yet powerful birth we had envisioned.
I can’t imagine our experience without Leopi there with us on our journey. She has helped us become strong as a couple and even stronger as a family. It has been six weeks since Leopi helped us bring our daughter, Talia into this world and I write this note just before out last visit. I will miss our visits with Leopi, but the impact she has had on our family will be with us always.” – Kevin
“(A Father’s Perspective) Leopi is amazing… choosing a midwife is obviously a very personal thing. Several people recommended Leopi to us as a midwife. We chose her because of a clear connection to her as a person, and because my wife saw in Leopi a person capable of guiding her through this initiation in woman-hood. Our birth started started strong and fast… You cannot describe the intensity of a birthing to someone who has not been there, and when Leopi arrived it was obvious just how many of these she had attended. There was an air of calm serious presence to Leopi that held the room. She was incredible throughout, and showed her gifts in full when our baby girl got stuck with an umbilical cord wrapped around her head and neck. Leopi never flinched, our daughter is a happy healthy little girl, and what was life and death for an infinite moment became life. Leopi’s support after the birth was just as incredible, both for my wife and my daughter (and me). She has a whole tool kit of physical and emotional support that she opened without hesitation to our family.I cannot recommend Leopi strongly enough… she has been a midwife for our family in every meaning of the word.” – Zayin Fischer