Meet the Midwives
Stephanie Aghajani is a graduate of the Ontario Midwifery Education Program at Laurentian University and has been a Registered Midwife since 2007. She is a founding member of Midwives of Headwater Hills and has been working in Orangeville since 2009.
Stephanie's clinical background includes midwifery experience in a rural area assisting many Mennonite and Amish families. During her training she also apprenticed with a midwife, family physician and obstetrician in the BC interior. Stephanie provided midwifery services in the bay of Quinte area in 2007 and 2008. There she enjoyed caring for many First Nations, Deaf and Military families. Like many Ontario midwives, Stephanie is active as a preceptor to midwifery students. She has a particular interest in breech presentation, congenital heart defects and helping families with grief and loss.
Prior to studying midwifery, Stephanie earned a B.A. in religion and fine arts. She also worked as administrative support for a home care nursing agency and at an outdoor recreation facility geared towards accessible experiences in nature for people with special needs. Stephanie cherishes her work as a midwife and recieves great satisfaction from the relationships she builds with clients and colleagues. She is inspired by the love and strength of the families she works with and is humbled to be part of their experiences through pregnancy, childbirth and new parenthood.
Valérie Brisson is a graduate of the Ontario Midwifery Education Program (MEP) at Laurentian University and has been a Registered Midwife since 2007. She is pleased to be able provide care in French and serve the Francophone community of Orangeville and surrounding area.
Originally from a small town in Northern Ontario, Valérie appreciates the value of a close-knit community. As an adolescent, she attended the birth of her youngest sibling. This experience became the founding moment in her career path. There were no doubts when she enrolled in the MEP.
Following a number of clinical placements in Ontario, Valérie had the opportunity to complete a clinical placement in Aruba where her love of travel, culture and language together created an memorable experience. Her first years of practice were in Sarnia, Ontario with Midwifery Services of Lambton Kent.
As a mother of three, her personal childbearing experiences deepened her passion for midwifery care. She has a new appreciation for the important work of midwives in safeguarding and advocating for the rights of clients and their access to informed choice, choice of birth place and continuity of care.
While raising her family, she continued to work as a locum Midwife which offered a variety of experiences in different communities throughout Ontario. Valérie is pleased to be joining Midwives of Headwater Hills and looks forward to working with you during this momentous time in your life.
Heather Clark is a graduate of the Midwifery Education Program at Laurentian University. She was born and raised in Barrie, and as such, has a passion for Central Ontario, its diverse populace, beautiful geography, and boundless opportunities. She has previous degrees in Bio-Medical Science from the University of Guelph, and Education from Nipissing University. Throughout her undergraduate work, Heather has established opportunities that allowed her to connect with diverse populations within health care and education fields in urban, rural and Northern settings. During her midwifery education, Heather completed obstetrical, labour & delivery and NICU placements in Barrie and Alliston, and also worked with physicians and nurses at the Barrie Fertility Centre. Heather is passionate about forming strong and trusting relationships with clients and their families, and providing supportive, empowering, and woman-centered care.
Melissa Nowell is a graduate of the Ontario Midwifery Education Programme at Ryerson University, and has been practicing as a registered midwife since 2014. Sparked by her own experiences giving birth and driven by a strong desire to make positive change, Melissa began attending births as a doula in 2006. She served in volunteer positions for several organizations, including DoulaCARE and the International Cesarean Awareness Network. She has a passion for supporting informed choice in all the shapes and forms that it takes and enjoys empowering women with current information so that they can make the decisions that are best for themselves and their families. In addition to her midwifery placements, she held a student research position at the College of Midwives of Ontario during a student placement and also had opportunities as a student to work directly with a naturopath and osteopaths. Melissa has a special passion for creating a safe and empowering birth for women who have had difficult or traumatic past experiences.
After graduation, Melissa practiced as a midwife in Cambridge, ON. She has a love of supporting and building community and is now thrilled to return to her own home community in Orangeville to serve with the Midwives of Headwater Hills.
Nadia's journey began in the south of Mexico (2003) working as a Physician in a rural area. She discovered midwifery when working in the "Lacandon Jungle". Nadia learned from "traditional" midwives to endure and enjoy the benefits of having a natural birth. She saw for the first time a woman giving birth in a squatting position. Nadia had the opportunity to help women and learn hands on to trust her abilities, knowledge and intuition.
Working as a Physician in an underserved area also helped Nadia to gain experience in perinatal services, pain management techniques and identifying high risk pregnancies.
Nadia chose midwifery care for her own 3 pregnancies and experienced first hand the intimate, personal and compassionate and supportive work that midwives offer. Nadia is a strong believer of informed choice and respecting the personal autonomy while offering a calm and reassuring presence for the women giving birth.
Nadia validated her credentials as a Midwife through the International Midwifery Pre-registration Program at Ryerson University.
Nadia is grateful to be part of Midwives of Headwater Hills and is looking forward to being part of your journey.
Hannah Riedstra (on leave)
Hannah Riedstra is a graduate of the Ontario Midwifery Education Program at McMaster University. Throughout her time in the program Hannah had the opportunity to complete placements in obstetrics, neonatal intensive care, pelvic floor physiotherapy, ultrasound and lactation. She is passionate about client centred care with attention on pelvic floor health. Hannah has a previous degree in Life Sciences from McMaster University. It was during this degree that she discovered midwifery and fell in love with the emphasis on continuity of care and informed choice. Hannah completed her senior placement with our practice and is delighted to continue to provide care to the community of Orangeville. She is honoured to walk alongside her clients during the life changing transition of pregnancy, labour and birth. Hannah’s goal is to make each client’s pregnancy and postpartum experience one that is positive, supportive and empowering.
Linda Stahl has been working with pregnant women and babies for the past twenty years, first as a childbirth educator and doula, and later as a midwife. Linda is a maritimer, but trained as a midwife in the U.K. and worked as a 'delivery suite midwife' at the Radcliffe Hospital for Women in Oxford, England. Linda went on to complete the International Midwifery Program at Ryerson Univeristy. She then worked in southwestern Ontario for six years in a rural farm community of many Amish and Mennonite people. Linda has two daughters, both born at home. Linda feels that being a midwife is central to who she is. It is a committed vocation, which is deeply satisfying. Linda enjoys making relationships with her clients and supporting them in their remarkable experience. A baby brings huge transitions physically and emotionally on every level, and navigating that experience with women is very rewarding. Linda enjoys knowing mothers well; caring for them with compassion and helping them have a safe and satisfying birth.
Emilia Tilson (1981-2022)
Midwives of Headwater Hills continues to grieve the loss of their colleague, friend and sister-midwife Emilia Tilson. Her biography and photo will remain on the website, in memory of her loving character and steadfast dedication to the practice. She will be forever missed.
Emilia Tilson joined Midwives of Headwater Hills in the fall of 2012 after completing her final year of student placement with our midwifery group. Emilia is thrilled to continue to serve the women and families of Orangeville in her role as a Registered Midwife with our practice. Her other student placements were through Brampton Civic Hospital, Southlake Regional Health Centre, Royal Victoria Hospital, and Mt. Sinai Hospital. During her training she worked in the NICU and with labor and delivery nurses, obstetricians, lactation consultants, and high risk specialists. She graduated from Ryerson University's Midwifery Education Program in 2012. She also has a previous degree in Biology and Psychology from the University of Toronto.Emilia is the oldest in a family of 6 girls and it was through the home births of her sisters that she came to the profession of midwifery and the love of birth. She also has her own family of four children. Emilia grew up in the Hockley Valley area and aspired to help bring midwifery to the Orangeville area upon graduation.