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.
Heather Clark - on leave
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.
Leslee Larsen is a 2008 graduate of the Laurentian Midwifery Education program. She was inspired to become a midwife after the birth of her eldest son with the Owen Sound Midwives and the home birth of her second son in Nova Scotia. After graduation, she practiced in Sudbury for seven years where the family could enjoy all the great outdoor activities that northern Ontario had to offer. In 2015 she returned to Nova Scotia to work in a rural practice. Throughout her years of clinical practice, Leslee has been dedicated to teaching in the Midwifery Education Program. Her love of learning, teaching and academic writing, led to obtaining a masters in Adult Education. Prior to becoming a midwife, Leslee obtained a BSc with a major in human nutrition and worked as a doula and childbirth educator with the Spryfield Single Parent Centre in Halifax.
Leslee is thrilled to be joining the Midwives of Headwater Hills team and looks forward to meeting the families of Orangeville. She brings with her an unconditional respect for her clients and their families and a dedication to ensuring they feel heard, understood and supported, on their birth journey.
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 special passion for caring for women with past traumatic experiences. She also has additional certifications on fitness and athletics in the pre and postnatal periods. In her free time you can usually find her in a CrossFit gym, the forest, or in her ‘free Uber and Chef’ role as Mom of Teenagers.
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.