Meet the Midwives

Meet Debbie Pulley, CPM

Hello and welcome!  I am Debbie Pulley and one of the the senior midwives in the practice.

It has been my honor to assist Atlanta families at their births for over 30 years.  My students and I feel strongly that prenatal care, birth and postpartum care are a family event if that is what the family chooses.  Children are always welcome and are encouraged to participate.  Over 50% of our mothers choose water for their labors and/or birth.

I am a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) and hold a midwifery license in Tennessee.  Unfortunately, at this time, neither are recognized in this state. Through the years I have become more active in both state and national midwifery politics.  I am an active member in the GA Midwifery Association and serve on the board of the North American Registry of Midwives (NARM).

Don and I married in 1973.  We have two adult children, one son-in-law and three wonderful grandchildren.

I grew up in Hong Kong where I volunteered at the local hospital.  I started in pediatrics at the age of 13.  Our school nurse saw that there were several of us that had a nursing bend and spent six months teaching us a nurses aide program.  We did our clinicals at the hospital. On my 16th birthday I saw my first birth and continued to work in L&D until I returned to the States in 1972.  I finished my senior year of high school while working prn/weekends at the hospital.  There were no openings in pediatrics or L&D so I was placed in geriatrics.  In the meantime, I was accepted into the nursing school.  After a short period of time I realized that geriatrics was not my gift.  I left the hospital and nursing school, became a medical assistant, and started working for a pediatrician.

Friends started having unassisted homebirths and ask me to attend.  I realized that it was important that there be someone there who had a clue and was fortunate enough to find a midwife in 1981 who was willing to train me.  I have been learning ever since.

Meet Kay Johnson, CNM

Kay has maintained her passion for supporting women in labor through the almost 40 years of her professional career.  She started her midwifery education inspired by Ina May’s Spiritual MidwiferySilent Knife by Cohen and Estner and Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women’s Collective.  She sat at the feet of Ina May, Frederick Laboyer, Michel Odant, Helen Varney and was supported in her studies by Liz Sharpe at Emory and her colleagues in practice.

Her primary objective is maintaining a calm environment allows the woman to progress at her own pace through the labor, delivery and first few hours after the birth by keeping interventions at a minimum. She feels her role is to keep a watchful eye on any signs that indicate a possible problem, but set back and out of the way of the woman’s natural labor process.  She considers the first few hours of a mother meeting her baby to be important for bonding and a more normal transition for the baby.

Kay has worked in large hospitals in midwifery practices that cared for 100 patients a month.  She has also worked in small private practices.  In both, she has supported those women who desired an epidural as well as those who delivered on hands and knees, sitting on a birth stool and in a birth tub.

Since 2011, she has worked with Debbie to provide home birth services to the metro Atlanta area.  She has enjoyed home birth for the opportunity to participate in births uncomplicated with the time tables and protocols of a hospital.  The family, without the constraint of the hospital environment, can be so much more involved and supportive.

In all of these settings, she has valued the opportunity to work with students.  They keep their teachers humble and provide constant continuing education.  She is proud to see the contributions her students have made to the profession.

Meet Missi Burgess, CPM

Missi knew she wanted to be a midwife when she was a South Atlanta high schooler observing births as a CNA at Southern Regional Hospital. She also knew that these highly medicalized births were not the type that she wanted to facilitate. It wasn’t until she delivered all five of her babies as planned home births with a midwife that she understood that respect and care were what was missing at those first observed births.

While she was birthing her own children she ran a successful business, which she sold to pay for midwifery school. Earning her ASM with MEAC accredited Midwives College of Utah, Missi is excited to continue working with Atlanta Birth Care as a Certified Professional Midwife. She believes that women deserve to be treated respectfully as the experts in their own health and their baby’s health. Her desire is to facilitate a safe, empowering birth experience.

When she isn’t studying or working with ABC, Missi can be found working in her organic garden, hanging out with her awesome kids and husband, finding fun ways to exercise, and eating donuts around the country.

Head shots courtesy of: