About Us

Principles of Midwifery Care


Continuity of Care

You will have the opportunity to establish a relationship of trust with your midwives. You will have the same caregivers throughout your pregnancy, labour, birth and in the postpartum period.

Informed Choice

There are many choices to make in pregnancy regarding your care. We support you as the primary decision maker. This involves discussing available testing, procedures and interventions and their advantages, disadvantages and research evidence. Our 45-minute appointments give us the time to discuss these issues so that you can make appropriate decisions.

Click here to view and download the Madawaska Valley Midwives Informed Choice Agreement.

Choice of Birthplace

Some women feel safer in hospital, while others feel safe and more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of their home. In accordance with international medical and midwifery research findings, we support the choice of planned home birth as a safe option for healthy women with low-risk pregnancies.

Midwifery care is free to women who are residents of Ontario. Funding is provided by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care.

Midwifery care involves clinic and home visits, physical assessments, lab work, time to address your questions, and discussion of a number of topics such as:

  • Nutrition, exercise and lifestyle
  • Normal physical and emotional changes during pregnancy
  • Diagnostic procedures and medical interventions
  • Preparation for labour and birth
  • Abnormalities, complications and emergency measures
  • Infant care and breastfeeding
  • Postpartum adjustment and parenting
  • Fertility awareness and family planning

A complete explanation of our philosophy and services is contained in our Informed Choice Agreement.  The full text of the agreement is here.

Madawaska Valley Midwives
Get to Know Us


Kilmeny Heron, Registered Midwife

The idea of pursuing midwifery as a profession began during my first pregnancy and the birth of my daughter in 1994. Not satisfied with my employment prospects after completing a degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Waterloo, I realized I needed the challenge and fulfillment that midwifery offered. I was accepted into the Midwifery Education Program at Ryerson University shortly after the birth of my son in 1997 and completed the program in 2004. In 2005 I opened the practice with fellow midwife Leslie Soopalu.

The natural beauty of Renfrew County allows me to pursue my passions outside of midwifery. You will find my children and me paddling the beautiful rivers during the summer. The dog now stays behind since losing us for a month in the wilds of Quebec. Instead she is my constant running companion through the beautiful roads and hills surrounding my home. I also love to explore on my bike… anything physical, because living and working in Renfrew County entails putting many miles on one’s car!

Lest you think I am all physical, there is nothing better than enjoying the morning sun with a good book in the summer, or a good book by a roaring fire in the winter.

Suki Hardesty, Registered Midwife

Born in the UK, raised on a farm in Sussex, trained as a Nurse in London (the original one) then moved to the Devon/Cornwall border living in the beauty of Rural Dartmoor National Park.

I trained as a Midwife in the early 1980s – had a hospital birth with an Epidural and all the trimmings– then 2 years later a Home Water Birth, which at that time was still so uncommon I had to explain it all to my Midwife – who bless her was very supportive although obviously thought I was nuts! My children are currently in the UK and Australia. I moved to Canada with my husband in 2010 and have loved learning about how different we all are despite theoretically speaking the same language.

My five-year-old Jack Russell, Cid (as in “El Cid” not “Sid Vicious”) has been as lucky as me to have the support of an incredible neighbor who provides a home away from home when the odd hours I work keep me away from him for a while.

I am still privileged to be allowed to get to know so many wonderful families and be part of that very special time in their lives that you never forget, and remain amazed at how much there is always left to learn. Thank you.

Ashley Bennett Madawaska Valley Midwives

Ashley Bennett

Ashley Bennett, Registered Midwife

I was introduced to midwifery and home birth as a little girl with the home births of my two younger siblings here in the Ottawa Valley. Since then I have always had an interest in the health care field and have always viewed child birth as a normal experience to be shared with loved ones. Over the past six years, I have trained in rural Maine and in Arizona and also spent some time volunteering in Sri Lanka.

I came to meet the Madawaska Valley Midwives during my first pregnancy and had a sweet home birth with them in 2012. It was after this experience that I decided to return to the Ottawa Valley where my roots are, and grow my family here. I then attended Ryerson University to complete my training here in Ontario and have since grown my family by one (another lovely home birth with MVM) and as the fates allowed, landed a job with a wonderful group of women!

I am blessed to have this opportunity to serve the community I grew up in and look forward to continuing to learn and grow as a Midwife in the Ottawa Valley.

Introducing: Keren Menashe, Registered Midwife

Hi sweet families of Madawaska Valley and area!

I am excited to join your team of midwives. My name is Keren Menashe, I was born in Jerusalem and moved to Toronto with my family when I was 10. I first became interested in human health during my first degree at Dalhousie in 2005 (Marine Biology) but I didn’t find midwifery until years later. I eventually graduated from the Ryerson Midwifery Education Program with honours in 2015.

I am an avid sewer, knitter, pottery-maker, and cyclist. I have varied life experiences in youth leadership, community building, gardening, and yummy food-making 🙂 I am looking forward to meeting you and participating in your pregnancy care.

Leslie Soopalu, Administrator

I graduated from Ryerson in 2004 with BHSc (Hon) in Midwifery, and was a founding partner of the Madawaska Valley Midwives in 2005. I practiced as a Registered Midwife until September 2010.

Currently I work as the Practice Coordinator and look after all the business details of a midwifery practice. I continue to be committed to rural women’s health and to ensuring that midwifery remains an option available to women in the area.

Bernice Daigle, Administrator

It just seemed right, to have the choice of a homebirth! That basic concept/belief has been a force at work in my life, from my own hopes for a homebirth (a long time before the midwives were established in Ontario), to seeing my eldest daughter under the care of a midwife for the birth of my grandson. And then to have my middle daughter become a midwife further deepened my belief in the importance of this fundamental birthing choice for women.

Being a Practice Administrator for the Madawaska Valley Midwives is definitely the right place for me. And, did I mention all those cute little babies…

Rhonda Faerber, 2nd Birth Attendant

I have been a resident of Pembroke all my life. I grew up in a family of ten children. I’m the youngest. I grew up being surrounded with babies and young children.

I have four daughters, all of whom are grown. Two of my daughters have children of their own. I have lots of hobbies. Cross stitch and knitting are my favourites. I plan on planting another large garden. I can and freeze most of the veggies and give some to neighbours and friends.

At present, I work at the Pembroke Regional Hospital on the Maternity floor as a Registered Practical Nurse. I have also been trained to work in other areas of the hospital such as medical and surgical floors, acute mental health and rehab units. I especially like to work in the Emergency department which is a bit faster paced and I deal with a broader variety of illnesses.

I am looking forward to working as a Second Birth Attendant at home births. This is an area of work that interests me and will give me an opportunity to use my nursing skills outside of the hospital setting.

Katie Greene, 2nd Birth Attendant

I graduated in 2013 from the University of Ottawa with my Bachelors Degree in nursing, although completed my schooling here in the valley at Algonquin College. At first I wasn’t sure what type of nursing I could see myself working in as there are so many areas you can go into. It wasn’t until I was part of my first birthing experience (twins!) in my third year of school that I realized that being a maternity nurse was truly the path I was supposed to take. Since that experience I have worked in various areas of nursing, including rehab, surgical and medical, but in the end it was always maternity I went back to. It’s an amazing feeling to go to work and leave with the same joy and passion as if it were the first time being part of such an amazing experience. It is exactly what I had hoped I would feel throughout my career.

Currently I am an RN on the LDRP floor at Pembroke Regional Hospital. While working here, I have had many chances to interact and work alongside the midwives during their deliveries on our unit. I am very excited to get the opportunity to work with them as a second birthing attendant and experience a whole different side to childbirth.

Janelle Oppel, 2nd Birth Attendant

Born in Canada, but raised in Liberia (a small country in West Africa), I had my first experience with birth at the tender age if 16; first shadowing a Liberian midwife and then volunteering at a local mission hospital with the Labour and Delivery nurses. I knew then that I had found a life-long passion.

I later pursued midwifery training through NewLife International School of Midwifery and lived for two years in Davao (Philippine Islands) immersed in all things prenatal, perinatal and postpartum. After graduating and passing the North American Registry of Midwives exam (North American in this case really just means the good old U.S.A.), I moved back to my Canadian birthplace to begin a new journey—one of starting my own family.

For the past six years, I have continued to be involved in the area of birth by learning and working as a doula, a childbirth educator, and last, but certainly not least, by being blessed with a couple of my own little ones. Beyond my Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) certification, which I have maintained with hopes of one day entering the world of midwifery again, I have also completed training as a Childbirth Educator (Lamaze), Doula (DONA International), and Breastfeeding Educator (Douglas College-Perinatal Education).

I’m excited for the opportunity to join Madawaska Valley Midwives as a Second Attendant.

Ashlee Dayment, 2nd Birth Attendant

Hello wonderful families. I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to join the madawaska valley midwife’s and work with them as a second attendant.

I studied at Nippising University as well as at Algonquin College and am currently working as a paramedic in the community. My initial exposure to midwifery was attending a birth in the community and from that point my interest in the profession grew. I am fortunate to be able to work closely with the midwifes on a professional level, as well as being able to relate to families through my own personal experiences.

I am a mother of two beautiful children. I love the outdoors and being physically active fishing, and camping are a few of the sports I enjoy. After spending time outdoors with my family, curling up on the couch reading my kids bedtime stories is a great way to end the day.

I look forward to meeting you.