Newest Blessings

After a long wait and gleam of hope we welcome to the community of Fairbanks the newest arrivals to our joyous days. For the past few months we have worked hard to ensure the opportunity to be apart of these lovely births. We ask that you all come in celebration to these wonderful families as they start a new life with their bouncing babies.

August seems to be a very popular month

Wendy and Christopher welcomed Azariah August 13 early this morning.

Grace and Januarius welcomed Ethan August 10th in the early afternoon.

Leslie and Jason welcomed Cormac August 6th in the late hours of the night.

April and Jaron started the month for us with the welcoming of Lincoln in the wee hours of the morning of August 6th.

April Births

Eva and Jeremy welcomed Calvin April 24th in the midnight hour of the night.

Ana and Blake welcomed Emil April 19th 2021 in the early hours of the morning.

Jenna and David welcomed Celia April 13th in the late hours of the night.

Hannah and William welcomed Chloe April 12th in the late evening.

Brienne and Isreal welcomed Joab April 11th 2021 in the lateness of the night.

Welcome Quasar


Twas the day before Christmas, in the early morn and a sweet baby boy was about to be born.

The midwives had come to offer their care for the dear little child about to be there.

We feel so blessed to join Patricia and Adante in welcoming their son Quasar into the world weighing 9lbs 4oz. He was born in the wee hours of Christmas Eve at home, in the same home that his mother was born. All were well and his big sister Tigress awoke to find her new brother arrived one day early!

So much love to this dear Family!

Welcome Zyloh!


We want to join Halie and Matthew in welcoming the newest addition to their family. Little Zyloh was born in the early morning hours on November 30th 2020. He was born into his father’s hands after a very fast labor at home, weighing 8 lbs. 2 oz. His big brothers River and Azure were so excited to meet him. Congratulations to this wonderful family!


To my community of Fairbanks:

I am so grateful to have worked at Alaska Family Health and Birth Center for the last 5+ years! I have learned so much from the families of Fairbanks and from my midwife co-workers and mentors. Coming back to work at the birth center in Aug 2015 was a beautiful dream come true for my family and myself and we have enjoyed this very busy period.

The time has come for me to move on from the birth center, however I hope and know that the midwives and leaders of the birth center will continue on the tradition of excellence in midwifery care and of service to our amazing community.

Thank you for embracing me as part of your community midwife team!

All my love and respect,

Amanda (Manga) Penwell

A very special birth!

This little guy is Zane Jerald! He was born May 12 at the stroke of midnight and weighed 7lb 10oz!

This is their 10th baby born with us here at Alaska Family Health and Birth Center! We think this is so very special and they deserve special recognition!

In honor of their family and their journey with the birth center, we will be placing a tile on the entry wall here at the birth center! We look forward to seeing which one you guys pick out!

Congratulations Andrea and Jesse, you have a beautiful family!


Lyle's Birth Story

Here is Kirsten’s birth story, her son Lyle was born at Alaska Family Health and Birth Center!

I woke up at about 5:30am on December 21st with my first signs of labor. I wasn’t sure if I was in active labor so I got up to see if my contractions would stick around. After walking around my house and taking a bath, I realized my contractions weren’t going away. I sat on my medicine ball and bounced while watching Christmas movies while my husband slept. This is one of my favorite memories from that day.

I felt my contractions starting to get more intense so I figured it was time to wake my husband. Of course he didn’t believe that I was in labor (I couldn’t believe it myself). We called the birth center around 10:30am to let them know what I was experiencing. Kate was the midwife on call and she said to try to to go on a walk or do some Christmas shopping to help me progress and to call when my contractions were about 4-5 mins apart. At first I thought I could leave my house and then things started picking up. My husband would time my contractions periodically and when the timer app told him to “get our bag and head to the hospital”, I heard him tell me “ummm babe, I think we need to leave now”. We called Kate and let her know we were on our way.

We arrived to the birth center at about 2pm. Manga was the other midwife on call, she got us settled into our beautiful birth suite. She checked me and I was already at 5cm dilated, which I was so pleased to hear. My two close friends arrived shortly after we got there, they were such amazing support for my husband and I. I labored in the shower for what was probably hours with the hot water running on my back. This was so helpful with my back labor. When I was checked again, I had only dilated one more cm. Our midwives figured out that our little guy was stuck on my pelvis and that’s what was keeping him from descending down. They had me labor in multiple different positions to help straighten him out. It wasn’t easy laboring that way, but shortly after while I was hanging on to my husband, my water finally broke, all over his feet! I’m so grateful for our midwives being able to help my body do what it was made to do naturally, without forcing anything. Then my labor really began to pick up and near the end. I labored between the shower and the tub. The water was so helpful to me. I was checked one last time when I finally heard “you’re ready to push”.  It was music to my ears! I pushed for about 50 mins and then our lives changed forever. Our sweet boy was born weighing 8lbs and 20” long. I’ll never forget the feeling of him being laid on my chest.

The hours after his birth will always be so special to my husband and I. The stillness of the room, our amazing midwives, and the outpouring of love will always be cherished. Giving birth to my son was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do but it was also the most empowering thing I will ever do.

Thank you Alaska Family Health & Birth center for your exceptional care and for showing us that birth can be natural, safe, and an intimate experience

Support during labor

Support during labor

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He is here! So in love!

He is here! So in love!

Continuing in Excellence!

Dear Friends and Family,

As you may have read, our long-time Executive Director Dana Brown will soon be leaving us.  She is currently working from home like many of us have been to varying degrees. She is also incorporating some much deserved leave time into the rest of her time here in Alaska.  Dana was here when Alaska Family Health & Birth Center first opened in 1988, and she was attending births for several years before that.  It is with mixed emotions that we make this announcement.  We are happy for her because she will be able to travel and spend time with family and friends and, hopefully, have many fun adventures.  But we are sad that our clinic and our community will be losing an awesome midwife.  Hopefully we will be able to have a get-together with Dana before she leaves the state because it would mean so much to her to be able to connect with all of “her” families and babies (though many are not babies anymore)!

Dana is leaving her legacy - this Birth Center and the midwives who have trained under her.  We will continue doing prenatal care, postpartum care, and births as we always have - with love and compassion, wisdom and safety.  

As Dana steps back during this time of preparing to leave, her Administrative Director Cheryl Corrick will step up to the Executive Director position.  Cheryl and Dana have worked together for the past 28 years, ever since Dana trained Cheryl to be a midwife.  Dana will continue to advise Cheryl during this time and is available as a consultant even after she leaves. Cheryl  retired from midwifery in 2017 after 25 years but continues to work as an administrator. Cheryl will be working closely with Julie Moon, our Clinical Director, and Jamie Gray, our Office Manager, as well as all of our staff to ensure the quality and standards of Alaska Family Health & Birth Center continue in excellence.

Thank you for being a part of our birth center family and supporting the birth center as part of our community. 

The Staff of Alaska Family Health & Birth Center   


Dear Families and Community: A Letter from Dana

April 23, 2020

Dear Families and Community,

I would like to thank all of our past and present clients, families, and community members who have made Alaska Family Health & Birth Center a success for the past 3 decades.  I am really grateful for the input you all have given that shaped the type of care we have been able to offer.  It has been my pleasure to serve as the Executive Director since 1993 and especially as a midwife to our amazing moms and families. It is now time for me to retire and spend time with my family and pursue other interests.  This is a really bittersweet and heartfelt decision for me but I am looking forward to the adventures to come!  Although I will be leaving Alaska, probably in July (depending on the current situation), it will always have a place in my heart.  I will always love, cherish, and appreciate all of you forever!

With Love and Gratitude,

Dana Brown

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Alaska Family Health & Birth Center response to Covid-19

We have been busy this week, calling all of our clients, putting off appointments that can be put off, moving many to home visits, making sure all is well. We know there is much stress in this time of uncertainty, and we are hoping you are faring well. Remember to step back and take a breath, get outside and get fresh air, spend time connecting with all those who you love (and who you are forced to spend a large amount of time with now that EVERYTHING is canceled). Know that all of this is done for protect keep you safe. Know that you can do this for others, and together, we will get through it all with love, and grace, and hopefully an increased sense of connection and community.

Please know we care deeply about the health of our families, and we are doing all we can to vigorously safeguard you. Some of the measures we have taken are listed below, and we ask that you all be understanding with us, as many of them will change daily, if not hourly.

We will be calling all clients and screening you prior to an appointment, and then screening you again upon arrival.

Any appointments that can be done at home will be, and phone check in's will be done to see if other appointments can be postponed.

We will be staggering our midwives and our clients in the office so there is little to no crossover.

We are asking all clients to come alone to appointments if possible. If this is a hardship please notify us, and we will do our utmost to schedule a home visit.

We have canceled group prenatals for now, and are looking at an e-format to offer our childbirth education class.

Again we ask that if you, or anyone in your family, are sick AT ALL, or have had contact with a known case of COVID-19, or traveled to a high risk area, please call us and we can discuss the plan for your care.

We have closed the office to any walk in traffic on Monday and Friday. You can call to schedule appointments, but no access to the birth center will be granted except for scheduled appointments and labors. Please no walk in's on other days. If you need a verification of pregnancy, please call first, 456-3719.

Lastly, do not panic. We ARE NOT panicking. We are implementing measures that have been proven successful in areas that managed to slow the spread of this virus. We care deeply for you, and will be available for you whatever your needs are. Do not feel that these closures will cut you off from your midwives. If anything, they will bring us closer...we will see you more in your homes, get to know you on a whole new level. Blessings and light to you all. Keep connected. Keep calm. Love on.....

#socialdistancing #letsstayhealthy #wecandothistogether

New Initiative !

The Midwives of AFHBC have had an exciting few weeks!!  Last week Julie and Manga met with providers and management at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital to discuss implementation of the Alaska Birth Transfer Initiative.  It was the first of many meetings of its kind across the state, and all parties involved are excited to bring this initiative to our community to improve the safety of our mothers and babies. 

 The Alaska Birth Transfer Initiative is currently being developed to help implement statewide transfer protocols to ensure the safety of mothers and babies in the event of a transfer from home or birth center to hospital.  The goal is to develop simple transfer paperwork and protocols that can be adopted statewide.  Fairbanks is the pilot project for this in Alaska, and AFHBC midwives are proud to be a part of this exciting and historic process.  

 The midwives of AFHBC already have excellent collaborative relationships with in hospital providers in our community, and would like to thank all the providers who have helped to grow this relationship over the years.  We know the Alaska Birth Transfer Initiative will only make these relationships better, and therefore safer, for all involved. 

 Julie Moon from AFHBC and Dianna Kristeller from TVC OBGYN will be at the  AKPQC & MCDR Joint Summit in Anchorage this weekend and will be on the panel regarding the initiative.  If you're a birth worker please come by and listen to the presentation, and ask any questions you may have. The more birth workers we can get involved in implementing this initiative, the safer we all will be, community providers, hospital providers, and, most importantly, our mothers and babies.  

 Stay tuned for more updates as we continue our work on this important topic!

If you have questions about the initiative, please contact Katy Krings [email protected]

Julie Moon, CNM, APRN, AFHBC, Dianna Kristeller, DNP, ANP,CNM, TVC-OBGYN, Kristen Sublett, CNM, CAIHC, Leah Hoppes, MSN, MPH, RN, FMH, Kristy Terzi, RNC-OB, BSN, FMH, Dr. Hogenson, Chena Health, Ken Mayfield, Paramedic, Fairbanks Fire Department, Dr…

Julie Moon, CNM, APRN, AFHBC, Dianna Kristeller, DNP, ANP,CNM, TVC-OBGYN, Kristen Sublett, CNM, CAIHC, Leah Hoppes, MSN, MPH, RN, FMH, Kristy Terzi, RNC-OB, BSN, FMH, Dr. Hogenson, Chena Health, Ken Mayfield, Paramedic, Fairbanks Fire Department, Dr. Brunner, TVC Pediatrics, Annie Perez, PhD, MSN, RNC-NEA, FMH Amanda (Manga) Penwell CDM MSM CPM AFHBC


Alaska Family Health & Birth Center Babies over the years

Last month we asked all of our past and present families that have had care with Midwives from Alaska Family Health & Birth Center to share photos of their babies. We are so happy to share this slideshow of all these beautiful babies from less than a year old to well over 20 years old. Thank you to the amazing Alaskan Interior Community for welcoming us into your life as you grow your families. We love you!

Greatest news!!!

Alaska Family Health and Birth Center has been awarded a $25,000 grant to install a generator for the building! This grant was awarded by Rasmuson Foundation and we could not be more appreciative and honored!

Two winters ago, there was a power outage in our neighborhood that lasted 3 days. This meant that we could not help families with their birth in the building but instead were able to attend them in their home. While we are amazed at the adaptability of families, we endeavored to have a way to keep the birth center fully functioning in the event of a power outage. This generator will power the whole building including three birth rooms, laundry room, lab, and clinic side! It will ensure that our building is safe and protected from the elements.

We are grateful Rasmuson Foundation has given this gift to our non profit organization!


Welcome Declan


Rachel and Jared welcomed their son Declan at Fairbanks Memorial Hospital on October 8, 2019! This little guy is just the cutest thing! He joins his cute older brothers and sister. We are so pleased that he is here! :)

Our community of Fairbanks is so blessed to have collaboration among the maternity providers. This family had planned a home birth with AFHBC midwives but in the end needed a hospital birth and was able to have CNM Dianna Kristeller attend her at FMH.

Listening to Babies


“Oh sweet babe, what stories you have to tell,” I whisper to the newborn at 2 am as I help his mama breastfeed.  He coos and jabbers away, emotion clear in his little cries and utterances.  I encourage him to express his stories, try to listen to what he is so clearly attempting to communicate. 

I can hear the words of one of our beautiful mentors in the field of perinatal psychology, Charisse Basquin.  She teaches us to listen to the babies, and hear the stories they are telling, and help them to be heard and validated.  And I know, deeply and truly, that this is one of the most important and sacred works we are entrusted with as midwives.


As National Midwifery Week comes to a close, and I prepare to speak tonight at our Alaska Family Health and Birth Center Fundraiser, I have so many thoughts bouncing around in my head about what makes midwifery, and birth centers, so special, so important.  And in my midnight musings it all crystallizes clearly into this….


We listen.  To the babies, as they tell their stories of birth and passage, joy and fear.  To the mamas, as they place their hope and excitement, anxiety and terror, in our hands, and we hand it back to them and say, “It is yours.  I cannot do it for you.  But I will give you tools, I will walk beside you, we can do this together.”  To the daddies as they look at us with concern, wondering if they have what it takes to do this big thing.  And we nod and let them know, yes, they do have what they need, and so much more, and we will help them.  To those who come to us traumatized by their past experiences with providers, wanting to get care again, but so afraid.  We listen, and we tell them, “We can walk slowly.  At whatever pace you need.  This is about you, and we will listen.”  To the siblings, who need attention too, and want you to know this baby is theirs.  Who smile bigger than you’ve ever seen when we help them put their hands on their mama’s growing belly, and feel the kicks of the new baby who is coming to share a life with them. 


This is the core of human experience.  To be heard, and seen.  To tell your story, and to have others who can relate hear it for its truth and beauty, its joy and darkness.  And this is at the core of midwifery.

We are not perfect.  We make mistakes all the time, and navigate the care of those entrusted to us with wonder and humility, hoping to learn from every person we touch.  But at the heart of it, we listen, and will continue to listen, and encourage everyone we encounter, to listen…
To the babies…

To the mamas…

To the daddies…

To the children…

To the midwives…

To the world and every living thing in it. 


Thank you for the privilege of letting us hear and witness your stories.  It is a blessing and an honor greater than any other. 



Welcome Digory!


We are so very happy to join Kimberly and Benjamin in welcoming their son Digory to the world on 8/7/19. He was born in a lovely water birth in the Aurora room. He weighed 7 pounds 14 ounces. He is the second child born into this family with AFH&BC midwives. Congratulations!