Desiree LeFave is Bella Vie’s co-owner, as well as a wife, mother. She was inspired to become a midwife following the incredible experience of birthing her first child, Kaeli, at home, in 1995. She recently retired from being both a midwife and Bella Vie’s practice manager.
Desiree began attending births in 1998 and became fully credentialed in 2001 (CPM, LDM). Since then, she has given birth to two other daughters, Maryn in 2003 and Eden in 2005, and has helped at the births of about 800 babies.
Desiree, along with Petra, decided to start Bella Vie Gentle Birth Center because of their strong desire to carry on the legacy of midwifery and gentle birth in an environment that can serve many women and their families. Together with their husbands, they put many years of hard work into the birth center, and are proud of, and grateful for the results. Desiree loves to hear the stories of families blessed by Bella Vie.
Desiree’s current role at Bella Vie is in management, often working on billing and insurance contracts as well as supporting our managers and midwives.
Desiree now lives in Snohomish, Washington along with her husband Kristopher, and their two daughters who still live at home. She works from there most days, but you will find her at Bella Vie nearly every Wednesday.
In her free time, she loves spending time with her family, Bible study, learning more about natural health, reading, snuggling her basset hound and homemaking after many years of catching babies.
To really understand Petra’s journey into business, you have to start at the beginning of the story…Seeking to gain freedom and opportunity, Petra’s parents fled the communist country, then known as Czechoslovakia, when she was just 4 yrs old. Through nothing short of miracles and the generosity of perfect strangers, the Prostrednik’s ended up in America to build the life that they had dreamed of.
In July of 2000 (after the fall of communist rule), Petra and her high-school sweetheart, Christopher, went back to the small village where she was born, to say their wedding vows. The following year they were blessed to find out they were expecting a baby. Very excited, and being the thorough woman that Petra is, she interviewed every hospital based midwifery practice in the Portland area. She knew that she wanted a natural birth for herself and her baby. Despite all of her research and preparation, she felt disappointed by the lack of her own self directed control and the many medical interventions. It was theoretically a successful “natural birth”, however, it did not feel “natural” in the sense that she was unable to intuitively let her body do what felt right during the birthing process. A few years later, with the birth of her second child, she opted to go to a freestanding birth center. With the loving support of her husband, her midwife (and soon-to-be close friend) Desiree, along with the birth team, and her 3-yr old daughter by her side, Petra labored in water, was encouraged to listen to her body, and in a beautiful candle lit room birthed her baby into her husband’s welcoming arms. It was a beautiful, gentle birth and in that moment, her journey into midwifery began.
Petra became determined to help other women experience the same joy. Specifically, she envisioned a Country Birth Center, where women could truly get away from the hustle of everyday life to have their baby in a natural, peaceful setting. She immediately began her study of midwifery. Soon there after, Desiree began her own private practice and asked if Petra would help be the second assistant at births. Petra jumped at the opportunity and it wasn’t long that she became her primary assistant. They continued to work together over the next three years. As her apprenticeship came to an end, it became clear to both Petra and Desiree, that they felt passionate about moving forward with the idea of bringing a birth center to Yamhill County. On August 14th, 2007 their dream, “Bella Vie Gentle Birth Center” was born in beautiful Hopewell, Oregon! Since then, Petra and Chris have also welcomed two more daughters into their family!
Petra’s role as the Business Manager is taking care of the many “behind-the-scene” business details that keep Bella Vie operating. You may see her at the center on Mondays, but she primarily works from her home office these days since she has her own little babies to take care of. Petra loves being a mother to her four sweet (and very busy!) girls, she enjoys all aspects of natural health, the outdoors, and in addition to midwifery, is passionate about Waldorf education.
Mary Strubhar, CNM, Practice Manager
An exceptional balance of joyful and astute, Mary Stubhar, CNM is our Practice Manager and Midwife. Mary can help you with any questions or concerns regarding your pregnancy care, and you will find her very practical support available when you need it.
Mary grew up on a small farm in the northern Willamette Valley. She accomplished her dream of becoming a nurse, graduating with a BSN in 1998 from Walla Walla University. During nursing school, Mary sensed God calling her to commit her life to medical mission work. She has worked at mission clinics in Paraguay, South America, and Haiti, where she was the Clinical Midwife Director at the busy birth center, MamaBaby Haiti. Because one of our owners was also a founding board member at MamaBaby Haiti, she met Mary while interviewing her for that position. Mary impressed the board and accomplished running a very seamless operation under very difficult circumstances. Because Mary was ready to be in Oregon for a while, we jumped at the chance to have her, knowing that if she could run that busy center, she would do an amazing job of running ours. Mary has also worked as a labor, delivery, and postpartum nurse at Providence Newberg Hospital for 10 years while pursuing her midwifery studies through Frontier Nursing University, graduating in October 2008 as a Certified Nurse Midwife with a Masters in Nursing. Mary loves nursing and continues to teach nursing students at her alma mater, but she especially loves the miracle of birth and working with mothers, babies, and families.
When not at work, Mary enjoys interacting with family and friends, traveling, gardening, reading, and singing. Her goal in life and greatest joy is serving God by serving others.
Margy Porter, CPM, LDM
Margy Porter joined the Bella Vie team as a staff midwife in 2016. She has lived in McMinnville with her husband Rob and their three children since 1999, and had a small homebirth midwifery practice from 2008 to 2016. She was originally inspired to become a midwife after reading Ina May Gaskin’s “Spiritual Midwifery” and Elizabeth Davis’ “Heart and Hands” in the healing process from two miscarriages. She was seeking a more heartfelt, more interactive, more informative, and personal level of care, when she found Midwifery! She began an Introductory Midwifery class at the Seattle Midwifery School just 8 weeks following the home waterbirth of her oldest daughter, Katie, in 1993.
Margy became a Certified Childbirth Educator in 1995 and taught childbirth education classes for a total of 13 years, for literally thousands of expectant parents. She has been a Certified Breastfeeding Educator since 1996 and worked as a Peer Counselor at WIC in Texas for 2 years. She became a Doula, trained by the wonderful Penny Simkin in 1994, and started supporting women through labor in 2000. She later began her Midwifery apprenticeship in 2005 and completed her training in 2008, when she achieved both her CPM and LDM. She has traveled to Senegal two times, once as a student, and once as a teacher, to work alongside the Sage-Femmes in Mboro and Kafountine, Senegal. Margy has also worked for 2 1/2 years in an OB/GYN clinic in McMinnville, where she gained an appreciation for the complexities of allopathic medical care and for the benefits of the Midwifery Model of Care. One of her goals is to keep an open bridge of respect and understanding between the best of hospital obstetric care and out-of-hospital midwifery care providers. She is thrilled to work with capable midwife peers and students at Bella Vie.
Margy enjoys swimming, gardening, and living in as sustainable a way as possible. She loves sharing dark chocolate with her husband, and hanging out with her grown children. She strives to recognize the light of good in everyone.
Kelsey Chambers, CNM, MSN
Kelsey Chambers relocated from southern Colorado in October 2018 to join the Bella Vie team as a certified nurse midwife (CNM). She, herself, was born at home home, and from a young age began being present at many home births in her small, rural town. She became a registered nurse in 2013 and gained a lot of birth and newborn experience in the labor and delivery, nursery, and postpartum units for 4 years, at three busy hospitals. Despite loving providing care and advocating for women in the hospital setting she was seeking a role that would allow her to form deeper bonds with with families and give her the ability to provide more holistic care.
She graduated with honors from the University of Colorado- Denver with her Masters degree in Midwifery. During her time in school she interned at a birth center in Western Colorado. She is passionate about out of hospital birth as well as advocating and supporting birth, moms, babies and families.
As a CNM her goals are to raise awareness about midwifery care and to provide women with dedicated, lifelong care, not only during pregnancy and birth but also in providing gynecology, family planning, and general health maintenance/disease prevention services.
Kelsey is excited about joining the knowledgeable and skilled Bella Vie team, and we believe she is the perfect fit! In her spare time she loves to read, spend time with friends, do yoga, hike, and spend time with her Black Lab/Great Dane mix , “Tucker”.
Kim Jones is our office manager and medical billing specialist. She has been a medical office manager for 25 years and is a nationally certified medical coder. She has lived in Independence, Oregon for 26 years, but grew up in Snohomish, WA. Kim is excited to join the Bella Vie team and support the midwives as they provide moms, babies and families with a “gentle birth” experience. When she’s not busy in the Bella Vie office, she enjoys traveling, plays stand-up bass in two bands and designs and constructs clothing. Kim loves to spend time with her partner, Robert, her adult daughter, Stephanie, her large extended family and her three darling cats!
Emily Woodward, CMBS
Emily has been working in the medical field in Reception and Billing for the past 5 years. She is driven, with a passion for helping clients to have a positive, warm experience.
In Emily’s free time she is a coast enthusiast, creating many fond memories with her family, taking trips to the beach. She is an avid Oregon Duck fan and enjoys her ritual hot cup of coffee every morning before the clinic opens. She is a certified Billing & Coding Specialist, working with insurance claims and welcoming clients before their appointments.
Luke Carl was born and raised in McMinnville, Oregon. His father taught him a variety of maintenance and handy-man type of jobs from a young age. He always enjoyed helping out at home and continues to have a helpful heart. His favorite thing to do is volunteer as a Firefighter-EMT in McMinnville, which he’s been doing for the last 5 years. He recently joined Dayton Fire as well. His long-term goal is to make Fire Fighting his career. In the meantime, we are very lucky to have him as our Grounds Keeper at Bella Vie Gentle Birth Center. He does all of the maintenance and upkeep of our property and with his expertise is a willing hand in case anything urgent comes up and a midwife would like his help. Luke also works 3-days a week at the local Steel Mill, and occasionally helps a friend with his local business by installing windows, mirrors and shower doors.
He recently married the love of his life, Kara, and together they moved into the Caretaker home on our property in August. In their free time, they enjoy spending quality time together and with their fur-baby pup, “Molly”. They love going fishing and camping, and will never pass up a trip to the beach. They enjoy gardening and plan on having one this spring. Above all, he enjoys helping out everywhere he can and is such a great addition to the Bella Vie Team.
Valerie Brewer, CBE
Valerie Brewer became a Certified Childbirth Educator after the empowering natural birth of her second son. With a background in education and a growing love for birth and breastfeeding, she gained her certification with Birth Boot Camp in 2014 and has worked with dozens of couples as they have prepared for labor, delivery, breastfeeding and newborn care. Before joining Bella Vie in 2017, Valerie taught childbirth classes in Princeton, NJ where her husband was in graduate school. During that time, she worked with couples from all over the world (6 out of 7 continents… just missing Antarctica!). She has helped moms and dads planning for both hospital and out-of-hospital births, and she loves to see couples grow in confidence and knowledge as they work together and take ownership of their birth experience.
About her classes, Valerie says, “I think that taking a birth class is such an important part of preparing for your new baby. It’s a chance to communicate with your partner and gain tools and information to not only be ready for labor and delivery but to work with your body and enjoy it! Labor is intense, but it can be a wonderful, rewarding and joyful experience when you are supported, equipped and informed.”
Valerie and her husband, Jon, recently moved to Newberg where her husband is an Associate Pastor at Grace Baptist Church. They have two fun-loving, precious boys and a very sweet baby girl. On the weekends you can find them outdoors whenever possible – hiking, playing tennis, vegetable gardening, and exploring new places.
To learn more about Valerie’s classes, visit her website: www.MyAmazingBirth.com