Tel Viehmann Cunningfolk
Licensed Midwife, Certified Professional Midwife, Arvigo® Practitioner
My journey to midwifery started with MY birth.
I was born in a hospital birth center into the hands of certified nurse midwives (CNMs). My mother proudly birthed me and my sister at the same birth center with no medication or unnecessary interventions. This experience deeply influenced her life and mine – I grew up hearing the story of my birth again and again throughout my childhood. At every baby shower (after my aunt shared that the best way to give birth was to ask for drugs before you even left the hospital parking lot), my mother stalwartly reaffirmed that natural birth was possible, breastfeeding was desirable, and cloth diapering was do-able. It stuck with me.
Even so, I still didn’t know that homebirth was an option until my senior year in college. I had been searching for a way to make a career out of reproductive health when I came upon an advertisement for a midwifery school. Shortly after, I took a labor doula course through CAPPA with the pressing, nagging thought that being a doula sounded nice, but at the end of the day I really wanted to be a midwife. Then my cousin’s wife had a baby boy and invited me to be their doula. It was my first birth. I was smitten, and when I walked out of the hospital that day I knew for certain that I was meant to be a midwife.
I am a California Licensed Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife located in Sacramento, California. I am also an Advanced Arvigo Practitioner, trained in the Arvigo Techniques of Maya Abdominal Therapy®. I graduated from Birthwise Midwifery School in Bridgton, Maine. Prior to midwifery school, I earned my BA from Mount Holyoke College. As a midwifery student, I trained in intensive apprenticeships with seven midwives all around the country in Topsham, ME; Austin, TX; Mesa, AZ; and finally in Los Angeles, CA. It is a very unique aspect of my training that I was able to work with so many midwives, learning from their wisdom and practice styles and incorporating the very best of it all into who I am as a midwife and how I practice.
I love serving families as they grow and expand during the childbearing year. The processes of giving birth and becoming a parent (whether for the first or seventh time) is beautiful, intensely powerful, messy, and transformative. I see myself as a facilitator, helping you give birth to yourself throughout the entire experience of pregnancy, labor, birth, and postpartum.
I live in Sacramento with my partner Alexis, our daughter Juniper, and our scruffy rescue pup, Basil.
Photo Credit: Little Wonders Photography
Student Midwife, Certified Lactation Educator
I BLEND TRADITIONAL MEXICAN MIDWIFERY PRACTICES INTO MY CARE AS A STUDENT.
I am a third year advanced midwifery student and Certified Lactation Educator, having attended births for the last 4 years. I was born and raised in Sacramento and take pride in serving in the community I feel connected to. My work locally has centered Spanish-speakers and serving immigrant populations in hospital translation, birth support, and knowing their rights when it comes to bringing their babies earthside. I have worked at local clinics in preconception and full spectrum care. Prior to my work as a doula and student midwife, I also worked as a social worker in various local nonprofits. También hablo español. Los servicios de partería están disponibles en español durante mi aprendizaje.
I offer placenta encapsulation and prints as well as tinctures. I also offer traditional postpartum care that I have had the privilege of learning from other Xicana and Latinx midwives who have mentored me - including belly binding (using vendas), closing of the hips ceremonies (cerradas), herbal baths (baños), and plant medicine pelvic steams (bajos), part of Mexican traditional midwifery care. Midwifery is not only a strong calling but has also been passed down to me from other parteras in my family. I hope to honor my heritage by taking responsibility for what I have learned and supporting expecting families with the most compassionate care possible. My goal is to become a licensed midwife in 2020 and I hope to increase access to midwifery care for undocumented families in the Sacramento region. I am also a mother of a beautiful mind, Rafael who brings light to my world daily. When I am not studying or at births I enjoys reading, tending to my plants, seeing live music and collecting vinyl records.
Photo Credit: Lebasi Photography