About Luna Midwifery

Degra

Degra Nofsinger

Lead Midwife

I am a Certified Professional Midwife licensed to practice in Virginia – serving Roanoke and the surrounding area. I went to midwifery school at Maternidad La Luz (MLL) in El Paso, Texas which is a Midwifery Education Accreditation Counsel (MEAC) Accredited school as well as a Texas state licensed birthing center. While at MLL, I completed an academic program in midwifery, provided prenatal and postpartum care, and attended births. I received the CPM credential in 2009. For further information about MLL, visit: www.maternidadlaluz.com.

After completing the midwifery programm at MLL, I returned to my native Roanoke, Virginia. I have been attending home births in Roanoke, Lynchburg, and the surrounding areas since 2009, and since 2007, I have attended approximately 500 births, 350 as the primary midwife.

I participate in quarterly peer review, continuing education and retain credentialing in CPR and NNR (Neonatal Resuscitation). I am an active member of local, state, and national midwifery organizations: VMA (Virginia Midwives Alliance), MANA (Midwives Alliance of North America), NACPM (National Association of Certified Professional Midwives) and ACNM (American College of Nurse Midwives). I have served the Virginia Midwives Alliance in several capacities. From 2012-2014, I served as Secretary. From 2014-2018, I served as President. I am currently the Regional Representative for the Mountain Southwest Region and the Medicaid Liaison.

I am continually involved in volunteer midwifery work in Virginia, and focus on establishing and improving relationships between midwives and various other practitioners and organizations. In 2016, I volunteered for 2 weeks in Haiti with Midwives for Haiti.

Hablo espa├▒ol.

Randi Renee Graves

Student Midwife

I am a phase two student midwife who has been apprenticing with Degra since 2018. Outside of my role as a student, I am a wife to a truck driver and mom of four young children who were all born at home. I have always been enthralled by motherhood and caring for mothers has been a theme throughout my life, from being a mother’s helper as a young teen to assisting at my own mother’s births, to aiming to support all mothers as an adult; Mothering mothers is my passion.

Danielle Raykes (she/her/hers)

Student Midwife

Danielle was born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of SWVA. Her love of birth work began when she was about 20 years old and started working with a lay midwife. After assisting that midwife for just over a year she stepped away from assisting for a while but continued reading and studying about birth on her own and served as a doula for friends. In 2014 she began her own parenthood journey and welcomed her daughter earthside through a water birth at home. Being pregnant and experiencing birth for herself really re-lit the fire inside for birth work, particularly home birth. In January 2019 Danielle began assisting Degra at births and in the fall of 2020 she committed to the role of student midwife. She is currently certified in NNR (Neonatal Resuscitation), child and adult CPR and is in Phase 2 of the PEP process to become a Certified Professional Midwife (CPM).

Danielle strives to provide affirming, evidence-based care for all birthing people. She is passionate about birth justise in the BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ communities. She sees pregnancy, labor and birth as a sacred, spiritual journey that needs to be supported and protected. Traditional midwifery practices have had her heart since day one.

She lives in Floyd, VA with her wife, daughter, 2 cats, 2 dogs, and many chickens. In her rare moments of free time she loves to swim, hike, garden and spend time with her family and friends.

What is a midwife?

The Midwives Alliance of North America (MANA) defines a midwife in the following terms:

“Midwives are the traditional care providers for mothers and infants. Midwives are trained professionals with expertise and skills in supporting women to maintain healthy pregnancies and have optimal births and recoveries during the postpartum period. Midwives provide women with individualized care uniquely suited to their physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs. Midwifery is a woman-centered empowering model of maternity care that is utilized in all of the countries of the world with the best maternal and infant outcomes such as The Netherlands, United Kingdom and Canada.” (source)

The largest ever examination of planned home births in the United States found that among low-risk women, planned home births result in low rates of birth interventions without an increase in adverse outcomes for mothers and newborns, and result in health benefits to mothers and their infants. The study – which looked at nearly 17,000 women and their newborns – found that for planned home births with a midwife in attendance:

  • Over 93% women had a normal physiological birth.
  • A cesarean rate of 5%
  • Only 2.5% of babies admitted to the NICU in the first six weeks of life.
  • 87% of women with previous cesareans had their babies vaginally.
  • Of the 10.9% of women who transferred from home to hospital during labor, the majority moved for non-emergent reasons, like a slow, non-progressing labor, or maternal exhaustion.
  • At six weeks postpartum, nearly all babies were breastfed.

(Sources: 1. Outcomes of care for 16,984 planned home births in the United States: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project, 2004-2009 – 2. Development and validation of a national data registry for midwife-led births: The Midwives Alliance of North America Statistics Project 2.0 dataset)