“The kind of joy you feel — You get tears in your eyes every time. Jennifer’s birth was no exception.”

— Midwife Nancy Redfern

“Mother & Child Reunion”
((( “Birthday” )))

Story by Theresa Defino
Photographs by Dave Hogerty

On March 8, at exactly twelve minutes after noon, the world welcomed a new member – Jennifer Sejas, 6 lbs. 13 oz. But Jennifer entered this world in an unconventional fashion. She was born on a quilt-covered brass bed in a paneled room, born in the presence of eight astonished and tearful friends and relatives who celebrated with champagne, born, her parents claim, in a more “natural” way.

When Joe and Martha Sejas said to each other one night last year after nearly four years of marriage “Let’s have a baby.” they

already had their dream of how the delivery would happen – in a warm, loving environ-ment, without the aid of anesthetics. Their child would not be born in a hospital, and Joe would be there right along with Martha.

The Sejases chose Birthplace, 635 NE First St., as the setting for the much anticipated event. Established in October 1978 by four women, Birthplace is an alternative birthing center, one of a growing number of centers across the nation which handle only low-risk pregnacies and are staffed by registered nurses and nurse-midwives.

Birthplace is an old, two-story frame house complete with four bedrooms, or “birthing rooms.” Homey treasures. add to the friendly atmosphere a gurgling fish tank, toy chest pictures of smiling babies pinned to a bulletin board, a brick fireplace, and jumbles of throw-pillows.

The Sejas’ decision to come to Birthplace was tempered by Joe’s hesitancy about the center and the capabilities of a nurse midwife – fears he found ungrounded.

“I had fears because it was new. But I wanted something different, something more natural,” Joe said, sitting in the Birthplace living room.

Just meeting the people really swayed us to come here.’ Martha said, while burping Pamper-clad Jennifer.

They were very friendly and personal. As the months of Martha’s pregnancy passed, the Sejases became friends with nurse midwife Nancy Redfern. Their confidence in her to deliver their baby grew. “If you go in to see a doctor you can see him over an extended period of time and never get to know him,'” said Joe.

You Make Me Feel
((( “Like A Natural Woman” )))


Aretha Franklin (1967)


“You go in to see Nancy, and you become very good friends. It’s really neat because you’ve made a friendship there. After nine months I felt pretty confident.”

Redfern, who has participated in more than 700 births, said she becomes “committed” to her clients. She smiled, hesitating before describing the emotion she feels while delivering a baby.

“The kind of joy you feel … you get tears in your eyes every time. Jennifer’s birth was no exception.

“Here vou are free to do a lot of things that you couldn’t do in a hospital. You are free to have as many people as you want in the room. You are free to have an kind of celebration after the birth. You can even bring a TV or stereo if vou want.”

Although the Birthplace may have been the answer for the Sejases. some doctors contend that there are too man risks involved in non-hospital births, including getting to the hospital in time in case of emergency.

Some also question the medical capabilities of mid-wives.

But Redfern said midwives are certified and trained medical personnel who must complete a lengthy licensing certification process.

Acceptance into the Birthplace program, Redfern stressed, is predicated on “normal pregnancies.” A woman older than 36 having her first baby or one with diabetes or high blood pressure will not be allowed under the care of Birthplace. which usually charges about $1,000. The typical three-day stay in a hospital maternity ward can cost up to $2,000.

If complications arise during the term of pregnancy, the Birthplace client is referred to a physician at Shands Teaching Hospital or a doctor of her choice. If problems occur once labor is in progress, the woman is transferred directly to Shands. The Sejases would like to have another child at Birthplace and agree that Redfern is a big part of the reason.

“Nancy’s so …” Joe pauses, at a loss for words. “She’ll take your baby and act like it’s hers. She’s just as happy as you are.”

Nancy said simply, “It’s a miracle every time.”


The White Album
((( “Birthday” )))


Beatles (1968)



Alligator columnist Laura Kelly’s view of college life was stark naked and always true. Her pointed opinions pleased as many readers as they pissed off, and neither were shy about writing back. [LETTERS]
Joe and Martha Sejas asked Midwife Nancy Redfern to guide them through the most important moment in their lives. The Birth of Jennifer, their 6 lbs. 13 oz., healthy daughter, whose entrance into this world was ALL NATURAL.
Abortion: As it was in the beginning, in the end, and whenever the forever Christian war against women rages again.
Women: Still screaming for Equal Rights.




A Matter of Opinion 
whose choice is it?

Who’s to say? Winning an fight over Abortion and First Amendment rights, was how The Alligator earned its “independence” in 1971. The Alligator had won a local, University of Florida battle, but the war was nowhere close to being over, and UF and Gainesville residents, on both sides, weren’t afraid to express their points of view.
 ((( “woman” )))

dave hogerty

A woman’s place is in the womb

In the minds of the white Christian men who want to take America back to a time when caring for women was criminal, ABORTION IS MURDER. An act not to be tolerated (or forgiven) under any circumstance. The men argue that such a law, following the word of “their” Lord and Savior, would have no negative impact on any, everyday, law-abiding American citizen. There will NEVER BE A NEED for abortion. All any good Christian woman needs to do, is follow the clearly written (and displayed) Christian commandments. THE ONE AND ONLY REASON FOR SEX is to produce more supremely white children. Have NO SEX for pleasure or fun, and you’ll avoid ever having TO CHOOSE. And for the insignificantly few victims of assault and incest, they’re little more than collateral damage in a righteous HOLY WAR. Don’t worry about them.