A History of the Midwives at WMMC

Twenty years ago Gail Grey, a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), started Western Missouri Medical Center’s (WMMC) midwifery group.  In the 1990s there were very few certified nurse midwives working in the United States, let alone practicing in Missouri. Gail put in the long hours of presenting the positive benefits of the midwifery model and how well midwives can work in collaboration with physicians. WMMC recognized the benefits that midwives provide long before other hospitals in the area, and decided to use midwives to provide care for the greater Johnson County area.

Shortly after Gail received the support to start the practice, Connie Johnson, CNM, joined Gail in the effort to grow WMMC’s midwifery awareness. Through the years they have had midwives come and go including Susan Nelson, Chris Berry, and Karen Penn. However, Gail and Connie remained a constant through the years until retirement.

Gail Gray and Connie Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwives

Gail Gray and Connie Johnson, Certified Nurse Midwives at WMMC

Creating the Midwifery Experience

Gail retired on Friday, September 28, 2018, but not before she delivered her last baby, Sawyer Brook Knight. One of Sawyer’s siblings, Finn, was also delivered by Gail at WMMC. The proud parents, Terry and Krystal, feel honored that Gail put off retirement so that she would be the one to help welcome Sawyer into the world.

Sawyer Brook Knight is welcomed into the world by her grandmother, Teresa Collins, and her mom and sister, Krystal and Skyler Knight. 

Sawyer Brook Knight is welcomed into the world by her grandmother, Teresa Collins, and her mom and sister, Krystal and Skyler Knight. 

When asked why she put off retirement Gail responded with, “It has always been a privilege and a blessing to be a part of bringing a new life into the world. I will miss this the most. My first delivery was my grand-daughter and I have been blessed with 2,531 deliveries since then.”

Gail is now retired to Branson, but has left a strong and positive midwifery program that continues to serve the greater area of Johnson County.

Connie’s eighteen-year tenure is very similar to Gail’s. She attended approximately 2,000 births, and she has always said the best part of her career as a midwife was being a part of one of the most significant events that occurs in a family’s life. After almost two years into retirement Connie says what she misses most are the relationships with women, nurses, staff, and her fellow providers.

Gail and Connie have been cornerstones for building a positive midwifery experience for WMMC for decades, and the practice of using a midwife will continue to be a positive experience for years to come.

Continuing the Journey

A two-night Childbirth Class on the first and second Wednesday of every month. This two night course includes:

  1. Personal in-depth tour of our Birthing Center.
  2. Hands on teaching about monitors and equipment used in the delivery room.
  3. Information on pain control options (with or without medications)
  4. Information about procedures available: C-sections, circumcisions, assisted deliveries, epidurals, etc.
  5. Discussion of what to expect during your stay at our Birthing Center.

Breastfeeding and Infant Care classes include:

  1. Meet other moms and soon-to-be-moms to create a network of breastfeeding support.
  2. Learn about the unexpected struggles of breastfeeding, and de-bunk breastfeeding myths.
  3. Learn more about infant care and have your questions answered.

If you are considering about delivering at WMMC’s Obstetrics Department, or would like to register for a class or tour, call (660) 262-7514. Learn more about the WMMC birthing experience by reading Elizabeth’s Story.

Other Recent Posts by WMMC:

10 Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Breastfeeding

Wendy’s Story: Overcoming Triple Negative Breast Cancer

Preparing for Delivery: When to Go to the Hospital


About Western Missouri Medical Center

Western Missouri Medical Center (WMMC) is a fully-accredited acute care county medical center located in Warrensburg, MO. WMMC prides itself in emergency care, obstetrics, orthopedic and general surgery, family healthcare, internal medicine, outpatient clinics, ambulatory care, rehabilitation services and more. Inpatient services include medical, surgical, intensive, obstetrical, orthopedic, pediatric and skilled nursing care, as well as a wide range of therapeutic and diagnostic outpatient services. This institution is an equal opportunity provider and employer. Learn more at WMMC.com.