We had the good fortune of connecting with Bea Rowell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Bea, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is not for the faint of heart! To be a true risk there has to be a level of gain or loss involved. When choosing to take a risk with your life direction you are deciding if you are either happy to stay static with where you are in your career, personal situation or home environment. Taking a risk to change any or all of those things, may mean you elevate and reach goals, ending up in a better overall situation, or conversely, you may crash and burn, leaving you in a worse situation.

In 2006, my husband and I took a huge personal risk and left all we had ever known back in the UK, to come and start a new life in Florida. We sold literally everything we had and packed up our personal possessions, arriving at Orlando International with 3 kids and 10 suitcases to embark on an entirely new business venture!

Neither of us had any business experience before, both having previously worked for the UK government. Suddenly, instead of nice comfortable jobs, with good wages and a full package of benefits each, we were in a whole new world of trying to navigate the trials of employees, licenses, contracts, accounts etc and all of this in the healthcare provider area, a minefield all of its own! At the same time, we had to learn a new education system and ensure that the best choices were made for our three children.

Handing our notice in on our safe, lifelong jobs was scary but for us it has worked. Fifteen years on we are now comfortably enjoying semi retirement in the mountains of Colorado. There have been high highs but also low lows. We have achieved a lot and enjoyed a great life here. We have also had some sacrifices. Overall the gains have outweighed the losses and we are very happy that we each drew deep breaths, pulled up our big girl pants and made the decision to take that risk.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is a Birth Center in Lutz, Florida (near Tampa). We are a team of Licensed Midwives, providing complete prenatal care, labor, birth and postpartum care to low risk women in an ‘out of hospital’ environment.

For many women, a Birth Center birth is a good compromise between hospital and home. We see the women for all of their care, completing the same screening, labs etc as offered by an obstetric group but in a much more personalized environment. We build relationships with our clients and establish a mutual trust. When it is time for birth, the women enter a familiar and comfortable area, not a sterile, cold environment and, more importantly, they are met by a team of care givers whom they know and trust to support and assist them as they labor towards meeting their new baby.

Coming from the UK, where midwifery care for pregnant women is considered routine and normal, it was hard to enter the US to discover the animosity and misunderstanding that surrounds midwives and out of hospital birthing here. Previously having enjoyed the respect of obstetricians and worked together to ensure optimal outcomes for both mom and baby, it was a severe shock to me the first time I transferred with a client to a hospital. I was literally pushed aside and ignored as I tried to give an effective handover and provide a history for the woman I was bringing in. I felt lower than a rat in the gutter. From then on, I made it my mission to establish relationships with our local hospital obstetric units and several local obstetricians. Things are not always perfect, there is still some mistrust but I do believe that there is a better understanding of midwifery care, not least the knowledge that we do actually have an education behind us and didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to deliver babies!

Over 15 years, the Birth Center has seen a steady growth in clientele. Originally catching around 4-6 babies each month with a team of just two midwives, we now expect an average of 14 babies each month and employ a team of five midwives. Our busiest month, we caught 21 babies…and of course, they never spread themselves out evenly, we once caught 4 within 24 hours. That was bit of a juggling act! We are surrounded by a fabulous administrative team and 6 midwife assistants. In 2010 we extended the premises to include a third private birthing area and a separate office space. It is just so gratifying to us that more women are becoming aware that they do have choices surrounding their prenatal and birth experiences. It isn’t for everyone, thats for sure, but for those who want to limit the risks of intervention and approach this significant life event in a natural way, it can be the most empowering experience. Supporting and watching these women, some of whom are healing from horrible hospital experiences, is most humbling for us as midwives and there is always a quiet tear shed as you observe those first quiet moments of new life being welcomed.

You never stop learning in this field. I recently returned to work in the Birth Center to cover for another midwife on maternity leave. You’d think that, after 20 years in the field, I would have seen everything but women and babies never fail to surprise! If you think you know it all then you should probably step aside. Always keep an open mind and always learn to expect the unexpected!

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
While my work life is based in Florida, my home, since 2019 has been Durango Colorado. Nestled in the foothills of the wondrous San Juan Mountains we enjoy the warmer climate of town but still have easy access to a vast network of mountain trails with every form of outdoor adventure and activity catered for.

Our preference is ATV riding and the best day out, in our opinion, is to explore the Alpine Loop. There are several ways to travel this Loop, our preferred way is to start in Silverton. The trail takes you high up along Cinnamon Pass, via the old ghost town of Animas Forks, reaching an elevation of 12,640ft and passing through varying landscapes until arriving in the small town of Lake City. After stopping for a drink and some lunch, we hop back on the ATVs and this time take Engineer Pass, elevations reaching 12,800ft and more spectacular scenery, back to Silverton. This generally is a five hour round trip, but if you’re truly adventurous and want to explore to the max, there are several off shoot trails that you can take to spend longer out.

After a day out in the fresh air, there is nothing better than a glass of cold beer and something to eat at one of the brewpubs back in town! Carver Brewing Company and Steamworks Brewing Company are both in town and serve up some delicious dishes and a wide range of good brews. If you dont want the bustle of town, another option is SKA Brewing which is more of a locals place as it is tucked up just outside of town and mostly known by word if mouth (I hope I’m not giving away a secret here!)

If you aren’t adventurous for the off road experience, the US550, better known as the ‘Million Dollar Highway’ will take you out of Durango up into the San Juan Mountains, where you will follow the winding road and enjoy breathtaking views to Silverton, where I highly recommend stopping for a coffee at the ‘Coffee Bear cafe’. From Silverton, you will travel through Red Mountain Pass to the town of Ouray, a great place to stop, discover some cute little shops and partake in a delicious lunch before taking the return journey back to Durango. The best way to enjoy this road is on a motorbike but it is just as much fun in a car!

After this day trip, we always enjoy dinner and a drink at either ‘The Pourhouse’ or the ‘Diamond Belle Saloon’ which is situated in the historic Strater Hotel, a super interesting place to look around at the paraphernalia collected from bygone days.

Another fabulous day out is to take a ride on the Durango Silverton Narrow Gage Railroad. This exciting steam train journey has varying agendas according to the time of year but is always an enjoyable and entertaining experience.

If your taste buds desire something a little more ‘upscale’ after this trip out, we recommend the ‘El Moro’ or ‘Chimayo’ restaurants. Both have excellent menus and are delightful environments.

If you are looking for something more relaxing for your day and want a bit of pampering, drive out to Pagosa Springs, and soak in one of the 25 hot springs at ‘The Springs Resort’ where you can also book a variety of massage and facial services to help you relax after all the fun you’ve been having! Closer to home, but not with such good views, are the ‘Trimble Hot Springs’, situated just outside Durango. You can also book personal services here.

A casual place to enjoy some good food after this relaxing day, would be at ‘The Roost’ back in Durango.

Durango and the San Juans provide you with a never ending choice of adventure and activity ranging from gentle hikes to high alpine, nerve wrenching dirt bike and jeeping trails. Adventure is year round. Once the snow hits, you are open to even more fun as the ski slopes open and the trails transition to snow shoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.

While you may be exhausted after a Durango vacation, the one thing you will never be is bored!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My husband has been by my side throughout. He has been my biggest cheerleader and always believed and trusted in me to steer our business where it needed to go. He has been my biggest pain the ass too! He tells it like it is but always with love and in a way to help me better negotiate/navigate choices and decisions to ensure the business has grown exponentially and become a much appreciated part of the community in which we lived. He went from an army career, surrounded by men, to dealing with health insurance companies and surrounded by women day in and day out. He has managed this transition amazingly well and (for the most part) has never lost his sense of humor! Without him being my backbone, I may never had made it through.

Website: http://bikeshikesandwaterfalls.com

Instagram: biking_hiking_midwife

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Bikes-Hikes-and-Waterfalls-130944310845747

Other: https://laboroflovetampa.com https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/45516423?check_in=2022-05-11&check_out=2022-05-13&previous_page_section_name=1000&federated_search_id=fe494c1c-1cf7-437d-be9f-3380ca78f5e9

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutColorado is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.