Picture of Jessica Rupard standing outside with her two young daughters and newborn baby girl
Mount Jefferson Family Medicine set to welcome nurse midwife
A single cry was all it took to change Jessica Rupard's life.
Rupard was observing a C-section as an intern at Ashe Memorial Hospital when she witnessed the miracle of life for the first time. The then high school senior hadn't spent a lot of time contemplating the birthing process, but that lone experience had a profound impact on Rupard's vision for her future.
"One minute the baby is inside Mama and then next minute it's out in the world," Rupard says. "It was breathtaking. It was an amazing experience seeing new life brought into the world, and that experience sent me on the path toward wanting to be a nurse."
Now after having spent the past seven years as a labor and delivery nurse for Ashe Memorial Hospital, Rupard is taking the next step in her career. On June 14, Rupard will join the Mount Jefferson Family Medicine team as a certified nurse midwife.
In her new role, Rupard will be responsible for all aspects of women's healthcare, ranging from gynecology, family planning and infertility to obstetrical and prenatal care, delivery and initial newborn care, among other aspects. Additionally, Rupard also will be able to offer lactation support and will be working toward her International Board Certified Lactation Consultant credential soon.
Rupard will be able to do everything a doctor can do at birth with the exception of a C-section; however, Dr. Melinda Wonsick and Dr. Tara Burgher will be available in the event a C-section is needed.
"I'm excited to be transitioning into the CNM role in the same department that helped me learn and grow as a labor and delivery nurse," Rupard says.
A native of Ashe County, Rupard attended East Tennessee State University where she earned her bachelor's degree in nursing. It was during her clinical rotation that Rupard initially learned about midwifery.
After starting out as a labor and delivery nurse at Ashe Memorial Hospital, Rupard began to feel like she could do more. In 2018, Rupard enrolled at Frontier Nursing University in Kentucky to pursue her master's degree in nursing midwifery.
Midwives tend to treat pregnancy care and birth as a natural process rather than a condition that needs to be treated. In doing so, midwives are more often involved in those pregnancies that don't have a lot of complications. However, natural doesn't mean patients can't still request an epidural or pain medicine.
"I love attending births all the way down to general well-woman care and trying to keep women healthy," Rupard says. "Generally, if you have a healthy Mom then you usually have a healthy family. There's a huge need for women here to have options when it comes to the birthing process. A lot of women go to Boone for midwife care, and I felt like women in this county need this type of care closer to home."
When she's not busy working, Rupard enjoys spending time with her husband, Matthew, and their three girls: Emma, 6, Sara, 4, and Etta, two months. She also enjoys camping, kayaking and reading in her spare time.