From the founders:
Why and how Millie came to be
Coming from a healthcare background and a family of physicians, I knew enough about the US maternity care system to expect a certain degree of brokenness in my pregnancy and birthing experiences. But after walking myself into the ER on the verge of a stroke with Hemolysis, Elevated Liver Enzymes, and Low Platelets (HELLP) and postpartum preeclampsia — barely 36 hours after being discharged — I realized just how incomplete and reactive the entire approach actually was. I had to be the one to know when and how to ask for help.As I laid in the CT scanner being evaluated for a possible pulmonary embolism, two thoughts occurred to me at once:
- I was so grateful for the physicians who were in my corner fighting for me.
- This whole experience was a failure of the maternity care model. I had been through a long and complex birth involving an induction, over two days of labor, and an unplanned C-section with a near-hemorrhage — I was the very definition of “high-risk.” Yet I was sent home with standard instructions to return after six weeks for the postpartum visit. No one was going to check up on me before then.
Once I was out of crisis mode and knew my newborn and I were both healthy, I called my midwife, Talia, to figure out what the hell went wrong and to ask: “If you could provide care the way you know birthing people need to be cared for in pregnancy and postpartum, what would that care look like?”
“We wanted to actually change the broken maternity care system from the inside out.”
Energized by our experiences, Talia and I started jotting down our thoughts and saw the ideal care model begin to take shape. After realizing we were on to something, we searched for someone who could fill the gaps of our areas of expertise and found Sarah, a talented healthcare engineer who had also just recently gone through her own frustrating perinatal journey.
From very early on, we knew that instead of just being another telemedicine platform or app, we wanted to actually change the broken maternity care system from the inside out. As birthing people, Sarah and I both felt disempowered by the eight-week wait for any contact with providers, the one-dimensional episodic 15-minute appointments that came next, the lack of in-between support or opportunities for talking about how we were feeling or asking questions, and the extremely limited care in the postpartum period. As a provider, Talia wanted to be able to better support birthing people through these vulnerable, transformative experiences and provide more continuous care through early parenthood. And all of us wanted the chance to guide and be guided.
Through gathering input from patients, families, midwives, OB-GYNs, and health systems, the Millie care model — a modern maternity clinic with culturally competent care extended through technology — transformed from a dream scenario into a brick-and-mortar reality.