Doctor, nurses, partner, doula… Oh my! There’s a place for everyone

Its part of the learning curve to figure out everyone’s role at birth and can be a little overwhelming. For those of you who like to know what’s going on, let me see if I can give you an idea.

Let’s break it down. First of all, you should know that your doctor plans to only be in the room with you for the very last moments of your birth.  Like, once they can see the head, they will be with you and stay until the birth of the placenta. Then they are saying, “Congratulations!” and are out the door. It’s not that they don’t care about you,  its just that they don’t want to be a disruption. So they do their work and wait to be summoned by the nurses.  At the very end, it’s very exciting, you can feel how close you are and the doctor flies in like a burst of light! They catch your beautiful baby and then are gone to let you mask in the glow of one of the sweetest babies you have ever seen!

The nurses are in and out of the room.  There’s no way to tell who you will get, and shifts change whether you want them to or not.  They are smiling at you while they monitor you and the baby.  They do vitals, listening to the babies heart rate and charting everything.  If you need ice chips or more pillows, they will be happy to grab them for you.  They are so sweet but usually have other moms to help too.

Your partner is your rock.  They aren’t leaving your side and are supporting you through every contraction. They are encouraging you,  massaging you and sneaking you honey straws. Your partner is a dream until they don’t know what to do anymore.  Here’s where the doula comes in. 

The doula is the gap filler, the runner, the second support to the partner and laboring mom. It can get tribal during labors, because well, I’ll say it… it hurts! Not only does it hurt but you also have to give in to the sensations (blog post about that here https://dreamcatcherbirth.com/2018/01/01/the-hardest-part-of-birth/). You can get interrupted, lose your flow and start getting anxious, scared, or feeling out of control. The doula is there to know what to say, and what positions to try next. The doula reminds everyone that this is normal, that we can continue to say, “yes” to the process, and that, “this is the feeling of your baby getting closer to meeting you”! She will also do little things like making sure your cup is full, you are emptying your bladder and that your partner doesn’t need anything. She is well educated in birth and can give you a really good idea of where you are in the process and will help you know your options when things come up. She is your constant support, ready to fill all sorts of roles.

Laboring mom, partner and doula are the three constants in the room. While nurses and doctors come in and out, the partner and doula are charged with maintaining a calm and supportive atmosphere, your doula especially is a sponge of things that could affect the couple.  Simple questions, comments, opened curtains are no match for her! 

Really, with a role for everyone, it works together really nicely. You can even add a photographer in there or best friend who’s only job is to hold your hand and it would be great.  

*Refreshed from my prior blog post in August of 2017. It’s too good not to share again.

Comparison of Cincinnati Hospitals C-Section Rates and Reputations

I have been curious for a while about my cities c-section, and episiotomy rates for our individual hospitals. Up until the writing of this blog, I have just had the general statistic of Cincinnati hospitals having a 30% cesarean section rate and then each hospitals reputation. Their reputations would come to me through other birth workers and be passed around like a cute baby. I knew I had to share these reputations as a service to the pregnant population of Cincinnati. Anyone utilizing these hospitals should have all the information possible so they can make an informed choice. In this blog, I’ll share the general reputations and the statistics that I have been able to get my hands on.  As a warning, take my opinions with a breath. I understand that any woman can have an amazing birth anywhere and any negative comments from me, is only my understanding and is in no way meant to discount your experience. That being said, if you would like to share your experience, please comment below or contact me directly. You can help round me out, LOL.  

I know, as much as any birth worker, that the type of delivery a pregnant person has will depend largely on the provider, followed by the characteristics of the support team and finally by the practices of the hospital that is utilized (if she uses one of course). I can think of a provider I would recommend at most of my local hospitals who knows natural birth well and supports women making informed choices. As could be assumed, I highly recommend a laboring parent having a support team that will encourage her labor and delivery preferences. Ideally that will mean a supportive partner and a doula. But the statistics of our local hospitals, which give solid information about their tendencies, was new to me. Finding these statistics was challenging, and will be a work in progress. As I gain more information with my questioning, I will update this post.

Tri-Health Bethesda North Hospital: 10500 Montgomery Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45242

Cesarean Section of first-time mothers giving birth to a single baby, at term, in the head-down position: 17.3%

Episiotomy rate: 4.5% (1.)

Bethesda North, or B. North, like we like to call it, has a pretty good name for itself, especially because this is the hospital that Dr. Daniel Bowen http://thebowencenter.com/ works out of. Bowen is the OBGYN who has a HUGE following of natural birth mommas, and a while back he was so kind as to even work as homebirth clients backup physician. Though he has moved away from being backup, his name is the most commonly mentioned as the go-to-guy for a natural birth. Too bad his office staff makes patients cry, #bekind.

Good Samaritan Hospital of Cincinnati: 375 Dixmyth Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220

Cesarean Section of first-time mothers giving birth to a single baby, at term, in the head-down position: 23.3%

Episiotomy rate: 4% (1)

Good Sam has a poor reputation for natural birthers but is the place to be if a baby needs intensive help. This hospital, along with only two others has a Level 3 NICU, with the highest level 4, being at Cincinnati Childrens, a few blocks away.

Christ Hospital: 2139 Auburn Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45219

Cesarean Section of first-time mothers giving birth to a single baby, at term, in the head-down position: 27.2%

Episiotomy rate: 9.8% (1) Whoa!!!

Christ Hospital has a poor reputation for natural births, but… then there’s the respected Michelle Zamudio, CNM, who works with two others, Jacqui Martin and Jessie Bertsch. Michelle provides patients with incredible care. Search her on Facebook, with the key words ‘Cincinnati Midwife’ and the praises don’t stop. They are also certified as Bag Free https://www.ohiohospitals.org/ohiobagfree

Mercy Health- Anderson Hospital: 7500 State Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45255

Cesarean Section of first-time mothers giving birth to a single baby, at term, in the head-down position: 24%

The rate of women who pursue a vaginal birth after cesarean section (VBAC): 19%

The rate of women who are successful in their VBAC: 88%

Episiotomy rate: 7%

Epidural rate: 75%

All this information is self-reported to me from the manager of labor and delivery. It has not been assessed for accuracy by a third party.

Mercy Anderson follows the 10 steps for Successful Breastfeeding https://www.unicef.org/newsline/tenstps.htm, is Bag free and has a great reputation for those wanting a natural birth. It is also the home to Dr. Patridge and Dr. Varnau, http://bcwh.org/staff.htm who many homebirthers choose when they need a hospital birth. They are incredibly comfortable with allowing birth to unfold, while simultaneously being up to date on all the latest studies. Dr. Patridge is sure to keep the room laughing in the immediate postpartum, with her slightly crude jokes.

University of Cincinnati Medical Center: 234 Goodman Street Cincinnati, OH 45219

*Refused to answer my questions and does not self report to the public

University of Cincinnati has negative stories attached to its name and I have heard multiple clients say they would NEVER birth there again. They do have redeeming qualities. They have a Level 3 NICU, and are certified Bag Free. They also have a Centering Pregnancy program https://uchealth.com/womens-health/centeringpregnancy/  , which I am totally stoked about. Watch this YouTube video and you’ll see how transformative it can be to women’s prenatal care.  https://youtu.be/oixaRbS9Tww .

Resources:

  1. http://www.leapfroggroup.org/hospitals/search/list/location/Cincinnati%2C%20OH%2C%20USA/50

This one goes out to Cincinnati’s pregnant women of color

As I move deeper into my journey to become a midwife, I’m struck by the disparities that are faced by women of color in the Cincinnati Area. It is not for socioeconomic reasons like education or their yearly income that makes their statistics so much worse than their white counterparts, it’s the sheer fact that racism is prevalent and far reaching. It causes such undue stress on these women that they are more likely to give birth prematurely, and experience other pregnancy complications that could ultimately result in maternal or infant mortality.

Check out the following for more information. https://www.marchofdimes.org/peristats/tools/reportcard.aspx?frmodrc=1®=39

https://www.npr.org/2011/07/08/137652226/-the-race-gap

https://www.theroot.com/why-giving-birth-is-deadly-for-black-women-and-why-1797763052

I am newly impassioned to do what I can to change these statistics. This will include offering the following to women:

-low cost birth doula services for those that are inhibited by the cost of my services

-being available via phone for questions or concerns

The above are my ideas and I understand that I may not be addressing the greater need. If you have ideas about alternatives please contact me. I am open to feedback.