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cooley-dickinson hospital birth reviews?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Anyone give birth at cooley dickinson hospital in north hampton? I am very split between an expensive homebirth, or a free hospital birth! But I would love to hear good or bad experiences from this hospital birth center. Thanks!!
post #2 of 19
have a free hospital birth in holyoke! the midwife group there is amazing and holyoke's c-section rate is among the 3 lowest in the state, number 1 lowest for 1st time moms. my husband and i loved every nurse we came in contact with and no one batted an eye at our not vaxing, co-sleeping (in the hospital!) and the nurses even oohed and ahhed over our cloth diapers. they were incredibly supportive.

i'm all for homebirth (will have one in the next couple weeks in fact) but at the time it was not possible. if i'd had the money i'd have loved to have had a homebirth, but i feel that i got the next best experience at holyoke. just talk with one of the midwives there and you'll see what i mean!
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, I live in Barre (central MA) So N.Hamp is already an hour away. so an hour and a half away for all the appointments, and driving in labor... I guess its too far. Have you heard any good/ bad stuff about Cooley D? I honestly havent heard anything as all my friends either have home birth, or big hospital in worcester. It looks great online... but sometimes things are not what they seem!
post #4 of 19
I birthed at Cooley Dickinson in December. I used the midwife practice that is located on the hospital campus. My midwife was awesome and the nurse that was present when I birthed was great too.

I didn't go in until the end of my labor (9 cms when I arrived) so I don't know how it would have been if it had taken longer but I had a positive experience. They kept the lights low, no one tried to talk to me or cared what position I was in or anything like that. They let me plug in my laptop to listen to whatever I wanted.

The only negatives I have are that I left at 24 hours after the birth and I got the impression that the nurses would have much preferred if I stayed the full 48 hours. My midwife didn't care though, and I hated being interrupted every few hours. I'd imagine most hospitals are like that though?

The only other thing which is very minor is that I came after hours and they made me wait downstairs for someone to come down from the childbirth center to bring me up and the whole time I was waiting the security guard and front desk person were chatting. I wanted to yell at them! I was 9 cms and focusing hard on staying relaxed (hypnobirthing). I get angry just thinking about it, arg. They must not have realized how close I was to the pushing stage but seriously? Don't chit chat around the pregnant lady in labor even if she's quiet.

They were very helpful with breastfeeding which was great for a first timer.

Let me know if you have any specific questions!
post #5 of 19
i was also going to say go to holyoke (this is where i had DS). but i see distance is an issue for you. but before you rule it out - i would really consider it. the midwives are AMAZING as are the nursing staff at holyoke. they have offices in northampton for prenatal visits, so you could always just schedule for that office (if you are already considering going to Noho).

as for CDH - i've heard ok things, but also some not great stuff. their C-section rate is higher than holyoke and greenfield. the birth center is all new and nice looking but i just didn't get a good feel when i toured it. aslo at that time they did not have the option of a water birth (maybe this has changed) but they have it at holyoke.

i can not say enough good things about holyoke- the midwives and the nurses!
post #6 of 19

I had my birth at Cooley. They were pushy with interventions, and while a few nurses were helpful, others were horrible.

It might have changed since I did it 3 years ago, but I wouldn't take a chance without some solid info.

Edited by julianito - 11/27/13 at 4:30pm
post #7 of 19
I heard both good and bad things before having my son there in 2007. I had a great experience though. I think that was due to a few factors. I didn't go in until I was close to the pushing stage, I had a fabulous doula and a great midwife (that is now a part of the midwifery team at the hospital). I only labored there for a couple of hours, delivered my son and we were home only eight hours later (i too could not stand the beeps and bothers a hospital setting entails). It didn't seem like they cared one way or another that I wanted to leave so soon, since all was well with me and DS. I wasn't the biggest fan of the nurses there, but with turnover and all, the staff may have changed. I think if you have good support with you and your labor progresses with limited issues, then you shouldn't have much of a problem with CDH. Good luck!
post #8 of 19
I love Holyoke! The midwives and nurses were awesome! They were incredibly supportive of my breastfeeding issues (and boy did I have a lot). At one time, there were 3 different staff members at my bedside trying to help me. I even called the birthing center a few times after going home for help (me crying in the middle of the night) and the nurses who took my calls were incredibly patient and understanding.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the info!! Sounds like it isn't as perfect as it sounds online! I think I just need to stop being such a penny pincher, and spend the bucks on the birth I really want. I had a pretty fast labor with my daughter, and she was my first.. so driving to holyoke I think is going to be too far. Im sure one of two things would happen... I'd be worried and leave way too early and be at the hospital forever, or I'd have the baby on the way! If anyone else has more to say please chime in!
-one last thing, anyone who had negitive experiences at CD, did you have a MW or an OB??
post #10 of 19
The last I heard about CDH was before they installed the Midwifery program there. The OB practices had just phased out their midwives from attending births when I became pregnant in 2007, and even though I used to work there, and my husband worked there, and it would have been completely free to birth there--I had a home birth, and paid the 20% deductable when we transferred (To Baystate Franklin in Greenfield--the best hospital birth center I have ever seen, and where I now work).

Even though I ended up having a fabulous hospital experience at my (now local, now free) hospital, I am still planning on saving and paying for a homebirth next time, even if I end up transferring again. The stress-free prenatal care alone was worth the money. STAY HOME. Your birth is not a couch you can upgrade in a few years. You only get one shot at this baby's birth, and pay for what you need.
post #11 of 19

Homebirth or Hosptial?

I had my first birth at CDH w/ midwives and my second at home with the River Valley Midwives and I wished I would have had my first at home as well. Even though the CDH midwives were very good -- there was no escaping that hospital interventions and the fact that the environment was far from warm and intimate. At home I had two fantastic midwives, an apprentice, friends who cared for my other child and I got to give birth to my daughter on my bed with love and support -- and then I nursed her, my son and all four of use were tucked in by our midwives.

There are so many wonderful midwifery practices in MA. I would highly recommend River Valley but know that others may be closer to you (they have an office in Amherst and I've heard are now seeing people in Northampton too).

Also, don't let the money part scare you. Lots of HB midwives have sliding scales or can work out payment plans. We had to and it all worked out fine and it was the best money I ever spent!
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah... point taken. Its just kills me that I spend soooo much on insurance... and then the ONE medical thing I need isnt covered by it. But... that doesnt make me want a HB any less... so I've just got to spend the $ and pretend I didnt!. I am sooo cheap!
post #13 of 19
Originally Posted by maplesmom View Post
Yeah... point taken. Its just kills me that I spend soooo much on insurance... and then the ONE medical thing I need isnt covered by it. But... that doesnt make me want a HB any less... so I've just got to spend the $ and pretend I didnt!. I am sooo cheap!
Submit your expenses to your insurance company, anyways. My homebirth (with another insurance co) ended up being 100% reimbursed, even though they also paid for my transfer and my c-section. My MW billed it to them as prenatal care, and we got it all back. I was thrilled and amazed. So even if it's not technically covered (my current ins says explicitly that they do not cover HB) they may pay for some of it anyways, if you bill it right.
post #14 of 19
I have birthed twice at Cooley (13 years ago w/midwives & 5 years ago w/an ob) and once at home with an after birth transfer to Greenfield (5 months ago). Cooley was ok. Definately a hospital. I haven't seen the new set up since they regained the midwives. If I had to birth there again I would (and I'd bring a great doula to keep the staff away from me). The new director is great (according to my homebirth midwife!) But the atmosphere at Greenfield was so much better! To clarify I'd rank my experiences (high to low) Home, Greenfield, Cooley. I've heard lots of good things about Holyoke as well. Ultimately you need to find what will work for you. Go to Cooley and take a tour, meet with some homebirth midwives, go to your local hospital and take a tour, ask lots of questions!
post #15 of 19
I had my son at Cooley in May 2007. I had a great experience but I also had an amazing doula and an amazing midwife who is now with the hospital midwifery practice. I didn't like all the nurses but they were very nice and helpful to us. One actually pushed a few blood cots out of me that could have been very damaging to me. We ended up staying in the hospital for 5 days as my son was jaundiced and they treated us great and let us stay in our private room the whole time.

I also toured Holyoke and Greenfield before choosing Cooley and liked them both but I wanted to be close to home (I lived in Northampton at the time).

Good luck!
post #16 of 19
It sounds like most of these women experienced Cooley a few years ago. I went this month and immediately transferred my care from Baystate to the new Cooley Midwifery Center. I have not had the experience of birthing with them yet, but their office has a wonderful feel... it is in a big yellow house.... very cozy. I am very confident that I will get the attention and care that I want there. They will also be getting a birthing tub in the next few months (yay!). They have a free "meet and greet" appointment you can make with one of the midwives... I suggest you do this and find out for yourself what feels right to you. The birthing rooms at Cooley also got revamped recently, so you should take a look. The reality is that money is an inescapable issue for some of us and I think this may be a good way for you to have an affordable birthing experience that is close to what you want. The midwife I talked to even said that their main goal is to try to create as close to a homebirth experience as they can in the hospital. You could also add a Doula to the mix... which would make it even better. Good luck.
post #17 of 19
The thing you need to remember is that a hospital birth is still a hospital birth. I have been to a birth at cooley and have supported two other colleges through births there recently. There are certain practices that are better than others there, but ultimately they are still a hospital with rules and regulations to follow.

If you are in Barre, another option for you would be Mary Lane, in Ware. Small hospital, in fact you may be the only mom in labor while there.

There are HB midwives in the area as well, closer than you think. I know that many will work out payment arrangements with you.

But honestly look at the stats for primary c/s, epidurals and other birth interventions. Check out all your options.

post #18 of 19

Do you know if it is possible to turn down the antibiotic for strep B at Cooley Dick? I am planning to deliver through their midwifery practice in the next week or two, and am looking to avoid as much medicalization as possible. 

post #19 of 19

Hi there, my doula partner just attended a birth at CD with a GBS+ mom who intended to turn down the antibiotics, but did not in the end. If you want to message or call me, I would be happy to talk about it with you. Are you delivering with the midwives or an OB practice?



Marissa Potter
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