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VBAC friendly Doctors on South Bend, Indiana?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 


Does anyone know of VBAC friendly care providers in hospitals near or in South Bend, Indiana?? Any info on Memorial Hospital of South Bend?


thank you in advance,



post #2 of 17

Not yet, but my best friend from college is a labor and delivery nurse in South Bend, and I will write and ask her!  Do you have a preference for gender, or an insurance requirement that might be an issue?

post #3 of 17

Okay, here is my friend's reply: (she mentions the gender thing a couple of times because it is a big deal for me!)



 I would recommend Dr. DeStefano or my mid-wives which are in his practice. Women's Reproductive Medicine.  Avoid the lady Dr. Kirsch
In his office, but she is leaving in Jan, so it should be easy to avoid her.. Yes, he is a man, but he is pro-VBAC, and he is more natural minded than most other MD's because he has learned a lot from the mid-wives. Depending on the case, the mid-wives might take her, and he would be the back up. Plus, if you are his patient, you basically get him, not a practice of 5-9 docs. If she has to have a woman, she is probably out of luck, as all our groups in this area have male docs in the group, except that lady Dr. Kirsch. I wouldn't send a dog I hated to that woman, she's just not a safe practitioner.
I of course think Memorial is better than St Joe. All the other hospitals in the area (8 of them) send high risk moms and pregnancies to us, not St Joe. That's gotta say something. we have a higher level NICU, and a certified peri-natal high risk specialist, they do not.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 

Oh, thank you so very much!

Yes, I would far prefer a female doctor, but in my experience they may not always be gentler. And it sounds like that female doctor your nurse friend recommends is one of those to stay away from.

Glad to have Dr. DeStefano's name and also to know she recommends Memorial.

I will be planning a VBAC after a classical incision - so I need to start with knowing the doctor is pro-VBAC in general to explain why I believe a VBAC in my case is safe.


Please thank your friend for me!



post #5 of 17

Happy to have a chance to help.  I wish you much good fortune for your VBAC (I'm hoping for one myself sometime soon), and if you are lucky enough to get my friend as a nurse (her name is Kate Melody, and she is wonderful), you will be in good hands!  mary

post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you Mary, and one more question!


I called Dr. Stefano's office today to ask if he takes medicaid (yes, but no new patients at this time), and the receptionist said that the midwives take medicaid though. I then said, but what if I am considered high-risk and would need to be transferred to Dr. Stefano's care - she said that he only "does" twins and c-sections. I asked can the midwives take a VBAC patient? And she replied - no, and medicaid does not cover VBAC births :(


Would you be willing to ask your nurse friend, if this is universal in Indiana that medicaid will not cover a VBAC? I will be calling other Doctors offices but I am wondering if this will be a problem everywhere I turn?


Thank you in advance!


post #7 of 17

Just wanted to let you know I wrote to my friend, but haven't heard back yet.  I'll let you know as soon as I do!

post #8 of 17
Thread Starter 

thank you Mary.

I have found out that medicaid will cover VBAC's - it just depends if the individual Doctors malpractice insurance covers VBAC.


I will be calling back Dr. DeStefano's office, for even though I understand that he can not take any more medicaid patients I want to clarify why I was told no VBAC. I will begin searching for less "high profile" Doctors, for perhaps I will find one who is willing to support me "off record" even if on paper he/she cannot. I have read about this happening. I remain hopeful.


If your friend has anything to share I would be glad to receive it, and if she has heard of any other Doctors practices that take VBACs I would love to know. Even outside of South Bend - perhaps Granger or Elkhart.




post #9 of 17

Ah, the old malpractice!  I did just talk to Kate, and she said her best secondary recommendation is Michiana Obstetrics & Gyn., with Dr. Neville (who is a woman).  She said she knows they are taking Medicaid patients, though whether the malpractice thing would again be a problem is anyone's guess.  The only trouble--that practice is not so VBAC friendly.  Unfortunately, that seems to be all the info I can get from her.  She doesn't know the doctors who work from the other hospitals nearly so well.  Is there an ICAN chapter in Indiana?  I gather also there are "underground" midwives in the area who might take you, but maybe you prefer the hospital in case of emergency, and then Kate also said if you had to transfer from a basically illegal practicioner, Medicaid might not pay at all, or at least make it really tough.  I think you might have an uphill climb ahead of you, and I do wish you all the best.  Keep us posted!   

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 

yes, I looks like I will have a hill to climb with this! But I am not deterred.

Thank you, and please thank Kate, for all your information. I really appreciate it!

It seems the more I ask around that this area is pretty VBAC unfriendly, and the 2 Pro-VBAC Doctors are not going to take someone with my type of scar.

Yes, there is a Midwife who would probably take me, BUT after so much discussion I think my husband and I would just feel better being in the hospital. Though I know I will have to have a Doula and everyone will need to Clearly know my birth plan. Now, if I can just find a Doctor to support me, even if "off record" that would be helpful!


Unfortunately the closet ICAN chapter is 1 1/2 hrs away...maybe I should start one.






post #11 of 17

Curious why the emphatic de-recommendation of Kirsch...she was my OB for my first pregnancy and I liked her a lot. I know she has done several VBACs for friends, too. Though if as you say she's leaving the practice in January, it's a moot point. 

post #12 of 17

Just curious.  Did you ever find a doctor in South Bend willing to do a medicaid VBAC.  I am starting to look for myself.  Crazy thing is, I had a vbac for my second, and from what I understand, that is basically meaningless for the next one.  They are treating me as if I never had a vaginal delivery.  Curious to what you came up with.

post #13 of 17
Thread Starter 

I just now saw your question...


I stopped looking in the South Bend area and when it is time I am going to search a bit out - in Elkhart perhaps. The area here seems quite unfriendly towards to VBAC in general and for my classical scar nearly impossible. 


Since you have already had a VBAC ( congratulations !!!) it is crazy that any OB will not treat you like any other woman. Your uterus has proven to be perfectly healed!! 

Don't give up looking. Have you talked with the couple of OBs who do take VBAC patients in South Bend?


Feel free to email me privately if you like - sarahgollner@aol.com




post #14 of 17


I just saw this (I'm a doula in the South Bend area, and I'm making a resource list), and wanted to recommend Kate Schantz, CNM.  She does VBAC home births and I believe she also attends them at a birth center.  I had a friend birth with her in the South Bend area, so I know she comes up that far.  You can find her online at http://www.katiecnm.com/ or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Peaceful-Beginnings-Midwifery-Service/.  


Dr. Kirsch did change practices, but she still does VBACs at her new place, Family Medicine of South Bend.  She did a breech extraction for a friend's twins, and while she isn't the most touchy-feely, warm fuzzy OB, she's really capable and willing to discuss VBACs.  She will be up front with you - if she doesn't think your VBAC is safe, she'll tell you up front.  She won't be one of those OBs to string you along and then force a repeat cesarean on you at the last minute.  She still delivers at Memorial, and if you want to VBAC in a hospital, you basically have to go there - St. Joseph Regional Medical Center says they allow it, but they have a de-facto ban from their umbrella company (Trinity HealthCare).  


Let me know if you have any questions!  birthwithliz [at] gmail {dot} com

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 

Thank you! I did find an OB here in South Bend (after searcing all over the state of Indiana) and also a homebirth Midwife. So I have 2 options! I did not know that about St. Joe and the VBAC ban...thanks for sharing.

post #16 of 17

Just curious as to which OB you found?  I want to use one of the midwives in Goshen for a VBAC in the future.   I'd rather pay one of them out of pocket as I have no maternity coverage anyway.  When the Affordable Care Act kicks in next year there is a good chance I will get coverage so I was curious.  Thanks!

post #17 of 17
just fyi our practice has 3 midwives and our back-up obgyn is dr. cavallo. we in fact care for vbac clients at st joe hospital on a case bt case basis jncluding classical incision and 2 previous c-sections.
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