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Give me the bad news about Upper Chesapeake

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

I've been searching on here and have found nothing but glowing recommendations.  Surely not everyone has had a super excellent experience there?  Someone has to have had a bad experience, right?  I mean, with that hospital being in the middle of malpractice suits constantly...it's known around here for being a really awful hospital in general, so is the L&D unit really that much better than the rest of it?


We're ttc right now, and my options are limited.  We can't afford home birth, and will likely be staying with the in-laws around the time I'll be due, anyway (I am NOT birthing at my in-laws house).  We can't afford Special Beginnings, and it's a little too long of a drive.  I work for a lareg hospital in the same system as UCMC, so my bill would pretty much be paid outright by my insurance.  My only other affordable option is going unassisted, but it just doesn't feel right to me this time, and I'll be at my in-laws house (see above).


Can I trust the UC midwives and UCMC?  Will they put me on a clock as soon as my water breaks?  Will they kick me out of the birth tub because of some non-existant emergency?  Will they separate me from my baby after birth?  Give me the dirt....there has to be some dirt to give, no practice or hospital is perfect.

post #2 of 29
Thread Starter 

Oh, and has anyone who birthed there been allowed to catch, or have their husband/partner catch?  Because either I am going to or my husband is, and that's not optional.

post #3 of 29

I just switched to the midwives.  I've had 1 appointment.  The MW I met was nice.  I'm a VBAC, so I asked lots of VBAC questions and they were all answered with what I wanted to hear.  The only mention of a repeat section was to say that there was no indication that there would even be a discussion of such a thing and they were VERY pro-VBAC, RCS is not in their vocabulary.  


One of my 2 favorite midwives from Bay Area is now with that practice, and she was the one who held my hand and dried my tears through my c-section with my 2nd.  Knowing there's a provider there that I do trust helps me feel a little more at peace.  


I also toured the L&D unit before I made my 1st appt.  The rooms were large and appeared comfortable.  If you don't use the tub room you stay in that room until you are discharged, and she raved about their IBCLCs.  


The tub room is HUGE, they don't allow you to birth in the tub, but you and your partner can be int here for labor.   The lady who gave me the hospital tour had her children at home and understood my concerns.  She also told me the midwives allow food and drink during labor and you can bring in whatever food/drink you want and store it in the unit fridge, including champagne for after the birth if you wish.  


I have another appointment in a week and a half, and I plan of having a TON more questions to ask. 


I'd also love to hear feedback from those who have birthed there.  Feel free to PM me with any warnings/concerns.  


I can let you know how things are going once I get closer to my due date.  

post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 

That's disappointing that you can't birth in the tub.  I had heard otherwise.  Could it be because you're a vbac, and non-vbac moms cans stay in the tub?  If I can't birth in the tub, that might be a deal breaker for me.

post #5 of 29

I'm planning to deliver there with the midwives in late January and I was told you could stay in the tub until it was time to push.  I'm not a VBAC.  The only hospital I know of that you can deliver in the tub is at Mercy.  I'm not sure if there are others.

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 

I work for UMMC, so unfortunately my insurance only covers hospitals in that system, which Mercy isn't.  I wonder what would happen if I just refused to get out of the tub.  What are they going to do, try to physically pull me out?  I know my husband would back me up if necessary.

post #7 of 29

My husband works for Hopkins, so we're in a similar situation with insurance.  


I did a hospital tour before I decided to call and make the appointment with the midwives. That was the standard line they told everyone.  They said there have been a few oops in the tub deliveries, but not intentional on purpose tub deliveries.  They also said they require shorts/bathing suits for dads in the tub, moms can wear as much or as little as they'd like.  

post #8 of 29
Originally Posted by KatyLinda View Post

My husband works for Hopkins, so we're in a similar situation with insurance.  


I did a hospital tour before I decided to call and make the appointment with the midwives. That was the standard line they told everyone.  They said there have been a few oops in the tub deliveries, but not intentional on purpose tub deliveries.  They also said they require shorts/bathing suits for dads in the tub, moms can wear as much or as little as they'd like.  

My husband is at Hopkins, too so Mercy wasn't covered by insurance either.  Upper Chesapeake was the next best place I could find.  So far I like the midwives, but haven't scheduled my tour yet.  I wonder if I can request the nurse you had that is partial to natural birth.


post #9 of 29

I honestly don't know her name.  I spent almost 2 hours on the phone with Barbara from ICAN one day after all the recommendations I had gotten from Evelyn's office didn't take our insurance.  I found out we could go to Upper Chesapeake and they were having a tour that night.  I called and signed up right away and we went to see the hospital.  After I decided it wasn't going to be too awful I called the midwives and made an appointment.  winky.gif  It really hasn't been bad, it's just a hospital and I really was counting on being at home.  

post #10 of 29

I learned today that VBAC moms can't even labor in the tub and are required to be constantly monitored.  I'm going to argue that one and gather research to support my POV, but I will be calling around to find out what my other options are.  She even said that as long as I'm unmedicated (which I clearly would be, if I were in the tub) I would notice a rupture before the heart rate would change on the monitor, so I'm hoping once they get my OR notes I can convince them to do intermittent monitoring.  Otherwise I'll be looking for a new practice.  Again.  

post #11 of 29

That sucks!  Last week I scheduled a tour and the online calender says the tour starts at 7PM.  When I called they did not tell me otherwise.  We got there at 6:45, after my husband left work early and we hired a babysitter, only to find out the tour really starts at 6PM so we missed it.  I was so annoyed!  It was the only one before my EDD that we could do.  I'm going to talk to the midwife on Thurs at my appt to see if I can set up a private tour. 


On a better note, I did find out from my hypnobirthing instructor (who has attended many births at UC) that at least one of the midwives will "look the other way" if you really want to stay in the tub to deliver.  You just don't know if she'll be the one on duty when you're in labor!

post #12 of 29

My good friend had a successful VBAC with the midwives practice at Upper Chesapeake last January.  She was very happy with the midwives, but had issues that required involvement from the nursery/NICU.  It was a disaster. 


Also, if you refuse to get out of the tub, I have heard that they just drain it.  You probably also won't be allowed in the tub if your water breaks and there's any meconium.  Good luck!

post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 

juneboymum, do you know which midwife?

post #14 of 29


Originally Posted by FeralFox View Post
it's known around here for being a really awful hospital in general, so is the L&D unit really that much better than the rest of it?


I'm thoroughly convinced that the quality of a hospital in general & L&D in particular are really just unrelated. I mean, Johns Hopkins Bayview is one of the top hospitals in the nation, according to US News & World Report, but just AWFUL for birth. (Well, awful if you are a healthy woman, that is! Probably good if you are the rare super-high risk.)


I birthed there 7/08 (Karen attended.) Not only did my DH catch, Karen told me in a prenatal when we went over my birthplan, "Oh, I love when Dads catch!" & she was very enthusiastic & sincere.


I had my 2nd there 3/11 as a transfer from homebirth with Karen Webster. Dona attended. LOL, no one caught, for some bizarre reason, Dona turned after DD's head was out & then her body just flopped onto the bed (There was heavy mec, so I think Dona was getting ready to clamp & cut the cord immediately so they could suction her.)

Postpartum care was EXCELLENT both times. The whole place is so natural birth friendly that one nurse told me both she & another nurse there are in midwifery school & they want to go into practice together, either FSBC or HB!!


I remember they wheeled DS out (7/08) once to weigh him & came right back (I probably coulda protested). That was it! Neither kid was taken from my room or even asked if they could take. I declined all vax & eye goop - no problems. (With DD, one nurse said maybe 2 sentences to convince me on eye goop, but when I declined again, she dropped it. No biggie.)


I'm not a VBAC & was told no birth IN the tub as well.


With regards to continuous EFM for VBAC, bear in mind that when it comes to "rules" - often they aren't too closely followed. For example, it's on their books (brochure I got) that only clear fluids are allowed in labor, but Karen flat out told me she encourages eating & Lyn said, "Well, just don't ask, just eat."


So it's quite likely they'll do the same thing with taking the monitor off you.


I didn't ask, but from what I know of them, I could honestly see BOTH Lyn & Karen turning the other way about water birth. BOTH told me they considered going into homebirth, both are super NCB-friendly, supportive of mamas, & laid back about the whole thing. Lyn is just so chill about everything. She was even encouraging when she checked me out after my HB-transfer & I talked with her about it & my "what-if" concerns. She said, "Don't beat yourself up. There's nothing wrong with homebirth."


However, under no circumstances do I recommend the IBCLCs. Unequivocally, I cannot stress that enough. If you really want details, PM me, but be forewarned, it'll be a long, angry reply when I tell my stories. (Absolutely horrific BOTH times with both kids.)

post #15 of 29

Meg - Thank you for your post.  It makes me feel a little better.  I love Dona (she was with Bay Area when I had my 2nd), and I've heard good things about Karen (I meet her next month), and Lyn seemed nice and supportive from our first visit.  But the midwife I have seen the last two visits has me VERY concerned.  I'm not a fan of constant monitoring and they don't have wireless or telemetry units, so you are attached to the machine that is built into the room.  I was told I could move all I wanted. You know, this side of the bed, that side of the bed, the ball, the chair....I just can't go more than the 4ft (or whatever it is) from the wall.  irked.gif


Maybe I'll give it one more appointment and meet Karen and talk to Dona before I make a final decision about switching.  Though the thought of switching well into my 2nd trimester isn't thrilling, and the thought of waiting ANOTHER 4 weeks to decide is pretty stressful as well...  I so wish this were easier!  

post #16 of 29

Is this the hospital in Bel Air???  Really???



post #17 of 29

I'm willing to bet which MW it is you saw the last 2 visits.... 


I've heard she is very 'nurturing' when in labor. AND, considering the nurses are so awesome, that may also help a lot too if you end up with her. I was totally worried about getting her but I remember my doula being very supportive & saying, "We'll be there to support you & it'll be great no matter who is there - even if it were some OB!" 


I'm curious what Lyn & Karen would say about the cEFM. (My guess is that they are cool with more intermittent, even for VBAC.)


I wonder what they would say if you said, "Well, I plan to refuse. I'll sign an extra consent form if you like, but from my own research [and I'll provide you an extensive resource list if desired] this is the choice I feel is safest for me." I can practically picture Lyn shrugging her shoulders & saying, "'K." Ha!


Also if you just flat out keep removing the belt while you're laboring, what they would do... Obviously 'fighting' like that is far from ideal - but at least most of the other things are good there (i.e. they have a tub for laboring, PP care is excellent IMX, etc.) So there aren't many things that need to be fought.

post #18 of 29

I was told VBACs aren't allowed in the tub during labor.  And I do need to look into my rights re: refusal of monitors.  I'm glad there are positive stories on the other midwives in the practice.  At this point my game plan is to check in to the Hampton Inn that's 6 miles down route 24 and labor there as long as possible.  winky.gif

post #19 of 29

I was a VBAC and told I couldn't labor in the tub b/c of cEFM.  However their idea of cEFM is pretty lax.  They just required me to hook up to the machines every 30ish minutes to get some readings, it honestly wasn't that bad.  The nurses in L&D are awesome, I can't say enough good things about them.  One of them showed me how to hook up the leads for the EFM and told me to just do it myself.  As long as I didn't stay unhooked for more than 40 minutes at a time they wouldn't bother me....so I just hooked them up, left them on for a few minutes and unhooked them all myself.  I don't think a nurse came in for at least 3 or 4 hours. 


i also had the same experience with PP about having whatever I wanted to eat/drink during labor.  Karen told me to just not ask her for it but DH or anyone else could bring me whatever I wanted and she didn't care. 


The only thing I didn't like about it is that I was pressured to have pitocin because my contractions weren't progressing.  My water broke and after 24 hours I still wasn't having contracts so they kept pressuring me to get pitocin and I didn't want it.  The pediatrician on call had to come in and they tried these crazy scare tactics on me trying to make me believe that something terrible could happen to the baby because the risk of infection is so higheyesroll.gif  But they were very supportive of a natural birth and very patient with me during my 39 hour labor!


Overall I think UCMC and the midwives are great and if we were to have another I would go there again (but only b/c DH won't let me have a homebirthirked.gif)

post #20 of 29



The trouble with switching is you aren't going to find another provider that will do intermittent vbac monitoring in hospital.  And as far as telemetry goes, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't work. If they cant' make it work, you go back on the regular monitor.  If you like and trust the midwives,  I would say don't change around again.  One trick for getting off the monitor is having to go to the bathroom - A LOT!  Toilet sitting is a good position for moving baby down anyway!!!


Editing to add that when I HAD to birth in a hospital for my preemie twins I did refuse a number of things and did sign more than one waiver.  They weren't pleasant to me about it, but I said, "I won't consent to that, I will sign whatever you need to have, but I won't consent to that." Ad nauseum.  Things were done as I wanted them to be and I just ignored their dirty looks.  (not that hard when I was deep into laborland, lol!)

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