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Birth in Santa Maria or San Luis Obispo, CA

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi,

I'm new to the website... My DH and I will have to move to Santa Maria in late June 2008, my due date is September 10th. We are currently living in the Bay Area and I have no complaints there... However now I have to find a suitable place to give birth in the Santa Maria area.
We have to move due to military orders, and as we are insured through Tricare, my options are limited. I tried to find a doula or midwife in Santa Maria without success online. I tried to google it and could only ever find someone in Santa Barbara, which is too far. Do you guys have any advice how to find a doula or midwife?
I rather want to give birth in a hospital as my mom had several complications and I feel safer there. I am from Europe and my sister is a doctor there, I kind of trust hospitals probably too much as obstetrics is a little advanced in Europe compared to the USA (no offense, but midwives are standard, nobody would ever do membrane sweeping -> infections!!!, put you on Pitocin without medical reason). The more research I do, the more terrified I get!!!
My two choices are St. Marian Hospital in Santa Maria, but I don't want to go there as they don't even have private rooms. The other choice is the Sierravista Regional Center in San Luis Obispo which sounds nice online, but I haven't toured the facilities yet (encourage breastfeeding, bonding time, etc). It is a 30 minute drive, but that's reasonable for a first time mom without any complications so far, right? Did anyone have a baby in those hospitals? I'd love to hear some impressions.
I'd also love to know whether birth plans are honored and if they always threaten you with court orders if you don't want Pitocin or vaccinations? Should I go to a lawyer beforehand and get everything set up in case we are threatened with legal actions?

Thanks so much for any link or advice!

Anna
post #2 of 24
Hi there!
I delivered at Marian Hospital in 2002. It was my first, and I wasn't very educated so I figured that all the stuff they did to me was 'normal'...but they did have a lot of interventions. I delivered on a Sat, so the lactation consultant wasn't working...and even though she had told me to have them call her if I needed her during the class we took on breastfeeding, the nurses never got her for me when I requested it! I wouldn't recommend Marian.

Second...if you are at Vandenberg (where I was), SLO is the same distance away as Santa Barbara. If you are going to live off base in Santa Maria, then SLO is a bit closer. I don't know much about that hospital.

Lompoc has a hospital (with private rooms) and there was one guy that practiced there--Dr Huss-- that many people liked...he was an older guy who was 'old school' and I don't really remember why people liked him...
http://www.wellness.com/dir/1872379/...dney-l-huss-md

The number one piece of advice I would give you is this: HIRE A DOULA
A doula in the area may have experience with these Drs and can steer you in the right direction.
http://hometown.aol.com/__121b_zFr7M...HDOG9OtOIXNQ==
Heres another:
Chalea Jennings, DONA trained Doula
Providing labor support
Serving Lompoc and surrounding communities
(805) 736-0750 or (805) 736-3926

and another:
Santa Maria Doula Services
Tracy Vasquez
Serving Santa Maria and the 5 Cities Area
Providing labor support, postpartum support and belly casting
(805) 481-9129
Tracy@santamariadoula.com
www.santamariadoula.com

La Leche Leagues are also another good way to find out about the hospitals/drs etc.
Contacts:
http://www.lllusa.org/web/LompocCA.html
http://www.lllusa.org/web/SantaMariaCA.html


As far as Vaccines, etc--they cannot and will not try and sue you or anything. You are the momma! Really, they can't do anything to you in the hospital--even if it were life saving--although they may ask you to sign a form called an "AMA" which stands for 'against medical advice'

Email or PM me if you have more questions. I think you will like the area...we LOVED it!
post #3 of 24
My sister in law is a doula (Labor of Love) in Oceano, which is about half way between SLO and Santa Maria. her contact info is here:

http://www.bbrn.org/resources.htm

Scroll down to Doulas.
She attended my birth (in Nevada!) and was really helpful with negotiating me through the hospital system. My baby was breech, and I had a scheduled c-section, but without Jennifer I would not have gotten some things that ended up being really important. Feel free to PM if you want more information.
post #4 of 24
I couldn't recommend Dr. Huss. He is very old school, but I think the reason women like him is because he is very flirty! Seriously, all the women around here get goo-goo eyes for him. He is completey busy-- for my delivery he literally showed up the last 10 minutes to catch the baby, that was all I saw of him). He won't even let you schedule an appointment until you are 12 weeks along. Long waits in a crowded office. He is pro-breasfeeding, though.

This group is from Santa Barbara, but they probably have some members in Santa Ynez (30 min from SM) or even in SM.

http://centralcoastdoulas.com/index.html
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you guys! I couldn't go to a male obgyn... It somehow freaks me out. I know that in a hospital I won't have a choice cause whoever is on schedule delivers, right?

I'll read all the links and prolly pm you with further questions... I just returned from Europe and had a horribly long flight with delays and layover I need to gather some energy

If anybody has experiences with the Sierra Vista Hospital in SLO, I'd love to hear about them. I definitely will bring a doula with me....

But I guess here in CA I won't be the first mom who wants a natural birth (which is not a contradiction to me, as I said, in Europe docs only intervene when medically necessary, birthing rooms are nice and warm, midwives are always present)....
post #6 of 24
[QUOTE=nia82;11186988]Thank you guys! I couldn't go to a male obgyn... It somehow freaks me out. I know that in a hospital I won't have a choice cause whoever is on schedule delivers, right?
[QUOTE]

I don't know if that is true. Dr. Huss's office is close to the hospital and he goes back and forth several times during hte day. Sometimes when I have an appointment he is running really late because he had to go be at a birth. Lompoc is pretty small and there are only a handful of ob/gyns.


He also induces everyone before he goes on vacation . Old school.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
There are only two female obgyns in Santa Maria that contract with Tricare:

BARAN, ILONA A; MD
NACCASHA, NIHAL ; MD

Anybody any experiences???

I 100% will deliver in SLO, so I guess my provider doesn't matter anyway as they prolly won't drive to SLO, but I don't mind so much as I will have hubbie and a doula with me... SLO has jaccuzzis in their birthing rooms...

I won't agree to induction unless I am 10 days overdue, and even then I would only agree to an oral prostaglandine... It's not like doctors can force you to agree to measures that I do not consider necessary, right?
post #8 of 24

French Hospital in San Luis Obispo.

Also try French Hospital in SLO; more like a birthing center than Sierra Vista, also very pro-breastfeeding, from what I've heard. I'm due in early Dec. and would like to birth there and several friends have had good experiences there.

I think you have to be at least 36w to deliver there, so it's good to have an alternative, as well.
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice... The French Hospital contracts with Tricare, and indeed, their c-section rate is lower than Sierra Vista's... Their vision statement about birth sounds nice as well...
I will tour the places pretty soon to decide... If you guys know good obgyns in the area, please let me know!

Thanks, Anna
post #10 of 24
Oops, meant 38 weeks in previous post re: French Hospital.
post #11 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mrs_Hos View Post
Hi there!
I delivered at Marian Hospital in 2002. It was my first, and I wasn't very educated so I figured that all the stuff they did to me was 'normal'...but they did have a lot of interventions. I delivered on a Sat, so the lactation consultant wasn't working...and even though she had told me to have them call her if I needed her during the class we took on breastfeeding, the nurses never got her for me when I requested it! I wouldn't recommend Marian.
Just wanted to second, skip Marian! I've heard bad things about that place.

I'm in the market for an OB in SLO too, I'm calling around at the moment, I'll let you know what I find
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
I talked to two offices today in San Luis Obispo:

Dr. H. Freeman and Dr. Monroy. The latter seems pretty reasonable - the lady on the phone was well-informed about birth plans, natural birth and explained that pretty much the doctor has no problem with a patient who refuses tests or medication and always tries to accommodate patient's birth plans. If I do not wish to be induced, I won't. I found it very reassuring. She also applauded on the phone that we do not wish to circumcise the baby (they don't advocate it!).
The other office, Dr. Freeman's office, was rather unfriendly. The nurse/office manager on the phone felt annoyed that I asked questions about the doctor's routines. She explained to me that they have a high c-section rate as they are necessary . I then asked her if she's fine with a doula and she asked me what is that??? Then I knew that office definitely doesn't work with women like me and it wouldn't be a good doctor-patient relationship.
I keep you posted how the other doctors react... I have a limited list though (Tricare/ delivering at the French Hospital in SLO).
post #13 of 24
I gave birth at French hospital in SLO in January 2006 and had a wonderful experience there. The nurses were outstanding and I couldn't recommend the place more. I developed HELLP syndrome so I had to stay in the hospital for a week and the nurses made the stay as great as it could be. I know two people who have delivered at Sierra Vista. They are a little bit more medical feeling. As far as I know they don't have any private recovery rooms so if they are busy you have to share. They do have a really good neonatal program there and when I went into preterm labor I was told I would have to be transfered there to deliver if they weren't able to stop it. So, that could be the reason they have a higher cesarian rate because they take the cases that have complications. My boss delivered there and just raved about the nurses also, so I think that they have some great ones there also. I originally used a midwife and then when I developed complications she switched me over to the OB on duty and he ended up being wonderful. About as midwifey as I think you could get being a doctor. He was very mellow, wanted to room dark didn't push any sort of interventions and I found him very nice. If I hadn't have moved I would still be seeing him. This is the link to his practice. I do believe that he has midwifes that work under him also.

http://www.creatingharmonyobgyn.com/docs/team.html

Sorry I don't have quite as much info about Sierra Vista, I just know what I have been told. If you have a choice, after being in both, I would choose French due to the birthing rooms.

Good luck and please feel free to PM me if you have any other questions. I lived in Pismo Beach for about 8 years and we have been gone for about 2 and are looking at moving back in the next couple of months because we miss the area so much.

Tomi
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thank you Tomi! Unfortunately, he doesn't contract with my health plan (Tricare)...
I talked to another office recently, Dr. Spalding. The nurse on the phone was very helpful and actually they are used to many clients who ask for a natural birth experience. They have midwives also in the practice and I was offered a conference call with one of them and the doctor to learn more about them. I like that they are open to discuss issues and that they don't really make you see the doctor (midwife only) unless there is a concern....
I definitely want to deliver at the French Hospital...
I will post how it goes with changing the PCM to a doctor in Santa Maria and obtaining a quick referral to an obgyn. I hope that will move quickly.
post #15 of 24
Well, I hope you find someone you are comfortable with and I wish you the best of luck. Please keep me up to date on what you find out.

Tomi
post #16 of 24
I delivered @ Sierra Vista last Novemeber. I would have chosen French; however, I needed to make sure that I had a NICU just in case, since my husband was deployed.

I used Dr. Lickness. He is Tricare approved. I cannot say enough wonderful things about him. He also has a doula that works in office also. I know a few that have used Dr. Monroy with excellent referrences also.

Definitely avoid Santa Maria if at all possible. It is a truly scary place.
post #17 of 24

Also in Santa Maria and upset at lack of choices

For starters, there aren't ANY female OBGYNs in Santa Maria. The two doctors that were posted are in Santa Rosa, not Santa Maria. I'm currently with Dr McGhie because he was the only option for my insurance, but now my insurance has changed and I have more options, thankfully. I've heard great things about Dr Dillion, and I have an appointment with him next month. However, when I called his office, I was told that I couldn't just meet with the doctor - I had to actually transfer. The receptionist was very confused that I wanted to see if the doctor and I would be a good fit before committing to him. She actually had to put me on hold before telling me they don't allow you to interview the doctor. Are women here on the Central Coast really not that involved with their pregnancy? I have a hard time believing that, but if he fact that the midwifery clinic in Arroyo Grande is closing is any indication then I'm frightened. I'm horrified at how male dominated the whole process is. My current doctor is terrible - no bedside manner and he's never looked me in the eye. He doesn't explain things fully and I walk out confused because I don't know what I need to clarify.
I found one midwife in Solvang, Mary Littlefield, but I haven't heard back from her yet - I left a message on Tuesday. I've also heard bad things about Marian Hospital, but the thought of driving to SLO to deliver is daunting. Also, will doctors in Santa Maria work with a SLO hospital?
The doula recommendations are great, because internet searches find nothing. If anyone has any suggestions on local doctors (and I mean Santa Maria doctors) or doulas or a midwife PLEASE let me know!
Thanks!
post #18 of 24

Santa Maria Doula

Quote:
Originally Posted by egbaumann View Post
I found one midwife in Solvang, Mary Littlefield, but I haven't heard back from her yet - I left a message on Tuesday. I've also heard bad things about Marian Hospital, but the thought of driving to SLO to deliver is daunting. Also, will doctors in Santa Maria work with a SLO hospital?
The doula recommendations are great, because internet searches find nothing. If anyone has any suggestions on local doctors (and I mean Santa Maria doctors) or doulas or a midwife PLEASE let me know!
Thanks!
I'm actually meeting with a Santa Maria doula tonight. She is also a Bradley instructor, her website. And just a thought, but as a non-medical resource, local doulas may be more candid and helpful in selecting a dr. and/or with thoughts on hospitals. Fwiw, my MIL works at Marian and I'd avoid it, if possible, from what I've heard (and she's pretty mainstream).
post #19 of 24
[QUOTE=egbaumann;11715408]For starters, there aren't ANY female OBGYNs in Santa Maria. The two doctors that were posted are in Santa Rosa, not Santa Maria. I'm currently with Dr McGhie because he was the only option for my insurance, but now my insurance has changed and I have more options, thankfully. I've heard great things about Dr Dillion, and I have an appointment with him next month. However, when I called his office, I was told that I couldn't just meet with the doctor - I had to actually transfer. The receptionist was very confused that I wanted to see if the doctor and I would be a good fit before committing to him. She actually had to put me on hold before telling me they don't allow you to interview the doctor. Are women here on the Central Coast really not that involved with their pregnancy? IQUOTE]

I'm in Lompoc, but I think there are only 2 OBGYNs in the city (of 40,000 people) and they are both male. I looked in the phone book and there were 12 OBGYNs listed for Lompoc and Santa Maria and they were all men. WTH? When I delivered 4 years ago there was no LLL here and no lactation consultants. I did some research on how I wanted my birth to look, but there were really very few options, they do it their way. You can use meds or not, but there is just one type of med they use. Delivery is flat on your back. I think that next time I'm going to try to deliver in Santa Barbara, but that is 1 hour away.
post #20 of 24
Thread Starter 
We live in Santa Maria directly so going to SLO isn't that bad, it takes 42 minutes door to door to the French Hospital with normal traffic.
I had to go to Marian 3 weeks ago to stop contractions. I cannot complain about the nurses, however the whole atmosphere was creepy. I knew I wouldn't deliver and just (well just) needed some Terbutaline.
I was put in a room with another woman who clearly was in labor, they just divide the room with a drape. The nurse said that they had way more deliveries than they can handle. The doctor on call only looked at me once (they ran a strip to see the contractions) and approved the nurse's choice of medication (Dillon was his name I believe).
When we toured French Hospital last week it was an entirely different world. They have private LD/postpartum rooms and very little people actually giving birth there (6 suites and only one woman there last week). The head midwife gave us the tour. They don't offer pain meds there, only upon request. There's a bed for dad in the room, kids always room in (nursery is basically for sick kids only).
I think it might be worth it to drive from Lompoc to SLO - compared to Marian!!!

I think there really aren't too many women researching pregnancy and birth in the area.. I also heard that Santa Maria has one of the nation's highest teen preggo rate, cannot confirm it though. SLO doctors seemed more familiar with the idea of a birth plan. I also talked with some of the other military spouses around here (online only) and they thought Marian was great/ok, but they had very different approaches to birth than I do. Let's see what the "real" group will say when I meet with some of them on base in 2 weeks - maybe I'll get some more insight (I know that two of them just gave birth, I'll ask them where and how and which doctor and gladly share recommendations).
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