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Experience with Prentice Women's Hospital for birth?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hi - I am expecting my second baby this spring. My first son was born at home in Seattle (with the most wonderful midwife!), largely because I wasn't happy with any of my birthing center options there. While I would be happy to do a homebirth this time, since we live in an apartment with somewhat thin walls, I am also interested in birthing center options not too far from Hyde Park (downtown is fine).

I have heard the Prentice Women's Hospital has great new facilities and was curious if anyone has any experience with them. The UoC hospital is also covered under my insurance but I don't know anything about them. It is very important to me to work with a midwife (or wives) and feel very secure that I will not be pressured into any premature interventions. My first labor was very long and hard though perfectly healthy in the end.

Would love to hear your thoughts.
post #2 of 37
Well, I haven't given birth at Prentice, though I know many women who have. They apparently do have beautiful new facilities. But my advice, if you don't want to be pressured into interventions and you're hoping for a natural birth is to steer FAR FAR clear of Prentice. I think they're great if you want a mainstream, medicated, highly monitored birth. They have so few natural births there that they don't really know how to handle them, their staff isn't used to them, and they have a lot of policies not very conducive to natural birth. I know several women who have switched practices at the last minute (8 months pregnant) because it became apparent their practitioners at Prentice weren't willing to even try to respect their birth plans.
They do have one midwife practice (I believe), but I've heard that just working with midwives there doesn't make much difference in terms of the overall experience - in large part because the hospital staff is SO unsupportive of natural births.

Two places that are great are Evanston Hospital with the midwives at Northshore Associates - I had a GREAT experience - and the midwives at West Suburban. I haven't been to West Suburban, but have heard nothing but great things. I don't know that either of those are that convenient for you in Oak Park, though could be worth the drive for the experience. Maybe others have suggestions even closer to you? Unfortunately, I haven't heard great things about the U of C Hospitals for births....
post #3 of 37
Hi,
I had my first dd at prentice, so it was before they re-did it. I was induced and other than that had a fine birth experience. We were very lucky that there was a nurse there who was interested in hypnobirthing. So I was never offered any meds. She also left us alone and didn't come to to find out my pain level.
However, before that nurse got there the nurses where driving me a bit crazy. Every time I would get comfortable they would bother me because I wasn't progressing.
I had a birth plan and a doula there with us so that made a difference as well. My second dd was born at Evanston. it was very different experience but we also got there two hours before she was born and left 23 hours after her birth.
post #4 of 37
I have read accounts from women on this board that they had good experiences. However, when I was a post-partum doula every single one of my clients had a c-section.
post #5 of 37
I have a good friend who had a successful, unmedicated birth there (pre-new facility) without interventions. She also had a doula present at her birth.

Personally, I've chosen to birth at home. I was 35 with the first and the next is due 2 days after my 39th birthday. I think I'm too much at risk to be treated like an "advanced maternal age" statistic and end up with a birth experience I want neither for myself for my baby (even though I have no health issues or complications to speak of - the label alone is enough for me to steer far, far away from mainstream obstetrics) to choose to birth anywhere else.
post #6 of 37
I know someone who just had her baby there yesterday. She went in at 4 cm and they broke her water right away. Then an hour later they determined she wasn't progressing enough so they put her on pitocin. The baby wasn't breathing when he was born, but seems to be doing just fine now. I was surprised by how quickly they broke her water and gave her pitocin.
post #7 of 37
Thread Starter 
Hmmm. This is all very interesting ... I don't know what to think! I guess at the very least I will go in for an appointment and get their stats and just feel it out from there. I just want my last midwife - she was so great
post #8 of 37
My ds was born at Prentice in 2004 and we had the CNMs with NWPG. I cannot stress highly enough to stay as far away from Prentice as possible if you don't want a medically-managed experience. They talk the talk, but become different people when they walk in the door at the hospital. West Suburban Midwives in Oak Park are awesome, and if you're looking in to home birth (we had our dd in our 700sf apartment last summer) I'm sure you'll be able to find some midwives to help make that happen. A Woman's Place and Sarah Simmons are recommended often on here. Good Luck!
post #9 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleGriff View Post
Hmmm. This is all very interesting ... I don't know what to think! I guess at the very least I will go in for an appointment and get their stats and just feel it out from there. I just want my last midwife - she was so great
I should add that I went there for an appointment to interview the midwife. After waiting for an hour for my scheduled appointment, with no signs of my seeing her any time soon, I left. When asked if I wanted to re-schedule, I declined.
post #10 of 37
I'm going to really encourage giving West Suburban Midwife Associates a call (Gayle Riedman's group). Oak Park is not a far journey and it's really worth it.

I would avoid Prentice and U of C if you are looking for a gentle birth
post #11 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by chandasz View Post
I'm going to really encourage giving West Suburban Midwife Associates a call (Gayle Riedman's group). Oak Park is not a far journey and it's really worth it.

I would avoid Prentice and U of C if you are looking for a gentle birth
I agree. I had two births a Prentice (pre-redo). You can have a natural birth there but it is a struggle. It is important to have a good health care provider who is on the same page as you, but getting what you want is hard from start to finish -- so I would encourage anyone who wants a non-interventist birth to go elsewhere. I have heard the new facilities are beautiful (plasma tvs and all) but the new facilities are not geared toward natural/non-intervenist birth.
post #12 of 37

Prentice

I used to have an OB/GYN at Northwestern; however, I switched once I became pregnant and inquired about natural child birth. They treated me like a freak and touted the benefits of c-section. I switched to Gayle Riedman's group in Oak Park--West Suburban Midwives--and was thoroughly pleased with the care I received. There are three midwives in the practice and they're all wonderful!

I delivered at West Suburban Hospital in Oak Park. I had a very quick first labor--just 7 hours--so when my husband finally got me to the hospital I was completely dilated and delivered my son just an hour and a half later. My midwife was Julie Marks and she was very supportive. I used the ABC room--alternative birthing room--and had a water birth. I also used Hypnobirthing which allowed me to stay focused. I was pleased with the hospital staff as they left me alone, didn't force an IV or fetal monitor on me, and gave me lots of space. I hope this helps--good luck to you!
post #13 of 37
I will pm you about Prentice tonight.

I don't recommend U of C at all for non-high risk birth experiences... I don't think midwives are on staff there and it's a fight to opt out of even small procedures: IVs/hep locks, pitocin after giving birth, continuous fetal monitoring. Not fair to mom at all!

I do want to put another vote in for the ABC at West Sub. Here normal birth is honored to unfold as it is meant to be. It probably will take you about 20 mins. or so from Hype Park (LSD to 290). 20 mins. is really not that long to navigate through Chicago especially for a potentially better birth experience...

I still think homebirth is an option for you, paper thin wall and all! After your first homebirth, I worry that a hospital birth might end up being dissapointing for you because you would be bound by hospital rules & the hospital vibe. (At home, you might be more comfortable if you have music going during your birth to take your mind off what you neighbors might hear!)
post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
wow - what wonderful information! I really appreciate it. I ended up scheduling an appointment at Prentice today as I am starting my second trimester already and want to get in to see someone and was actually sort of curious to interview the midwives at Prentice after all these intriguing tidbits.

But based on the discussion here and the strangely difficult and unpleasant task of trying to just schedule an appointment (low marks on friendliness so far) - I don't expect that I will stay with them. As some have mentioned, I suspect the experience could be a very rude contrast with my very lovely first birth experience and the last thing I need is to feel that I need to defend myself and my birth expectations in the throes of labor.

I am very interested in the Oak Park option that people have mentioned. I forgot to say that the biggest reason I am interested in a birthing center is that I would really like to do a water birth and am not very excited about setting it up in my apartment. I'm actually a fairly quiet birther so I'm not sure why I mentioned the thin walls

Yeah, and UoC is out - they said they "lost" their midwives a few years ago. Sort of made my husband and me giggle as we imagined a gaggle of forlorn midwives wandering around the south side trying to find their way back. I'm not sure how you "lose" midwives but that simplifies that.
post #15 of 37
West sub and Evanston are the only 2 places actively doing water birth that I'm aware of.

Gayle Riedman is very well known for her waterbirth expertise.

My second birth was a great waterbirth. First daughter was born on a squatting chair since the water was so relaxing-- it put me to sleep. LOL
post #16 of 37
I understand you are in an apartment and waterbirths at home are a hassle. That is one thing about my recent homebirth I sort of wish I could have changed -- my husband had to do a lot of work to set it up, keep it warm and tear it down. But if you ask him, it was totally worth it and he would do it again and recommends to people that they do it. So maybe toy around with the logistics to figure out if you could make it happen at home.
post #17 of 37
Quote:
Originally Posted by chandasz View Post
West sub and Evanston are the only 2 places actively doing water birth that I'm aware of.
For sure. Especially if you interview any CNMs at Prentice, be sure to ask them how many of their clients are actually having water births, because NMH has a heck of a lot of policies that can risk you out of birthing in water there.

Quote:
Gayle Riedman is very well known for her waterbirth expertise.
Yes yes yes! Gayle is awesome, knowledgable and super flexible.
post #18 of 37
Actually, Evanston doesn't do waterbirths - they just have labor tubs, not birthing tubs - though I adore the midwives that work there and had a GREAT experience with my last birth there.
I think West Suburban is probably your best bet for what you're looking for, unless you decide to go with a home birth (and that might be complicated since you're due in April - I think the two main options for home births are pretty booked for April, though it's always worth giving them a call).

Incidentally, you mentioned you were looking into "birthing centers" because of the hassle of a water birth in an apartment - you probably already know this, but just to be clear, Illinois (at this point - it should change with the new law) doesn't actually have any birthing centers, only hospitals. Some of those hospitals - like West Sub and Illinois Masonic - have ABC sections, but it's not really the same thing, and I think there are often reasons you get risked out of them. Just an important distinction to be aware of.
post #19 of 37
I had my son at the old Prentice with the midwives (Carol Hirschfield et al). He ended up breech and I ended up with a scheduled c-section (obviously, not their fault). That said, I was not really too happy with my experience there. It felt too much like a "baby factory". Too impersonal. Like you go there and you enter a machine. Stuff just starts happening to you.

I took a "natural childbirth class" before I had James. Of the 20 or so couples in the class, ONE had a great natural water birth.

My second child was a VBAC and I planned on giving birth with Gayle Reidman at West Sub until they lost their VBAC support. Instead I had my daughter at UIC with the Family Practice doctors. It was a fabulous natural birth, and while UIC was not as glamorous as Prentice, I felt like my care was much better. Much more individualized. I felt like I got much better information about the decisions I had to make and the nurses were better too.

I don't think the midwives at NMPG are bad people (I like Ariel Darrenger the best by far) but they work within a system that is so heavily tilted towards non-natural births that it's hard for them to just let it happen. I agree with OPs - ask how many of the clients actually GET a natural/water birth - not just whether they support them.

Oh - all of the U of C midwives (the "lost" ones) went to UIC, btw. UIC has a group of about 25 midwives and they're excellent. Family Practice at UIC is also great.

GOod luck with whereever you end up!
post #20 of 37
A Woman's Place http://awomansplacechicago.com/does water births at Lincoln Park hospital http://www.lincolnparkhospital.com/contact.htm...

This could be another option for you and its relatively the same distance from Hyde Park as West Sub is. These are the same homebirth midwives acp mentioned in an above post about April being an issue....
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