Give me the bad news about Upper Chesapeake - Mothering Forums
Maryland, Metro D.C. Area, Delaware > Give me the bad news about Upper Chesapeake
FeralFox's Avatar FeralFox 04:24 AM 11-18-2011

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'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.

FeralFox's Avatar FeralFox 04:54 AM 11-18-2011

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.

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 03:07 PM 11-18-2011

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.  

FeralFox's Avatar FeralFox 05:33 AM 11-19-2011

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.

juneboymum's Avatar juneboymum 07:09 AM 11-19-2011

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.

FeralFox's Avatar FeralFox 08:41 AM 11-19-2011

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.

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 09:21 AM 11-19-2011

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.  

juneboymum's Avatar juneboymum 12:56 PM 11-19-2011

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.


KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 01:14 PM 11-19-2011

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.  

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 11:27 AM 11-29-2011

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.  

juneboymum's Avatar juneboymum 06:12 PM 11-29-2011

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!

kryztuh's Avatar kryztuh 10:50 AM 12-01-2011

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!

FeralFox's Avatar FeralFox 12:58 AM 12-07-2011

juneboymum, do you know which midwife?

MegBoz's Avatar MegBoz 11:44 AM 01-04-2012


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.)

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 12:00 PM 01-04-2012

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!  

ambivamom's Avatar ambivamom 07:48 PM 01-04-2012

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



MegBoz's Avatar MegBoz 06:53 AM 01-06-2012

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.

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 12:00 PM 01-06-2012

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

NaturalMama311's Avatar NaturalMama311 07:17 PM 01-07-2012

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 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)

homewithtwinsmama's Avatar homewithtwinsmama 08:34 PM 01-26-2012



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!)

Maternalove's Avatar Maternalove 01:02 PM 01-27-2012

Holy Moly! Did you vaginally deliver twins in a hospital??????

Originally Posted by homewithtwinsmama View Post


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!)


MegBoz's Avatar MegBoz 07:21 PM 01-28-2012
Originally Posted by Maternalove View Post

Holy Moly! Did you vaginally deliver twins in a hospital??????

I also had the impression the CS rate for twins was astronomical, but it's not. I think I read 50% of twins are born via CS in the US (so that means probably 50% of twin births ARE vaginal hospital births - since less than 1% of births are HB, they'll be a negligible contribution to the stats.) Yeah, that's high, but not THAT much higher than the 33% overall rate - and certainly not so high to make it an astounding anomaly. 

momto2sweetboys's Avatar momto2sweetboys 04:07 PM 01-30-2012

I delivered at UCMC in 2009.  Not sure if all of the midwives are the same, there was one that I didn't get along with at all (same one that MegBoz mentioned as being difficult, but nurturing during the birth).  I only saw Metta once, but she seemed okay.  I saw Lyn and Karen a bunch of times and was okay with both of them, but not a perfect fit - but I loved Kelley.  I only got to see her once and I did everything I could to arrange a second visit with her during my last month, but Jasmine flat out told me that Kelley wouldn't be delivering again until after my due date, so there was no point.  Well, baby came late, and I got lucky!  Kelley delivered and things went as well as I could have hoped for.  I did ask for the tub room, but by the time they got me in there I was already 9cm, so they wouldn't let me labor in the tub, that was a disappointment.  But they agreed not to force me to have an IV or hep lock, which was a major issue for me, and they did not give me a hard time about refusing the eye goop or vitamin K shot, and vax (although Jasmine out and out accused me of being a bad parent for not wanting the Vitamin K shot).  I don't remember enough details now, but everyone was pretty supportive of my choices and when baby's temp was too low, they allowed DH to hold her kangaroo style under the lights instead of taking her away from us and wrapping her up (it worked like a charm).  After a very intervention-heavy induction with my first and a better second birth (marred by the IV - long story) at other hospitals, I was very pleased with this birth.  It still wasn't the home water birth of my dreams but I have no real regrets either.  I'm so grateful that Kelley was on call that weekend, she was (still is, I'm sure) fabulous, maybe you will get lucky like I did and get her.  I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.  

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 07:30 PM 01-30-2012

Kelley is no longer delivering babies and Metta is no longer there.  Dona (who was at Bay Area in 2009) is now a part of the practice, with Lyn, Karen, & Jasmine.  I adored Dona at Bay Area, so I assume she'll still be the same midwife here.  I haven't had an appointment with her yet as I wanted to meet the others first since I already had a relationship with Dona.  I did meet Karen last week and I did get the same vibe as people were saying she had.  I told her I was refusing the GTT and she said ok and that was that.  I hope things are as easy during labor. winky.gif

juneboymum's Avatar juneboymum 07:57 AM 02-03-2012

I just delivered at UCMC on Tues and it was an excellent experience.  Dona delivered our baby boy and she was great.  It was a fast labor since I walked in the door essentially fully dilated but everyone really took the time to review our birth plan and stick to it.  I also wanted to labor in the tub but they felt there was no time to even get it filled since I started pushing in triage.  They specifically asked if it was OK to go to another room and by then I was fine with it.  No one cared that we declined Vit K - we did oral and I brought it to the hospital.  They went out of their way to help find the most updated protocol for oral Vit K (it must be really rare for someone to do this) and just told me to give it myself when we were ready.  The PP care was excellent - they really left us alone and only came in every 4-5 hours.  Everyone was also supportive of discharging us ASAP - it was the hospital peds that held up the process even though our personal ped already gave the OK.  I was warned way ahead of time that this would likely be the case.  I would certainly deliver there again!

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 09:23 AM 02-03-2012

I'm so glad to hear it.  How fast were you able to get out of there?  I was bugging Karen about that last week, she told me the hospital peds would be my hurdle as well.  I am thinking about asking my ped for a note saying he will be seeing us the next day in the office, so please discharge per mom's wishes or something.  

MegBoz's Avatar MegBoz 10:34 AM 02-03-2012

Yea!! :) Congrats!


With my DS, I was GBS+ & had no time for antibiotics. In that case, standard protocol is to stay 48 hours, so I didn't try to fight that - although they had me lined up to walk out the door at 48 hours on the dot.


DD was born at 7:25 AM and I left the next morning around 11:00 AM or so. It wasn't a big deal.

Strangely though, my Ped checked out DD the same day she was born in the evening, then said the hospital ped had to check her too - which seemed odd to me since my ped has privledges at UCMC, but again, it was close enough to 24 hours & they didn't come in often.

KatyLinda's Avatar KatyLinda 12:01 PM 02-03-2012

I was hoping for 6 - 12 hours max...I hate hospitals.  I much prefer being home where I know when the last time the floors were washed and the walls wiped down.  And there's no one to bug me that I didn't marry or give birth to.  whistling.gif

juneboymum's Avatar juneboymum 08:00 PM 02-04-2012

We were there for about 28 hours.  Baby was born at 10:30 AM Tuesday and we didn't get discharged until about 2 PM Wednesday.  Midwives signed off in the AM, but even though our ped came and examined him Tues evening, the hospital ped still had to examine him before discharge and they didn't get around to it until Wed afternoon.  So annoying....we were all packed  up and ready to go at 9 AM!