Hi I was wondering if anyone can share with me their experiences positive or negative with Susan Dodge. I really enjoyed talking to her on the phone, but where this is my very first home birth I want to make absolutely sure that I'm making the right decision. Or if you have had other great experiences with home births I would love to hear about it, I live directly south of DC in the Fort Washington area. In MD i'm pretty sure I need a CNM, but if anyone has a CPM they love love love then please send me an email. Thanks
Susan was my midwife for my first home birth (second baby) earlier this year. She was absolutely everything I wanted in a midwife: experienced and capable, patient (especially when baby decided to wait 2 weeks after due date), supportive, and respectful of my space, family, and desires for birth. I highly recommend her without a doubt.
Feel free to PM me if you'd like to chat more.
Mama, birth worker, and dreamer extraordinaire.
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I'm currently using Susan as my midwife for my second homebirth. I love her so far.
I recently moved to MD, so I was doing the search just a few months ago & was happy to narrow it down to her (and to find her available!)
she's very friendly, professional, and thorough. takes her time with you at the appts.
hopefully some others will pipe in as well.
~ diane & DH & Trent Julian 1/29/11 & Harmony Marija 11/29/12
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I e-mailed Susan Dodge via e-mail in May-June 2012, and she told me she does not currently attend VBACs, even secondary ones, because there's so much hostility among hospitals in the state against home birth midwives and she can't risk even the smallest complication or transfer to the medical system for any reason putting her license at risk - and reasonably so, I would say. She told me that if home birth midwives could be assured of friendly reception on the occasion of any transfer to a hospital, then she would feel okay about attending a second time VBAC from a safety standpoint. She pointed out that three other CNMs have lost their licenses in Maryland in the last year, all VBAC-related cases. This risk is too great for her, as she would not only lose her livelihood and possibly her RN license as well, but she would become unavailable to other women seeking her services in the future. I know of one of the CNMs she means - Evelyn Muhlhan (sorry if I misspelled her name), whom I wanted to have help me but I was very unhappy to hear after decades of successful service to women and babies had this happen to her - but from what I understand of the case, it was not a problem on the family's part but on the hospital's part.
I had to go out of state to find a licensed CNM who will attend my VBAC. I am interviewing Nanette Jenkins of Riverside Midwifery, based in Charles Town, WV, who is licensed in Maryland and willing to travel to my area to help me with a VBAC this coming winter (downside is she doesn't do insurance, but will bill afterwards on client's behalf, and most of the appointments - till 36 weeks - are at her office in WV).
My only other "legal" option is hospital (MD General is my best bet, maybe - if they'll let me labor in water - and that could be my backup).
It really irritates me that the State thinks it has the right to interfere in my pregnancy and birth - and that because of DD1's c/s birth in 2008 - despite my successful HBAC in 2010 - I am essentially viewed as a scarred uterus waiting to rupture.
I got the same response from Susan Dodge when Joey P. abandoned me close to the end of my pregnancy. It was ridiculously hard to find *any* provider at that point. I ended up with Bay Area and, even though I had to birth in a hospital, it was not "bad" at all. I may consider using a group in NOVA which allows VBAC at the birth center instead of hospital. Then again, I may just wait until we've moved away from Maryland.
I would like to point out that at least 2 of the CNMs who have lost licenses (one being Evelyn) have lost them not just because of VBACs. Joey P also lost her license and it wasn't because of VBACs and Evelyn had other problems. Whether or not those were slight technicalities or catch 22s, I haven't been able to figure out. It just happens to be that "they" make the biggest deal about VBACs in Maryland. I needed to have an urgent issue addressed when I was pregnant with my last and since I didn't have a provider I went to the ER at AAMC and I was harassed endlessly. The OB even told me that "no CNM does homebirth" and "CNMs can't deliver babies legally" which she must have known not to be true since a CNM delivered my last at that very hospital. I filed a complaint but it broke down to the bigger issue of not having a provider (which was deemed to be partially my fault since I had chosen "one of them" to begin with) and that things are different here than in Germany where my OB encouraged me to use a midwife if my first VBAC went well. They don't need to be different here unless there is something in the water that makes the body physically different and I am just too stupid to "get" that.
Back to Susan though, she did seem genuinely sorry for my situation and also was very caring and kind to me. She told me she wished I could have contacted her earlier in my pregnancy and that I had more of a record to show her. If you have not had VBACs, she seems like a very good bet.
I second Jenga's rec for Bay Area Midwifery. Have you also checked out Special Beginnings? They may do VBAC at AAMC. Lastly, Md. General has a low c/s rate as does University of Maryland Medical Center. Try to find a hospital with telemetry since you'll likely need continuous EFM in the hospital...that way you can walk around, etc.
Enjoying life with my two rainbow babies - somewhat crunchy AP mama - BFing, CDing, BWing and making our own baby food!