Help me get a central Jersey VBAC? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 25 Old 11-03-2009, 08:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am feeling so overwhelmed with this decision. I live in Middlesex county, and the information I've received from ICAN suggested that the best places around are all an hour or so away. While that's not necessarily so bad for the delivery, driving that distance for all the appointments seems like a bit much. In addition, my husband is already not in favor of the long drive.

Would you make the drive for a VBAC (I work a full time job as well)?

I'm trying to balance my impulsiveness (I want a VBAC, and I don't really care of how I go about getting htere) with his impatience (what exactly was wrong with the original practice--which, I now feel, pushed me into unnecessary c-section--when they said they will allow you to try VBAC??)

Sigh. I wish we could just move so we'd be closer to a friendlier place...
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#2 of 25 Old 11-03-2009, 09:00 PM
 
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What about a homebirth? I personally think that a homebirth is your best possible chance at a VBAC.

Amy... mom to
Keith, Henry and Caroline
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#3 of 25 Old 11-04-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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It is not legal for a midwife to attend a HBAC in NJ. A few will do it under the radar, but one was prosecuted recently, so most are understandably reluctant.

DD 01/2007, DS 09/2011

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#4 of 25 Old 11-04-2009, 12:26 PM
 
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A friend of mine just switched practices at 30 weeks and highly recommends this midwife in Branchburg. She does VBAC's and delivers out of Somerset Medical Center. I'll be trying for a VBAC with my next baby, and will be making an appointment to see her for my annual check-up very soon. Will post again after I see her.

Alison Stone, at Dr. Margaret Andrin's office
3322 Route 22, Branchburg, NJ
908-526-0700

I also found this recommendation on MDC, which mentions someone who was thrilled with her VBAC experience with Alison:

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...d.php?t=663262
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#5 of 25 Old 11-04-2009, 03:45 PM
 
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Just an fyi.... while Alison does support VBAC, she has not attended any at Somerset yet (she used to attend them at Morristown which is fairly VBAC friendly; Somerset is not terribly VBAC friendly). She has one coming up soon so I'm excited (and hopeful!) to see how that one goes. I did hear that one of my favorite midwives might also be joining the practice (Jaimini Patel) who is definitely supportive of VBACs. But Somerset requires continous monitoring which means you can't move far from the bed. You can get up and walk around the bed as long as the monitors are on (you should be able to use the rocking chair and birthing ball but not the shower or the bathtub, etc). That doesn't make VBAC impossible but it does make it more difficult, especially if you want a drug free delivery. It just depends on what you are looking for - whether it's worth being closer to home even with the restrictions, or traveling further for more freedom. Also, I'd suggest taking into account the reason for your c-section. A breech baby is one thing but a FTP c-section is another. Somerset might not be willing to give you "all the time you need..." But Somerset does do VBACs (just not a lot of them) so I'm giving cautious optimism. It's hard to find that ideal situation. So you weigh the pros and cons and make the best decision you can.

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#6 of 25 Old 11-05-2009, 12:04 PM
 
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Thank you so much for the info! Please let us know how the upcoming VBAC goes.

I've heard a few bad reviews of Jaimini from back when she was with Somerset OB/GYN...one of which was that she was very forceful with drugs. It makes me nervous that she'll be joining the practice. What have your positive experiences been like with her? I did see her once before I switched practices, but it was just for a regular measurement/heartbeat check...she was certainly friendly enough.
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#7 of 25 Old 11-05-2009, 12:55 PM
 
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I personally loved Jaime. She was so positive with me all the time. I think we just clicked. Her partner Mary (when they were at Brunswick Hills) was the one who attended my 1st delivery. It's a long story but everything about my labor indicated that I'd be off the OR by lunch. The next day, Mary told me that I should schedule c-sections for any other babies because my mishapen pelvis wouldn't allow for a vaginal birth very easily (unless I had a really small baby). At my 2 weeks incision check, I made an appt with Jaime. She walked right in and announced, "You are waiting a year to get pregnant again because you have having a VBAC." I almost cried right then and there b/c Mary had been so negative about my chances of a VBAC. Incidentally, Mary pretty much ordered me to get an epidural by telling that I wasn't coping well and I wasn't relaxing and I wasn't dilated (this was just 6 hours after arriving at the hospital and my dd was a c-section just 4 hours after that for ftp. No fetal distress or anything). I had felt like I was doing fine and then felt like a complete failure that I was feeling okay but needed all kinds of intervention. A friend of mine had a great birth with Jaime at Somerset back in 2006 (not a VBAC though). I guess it depends on the kind of personality you click with. Some women clicked with Mary and thought she was great. I still get upset when I think about the birth I had with her. I clicked with Jaime.

I will definitely update on the upcoming VBAC. I'm very exciting because my friend really does like Alison. The problems are really the unknowns of whether or not the restrictions are going to negatively affect her chance of a VBAC. I know Alison is committed but at the end of the day (like with all NJ midwives, unfortunately), the doctor is going to make the final decisions and the doctor may come in and decide that her labor has gone on long enough. Hopefully that won't happen! The other thing to keep in mind is that if you arrive at the hospital in labor, they may not let you leave, even if you aren't all that dilated. If you decide to leave AMA, they may tell you that insurance won't cover it.

I definitely don't want to sound negative b/c I don't think you are going to find the "perfect" VBAC provider in a hospital (I think most non-VBAC moms are hard pressed to find the perfect provider in any NJ hospital as well). But if you know what obstacles you might face, you can better prepare and decide how you want to handle things. For instance, if you know that you won't be able to move around too much on account of the monitoring, you might want to consider using hypnosis which is designed to help you relax and labor without much movement. Hope that makes sense!!
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#8 of 25 Old 11-06-2009, 12:17 PM
 
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oh right, brunswick hills, not somerset ob/gyn...somerset was my 1st practice...i switched twice! anyway, that makes perfect sense and is really helpful! i'm so sorry about your first experience with mary...i had actually heard good things about her, that she was very mom-like and comforting, but we definitely didn't click. i only had one appointment with her, but felt very rushed. jamini seemed much nicer...i just didn't like the things i had heard about her. it's always good to hear as many opinions as possible though...midwives are human too, and sometimes have off days.

i'm currently seeing the avalon midwives in morristown. i've only seen one of them so far, joann yates, but i really liked her. i was just excited about the possibility of delivering much closer to home. i guess i'll wait to see how your friend's vbac goes at somerset before i seriously consider it. best of luck to her!! trying for one is really important to me, but i have some time...i'm not even pregnant yet. i'm just trying to do all the vbac research i can now so i don't feel rushed when the time comes.

btw, did you see that you can have a waterbirth at morristown now? i went all the way up to hackettstown to try for one in 2007.
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#9 of 25 Old 11-07-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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i think it's worth the drive. i had a successful drug-free, vbac with the center for women's health in avon (near belmar) at jersey shore med. ctr.. so that's about a 50 minute drive for me (i'm in dunellen). i was in labor for a couple hours, they let me labor in whatever position i wanted (i did have to have continual monitoring) and allowed me to push for almost 4 HOURS! their backup doctor kept coming to the door and they keep shoo-ing him away saying that i was doing this without intervention. while pushing they were encouraging me to push in many different positions. even my doula said if i were in any other hospital in the area there would be NO way i would of had my second vaginally - after an hour or so another dr. would have made me have a c-section. i love them.. wonderful, wonderful women - small office - they'll answer any questions over the phone. i even had some bleeding in the beginning of my pregnancy on a sunday and patty talked to me various times just to calm me. they knew i lived far away so i was able to do any labs or ultrasounds at alt. places near my house if i wanted. can't say enough good things about them!!

good luck!!

happily married mama to ella (5) and maya (jan 09 vbac)
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#10 of 25 Old 11-07-2009, 01:39 PM
 
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I think it would be worth the drive. I had 2 of my babies in NJ, (at Muhlenburg, which is gone) Ihave NEVER heard good things about Somerset. (even from my mom who works there!)
A very good friend (and doula if you need one I HIGHLY recommend her) had her baby at Hunterdon and RAVED about it there. I also have atended(as a doula) births at Hackettstown Hospital and thought it was amazing! So if either of those hospitals are on your list, I say look into it! My client who birthed at Hackettstown drove 2 hours(one way) to birth there, it was a pain but she said so so worth it!
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#11 of 25 Old 11-07-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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Jenny ~ you should never hesitate to switch! I never even thought about it the first time. I liked BH and thought it would be nice to have midwives. From my very first appt, I didn’t click with Mary. And that’s okay b/c I think birth is about finding the right attendant. I should have realized this wasn’t going to be a great situation for me and kept looking. Mary didn’t even realize I was a midwife patient at first. She was on her way out the door at one of my appointments when I said something about being a midwife delivery and she stopped, turned around and gave me this rather foreboding speech that made me question whether I was really “had what it takes” to have a midwife-attended birth. My appointments with Karen and Jaime were so much more positive and upbeat. I look back and wonder if I asked too many questions or what the deal was. I know she was not happy that I wanted to go to St Peter’s but I had many reasons for choosing St Peter’s (largely because all my friends who delivered there raved about it and I didn’t know 1 person who delivered at Somerset). I will say that one of the most interesting things I found out about Mary (during my labor) is that she had several careers in her life. I have no idea whether she is still practicing midwifery but she left the practice not long after my baby was born so maybe she is on to her next career! I’ve heard great things about the Avalon midwives. Can you have a waterbirth there as a VBAC? I’ve heard a couple different stories about that but I really hope you can!!!! I think you have a much better shot at VBAC going to Morristown.

Myloveelli ~ Hackettstown won’t allow VBACs. Hunterdon does though and they are a nice hospital (when you use the midwives). I will NEVER go back to Somerset's ER since my poor 20 month old was having bronchiospasms and had to throw up before a doctor would see us (it was not a busy night and we had been waiting over an hour - just for a breathing treatment!!!). Most people I've talked do having been happy with L&D overall though. It's not impossible to VBAC there; I just don't think it's the most supportive hospital for VBAC.

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#12 of 25 Old 11-25-2009, 02:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much, everyone. I am still in the process of deciding. I've met with Donna Roussos (sp?) of Avalon Midwives, and liked her a lot. I also like that I can move around at Morristown and labor in the tub.

I know my husband will be pissed, but I'm also thinking of a consultation with the midwives in Pennington too.
I just can't decide!!

But I do appreciate all of your feedback!!
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#13 of 25 Old 11-28-2009, 02:11 PM
 
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I think you should consult with as many providers as you like until you are comfortable with your decision, so why not talk with the Pennington midwives? This is a big choice!

Homebirth Midwifing mama to five blessings in Northeastern PA.
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#14 of 25 Old 12-02-2009, 04:37 PM
 
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I'm the person referenced by Myloveelli above... I had a great experience with the midwives in Hunterdon= All Woman's Healthcare. Barbara Reale is my favorite of the group, though they're all great.

And I second the rave reviews on the Hackettstown Midwives. I think Hackettstown Hospital is the better choice between the two. Hackettstown has jacuzzi tubs in each room, Hunterdon has one for the floor. I've had clients 'allowed' to eat and drink at Hackettstown. As far as I know, it's the only place in NJ which allows it.

Keep us posted!
Carolyn

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#15 of 25 Old 12-02-2009, 06:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budwana birth View Post
And I second the rave reviews on the Hackettstown Midwives. I think Hackettstown Hospital is the better choice between the two.
Not for VBAC.

Quote:
Hackettstown has jacuzzi tubs in each room, Hunterdon has one for the floor. I've had clients 'allowed' to eat and drink at Hackettstown. As far as I know, it's the only place in NJ which allows it.
Hunterdon has mini-fridges in the room. I ate during my labor at Capital Health. I was there for a friend's birth and they even showed me the refrigerator filled with snacks and drinks for patients. I know not all hospitals "allow" you to eat in labor but there are a few (thank heavens!!)

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#16 of 25 Old 12-06-2009, 03:19 PM
 
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I'm really excited to post that my friend did have her VBAC at Somerset with Alison! My friend was totally amazing though - she labored at home all day and arrived at the hospital in the evening and had her baby 25 minutes later. The continuous monitoring was never an issue since there really wasnt much time.

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#17 of 25 Old 03-21-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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Hi, I'm new to the Mothering Community and I came here looking for information about VBACs in Central New Jersey.  Lots of great information in this thread, but figured I would try bumping it just because this conversation took place in 2009.  I would love to hear if anyone has more recent experiences with VBACs in Central Jersey.  

 

I am early in the second trimester of my second pregnancy (had twins by C-section 4 years ago).  I really want a VBAC and as natural a childbirth as possible.  The two closest hospitals to me are St. Peter's (where I'd deliver if I stuck with my current OB) and Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick and I REALLY want to be as close to home as possible since my husband and I want twin 4-year-old boys (he could pop home so easily since the hospitals are less than 10 minutes away).  But in the process of trying to find a doula, I've heard really negative things about my chances of achieving either a VBAC or a natural childbirth at either of those two hospitals.  I haven't heard anything positive about my current OB group, Brunswick-Hills, either - they no longer have midwives doing deliveries.  

 

SO, I am considering my options - changing OBs, traveling farther (but not too much farther if it can be helped - maybe to Somerset Medical Center?), or sticking it out at St. Peter's and hoping for the best even though I know the odds are against me.

 

If anyone has any recent experiences to share, suggestions, etc. I would very much appreciate it! Thanks!!

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#18 of 25 Old 03-21-2011, 08:57 PM
 
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Hi Ser27,

 

It's Carolyn- I think we actually may have emailed?  FWIW, the Hackettstown Midwives are now working out of Morristown Hospital so that they can attend VBACS- so the pp that Hackettstown Hospital is a no-go for VBACs does not exclude the Hackettstown Midwives.  What town do you live in?  Is Monmouth Medical Center and Dr. Giovine a possibility for you?  If Morristown is in your realm of possibility, I'd also recommend Dr. Judy Banks- I had an unmedicated twin birth with her a few months ago and my list of reasons that I love her goes on and on and on.... And as I said back in 2009, the midwives at All Women's Healthcare are great.  Keep us posted on your journey!


Mom to Liam 9/06, spirit baby 3/09, and identical twins Mateo and Sebastian 10/11namaste.gif

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#19 of 25 Old 03-21-2011, 09:15 PM
 
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I'm not sure how far she is from you, because I was travelling from NY myself, but I cannot recommend Dr Winsome Parchment highly enough.  A true M.D. - Midwife in Disguise!!  Her office is in Maplewood, and she attends births at Overlook Hospital in Summit, and Mountainside Hospital (Montclair, I think).  I think it's worth travelling.

 

I had my drug-free VBAC with her at Overlook ,and could not have been happier.  At 41.4 weeks my baby was 11lb 15 oz - quite a few "risk factors" that would have had many providers, including some midwives, putting me on the OR schedule.

 

 I transferred to her care at 37 weeks, and firmly believe that I would have had a repeat C/S, had I not made that decision.  I am a strong believer in exploring your options.  Even if you don't make a change, you won't regret having more information.  For me, the regrets associated with my c/s were all about not following my gut and asking enough questions - "hoping for the best," and being disappointed.

 

Also, my 2 more cents - if you're hearing bad things, run!  There are plenty of providers that are "supportive of VBAC," but when push comes to shove, that support is very conditional.  If at all possible go on recommendations of women who've had VBACs with the provider.  If you can't find any - there's the information you need.

 

Last thing -- Hire a doula.  Worth their weight in gold, imho!!!

 

All the best to you!!

Bonnie

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#20 of 25 Old 03-22-2011, 08:16 AM
 
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Thanks for the feedback Carolyn and Bonnie! Sounds like you had some great experiences! I'm in Highland Park, so Overlook, Mountainside, and Hackettstown are sort of too far.  I've heard great things about Monmouth, also a bit on the far side, although I think the ride there would be easier than heading up to North Jersey.  Delaware Valley OB and delivering in Princeton is another option, again distance worries me a bit.  It's so frustrating that there are 2 hospitals like 5 minutes away and I haven't heard a single positive VBAC experience come out of either one, St. Peter's in particular.  Have also heard that St. Peter's is not doula-friendly either.  I am definitely going to get a doula - that's how all this started actually.  In my search for a doula, I had response after response saying either they flat-out won't got to St. Peter's or that it's doubtful I'd get a VBAC or a natural birth there.  

 

Anyone have any recent experience with Somerset Medical Center?

 

Oh, and that's good advice, Bonnie, about running if I hear bad things...I was holding out hope that someone somewhere would tell me they cracked the code on how to get a natural birth and a VBAC at St. Peter's and I just can't avoid the fact that I haven't found a single person to tell me anything good yet.

 

(Oh and Carolyn, no we haven't emailed; guess there's someone else out there with a similar story to mine!)

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#21 of 25 Old 03-22-2011, 05:24 PM
 
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Sorry, I can't give you any recent positive stories at Somerset Medical Center. :( They aren't too fond of VBACs there.  It will be continuous monitoring.  I just heard that Alison Stone is no long attending births there though that might be something to check on. 

 

My best suggestion is to travel to a VBAC friendly hospital. I have a couple friends who VBACed with Brunswick Hills but the births included monitoring, epidurals, purple pushing on their backs and episiotomies,  However, if you really really want to birth at St Peter's, I'd try Dr Kyle Beiter.  I've talked to him and he was quite open to VBAC.  Plus, he comes from a VBAC and natural birth friendly hospital in NY.  You will still have to deal with the staff there.  They really don't have anything to encourage natural birth and you may wind up fighting them a bit; just be prepared for that. 


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#22 of 25 Old 03-23-2011, 10:47 AM
 
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Thanks for the info.  I know someone who raved about her recent natural childbirth experience at Somerset, BUT she wasn't attempting a VBAC and I know that makes all the difference.

 

I will definitely try to check out Dr. Beiter; that's the first person I've heard of who seems to REALLY support VBAC/natural childbirth and who delivers at St. Peter's.  

 

And will just have to keep exploring other options, too...

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#23 of 25 Old 03-23-2011, 05:38 PM
 
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*nod* I know a few people that have had great birth experiences at SMC.  But not VBACs.  That’s the issue, unfortunately.  Most hospitals want VBACs to have continuous monitoring.  I think that’s one of the biggest obstacles for VBAC/natural birth.  If you can’t move around, it’s hard to have a drug free birth.  Most of the VBAC and natural birth friendly hospitals offer wireless monitoring which allows you to walk around and use showers, tubs, etc.  SMC only has wired monitors.  I can tell you from a personal conversation with the L&D manager there that VBACs  are continuously monitored there and there are no plans to get wireless  monitors.  I don’t believe St Peter’s has wireless monitors either.

 

Dr Beiter is new to St Peter’s. His old hospital in NYC closed down. I do believe he sincerely wants to support his patients in the birth they desire.  I talked to him quite a bit about VBAC.   St Peter’s is dominated by mega practices so I’m not exactly sure what is hospital policy vs what is the policy of the practices that deliver there.  For instance, I’m not sure if having a running IV (vs a hep-lock) is the policy of the hospital or the policy of most of the doctors.  If you want to deliver there, these are the kinds of things that would be worth finding out.  :)


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#24 of 25 Old 03-23-2011, 07:46 PM
 
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Thank you so much - that's such valuable information.  I am only just starting out on my search for where to try to have a VBAC & natural birth experience.  I have to admit I was really naive and didn't realize it was going to be this hard!!! The questions you put out there will be really useful as I go about trying to find the right OB and hospital.

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#25 of 25 Old 05-17-2011, 10:44 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ser27 View Post

Thanks for the feedback Carolyn and Bonnie! Sounds like you had some great experiences! I'm in Highland Park, so Overlook, Mountainside, and Hackettstown are sort of too far.  I've heard great things about Monmouth, also a bit on the far side, although I think the ride there would be easier than heading up to North Jersey.  Delaware Valley OB and delivering in Princeton is another option, again distance worries me a bit.  It's so frustrating that there are 2 hospitals like 5 minutes away and I haven't heard a single positive VBAC experience come out of either one, St. Peter's in particular.  Have also heard that St. Peter's is not doula-friendly either.  I am definitely going to get a doula - that's how all this started actually.  In my search for a doula, I had response after response saying either they flat-out won't got to St. Peter's or that it's doubtful I'd get a VBAC or a natural birth there.  

 

Anyone have any recent experience with Somerset Medical Center?

 

Oh, and that's good advice, Bonnie, about running if I hear bad things...I was holding out hope that someone somewhere would tell me they cracked the code on how to get a natural birth and a VBAC at St. Peter's and I just can't avoid the fact that I haven't found a single person to tell me anything good yet.

 

(Oh and Carolyn, no we haven't emailed; guess there's someone else out there with a similar story to mine!)



I had a natural birth there & used a doula for both pg. The doula's were no problem with the hospital AT ALL. Also had no IV, no episiomity. Just be firm with the staff about the IV - get a hep loc instead. Actually, the nurse told me they like doulas there because it lightens the load they have. I have BHills also & some Drs were more supportive of a doula than others. With my #1 I had a terrible doula & no real attempt to relax me or change positions, etc & I ended up requesting an epidural. With #2 I had an awesome doula & I waited to go to the hospital until the last possible second. I really had no time for drugs which was perfect. Now my #2 doula will NEVER work with brunswick hills again. Sorry no help with the vbac.

 


 Wife of 10 yrs to Oaties, Mama to Bubs 08/06/08, Rizie 04/19/10 & MRae 02/02/13 & to dog2.gif

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