Lonnie Morris VS Avalon - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 18 Old 02-05-2010, 11:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm 30 weeks pregnant and thinking of switching from Lonnie Morris at the Childbirth Center in Fort Lee to Avalon in Morristown. I already spoke to Avalon and they agreed to take me on. I have an appointment scheduled for Tuesday . . . so I've got a few days to cancel my app and stick with Lonnie. Here are my dilemnas:

1. I know Lonnie is not very personable--"warm and fuzzy"--, but she is considered the best in her field. She was delivering at Palisades, within walking distance from my house with a Level II NICU. As of March 1, she will be switching hospitals to St. Mary's (which used to be Beth Israel) in Passaic. St Mary's has no NICU and is a small, "personal" hospital without alot of amenities.

2. Lonnie is out of network, and although I have a PPO plan, I'm starting to get concerned about what we will be paying (our 20% after the insurance pays the 80%).

3. I know nothing about Avalon midwives . . . I need to know more. They deliver at Morristown, which has lots of amenities (my husband is thrilled with the whole flat screen tv possibility). I think the birthing tubs and ability to jump in the shower while in labor can really facilitate the natural, pitocin-free, induction free labor I want. But, I've heard they are not that big on natural birth--that they are all about breaking your water, pushing pitocin, etc.

4. When my son was born, I was induced on my due date because my OB said my fluid was low. When I arrived at the hospital, St Barnabas, they told me my fluid was fine. Regrettably, we went through with the induction anyway. I did have a vaginal birth, but with an episiotomy and way too many interventions.

What I want is to avoid an induction and to be allowed to labor on my own. I also want my baby to be delivered safely, which is why I'm choosing to labor in a hospital. Which midwifery practice might I have a better chance of attaining all these things? Please give me advice and your DETAILED experiences!
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#2 of 18 Old 02-05-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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I just answered your PM, but I have to say I can't believe she's going to be at St. Mary's after all this. I started seeing her two hospitals ago, LOL -- I decided Palisades was too tough a trip for me, I was getting panic attacks just trying to find her new office! But St. Mary's is practically down the block from me. Crazy.

Birthing in Morristown was quite unlike my first experience (Overlook in Summit). Very peaceful. Probably it was because the midwife was there at my side the entire time -- no one on staff at the hospital even had to say anything at all to me (as opposed to at Overlook, where they'd come in periodically to tell me I'd need pitocin, and scoff when I refused - I had an awful labor nurse there).

There may be only one tub room, but I think there are portable tubs too. Make sure you request the tub room if you can! It's lovely.

The one thing about Morristown is that they bring the babies back to the nursery for 'checkups' each day that you are there. That was the one downside, but they were all so respectful of the need to establish breastfeeding, etc, that they really minimized time away and brought my DS back immediately when necessary. The nurses on the recovery floor were so supportive and never had a bad thing to say when they saw me nursing (pretty much 24/7!).

I don't know where you heard that about them (pitocin, water breaking, etc.) but they will absolutely not do this to you. I had the younger Joann attend my birth and she was so quiet and unobtrusive I hardly remembered she was there. It was a VBAC attempt so I had wireless monitoring, and she basically just sat near the monitor and watched. Of course you can't control who's on duty when you go into labor, but you'll want to meet with all of them before your due date so you know what their personalities are like and how to interact with them to get your wishes heard. I didn't see much of Donna at all, just one appt. before I delivered, but she seemed more 'businesslike'.

mama to Joey (1/04) and Teddy (4/08) :
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#3 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 02:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#4 of 18 Old 02-08-2010, 06:29 PM
 
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I'm sorry I don't have advice on Avalon. I did deliver with Lonnie's group and had a very positive experience. But also - 2 hospitals ago! At Pascack Valley.

Sounds like you are switching to a more-distant hospital regardless (Morristown or Passaic) - so the bigger issue is about the "amenities" and the presence of a NICU, right? Have you taken the tour at each hospital and asked questions? That's free and (relatively) easy, so it should definitely be part of your decision.

IMO, you should go through with the appointment at Avalon tomorrow regardless. Others' experiences are helpful input, but only you can make the decision of what matters most to you. You can always "go back" to Lonnie if you talk to Avalon and something isn't clicking - nothing is set in stone until the day you go into labor.

Good luck
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#5 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 12:22 AM
 
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I found Morristown to be generally great. There is only one room with a birth tub, that I know of.

They did want to take my daughter to the nursery to do checkups, but one nurse agreed to do them right there in our room instead, and the others let my husband go with her and wait right outside so he could see her at all times. They were very quick when they knew that we wanted her right back! Only one nurse was mean about it, sort of tutting at me and saying that the babies should go in the nursery so "moms get rest!". Rubbish.

We did not let our daughter get bathed in the hospital, plus we declined eye drops, vit k, and a host of other things, which they were all great about. The lactation consultant never seemed to make it to my room when my daughter was awake, but I have to say a few of the nurses were really good with breast feeding support.

I planned a homebirth and then was forced to go to hospital after some bureaucratic nonsense about a week before my due date, so for me the experience was quite stressful. I had never toured the hospital and didn't know what to ask for, so I was quite distracted by the monitors and such like. Ultimately I ended up with a c-section, but that was probably because of my daughter's SUA condition coupled with the artificial ROM and epidural/pitocin. If I'd been more prepared for hospital birth I'm sure my husband and I could have handled this differently.

I don't know anything about Avalon, but I hope they work out for you, or that you feel better about staying with Lonnie.

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#6 of 18 Old 02-09-2010, 05:55 PM
 
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Only one nurse was mean about it, sort of tutting at me and saying that the babies should go in the nursery so "moms get rest!". Rubbish.
I think nurses can only say this if they've never tried to stay overnight post-partum in their own hospital. The number of times you get interrupted between 8pm and midnight by the person who takes the dinner tray, the person who checks the baby, the person who empties the garbage, the person who takes your vitals, the person who takes the baby away for assessments, etc... who is sleeping through all that?!

If you want me to rest, put a lock on my door and let me co-sleep peacefully in this hospital bed until sunrise, please!
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#7 of 18 Old 02-20-2010, 12:57 AM
 
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Have you thought about Marla Scott? She delivers at St. Clare's in Denville. Hears she's awesome. Just another suggestion
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#8 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 01:15 PM
 
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I'd be happy to share my experience if you're still trying to decide! Let me know!

Kim - momma to Parker James REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif3/31/09 and Eva Lorraine energy.gif3/17/12

 

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#9 of 18 Old 02-24-2010, 03:17 PM
 
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was your experience with Avalon at Morristown Memorial? If so i would really like to know too... If you don't mind me intruding?

michelle~carola's and paola's mommy~
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#10 of 18 Old 02-25-2010, 12:45 PM
 
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I gave birth two weeks ago with Avalon at Morristown. I had a very good experience, no one suggested any interventions, although it was a fast labor. I also had low amniotic fluid at the end, but was able to avoid induction by drinking lots of water and bed rest (Avalon waited a few days to see what would happen and my AFI score went up). PM me if you have more questions.
Also, I have to second meganmarie's post that despite all the amenities at Morristown (and they are renovating so there should be many more birthing tubs soon) it's exhausting being there post-partum because the staff is constantly coming in and out if you are doing rooming in. They get better about it on the second night when they are less concerned about the baby, but the first night it's virtually non-stop.
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#11 of 18 Old 02-25-2010, 03:35 PM
 
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I met with Lonnjie MOrris to see if she would do my VBA2C on this past tuesday. No she is not warm and fuzzy, but I liked her anyway. She txt'd her new covering doc to see if he would back me- he said go with your gut. So we started to make plans. Im out in the office making an appt and the dr txts her again, and she says she will now have to talk with him and get back to me. I still havent heard from her.

Nonetheless, I can tell you she is switching her office to the town that Corrados is in? I dont know the name of the town, Im newish to NJ. And, she will be delivering at Mountainside Hospital in Montclair.

Thats what I was told on Tuesday.
Have you checked out Jessica at www.newjerseyhomebirth.com? She delivers at Morristown. Or at home---

HTH...
Sally
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#12 of 18 Old 02-25-2010, 04:42 PM
 
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I delivered at Morristown in Dec 08 w/ Avalon. I had the opposite experience at Morristown I thought they really left us alone...and when they did come to 'collect' the baby for checks we sometimes let him go (with my husband)..and sometimes didn't. My baby was having feeding issues and I was actually upset that I had to continuously call for help/support but I was a second time Mom so midwives said they generally are pretty low key and assume second time around have less issues/concerns. My baby wound up in NICU on second day so my experience was only really for 26 hours following birth, then we were in NICU all day! LOVED midwives at Avalon

Brenda
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#13 of 18 Old 04-01-2010, 10:58 PM
 
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I delivered my first daughter with Lonnie in 2003 and my second daughter with Joanne Cunha from Avalon at Morristown in late 2007. I had fewer interventions and an amazing "hands off" birth experience with my second daughter. I really like Avalon a lot. They were not focused just on my birth, but on my whole female health care before during and after. I can't say enough about them. They called me late at night when I was nervous about test results, they were very hands off with the actual birth, great follow up and care. I had a miscarriage inbetween my daughters and Avalon was so supportive and sensitive to me too. I really like them a lot. Lonnie seemed to me to be very distracted and pushed hard for me to use her as a mohel if I had a son (which shocked me because my husband and I were not interested in circumcision and had said so). I didn't feel the personal care I expected throughout my experience there. At the birth Lonnie broke my water, gave me pitocin and when I tore, sewed me up, reopened me and sewed me again, so I view that birth as much more stressful and with more interventions. Personally, I preferred Avalon much more and continue to use them to this day. (I was actually there today!)
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#14 of 18 Old 04-06-2010, 07:08 PM
 
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Lonnie is supposed to be fantastic. I only hear good things about her. I've learned over the years to forgive the less than stellar bedside manner for good medical services. The chances of having any issues that require a NICU are less than 1% statistically. They do happen. Nothing in childbirth is without risk. I hope this helps.
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#15 of 18 Old 04-09-2010, 10:31 PM
 
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Originally Posted by marisa724 View Post

Birthing in Morristown was quite unlike my first experience (Overlook in Summit). Very peaceful. Probably it was because the midwife was there at my side the entire time -- no one on staff at the hospital even had to say anything at all to me (as opposed to at Overlook, where they'd come in periodically to tell me I'd need pitocin, and scoff when I refused - I had an awful labor nurse there).

There may be only one tub room, but I think there are portable tubs too. Make sure you request the tub room if you can! It's lovely.

The one thing about Morristown is that they bring the babies back to the nursery for 'checkups' each day that you are there. That was the one downside, but they were all so respectful of the need to establish breastfeeding, etc, that they really minimized time away and brought my DS back immediately when necessary. The nurses on the recovery floor were so supportive and never had a bad thing to say when they saw me nursing (pretty much 24/7!).

I don't know where you heard that about them (pitocin, water breaking, etc.) but they will absolutely not do this to you. I had the younger Joann attend my birth and she was so quiet and unobtrusive I hardly remembered she was there. It was a VBAC attempt so I had wireless monitoring, and she basically just sat near the monitor and watched. Of course you can't control who's on duty when you go into labor, but you'll want to meet with all of them before your due date so you know what their personalities are like and how to interact with them to get your wishes heard. I didn't see much of Donna at all, just one appt. before I delivered, but she seemed more 'businesslike'.
I second EVERYTHING that Marisa said above-- as it was my experience as well-- exactly my experience,,,as I also had the younger Joanne and it was very calm and no one from Morristowns L and D even came in (until the very end) once she came (within an hour of my arrival, btw). I had a totally natural, medication free birth (and it was my first)- and everything on my birth plan was followed. I loved the entire group, they are all quite different-- but all caring in their own ways!

Oh, also- I was 12 days late and they had just started to discuss the induction possibility...and were going to let me wait until day 15 (post dd) before actually putting it on the schedule. And, all of them assured me that (although it isn't fun, per se...lolol) they had done many inductions were the mamma still went naturally with no epi or meds.....so I know that they were very supportive of that!!!
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#16 of 18 Old 01-26-2011, 01:50 PM
 
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I know this thread is pretty old, but I figured I'd give my opinion in case anyone else is reading this for reviews of Morristown Memorial.  I would agree with what most have said about the experience post-birth.  It's not very restful but the nursing staff is very nice and supportive of breastfeeding and babies rooming-in, kangaroo care, etc.

 

However, what I would like to talk about is my actual birthing experience which I was very disappointed, especially since Morristown touts it's "touchy-feely-ness".  I was forced to have constant electronic fetal monitoring, flat on my back as well as constant blood-pressure monitoring and an I.V. stuck in my arm the second I walked in.  After about a half hour of being there the nurses started talking about "pitocin if your contractions don't increase soon".  Which after a complete breakdown, I got them to back off for a few hours....but of course they won in the end, threatening the "health of the baby".  So pitocin, then more pitocin, then epidural, then forced early pushing when I had absolutely no "urge to push", then after pushing fruitlessly for 2 hours (surprise, surprise), they ripped her from me with forceps, leaving a wad of gauze in me that I didn't know about until 2 MONTHS later with excrutiating pain the whole time.  Plus, since it was a forceps delivery, they said the NICU had to examine her when she came out before I could hold her so of course they kept her for what seemed like forever, giving her the whole apgar, bathing, vit K etc before I even got to lay eyes on my baby.  Finally, after over 30 hours, I finally got to nurse my baby.  Now, I know much of blame lay on the delivering doctor, Dr. Banks, but the hospital itself here is far from innocent.  So, I just want to give you a heads up here, if you are delivering in Morristown, make sure you have someone by your side that you trust the entire time your there, because if you let them, they will completely ruin your birthing experience.  Oh and by the way...by baby's heart rate never dropped, my temperature never spiked, my blood pressure never spiked.  All of this was only because my water had broken and my contractions were not progressing fast enough for their liking.

 

The final result...a colicky baby for 5 months, I had post-partum depression and I still (8 months later) can't have enjoyable sex.  

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#17 of 18 Old 01-29-2011, 05:09 PM
 
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I know two women who use Avalon, they both recently had babies. The first had her water broken right after the due date to start up labor w/her 3rd child. The next had her membranes stripped the day before her due date, and she ended up giving birth on the due date. They definitely do vaginal exams, etc. during end of pregnancy. I have no personal experience with them, as I use a homebirth midwife (Anne Margolis) but I think they are definitely willing to intervene if that's what their client wants. I don't know that they "push" the interventions, though.

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#18 of 18 Old 01-31-2011, 11:34 AM
 
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Papaya, I am so sorry for your experience, but it is so different from what happened to me at Morristown.

 

As I said upthread, it was a VBAC attempt so I was prepared for more interventions right from the start, due to policy.  Like you, I was monitored from the moment I checked in -- however, they have wireless monitors and I was hooked up to a machine that went everywhere with me on a little cart -- even into the shower or walking up and down the hall.

 

I also was required to have an IV placed, but purely as a precaution.  I was resistant, so they placed a "heplock" - a small device that was inserted into my arm and taped down, so that an IV could be started within moments should it be required (it was, after several fruitless hours when I was getting dehydrated).  Again, I was not restricted in any way by the heplock and barely even knew it was there.

 

Although nurses can threaten pitocin (mine sure did when I was at Overlook!) -- that's the doctor's call.  They can't order it without the doctor saying so in the first place.  It sounds like your care provider may have let you down and/or not been aware of your wishes, since my experience was almost three years ago now and these modified monitors and a heplock should have been made available to you too.

 

 

sharkrum -- I remember that the older Joanne was willing to do a membrane sweep when I was 41w+ and getting anxious (getting to 42w would mean an automatic repeat c-section).  However, upon doing an exam she said that I wasn't far enough along to have it make any difference yet, and we didn't go ahead with it.  They requested another ultrasound at around 41 weeks to be sure that everything was still ok, but otherwise they were very hands-off.


mama to Joey (1/04) and Teddy (4/08) :
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