Anyone currently seeing the Swedish Covenant Midwives? (Chicago) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 15 Old 04-25-2012, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Are any of you currently seeing the midwives @ Swedish covenant hospital?  How are things going for you?  

 

They were great with my last pregnancy up until the end, where I had a c/s because I was essentially given a c/s date of my existing child's birthday (this was with KIM), two days later, or have the c-section now.  I opted for "cut me open now".  I was given no other choice.  I was only 39+6.

 

This time around, homebirth was out of the question (financially, and I'm VBACing so theres only one I can go with anyways).  I'm seeing the midwives at Swedish again.  I'm 19 weeks along.  It has been near hell this time.

 

-Linda Simon-Price quit suddenly.  She was my favorite, as well as Gina Russano (who is still there).

-They are on my about my Vitamin D levels.  I have malabsorption issues yet no one will listen to me, they just keep prescribing higher and higher doses.

-Amy Graf got on me about my weight gain- I've gained 5lbs over the past 2 months.  She told me that "mamas who gain more weight have bigger babies and bigger babies tend to not fit through the birth canal".  Are you kidding me?!
-They now require a consult for VBAC with the midwives, and on top of that, another VTOL (vaginal trial of labor) consent consult with the OBs so they can scare you out of it and try and get you not to consent.  

-I consented to a pap smear my first visit at 10 or so weeks, and only the pap smear, but Kim decided to do a digital exam to make sure my cervix was closed.  Really, really not necessary and had I known she was going to do it I would have said NO.

 

 

 

 

The nurses are always friently, warm, and inviting.  They are awesome.  

 

Currently the only midwives left in the practice are Sherri, Gina, Kim, and Amy.  Not sure if Rachel is still there.  Darcie is gone.

 

 

 

Am I the only one having issues or is this a wider spread problem?  They are much more "Medical" this time around. The OB I had for my first pregnancy was way more hands off.  And nicer.  Way, way nicer.  And I was 16, and pregnant, and lost.  And she was awesome.  Too bad she doesn't take Medicaid.

 

 


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#2 of 15 Old 04-26-2012, 09:27 AM
 
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Rachel is still in the office, or at least she was on Tuesday. I have done about 30 or so births with them as a doula over the last 2 yrs and usually they fight very very hard for their patients. I know their VBAC rate is over 80%, almost 90 if I remember right. Why did they start talking c/s so early last time?? I have been at births with them where mom is 42+weeks. I know the forms and consults are a result of the OBs that back them which is crappy. They are my personal favorite group, but if you want to look else where the UIC midwives are great, the ones at Evanston and also the Oak Park ones. All have good VBAC support. 

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#3 of 15 Old 04-27-2012, 05:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you for the insight!  I have heard wonderful things about the UIC midwives from Sarah Simmons, but I'm not sure I'm ready to birth at UIC again (had my first child there but just have overall not pleasant experiences with the hospital re: interventions and other things not birth related).  It is actually closer to my workplace though, and one train away from me, so maybe I will look into that.

 

I was 39 weeks and had been doing spinning babies to get my baby to turn back vertex (she flipped I think during my 38th week).  It wasn't working.  I went in at 39 weeks and some days for my appointment with Kim, told her that I thought my baby was breech.  We went over to the OBs side of the office and she quickly looked with ultrasound to confirm (she couldn't exactly tell with palpation).  She set up my external version for the next day and told me if it failed we'd schedule a c/s at that point.  She told me I could try acupuncture or moxibuxtion.  I went home in a daze, called the office back, Gina gave me more resources over the phone, and I later that night determined I couldn't afford any of them.  The next morning I went into the hospital and was admitted for my external version.  Kim, Dr. Thorpe, and I believe a student tried twice to get baby to turn but she had already settled down in my pelvis.  It was December 22nd.  Kim left the room and came back with a paper listing things I could do to get baby to turn before the December 27th c/s date I was handed.  Or I could get sectioned right there and then, and that "Dr Thorpe is an excellent doctor" (she was, I just kind of felt a litttle pushed).  That's my other daughter's birthday, and while petty, and knowing I had done most of what I could to get baby to turn (anyone ever done numerous handstands in a public pool? that was me)   I opted for the "section me now" stance on things, and two hours later my daughter was born.  I was also going into labor, I believe, contracting pretty hard before the version, and dilating a little as well (I had dilated a few cm since the visit the day before).  I didn't want to UC this baby at home if baby was breech, and I knew that if I came back to the hospital in labor I'd be sectioned anyways, and didn't want to be in the hospital for Christmas (again, petty, but being handed a scheduled c/s paper makes things run through your mind).

 

I still did ask if it could be postponed until I was 42 weeks but they apparently didn't want me going into labor on my own at all if baby was breech.  If they had been willing to wait I most likely would have as well, but my options were basically get sectioned on DD1s birthday, go into labor and come back later in the day to get sectioned, or get sectioned now.  I chose the latter.

 

 

I just don't know what's up with the way I was treated about my weight gain, or Amy's stance on if "baby is too big it won't fit through the birth canal".  Maybe she's worried the OBs will not sign me off if they see extra weight gain.  Same goes with the Vitamin D.  

 

I'm extremely nervous for the consults, though.  Maybe once those are over and done with I'll be able to rest and relax and enjoy the rest of this pregnancy as much as I can.


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#4 of 15 Old 04-27-2012, 08:07 AM
 
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Going to pm you with a couple ideas right now.  Best of luck,

 

Jen


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#5 of 15 Old 05-08-2012, 02:17 PM
 
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I just went to my first appt with the midwifery group last week. I had heard so many positive things about them that I switched from Advocate Masonic.

 

This is my first (and unplanned) pregnancy, and I want to attempt a natural birth. I feel as though I have been taking really good care of myself, eating healthily, sleeping enough, staying active. A lot of friends/family have even commented that I'm still small even at 29 weeks...I'm 5'2" and started at 117 lbs. At my appt with Amy Graf last week, I was just over 28 weeks and one of the first things she commented on was my weight!! She weighed me with all of my clothes & shoes on, in the afternoon (after eating breakfast and lunch) and I was at 136. She said, "I'm just a little concerned that you've gained almost 20 pounds but you still have at least 10 or 11 weeks to go. If you keep gaining at this rate, it's going to be too much. You need to start thinking more about what you're eating, and you should be exercising for at least 45 mins a day." Having recovered from an eating disorder, I was feeling pretty shocked by her words, and up until then, thought I was doing well. I kind of laughed and said, "Yeah, I think at my appt 2 weeks ago (at Advocate Masonic), I was at 130, so I don't know how I gained 6lbs, and I don't know where they went!" She said, "Well, let me tell you they didn't all go to the baby." At this point, I was doing everything to keep my jaw from dropping. I was like, great, thanks!!!

 

I left the office not really knowing what to think...other than the weight issue, I really liked Amy. She was warm and made me feel comfortable asking questions. I think at my next appt, I might just tell her that after she approached me about my weight that I was bothered because of my past issues and that I'm just sensitive about it.

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#6 of 15 Old 05-09-2012, 05:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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klp9868- Welcome to MDC! :)  I'm so sorry to hear that Amy had issues with your weight gain as well- I find her remarks condescending and outright mean.  

 

I did have the opportunity to speak with midwife Gina Russano over the phone (over an unrelated matter) but her warmth and overall "I care about you" attitude has made me give the practice a second chance... I go in next week for my VBAC/VTOL consult with Kim.    I'll update how that goes.  

 

I'm to the point where I'll be calling the hospital to see who's on call on the day I go into labor.  If my pregnancy progresses normally and without complications (pre-e, footling breech, etc) I'll be content birthing at home unassisted.  

 

Also regarding weight gain- I gained around 60lbs with my first child.  She was born 7lbs7oz at 42 weeks.  She had no trouble fitting through the birth canal- she started crowning as soon as the doc left the room telling me "a few more hours".  My excess baby weight flew off after that pregnancy.  No one suffered.. I didn't even eat a ton extra that pregnancy.  I was underweight and I guess my body took the reins and started "filling up".  This pregnancy I'm not over-eating either!  And I get plenty of exercise- I'm on my feet for 10 hours a day give or take, and eat small meals and healthy snacks throughout the course of the day.  Would Amy like for us to starve ourselves? irked.gif

 

I'm starting to wonder if I should send Sherri (head midwife) a letter about the issues I've had with Amy.


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#7 of 15 Old 06-01-2012, 10:58 PM
 
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bumping -- how did the consult go Windy? I'm looking for a midwife group in Chicago or Evanston this next time around.


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#8 of 15 Old 06-06-2012, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry for taking so long to check in- I've been busy working and don't find much online time. 

 

The part 1 consult ended up being with Rachel.  They basically gave me a consent form that had statistics on it, I'm supposed to sign it and return it to them.  We went over it line by line.  I found out two VERY disturbing things about the VBAC procedures at Swedish.

 

1. The day you hit 41 weeks you are essentially already on the operating table!!!  They will see you every single day through 40+6 to sweep membranes, but will have already signed you up for a c-section for the day you hit 41 weeks.  I had my first child at essentially 42 weeks- and she was an induction.  I was sure of my dates and she had no signs of wanting to come out yet...

2. CONTINUOUS external fetal monitoring is REQUIRED  for all VBAC patients.  And you may only get up to go pee.  You might be lucky enough that your setup could allow you to stand up next to the bed to birth, or sit on the birthing ball, but you're TIED DOWN.  No ifs ands or buts about it. 

 

I also learned that they won't even SCHEDULE my Part 2 consult with the OBs until all of my 3rd trimester labs have come back perfect.  GBS, Glucose, etc.  


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#9 of 15 Old 06-06-2012, 06:00 PM
 
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Hi Windy City Mom! I too, am sorry for such a late response! After posting, I completely forgot to check back (I'll blame it on "pregnancy brain!")

 

So, since my first appt, I've had two appointments. One with Sherri, and my most recent one again with Amy. After Amy had gotten on me about my weight at my first appt with her, I signed up for yoga classes that week because to put it bluntly, she scared the crap out of me. Well, at my next appt with Sherri, I did not gain any weight since my appt with Amy. So I was 30 weeks 136 lbs. I was honest with Sherri and told her, "I'm not trying to sound like a complainer, but at my last appt, I was talked to about my weight and in all honesty, I left feeling like I had done something wrong." I went on to tell her that I had struggled with an eating disorder for several years, recovered, and like so many, still struggle with distorted thinking and poor body image. I told her that I wasn't acting on any of my distorted thinking, but that ever since that appt with Amy, I've been hyperaware of what I'm eating and I had started doing yoga 3x a week. Sherri asked who I'd had that appt with and I told her it was Amy, and she said, "That's kind of Amy's thing. We've seen a giant increase in c-sections and they are largely associated with too much weight gain during pregnancy, so that's why we're really making a point to talk to people about it." She went on to discuss with me my thoughts and that it's important not to deny myself food, and that it's okay to indulge in a little sweet something everyday, and that my weight is fine. 

 

Well, last week I had my 32 week check-up with Amy and I still had not gained (was still at 136). She said, "So I see you really put the brakes on your weight! But that's fine!" Right, of course it's fine with her. I told her that I've become really aware of what I'm eating, started doing yoga, and quite honestly left my first appt with her feeling terrified and like I'd done something wrong. She basically reassured me that so many women think of pregnancy as an opportunity to just eat whatever, whenever and then when it comes time to give birth, it's much harder on them. She said labor is like a marathon, you have to prepare for it like you're training for one.

 

I have my 34 week check-up next week with Kim. But every time an appointment approaches, I'm now terrified to get on the scale :-( 

 

Windy City Mom - thanks for your comforting response. Like you said, it's hard to assume much control over your body during pregnancy because it kind of does what it wants! Regardless of what you are/aren't eating...it's going to grow and adapt however it sees necessary. I guess I just have to trust that. I'm just hoping that the labor & delivery experience with the midwifery group will make up for the extra anxiety I've been feeling since I made the switch from my previous hospital. 

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#10 of 15 Old 06-11-2012, 09:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for coming back and posting!  Please do come back and post about how your 34 week checkup goes.  You're right- our bodies do kind of do what they want to do in regards to weight gain.  I really like how Rachel went back through my previous pregnancy and showed me that that is what she goes by for weight gain.  

 

I kind of get where Amy is coming from... Swedish Covenant's CNM group has one of the lowest c-section rates in the city, and they'd like to keep it that way, both from a business perspective and from a midwifery prospective... but there is a huge difference between someone who eats junk foood and hamburgers 3x/day and someone who is just putting trust into their body (while maintaining a healthy lifestyle) to gain the weight and grow the baby the way it needs to.  The two should NOT be treated the same.  

 

 

I go in tomorrow morning, *gasp* with Amy.  I know I've gained more weight, and I really want to speak up to her if she says something about it... we'll see how it goes.  She'll likely order my 3rd trimester labs as well (I'm just over 26 weeks) and my vitamin D recheck.  Which I wish I could just decline.  


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#11 of 15 Old 06-11-2012, 12:18 PM
 
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Any hospital will make you do continuous monitoring for a VBAC. That being said UIC and West Sub have wireless monitors so you can still get in the tubs and such. 

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#12 of 15 Old 06-12-2012, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yep, only I'm on medicaid.



forgive bad grammar or gibberish...I'm using my phone to write this.

I went in for my appointment with Amy graf today. She has redeemed herself in my eyes. I gained 4lbs this month and she told me that the reason she was so hard on Me about my weight last time is because most women gain the most weight after 20 week, and she didn't want me to overdo it. I had my third trimester labs done. I was able to refuse the glucose tolerance test altogether.I made sure to ask if it risked me out of a VBAC and she said no. I will have to endure a stern talking to by the OBs during consult part 2, but I'm ok with that. Amy didn't necessarily agree with my decision but she was respectful in letting me know it. I feel that as long As I present myself as well informed, my wishes are respected within reason.

I got my third trimester packet also... Lots of info from the American college of nurse midwives. I found out that Swedish allows you to labor in your own clothes, and there is now a refusal form for vitamin k and the eye goop. That's awesome.

They also have a page on evening primrose oil, bit I'm not likely to go that route since I'm a vbac.

I see Amy in 2 weeks again, then Libby (have never meet her!) And then Darcie, who I really like. I'm glad she's back. I have yet to see Gina this pregnancy which makes me kinda sad.

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#13 of 15 Old 06-12-2012, 09:26 PM
 
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Glad you wrote back, too! And I'm happy to hear that you left feeling like your voice was heard and that your wishes are being respected! That's how it should be :-)

 

My 34 week check-up went pretty good. My family threw me my baby shower this past weekend, and I definitely indulged more than I normally do ;-) With that said, I was dreading the scale at this appt! I knew I had probably gained because I had stayed at the same weight for a month, and I had eaten so much over the weekend, but I didn't feel guilty about it...I ate when I was hungry and I listened to my body. So, I get on the scale and the number said 140, so I'd gained 4 lbs in the two weeks since my last appt! Yikes. 

 

I was supposed to have my appt with Kim, but there was a knock at my door and Amy appeared! She told me that Kim is pregnant herself and Amy is helping her balance her load. With that said, my appt was pretty quick because Amy said she was double-booked during the time of my appt. She asked me how things were going, and then she said, "So I see you gained about 4 pounds since the last time you were here...I'm not too concerned because you didn't gain for a month---but just don't do that again!" And then we both laughed because she said it with a smile. I told her, "I think I gain in spurts because the last time I gained, it was a 5 lb. gain and then I stayed there for a month." She said, "This is the time when lots of women go crazy and eat whatever they want because they're closer to the end." And that was really it. I think that weight gain is just her thing, and whatever she says about it now I just let it roll off my back because in my head, I feel like I'm doing just fine. Like WindyCityMom said, I can understand that they're trying to keep their c-section rate low.

 

The rest of the appointment went fine, she asked if I had any questions which I really didn't so that was that! My next appt is on the 26th so I'll keep updating as I go along :-) When I had to do the diabetes screening (which I WISH I would've refused but didn't know if that was an option...I guess I would never know if I didn't speak up!), my iron was somewhat low so Amy asked that I start taking a natural iron supplement. She recommended Floradix Iron and Herbs. I take it twice a day and I will say that I've been taking it for a few weeks and I do feel more alert.

 

I did ask Amy about something I'm thinking of taking as I enter my 35th week of pregnancy. It's made by a company called Mountain Meadow Herbs and it's called Gentle Birth Formula. http://www.mountainmeadowherbs.com/Gentle_Birth_p/g1030.htm

I know someone who had used it and I wanted to check with one of the midwives before I thought about ordering it. Amy said, "I'm not an herbologist so I can't say if it works or not, but because you would be taking such a small amount, I don't see that it could cause any harm. I just don't know if it would help." Since I start week 35 next week, I think I'm going to order it...I've only read mostly positive things about it. I haven't read any negatives...some people have said that they didn't think it helped, but I have yet to read about anyone having negative experiences with it.  Has anyone here heard of this product or have any thoughts regarding it?

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#14 of 15 Old 06-15-2012, 07:42 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klp9868 View Post

I did ask Amy about something I'm thinking of taking as I enter my 35th week of pregnancy. It's made by a company called Mountain Meadow Herbs and it's called Gentle Birth Formula. http://www.mountainmeadowherbs.com/Gentle_Birth_p/g1030.htm

I know someone who had used it and I wanted to check with one of the midwives before I thought about ordering it. Amy said, "I'm not an herbologist so I can't say if it works or not, but because you would be taking such a small amount, I don't see that it could cause any harm. I just don't know if it would help." Since I start week 35 next week, I think I'm going to order it...I've only read mostly positive things about it. I haven't read any negatives...some people have said that they didn't think it helped, but I have yet to read about anyone having negative experiences with it.  Has anyone here heard of this product or have any thoughts regarding it?

 

I took Gentle Birth Formula with the birth of my son.  I started taking it at 36 and used it according to label instructions.  I birthed on my due date, which was huge, since my entire family always has their first at 42 weeks.  I was in labor for 36+ hours, though, and pushed for nearly 4 hours.  Turned out the cord was wrapped, but still...  It's really hard to know what was from the herb and what was just my body/birth, but I have no doubt that it was either Gentle Birth Formula or the acupuncture I did that brought my son out early.

 

(I birthed at West Sub w West Sub Midwives)

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#15 of 15 Old 07-05-2012, 05:30 AM
 
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Hi ladies,

 

I found this thread in a google search for Swedish Covenant Midwifery. Wow, I can't believe some of the experiences you've had- esp. the insensitive comments about weight gain. I was very lucky to have had both of my other pregnancies/births in Oregon with amazing midwives. Now I'm pregnant again and was looking for a practice. I am hoping that SC will work out for me. I have to say that I met two of the midwives (Rosemary and Hannah) at another location (Wilson & Broadway); this was not prenatal, but to get an IUD removed and a pap. Anyway, I guess they do hours at other offices too and I had a very positive feeling about both of them. I'm hoping that they are part of the regular team but I don't see their names listed on the staff link on the SC midwifery page. Anyway, now that I'm pregnant I need to go in for my first appointment. I'm eager to find out if these great midwives also work at the main location. If not, I may opt to see them where they work because I like them that much. I'm excited and nervous too about my first appointment. I've never had to see midwives in a hospital/medical setting so I hope it's ok. It seems from what I've heard, SC is our best option in this area. I understand that other practices are much more medicalized. Sorry if this is meandering. I just wanted to chime in. 

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