I am new to Fargo and have begun the task of researching doctors and midwives in the Fargo area. This is my first child and it's my mission to have a natural birth. I want to use homeopathy during labor and "opt out" of the recommended vaccinations, especially the one that's recommended 12 hours(!) after birth.
I'm having a hard time finding reviews or recommendations online. Does anyone have a resource to recommend? Or does anyone have any personal recommendations to share?
I'm focusing right now on Sanford Hospital or Essentia Health (which has midwives on staff), however, I am open to other suggestions.
I have no idea what the climate is like at Sanford or Essentia. Can anyone please provide any assistance??
Although my women friends speak of Essentia very highly over Sanford (for women's services) my personal experience is that even with the midwives at Essentia, it's probably more like a medicalized hospital environment than a natural birthing center environment. It's very nice there--private, nice rooms, indescribably friendly and supporting birthing staff, and they do have jacuzzi tubs in some of the rooms but you're not allowed to birth in the tub. I don't think they will let you go without an IV while laboring (though may be possible they're willing to accept only the hep lock and hook you up in the event you need it, I didn't press them on that issue). My impression is they assume everyone wants an epidural and my experience is that they will ask you at every opportunity why you're not having one. Friends who have birthed there were pressured to start pitocin because their labors were going over 8 hours (though I think they've had OBs not a midwife).
So, I guess it depends how natural you're looking for. My midwife doesn't criticize my desire not to do any extra testing. I haven't asked if they will honor my wishes to not do (ones I deem to be) unnecessary meds/vaccinations on a newborn so I can't say how they will react to that. I will definitely fight them on the meds/vaccinations that they give as a precaution against diseases they fear baby could get from me during birth that can test me for (I'm not anti-vax, just anti "it's easier to just do it this way than to look into things before we pump you with drugs"). They seem to be willing to accept declining pain meds/epidurals (but everyone you see that day might ask when you're having your epidural and it gets annoying). Even the midwives will force you to birth on your back. You can labor all day however you want, but when it comes time to catch a baby they will literally put you back in bed (). If your labor isn't fast, I don't know if you would have to fight with them to not have pitocin or if my lady friends just went with whatever the doctors suggested and the midwives would easily honor your request.
I don't know about Sanford's Website, but Essentia's has gone to poop since they switched from Innovis to Essentia. They used to have a lot of information online about the birthing center online and now nothing. The wayback machine gives you access to some of it, but it might be easier to just schedule a tour. http://web.archive.org/web/20100612184043/http://www.innovishealth.com/Services/WomensChildrens/BirthingCenter.aspx
(DSD 10yo) (29wks - 2/2012) (1/2013)
Autumngray, thanks so much for this information. It is very helpful and has given me a reality check of sorts. It's very concerning that everything, or some things, could be a fight...I don't want it that way. But I've had to stand up for my self medically on several occasions, so it won't be the first time. Anyway, I will check out the link you provided and continue digging around to see what I can find, while keeping your post in mind. Thanks again; I really appreciate you sharing your information.
Updating since I've birthed at Essentia again since my last post, so that other moms might see a more complete picture:
Essentia will let you labor/birth without an IV/hep lock assuming you have tested negative for GBS. They all seemed pretty shocked by it and made a big deal of "but you'll need one to get an epidural" or "maybe you should get the hep lock just in case," and I learned to say "I know that if things don't work out, I might need to get an IV in an emergency situation" and they left me alone about it. I didn't ask (since it didn't apply) if they would be willing to disconnect the IV (leaving the hep lock) after the abx for GBS-positive mamas.
The midwife should ask whether you want a shot of pitocin after the birth (i.e. not just stab it in you, instead gain your consent first).
The nurse said it was OK not clamping the cord until it stopped pulsing but the midwife was on my case to clamp it after only a minute or two. Your mileage may vary on this one.
My midwife lightly suggested staying home until far into labor, getting the tub ready and getting into it, and then "oops, look, the baby's coming" as an approach to birth in the tub (since it's not allowed). The midwives were trying to gain support from administration to get the money to buy a birthing tub, but when I asked the nurse how the surveys were going she said that not many people are interested in having a birthing tub, so I don't know if that will eventually happen or not.
When I was admitted the nurses wrote big marks on their documents to not give baby shots/eye drops/etc. Since I was being selective, they crossed off EVERYTHING and came back to verbally talk to me before they did anything. I assume that was to avoid any accidents.
I didn't push the continuous monitoring issue because I felt mentally prepared to tell them to stfu if they didn't like the readings, so I don't know where their line is on monitoring.
Again they would not let me push in any position but on my back even though it was an uncomplicated birth this time. I kept a straight face, in other positions, until I couldn't any longer and then they literally forced me onto my back. Luckily for me that was only about 2 real pushes so it wasn't a huge issue but I can see that legitimately being a sticking point for some ladies.
My midwife uses her fingers to do the necessary stretching, but the on-call midwife for my second birth used a massaging device (I wasn't a fan).
My midwife was enthusiastic about my goal to do Hypnobabies. The on-call midwife didn't seem to care for the idea. In the end, no Hypnobabies happened (only about 2 hours from the time I woke up with the start of contractions to the time baby was born--so the rush of getting ready, to the hospital, checked in, etc. left no time to think about Hypnobabies). This is just to say that the midwife could make a difference on that front.
It felt like an eternity from the time baby emerged to when they finally put her on my chest. DH says it wasn't long but in my mind it took more than just a few seconds of suctioning her nose and mouth to get her to me. They (eventually) did do it, though, and they let me keep baby there for a while--I was the one who finally decided they could wipe her down a bit while I rinsed off in the shower. If my memory is correct, they just wanted to do a well-baby check by the 2 hour point, and even that wouldn't require her leaving the room (they brought in a baby warmer for that). She was with me in the room for our whole stay with the exception of when they administered the hearing test.
I checked out at the 24-hour point, which they gave me no hassles over. I don't know if they would "allow" anything sooner without jumping through hoops.
Their celebration dinner is disappointing. Not that it was a reason in choosing their facilities, but we were amped to have the advertised filet mignon, but instead got a tiny sirloin. So it goes. :-)
(DSD 10yo) (29wks - 2/2012) (1/2013)