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Giving birth in Jacksonville, FL

11476 Views 26 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  jdsmit21
I am due in June, and am researching options for childbirth in Jacksonville. As my husband is Navy, I am covered by Tricare. From my understanding, I will need to switch to Tricare Standard to get them to pay for me to have a birth at home or at a birthing center. I plan on making this switch after my 20 week appointment at the end of January.

In the meantime, considering options...I am not sure I want to go the home birth route...I think I would rather do a birthing center. We live in a very small place, without a working bath tub, and I want the option of a water birth, if possible. However, I'd take a home birth over a birth at the Naval Hospital any day.

The most important thing to me is to be surrounded by people who are supportive, not those who will push their birthing methods on me, try to bully me into having drugs, etc. My prenatal experience at the Naval hospital this far has been extremely sub par, and I am fed up with it.

Does anyone know of any birthing centers or CNM's in this area?
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Sharon Schmidt and Hope Terrell. They are awesome. I've had one baby with them and then an unassisted after that (we moved back to Jax a few days before my due date with my last pregnancy). We are going back to Sharon and Hope this time around. I'm due in July. They also have an yahoo group MOMSGroupJax.

They have a birthing center and privledges at St. Lukes in case of transfer. St. Lukes is by far the most preferable hospital if you ever have to transfer care.
I second Sharon. I've only seen her for a pre-conception consultation, but she was so positive and supportive, I felt a great deal of trust in her just from that one meeting.
Is it possible to give birth in a hospital with a midwife versus a doctor? It's not that I mind the hospital setting so much. It's just that I do not trust doctors and nurses. I just watched the documentary called 'The Business of Being Born', and it talked about how doctors will tell you they need to do something, because that's what's best for the you take the drug or allow them to do whatever to you because you want a healthy baby. Can I actually go to say, St Lukes, and have a midwife deliver me there? Or do I have to do a home birth if I want a midwife?
Hi! I'm pregnant in Jax and due in June as well.

Is it possible to give birth in a hospital with a midwife versus a doctor?
Sharon and Hope are the only independent midwives in town, and I don't think they deliver in hospitals, although they do have a birthing center so you wouldn't have to do it at home if you didn't want to. Their backup OBs, Drs Van Scriver and Slade, have a midwife on staff (Evelyn) and she does participate in deliveries, but I don't think you can see her exclusively. It's a whichever-of-the-three-are-on-call type of thing.

You should call Fruitful Vine and sign up for their next Meet the Midwife. DH and I are going tomorrow night. I want a midwife for the same reasons you do, but I'm afraid they won't accept me as a patient because I have high blood pressure. If not, I'll continue going to Dr. Van Scriver's office; I've heard many good things about her practice here on MDC and IRL.
I will look into the 'Meet the Midwife'. I did not realize they had a birthing center. I saw on their web site though, that they are CPM's, not CNM's, so I am not sure Tricare will cover their birthing center.
they are CPM's, not CNM's, so I am not sure Tricare will cover their birthing center.
They may not have a choice. Excerpt from Florida Statute 627.6574:

(1) Any group, blanket, or franchise policy of health insurance that provides coverage for maternity care must also cover the services of certified nurse-midwives and midwives licensed pursuant to chapter 467, and the services of birth centers licensed under ss. 383.30-383.335.

According to the Fruitful Vine website, Sharon and Hope are Florida Licensed Midwives under chapter 467.

Hope that helps!
See less See more totally sucks but Tricare calls themselves a 'government benefit' instead of 'health insurance.' It's a stupid little loop hole that lets them get out of things like this. Unfortunately Tricare will only allow you to birth at home with a Certified Nurse Midwife. Not sure what the policy is on birthing centers, but I will be finding out. Thanks for all the help thus far.
Try the Florida Friends of Midwives Yahoo group. There is probably someone there who can help you navigate the Tricare loopholes.
Yes, there are midwives that will deliver in the hospital. Sharon and Hope only deliver in their birthing center or at home.

Also, there is a midwife who does homebirths in St. Augustine.
I've heard lots of good things about Sharon and "the Fruitful Vine". As well, they are very very close to St. Lukes if you needed that (which I'm sure you won't) I hope you get your Tricare situation worked out!

I go to Van Scriver's office and am happy with them. They're very supportive of my VBAC I plan on having in May!
I adore Sharon and Hope, and the whole Fruitful Vine experience. Sharon delivered my son 5 years ago, and will be attending the birth of this baby, due in February. If I risk out or transfer, I will see Dr. Van Scriver, Dr. Slade, or Evelyn Brady, who is a CNM.

I am under the impression that there are no CNMs that do homebirths or even births in free-standing birth centers in our area. I do not know if that is a legislative thing, or just happenstance. Likewise, I do not think any of our local hospitals extend privileges to CPM.

In you situation, I would contact Fruitful Vine to see if they could let me birth at the birth center under my insurance. If that failed, I would see Dr. Van Scriver's practice, and plan to deliver at St. Luke's Family Birth Place, which is NOT a birth center, but is not awful. The majority of the nurses there are supportive of unmedicated labors, and all are, at a minimum, familiar with them, as St. Luke's is the top choice for moms risking out of home birth or transfering from home birth or birth center births in labor. Dr. Van Scriver's practice is very natural birth-friendly, as well.

Best of luck!
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Hi! I am also in the Jacksonville Fl area and my hubby is a Coastie so we have Tricare aswell.

I am currently under the care of Dr. Kim Van Scriver whom is the OB who signs off for Sharon (fruitfullvine). Van Scriver would take over if any situation would arise and you had to birth in the hospital (St. Lukes). I have Tricare Prime, but got a referral for Van Scriver because I insisted NAS allow me to have a VBAC+2 CS and they didn't feel comfortable with it so they referred me out. I looked into the fruitfullvine but I am not a candidate because of my 2 cs. I LOVE Van Scriver and her "team" she is SO professional but personable at the same time!! She has one other Dr. there (who is also Super nice) and a midwife (who is a sweet lady as well) I have seen all three throughout this pregnancy (I'm almost 34 weeks) I have only been to St. Lukes hospital because my 3 yr old was sick but they were great!! I have several friends that have had there babies there and loved it! They have also been renovating the birthing center there and should be finished by the end of this is suppose to be very nice!

Also Tricare prime was not going to cover St Lukes but I got it "taken cared of" but they will take Tricare Standard as far as I know. Feel free to PM me with any other questions about the Dr., Tricare, or whatever!

Best wishes!
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I went to VanScriver's office. They are ABSOLUTELY wonderful! They were completely supportive of my NCB plan.

There are 2 doctors - VS and Slade, and 1 midwife, Evelyn Brady. They're all very nice and helpful. They were never overly upset by things. Always spent TONS Of time with me.

Slade was at my delivery, and she is great. I ended up with a C/S after a little over 30 hours of labor, 25 hours after broken waters, and 14 hours at 8cm dilated (3 on pitocin w/ no progress). Dr. Slade didn't suggest Pitocin until I had been stagnant for 9 hours, and then, when I asked she was totally fine with me laboring longer without it. When I still had no progress (another hour of heavy walking, shower, walking, squatting, etc), I agreed to Pitocin. And when that never worked (and I was in insane pain from being in bed - NOT good for me in labor) the c/s.

She was in the hospital for 24 hours AFTER Jack's birth, so I know she wasn't hurrying me along, and even my Bradley instructor agreed that my C was probably necessary. Dr. Slade already discussed VBAC options with me and is completely supportive.

I'd HIGHLY recommend their practice if Fruitful Vine doesn't work out for you.

BTW - does anyone know if you can deliver at FV if you've already had 1 VBAC? I REALLY want a waterbirth, if possible after my next child.
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Originally Posted by kimberjeb View Post

BTW - does anyone know if you can deliver at FV if you've already had 1 VBAC? I REALLY want a waterbirth, if possible after my next child.

When I spoke to Van Scriver for my meet and great apt. (I paid out of pocket to make sure she was what I really was looking for) she made it sound like you can VBAC+1 with FV, but I guess it is on a case by case base...I couldn't even though I have successfully VBAC twice after my first CS (breech) because I had another CS in Sept 2007 for fetal distress and our baby did not make it. So she wouldn't feel comfortable with birthing me...(I really was too scared to have a HB after that but I was desperately looking for someone to support my VBAC+2 (this was before I had found Van Scriver).

~Hope this helps!

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Originally Posted by kimberjeb View Post
BTW - does anyone know if you can deliver at FV if you've already had 1 VBAC? I REALLY want a waterbirth, if possible after my next child.
I believe they have started participation in a study regarding Free Standing Birth Center births and their success rates in first VBACs.

If you have had a hospital or home or birth center VBAC already, they will assist at your home or birth center 2ndVBAC, I know for certain.
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Fruitful Vine will also attend a HBAC for someone with a "proven pelvis," i.e., has had a previous vaginal delivery, provided that KVS signs off on it.
i had Sharon Schmidt with my second child and i cant say anything bad either, i liked her and her assistant Hope who is also a midwife by now.

Florida law states that it has to be a deliver a baby in the hospital.To bypass that you can do a homebirth or a birth in a birthcenter(fruitfulvine is the only one in Jax and very close to both memorial and st Lukes hospital. Your midwife can still be present and supportive at time of delivery in a hospital.Go for a home or birthcenter delivery you will not regret it.

Originally Posted by momlena View Post
Florida law states that it has to be a deliver a baby in the hospital.
Really? Is that a newer law? I had a friend do her first VBAC at Baptist at the beaches under the care of a CNM, but that was a little over 7 years ago.
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