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Hi, I am a first time mom considering whether to deliver at Special Beginnings in Arnold or at Mercy with Kathy Sloane's group. I want a natural birth and would prefer not to be in a hospital, but am willing to consider it. I have gotten a lot of input about Special Beginnings so am more interested in hearing about delivering with Kathy. What is her c-section rate? How long will she let you go before she induces? How much choice/flexibility are you permitted in your delivery? Do they encourage skin to skin contact immediately following birth? Is it true that there is only one room with a tub and unlikely you will get it?<br><br>
I'd love any advice or recommendations for either place, or anywhere else that you have had a great experience in the Baltimore area. Thank you!
 

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I delivered with Kathy in July 09. If I have another, I'll try at home, although I had a very good experience. You can go digging in this forum for a couple of very similar questions.<br><br>
What is her c-section rate? You'll have to ask her I think, but the office manager couldn't tell me.<br><br>
How long will she let you go before she induces? Kate told me they would monitor closely after 40 weeks, but they don't have a particular gestation where you HAVE to be induced.<br><br>
How much choice/flexibility are you permitted in your delivery? I got most of what I wanted. Kathy won't deliver on the floor. If you want to squat, you need to be on the bed. Kathy won't let you deliver in the tub unless she has seen you had clear waters. She broke mine at 9 cm since I wanted to deliver in the tub.<br><br>
Do they encourage skin to skin contact immediately following birth? I wanted the baby on my chest in the tub. Kathy would not allow it. She suctioned the baby gently while keeping her torso under the water. I had to sit up and hold DD in this odd position, with only her head above water, until DH took her while I got out of the tub.<br><br>
Is it true that there is only one room with a tub and unlikely you will get it? I think there are two tubs. There is a pretty good chance of getting a tub I think.<br><br><br>
I think you should consider how long you want to be in the birthplace after delivery. We were out in 30 hours, but we really pushed. The norm is 48 hours, more if the babe is born during the night.<br>
Good luck, and congratulations!
 

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Thank you! I think you are right about thinking about how long we want to stay in the birthing place, but I am not sure of the answer. My intuition is that I will be happier at home where I am in control and not worrying about every move the nurses make, etc (as well as having to eat the food). But, as it is our first time we don't really know. Are there any things you suggest we consider to answer this question?
 

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Kathy, Kate and Bayla do periodic "meet and greet" sessions where they chat and answer questions with folks considering their practice. I went to one and found it really helpful and I chose to switch to them. (I had started with an OB but wanted a more nurturing care provider that would support natural birth). If you call, they should be able to tell you when the next one is.<br><br>
I delivered my first baby with Kathy 2 months ago. It was a drug-free waterbirth and I consider it a very positive experience. I plan to return to them when we have a second child.<br><br>
I asked a lot of questions about induction and I was told that they will ask you to do a non-stress test at 41 weeks and then increase the frequency of the NSTs if you hit 42 weeks, but that there is no specific cut-off. However, I delivered at 39w4d so I didn't actually experience that stuff firsthand.<br><br>
There are 2 rooms with tubs and I'm told that midwife patients get priority.<br><br>
Feel free to PM me if you have more questions. I'd be glad to talk more, or send you my birthstory if you're interested.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ruffgirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15394512"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Hi, I am a first time mom considering whether to deliver at Special Beginnings in Arnold or at Mercy with Kathy Sloane's group. I want a natural birth and would prefer not to be in a hospital, but am willing to consider it. I have gotten a lot of input about Special Beginnings so am more interested in hearing about delivering with Kathy. What is her c-section rate? How long will she let you go before she induces? How much choice/flexibility are you permitted in your delivery? Do they encourage skin to skin contact immediately following birth? Is it true that there is only one room with a tub and unlikely you will get it?<br><br>
I'd love any advice or recommendations for either place, or anywhere else that you have had a great experience in the Baltimore area. Thank you!</div>
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I'd be glad to email you my "Spectrum of Caregiver Choices" that illustrates the range of caregiver and birth location options available to birthing women and the different types of midwifery care available. I also have the Maryland hospital cesarean rates if you are interested.<br><br>
-Barbara Stratton<br>
ICAN of Baltimore co-leader<br>
ICANofbaltimore @ comcast.net
 

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I birthed with Kathy in Feb. 08. I gather from things I've heard that some policies may have changed, though I've not asked Kathy so I'm not sure.<br><br>
I had a generally positive experience. I labored in the tub and attempted a waterbirth, but I found the tub uncomfortable for pushing. It's surrounded by walls on three sides, and I really wanted to be leaning forward over the side, which just wasn't possible.<br><br>
Kathy was able to secure a tub room for me, but not for the mom who birthed before me.<br><br>
This time around I'm having a homebirth with a CPM.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>ruffgirl</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15395676"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">My intuition is that I will be happier at home where I am in control and not worrying about every move the nurses make, etc (as well as having to eat the food).</div>
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Whew, you can say that again! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br>
Not only did the food not taste very good, it wasn't even nutritious!!! I felt deprived of fiber, veggies & protein! I was astonished. Of course, my Mom said it's probably "Standard American Diet" (SAD!) because if it were healthier fare, most patients wouldn't eat it. She's probably right. I had my DS at Upper Chesapeake, but I suspect hospital food is pretty similar everywhere.<br><br>
The bed itself was also very uncomfortable for sleeping, not to mention the disturbances of the nurses.<br><br>
I was GBS+ and didn't get any antibitoics, so I was stuck there 48 hours. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/irked.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="irked"> So I agree, going home ASAP is a good thing!
 

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I am delivering at Mercy with Kathy Slone's practice. I switched to them in February and I'm really glad I did. I haven't had my baby yet, so I can't answer some of your questions, but as far as the induction thing... I am 3 days past my due date and no one has brought up the i-word. I have my first NST this Monday, the day I turn 41 weeks. They were relaxed about it and initially suggested scheduling it for the end of next week, but for my own peace of mind I wanted to do it earlier.<br><br>
When I switched to the midwives from my OB in February, my due date had been 5/17 based on an early ultrasound. Kathy felt that my LMP due date, 5/10, was more accurate for various reasons. I was apprehensive about it but she and Katie both assured me that they do not have a deadline and they will take my other due date into consideration if I go really late. So I am not worried about them trying to force an unwanted induction on me.<br><br>
Mercy does have 2 tubs, and it is my understanding that they will hold them for the midwifery patients whenever possible. I would definitely recommend that you take a tour there and see if for yourself. I also second the recommendation to attend the meet and greet session at Kathy's office-- I found it very helpful.<br><br>
I toured Special Beginnings as well and really liked it. I think they are both fantastic and I feel lucky to live in an area where I had more than one option for natural childbirth. In the end I just felt more comfortable with Mercy and with Kathy, Katie and Bayla. Because of the due date discrepancy and my family history, I have had a strong feeling all along that I will go to at least 42 weeks. SB automatically transfers you to AAMC after 42 weeks. For me, if I'm going to be delivering in a hospital anyway, I would choose Mercy. It's much closer to me and I feel comfortable there having taken several classes and tours. So that was my biggest factor. There are some things I liked better about SB, but in the end I just weighed my pros and cons and went with Kathy. No regrets. Good luck!
 

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I guess I can't really answer all of your questions, exactly, but I wanted to throw my two cents in.<br><br>
I have been a regular gyn patient of Kathy Slone's practice for 9 years now, and delivered my baby, my first, in January with Bayla at Mercy. Needless to say, I feel very comfortable with the practice in general and I could not be happier with my birth experience.<br><br>
Everyone that worked with me read my birth plan and carried it out. I felt completely in control of my fate. No one asked me if I wanted drugs, no one told me I had to do anything at all. Bayla checked my cervical progression only when I asked (only twice). They didn't break my water, I didn't have any IVs, any fetal monitoring was done with the portable monitor, while I was going about my business. I labored in the tub (which I didn't love), in a rocking chair (which I highly recommend), on the bed, in the halls. I ate and drank the snacks I brought from home. My husband set up his computer and small speakers to play our favorite music in our room. Finally, in the 31st hour of labor, at 10 cm dilated and ready to push, I asked for an epidural. And they said, "We believe you can do this. But you have to believe you can do this. This is not our decision. You are the only one to decide if you need an epidural." I got the epidural and the required IV for 45 minutes and then he was born.<br><br>
After the baby was born, he stayed on my chest until I was ready for him to be weighed and tested. We gave him his first bath, declined the HepB Vax, the erythromycin, and circumcision. No one batted an eye. He never went to the nursery, they came to us. They were super supportive of our breast feeding and encouraged us in that. As soon as it was possible, within the first few hours of his birth, my IV and blood pressure monitors were removed. I was actually surprised about how quickly they were removed! I was up and out of bed just as quickly.<br><br>
The nurses that worked with us were amazing and supportive. They even sent us a card when we got home. Speaking of which, my son was born at 7 in the am on Monday and we were discharged before lunch on Tuesday. Just a little over 24 hours. (I was GBS neg, though, so maybe that makes a difference.)<br><br>
I guess I don't really remember the food being awful. Actually, I hardly remember the food at all. I don't think I ate very much of it. So I guess I wouldn't really hold that against them. Honestly, what hospital has awesome food?<br><br>
I don't know if any of this helps at all, but I will definitely go back to Kathy and Mercy when it's time for round 2. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> Good luck with your decision!
 

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I would just add that I loved Kathy (the other gals are good--just younger---I always feel like a little age in my medical professionals is a good thing!) I had to have a CS (my choice, was not pushed by her) and she was great. Talked DH and I through the whole thing and stayed w/ me while DH went with DS. We didn't want shots or eyedrops and Mercy was fine with that. I did repeat it and DH knew to say "no" as well. food was bad but is there ever really good hospital food?
 

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ok, i haven't used Kathy's practice, but i did have my son at Mercy after my homebirth with another midwife transferred there. during pregnancy, i was really afraid of having to go to the hospital, but it was not at all unpleasant. i made my husband bring us food from home, as others have said- hospital food is just what you would expect, you should plan for that. but the nurses were nice, i didn't even feel pressured into having a c section although i did end up having one... i have continued to see the OB who did my c section, though i plan to switch to Kathy if/when i get pregnant again, and go to Mercy to try VBAC. So that's my 2 cents.
 

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I had a successful trial of labor and VBAC at Mercy with Kathy in 2007. Per hospital policy I had to have IV access and intermittent monitoring. I labored in the room, no pain medication, and was able to move freely-- Kathy was on call, she was great, she stayed with me the whole time, got me a birthing ball. I didn't try the tub. After delivery, I had an internal tear that involved a lot of stitching after my son was born, and that was worse than labor! So my husband held my son for that. But after that he was with us 24/7.<br><br>
I have nothing bad to say about Kathy. I did go for my yearly checkups and 2 of her midwives had moved out of the area and were replaced-- I saw a very very new midwife -- Kate-- and was a little unnerved by her age and lack of experience, to be honest. She did have a good bedside manner though.<br><br>
My experience at Mercy itself was "eh" -- definitely a "city"hospital!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>womancaredoula</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15396577"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'd be glad to email you my "Spectrum of Caregiver Choices" that illustrates the range of caregiver and birth location options available to birthing women and the different types of midwifery care available. I also have the Maryland hospital cesarean rates if you are interested.<br><br>
-Barbara Stratton<br>
ICAN of Baltimore co-leader<br>
ICANofbaltimore @ comcast.net</div>
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I would be very interested in this list. I am currently almost 36 weeks and the baby is breech (after being head down at 31 weeks). Getting very worried and would love to know if I have options other than a c-section if I can't get this little girl to turn.<br><br>
Jane ([email protected])
 

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I had my son, Joey, on Earth Day after my water broke almost exactly 24 hours before (while I was teaching third grade). Because my labor was a full 24 hours, I worked with Kate, Bayla, and then Kathy delivered at Mercy. I was completely satisfied with my experience, even though it did not go exactly as I had planned.<br><br>
I planned for a water birth, but after four hours of pushing in the water, they explained that I may want to consider getting out of the water to help him progress. The water had relaxed me so that the contractions (that were on top of each other) became further apart. Though I could have stayed in the water for pain management, I needed to get out for him to arrive. Throughout the whole process my midwifes and nurses helped me make informed decisions without any pressure. They helped me have the drug-free water-labor I wanted with a successful delivery.<br><br>
Good luck in finding what works for you!
 

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Kathy delivered my baby on October 20, 2009 at Mercy hospital and she did a fabulous job. If and when I have another I will be going back to her practice. Yes, her office looks like a dive, but the practice itself and the care cannot be beat. I do wish they would spruce up their office as I believe that it probably turns off clients who would otherwise use her services. But I believe Kathy is a no nonsense "what you see is what you get" type person and she is not one to have all the superfluous bells and whistles. But she is brilliant and one of the best at what she does -look at her background. This is a place that truly puts the control and education back into the mother's hands. It took me a while to adjust to their style, but I'm glad I did. I found Kathy after going to two ob-gyn practices that did not suit me.<br><br>
I had a 100% natural birth, no drugs and Kathy and Mercy followed my birth plan. You are the person responsible for planning your birth experience. My birth did not go as planned, I initially planned a water birth, but my baby came so fast I did not have a chance to get in the tub. I pushed for 4 minutes. I opted out of HepB, circumsicion (sic) and vitamin K and it was no problem. I also insisted on birthing in the squatting position which is much better than on your back for various reasons.<br><br>
I also loved the Mercy staff. It was very clear that Kathy ran her own show and the Mercy staff very much respected her. The staff were very kind. I had reservations going to Mercy since it was a little out of my way and in Baltimore, but the people there were top notch and I would highly recommend Kathy and Mercy. Don't judge a book by its cover. A lot of those shiny, brand new hospitals and practices with potpourri and lotions in the bathrooms are not going to give you the same care. Go to one of Kathy's informational sessions, she will answer all your questions. GOOD LUCK!!!
 

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It seems like everyone has had a great birth experience with Kathy's practice, but I'm wondering if and what your experiences have been regarding prenatal care?<br><br>
As a GYN patient of the office, I had to wait nearly two months to schedule my annual exam (no biggie, since I'm low-risk, but I was concerned at the time b/c I was having postcoital bleeding). I have never seen Kathy - just her younger partners - and have always felt the exams were polite and short. No different than any OB I've gone to in the past and certainly similiar to an OB's office in that noone bothered to call me w/ my test results. I will say that after I had some bleeding after sex, I did get to speak with Kathy and she was very knowledgeable.<br><br>
Fast forward and I am now about 10 weeks pregnant. I called their office the first day I tested positive. I feel as if I've been managing my entire first trimester with Kim (their office manager, a true gem!). I had to ask specifically about getting progesterone and hcg levels checked (I'm over 35 and have a hx of miscarriage), had to call again to have them schedule the ultrasound they never followed up with me about and then never heard back about the ultrasound results even though the ultrasound tech diagnosed a subchorionic hematoma (try googling it and you're basically left to think you could miscarry at any time).<br><br>
I was eagerly awaiting my first prenatal visit at 9+ weeks, but was hesitant b/c the only time they could give me does not fit in w/ my lifestyle (I work night shift at a hospital and need to sleep between the hours of 9a-2/3p). I took the appointment b/c it was the only thing they had to offer and sure enough my alarm didn't go off that day. I called them 15 minutes into my scheduled appt, apologizing profusely, and asking when I might be able to reschedule. To my surprise, I heard one of the midwives complaining loudly in the background while Kim tried to find a suitable appointment for me. I still don't have an appointment and fear I might be well into my second trimester before they can accomodate me. Seems to me like their practice is too busy and with one of their midwives going out on maternity leave soon, it won't get much better.<br><br>
I was very irritated by the lack of attention to my care and their inflexibility in appointment availablity (probably again because they either have too many patients or not enough staff (or both)). Frankly, I am thinking of ditching the practice altogether and finding a new midwife who has a bit more time to devote to my care. I'm sure the birthing experience is wonderful, with individualized attention from the midwives, but I'm also looking for a practice that can provide a similiar quality of care during my prenatal appointments.<br><br>
Just wondering if others had similiar experience during their prenatal course? For the record, I'm not expecting any other OB or midwife practice to be any different, which is why I'll likely deliver at a birth center or at home.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>baltimoremomtobe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15781925"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I'm sure the birthing experience is wonderful, with individualized attention from the midwives, but I'm also looking for a practice that can provide a similiar quality of care during my prenatal appointments.</div>
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I completely agree. With the frequency of PP visits, if the office staff are unhelpful, and/or wait times are long, apts difficult to get, etc. then that is really worth considering.<br><br>
Not sure where you're located, but that was one of the many things I LOVED about the Susquehanna group at Upper Chesapeake. I usually waited in the office waiting room 5 min or less. Then a nurse would take my weight, BP, sometimes resting heart rate, have me pee in a cup, then I'd sit in the room another 5, maybe 10 min before the MW came in. Awesome! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> & it was that way very consistently.<br><br>
They even managed to squeeze me in last min a few times when I called the same day (once at 41W4D when I decided I wanted to try having my membranes swept, and once PP when I was concerned about my 1st degree tear not healing properly.)<br><br>
I also never had problems getting good apt times (for me, either first thing in the morning, or lunch time since my office was close.) They see patients at their office attached to Upper Ches hospital in Bel Air as well as in Havre de Grace (but births are only at Upper ches.)<br><br>
I really think that's an important thing to consider in a practice. I totally agree with you.<br><br>
Of course, you said you're interested in HB - so definitely go for it! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/thumb.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="thumbs up"> I'm planning one myself with Karen Webster (based in Elkton.)
 

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Hi baltimoremomtobe,<br><br>
I'm sorry to hear you've been having those troubles! I'm seeing Kathy et. al for my prenatal care and I haven't had any of the difficulties that you've described. Indeed, Kim (admin person) has been especially helpful in getting letters for me for jury duty (I was able to get it postponed indefinitely because of my bad "morning" sickness) and air travel (I'm on injectible blood thinners so I needed a note to take syringes on airplane).<br><br>
Unfortunately, I don't have any advice for you, I just wanted to let you know that I've been having a good experience there thus far...<br><br>
Best of luck!
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>baltimoremomtobe</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15781925"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">It seems like everyone has had a great birth experience with Kathy's practice, but I'm wondering if and what your experiences have been regarding prenatal care?</div>
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My 1st prenatal (at 20 weeks because I switched from an OB) was longer- maybe 40-45 min with Kathy? and much more thorough than my OB. She asked me lots of questions about my medical history and DH's and thoroughly answered all my questions.<br><br>
Subsequent visits were much shorter- more like 10 min with the MW. However, if I had a question, I felt like they always took the time to answer it really thoroughly. I was hesitant to switch to them because of the sense that their practice was swamped with patients. It did seem like the schedule was pretty packed, but at the same time, I always felt like they were able to be fully present with me when it was my turn for an appointment.<br><br>
But if you feel like it isn't the care that you are looking for, then I recommend switching. I finally landed with them after first trying an OB, and another MW group...it was inconvenient to get my records transferred between 3 places, but I'm so glad I did because I finally felt comfortable with my care. There's nothing wrong with looking around to find a better fit, and I'm sure it would feel good to find a provider that really matches what you are hoping for in terms of your prenatal care and birth.
 
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