Monday, February 2, 2009

Maternity Service Provider Recommendations (Northeast Indiana)

Now that I'm done with the whole pregnancy/labor thing for awhile (maybe a looooong while, *wink*), I would like to give a shout out to the service providers who I felt were invaluable. If you're looking for care in Northeast Indiana, here are my recommendations:

Birth Matters

D, Velma, and I took childbirth education classes through Birth Matters (click here for their website) and loved them! The courses were thorough and explained everything we should expect during labor, from what my body and emotions would be doing to what kind of technologies would be available to us. We also got hands-on practice for pain relief techniques and points to apply pressure to a laboring woman (this was especially helpful as I ended up having back labor). Hallie & Jordan taught this class and helped us to consider the pros and cons of different treatment options while encouraging us to advocate for ourselves.

D & I also took a breastfeeding class and a newborn care class through Birth Matters that we found helpful. Charts that helped us record our daughter’s feedings and diaper changes through the first week of life were particularly helpful.

Even though these classes cost more than your traditional hospital classes, I’d say they’re worth every penny. I felt that at the hospital classes I’d learn a lot about hospital policy and how to be a good patient, but at these classes I learned how to labor and care for my baby in the way that was right for me. Hallie and Jordan obviously care about maternity care for women and about the individual families they serve. In fact, Birth Matters wasn’t offering a babywearing class during my pregnancy, but Hallie took the time to meet with myself and a friend for coffee to show us how to use various slings and wraps since there wasn’t a class available.

Stephanie VanderHorst, C.N.M. (Auburn OBGYN)

I switched my pre-natal care to Stephanie when I was about 16 weeks pregnant and never looked back! It is because of Stephanie that I was given the opportunity to have a birth experience free of unnecessary interventions that I felt good about. Starting from my very first visit, I knew that Stephanie was going to be the kind of care provider I needed. At my previous OB’s office, I had only actually seen the OB once – I had been seeing various nurse practitioners at my other appointments. The one time I did get to see the OB was a short visit to listen to the Doppler and then get bloodwork drawn.

At every visit I had with Stephanie, she started by asking me what questions I had. She would answer my questions and help me to make decisions regarding my care until I was satisfied. Then she would measure me and listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Though Stephanie planned to attend my birth, she had a back up plan in the event that she couldn’t be there. I met the other midwife in the practice and felt comfortable with her as well. This is in sharp contrast to the OB’s office where I did not know who was going to deliver the baby – whoever was on call would do it, and there were over 15 doctors in the practice. I also knew that Stephanie would be with me during my labor whereas my OB was only planning to come in for the actual birth and the hospital nurses would attend to me during my labor.

Stephanie was also very supportive of my decisions not to use most interventions. I was not required to have an IV, continuous fetal monitoring, or other routine hospital interventions during my labor. Stephanie agreed to intermittent fetal monitoring through a Doppler, which was the most invasive intervention I had to have. For the most part she was content to let me labor at my own pace in my own way, as long as it was safe to do so. I believed I was probably going to go overdue, so I was nervous about being induced, but Stephanie didn’t put pressure on me there either. She was going to wait at least 2 weeks past my due date to induce me, and even then she said we could try several different things before resorting to Pitocin - if we did have to use Pitocin, she said we could hook it up until my body started contracting and then stop the IV to see if labor would commence on its own. Overall, I felt she was my best chance for a natural labor and birth.

Now that labor and delivery are over, I am still sure that I made the right choice by choosing Stephanie to provide my care. I am very pleased with my birth experience and I feel that everything went as well as it possibly could have. I’m grateful that I didn’t have to deal with routine hospital interventions and that I really didn’t even have to advocate for myself during labor because Stephanie was taking care of me the way I wanted to be cared for the whole time.

You can contact Auburn OBGYN, where Stephanie practices, at (260) 927-0035.

Indiana Donor Services

Indiana Donor Services was able to use the umbilical cord and placenta from my pregnancy to collect cord blood and stem cells that can be used for research and medical procedures. I didn’t have any big plans for my cord or placenta anyways, so I feel good that I might have been able to help someone else simply by having my baby and signing some consent forms. If you don’t want to keep your cord or placenta, please, please contact Donor Services at (260) 749- 9105 and talk to them about their donation program. It’s easy and requires almost no effort on your part – Donor Services will take care of almost everything for you.

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