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Seeking suggestions for natural hospital birth

I do believe we can relate with Erin's predicament, moving to Portland - pregnant!, myself included. So, does anyone have suggestions for Erin:

My husband and I are moving to Portland from San Francisco in 3 weeks and we're expecting our first child in August. I had my doula and birth center lined up down here but with the sudden move up north need to start from scratch while keeping up on my pre-natal appts. I'm interested in opinions on a few areas. I want a natural childbirth but we have to use a hospital because none of the birth centers in Portland are listed in "the network" and we have to use our insurance (United Healthcare) plus we don't know what our living situation will be like when it's time for the baby so a homebirth is out. I'd really like a hospital environment that (1) is comfortable & not so clinical, (2) has low intervention/c-section/episiotomy rates, (3) is open to alternative birthing methods (birth balls, birthing bars, tubs, etc), (4) has in-room birthing (no transfer to a different room after delivery), (5) ideally has midwives on-staff as primary care providers. Any idea on doulas that also have midwife training or midwives that are willing to attend a hospital birth as a doula? I really like the midwife model but am under the impression that midwives in hospitals aren't as attentive and have a slightly different philosophy than out-of-hospital midwives. Also, I'd love to have the benefits of midwife pre and post-natal care. Basically, I want the closest thing to a midwife/birth center experience I can get, only in a hospital.


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I can't answer most of your questions, but I can tell you that my experience at Providence Portland Medical Center was very positive. They do not move you to another room after you deliver, which I loved, and I hear that St Vincent's Hospital does. I had a nurse who really looked out for my best interest. My water broke at 6am and by noon I was 1/2c dilated. My doctor wanted to induce since I was GBS+, but the nurse talked her into letting me try misoprostil (sp?) instead of pitosin, and from what I understand it's a much gentler process. I had never heard of it, so I was really glad to have someone looking out for me. One thing you really have to look out for in the hospitals is nurses wanting to give the baby formula ("because they are hungry and your milk is slow in coming in..." Everyone's milk is slow in coming in! That is what brown fat is for!), some slow response if you request a lactation consult, and nurses wanting to put a pacifier in your baby's mouth even if you do not want it. You have to do a lot of advocating for yourself! But a doula and your partner should be able to help you out in those areas if they are aware of them going in. Good luck and welcome to Portland! It's a great place to have a baby!

My sister and I both used the Providence Maternal Care Clinic as our provider, and highly recommend them. They are a great group of certified nurse midwives, and they do have an MD on call in case surgical intervention is needed. You can't pick one particular midwife (you get whoever is on call), so throughout your prenatal appointments, you get to know them all. We loved them! Wonderful women who listened to what I wanted and respected my decisions. The midwives were very involved in the labor process (no tearing!), took lots of time during appointments to answer my husband's and my questions, and they really listened to our underlying concerns. They also provide post-natal care.

Providence PMC does have at least one birthing tub, and I'm pretty sure that balls and bars are available. I thought our nurses were great. I didn't feel any pressure to bottle feed or give a pacifier to our babies. The nurses were very supportive of breast feeding, and a lactation consultant came by a couple of times even though I didn't request it. We were very happy with our decisions of provider and facility.

I've heard great things about Providence, but have been in the Legacy system and had babies at both Good Samaritan and Emanuel. though both were fine, I highly, highly recommend Emanuel. The entire nursing staff was fantastically supportive of my efforts to have a VBAC without drugs (when one of them heard I'd taken fish oil throughout the pregnancy she almost jumped for joy, hehe), were great interacting with my doula (well, except one nurse, but I was there for a *long* time), and were creative in thinking of a hundred ways to help me push so I could avoid another c-section. I think my OB almost cried when we agreed I was not going to get the baby out the regular way. (at this point, I was ok with it, given the high amount of pain I'd been in for the past 12 hours ;)

Both Good Sam and Emanuel typically let mothers recover in their nice, cushy delivery rooms, although with Truman the hospital was packed and I was moved to a smaller room for recovery -- a bummer. let's hope i find a quiet time in July for this baby!

There were birthing balls in both hospitals, and I used a bar with Truman at Emanuel. There are tubs in the delivery rooms, but they're not birthing tubs; although many woman labor in them for a time.

I'll leave it up to others for recommendations on good midwives/doulas, although my OB was great -- Dr. Kehoe from Everywoman's Health -- and I've heard good things about other doctors there. one of the nurses was heard to say that Dr. Kehoe had "the soul of a midwife" :) Emanuel *does* work with midwives regularly.

The midwife practice at OHSU (oregon health and science university) is great. They have a low c-section rate and are happy to have people use birthing balls, the birthing tub, etc.

I had a very good experience with them. I ended up participating in a focus group on hospital births, and all the women who had used the OHSU midwives (maybe 6 of us) had positive things to say.

You can use OHSU midwives for routine gyn care as well.

Also, if you give birth at Providence Portland, you get to attend Mary Breithaupt's weekly new mom's class for free, and there's a lot of wisdom and support in that room.

As far as I know, OHSU is the only Portland hospital that offers waterbirth. (I believe the Legacy Salmon Creek facility in Vancouver now offers it as well, though.) Many of the OHSU midwives have homebirth backgrounds - their bios are all posted online. Best of luck with your move and your new baby!

I also had a fantastic experience at Providence as a facility and with the nurses- there is a labor tub (bring your essential oils!), balls, bars, no transfer of rooms. A lot of your experience, of course, will be dependent on the person who ends up delivering your baby (my very midwifey physician made it just in time, luckily, because she used her fingers to stretch my cervix the last 1 cm rather than make me wait, as the on-call was going to make me do), but I can speak glowingly about the overall experience at the hospital itself. I did have a negative experience with their lactation support, but you could probably line up a lactation consultant through a resource like Zenana Spa (amazing, fabulous women - and phone support is free!) if that's something you feel you'll want (and truthfully, I got a lot of apologetic response when I complained about the lactation staff later, and I had multiple issues that made breastfeeding a bigger issue than many others experience.) And the pre-baby classes and post-baby groups are really great. Good luck with your transition to the northwest!

Please know that anyone can attend Mary's moms group at Providence, you don't have to have given birth there. And Cat is right, it's a terrific, supportive group.

More praise for Providence Portland! I had my baby girl there in February and was impressed with the facility, the staff and high level of service. They certainly support natural childbirth and have all the essential amenities. And get this--the nurses can read minds! Two minutes after I gave birth, they handed me a chocolate milk shake! Not bad, eh?

I am also thoroughly enjoying the New Mom's Group hosted by Mary B.

I had a wonderful experience with the OHSU midwives! You can labor (and birth) in water if you like, there was no pressure whatsoever in any way. I almost couldn't believe i was in a hospital - the midwives and nurses were supportive and attentive but also non-intrusive and mellow.

My prenatal care with them was wonderful too. The only thing I didn't like was the commute up the hill(they were doing construction at the time and traffic was sometimes a mess), but hey, now you can take the tram!

Unfortunately many of these decisions have to be made based on insurance...best of luck and welcome to portland.

I had both of my girls at OHSU through the midwives at the Center for Women's Health. I was impressed that they answered almost all of my questions about how things would be done during labor and birth with, "What would you like us to do?" I had a water birth there with one daughter -awesome! This option is only open to patients of the midwives, not ob-gyn patients. In keeping with my wishes, no one even mentioned epidurals, interventions, formula, pacifiers... (although all that is available of course, if you choose or need it). After the fact I found out they even have cloth diapers if you request them.

Thank you so much for all of these responses! I'm feeling better about our situation and know we'll have a great experience in our new town.

I think you win all ways around. I haven't heard any stories about any of the staff in any of the hospitals in Portland not respecting the mother's wishes. That is to say, Portland is very mother friendly. I had my first child at Legacy Emanuel with a midwife who was fantastic. She was from Legacy Midwifery. It was a 15-hour unmedicated labor and there was not even a single mention of the word epidural. They were also very welcoming of our doula and brought out all the birthing "toys." I did end up needing assistance pushing my daughter out as her head was so big (!) and the high risk dr. was there with the vacuum in no time flat -- so I was grateful that I decided to have the birth in the hospital as it would have meant an emergency transfer while hemorraging. My youngest was born at Legacy Good Sam which was also an excellent experience. This time it was with an OB, not a midwife but she was equally caring and respectful. Congratulations and good luck!

Call the Providence Maternal Care Clinic sooner rather than later (if you decide to go this route) - they only take a limited number of moms-to-be per month to ensure that you get full attention from their midwives.

I also highly recommend the Midwifery Clinic at OHSU's Center for Women's Health. I had an amazing water birth there and all of the staff were supportive of my choices. Our doula was also impressed by the staff there. They were even able to use a doppler to check the heartbeat under water! Only their patients can use the waterbirth option though.
It's not like a spa (kind of clinical with a big tub in the middle of the room), but I was happy to have the waterbirth option. They did move us upstairs after the birth, but that didn't matter to me at all.
Plus, the Center for Women's Health is now in the beautiful new Kohler Pavillion (fancy sculpture patio and amazing views) so appointments are nice and there is plenty of easy parking.

Let me echo the Providence Maternal Care recommendation. The midwives are great and very supportive about birthing naturally. Plus, Providence has great milkshakes that you can order at 3 a.m.

another providence recommendation. i used the PMCC and i really did like them - although if there is a next time, i would probably choose to have one midwife as my care provider rather than a rotating group. my birth ended in cesarian due to a lot of reasons but they were really supportive the whole way through and really let me lead as much as i could after 2.5 days of labor. they were really supportive of breastfeeding and a number of nurses who knew i wanted a natural birth checked in on me afterward even though i wasn't their patient. they all told me that next time (at the time, i was thinking, are you kidding me? i'm never doing this again!) that VBAC was an option and did happen for a lot of moms.

I had a great experience with Providence Maternal Care Clinic, the midwife that attended my birth honered all I wanted. I was able to do most of my labor in the tub ( I guess the hospital was empty that day) and then use a birthing ball when I felt I wanted to try it. My mother who doesn't speak ANY English was there with us and the midwife kept trying to do her best to have my mother be part of all and feel included. When the moment to push came the midwife did her best to talk to me in Spanish ( my native language and the only one I found myself speaking during birth). Great experience. They were amazing!

Hi Erin,
Congratulations on your baby and upcoming birth! AND Welcome to Portland!

Your situation is not uncommon, we've worked with many moms who have moved from the Bay Area mid pregnancy--you'll find many of them here on Urban Mamas.

First you are in luck, as Portland, we believe is the most birth friendly city in the US. Fit Pregnacy agrees--voting us as the best place to birth!

As doulas we've enjoyed a very supportive environment for our clients in all of the hospitals-- but a few of our favorites include:

Providence Portland
Located in NE Portland off 52nd Ave.
--Maternal Care Clinic Midwifery Group 503-215-6262
--Karen Parker Linn, CNM 503-215-6480

Legacy Good Samaritan (off NW 23rd)
Legacy Emanual Hospital (off NE Vancouver):
Legacy MidwivesTelephone: 503-413-4500
Dr. Carol Suzuki 503-274-4800

OHSU Midwifery Services: 503-418-4500

For more birthing options see our site:


Jesse Remer Henderson, CD, LCCE
Mother Tree (DONA) Certified Birth Doula
Lamaze Childbirth Educator
Mother Tree LLC, Founder
Portland Family Time Bank, Founder-Coordinator
MomsRising.org Organizer!

Mother Tree Doula Services
1606 SE Clinton St
Portland, OR 97202
503-343-9911 Mother Tree Main Line
503-407-4732 mobile

Standing for a woman's Mother Nature in birth and beyond!

Right, you can still go to Mary's class if you choose another hospital, but you have to pay. Worth it, though.

You may want to consider that although St. Vincent's requires you to change rooms, they have a neonatal intensive care nursery in case the baby needs a bit of TLC. Providence Portland does not, so if baby has problems, they must be moved to a different hospital.

Emanual and OHSU also have level III nurseries.

Thankfully, my babies never needed level 3 care, but it was important to me to know all the options.

I love the midwives at this practice


and they work primarily out of St Vincent's hospital. They advocate movement during delivery (birthing balls, bars, etc), although there is a room change after delivery. If you're close to St. V's it's definitely worth looking into. Good luck!

I had 2 great births at Providence Portland and went to the Maternal Care Clinic for both pregnancies. I did have a dose of fentanyl with both births but only because I asked for it, medication was never pushed on me, also no episiotomy. The rooms are very comfy and the milkshakes are yummy.

congratulations! i also moved to portland whilst pregnant, and was looking for the same experience you are, and under the similar constraints. i went to OHSU and really liked their midwives, esp. ellen tilden and polly malby -- they were both very easygoing and supportive of my wishes. i chose OHSU primarily because they are the only hospital that offers waterbirth.

unfortunately, the night that i gave birth, OHSU was FULL, something that rarely happens, but does since OHSU is the primary site for delivery for those who aren't alreasy affiliated with a hospital. so i delivered at Providence...they don't do waterbirth, but they have a generous jacuzzi tub that i labored in, and the midwives i met on staff were wonderful. it was nice to not have to move rooms after i birthed! i was a bit less impressed with the nursing staff, and would definitely recommend doing your research before and maintaining a firm hand vis-a-vis your choices regarding your baby...one nurse was really flipping out because my son hadn't eaten for several hours after his first feeding and was demanding that we try to MAKE him -- the poor tyke was tired out and sleeping! and so was i! but otherwise, i had a very good experience there.
best of luck!

Just to add my two-cents: I had my first at Emanuel and have very positive memories. I had my second at St Vincent's (an insurance change did not allow Emanuel) and had a much less comfortable experience -- everything from the set-up of the rooms to the food to some of the policies made me wish I was at Emanuel.

I am overcome with appreciation for all of this input - I already feel like I have a "community" up there. I guess it really does take a village.....

i adore ohsu!!! the midwifery program is first in the nation! my first child was born there and our experience was perfect. we had a tub for waterbirth but ended up delivering on a bed (my choice, of course). i had my second child in a birthing center in another state (which in midwifery circles is generally considered gentler and more ideal) and really saw no difference in the level of compassion and expertise in the two experiences. the birthing center was a bit more comfy than hospital, but that's to be expected. good luck, portland is a great place for natural birth support!

Another endorsement for Providence Portland. We live in SE Portland and I knew that if I went with Providence St. Vincents that I would go into labor at 5 p.m. on a Friday and end up giving birth in the backseat of the car while stuck in rush hour traffic trying to get there. lol.

As it was, I went into labor at about 1 a.m. and went to the hospital at 4:30 a.m. so I had the tub all to myself for most of labor (I was fully dialated by 1 p.m.). I also used the ball, the bar, and walked for a bit around the very quiet maternity ward (although apparently there were 5 other births going on). Because of the odd hours I was there for a shift change so I got to see TWO of the midwives (one of whom was my favorite). The room was great, though the couch was a little small for my 6' husband to nap on. It was nice having my own bathroom, a CD player for music, and pretty decent food (lol at sg - I had a vanilla milkshake within 15 minutes of birth). I was never offered or told to give a bottle to my baby. I was encouraged to breastfeed often and several people came by to help me with it (I had no clue what I was doing).

The only negative thing I have to say about the whole experience is that they don't let you sleep in the bed with the baby. I understand that this is standard safety procedure but my infant was NOT happy in the hard plastic "warming box" they put her in (bring some blankets for it) and would only quiet down if I was holding her. I would have gotten a lot more rest if I could simply latch her on without having to get in and out of bed, especially considering how sore I was! It wasn't until I got home 48 hours later that I was truly able to rest with my new baby.

Welcome to Portland and happy birthing!

Erin, you have more comments here than you need, but having just delivered my daughter a couple of days ago, I couldn't help but add my own 2 cents. We delivered at St. Vincent hospital, on the Kaiser plan (they have their own doctors and midwives there). I never wanted to go to St. V's because we were aiming for a natural childbirth and I knew this to be one of the more "medicalized" hospitals in Portland, but our daughter had a potential problem that might have required surgery soon after birth so obviously that took precedence (happily, she is totally healthy!). Those worries out there, we had a fabulous experience at St. V's. We requested the midwife on duty (Susan Brewer, who was terrific) to deliver our baby, and brought along our own doula (Tiffany Transue with MotherTree: an absolute gem!), which basically meant that within this hospital in which 98% of women get epidurals, we still had the perfect support for the natural birth we wanted. SO mainly I wanted to echo what others have said that it's the birth "team" you assemble more than the overall epidural/episiotomy/c-section rate that counts, I think.

As for the no-sleeping with baby rule, St. V's has that rule too, and what a pain! What brand new baby will lay happily in a plastic box, as Melissa said? I just flagrantly broke the rule, keeping our baby in bed with me most of the time. Luckily I am a light sleeper so every time someone came into the room I was able to make as if I had been awake all along!

Erin- it looks like you have received many great suggestions and by some serendipity, you and I met at the Japanese Weekend store in San Francisco today and talked about this very topic! I second what people have said - we delivered at Providence St. Vincent and had a great experience, in room delivery, great nurses, they are open to doulas and uses the birthing ball, showers, and other methods readily. I would also recommend Good Samaratian Hospital in NW Portland - I have had several friends deliver there and they had great experiences - they are small and very personal and you don't have to tranfer to a new room after the birth (i.e. your birthing room is where you stay put which is nice)... Good luck with you move!

I would highly recomend Legacy Good Sam. I wanted to have a very natural birth and was given free reign to do so. Due to pregnacy induced high blood pressure, I had to be induced, but other than having to be hooked up to some mobile IV and fetal monitoring, I was allowed to labor as I chose ( I chose no drugs execpt for the pitocen to start my labor, and was never questioned or made to feel that I should consider them). You labor, deliver and complete your stay all in one (very nice, hotel-like) room. There is a nice tub in your room that you can labor in (though not deliver in) as well. I had a doula, and she was accepted and welcomed as part of my labor team. The nursing staff and lactation staff were beyond wonderful. My son was allowed to room in, and he slept with me, no one said he couldn't. I don't think I could say enough wonderful things about the exeperience. PS-if you need a good OB/GYN hook up with Dr. Jenna Murray, she will listen to you and work with you to help you get the kind of birth experience that you want.

I'm happy to see a few recommendations for Good Sam...we will be having our 2nd in August and think we will have the choice between Good Sam and St. Vincent's. Good Sam is closer to our house, and we've also heard great things about it (small hospital so intimate and personal) so we're hoping to go there. I had a quick delivery with my first, so I also have some fears about my baby being delivered in the Vista Ridge tunnel during rush hour traffic if we have to go to St. V's!

If you're looking for an OB, I posted a question last fall about OB recommendations--great feedback from all the urbanMamas! I went with Robin Barrett at Northwest Women's Clinic and I'm enjoying her so far. Good Luck!

i had my first two at st. v's... fine experience, used the jacuzzi tub, moved to a different room, just my husband there...but i just didn't feel "at home". This may seem like an odd expectation, but i might not have described it that way if i hadn't used good sam for my third child. truly, it felt very homey. my birth nurse was phenomenal; they were supportive of my birthing preferences; i used a ball and the tub/shower; and for the grand finale, they were so accommodating of my two other little ones, my mom, my mother-in-law, and my husband being at the birth... truly a great place to go.

...and i'd love to hear what other UMamas think of who should be present at their births...

ohsu...we had a terrific experience, as did a few friends. best to you and your family with the move and the new addition!

What a wonderful web site! Legacy Emanuel Midwifery clinic has a fabulous group of Certified Nurse Midwives who have been practicing for over 20 years now. We have babies having babies. It is a wonderful place to have one of the best birth experiences in a hospital setting. If you are interested please contact me at 503-413-4500 - I am delighted to speak to anyone about the midwifery model of care and to also remind women that CNM's also do well women's exams and birth control - so you don't have to be pregnant to have a midwife.
Every Women deserves a Midwife!

I would not recommend OHSU, they have midwives, but talked a friend into all sorts of interventions & medications that she didn't want. The midwives were friendly, but changed very often & it never felt very personal. I would not recommend. She did not even meet the delivering doctor until the big time. But I know alot about the birthing community in Portland & can recommend several midwives/ doulas to help support you during your labor at the hospital. I would also recommend making a birth plan to share with the hospital upon arrival. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me.

We had both our kids recently at Kaiser Sunnyside, an all midwife practice, and they were wonderful with our "please don't offer drugs" request, and the doc on duty (alwasy an OB on the floor to back-up the midwives)delivered our first with forceps, preventing a c-section. All babies "room in" with the moms in recovery rooms and they are so pro-breastfeeding it's great. I couldn't recommend it more highly. Also, they have a tub for laboring, though you can't deliver in it. Good luck and welcome to Portland! Of course if you don't have Kaiser insurance, it's not available :-( But I can't ever turn down a chance to praise them for our birth experiences there.

regarding doulas who are midwives, birthingway college of midwifery, is a school for homebirth midwives and has many midwifery students who are also certified doulas or are in the process of being certified. the link to their website is: http://birthingway.org/find_a_doula.html
best of luck to you.

Well, this is slightly OT, and I'm going to sound like a pill, but in response to the praise for Kaiser Sunnyside above (Which is legit) I feel compelled to point out the main drawback of that facility: It doesn't have a NICU. Long story short, my daughter had to be transported from Sunnyside all the way over to St. V's -- which refused to make a bed available for ME for 2 nights (I was a recovering c-section; I ended up just checking out of Sunnyside early, against medical advice).

We planned to have a natural and uneventful birth just like the original poster here, and like so many others, but given my own experience, I couldn't in good faith recommend any hospital that didn't have a NICU or wasn't close to one.

I haven't seen anyone else put in a plug for SW Washington Family Birth Center right over the bridge in Vancouver. I chose this facility even though I'm a Portland resident specifically because there's a private whirlpool tub in each room and you stay in the room you give birth in. Also, the birth facility is new and is separate from the hospital and, like my husband said, it's "like a spa." I was able to have a completely natural birth there - no monitor strapped on (the nurse held a stethoscope to my belly when it was necessary to check the baby's heart), not even an heploc. A midwife attended the birth but really let me do my own thing. I have to give a lot of credit for the birth turning out exactly like I wanted to my doulas, Erica and Melissa of Renaissance Child Birth. Good luck!

HI Erin,
It sounds like you have had alot of great suggestions. I wanted to let you know that I used a certifided nurse midwife and birthed two of my children at Adventist Medical Center in Southeast Portland. I had a wonderful experience at the hospital and the staff there. Peggy Hayes was my midwife and I think she is terrific and I continue to see her even though I am no longer pregnant. Adventist keeps you in the same room for labor and delivery and postpartrm. They also have a jacuzzi tub in the room, birthing balls and are absolutely supportive in what you want. I was induced with both of these births but did not have an epidural or any other pain medicine. The nurses seemed surprised by that but were very encouraging.

I also had a baby at St. Vincent, circumstances were completely different, she was stillborn, but the staff was also terrific especially given the situation. My one complaint there was that we had to move rooms after the birth.

Also, I am a in the processs of getting my certification for being a birth doula and would be happy to talk with you if you are interested. I have given birth to three of my own children and attended several others as a doula. Since I'm not certified yet I have a very reduced rate for my services.

Hope all goes well, and welcome to Portland

Erin -- I'm Carye and I manage the Maternal Care Clinic at Providence Portland Medical Center. I would be happy to facilitate a transfer of your care from the office in SF to Portland.

The Maternal Care Clinic is a shared practice of 6 midwives that provide your prenatal care in the clinic and then are with you at the time of delivery. As you've seen above - those births are at Providence Portland Medical Center on the Family Maternity Center floor in the Labor and Recovery rooms.

We are a clinic that is focused on making your birth a positive and empowering event.
We offer a consultation at no cost to come in - see the clinic and to hear more about our midwives and clinic.

Erika McGann is the Patient Relations Representative in the clinic and she can schedule you to come in. Please tell Erika that I have sent you this email.

I know I am a bit late in the conversation but I have to chime in and state that the process of finding a natural hospital birth is not as easy as it seems here. I too am relocating and had the same request and have done extensive research. I heard great things about OHSU midwives but I visited the hospital and was not impressed and was told that there was not a guarantee of a private postpartum room and though it didn't happen much it happen to be happening during the tour. I then toured Good Sam and was quite impressed but when I called the midwife team I learned they only birthed at Emmanuel. I then heard good things about Providence and was finally feeling relieved to settle on a place only to find out they were not accepting September babies. So I am back at square one. I find some comfort in feedback that it is about the team and not the place - though I am an "environment person".

I had a good experience at providence, an all natural bith. Although through pregnancy I did feel a lot of pressure from them to have an epideral, even though I was quite clear I didn't want one! I surprised them by successfully giving birth with no painkillers!
I have heard a lot of good things about Adventist hospital. Although I haven't seen the set up at Adventist, I've heard the environment is very positive, with birthing rooms that are more "home like". I'm sure that you would be able to take a tour and ask questions.
I aswell wanted an at home birth, but wasn't able to afford it through my insurace. I wish you the best of luck with everything and congratulations!

Mandy, my OB office delivers at Good Sam and St. Vincents and they have at least one CNM that practices with them--you might want to call and see if you can get in with her, and then see if you and deliver with her at Good Sam. I saw her last week as my OB was out of town and though it was only a short visit, she seemed great. Her name is Annie Hulme, and she practices with Northwest Women's Clinic. They have offices next door to Good Sam on Lovejoy, as well as an office in Tigard. Good Luck in your search.

Hi Mandy, Yes it has been an interesting research process for the "perfect" hospital. I ended up going with Providence Maternal Care Clinic so am planning on Providence as my hospital barring any unforeseen issues. I guess I lucked out with my due date. However, Good Sam ran a close second because of the environment factor. My plan would have been to hire a doula who was also a midwife or who has training in midwifery so as to feel like I had an advocate that could speak the medical language to the OBs. I will still have a doula and will look for one with midwifery training.

Anyway, feel free to email me if you want any other info from my searches. I think sometimes we have to just put faith into the natural process of labor, birth and delivery and know that our experienCe will be exactly as it should be regardless of how we have it "planned". That being said, good luck with everything! :-)

My husband and I interviewed several hospitals and birthing centers and decided to go out of network.Our insurance covered 85% of hospital births, and 60% at a birthing center. After looking at what hospitals charge, it was less expensive to pay the higher percentage at a birthing center( the Natural Childbirth and Family Clinic). Not to mention the quality of the experience we had. Our cost was about $2,500. This included all prenatal care, ultrasounds, delivery and postnatal care, all administered by the same woman. This allowed a trust and fondness to unfold between us.
The birthing room was homey and beautiful, with a garden and a huge jacuzzi, with the option to have our baby at home if we chose to.
I am 39 years old, and just had my first child. Her birth was an amazing and empowering experience. I had less than four hours of labor and didn't even push. She just flew out of me.
I am convinced that my delivery was so easy because of the dimly lit, gentle, nurturing environment.
Unfortunately, my midwife/naturopathic physician just moved away. But I have heard great things about the other midwives at the Natural Childbirth and Family Clinic.
Alma Midwifery was also a beautiful birthing center. as for hospital births, I have heard good reviews of Portland Adventist and OHSU.
If you want any of the info I have, you can email me @ elciel@comcast.net
Have a wonderful birth!
PS I am from San Francisco, too! xo--Lea

Just had my baby with the Providence Maternal Care midwives and have also been very impressed with their expertise throughout my pregnancy and also at the hospital. I wasn't pushed into anything I wasn't comfortable with. And I found having a midwife meant that they were more available and hands on then my last pregnancy with a ob/gyn. Providence, by the way, was wonderful. Bars, balls, the jacuzzi was out of operation but apparently it's normally available. The nurses were all helpful and understanding. We had a great experience.

i have given birth two times at ohsu and was very impressed with the food and the facilities.. not to sure about the nurses... im not a fan of them or the midwifery clinic i choose the second time around.

i am considering delivering at adventist this time but am scared to go somewhere intirelly new and foreign to me... i dont know which doctor to pick at adventist... im not so sure i want a midwife this time and i think i want to try a male doctor. any advice is great... ive seen the rooms at adventist and well is the food that great do they accomodate you in the middle of the nt with sandwiches if you need one?

Nichole -- I would highly recommend Dr. Sharon Wong at Adventist. I've seen her for nearly 10 years and am due with my first in the spring. I already feel a huge sense of relief knowing she's my doctor -- she's phenomenal!

I'm due in December and I'm excited to hear that Legacy Emanual hospital now has waterbirth! Happy to be going with its midwifery program.

I moved to Silicon Valley in the middle of my second trimester. I was fortunate to find Dr. Azad (www.doctorazad.com). She's young, but old-fashioned. She does most her own deliveries, answers her phone calls, and only signs out to women OBs.
She says on her website that her c-section rate is low. So I contacted a friend who's an RN at El Camino Hospital, who then called the nurses on Labor & Delivery, and they confirmed it. The nurses told my RN friend (who then told me) that Dr. Azad sometimes stays at the hospital 5-6 hours at night just to watch a patient who might need a cesarean but she stays and watches them and helps them have safe, natural deliveries. The nurses say she even has gone to do a cesarean and then found the baby was doing okay and the patient was more dilated and has pushed with a patient in the operating room for 2 hours in the middle of the night. That was so reassuring to me, so I went with her.
She was great, I saw her at all my office visits, she came for my delivery and was just wonderful.
What's best, she was so nice, that by the time I had my third child, she felt like family. I couldn't be happier with her!

We are looking for input for the best OB/GYN and/or Midwife at Legacy Emanuel.

This is our third child (due in August) and we are not going back to our previous hospital Meridian Park in Tualatin, which we ABSOLUTELY loved, because our OB is no longer there and we feel it is too far for us to drive as our births are so quick- we almost had our second baby in the car. All of the OB's were great (I got to meet most of them while my OB was on vacation and I specifically liked Dr. Gina Alison) as well as the staff. The facility was great too (you get to stay in the same room from birth to recovery and they have a jacuzzi). They were very supportive of my birth plan and wanting to go natural, if I could, offering hydrotherapy, birthing balls etc. Also, the lactation consultants were incredible everyone there went above and beyond. I am a bit nervous switching because we loved it there so much and would love to stay.

That being said, we have decided to switch to Emanuel for a much shorter drive and because I have had such fast deliveries (praying for the same this time around, you can pray for me too), we thought that we may want to look into just having a midwife. We'd would like suggestions for both, because we are not sure what my insurance (RegenceBCBS) will allow. I have always wanted a water birth and am excited at this possibilty.

We may be open to going to Providence Portland as that is a tad closer (and those choc. shakes sound very tempting- lol), but think it easier as far as paperwork and medical history go to stay within Legacy System.

So give me any suggestions, input, etc. you have please- it has been time consuming trying to find a Dr. and Midwife by reading ratings online and figuring out where they practice. I have two toddlers already!

Thank you and may you be blessed always!

In reading the comments above, it is clearly not an easy process finding a midwife. I have to relay a difficult story that puts a black mark on the Providence Maternal Care Clinic. A very close friend of mine delivered her baby with them and within 3 months of her baby's birth, her midwife, (Wendy Berger CNM) started an affair with her husband that continued for a 1 1/2 years. The mother of the baby just found out that their midwife was having an affair with her husband. This is all a matter of public record because a court case happened between these 2 parties. This midwife is still practicing with the Maternal Care Clinic.

Adding my thumbs up for the midwives @ OHSU.

Adventist Medical Center, without a doubt. The Family Birthplace there is fantastic and because of my experiences there having our two babies we have switched all of our medical care to Adventist. It isn't that close to us but really takes no time to get to, right off of I-205.

I'm sure the original poster has already had her baby, but I have found this thread when looking for reviews, so I expect others will as well. I had my son about a year and a half ago with PMCC. While the reception, nurses and most of the midwives are really nice, I won't be returning--even though they are two blocks from my house. I really dislike the "rotating midwife" model. You see a different person nearly every time and there is no telling who you will get at delivery. The midwife I saw a few days after 40 weeks was really insistent that I have a cervical check, although I said I'd rather not. It hurt like heck (never had that happen before) and it turned out my water broke (leaked?). I didn't have it confirmed for two days. I ended up having a midwife I really liked for the labor and the experience at Providence Portland was really nice. However at 8am my midwife says, "You're at 10 cm! Great! Well, my shift is over. See you." And the midwife who did the cervical check caught the baby. This time I have found a practice with only two midwives who deliver at Providence.

I recently had my second natural birth with the midwives at OHSU, and I can't recommend them enough. (My first was with two midwives at a hospital in Chicago.) Here, we managed to meet 6 of the 9 possible midwives before the birth and thought they were all excellent - nice, warm, professional. Every single one asked me about my previous experience and what I wanted during labor; every single one took the time to chat and answer questions and made me feel heard and important.

I was never under any pressure to have cervical checks during the final weeks, no one offered any pain medications during the birth, and everything was presented for my decision: when to clamp the cord, whether to give the baby vitamin K and erythromycin eye ointment, whether I wanted pitocin immediately after delivery or only in case of bleeding. They even asked whether we wanted to keep the placenta. The birth itself went very well with incredible support from the very experienced midwife (Maggie Shaw, CNM) and an excellent student. Both stayed with me through active labor and pushing.

The nurses at OHSU were phenomenal, and again everything was up to us, so the baby only left the room once (hearing screen), he didn't have a bath until several days after we left the hospital, and we all went home about 30 hours after the birth. I was so impressed that I had input on every aspect of my care and my child's care. Nothing was assumed, which wasn't the case for us in Chicago (where we also loved our midwives and had a great birth - but this was better). The lactation support was excellent, the pediatricians were wonderful, and heck, I even thought the food was good. :)

Plus OHSU does have an excellent NICU. We didn't need it but I was glad it was there.

Great info to know as I usually support moms in Vancouver hospitals, but occasionally have a client in Portland who may need this info.

For doula clients delivering in Vancouver.....Peace Southwest is my pick:) The nurses are very friendly at Legacy though. Having a doula makes a big difference no matter where you are though and both the hospitals are doula friendly. www.birthjourneys.com.


When you’re expecting, you’re evaluating all your choices to decide how you would like to bring your child into the world. Everyone at OHSU aims to make your pregnancy and birth rewarding, joyful and safe as possible. And we offer more options than any other area hospital including VBAC, waterbirth, group prenatal care and more. You can find a lot of this information on our web site: http://www.ohsuhealth.com/pregnancy

To look for:

• Patient birth stories: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/pregnancy-and-childbirth/patient-stories/index.cfm

• Midwifery program and bios for our midwives: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/midwifery/index.cfm

• Waterbirth information: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/midwifery/our-services/waterbirth/index.cfm

• VBAC information: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/pregnancy-and-childbirth/childbirth-at-OHSU-hospital/vbac.cfm

• Anesthesia and pain relief options: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/pregnancy-and-childbirth/childbirth-at-OHSU-hospital/anesthesiology.cfm

• Vaginal breech information: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/pregnancy-and-childbirth/childbirth-at-OHSU-hospital/vaginal-breech.cfm

• Group prenatal care option: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/midwifery/our-services/group-prenatal-care-option.cfm

• New Moms Group: http://www.ohsu.edu/xd/health/services/women/services/pregnancy-and-childbirth/for-new-moms-and-babies/new-moms-group.cfm

For questions and appointments with any of our providers (midwives, obgyn doctors, genetic counselors, perinatologists, etc) please call:


Hello everyone!
I am here to share my first birth experience with my son at Adventist Medical Center. The Family Birth Place was fantastic (you labor, deliver and recover in the same room) and I must say the nurses were caring and compassionate.
Having said that, I came all the way from Turkey specifically for Peggy Hayes, CNM. After reading online comments, I simply trusted her and there began my adventure. So I traveled across the ocean and finally met Peggy at Bridgetown Women’s Care where I also met another amazing person, Gayle Lott Ragghianti, who gave us unconditional support and made our appointments much more fun. Peggy agreed to take me on at 37 weeks even though she was super busy then. I was scared to death about the vaginal delivery but Peggy made me trust myself and let me see in awe what my body was capable of. I still can’t believe I did it! An easy quick vaginal birth (11 hours in total) with epidural and everything as I wanted, the best experience I could have ever imagined. I totally felt safe and comfortable thanks to her superior midwifery skills. Peggy touched our souls and changed our lives for the better. My husband and I are eternally grateful to her. So if you are looking for a health care provider for your pregnancy, go for her.

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