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Please Share Birthing Experiences with Kaiser

To prepare herself for her experience and to learn more from others, Lisa is wondering if any mamas can share stories of their births through the Kaiser system:

We are planning at delivering at Sunnyside, where they do have midwives, and just finished a new birthing center (our hospital tour is early February), but we are not guaranteed the midwife we are seeing or the ob I've been meeting with the last few months.  Any moms out there who did deliver using Kaiser insurance and can provide some reassurance? This is our first and I want it to be a positive experience!


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we delivered 2 at sunnyside in '03 and '06. loved both. both no drugs. true, not the same midwife on delivery day, but that was ok by us. we had a doula the first time and they were cool with thta. the labor rn the first time was fabulous. they let me 'stay' past my discharge day to more easily nurse our daughter who was in the 'nursery' a few dasy past my discharge day. if you want to know more, feel free to e-mail me at lfrack at gmail dot com. good luck!!

I delivered both of my children at Kaiser and had a wonderful experience both times. I saw a nurse midwife during both pregnancies and was able to labor with a midwife though she was not the one I had seen leading up to my pregnancy. They have a midwife there and will only call in an OB is that is what you prefer or if there are complications. My labor did not progress the way I had hoped it would and I ended up having a cesarean the first time around and the staff there was amazing. I never met a nurse I didn't like and felt very comfertable there. Both experiences were great and I would recommend Sunnyside to anyone.

If you have any other questions feel free to email me: redwhineandboo@gmail.com

I had both my kids at Sunnyside, and although I am mostly satisfied with the experience, if I had to do it over again I would absolutely have a doula. I cannot stress enough how greatly I recommend this to you. The nurses and midwives (with one exception) were very nice and respectful. But they couldn't be with me all the time and my husband was just as new to all this as I was (the second time as well, since things went quite differently).

Having someone there with us to advocate, to help my husband help me, to encourage me, would have made the whole thing much better. A doula might have been able to convince me to try some different positions instead of getting the nubain (don't do it! go directly for the edpidural if you get to the point where you want drugs! Nubain makes you fall asleep between the contractions and wake up for them. How horrid is that? They told me it would "take the edge off" but the only thing it took the edge off was my sanity! Ok, rant over.)

Ok, on to some specifics: I had a birth plan and they followed it to the letter, not offering me drugs until I asked, not revealing the gender of the baby until I saw it for myself, not yelling "push!" at me. They didn't give me any hassles about declining the Hep B shot for my newborn and I had access to the tub, the shower, the birth ball, and all that kind of thing.

A hospital birth is a hospital birth, however. And once you're there, you're there. My advice would be, with the help of a doula, to stay at home as long as possible and only go toward the very end. When it's your first baby, it feels so exciting to finally be in labor and to get going to the hospital. But laboring in a hospital was (to me) alienating and a little scary. (Unless you want the drugs, of course!)

I went through three shifts of midwives both times and they were all fine. Except Buckie Beatty, who was the coldest-hearted, most brusque person ever. I know you end up with who you end up with, but just to forwarn you...Betsy Langton, who I saw throughout both pregnancies, was amazing.

Finally, Sunnyside is very pro-breastfeeding, and the lactation consultants make a very good effort to get you started. However. I found they were kind of quick to push the formula supplements. I recommend the awesome LC's at Beyond Birth (here in town). They will come to your house and their advice and encouragement (if you're having problems) is worth its weight in gold. Best money I ever spent on anything baby-related.

I could go on (as you see, I've gone on quite long enough) Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. And all the best to you for the rest of your pregnancy!

We had our daughter there in 2005 and loved it. I really felt like the entire facility and staff was on a more human scale than the other hospitals, and the staff gave me plenty of time and attention. I felt like my birth plan was honored, the medical staff and midwives were excellent, and the facilities were comfy enough, despite their hospitalness.

I had a doula as well. I think that just having two supportive adults in the room would have worked out well, too (husband and doula, partner and mother, sister and friend, etc.).

I also felt very supported with breastfeeding. My experience was different than Zinemama's in that they didn't push formula on me in any way. Which brings up another point - that every woman's experience is going to be different. Good luck with your pregnancy and birth!

I had twins who were born in 2005 and we had, and still have, Kaiser insurance. I started out with a midwife at Sunnyside (Tom Lloyd- yes, a male midwife- he is awesome) and then saw mostly MD's toward the end. I second all the positive things people said above. I did not give birth at Sunnyside in the end but have seen the new birthing center and it is beautiful. I found the lactation support VERY helpful as we did not all get the hang of it for nearly a month. I don't remember them pushing formula but I was attached to the pump constantly. Anytime I wanted to come in and get the kids weighed pre/post feeding to see if they were getting anything or needed help/suggestions, the LC was happy to have us.
My only gripe was that the MD who finally did my C-section at St. V's was far from warm and cuddly but the nurses were great. They warned me beforehand that he was excellent at the surgery but a bit lacking in bedside manner.
Best of luck!

I delivered my little Charlie at Kaiser Sunnyside in '04 and it was great! My regular midwife (Tom) was not on duty the morning of Charlie's birth but the midwife who was on was super. The delivery was med-free and I felt no pressure. No complaints!

I gave birth at Sunnyside in 2005 and had a positive experience. I had really wanted a home birth but couldn't afford it so we went with the nurse midwives at Sunnyside. I opted to work with one midwife throughout my pregnancy and then take my chances during the birth. Having a relationship throughout my pregnancy was so great because the midwife wrote great notes about me, who I am, my preferences, and even stuff about my husband who was there every step. When it came time for the birth, the nurse and midwife caring for us had a better idea of who we were because of those notes. I did not have any pain medication which was very important to me and the nurses really helped that happen. Everyone was very respectful and my wishes were respected. I opted out of any vaccinations, our daughter never left my side, we co-slept (which the nurse even suggested was an option). We had a little trouble breastfeeding and although the nurses were a little concerned, the lactation consultant was calm and told me not to worry about it. My experience was very positive and I really was worried going into it. The nurses and midwives that I worked with were fabulous with my family and truly helped me to have the best birth experience I could within a hospital setting.

I wish you the best and hope that your experience is what you hope for.

Can anyone elaborate on who they saw regularly at Kaiser? I would like to switch from my MD to a midwife and am looking for someone who is supportive of a more natural route. Preferably at the Mt. Talbert/Sunnyside clinic.

I had my son at Sunnyside in dec 05 and it was a positive experience.I had also wanted a homebirth but wasn't covered by insurance so we opted for the hospital with nurse midwives. I didn't end up the the same midwife to deliver, but I was happy with the one we ended up with.. What I liked was that the nurses were very hands-off during labor.. just let the lights be dim and let me do my thing, not pushing any pain meds. One thing they were uncomfortable with was that I refused antibiotics for Group B strep, but they honored my decision, and monitored my child a little more and it turned out fine. My midwife was Bucky Beatte, and Nancy(can't remember last name delivered.) The nurses were great, and I really liked the care I received.

I gave birth to my second child at Kaiser Sunnyside. I didn't have much of a labor experience there since he arrived less than an hour after we got to the hospital. Betsy Langton is a great midwive at the Mt Talbert Clinic and very supportive of whatever birthing method you prefer. Take advantage of the breast feeding assistance while you are in the hospital. I think that is a great reason to give birth at a hospital over a home birth.

Betsy Langton at Mt. Talbert is a terrific midwife - warm, reassuring, funny, compassionate, really listens to you.

I had both of my daughters at Sunnyside and was very happy with the experience. While I wasn't interested in a birth without an epi, I did not want pitocin and the nurses/docs honored that. The lactation support was great and all the nurses were wonderful. The only complaint I have is that the food was absolutely atrocious! I had my husband pick up food for me most of the time as I found most of the hospital food inedible.

I laughed outloud when i read zinemama about buckie beatty and betsy langton. god i couldn't have said it better myself! So funny.

I gave birth this last summer at Kaiser Sunnyside (before the new facilities opened). I had a doula, Rhonda Davis, who has a lot of experience at Kaiser. She knew one of the 3 midwives in charge (29 hours of labor/4 hours of pushing) very well -- I actually had an appointment with her as an accupuncturist to help induce labor at the doula's recommentation -- I was able to cancel it while in labor! The staff were very helpful and respectful. I also had an MD come in to evaluate me at one point during pushing, since I was taking so long, but she was also very supportive and I ended up giving birth without intervention. I also really recommend a doula - I know my husband was also very grateful for the support - it would have been much more difficult for both of us without her, particularly since I wanted someone pushing on my back almost constantly.

I had my first child at Kaiser Sunnyside in early October of this year, just after the new birthing center opened. As he was my first child, I can't compare Sunnyside to other hospitals or birthing experiences, but overall it was a good experience for my husband, son, and I. We had two wonderful nurses (Margaret and Lisa). Having had Kaiser for years, I knew I wouldn't be able to have my own doctor deliver the baby and we were OK with that. However, I didn't necessarily love the fact that I worked with 3 different doctors/midwives while we were there. Our final midwife, who delivered our son, was wonderful and worked really hard to massage my perineal area and to go slowly to make sure that I had no tears.

The birth was definitely very medically oriented and I was hooked to a monitor throughout (although it was wireless, which was nice). I was induced due to pregnancy induced high blood pressure, was given misoprostol at 11 pm, and awoken at 4 in the morning because it was causing too many contractions. I was then given a drug to stop those contractions, and started on pitocin a few hours later. I labored until about 3, when I was checked by a midwife and told that I hadn't dilated anymore. She recommended that they turn off the pit and start again the next day, and my husband and I go to dinner. I DID NOT want that at that point, and luckily my water broke on its own a few minutes later. I quickly went from 2 cm to 10 in just a few hours (and had an epidural) but when it came time to push, my contractions had stopped and they had to administer pit again to get them going...it was a few hours until I had strong enough contractions to push. I think next birth I'd like to try some different options that would allow for less of a medically invasive birth. The staff wasn't pushing any of these things on us, but once I was induced, things started to snowball and I felt that I needed to take their advice.

Our son didn't breathe right away after birth, which was horribly scary. But they called in the pediatric team to attend to him and they came incredibly quickly to get him breathing, making sure my husband was with my son the whole time. I like that Sunnyside has this team, and a special care nursery, in case things do go wrong.

One last thing...you are not allowed to stay in your labor and delivery room and are QUICKLY moved to a recovery room in another part of the hospital. Our nurse packed up our room while we took our son to get a bath and then we were on our way - probably about an hour and a half after birth. This was a little fast for me, but the nurses who took care of us in recovery were again wonderful and we had a good experience on that wing.

This was completely our experience and yours will likely be different in a hundred different ways, but I hope that helps to give you a picture of what it's like there. If I could change anything I would have just spoken up, asked more questions, and considered different options, but that didn't have anything to do with the great nurses and doctors at Kaiser - they struck me as willing to work with anything you wanted to do. Good luck!

I gave birth at Sunnyside in 2006 and was excited to try midwives this time, although I had a very good experience with OBs with my first birth in a different city. I found the office visits to be no different than seeing a Dr in terms of wait time, dealing with office staff, and found having to go down the hall to pee in the cup disturbing.

When I was in labor and had to go early for the antibiotics for Group B, no one seemed to understand why I was there, even though I had talked to the nurses several times that morning. I told Tom Lloyd, whom I'd never met, I was there to have a baby, and he snarkily asked me "Do YOU think you're in labor!?" Ugh, it starting things out so wrong. Luckily his shift was over soon (I think, I was in labor, so I wasn't exactly paying attention). I had another midwife, but I don't remember who, then I had :shudder Kathy Steinmetz. I really didn't like her and didn't like how she managed (or didn't manage) my labor as things fell apart. Do not ever take the nubain. It is an evil drug. She will lie to you when you ask for an epidural. I ended up begging, pleading, my husband begged her, and finally I had a c-section. The OB, Coronado, who was fantastic, commented that there was no way that baby was coming out vaginally (I'm sure that OBs say that a lot, considering what they do). I could go on, and I know my story sounds cliche, but there's a lot more to it.

Vicky Cohen was my regular midwife and I loved her. I would possibly go back to her for a well exam. I liked Beattie when I saw her. Unfortunately, my experience with the midwives during my delivery has colored my opinion of the entire group.

The nurses were fantastic. I was all over the place and used every possible piece of equipment trying to get the baby to descend. The nurses spent a lot of time with me and were extremely supportive.

I too had my second son at Sunnyside in 2005. They had recently finished their birthing suites and they were very nice and clean, each with their own shower. Nurses were all nice and tried to be the least intrusive while I was recovering with my new baby. Quite a change from my previous birth in Seattle, where the rooms were small (Ballard Swedish) and I gave birth in one room and transferred to another postpartum room.

I also had Betsy Langton and while she was very supportive and wonderful, she seemed very hurried at my appointments. I know this is par for the course for most Kaiser doctors, who seem to be worked to the ground, but she also had an odd schedule at the time so I couldn't even see her for my routine prenatal appointments half the time.

I had my first at Kaiser Sunnyside in 05 before the new birthing facility opened and plan to have my second there this spring. It is farther to travel for me than St. Vincents (the other choice on my plan) but I think it is worth it. Sunnyside is very midwife centric and supportive of natural birth and it is "baby friendly" certified (promoting breastfeeding) by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative, "an international program of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)." www.babyfriendlyusa.org (the only metro area hospital to be certified as such). In any case - I had a wonderful birthing experience and happened to have the midwife I saw for prenatal care for much of the labor. I was however weirded-out by the concept of a male midwife who also I saw briefly during labor. My current midwife tells me that at Sunnyside if they want you on a monitor during labor they are completely wireless and you can even go in the tub with the monitor - so you definitely won't be tied to the bed. Good luck!

I had my 2nd son at Sunnyside in Sept 07. It was a comedy of errors from the beginning. I was scheduled for an induction and arrived at 11pm to find that no one had actually scheduled it. Eventually they figured out the problem and I got a room. Then we were told the midwife we loved, Kelly Riordan, who was suppose to be working the next day to deliver our baby was not going to be there. We met with a midwife who was on that night, Tom who was really kind. Labor started w/ the medications and the next morning we were told there was no midwife on duty the whole day. So basically I labored with my husband and my doula (THANK GOD) for about 6 hours w/o any OB or midwife assisting. Seriously- no one came into our room except the very kind and overwhelmed RN's. Eventually around 6pm that evening a midwife came on and started helping things get moving. My beautiful son was born close to midnight vaginally without complications.

I am so thankful that we had a wonderful and supportive doula with us or we literally would be been sitting alone for hours and hours.

The rooms were very nice, RN's great and the aftercare was great. But I am definetly considering other options if we have another baby. I will still go back to Kelly, however, as it turns out she had good reasons for not being able to come in that day. She was so kind and great about the whole thing.

Also I totally agree about Bucky Beattie- I saw her for my 1st OB appointment, which was right after my 3 yo son got out of the hospital after having a very scary case of pneumonia. I shared this with her and she nodded and kept reading the paper in her hand. Very cold lady indeed!

Best of luck to you- it seems other women have had really great experiences so maybe I had a very rare not-so-great experience.

We saw Kelly Riordan too. Loved her! She wasn't there for the delivery, but I think that's pretty much how most hospitals work. My daughter was born at Kaiser Sunnyside in 05 and we had a great experience. I'd deliver there again.

I just had a baby at the new wing at Sunnyside in October. I agree with zinemama, BEWARE OF BUCKIE the midwife, cold Nurse Rachet with giant man hands and no bedside manner to speak of. I MUCH preferred the OBGYN, if you are stuck with her at your birth, just ask for the OB on staff, trust me. Not that it matters too much, the nurses are the ones who do most of the work and they were ALL GREAT. 36 hrs of labor, they were patient! They supposedly have an awesome track record of 1) laboring as long as you like even if it isnt progressing "on schedule" 2) breastfeeding support. Ended up having the dreading C section, and honestly it wasn't as bad as my little hippie heart thought it would be. The surgeon did a great job! Although my birth plan never made it out of my labor bag, I whole heartedly recommend it. Although a doula would have been nice if funds allowed. Best wishes!!

Bee, I totally cracked up at your description of Buckie - it was so right-on.

After my son was born, one of the nurses in the mother-baby wing told me that Buckie specializes in pregnant teens. Said the nurse, "Her attitude toward them is, 'Ya screwed up, and now you're gonna pay the price." That's exactly how she treated me...

But yes, the nurses are all very sweet.

I actually had a homebirth, but I worked with the Mt Talbert midwives throughout my pregnancy, Primarily with Vicky Cohen, who is wonderful. I was open with them about my plans and they were supportive, but also seemed reassured that I wanted to do all the labs they recomended and I was working with CNMs for the homebirth. I toured the old birthing suites at Sunnyside. In general I was impressed by the staff, including RNs midwives and OBs. The main reasons that I did not want to give birth at sunnyside was that I wanted a homebirth and that I worked as an RN at sunnyside at the time. I sill preferred it over St Vs, which was a bit overly medical for me, but I was not thrilled about the ideas of being that accessible to my excited co-workers.

I had my first baby at Sunnyside last May and it was a fabulous experience! The midwife I saw for my appointments was Tom Lloyd and I LOVED him (don't let anyone tell you a man can't be a good midwife) but, of course, he had hospital duty the week before my daughter was born so I had someone else.

I wanted a natural birth (I'd gone through the hypnobabies course, which was fabulous) and had a birth plan. The nurses thought my plan was great and were super supportive and followed my wishes to the letter. My husband was totally prepared to argue on my behalf and be my advocate but the nurses were so great, he didn't have to remind them of anything or ask them not to do something. They were awesome. They only came in a few times to monitor the baby but if I didn't want them to right then, they'd wait a little while until I was ready to sit still for a few minutes and let them have a listen. If they came in and saw that I was having a contraction, they'd wait until it was over to talk to me, or they'd whisper to my husband. I really feel like they let me do my own thing and *just* work on having a baby. I was able to labor in the tub for a while and that was great. Definitely take advantage of that if you can.

During the last 2 hours, the midwife and nurse were in my room almost the whole time to support me. They never offered me drugs and when I said that I wanted them, they suggested lots of other things to do instead and I never did take any drugs. My husband was great but when it got tough at the end, it was nice to have the full attention and support of the midwife and nurse.

When I was pushing, the midwife (I don't remember her name) was great at reassuring me and guiding me without directing me how or when to push. I didn't want to be yelled at or told what to do and she never did that. At the end, an OB had to come in because my baby's heart rate was dropping and the OB did a lot of panicky directing but I tuned her out and my midwife never got panicky or loud so I didn't realize until later that the situation was a little scary for a few minutes. I really think that was wonderful of my midwife. She stayed calm and gentle, but firm, telling me I needed to really push the baby out. Everything was fine and I loved all the staff.

I was able to stay in the L&D room for several hours (long enough for my husband to take a nap with our new daughter) and the nurses were all really great. My daughter had a little difficulty latching and the nurses gave great advice and never suggested formula to me.

I had a second csection at sunnyside in 06. I don't really feel very positive about any of it. i just felt like all of their rules & inflexibility were really annoying. My favorite person there is a NP so she doesn't deliver. I really like Tom Lloyd. I disliked Buckie. Probably my favorite was MD Paula Blackburn or Blackstone. I ended up on going in cause I didn't feel well & was kept over night by a DR who said a little too smugly that I'd have a c-section in the morning (I was planning on VBAC)--fortunately my blood pressure dropped & I got to go home on bed rest. It was strange to keep getting a different assessment from each person. mid-week I went in because my blood pressure spiked again & the midwife said my cervix was soft & opening--she sent me back home. by my due date (4 days later) my cervix was hard & closed according to the MD so I was scheduled for a C-section since the blood pressure was too high to wait for later delivery/bigger baby. did my cervix really regress? how can you trust what they tell you? anyway....I have 2 healthy girls and a BTL so i won't have to go through all of that again.

I gave birth to my son at Sunnyside several years ago. We had a wonderful experience with the midwives there. In the last few prenatal visits prior to delivery, I began meeting with the midwives at the Sunnyside office. I met with as many as I could prior to the birth. Ultimately, I delivered with a marvelous midwife who I had not met. I found all of them I met during prenatal visits and in labor and delivery to be helpful and supportive. My labor was LONG, so I did get to work with severalmidwives. I was determined to have a natural birth and no one pestered me or tried to push me into any medical interventions. They supported my birth plan and helped me tremendously in focusing on using Birth For Within as I labored.

So glad to find this post! Hope I am not commenting too late... I tell everyone I know how great my birth experience was at Kaiser Sunnyside. My husband and I took the Bradley Childbirth classes and hired a doula but really, in retrospect, I didn't even need her! My husband rose to the occasion and did most of the support work. The nurses were completely in sync with my low intervention birth plan immediately upon arrival, which put me at ease. They had no problems with me laboring in the tub after my water broke and I was never felt any pressure to labor in a certain position or to stop moaning/yelling (which I did a lot). The wireless monitor was great; I didn't even notice it! And not once was I offered drugs or meant to feel that I should speed things up. My midwife was Betsy Langton and she was amazing; she delivered head & shoulders and then let me pull my daughter the rest of the way out myself and put her on my chest. So cool!
The postpartum nurses were equally wonderful and the breastfeeding support was excellent.

I also want to comment on the "shift" system at Kaiser that everyone is so worried about. I know some of my friends were so committed to have "their" doctor at their births but I think that works against a low intervention birth in a couple of ways: you may be pressured to induce before your doctor goes out of town (never a good idea!), or you could have a long labor and "wear out" your practitioner--one friend swears that this is why her midwife suggested a c-section after 24hrs of exhausting labor. With shifts, you are guaranteed a well-rested competent person the entire time you are laboring. I hadn't met Betsy before I went into labor but I couldn't have asked for a better midwife.

That's my two cents; best wishes in your pregnancy and birth!

I am sooo thankful I found this thread!!! I am the first mom-to-be in my immediate circle of friends and going through the process of navigating prenatal and labor care for my child has been daunting to say the least. I have Kaiser insurance through work and was very turned off by the HMO's restriction on care initially. When I first found out I was pregnant I immediately gravitated towards midwives, doulas, intervention-less labor, etc. and was disheartened to find that I only really had 2 options for delivery in Portland. All these great places I googled weren't covered by Kaiser!

Thank you for all your comments on Kaiser Sunnyside. I feel MUCH better about still being able to have the kind of birthing experience I want w/o having to dip too far into my own pocket (i.e. go outside my insurance) to do so.

I'm a little late here but I gave birth at Sunnyside in January. I had a great experience. We wanted a natural birth but due to high blood pressure finally agreed to an induction a week after our due date. The nursing team and midwifes tried to help me stick as closely to my birth plan as possible. Thanks to a very patient mid-wife I was able to avoid a c-section when it looked like that was the only possibility after 2.5 days of being there.

I do strongly recommend hiring a doula. I can't imagine having gone through it without her by our side.

It is important to remember the goal at the end of labor is a healthy baby and a healthy family (dad and mom). The experience is important but secondary.

Hi, my name is Amy...sorry this is long-winded....I recently discovered the UM website, and love reading all of the advice. I am due on December second, 2008 am(my second pregnancy), and have been trying to get as much information as I can concerning VBAC's. I have Kaiser insurance, so I can only deliver at St. Vincent's--preferred because I live out in Forest Grove area--or at Kaiser Sunnyside. I am currently seeing a CNM at Kaiser Beaverton. She has been asking me about my birth plan, and I think she is open to VBAC's. I have been uncertain about what to do up until she told me to go ahead and schedule a c/s just in case so I get a "good time and date." At that moment, I knew...there is no way I can treat this baby's coming like a tooth cleaning appointment or something. I want the baby to come when he is ready.

All that being said, I am wondering if any of you have any good recommendations about midwives/doulas/possible chiropractors for proper pelvic allignment, etc. that can help me and my baby have the natural childbirth experience that I want so badly. My first ended in an emergency c-section at Willamette Falls Hospital in Oregon City 2.5 years ago (I was 9cm for an hour, and then was told that a portion of my cervix was swelling because of pressure from the baby, I waited another 45 mins and they told me I had to have a c-section because baby was getting stressed). In retrospect, I would have done things differently, of course, like first of all, no pitocin-which was fervently pushed on me after being in hospital for only 4 hours. My daughter was a large baby 9lbs, 9oz. I am kind of petite and 5'3" tall. Unfortunately the midwife on call did not think I was capable of vaginal delivery at all, as she told me this before she ever examined me (I had never seen this particular midwife until I was in labor.)

Her negative attitude towards me was unfortunately quite contagious and had me doubting everything I had placed in my birthing plan from the start. I only saw the midwife every few hours, and the nurses came in and out, but no one was very encouraging. I felt forgotten and that I was taking too much time. I desperately do not want to go through a similar experience with this second birth, so I am trying to be more proactive and not let others tell me how its going to be. I also would like to be in a place where I can get some words of encouragement/other ways to get baby moving besides being told to sit in bed from the people working at the time. Any good suggestions? I would love to hear from anyone, and although I know that despite all efforts c-sections sometimes are necessary, I would just like to know that I did everything in my power to have this child naturally. I think I won't feel like such a failure if I know I researched and tried every possible option this time. I am definitely more prepared for negative attitudes from medical staff, but want to feel that my ideals and birth plan is supported.

I would love to hear from anyone concerning VBAC stories, I find them to be very encouraging. I would also love to hear of your opinions about St.Vincents Hospital.

Thank You!


Wow! I am so glad I read these comments. I am having my third at 43 years old...my oldest is 25 and my middle is 14. I am VERY much wanting a water birth and hope that Kaiser Sunnyside does them!? I'm not sure about anyone else, but doesn't it seem that whoever Buckie is...well, maybe they should find a new line of work?!?!?! HAHAHA

I had both my children at Kaiser. My first was in Salem, but my daughter was born at Sunnyside. I had some complications, because the umbilical cord had two knots in it and my daughter's heart rate disappeared a bit, but the midwife was wonderful. I would have to say Kaiser Sunnyside worked for us, too.

Thanks for sharing everyone! =)

Hi! I am pregnant with our first child, we have Kaiser insurance and was optimistic that they have CNM's on staff but disappointed that they do not allow births in the water. Since I did not find this for our first two appointments we were assigned to Bucky who on our first visit she was indeed cold. On our second visit I brought my husband and she was a little bit of a smart ass but a little nicer. I am going to change my upcoming appointments so someome else. Sound like Tom, Kelly, Betsy, and Vicki were good. Is there anyone else I should watch out for?


I'm having my baby in March and have Kaiser insurance. I'm trying to decide whether to have it at Sunnyside, St.Vincent's, or SW Washington. I appreciated all of this info on Sunnyside but what I really am looking for is a comparative analysis. Does anyone know the differences with each choice? Costs/benefits in comparison? Kaiser wont tell me anything as they want everyone to have their babies at Sunnyside now.

I'm having my baby in March and have Kaiser insurance. I'm trying to decide whether to have it at Sunnyside, St.Vincent's, or SW Washington. I appreciated all of this info on Sunnyside but what I really am looking for is a comparative analysis. Does anyone know the differences with each choice? Costs/benefits in comparison? Kaiser wont tell me anything as they want everyone to have their babies at Sunnyside now.

I'm due to deliver 4/20 and have just been told I need to switch to Kaiser or pay $400/mo more to keep Regence BSBC.

Does anyone know if Kaiser does VBACs? If so, which facility?

Thank you!

Hello Mamas,

We recently received an email from a mama seeking more recommendations, so feel free to share more insight:

"I recently moved from the Bay Area and am having a baby in October. We have Kaiser insurance and I'm curious to get feedback on delivery experiences at Sunnyside and St. Vincent's - any and all feedback is appreciated for this first time mom!"

We're considering having our baby at Sunnyside this Fall, and it would be great if anybody has any recent experiences that they want to mention. Also, any doula recommendations would be appreciated. Cheers!

Thanks for all of this great information! I would also be really interested in doula recommendations. Also -- recommendations for birthing classes, etc.

I have been with Kaiser for years now. I delivered both of my kids at St. V's. I really like it there, I did not feel like they pushed anything on me I did not want. The only thing was they would not let me in the tub after my water broke. The postpartum rooms at St.V's suck! It's the old delivery rooms and they are super small. My husband is a tall man, 6'4, and he had to duck under the T.V. to walk around the end of the bed.
This time I'm delivering at Sunnyside. I have been seeing the same midwifes for this pregnancy and my last. Susan and Janna (sp?) they are both great ladies. I hope to get one of them at my delivery in April.

I'm due in June of '11, and we will be having the baby at Kaiser Sunnyside. I'm excited that they're Baby-Friendly, and really pleased with my nurse-midwife Vicki Cohen so far. She is very personable. Even though it's still the Kaiser routine to see her, she makes me feel like she's actually interested in me and my health and my concerns about my pregnancy. I hope she is there when I deliver, or someone nice like her. That is the only thing that concerns me about Kaiser, not knowing who will actually be there with me. That's why I'm getting a doula, so I will have something with me to support me no matter which CNM I get.

I had my first baby at Kaiser Sunnyside about a month ago. Though I had many complications (2 wks overdue, horrible cold/flu, unable to sleep for days, failed induction, 3 day hospital stay before birth, post partum hemmorrage) I was eventually able to deliver vaginally. The midwives were very supportive of my wishes to not have a C-Section and beared with me for 3 days to make it happen. In the duration of my ordeal I met 6 midwives. All the midwives were pleasant, professional, and helped me in one way or another to work toward my goal (personality wise I really liked Sharen Blake and I felt like she helped me in many ways to attain my goal of actually going into labor and Vicki Cohen -my regular midwife- was very empathetic, attentive, and effective during my duration in labor and delivery). I firmly believe that had I been in a typical hospital environment, I would have been shipped off to surgery, so if you want a vaginal delivery I highly recommend Kaiser Sunnyside based on my own experience. By the end of it, had I needed a C-Section, I would have had the confidence that it was because it was truly needed.
I do highly recommend having a doula. I had one with me along with my husband, and I really think it is the reason I was able to deliver without pain medication despite being on Pitocin (or Vitamin P, as one of the midwives called it) and basically having a 5 hour long contraction that brought out my new baby girl. Yep, once labor did start. . .wow! But it was over quickly, so no reason for complaints here!

I just had to post this comment. Our experience with Kaiser was great, but Vickie Cohen's first words to us when she came on shift (having had her as our midwife throughout pregnancy and having repeatedly expressed a passionate desire for an intervention-free VBAC) were, "you need pitocin". She also followed this up by scolding me (dad) after a heart-wrenching CBAC for asking too many questions. I will never forget the look on her face when she came to tell me what a bad father I was for advocating for my wife and son, as if it was stupid of me to ask questions and seek alternatives. Yes, Vickie, your investment in my family really is as deep as mine, and I should just let you do your job and treat us however is convenient to you.

Thanks for the recent posts here! I am due later this year and have had a few appointments at Kaiser so far. I am really, really committed to a natural birth, so while I hear Sunnyside has a great reputation, I'm also interested in hearing the real stories (some of which are pretty discouraging, to be honest). Thanks again for your honesty - please post more stories if you have them!

I am 22 weeks pregnant and am not super impressed with the pre-natal care I have been receiving at Kaiser. Does anyone have stories about SW Washington Medical Center? I prefer their facilities over Sunnyside, and will deliver there if we stick with the hospital route. We are thinking of switching to a homebirth, and it is a very stressful decision. I want an intervention- free birth unless it's an emergency. Thanks.

I'm about 13 wks and have had a good and bad experience with Kaiser Sunnyside so far. I've been seeing Susan Gervasi. My first appt went pretty well, my husband was there so I think she was on her best behavior. My second appt was not so great. She was very short with me and wrote some things on my discharge paper that were pretty rude and even hurtful when she never said any of these things to my face. Any recommendations on current staff to switch too?

I'm 23 weeks and have been going to Kaiser Mt. Talbert (at Sunnyside) for my entire pregnancy. I had a miscarriage last December, and my OB/GYN at the time was Rachel Algenio (also at Mt. Talbert). While I found her to be perfectly pleasant, she brushed off a couple of concerns of mine in a very dismissive way. When I got pregnant again in March, Dr. Algenio's schedule was too full to get me in, so they scheduled me with Dr. Chelsea Ban. She has been wonderful and I've kept her as my doctor. She's open-minded to my interest in alternative medicine, she answers all of my questions thoroughly and doesn't leave the room until she's sure I've asked everything I need (even when she's obviously rushed), and she has a warm but professional bedside manner. I definitely recommend her.

I've really appreciated reading this thread. We're going to deliver at Sunnyside in December and I've begun to worry about the experience. I'm starting to read labor and delivery books by Ina May and Sheila Kitzinger, and a home birth is sounding really wonderful. But if I can have a childbirth experience like most of the women here have written about, I'll be very pleased! I'll try and remember to come back on here after my baby is born and share the experience.

I'm 16 weeks and have had 2 appointments with Jodi Arnoff at Interstate--and I really like her! I too would love to have a natural, intervention free birth, and am also starting to worry about delivering (have Sunnyside in mind as where we'll deliver) and wish home birth was covered by Kaiser. I'm looking into doulas as well--does anyone have experience using a doula t Sunnyside? I guess I worry about how the doula/dr/midwife flow goes during delivery.

We had our first child at Kaiser Sunnyside almost two years ago, and since I had a LONG labor I got to meet many of the midwives on staff. I have to say that almost all of them were wonderful, caring, nurturing people and the nurses were just plain amazing. We did finally deliver under the midwife called Bucky, and I won't go into all the details, but I did file a complaint. She was just plain awful. We are pregnant again, due in February, and I will insist that she not attend to us while we are at Sunnyside this time.

I see Dr. Janet Leigh as my OB, and she is WONDERFUL. She works out of the Mt. Talbert office, and she was my OB with my first pregnancy as well. I feel like the care I get is attentive and personal and she really does listen. I had an ectopic pregnancy that ruptured four years ago, and she happened to be the surgeon on call at the ER that night. She saved my tube and ovary and took wonderful care of me in a terrible situation. She asked to continue as my OB after that, and I am so thankful to her for her support and caring the last several years as we build our family. I really can't say enough good things about her, about her nurses or about the care I've received at Kaiser. There has only been the one exception, and while it was significant, I still feel like its a very good place to deliver your baby. And the care I received in the postpartum unit made me wish I never had to leave. Seriously - I cried when the CNA put me in the car - I wanted to take her with me!

Good luck ladies!

we had our baby at kaiser sunnyside. i very much wish i had a doula there with us. the only nurse available to help me with the majority of my labor was not interested in natural childbirth and was not personable at all. i felt very uncomfortable with her, but while i was in pain and very preoccupied i didn't have the energy or knowledge to require some one else. anyways, my thinking is that at least with a doula you know you have someone who is on the same page as you and whom you like.

wishing you all of the best!

I had my son at Sunnyside after nearly 3 days of laboring at home (had planned or a home birth). I came in exhausted and disappointed and was very happy discover a nurturing, supportive, and very respectful nurse. The midwife was all business but she knew what she was doing and I felt that my baby and I were in good hands. One possibly significant detail is that I had planned to encapsulate my placenta but the staff there said they needed to keep it for a week--supposedly so that they could culture it should baby or I get an infection. I surmise they keep the placentas for more objectionable reasons. My partner went back a week after my birth and they handed over the placenta. But by then it was, of course, drained of all it's restorative nutritional value. You may not want to have anything to do with your placenta after you give birth. But if you have been thinking of encapsulating it or making a soup, I recommend you state that up front before your birth.


I had my son in June 2006 at the Kaiser Sunnyside. I was overdue and induced and dilated to 10 cm and all, but after hours of pushing I needed a C-Section as my son wasn't coming out and his heart rate started dropping, it turned out he was 10lbs 4 oz. All of the nurses were amazing, I really felt like they were on my side, because I tried pushing for so long to avoid the C-section, but when it was time and safe for both the baby and me my husband and I decided to have the surgery.

I stayed 3 days because of the C-Section and all the rn's were very helpful, I had trouble nursing, my son wasn't latching properly as I had flat nipples, but I was always encouraged and they never pushed the formula or bottle feeding, I love that Kaiser is very pro-nursing. After discharged from the hospital I went back to see the lactation consultant a few times and I received great support and information on how to breastfeed my son. He was so big and hungry all the time, and he was desperate at times when he couldn't latch, but I was very persistent and was able to nurse him for 8 months.

I'm expecting again (due in January 2012) and I'm considering having a VBAC, I feel comfortable trying at Kaiser, but my fears are regarding uterine rupture and the baby's health safety. I've reading on ICAN and VBAC websites and will make an informed decision. My C-section recovery was slow and would love to be able to heal sooner this time around that's why I'd like the VBAC, but I wouldn't jeopardize my baby's health. I'll have an ultrasound later in the pregnancy, and if this baby is as big as my first, my husband and I will probably go with a RCS.

Hi ladies! I have kaiser and have been going to Sunnyside (Mt. Talbert) for my prenatals. I have been seeing Vicki Cohen so far and have had a good experience. I am deciding between delivering at Sunnyside and Salem Hosp. I tried to see if that Bucky Beattie person was listed in the kaiser system still and didn't see her name anywhere on the website. Anyhow, hope to hear more experiences about Sunnyside (hopefully positive) so I can make a decision! Also, can anyone comment on how they felt about switching rooms for delivery and then recovery? I know some places it is all in the same room...

I just delivered my son at Kaiser Sunnyside and had a good experience. Our L&D nurse was fantastic and the midwife on call (Vicki Cohen) did a great job. As far as the transition from the delivery room to recovery, it was fine. We were in the delivery room post-delivery for at least a couple of hours before heading upstairs. The staff was very accommodating to the kind of birth I wanted to have and respected all of my requests, except when they thought it would be better for my and the baby's health to do something different. In that case, they asked before they did anything. I'm very happy with the experience!

I delivered my son at Kaiser Sunnyside in March 2012 after a failed home birth that resulted in a medically necessary c-section. After laboring at home for 24 hours (pushing for 5), I was transported to Kaiser Sunnyside. I was really nervous about the treatment I would receive as a home birth transfer and how much my wishes would be respected in regards to a "natural" birthing experience.

After my experience there delivering with Chris Ann Beard, CNM and Rachel Algenio, OB-GYN, I wished I had started there in the first place. I was extremely disappointed in my midwives and felt that they were very emotionally vacant as well as medically uniformed. There was a lot of ignoring of important signs and fumbling when it came to properly assessing the situation.

When I transferred to the hospital I was treated with respect and dignity. All of the nursing staff (even at 4am) were amazing, chipper and really sensitive to the situation. They definitely advocated me birthing as naturally as possible and let me do what I felt comfortable with.

When I came in it was clear I would need a c-section (pushing for that long is really strenuous and can be dangerous depending on circumstances). I was uncomfortable with the idea and they allowed me to push for an additional 3-4 hours with great assistance and upbeat support. There were many tools available to me there to assist with active labor and they were extremely accommodating of family. I was monitored wirelessly and encouraged to birth in ways I felt most comfortable.

Never were any interventions forced on me and they allowed ample time for me to formulate questions, talk privately with my husband, and ask them questions. I never felt like they were in a rush or not concerned. I was treated so nicely and felt so secure and supported. It was a truly transformative birthing experience. I had almost continuous support and everyone I came into contact with was so gentle and encouraging.

I eventually undertook a c-section to deliver my son who medically required it and even that experience was the best I think it could have been. The staff took pictures for us, supported immediate skin to skin contact with both myself and my husband, were open to (and supportive of) delayed cord clamping, and were ultimately extremely respectful of choosing to delay or forego vaccinations, etc.

I loved staying in their recovery wing and continued to receive the same amazing support as well as a wonderful lactation consultant, Vicki. They were prompt, there was a comfortable sleeping area for my husband, and were all great about giving us as much or as little help as we wanted.

Even when I left the hospital they were extremely supportive and have a great mother/baby program to help breastfeeding and 24-hotline.

They are extremely encouraging of breastfeeding mothers and will stop at nothing to help you achieve a successful breastfeeding relationship, if that is what you are hoping for. They also are extremely supportive of forgoing circumcision.

I know I sound like I work for them, but I just absolutely loved my experience and am excited to deliver there again. They are very supportive of VBAC so I am excited to get the chance to try again when we choose to have another baby.

I would highly recommend Kaiser Sunnyside Birthing Center and just cannot say enough good things about my experience!

Much like Bonnie, my experience resulted in a semi-surprise C-section and I have nothing but good things to say about Kaiser Sunnyside (and overall, I've found Kaiser care to be adequate, but not always great).

They probably still are, but they were one of the few hospitals certified by the World Health Organization as baby friendly. I found everyone to be helpful and professional. One nurse even hugged me because she so appreciated my patience (my c-section kept getting pushed back for emergency C's, which I understood).

I loved how the nurses worked with me when my newborn kept me up all night and how the CNAs made rounds with snacks.

I am deciding between attempting a VBAC at Good Sam, Kaiser Sunnyside or St. V's. Good Sam would be much more expensive with my insurance plan so I'm leaning toward Sunnyside or St. V's. Would welcome any stories or advice from women who recently attempted VBAC. Thanks so much!

Buckie Beattie is now retired (I had to ask), so we don't have to worry about getting her for a delivery now. One of the docs there said she knew her stuff, but didn't have the bedside manner...

On another note, I wanted to share that I experienced a pregnancy loss last year, and while I pray that will never happen to anyone on this board, I did want to relay that everyone at Sunnyside was absolutely warm, caring, and completely supportive. They treated my baby with love and respect, and gave us hugs, sympathy, time with the baby, and some mementos that we treasure.

With my first (a lovely healthy pregnancy) I went to a birthing center, but had to transfer to OHSU after the birth where I had a TERRIBLE experience and they gave my baby formula (!!!). I am pregnant again and happy that I will be going to Sunnyside for this baby. I am not a fan of hospitals, so this is extremely high praise.

We had great experiences in 2006 and 2009. I considered paying for a home birth, but the OB at Interstate pointed out they would cook and clean for me in the hospital. When he put it that way. . . Hospital staff great--were very supportive of a low intervention birth, even when our son had signs of distress. They just brought the NICU folks in and let me deliver. I appreciated the evidence based approach and no pressure to deliver before the shift change. Recommend a doula wherever you deliver.

I delivered at Kaiser Sunnyside in March of 2010 and will again in June or July of 2013. I had a wonderful experience, zero pressure for interventions, and a caring and supportive staff. Unless you are truly dedicated to a home birth or birthing center, Sunnyside is the way to go.

I wanted to thank everyone for posting on this board. I am a first time mom and everyones experiences are so insightful and helpful!
I am currently living overseas in Japan but will be coming back to Oregon to deliver at Sunnyside. I was very apprehensive about being overseas with out much support or information (since I will miss out on the pre-natal care and tours of the hospital, etc.) but hearing all of these positive things about Kaiser Sunnyside is a great comfort! and I'm now looking forward to having my birth experience at Sunnyside!

I'm also due end of June beginning of July 2013, so Andrea maybe we will run into each other!

Thank you again!

I'm nearly 10 weeks and wanted to share my experience with Kelly Riordan, CNM. I had originally been scheduled for my first prenatal last week with another provider but when she called in sick 20 minutes before my appointment, I called OBGYN at Mt Talbert and Kelly agreed to see me the same day. She was awesome! At 22, I'd never had a Pap before and was pretty nervous, but she was so gentle I barely felt it. I had no cramping or spotting afterward either. She asked if I had any questions as soon as we had been introduced, before she even started any of the examinations/questioning, and she was great about explaining everything in respectful manner. She asked if I had thought about where I wanted to deliver - when I told her I'd actually like a home birth if baby and I were healthy enough, she was completely supportive and said she could even help me come up with some questions to ask a potential home birth midwife. I was very impressed with her knowledge and her respect for my own knowledge and research, and I was grateful for her gentle and understanding approach to the pelvic examination. She also backed up all the information she gave me with statistics, which my math-nerd husband really appreciated.

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