Most of the doctors that catch babies at Natividad are up to date on the latest research and seem eager to work with their patients, I personally have felt an attitude of learning is encouraged. I chose Dr. Peter Chandler, Natividad’s Obstetrics and Gynecology Services director, as my doctor when I transferred to Natividad. In our first appointment he was referencing my favorite natural birth documentaries and had listed some topics for me to look up on PubMed, a refreshing change from doctors who seem threatened or bothered by an informed mother.
Natividad is the only hospital in Monterey County that offers VBACs (vaginal birth after cesarean). In 2011 Natividad had a 60% successful VBAC rate (The Holistic Hole, Monterey County Weekly). Even if you are not having a VBAC, it is good to know if your hospital allows them. If they do it is a sign that they follow the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology's guidelines and that they provide evidence-based care, care that is supported by research and science, as apposed to fear-based care, opinion-based care, or convenience-based care. Out of the 2812 total births at Natividad in 2011, 28.3% of them were cesarean section (www.cesareanrates.com), lower than the national average of 32.8%, but still higher than the World Health Organization's recommendation of 10-15%.
In 2011 Natividad had the lowest epidural rate (45%) and lowest induction rate (15%) in Monterey County.
Like Dominican and Sutter in Santa Cruz, Natividad now offers mothers the option of having a certified nurse-midwife deliver your baby, which no other Monterey County hospital offers. This is standard care for low risk mothers in all other developed countries and has been shown to result in better outcomes in mothers and babies (read more here).
From Natividad's website:
"The Maternal Infant Unit is a 26 bed unit promoting family-centered care and provides a full range of care to childbearing women, the normal newborn, and their families. Fathers and significant others are included in our family-centered care... Education and support services, including infant CPR classes, lactation support and information on women’s topics are offered. A Lactation Consultant is available 7 days a week providing individualized instruction."
We did have our third son, Indiana, at Natividad, you can read his birth story here. We visited the hospital a few times before his birth, to tour and we were admitted a few times for various reasons, you can read about one of those visits here. Here's a picture I snapped of the beautiful light filled room we were given. Not fancy, but I loved all the windows and how big the room was. Not all rooms come equipped with bored husbands, just mine.
The following is from a Monterey mom, Wendy, who had her baby at Natividad, these are just some snippets from her incredible home birth turned induction at 43 weeks:
We arrived, birth plan in hand, and got settled into a room. From the get go, I retained as much control as one can when you are checking yourself into a hospital. Knowing that they couldn't turn me away I felt empowered to assert my right to respectfully refuse anything that I wasn't comfortable with, starting with the hospital bracelet they wanted me to wear but that I promptly took off... Dom set up our room, with a sarong over the bright light, my blanket on the bed, our music on the ipod, snacks for the nurses laid out by the sink, copies of our birth plan distributed widely... We claimed the space as our own. I dressed in the special nightgown that Bestie had given me. I texted my mom and the midwives to come join us.
I was still only barely 2cm dilated... It had been over 20 hours of really hard labor and 18 hours since my water had broken. I was exhausted and still barely dilated... They asked me what I wanted to do. If I wanted to proceed with a section. The anesthesiologist had reviewed our birth plan and was willing to accommodate all of my requests... My amazing support team believed in birth. Believed in me. Dom listened to them and it was decided to wait another hour before making any decisions. As long as the baby was tolerating the labor we would wait another hour and hope that I made some progress.
The contractions were gaining strength, [the nurse] decided to check me one more time... Again the nurse recoiled in shock when she reported that I was fully dilated with a baby descending down the birth canal. No one could believe that I'd gone from 2 to 10 in less than an hour, with a baby ready to deliver.
More reviews from Monterey County moms:
“If I had been at any other place they probably would have done a C-section. They were just so patient. They met my every need, emotionally and physically.” (The Holistic Hole)
"The neonatologist, Dr. Bruni, was awesome. The labor room was huge and spacious, that was cool. We had some scary stuff going on, the nurses were great. The surgeon, Aguillera, was amazing. I went to visit my cousin there last week, her nurse gave me an SNS (supplemental nursing system) when I told her my baby had IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction). The way they handled my baby's transport was super great, my nurse stayed after to see her off. I would recommend them in a hot sec."
"I loved my [labor & delivery] nurse. The after care? Not so great. They stuck me in a back room and basically ignored me."
"They explained every step they were going to take... When it came to pushing my doctor was in the room the whole time. She as well was pleasant. We had a good relationship, she was trying to make jokes to ease some of pain. If I told her I felt like I had to push, she wanted me to push, if I felt like I couldn't anymore, she wanted me to take a break... My overall experience delivering at Natividad was positive. Would recommend any one and everyone to deliver here."
I include every review that is sent to me, if there is helpful information that you would like me to include, please let me know.
Learn more about local hospitals and read reviews from local women:
Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula
Natividad Medical Center
Salinas Valley Memorial
Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center
Did you give birth at Natividad Medical Center? Please share your experience in the comments below!