Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital is located at 450 E Romie Lane, Salinas, California. SVMH does not list anything on their website on their amenities, but like our other Monterey County Hospitals, SVMH is certified as Baby-Friendly, meaning they utilize evidence-based practices in the postpartum such as immediate skin to skin, support in breastfeeding, and rooming in.
Salinas Valley Memorial provides a level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and have a perinatologist on staff for high risk births.
Out of the total of 1686 births at SVMH in 2012, 32.2% of the births were by cesarean section, (www.cesareanrates.com). Though this rate is below the state average of 33.2%, it is above the World Health Organization's recommendation of 10-15%. SVMH is a for-profit hospital, "a California survey found that women were 17% more likely to have a cesarean at a for-profit hospital than a non-profit" (Optimal Care in Childbirth by Henci Goer).
SVMH is one of two hospitals in Monterey County that do not offer the option of vaginal birth after cesarean (VBAC) to women despite the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and The National Institutes of Health's 2010 recommendations to do so. Unlike hospitals who support women in having a VBAC, SVMH is not required to have an anesthesiologist or obstetrician on the floor at all times.
In 2011 SVMH had the second highest epidural rate (66%), and the second highest induction rate (20%) in Monterey County*. (Monterey County Weekly)
SVMH also does not offer the option to birth with a certified nurse midwife, which is the standard of care in most other developed countries and has shown to improve maternal and infant outcomes according to a recent study including 16,242 women published August 2013 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.
I had my first child and SVMH in 2009. I found the rooms to be nice, though when I asked for a room with a tub none of the nurses knew which of the two rooms with tubs had ones that worked. One nurse said "no one ever really uses them." I had an IV and ended up not being allowed to use a tub anyway. About half of the nurses were very kind, reviewed my birth plan and were supportive. The other half seemed more interested in monitors and were dismissive of the importance of my birth experience. A few nurses were unkind and and made unnecessary comments. I was given an episiotomy by Dr. Nelson, even though I have gone on to birth a bigger baby by over a pound without even a tear. You can read my birth story here.
The following is from a Salinas mom who had five of her six babies at Salinas Valley Memorial. Her first five births were medicated, and I had the honor of attending her sixth and first natural birth. She shares a little about each birth:
1998 - My labor and delivery with Tyler was awful from the time I checked in all the way to the time I pushed him out. L&D nurses were rude and less than compassionate, even telling me at one point to "shut-up there are other laboring women here." When the pain got to the point where I felt I needed pain relief I asked for an epidural only to be told: "Too late, you waited too long so you will just have to deal with it." The OB was Dr. Nelson, not my OB but was in the same group. He was rude, cold and was basically just doing his job. He told me if I wanted this baby to come out faster we should do an episiotomy (which he did). Second baby, first episiotomy! The ONLY positive was that I was able to stay in the same room the entire stay.
More reviews from Monterey County moms:
"I gave birth at SVMH in April 2013, it was induced so I spent 40 hours in L&D before my baby was born and 3 days postpartum due to my babys' hyperbilirubinemia...
"I was 1cm dilated and not effaced at all. They told me to prepare for a long road. They inserted Cervadil and told me to rest up... I wanted to go as pain med free as possible; I really did not want an epidural...
"L&D rooms are fairly spacious with full baths [in 2 rooms] for those wishing to use hydrotherapy. Birthing balls are also available, just ask."
"SVMH is a baby friendly hospital: they promote immediate skin to skin contact and breastfeeding. Lactation consultant is available during weekdays (I believe) and free breastfeeding support group meets every Tuesday 1 - 2pm. I would recommend calling Shawna, the lactation consultant, Tuesday morning to confirm the meeting. Both times that I showed up I was the only attendee and ended up having a free private consult!"
"I was only 3cm dilated which was enough to get me admitted and a bed in labor and delivery. Unfortunately, there were forms to sign and it seemed like it took the nurses hours to get these forms ready. During this time, the contractions were increasing with pain and my mom, my fiance, and I were in this small, dark room with a few nurses watching the tragedy of Michael Jackson on TV. I remember my fiance whispering to me, 'If they don't quit watching that TV we are going to pack you in the car and drive to CHOMP.'"
"When I have birthed there (4 times) it was a positive experience with no rush. [With my 4th in 2009] my Dr. at the time anticipated a dinner time baby but I knew better and told him lunch. He was pleasantly surprised. Babies come when they are ready and she was ready before the Dr guessed it."
"Our first nurse was HORRIBLE. She took one look at me and rolled her eyes. I had tested positive for Group B strep and needed IV antibiotics to protect the baby during delivery. Apparently the nurse had little patience for this. She gave me the IV, then hooked in the antibiotics, cold. I immediately forgot about the painful contractions. My arm felt like the bones inside it were freezing and breaking apart! It was so painful and unbearable. I begged for some relief. My nurse offered little help...
"The labor and delivery rooms were very nice, all the nurses were wonderful. Dr. Chan listened to my wishes (however, I did NOT want staples after my c-section and she forgot and gave me staples....she was very apologetic) My anesthesiologist was the best ever. I did not want morphine and I wanted something for nausea and he was awesome. I was slightly disappointed that the NICU team wouldn't let me see Nathan at birth. I got to hear him cry and they whisked him off to the NICU. I was able to see Adeline and she was much smaller at a different hospital. Recovery was wonderful and Dr. Chan was right there typing her notes while I recovered. That is when she realized she gave me staples and was so sorry. I had to request a breast pump... they kept telling me that I didn't need one yet. They accommodated me but they didn't send anyone from lactation until the next day. No biggie to me since I knew what I was doing anyways. The nurses knew how much I wanted to see my son and got me up there after 12 hours. I didn't get to see Adeline again until over 24 hours. The NICU was wonderful there. We had a private room and that was so nice. Postpartum was awful. Stuffy rooms, super small, no shower. Nursing staff was wonderful... especially Nurse George."
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. And thanks for the positive feedback guys!
"Thank you for doing these reviews, I think they are incredibly helpful for expectant parents."
Read about other local hospitals:
Community Hospital of the Monterey County
Natividad Medical Center
Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center
You can view and download a chart comparing hospital options and amenities here.
If you birthed at Salinas Valley Memorial please share your experience in the comments below!
Natural Birth Series
Sept 28 – Nov 15
Infant Sleep for Expecting & New Parents
6:30pm - 9:00pm
Gentle Cesarean: Planning & Recovery
Toro Park, 3-6:30pm
Natural Birth Refresher
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Preconception & Early Pregnancy Class
Salinas, 1– 4pm
Sibling Prep for Parents & Kids
November 4th & 5th
Toro Park, 2:-4pm
Fall Home & Birth Center Birth Series
Nov 7 – Dec 12
Natural Birth Series
Nov 29th – Jan 17th