From Sutter's website:
"We have both doctors and midwives on staff, which means you have a choice in your obstetrical care. We have 12 birthing suites to accommodate you before, during and after your baby is born. Some of our suites include an in-room Jacuzzi. For suites without an in-room Jacuzzi, a private one is available."
Sutter is supportive of women who choose to birth vaginally after having a cesarean (VBAC). Out of the total of 978 births at Sutter in 2012, 23.5% of the births were by cesarean section, (www.cesareanrates.com). Though this rate is below the state average of 33.2% and lower than all of the Monterey County hospitals, it is above the World Health Organization's recommendation of 10-15%. Sutter is a non-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).
Sutter 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.
An expecting Monterey mom shared her thoughts and a couple pictures from her tour:
"The rooms are huge, bright and sunny, with a balcony you can walk out on (Dominican has patios but they don't let you out on them for security reasons)."
"And half of their rooms have the jacuzzi tub in them. The other half have only the shower, but there's a separate tub room those rooms can share. My pic doesn't show it, but they even have fake candles to make a soothing environment.
"They have a nutrition closet where you can grab drinks and snacks any time, plus you can order food from their cafe 24/7.
They said most babies never leave your room. And they do chest-to-chest contact immediately and recommend that mom and baby bond for at least the first two hours before even handing baby over to dad because this helps with baby latching on for breastfeeding. They have lactation specialists on staff, and all the nurses have gone lots of hours of training on breastfeeding in order for them to get the "baby friendly" designation from the World Health Organization.
They don't have any visiting hours, so friends/family can come whenever you want them to, but they discouraged passing around baby too much because it's more important for mom and baby to bond.
They don't even bathe baby until 6 hours later, although they said they could do it earlier or not at all depending on what you prefer.
That place is amazing! I liked it way better than Dominican. I didn't even have any of the hospital anxiety that I usually have. I'm 95% sure I want to go there and have Dr. Klikoff as my doctor. I'm still going to tour Natividad tomorrow and maybe look at CHOMP, not because I want to go there, but just for the contrast so I can understand how great Sutter is and reinforce that it's worth the farther drive!"
And another Monterey County mom shares her birth experience:
Hands down Sutter Maternity was amazing. We toured CHOMP, Dominican, and Sutter and immediately knew where we were going.
We had planned on an au-natural birth laboring at home as long as we could with a doula in Monterey before going in. My water broke in the middle of the night on a Thursday without any contractions. Waited a while and called our doctor(Klikoff/Joanne, AH-MAZING!) went in that morning to check to make sure my water had broken. Was given the option to either go in for an induction (it had already been several hours) or to wait it out until that evening when I would have to be induced to lessen our risk of infection. Waited it out in beautiful Santa Cruz all day, went into Sutter around 5pm.
Immediately the nurses were so wonderful, the food was amazing and we had it set up so my husband would call down and order with me and it would come up when we requested. Started cervadil that evening/night with a plan to start pitocin the next morning. No monitoring that I can remember that night, maybe blood pressure once or twice.
Started Pitocin the next morning and still had intermittent monitoring but nothing constant for a while, then the waterproof belly/baby monitor. Spent HOURS in our tub. When the monitor would be a little iffy the nurse (Christine) would either have my husband hold the monitor on or she spent at least an hour elbow deep in the bathwater to make sure it was reading.
Fifteen or sixteen hours later, after starting the Pitocin I was mentally exhausted and I was the one who mentioned getting an epidural, not one person had even brought it up until this point. Joanne(my midwife) came to make sure I really wanted to and encouraged me that either decision would be totally fine. Decided on the epidural and the anesthesiologist came quick. Listen to exactly what I wanted and decided on a very very slow low drip. I was checked and was 5 cm (this is after 16 hours.) Within 45 minutes I was feeling pushy and let our nurse know, it was a temporary nurse as our original was on break. She checked I was completely dilated and she let me know I could push if I wanted a few times to see how effective it was going to be. After watching she said the baby wasn't really descending but would go back and forth or turtle as she would call it, and wanted to call Joanne to see if she wanted to come in and maybe need to rotate the baby a bit.
She left the room to call and get a squat bar (at my request) and told me I could continue pushing if I wanted. Within 2 contractions I knew the baby was coming now and she came back to the room, the baby was crowing and the midwife was not going to make it. I can just remember her hitting a button on the wall and about 4 nurses coming in because nothing had been prepared yet because I was laboring so slow. There was a little panic because my daughter had shoulder dystocia and was very stuck. Christine immediately knew apply pressure on my abdomen and avoided any injury to my daughter or the need for an episiotomy.
She was placed tummy to tummy and they left her there as long as they could, but it became evident that she had developed an infection due to my extended time of broken water. They immediately had a pediatrician called in and took her to their rarely ever used nursery where my husband was allowed to accompany. After she stabilized she was brought to stay in our room with her IV antibiotics and all. We ended up staying an additional 5 days, so 7 total and we were allowed to stay in our room the whole time even though I had been discharged after the third day. We were even encouraged to co-sleep and taught how to nurse laying down.
Rachel, Ann, and Christine were by far the best nurses ever, enough that its been 9 months and I still remember their names. I think at any other hospital in the area I would have ended up with a c-section, certainly at CHOMP, or my baby would have been in the NICU at Dominican. I loved that Sutter put my husband and I in charge of taking care of our little one and treating us as knowledgeable adults.
You can read more reviews of Sutter on yelp, here are a few excerpts:
"If you want to have a low-intervention or non-medicated childbirth, this is the place. It's the best of both worlds. Although I had a natural childbirth, I was glad the technology was there when we needed it, because my son had some heart rate issues during delivery."
"I do not care where you live....if you are pregnant...and you want an amazing birth experience.... GO TO SUTTER MATERNITY!"
"Giving birth here was like being a VIP, staying in a 5-star resort hotel. The nurses were so amazing and the chef downstairs whipped up gourmet meals daily."
"Staff was AMAZING. With my first child, I had a nurse by my side for 24 hours, literally. One nurse spent the night by my bedside (Due to some complications, but where else can you say you get your own private nurse?)"
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
You can view and download a chart comparing hospital options and amenities here.
Did you give birth at Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center? Please share your experience in the comments below!