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I am currently in my first trimester for my second child, and am contemplating switching to Kaiser in February/March in order to save money on both the birth, as well as prenatal and pediatric care (with my insurance coverage, we would have no copays vs our Blue Shield coverage which requires at least $20 for every visit and a hefty $1,000 outlay for childbirth). I gave birth to my first daughter at Alta Bates in Berkeley in 2008 and had a pretty good experience--quick, natural birth, single room to myself, etc.--but did NOT have good help with lactation consultants. I would like to have the same type of experience over at Kaiser Oakland (with better lactation help), but worry about the quality of the residents and care, and whether I'd be crammed into a double or triple room because that would be hell as I have a big family and a young daughter. I also would only what a woman doctor, so that's a concern too as it seems like you get what you get at Kaiser. SO, long question short, can anyone offer insight into Oakland Kaiser births and if anyone is able to compare between Alta Bates and Kaiser, that would be much appreciated. Thanks! Stay ''safe'' or save money?
About Kaiser: I loved my prenatal care (which I actually got at Kaiser SF, because I was working full time in SF at the time, although lived over here). I like how streamlined things are, really liked the NP I saw throughout for my regular appointments, and I liked the OBs I saw when she couldn't see me, etc.
My labor and delivery: I think so much probably depends on the doctors and L&D nurses you get. In general, I absolutely LOVED the L&D nurses -- and I went through 4 shifts of them during my labor! They were my angels -- truly wonderful. I liked one less well than the others, but in general thought they were great and two were actually midwives also (one called me the next day to see how I was). I do know that the L&D nurses held the doctors off on giving me petocin for many hours longer than the doctors wanted. So, there may have been more tension/conflict around that kind of stuff than I knew in the moment, but the L&&D nurses shielded me from it. Ultimately, I did have a lot of interventions -- oxygen, internal monitoring, etc. because my baby wasn't doing well during the labor. The doctors: I think I saw three different residents and a perinatologist during my labor. (As you may realize, I had a long, tricky labor with more doctor ''presence'' than people typically have.) I really liked one of the residents, one I thought was competent but had a crummy bedside manner, and the third -- who wound up delivering my baby while very closely supervised by the perinatologist -- I think was pretty poor. All the residents were women (even though there's no way to control for this, most young OBs tend to be women so it's highly likely you'd get a woman). The perinatologist was a man.
My post-partum care: Utterly dreadful. (Although, at the last minute the L&D nurse arranged for me to get a single instead of a double because I'd had such a rough labor, so I can't speak to the shared room. I did have a shared bathroom that was filthy.) I had extremely severe post-partum complications that went undiagnosed for two days post-partum even though I was asking for help, asking to see a doctor, etc. At the time, I was doing my best to just function and take care of my baby. Looking back, I'm really shocked and horrified by the care I received. My husband and I finally came to our senses the night before I was to be discharged and spoke to the head nurse who's response was, ''well, actually the nurses have been coming to me really worried about you, but they haven't known what to do so they've been telling you everything's fine so you wouldn't worry.'' After that conversation, we started demanding to be seen by doctors, demanding better care, etc., and my care changed hugely (was finally examined by doctors, a specialist came to see me, I think they actually assigned me better nurses etc., etc., but that was all after was supposed to have originally been discharged). It was actually scary how different my care was before and after we started making a stink, because we fully realized how poor my care had been before. My husband's a doctor, and he hadn't mentioned that until it came up during these conversations. The perinatologist actually apologized to us, saying they would have treated us differently if they'd known he was a doctor. Maybe that's the way the world works, but that was also super-concerning to me. I think it made them take us seriously instead of blowing us off, etc.
Basically, I think if you have a typical labor and delivery, or even a C-section or something where they can ''put you in the right box'' you'll get the right level of care. But I do think (and have heard this from others) if you're needing diagnostic care/have some post-partum complications that are unclear there is a terrible system for getting this type of care. Odds are, everything would be fine for you. That said, I could never go back to that hospital (nor would my husband).
Lactation consultants: I think they tend to be accessible and decent at Kaiser. Bizarrely, I kept asking to see one and no one came to see me until AFTER the day I was scheduled to be discharged, but I really think that's unusual (boy did we have a bad experience:). And after you leave the hospital with Kaiser, you still have really good access to lactation consultants. I think you can make an appointment to see someone individually any weekday (which I took advantage of), and if I remember there may be someone available by phone every day? Not quite sure. I will definitely miss that about Kaiser.
So, to sum up, I think if you had another fairly routine birth things would be fine and (from my experience) the L&D nurses would be very supportive of your wishes. Having had a birth/post-partum recovery with lots of complications, I couldn't go back because I don't trust the quality of care under those circumstances. I hope this helps somewhat, and doesn't sound too biased. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions. sk
We are planning to deliver our first child at Kaiser Oakland, where we are getting our prenatal care. I've read the archived reviews, and have some specific questions which weren't addressed in the archived reviews. Can anyone in the know give me some answers?
1) 2 friends who had recently given birth (elsewhere) required stitching, which was done very poorly, both instances by a resident. I read that Oakland is a teaching hospital and the delivery team are residents. Does anyone know when the resident cycle starts at Oakland--i.e. when do they come in brand new? And during delivery, is it possible to ask to be attended by a doctor with more experience and refuse to be stitched/treated by a new resident?
2) I read that Oakland only has double/triple rooms after birth. Is it possible to request a single room? This may be my tipping point as it's really important to me.
3) I also read that the facilities are showing their age. Anyone know if any of the new buildings are for labor and delivery?
Right now I'm still planning on staying with Oakland (as opposed to Walnut Creek) but the issues with residents and shared rooms especially are making me sway. Any advice/experience would be greatly appreciated. --Planning ahead for baby
I can't speak to your question about residents, because I had a scheduled C section so my obgyn delivered.
You are right about Oakland doubling and tripling patients. They had told me ahead of time that because I was going to have a surgical delivery, I would likely get a single room. No such luck. It was a busy week and I was there for 3 days in a triple room with 1 other woman. I couldn't have gotten a single even if I requested one - too full.
I have friends and colleagues who get their obgyn care in Oakland but deliver in Walnut Creek to ensure they get a single room. No shame in that. The doctors in Oakland seem to understand. I didn't get that option since I had the surgical delivery, but I don't think going to WC is a big deal. Its the beauty of being part of the bigger Kaiser system! have the delivery you want
1) Yes, you can request to be treated and or stitched by an attending while at Kaiser Oakland and they will do what they can to get you one. The new batch of residents come in at the beginning of August each year. That does not mean that all of the residents are new though. Some are staying on for the their 2nd, 3rd etc. years and some will be brand new.
2) You can request a private room but there is no guarantee that you will get one. That is the same at Walnut Creek as well. Generally they try to place everyone in a room alone until there are too many people and then they start doubling up.
3) My understanding is that there will not be L&D in the new buildings, but I could be wrong.
I would tour both facilities and see how you feel. They are very different and just being there may help you make a decision. I have had lovely experiences with clients at both hospitals.
Best wishes for a beautiful birth! Anna
1) Yes, you will see residents, and only a full-fledged doctor if you have a problem (which I did not). A resident stitched me up, and as far as I know, it was fine - I didn't have any particular pain that I attributed to the stitches per se and they fell out without me noticing in the appropriate period of time. I believe the new ''class'' comes in in October, but I think they also stay two years, so you have 1st and 2nd years on the floor at a time. The resident who delivered my baby and stitched me up is now, I see, on staff, so presumably that speaks to the high quality of residents they get at Oakland.
2) The recovery rooms are all set up to be triples, but if the floor is not full, you can ask to be in one by yourself. When I delivered in 2008, the entire place was packed so that wasn't an option, but I have a colleague who was initially with a roommate, asked if there was a free room, and got it. Luck of the draw, I guess, and try not to deliver during a full moon! Apparently that sparks labor.
3) ''The facilities are showing their age.'' Well, yes, that is one of the reasons why they are building a new hospital there. But obviously L&D is going to stay with the main hospital so it will be a while before it moves. Believe me, when you are in labor, you will not notice any cracks in the plaster or whatever! Since I'm about to have my second child at Oakland Kaiser
just two years later, you can tell I think the quality of the medical care is fine. It is not a touchy-feely birthing center... it is a hospital. They did what they needed to do for me and my baby, and I recommend it. (Like I said, though - I think it would be better if the recovery wing is not full! Can't control everything.) Kaiser mom
1) I had minor tearing and stitches; the resident did them and I had no problems at all. I don't know when the cycle is; I suspect you can request the attending, but it depends on what else is going on that night. Ask your OB.
2) It is false that all rooms are doubles/triples. There are a number of single rooms, as well as some doubles and a triple. We were told that they fill all the singles first, then the doubles and triples with one person, and only if necessary double up, and never on the first night if they can help it. I was there on what they told me was a busy night, and had a triple to myself. I only stayed one night; it's possible I would have had a roommate the second night.
3) My understanding is that there are new facilities for L&D, but I don't think they're open yet. The facilities are old, but I think that says more about how they look than how up-to-date their equipment is. It didn't bother me.
My recommendation is that you go on a tour of both facilities. You can see the rooms, ask your questions, etc. That's what I did, and discovered that I felt more comfortable with Oakland. In retrospect, I'm SO glad, if only because the 10 minutes drive to Kaiser Oakland while in labor was so painful -- I can't imagine the ride to Walnut Creek! And if they'd said I wasn't ready to be admitted and sent me home ... Also keep in mind that when the time comes, a facility can be full and they might send you somewhere else. My understanding from my OB is that this happens more often at Walnut Creek, because they do more births there, but that may have changed.
I know people who've had great experiences at Kaiser Oakland and Walnut Creek -- both challenging and ''easy'' births. I know people who've had difficult experiences at both facilities as well. Go with where you feel most comfortable, and then go in with a positive attitude. Happy Oakland Mama
I would ask those questions of your OB at Kaiser as well. The last thing you want to do is go in with a certain expectation because of information you got here and have it be ''against policy'' or something else that will create a sense of conflict for you while you are in labor. I would recommend that you take a tour of the L&D at Walnut Creek too. I've attended a few births at the Kaiser in Walnut Creek and it's a very cool place. And, there aren't any residents there. It's where I'm planning on having my first (almost halfway there!). I chose it because of the relaxed atmosphere, nurse midwives, and access to an OB, IF i need it. I definitely don't want my birth to be a teachable moment, especially if stitches are involved.. I don't mean to be selfish, but that's just not how I want it to go, especially for my first.
As far as the rooms go, everything is first come first served. if they don't have enough room for everyone to be on their own, you get a roomie, and there isn't really a way around it. I don't know if one hospital has more recovery rooms than the other, or how many people they serve.
Definitely go get a tour of the L&D in Walnut Creek and ask your provider more questions about how it works in Oakland. anon
I had a single room after each of my deliveries, so it's definitely possible to get one. I believe they try to give the singles to c-section moms (to the extent available). The facilities are certainly not new, but I had no problem with them. It's clean, the staff are wonderfully supportive and I was perfectly happy to go back for my second delivery. The food is atrocious, but I just ate it anyway - it was only for a few days - and your friends and family can certainly bring you food from outside.
Good luck with your choice, and congratulations! Happy Kaiser Oakland Mom
Room assignments are the luck of the draw as I understand, but the facilities seemed just fine to me. Take a tour and pepper them with questions -- that's what the L&D tours are for. We met half the residents and the anesthesiologist on our tour, and were able to put our minds at rest. Still over the moon
Re: Baby at Oakland vs. Walnut Creek Kaiser?
I delivered my first baby at Kaiser Oakland on Sept. 30. Early in the pregnancy, I seriously considered delivery at WC, because like you I tend to think that the more medicalization, the worse off for the mom, and that the CNMs might help avoid medicalization. I was swayed to Oakland mainly because I heard a bad WC delivery story from a friend; but now, based on what I learned through my own experience, I am even more glad I stayed in Oakland. I delivered naturally with no meds (not even an IV lock!), and the residents were basically fine with it (ok, they really wanted me to have the IV lock, but took my polite refusal). If you have an uncomplicated delivery and (this is key) labor at home until ''transition'', by the time you get to the hospital, it's showtime and there is no time for interventions! (I arrived at 8 cm dilated and baby was born 2.5 hours later.) Please bear in mind the additional travel time to WC if you live on this side of the tunnel - we had a 10 m! in drive to Oakland Kaiser and it was brutal for me since I was in *very* active labor; can't imagine making it all the way to Walnut Creek. And yet I am so glad I stayed home as long as I did and ultimately had the med-free delivery I wanted. I recommend getting a great doula to help at the hospital, too - she will help you interpret what the med staff is saying. The doula and your own personal emotional and physical preparation will go a long way to helping you get the delivery you envision. Oakland Kaiser Just Fine for Uncomplicated Natural Delivery anon
I stopped taking my girls to the pediatrician office there after I noticed a drug exchange going on between a couple of pre-teens who were in the waiting room the same time as me & my younger daughter.
SO...don't feel guilty about anything! You have to go where you feel most comfortable. Congratulations & good luck! Sandra
I have heard some good things about Kaiser WC, but the complaints I've heard have to do with how potentially busy they can be, due to Kaiser patients coming from all over in order to have a midwife-attended birth. I have heard things about having to share a recovering room, which you may or may not care about. I liked the privacy we had at Kaiser Oakland, though they did not have laboring tubs or birth stools, or birth balls available. I'd check with them now, as well as Kaiser WC.
Also consider how far you live from each facility. Riding in a car while in labor is no fun at all. kaiser oakland fan
I was concerned about the recovery rooms. I know they have some single but a lot of double and even triples. I wasn't looking forward to sharing to be honest. But after doing a tour I actually wanted a double/triple because the singles are really small. I ended up in a triple but as the sole occupant. Very nice indeed. Good luck! brenda
The main thing is, I think you will find the nursing staff at Oakland very supportive of your wishes. Unless something goes very wrong, you will be dealing more with the nurses than with the residents in any case. Our experience with the residents was that they were quite progressive.
I'd encourage you to take the tour at Oakland and meet the residents and other staff. Our experience was great. Merrilee
I'm due with twins in March 2009...we live in Hayward but work in Berkeley. I understand you can choose which location to have delivery (Hayward, Oakland, Fremont, Walnut Creek). If so, I'd like to get recent experiences about twin delivery in the different locations. Thanks.
All that being said, my advice on your twin delivery is:
- You may be in the hospital up to 4 days and in certain circumstances longer. With twins there is a greater chance of premies or a NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) stay. So my advice would be to pick a hospital that is closest to your home so your husband or any family that is staying at your house can easily commute back and forth from home for a shower and change of clothes, or if you babies have to stay in the hospital, it will be easier for you to commute back and forth. I know some families were one baby was sent home, the other had to stay longer in the NICU. So it's less stressful to be closer to the hospital.
-- Kaiser Oakland had a dry erase board in the room, and I assume others do too. If not, bring a notebook and pen. Keep track of your pain meds and don't get behind - the nurses if they aren't there on time. Pain meds aren't as effective if you are behind schedule. Also, if they aren't working for you, as for something else.
-- Get all the lactation advice you can in the hospital. We got crappy advice from the first one we saw, and the 2nd one gave us great advice that worked for us. So don't give up.
-- Join a parents of multiples club. You will get INVALUABE advice and support, and all of them have email forums to ask questions from more experienced members. I'm a member of Twins by the Bay, which serves Oakland, Berkeley, El Cerrito, Albany, Richmond, Piedmont, Alameda, Lafayette, Orinda, & Moraga. There is also the Twin Valley Mothers of Twins Club http://www.tvmotc.org/joinus.htm; and The Tric City Moms of Multiples: http://tricitymoms.org/. I don't know which one would be close to you, but you can also search for a club by zip code at the National Organization of Mothers of Twins Clubs: http://www.nomotc.org/index.php?option=com_clubsearch&Itemid=43 anon
I chose to have an elective c-section for the birth of my first child, and plan to do the same for my second. (No interest in VBAC). I recently moved to the East Bay from San Francisco, and now must chose a new OB at Kaiser Oakland. Can anyone here recommend a female OB at Kaiser Oakland who is pro-choice as far as elective c-sections are concerned, experienced and courteous? Thank you. anonymous
Re: I live in Richmond - which Kaiser for delivery?
Our youngest grandchild, who is now 3 months old, was born @Oakland Kaiser. My daughter-in-law felt that she got extrememly good care, as did the baby. There were some complications that had not been expected (a Caesaean was absolutely necessary to save the baby from possible harm because of a change in the position of cord & baby), but she recuperated rather quickly. She was kept in the hospital for about a week, no move made to kick her out w/a minimum stay; had excellent nursing care, got several visits from lactation specialists, was given help in getting her own body back into shape, & liked the pediatric care. The food wasn’t very good, but good medical care is a lot more important. (We brought in some good salads & pizza from nearby Piedmont Avenue for them.) The baby is now 3 months old, gaining weight amazingly well (breast fed), strong, alert, & now beginning to take long stretches on some nights. The parents are on the older side. They live in the Richmond Annex-El Cerrito area. Oakland Kaiser has some incredibly good medical personel. Sorry for the spelling mistakes; I am a dreadful speller. Happy Grandmother
Does anyone have any experience or advice with either Kaiser Oakland or Richmond as far as pregnancy and childbirth? I just found out I'm expecting and don't know anything about the facilities or medical staff here. I've been to Kaiser Oakland for a regular OB apt. twice, and my son has been to both Oakland and Richmond for pediatrician appointments, but our last birthing experience was with a private insurance program and hospital and not at all like the Goliath that Kaiser is, i.e. if I needed to call my doctor I actually called the office and talked to the same receptionist every time--not like the many layered phone tag of the Kaiser system. So I guess my question is, what was your experience and are there people that you would recommend? Thanks so much! expecting mom
I delivered at Oakland and have no complaints. In fact, I really liked the staff and we had a nice experience there delivering our child. ~Good times at Oakland Kaiser
Richmond Kaiser does not have L&D. Your options in the East Bay are Oakland, Walnut Creek, and Hayward. If you deliver at Oakland, your baby will be delivered by a resident, not the OB/GYN you see for prenatal care. The residents are on a team that is overseen by an attending. Walnut Creek has midwives for deliveries. I don't know much about Hayward.
I delivered at Oakland Kaiser and had a good experience with my residents. Seriously, I was so focused on labor that I didn't really tune into who was doing what. You can go on tours of the L&D departments and at Oakland, you can go to a session where you can meet all of the residents. Even though you're still early, you may want to do that now so you can make your decision.
had an Oakland Kaiser baby
I've delivered babies at both Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser Walnut Creek. Richmond does not have a Labor & Delivery unit, so most Richmond patients deliver in Oakland though Walnut Creek is also an option. Both experiences were generally good, though not perfect. In Walnut Creek, the anesthesiologist took two tries to insert my epidural. In Oakland, the triage nurse told me to go home when I was pretty far along. I didn't go home, and the baby was born within an hour and a half. Other than those mishaps, my experiences were great at both facilities. I loved the L&D nurses and the postpartum nurses, the food was actually pretty good, and I didn't feel rushed out when it was time to go home. My delivery in Oakland was so fast that there was no time for music, lighting, etc ... but I got the impression from my pre-delivery visit there that the staff is open to parents' wishes. The rooms in Oakland were small but adequate. We were in a private room with a shared bathroom. ! My husband did NOT like the pull-out chair that was provided for him ... it was too narrow, so that he spend the night lying on two hard pieces of wood (and he's pretty skinny). Kathryn
Richmond Kaiser is actually voted something like number 4 of the Kaiser in Northern California. Unfortunately they do not deliver babies. You have to go to Oakland. I had a good experience their. My labor and delivery was pretty much text book. The only complaint was they do not have tubs to be in just showers.
When I asked my doctor if she recommended Oakland or Walnut creek for labor, she said, Oakland was really good at being attentive for the labor and delivery but lacked in recovery. Walnut Creek was more attentive at recovery but lacked somewhat in delivery, so if you know you are having a c section go with Walnut Creek. Good Luck Happy Mom
Kaiser Oakland is a teaching hospital, so they have Ob/Gyn residents who do much of the work on the labor and delivery ward, supervised by attending physicians like Dr. Minikel. So - your usual Ob/Gyn very likely won't be the person who delivers your baby. I knew this from the outset and it was not a big deal to me - had seen a resident deliver my sister's baby at UCSF and knew that most of the interaction you have in labor is with the nurses anyway!
I had a natural childbirth at Kaiser Oakland in Nov 2007 and had incredibly supportive nurses throughout, and had an attending physician (not a resident) with me during a good part of late labor and for about 2 hours of pushing! (Maybe it was a slow night.) She was Dr. Caryn Rybczynski and she was incredible - said all the right things and helped me stay with my planned natural childbirth even when I was starting to ask about an epidural. She has a baby herself and I think she'd be excellent in the outpatient setting as well.
So, I can't speak to Kaiser Richmond, but my experience at Kaiser Oakland was really wonderful from start to finish. (The only downside is that they have some shared rooms on the recovery ward, until their new hopsital is built. I shared one my first night - not the greatest, but not such a big deal.) I'm sure experiences vary by what nurses or doctors you get and what's happening in your labor, but I found everyone to be very respectful, supportive, and knowledgable throughout.
As for dealing with the ''behemoth'' - yes, when you call your doctor, you are calling a call center, but they can leave a message for your doctor just like a receptionist in a non-Kaiser office would, and my doctor always called back that day. With Kaiser you are also able to e-mail your doctor through the website, which I used several times and my doctor always responded within a day or two. The fact that Kaiser is all one system can actually be really helpful if you ever have to work with other doctors as I did - they all see your same electronic medical record and know what's going on with other doctors, pharmacy, past medical history, etc. GOOD LUCK!
Full disclosure: I am an employee of Kaiser Permanente in their national offices, but feel I have an objective view as a patient (my work doesn't involve clinical care, service, or insurance issues). New mom in '07
Re: Childbirth at Kaiser Walnut Creek
Hi, I can't advise on WC Kaiser, however, can let you know that you have another Kaiser birthing option in the east bay and that is Oakland Kaiser. I just gave birth to our first child (2 weeks ago!) at Kaiser Oakland and was very impressed with my experience. Loved the nurses, the lactation specialists were fantastic, the doctor I dealt with and the peds were great. Our experience was quite positive.
Their labor & delivery and family care floors are relatively new as well. Having never given birth before, I don't have anything to compare it to, but I was pleased.
I know you can sign up for free Labor & Delivery tours at both facilities (Oakland and WC) and then you can compare them to what you remember from SF Kaiser. Good luck & congratulations! Carol
Does anyone have any experience with Kaiser Oakland Hospital's maternity ward? When I gave birth to our first child, they did not have this facility open for birthing. We had a choice of Alta Bates or Kaiser Walnut Creek. We chose Walnut Creek, which was fine. They have nice facilities and midwives on staff. This time around however we may want to use a maternity ward closer to home since we'll have to arrange for care for our first child during delivery. We'll of course be going on a L&D tour but if anyone has any experience with KP-Oakland, we'd be most appreciative. anonymous
I ended up having a c-section and thought the team we had was amazing. Very positive, supportive and skilled. I was impressed at how they treated the birth as the special occasion it was, the weren't at all jaded like the doctor and nurses I had the first time around at Alta Bate. My twins totalled 15 pounds and I had a rough and painful recovery. The nurses were fantastic; they were responsive to my needs and worked to find ways for me to get relief. We were there for 4 days and although I was ready to go home, I was sad to leave. anon
Please bear with me, this is yet again, another search (albeit one for more recent aka. 2006) for advice on Kaiser's L&D - our first baby was born at WC - good experience but nothing so stellar, our second is due in a few weeks and we're looking at Oakland to be closer to home - whatever your experiences with the Oakland facility (and/or vs. WC or Hayward) would be MOST appreciated - specifically, quality of care, access to private room, thoughts on residents/vs. midwives in terms of respecting your wishes and general asetetics... curious about new l&d...
I'm looking for recent childbirth experiences at either Kaiser Oakland or Vallejo. The most
up-to-date ones I could find in the archives for Oakland were over a year old, and I
couldn't find anything on Vallejo. If you received prenatal care and/or delivered at either
facility in the past 6-12 months, would you mind sharing your experience (and any
recommendations for NPs or MDs)? If you have your own doula, does that work within either
Choosing between Kaisers
The only thing that I didn't like about my experience there was the birth preparation class. I'm sorry that I don't remember the instructor's name, but she was awful. She talked about herself the whole time and was just a ditz! We signed up for the class where we attended once a week for a few weeks. Each class got progressively worse, but we kept going because we were afraid to miss something! The last class was taught by a substitute instructor named Joan Bryant. She was amazing!! She is also a doula and she was so wonderful. She answered all of our questions and gave us some good tips that were actually useful to us during the birth.
Good luck and have a wonderful pregnancy/birth! nm
We went in with our expressed intention to have as few interventions as possible, and the staff and doctors were very supportive of this. At no time did a doctor or nurse walk in and say, ''so, are you ready for your epidural now?'' Things didn't go as we had planned -- my contractions were close together, painful, and my labor was slow (typcial with first labors). I wound up opting for pitosin and an epidural, but up until then, both doctors and nurses were very supportive and offered suggestions for different techniques and positions. I had great coaching from one of the nurses (named DL) when it came time to push. Our little one was born with her hand by her face, so I wound up having some pretty significant tearing (unanticipated -- up until then it looked like I'd have no tearing). The doctors did a nice job sewing me up, and the doctor who delivered us came by the next morning to check on us, saying she hadn't been able to sleep because she was worried about me (until then I hadn't realized how bad my tear was). Our little one also swalllowed miconium, and there were two pediatricians on hand to help with her post birth.
Kaiser Oakland is unusal and unique in the Kaiser system (at least in NoCal) in that it's a teaching hospital on both the ob.gyn side and on the pediatric side. The residents in labor and delivery work in teams of three. The current crop are all female, competent, and pleasant to deal with(and TV good looking, I'll add, in every size, shape, and color). Our labor was long, so we had an opportunity to meet many of them.
The labor and delivery rooms were nice enough, private, quite, with a shower but no tub. We could control the lighting, the temp, etc. They all have a tv with a DVD player. In recovery, we were in the family care unit, which has singles, doubles, and triples. We lucked out and had a double to ourselves for most of the time there. We asked about how singles are doled out and it's first come first serve, although one nurse commented that the singles were for C Sections and ''emotional cases.'' The pediatric residents were also very cool. The nursing staff in the family care unit is great, and offered useful tips on breastfeeding and other things. We had a daytime nurse named Laura who we loved.
I have to say that I find a lot of the comments about Kaiser Oakland to be somewhat offensive, and wonder how much of this is socio-economic. I find Kaiser Oakland to be delightfully diverse, and also just a great place to get care. There is a ''meet the doctors'' orientation session that's held weekly, and I'd urge you to go to this -- they will happily answer any questions you have. If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch! Merrilee
Here's why I was delighted with them: My water broke and my contractions were not starting naturally within their ''legally allotted'' time frame. The nurses encouraged me to come in, but were never rude about it, and then when I checked in they were very friendly and accommodating about allowing us to try to get labor started naturally. I ended up with pitosin, which I was not happy about (I have a huge fear of intravenous needles etc), but the attending OB was totally open about listening to my fears and discussing how they wanted to administer it (I requested that they give it to me slowly, having attended a birth (not at Kaiser) where it was not administered slowly, which led to a brutally difficult delivery). D.L., our nurse, rocked. She was fantastic. My husband and our friend were coaching me, and D.L. checked in periodically, always at the right time. She made sure I was not attached to too many wires and tubes, she made great suggestions about ways to manage labor, and she made the key suggestion that got me through without anaesthesia: putting me in the shower. And then she convinced the resident who delivered our girl (Dr. Karen Maloney) to check my progress *while I was in the shower.* The two of them did not make me move to a bed, which would have been a lot more comfortable for Dr. Maloney. Now, if I had been at a non-teaching hospital with doctors established in their ways, I am betting this would never have happened. Also worth noting - Dr. Maloney is an osteopath.
The staff was incredibly caring, they checked up on us the next day and came by to
snuggle the baby, and we really made a human connection with them. Post-partum,
equally good. I'm rambling on here, but I'd also like to tell you that we met our
doctor's pediatrician during our two day stay. (Dr. Anjana Ray at Richmond Pediatrics,
which is worth checking out. She was the attending at the hospital while we were
there. Her practice was full but when we asked she agreed to take us in.)
Another thing you should know -- Kaiser Oakland averages about seven births a day.
They are not a baby factory, which we really liked. After hearing birth stories from
other area hospitals, we always feel like we made a great decision
another happy Kaiser Oakland mom
[Editor]a review was also received for Vallejo
I'm due to deliver baby #2 at Kaiser Oakland sometime in the next 5-10 weeks. #1 was also a Kaiser baby, but delivered at Alta Bates. I had a terrible initial experience at Alta Bates in that we requested a private room, but were put in a FOUR person room! I've never been more miserable. It's VERY important to me this go-around to get a private room and I have to know how likely that is at Kaiser Oakland? Who do I need to know? I'm not above bribery, I just need to know who to schmooze (I'm kidding...a little). In all, I'm a happy Kaiser patient, but still wondering what to expect at the new maternity ward I need my sleep!
I just found out today that Kaiser WC is no longer taking
referrals from Kaiser Oakland for labor/delivery. I delivered
my first child in Kaiser WC with a midwife and had exactly the
birth I'd hoped for and didn't have to fight for it. We used a
midwife and had an unmedicalized experience--no drugs were even
offered. I had planned to go there again with #2, but was told
today that that is no longer an option as of a few weeks ago.
I'm so disappointed and sad and worried that I'll have a
completely medicalized, unsupportive birth experience (I'm due
this summer) and that I'll have to fight to have the birth
experience I want. There are only a handful of experiences on
the archives. Can anyone share their more recent experiences?
Am I worrying needlessly?
Mom hoping for an unmedicalized birth
A few notable things about the Kaiser Oakland facility- 1- they're moving towards becoming a ''mother-baby'' hospital (I believe its called) which means that they do what they can to encourage the contact between mother and baby among other things. For example, Kaiser Oakland does not have a ''well-baby nursery'' so unless there is a medical reason to take them from you, the baby won't leave your side (beneficial to them financially too but who cares!). 2- they have a corridor along the outside of the post-delivery rooms which enables your guests to visit without having to stand in your room the whole time or out in the medical area getting in the way of doctors and nurses. 3- they have versitle beds with squat bars that allow you deliver in many ways other than lying flat on your back which is great for a medication free birth!
4- is my personal experience: I ended up having to schedule a c-section and I could not have been more amazed by my experience. The all-female staff was so friendly and nice that they put me very at ease. Not only did they not take my baby away from me immediately after the birth, but they actually offered to let me breastfeed on the operating table while I was being put back together. The baby NEVER left my side and the anesthesiologist held my baby over my chest for about 15 or 20 minutes while she nursed. I can't tell you how much that meant to me after having had a previous c-section at a different facility where I got to look at my baby for about 15 seconds and then was wheeled into a post-op room to recover (alone) for about 4 hours- no breastfeeding, no eye contact, and my husband wasn't even allowed to come in to see me.
All in all, I had a wonderful experience at Kaiser Oakland. I didn't get the opportunity to use my doula for my attempt at a VBAC, but in the tour it was made known that the birth could be what I wanted it to be- you just needed to know what you wanted.
I think you will be fine- I wouldn't be too disappointed about having to deliver at Kaiser oakland- Its a great place.
Good luck with your delivery- I hope its everything you want it to be. Kaiser Oakland Fan
I had a baby at Kaiser Oakland last June and it was a good experience. I was not as ''unmediacalized'' as you want, but then I had a high risk pregnancy and had to have my baby a month early. (She is doing great!) Mary Ellin
Our baby never left us, we didn't get almost all of the ''standard '' tests/needles/blood draws. We told the hospital we wanted to go home and they told us we could leave anytime but before 12 hours we'd have to sign some waiver so we just waited the 12 hours. The nurses on the floor basically left us alone and the nurse who was on as we were closing in on the 12 hrs got us the wheelchair and got us all ready and said it would be 12 hours by the time we were pulling out of the parking lot basically, so I feel she was helping us to get home asap within the parameters of their allowable time.
Anyway-I felt we were so lucky with the resident and nurse who provided our primary care and we had a wonderful birth and have a great son. Melanie
Another post mentioned the corrider along the outside of the building. I personally found it to be a misuse of space. It must face a westerly or southerly direction because it gets unbelievably hot in there in the afternoons when the sun shines (and as a result the rooms on that side also heat up - I was using the air conditioning, even though it was at most in the upper 50s outside). In addition, it is strewn with extra chairs from the rooms because the rooms are so small. As a result, there isn't room there for new mommies to walk with their babies in their bassinets (my only option since my husband wasn't around much due to issues of his own and I wasn't about to leave my baby alone in the room), so I had to walk in the main corrider and contribute to the chaos there, getting in the way of medical staff who were trying to do their jobs. (Speaking of the main corrider - most of it is lined with desks/counter space and even stand-alone tables where the nurses (mostly) do some of their work. It is cramped and noisy; medical records lie all over the place, or are being displayed on computer screens. Not exactly private.)
Another problem with walking in the main corrider with your baby is the alarm system. I appreciate the unfortunate need for having babies tagged so they cannot be removed from the facility without ''permission'', but the system is set to be extremely sensitive. I was told that if I walked by the elevators and doors with my baby while either was open, that the alarm would go off, so I made a point of walking by that area as quickly as I could, which admittedly wasn't very fast at first. A staff member walked up behind me at one point and opened the door and guess what, my baby set off the alarm. Surely the staff members are aware of this issue and could wait an extra five seconds to be sure they don't set off the alarm. I didn't even know the person was behind me. Anyway, once the alarm goes off, it is not only surely annoying to staff and patients alike to hear the thing blaring loudly, but it also requires that my baby's nurse turn it off (persumably she would be the one to ''verify'' that everything was ok). So, I hated walking in the main corrider because I felt like I was in the way (which I was) and because of the alarm issue. And I would have hated walking in the outer corrider, had there been room, because of the heat.
I definitely did not like having my baby taken for the hearing test/vaccination(s?)/etc. Part of the reason for this is that I simply don't even know what was done. I don't know how long the absence lasted, but it seemed like forever; I had even asked my husband if it didn't seem excessively long for what we thought was happening. The baby's picture was also taken at that time, and then offered for sale. That is all well and good - in fact we planned ahead of time to buy the pictures. But, I didn't know the photo shoot would be happening. If I had known, we would have changed the baby's shirt at least. We were hoping to have the picture taken in our clothes, not a hospital t-shirt - and certainly not a t-shirt on which there was a huge yellow spit-up stain. Of course, the stain wasn't visible in the proofs - and I didn't know know it was a problem until the pictures came in the mail $$$$ later.
Even though I had a private room, I had a shared bath. I was less than thrilled about this for two reasons. First, I know I sometimes spent quite a bit of time in there myself, as did the women on the other side. The room is then obviously not accessible to the other patient. Second, and more importantly, they just cannot be kept adequately clean. This is disgusting and I apologize, but there was blood (not mine)in the bathroom on at least two occasions when I was in there. I know that the first time I used the restroom with the help of the nurse and then again when my catheter was removed, there was a pretty big mess in there, so it isn't a big surprise that there would be blood in there. The nurse did clean up afterwards, but I suspect she isn't as thorough as the housekeeping staff (who did clean in there regularly too). I know there were doing their best to keep it clean, but I still think it is extremely unpleasant to have to share a bathroom with someone who leaves blood here and there, through no fault of her own.
In terms of personal treatment: one morning I got up around 6:00 and took a stroll with my baby. I saw food trays in the hallway and saw someone delivering food to patients. I still had not received breakfast by 9:45, so I finally asked for it. I did get my food, but the person who brought it to me treated me like I was making an unreasonable demand. I realize I undoubtedly interupted whatever task she was doing at the time, but I don't think it is unreasonable to have breakfast before 10:00. Then, they brought me lunch about 11:45. Hmmm - not hungry then.
When we finally got around to leaving, things did not progress as smoothly as I would have liked, and we took forever getting out. I am pretty sure the unit was pretty busy at the time and they probably really did need my bed, but I didn't think it was necessary to overhear one staff member asking my nurse if ''that lady in Room X ever get out of here''. Part of the delay was their own fault (pharmacy didn't have my prescription because no one had ever sent it to them). In addition, when we did finally manage to leave, we stopped to pay our bill, as we had been instructed by someone from the business office who stopped by. The person who wheeled me down to the parking lot therefore just had to stand around while my husband took care of that; why they couldn't have told him to take care of it immediately before we left (as he did with picking up the pharmacy order), I don't know. But that was a waste of at least fifteen minutes of her time.
In sum, although I haven't commented on medical care at all, I was very happy with that and have no complaints. The doctors I saw were all great and definitely spent the time to explain whatever was necessary and answer questions, and the nurses were really terrific too; they did their jobs in what I would consider to be less than ideal conditions in a professional, caring way. I'd recommend Kaiser Oakland for medical care (including L&D) in a heartbeat. But be prepared for a less than ideal facility.
Has anyone recently delivered at Oakland Kaiser? I am trying to decide between
Oakland Kaiser or Walnut Creek. I am being strongly encouraged to go to Oakland
because Walnut Creek Kaiser is very busy. I had a bad experience with the residents
at Oakland Kaiser/Alta Bates in 2000 and then a great experience with the mid wifes
at Walnut Creek 2003. So we are inclined to hedge our bets and trek out to Walnut
Creek. Thanks for all your stories and recommendations
I would love to hear about anyone's experience who's given birth at Oakland Kaiser recently (since the new building was completed and they stopped using Alta Bates for deliveries). Any suggestions on obtaining a natural birth there are especially appreciated. Thank you! Annie
I arrived after my water broke, with contractions just starting. It was busy so I waited in the triage room until a L&D room was available. The nurse it the L&D room tried to give me the hard sell on an epidural but backed off when I said firmly that I did not want one. The nurse was the main person taking care of me, with the resident and the ''real doctor'' popping in once or twice to check on me, and finally to deliver the baby. I had an almost natural birth as I requested Fentanyl and was given it promptly.
I was in a triple recovery room but the two other ladies left that day and the nurses moved me to the window-side bed that night and I was alone until the middle of the night when someone else came in. The triples have divider curtains so you do have privacy, and you have access to a big glassed-in hallway with a great view of the east bay hills and the bay so you can show baby where he or she lives!
Not knowing anything about Walnut Creek Kaiser, I can't imagine it is that much
better. I think if you live closer to Oakland there is no reason not to have your baby
there. It would be terrible to drive out from Oakland to WC and get turned back
I would recommend however:
- Telling the nurses what you want, ie, no epidural, right away and in no uncertain terms. (It is busy and I think some nurses just want you to be quiet and make their life easier.)
- Bringing one more support person besides your partner, ie, your mom or a doula, so if someone needs to go get someone or something, you will still have a friend with you.
- Bringing bottled water to drink during labor (They do let you drink but they will just give you dixie cups!)
- Bringing a hot pad for your back and washcloths to put on your forehead (You would think that they would have these things in a hospital, and no doubt they do, but it is a lot easier if you have your own. Otherwise you will get paper towel compresses.)
One more plus of Oakland Kaiser--you can send your husband out for food from Piedmont Avenue! anon kaiser mom
Very happy with Oakland Kaiser delivery. Susan
I would strongly recommend getting a doula if you hope to go natural. Most hospitals are so used to the medicated approach they don't know what else to do if you don't want the meds. A doula will have other choices to offer you. Her support alone might make the difference.
I'm happy to talk with you more about my experience. Just send me an email. Kim
My experience in the maternity ward was completely different however. We were put in a triple that was being used as a double, which means sharing a bathroom with another woman and her partner. Even as just a double, the room was way too crowded to move around. Just a few hours after my delivery (in the middle of the night!), the engineering dept wanted to move everyone out of the rooms to fix the toilets. The nurse kept it from happening, but the whole scene was chaotic in a lot of ways and I hardly slept. Dealing with the bathroom is enough of an issue after giving birth! The nurses seemed very competent, but they were just too busy to really take care of everyone. We got an early discharge and left less than 24 hours after delivery, which looking back was really too early for me physically, but I just wanted out of the whole place. Laura
Hello, This question was asked in '04 but there's been nothing new for about a year and at the time, the new L&D facilities at Kaiser Oakland were still quite new. Any more recent feedback? Is getting a private room likely? Are there tubs? Do residents still do most of the deliveries? Are there any midwives? Thanks much! Expecting
Can any new moms or health care workers comment on the new labor and delivery facilities at Kaiser Oakland? I just had a tour and I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped I would be, given that it is brand new. How well organized are they? Any overcrowding problems? (It seemed small.) Did you get a choice for a private or shared post-natal room? How were the nurses? I heard that they have all been recently hired, at good wages, and so Kaiser has attracted good people... but that because everything is still so new, there are still lots of kinks. What was the attitude toward medical pain relief vs. natural labor? Any and all comments would be very helpful as I decide whether to go there or to another Kaiser facility!
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Although Kaiser patients (Oakland) have been delivering their babies at Alta Bates Hospital since 1998, someone told me that it is going to change very soon. Since Alta Bates-Summit is planning to take all L&D to Ashby campus, there will not be enough space for Kaiser patients, and Kaiser patients births will be in the Oakland facility... Is that true? It is very important for me to know this. I am switching health insurance carriers and I am considering Kaiser but only if L&D can be at Alta Bates... Thank you for your help! Alta Bates nurses made a difference in my life
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