Using a Midwife with Kaiser
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Using a Midwife with Kaiser
Hi, I am 23 weeks pregnant (low risk) and I prefer natural birthing (not home)
and I recently moved to California. I am trying to decide between midwives at
Alta Bates and midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I spoke with Lindy Johnson &
Hsui Li Cheng and I really liked them. Only issue is that I need to drive at
least 45mins-1hr during traffic both for the monthly appointments and for
delivery. Which is why I am now looking at Kaiser Walnut Creek midwives but am
not sure how their labor/delivery rates. Any advice/feedback is appreciated.
I have not seen any new postings on this topic and wanted to gather some
recommendation/feedback. As regards the insurance, I have several options but
Kaiser Walnut creek is cheaper and closer to home.
Congrats on your pregnancy & welcome to CA! I don't know
about midwives in Walnut Creek, although I'm sure you can
find someone great. We did work with Hsiu-Li for my
daughters birth, and had a very positive experience all
around, including time at Alta Bates. Hsiu-Li is truly a
master at what she does, and I feel certain that I owe my
vaginal birth to her support during labor. That being said,
as your pregnancy progresses, it would likely ease commuting
stress to see someone closer to you. I hope you find
someone near you, but wanted t let you know that if you go
with Hsiu-Li, you are in great hands. Also, you may want to
ask her (Hsiu-Li) to recommend someone out your way.
You'll probably get a lot of replies in both directions on this one. My
2 cents is this: I delivered at Kaiser WC and was very happy with the
experience. I saw 3 midwives for prenatal care in preparation for
delivery with any midwife who happened to be on shift when I went into
labor (you can choose to see the same one for every appt if you like,
but that's how I decided to do it). I liked all three of them very
much, and as it turned out I labored and delivered with 2 additional
midwives who I was also happy with. They really made time to answer any
questions I had during my appts and respected my plan for natural
birth, presenting any interventions as options that I had the last word
on. I felt very empowered, and when medical intervention was finally
necessary, I felt that it had been my choice and was not forced on me.
When my baby was born she was placed skin to skin with me immediately
and we were given the first hour for bonding before any weighing or
procedures took place. She also never left my room during the entire
stay at the hospital.
The other great thing about Kaiser is the focus and support around
lactation. The nurses are all trained to help with breastfeeding and
lactation consultants are available if you need additional help. I
recommend Jane Graves at WC if you need to utilize lactation. Plus,
your first appt after the baby is born is with lactation at 2 days old,
where they weigh the baby and answer questions if you have them. And I
believe they have a walk-in clinic if you need assistance beyond that.
Good luck with your new baby! I hope you have an amazing birth
Kaiser WC Mama
I highly recommended the Kaiser Walnut Creek midwives. I
had two babies there, both times with no drugs or other
unwanted interventions. They were very supportive, and I
could not be more happy about the service we received from
the midwives. After baby #2 was born, I was surprised to
find out that ''natural'' childbirth is actually not that
common at the Walnut Creek hospital (at least according to
the midwife I spoke to) -- and the reason I was surprised is
because everyone seemed very comfortable with my decision to
forgo drugs, so I figured everyone was doing it! It is
important to know that the midwives work as a group, so you
won't have one in particular assigned to you. I recommend
meeting at least 2-3 of the midwives throughout your
prenatal care so that you increase the chances of seeing one
you know on Delivery Day. Good luck with your decision.
Both of my sons were born at Kaiser Walnut Creek (older one is 6 years
and younger one 21 months). Though I live in Berkeley, it was worth it
to travel to WC for the nurse midwives. My first son's birth had some
complications, which ended up with medical interventions and doctors,
but I was still able to have a natural birth--one of the nurses even
stayed past her shift in order to see the birth through, which I found
very moving. My experience with my second son's birth was more
straightforward, with an amazing nurse midwife and another natural
birth. I had a doula with me both times, and the Kaiser WC staff worked
really well with her. It was so gratifying to be surrounded with such
supportive people who supported my desire to have natural birthing, and
equally comforting to have the medical specialists there for
complications. I highly recommend Kaiser WC. Plus, their Mom Baby
Clinic and breastfeeding support are both terrific once your baby is
I have searched the archives and could not find recent
information on Kaiser and midwives. I would actually prefer
a homebirth, but know that Kaiser wouldn't pay for it and
our budget won't allow us to bear the additional costs of
paying midwives directly. For #1, I delivered in Vallejo
hoping for a midwife, but there was none on duty. I felt
bullied and ended up with a lot of intervention we did not
want and felt wouldn't have needed if I had had a midwife.
Looking for advice on any East Bay Kaiser Facility (Walnut
Creek, Hayward or other) that 1)would give me a good chance
at having a midwife attend, and 2)a facility that has tubs
as I would like to labor and possibly deliver in water. Any
advice, direction, and/or guidance would be greatly
I think that its good to have a general birth plan and an idea of
what you would like to have as a birth experience (easy, painless,
quick, joyful, healthy, natural, at home, in the water, in a
beautiful setting, etc. ...). In my own opinion. I think that our
local culture tends towards the fetishized idealization of the
mother?s birth experience, and that the real goal/focus should be
healthy, highly competent, and well equipped to deal with neonatal
and maternal emergency. Our doula suggested a one page, very
flexible birth plan that emphasizes preferences, but that eschews
absolutes. My goal was as natural as the circumstances permitted,
and with the health and well being of my child at the absolute
pinnacle of my considerations. My daughter was born at Kaiser
I had my daughter in Sept 2005, just after they opened their
re-modeled facility. Kaiser is a resident training program, you get
the doc you get. They do not technically have a midwife service.
However, both my nurses happened to be trained nurse-midwives, one
of them recently hired by Kaiser from a private midwifery service.
Kaiser Oakland does not have birth baths available. The rooms are
functional and clinical. However, our doula and the nurses really
made the delivery experience a smashing success thru their
attentive midwifery of me thru a very long and difficult labor.
Kaiser Oakland give an opportunity to ''meet the doctors'' who will
be on call during your birthmonth... it may be useful to ask to
meet some of the nurses as well.
We had a great doula, June Taylor, who has a good track record with
Alta Bates and Kaiser, and knew many of the OB delivery nurses. The
nurses and June really did the core work of assisting me thru labor
and advocating for my needs. Alas, I don?t remember the names of
the two nurses who assisted me, but they were FANTASTIC. I was
delivered by Doctor. The doctors were all women, all great, and
expressed concern and stern (not pushy) advice when necessary. I
wanted natural childbirth, but ended up with Pitocin and some
BLESSED opiate, which was necessary to progress a stalled and
increasingly dangerous labor; the doctors respected my decision to
not have an epidural, which I believe allowed me to continue to a
successful vaginal delivery (because you can?t get out of bed to
stand or walk after you receive an epidural). The doula, June, and
the labor nurses were really good at helping me thru these
Final words: One of my closest and oldest friends is an ObGyn in
private practice; she used to work for Kaiser in Central
California. According to her Kaiser Oakland is the absolute best
Kaiser in the system for almost all things, that their ObGyn is
cream of the crop, they have their pick of top residents from all
over the country, they are very women-friendly, they recruit the
best ObGyn nurses an doctors in Northern California. Another
friend, also an ObGyn , who does not work for Kaiser herself but
who is a Kaiser patient, had her child at Kaiser Oakland, swears by
Kaiser Oakland, and helped us select our Kaiser Pediatrician.
Finally, our Kaiser pediatrician had her own child at Kaiser
It's been a while (13 years), but I had both my boys at Kaiser
Walnut Creek with a midwife. At that time it was the only Kaiser
that had nurse midwives. Hopefully they still do.
About half way thru my pregnancies I switched to WC Kaiser OB care.
Kaiser Walnut Creek has a midwife-run birthing center; they have at
least one, usually two midwives on duty at all times and they very
much run the show not the doctors. They have one room with a tub,
room #8, but obviously no guarantee that it will be available. My
wife and I just had our first daughter there and we couldn't have
been happier with the way they treated us. It is my understanding
that Antioch also has a similar birthing center.
I had a midwife at Kaiser Walnut Creek 4 years ago for the birth of
my daughter. I don't recall the name of the midwife but she was
absolutely sensational, very attentive and intuitive. She worked
with a nurse as well. I wasn't aware that a midwife would be
assisting me during my delivery but it was an A+ experience. I
delivered my first child at a private hospital with the assistance
of an RN and MD. That too went well. A totally different
experience but smooth as well. I am sad to hear that you felt that
you didn't get what you wanted at your last delivery. Healthcare
is funny that way, is is a 2 way street where the patient has to
negotiate kindly. And sometimes a facility only offers what they
offer. If you know ahead of time that that will not suffice, it
does not inicate that the organization is at fault, but you may
indeed need to pay out of pocket for your ideal birth. Many do.
Someimes every amenity is not available to a patient, but the
health and well !
being of your baby is always foremost. I hope you have a smooth
I know that this isn't on the east bay but Kaiser Redwood City
has a phenomenal midwife group. I had a great birth experience
with a midwifery group at a hospital in MA with my first child
and was skeptical on how anything would measure up after that
but Kaiser's midwives were wonderful! I'd have them over an OB
any day for a normal pregnancy.
Kaiser midwifery fan in Oakland
I would love to hear about recent experiences delivering with the
midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek. The recent posts in the archives don't
go into great detail about the delivery experience and the ones that do
are from several years ago. I'm specifically looking for moms'
experiences there during labor and delivery. Thanks!
My six-week old baby and I had a fabulous experience with our midwive,
Kate, (as well as all the nurses and all but one of the lactation
consultants) at Kaiser WC. The entire staff was very supportive of my
choice for a natural delivery as well as other choices on my birth plan.
They assisted in every way they could - let me push according to my
body's desires, pushing in any position I chose, kept monitoring down to
a bare minimum and assisted me in the shower. When I was starting to give
up in middle of the birth, they were very respectful of saying I was
doing a great job, but 100% non-judgmental about pain medication if I had
The midwive and the nurse helped massage me as appropriate and acted as
second labor partners throughout the birthing process. When the baby was
in distress during the pushing phase, she calmly got me oxygen, called an
OB to be on standby and helped direct my breathing and pushing. Kate
calmly managed to avoid any medical interventions by directing my pushing
and ensuring the baby crowned as soon as possible.
We felt very respected and that our birth was based on our choices and
desires. Good luck and congratulations on your upcoming birth!
Well, I had my sons two and four years ago, but I cannot recommend the
midwives at Kaiser WC highly enough. After witnessing my nephew's birth
at Alta Bates w/an OB who blew in the door for the last 10 min., I was
adament that I wanted a midwife. The only downside was the first midwife
I saw after my water broke w/my second. She wanted to put me on Pitocin
since I was strep B positive and hadn't started regularly contracting. I
did NOT want that since I was planning to do it naturally again. So she,
very reluctantly, suggested nipple stimulation which BAM! got the
contractions going regularly and strongly. My son was born 2 hours later
w/the help of a lovely midwife and my doula. I am convinced that the
only reason I didn't tear w/my 8-9 and 7-9 babies is that during both
labors the midwives massaged and oiled ''down there.'' They were both so
nurturing and positive. It was really a great experience! Also during
both pregnancies, I only saw nurse practitioners who !
were fantastic. I saw one OB who recommended that I take an
antidepressant to help w/my migraines. No way! Acupuncture was a
lifesaver, but that's another story. Good luck!
I delivered twice at Kaiser WC. The first midwife was
Rose-Lerman I believe and she was great. Granted, we didn't
actually decide we were going to deliver at WC until I went
into labor but she was fantastic nonetheless. The second time
around, we did it the ''right'' way, and I took a class at WC
for folks hoping to deliver at WC but who normally go to
another Kaiser facility. The midwife leading the group (Laura
I believe her name was) turned out to be the midwife on duty
when I delivered and she was fantastic too. There was a crazy
moment where I actually thought I'd try to deliver standing up
and the whole team was amenable to that too.
happy with WC Kaiser
I am wondering if anyone has had recent experience with Kaiser
Walnut Creek midwives and can recommend any or discuss your
experiences generally. I am trying to transfer from Oakland
Kaiser so as to have more of a midwife experience, but it has not
been easy to gather information. I am due (first-time mom) July 30.
I am also considering a home-birth midwife option, which is not
available through Kaiser.
Thanks for any information you can share.
We recently had our first kid at Walnut Creek Kaiser. I have to
say the switch from Oakland was well worth it. I'm sure Oakland
would have been fine but the atmosphere of caring created by the
staff at Walnut Creek is just exceptional. Oakland needs to get
on the ball and copy the program. We had our own Doula but the
nurses and midwives during the birth were all very supportive and
helpful. Didn't see a Dr the whole time and my wife was happy
with that. I think my wife just started booking her appointments
at Walnut Creek with the midwives half way through her pregnancy.
You shouldn't need to ask their permission, just be firm and
make it clear that you are going to give birth at Walnut Creek
because of the midwife program.
I would recommend Laura Warren, who is one of the two midwives
at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I switched from Kaiser Oakland about 2
months and have been very happy with my decision. I have
found Midwife Warren attentive, kind, and knowledgeable.
Be aware that you may not be able to see Warren for every
visit. Both Walnut Creek midwives seem to be quite busy - so
you may see one or the other, or even one of the nurse
practitioners. I saw NP Seipel, yesterday and liked her as
I haven't seen the other midwife, but would like to, since at
Kaiser any of their midwives could end up delivering your baby.
I'm looking for a recommendation for a midwife at Kaiser Walnut
Creek. Two names that were mentioned by Kaiser were Kathryn
King and Julie Hanes. Does anybody have experience with either
of these midwives?
Kat King at Kaiser is awesome. I only had one appt with her and
she visited me during my birth but actually had to tend to
another woman's birth, but she was just so great. I wish that I
could have had more time with her. My husband and I just hit it
off with her instantly. She has a great bedside manner, is on
your side, very supportive and knowledgeable.
I just moved to Oakland and am 18 weeks pregnant with my
first baby. I started prenatal care with a great midwife,
however, our insurance will be changing to Kaiser HMO as
of July 1st. I am looking for a midwife/OB that supports low
tech births and will support me in my effort to have a natural
childbirth. I have referred to previous postings on the
website, however, am looking for something more current. I
would appreciate your expertise! And is it true that if you
deliver at Oakland Kaiser that a resident will be the one
If you want to have a midwife within the Kaiser system, you'll
need to travel to Kaiser Walnut Creek. A staff of a dozen or
so midwives complemeted by OBs perform prenatal care there, as
well as deliver babies (unless an emergency happens, when an OB
will be called in.) Yes, it is true that if you deliver at
Kaiser Oakland (or Kaiser contracted with Alta Bates until the
fall of this year), you will most likely be delivered by a
resident. That didn't appeal to me at all! So when I was
pregnant with my son 3 years ago, I had my routine care at my
usual Kaiser (Richmond in my case), but I delivered at Walnut
Creek. It was a wonderful experience! My labor was so long
that I had three midwives, and each of them was excellent--
especially the last one, midwife Loraine (I think?) Rose-
Lerman, who coached me through 3+ hours of pushing. She did a
fantastic job of coaching, and she did a medically superior job
sewing up me up afterwards, with what was a pretty huge tear.
She and the whole staff there were extremely respectful of my
wishes to have a natural birth, to try to avoid episiotomy,
etc., and even though it didn't work out that way, I thought
they remained respectful and non-judgmental when my wishes
changed. I am pregnant again with my second and am planning to
have this baby at W.C. too. You can take the birthing room
tour at the hospital and they will give you some materials
about the midwives and their system to help you decide. Good
You won't get a doctor for prenatal care at Kaiser Oakland
unless you're risk or need special care. That said, I highly
recommend nurse practitioner Rebecca Avery for your prenatal
care. No fuss, no muss. Check her out. She'll explain the
attending physicial policy - I know it will be changing when
they move back to Oakland for deliveries.
If you want to continue with midwife care, Kaiser-Walnut Creek
has a nurse-midwife program. The midwives work with the OBs and
if you prefer a midwife delivery they will try to honor your
preference, although in the end it depends somewhat on who is
available when you deliver and the type of delivery you have.
Although we received pre-natal care from an OB (Francis Wright
who was fantastic), our baby was delivered by a midwife who was
great. Although I opted for an epidural, I have friends who
have had natural births there. There are no OB residents at
Kaiser-Walnut Creek, if that makes a difference. Good luck with
Happy new mom
I was hoping to find any recommendations or comments regarding
the Midwifery Service at Kaiser Walnut Creek. I am interested in
delivering with a Midwife and found that Kaiser WC offered this
service. Otherwise I was considering to stay with Alta Bates
which is the closest hospital. If anyone has any comments or
recommendations my husband and I would greatly appreciate it :)
My wife and I had a great experience at Kaiser WC during the
birth of our daughter last year. The nurse midwife and the
nurse who assisted her were excellent. Prior to the birth we
had taken the Bradley birth classes and wanted a natural birth.
We had a birth plan on file at the hospital and these two were
aware of that, and they did a great job helping my wife through
a long labor and natural birth.
They have tours of the L&D and recovery rooms for expecting
I don't know anything about Alta Bates personally, but I highly
recommend Kaiser WC.
Kaiser Walnut Creeks offers midwives for delivery only. You
don't pick a midwife. You get who is on call when you come in.
They are certified nurse midwives. I did 90% of my prenatal
care at Kaiser Oakland, then switched to WC for the last few
visits. They actually asked, when I checked in if I wanted the
midwife or preferred obgyn. My midwife was Raewyn Glasgow and
she was terrific. A great presence. I feel you get the best of
both worlds out there, minus the prenatal care w/a midwife. We
had a l&d nurse much of the labor, w/ the midwife there to
check in now and again, and then once pushing began she was
there til the end. When things slowed down, the obgyn was
fetched, but by the time she was tracked down I was back in
action. It was nice to know there was obgyn back up. I did
bring a doula to labor who was also useful. The rooms are
larger at KWC. You have a decent shot at a private room. The
prebirth class/tour is excellent and includes some refresher
child birth info, esp. re: anesthesia options. I told the cnm I
wasn't a martyr/hero, but not to offer anesthesia. They
respected my wish and I did manage without. Lactation support
was great, but I was lucky and vocal in requests for help.
After birth change back to Oakland immediately for this reason:
the first week visit at kwc is like a cattle call. it's a group
visit. You get a personal visit one on one at Kaiser Oakland,
and they send a social worker to the house 24-48 hours after
you get home. This switch confused the heck out of the appts.
person on the phone and she ended up canceling all appointments
rather than just the KWC cattle call. so be very clear and call
to confirm. And, my trip to KWC was at like 7:15 pm and we
sailed through the tunnel and were there in no time flat.
I delivered last year at Kaiser Walnut Creek, and absolutely
loved our midwife there, Julie Hymes (not sure I got the last
name right). She was warm and personable, spent lots of time in
our room, and taught me some great techniques for natural
childbirth. We had a great experience over-all there, and I
would highly recommend it. At Kaiser, you get whomever is on
that day/night, though, so you can't really chose your
provider. They do have midwives available around the clock.
I have had two opportunities to be a labor assistant at Kaiser
Walnut Creek. They were very different, but there were several
things about the picture that were the same. If you are looking
for real midwife care and delivery, you will not get it at Kaiser
1.) at your regular appointments you will almost always see a
doctor and not a midwife. The doctors are good, kind and caring,
but they are not midwives. Chances are very high that you will
not have met your midwife when you deliver.
2.) Kaiser midwives act like OB/GYNs and run from room to room
catching babies, while LDNs handle the labor. If you are there
for a long time, as was the case for both the deliveries I
attended, you will see a number of LDNs and midwives come and go.
In fact, you may not even meet some of the midwives because they
only show up at the last 20 minutes of pushing unless there are
problems. Both times we saw a variety of LDNs come and go, some
we liked, some we didn't, one was terrific, one was horrible.
If you want a midwife you have met before who will come when
labor is under way and stay until you are done, you do not want
Kaiser Walnut Creek.
The two experiences I had at KWC, one awful, one terrific, were,
respectively, awful and terrific, because the LDNs who we
happened to get at the crucial time were, respectively, awful and
terrific. If you decide to go the Kaiser Walnut Creek way, be
sure to promise yourself that you will ask for a different LDN if
the one you get is not working for you.
Best of luck
Re: Choosing a health plan for donor insemination
I'm a nurse-midwife in SF and therefore will address
this part of your question -
Kaiser has midwives at their Walnut Creek facility but
not at Oakland - you have the option of delivering at
WC with the midwives if you get care prenatally in
With Blue Cross you can see most private midwives in
the East Bay, though it may vary by practice - you
should call around. You can get a listing of Bay Area
nurse-midwives by going to the website
www.bayareamidwives.org. The advantage of the private
practice midwives over Kaiser is that you can
establish a relationship with your midwife and then
have her be on call to attend your birth, as opposed
to at Kaiser getting whoever's on call (though the
group of midwives at Kaiser Walnut Creek is very
As to coverage for fertility stuff - I think all
companies are the same about this (limited coverage),
though I'm not sure.
I assume you're aware of Maia Midwifery and
Preconception Services, a provider of services for
lesbians who are trying to get pregnant?
You should check which Kaiser you would be delivering
with, Some have midwives on staff, like Walnut Creek.
Others, like AltaBates, use residents. I would
hesitate to get myself in a position where the doctor
taking care of me was inexperienced.
My advice would be to not go with Kaiser if you want a midwife.
Kaiser has a lot of midwives, but they don't work like midwives. A
good midwife stays with you for the duration of your active labor. At
Kaiser they come and go and just check on you like a doctor would.
They say all the right things at the appointments, but they just don't
provide the labor support that a midwife is supposed to.
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