Labor Repose

Labor Repose
LaborPayne during her 6th homebirth (9th baby) at age 44

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Life on the road...

Brain dead but blogging- completed my whirlwind trip to St. Louis yesterday- 8 hours of roundtrip driving! My buddy Charlene was supposed to help me drive back, but she has night blindness, so she contributed by talking to me and keeping me awake. We had our state breastfeeding coalition meeting at St. John's Hospital. What an awesome facility. That place was huge- 8600 births a year (about 10% of folks born in MO are born there). The L&D, a well baby nursery, an admit nursery, NICU, stepdown NICU, and postpartum units were spead over 4 floors and they are building a new building to add even more! Their new NICU was particularly swank- it had private 'pods' (private rooms) like an adult ICU would have, not just an open wards of isolettes like most NICUs I've seen. The NICU stepdown (also something I've never seen) was for feeder/growers (this is lingo for babies who are not sick, just small). Thier NICU even has a 'milk tech'- a job I've never heard of. This person's job is to mix the special formulas for the NICU babies including human milk coming from the banks in Denver and Texas. Just the new NICU expansion we toured was ADDING 46 beds!!! They deliver on average 25 babies a day! Thier NICU pods included a room for quadruplets! This place was really impressive in its scope. They have a staff of 5 lactation consultants not including the 2 who are dedicated to the NICUs. Having said that, we didn't get to tour the labor and delivery unit, (but in my mind I imagine a giant conveyor belt)! I heard something about a 40% c/s rate (they weren't shouting that from the rooftops). But all in all an impressive facility with wonderful hospitality. Our hostess for the day touted that hospitality was a conerstone of their philosophy of care- and it showed, in many small ways and interactions with the staff. The meeting itself was cordial and productive. We had about 20 attendees from throughout MO (1 Kansan, and 1 Illini), and we voted in the officers, and bylaws. The website is up and going http://mobreastfeeding.org and we gave feedback on what kinds of information should be included on it. It was nice to see so much diversity, folks from large and small hospitals, folks from cities and rural areas, folks from outside the hospitals, folks who were and were not LCs, folks from government agencies, folks in private practice, and folks from non-profs. We also discussed ongoing plans for statewide activity (or what will be the primary role and function of our organization). We ended the day planning for the next meeting. I liked that we also discussed our sister organization in Kansas (no website as yet but they are a really productive group) and what we can do collaboratively with them. For those reader who want to get involved with a breastfeeding coalition in your own state, follow this link to the US Breastfeeding Committee. They have all the state coalitions listed. We had a productive meeting and a much nicer drive back home (thanks to Charlene). Today, I look forward to a relaxing date with my husband tonite at a church dinner, a movie with my daughters this afternoon, and shopping for myself for a coat and boots. First things first- I need to get payroll done at the office. I'll enjoy this relaxing weekend. Next weekend, its two more 12 hours shifts at the hospital with my students. Life is good.

5 comments:

safebirthadvocate said...

Give me good old-fashioned midwifery care over "designer obstetrics" any day! St John's Hospital is a baby factory and does have a very high c-section rate! Unfortunately, there is not a single CNM attending births in the entire St Louis area! They are only "allowed" to provide prenatal care! What is St Louis afraid of?? Too much competition for the many residents?

Janet said...

I think what you're doing to increase breastfeeding awareness and success among African-American women is great. I'm glad the meeting went well and you had a good time. Keep up the good work!

Laborpayne said...

Dear SBA,
Our lovely hostess did mention that they were trying to change their reputation from 'baby factory' to baby festival' I didn't realize they didn't have CNMs on staff (I forgot to ask since the focus was on breastfeeding and we didn't see L&D) Wow, that certainly gives me some perspective on my town. Most (certainly not all) the birthing hospitals here now have at least one CNM on staff. But even that is a mixed bag, as some hospital-based midwives are very technocratic in their approach. Charlene and I discussed this on the ride home. I used to think it was a good thing just for women to have access to midwifery care, but now I'm not so sure if that care is identical to what they would get from an OB. Touchy subject I know...

safebirthadvocate said...

Clarification: St John's does have CNMs on staff but they only do triage. None are actually catching babies. And you are right; the care that many CNMs provide is very much like what OBs give. What makes the CNM different? Why would a woman chose a CNM over an OB if the care is pretty much the same...

Laborpayne said...

If there are any hospital-based CNMs reading this blog- feel free to chime in with your thoughts about this issue. My mind is not made up on this and I really do want women to have midwifery care- I'm just not so sure anymore what that means in the hospital setting.