For Carolina's Community Maternity Center in Fort Mill, SC:
About four weeks ago I made the choice to switch from a hospital birth at CMC Pineville to a more relaxed setting here, at Carolina's Community Maternity Center. I was already planning on a completely natural birth using Bradley and Hypnobirthing techniques at CMC, but at 31 weeks pregnant I thought the experience would be more intimate at the birth center. My midwife was Lisa, the founder of the company, and It all went downhill from there.. My husband and I met her for a consultation. I was a good candidate being in great health, exactly the correct weight and no complications. Despite being a late transfer, I felt confident in my decision. However, this is when the first red flag flew. Lisa is not what I envisioned a midwife to be... she seemed nervous and uptight, and had the demeanor of a rich business woman. No big deal though, until she described the incident of the infant death a year ago. She complained more about the effect on her business then the horrible tragedy that occurred, using the hospital as a scapegoat despite the fact that yes, if this woman were at the hospital, this child would not have died. I believed her though, and ignored my intuition, because I so dearly wanted to have that experience I longed for.
So, after paying $4500 in cash (yes, even if you come in late, they charge you the whole amount) I had my first appointment. This is when things went wrong. To start, she didn't have my correct email and thus I never received my intro forms. After complaining that she now had to fill them out, I went to get a urine sample and perform my own test, because in her words, "they don't want to handle urine all day". Fair enough. It is only a strip after all. When the results came back, I showed high levels of leukocytes or white blood cells. This is indicative of infection, but Lisa, probably not wanting to raise any concerns and lose my business, blew it off and said it was normal. I told her I did have some irritation down below but I thought it was just from intimate time with my husband. Still she was not concerned. Then, another red flag- I asked her if there was a way to determine whether my pelvis is large enough. I'm a first time mom, so it was just a silly concern but one I had nonetheless. Her answer? "I don't like to do internal exams. You look alright to me". What?! You are a midwife who is going to deliver my child, and you don't like to do internal exams? I left that appointment feeling unheard and slightly embarrassed, not a feeling you should have with the women assisting you in birth.
That next week on Wednesday I felt great and decided to join my mom and stepdad on a road trip to NY to visit family. About four hours in, I developed a backache. I dealt with it for an hour but it progressively got worse. I also developed nausea and fatigue. I called Lisa, told her my symptoms, and what'd she do? Blew it off. Worse, she made me feel silly for even calling, pointing out that I was in the car, so maybe it's just car sickness? Maybe I'm just sitting wrong? All in a condescending tone. I hung up and suffered through another hour until we were in MD, at which point my mom said we had to stop for the night so I could rest. We got a hotel. I was there thirty minutes before I knew something was terribly wrong. They took me to the nearest ER. Long story short, I had severe pyelonephritis, a kidney infection, from an untreated UTI. Go figure, I guess Lisa should have paid more attention to that abnormal urine sample. I was admitted for two miserable days… fighting pain, fever and nausea. My poor baby had to be monitored due to high heart rates. It was a dangerous situation, but thankfully after IV antibiotics and fluids around the clock, I was discharged. Due to her negligence and financial motivations, myself and my child were put in a life threatening position. I had a blockage in my one of my kidneys due to the severity of the infection and it was by far one of the worst medical experiences of my life. We quickly switched back to my regular OB (but not after losing $500 of the $4500 we paid). After all this, I simply ask you proceed with great caution. You may be lucky and nothing goes wrong, but God forbid it does. After the fact my husband confronted Lisa and all she could do was blame the situation on me while repeating "we are a financial establishment". Indeed, they are a business and their motivations are profit. Don’t let the “community” “midwife” “natural” marketing fool you. I really wanted this to be what I thought it was, and was devastated when I realized the truth. For now, I’m going to make the best of the hospital experience and be thankful that if anything goes wrong, I will have people who care and can do something to fix it. Birth centers are great, but without a doctor in staff and midwives who take medical concerns seriously, you are putting yourself and your child at great risk.
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