A Better Birth

May 5, 2024 Providence News Team

Roxanna Iran with husband Korey, daughters Elena and Celina and newest addition Julian.Roxanna Iran knew she wanted her third time giving birth to be different. The births of her first two children, four-and-a-half- year-old Elena and two-and-a-half-year-old Celina, had been by C-section—the first one an emergency procedure and the second one scheduled.”

But this time Roxanna was committed to following her own birth plan. The Manhattan Beach resident wanted a vaginal birth, a so-called VBAC (vaginal birth after C-section). To find a maternity care team that would respect her goal, she switched to Providence Little Company of Mary.

“I was looking for a provider who would work with me on a vaginal birth after two C-sections,” she says. “Julie Oates is known among the moms of the South Bay as the go-to for that. I wanted one-on-one care.”

Certified Nurse Midwife Julie Oates says, “I loved Roxanna’s determination from the very beginning.” As a nurse midwife practicing at Providence Little Company of Mary, Oates says she “establishes a strong relationship of trust” with clients whose babies she’ll catch. Each prenatal visit is a full 30 minutes, so Oates and the mother-to-be get to know each other well and discuss every step of the process and what the challenges might be.

In Roxanna’s case, it turned out to be a very long labor—24 hours—and Oates was with her for the entire delivery process. “It was effectively Roxanna’s first baby,” Oates explains. “And that takes a long time.” Oates practices in conjunction with OB-GYN Donna Richey, MD, so if Roxanna had required a surgical intervention, Dr. Richey would have helped. But as it was, the birth of Roxanna’s son, Julian, went smoothly and she has nothing but good memories of the experience. “Julie was so supportive about everything,” Roxanna says. “I felt so grateful.”

An extra set of hands

Lori Sadel with husband Joe, older son William and twins Dave and George.When Lori Sadel learned that her four-year-old son William was going to gain not one but two younger brothers, she knew she wanted some extra help in the delivery room. Doula Courtney Satow proved invaluable, Lori says. Like Roxanna, Lori had her own birth plan in mind, and that included an unmedicated delivery. That’s just one reason Courtney’s role of providing emotional support and physical comfort to Lori during delivery was so important.

The other was that when you’re having twins, your work is only half- finished after the first birth. “My son Dave was born first, and he was crying because he was hungry. But I still had to push the other baby [George] out,” Lori recalls. “Because Courtney was there, she was able to hold Dave. She was very calming for me and very sensitive to what I was going through.”

Says Courtney, “I’m there for the entire active labor and then I do a postpartum visit usually within the first week to go over everything and reflect on it.” She also meets with clients twice before the birth, adding, “When someone books me, they are welcome to call me anytime.” Courtney, who is also a certified pre- and postnatal yoga instructor, says that she herself employed doulas for the births of her two children.

A growing trend

OB Care Coordinator Rená Koerner says that she’s seen an increased demand for both midwife and doula services at Providence Little Company of Mary and that there are currently two certified nurse midwives and 26 doulas practicing at the hospital. “We see about three births per week with midwives and five to seven requests per week for doulas,” Koerner says.

Koerner, who has been training doulas for 18 years, notes that they have a wide variety of specialties, including some who are lactation educators. Other special skills include communicating in American Sign Language or Japanese or serving as the doula for a family adopting at a surrogate birth. And all the options are in demand, Koerner says: “Families are more educated now about what they want from the birth experience.”

Award-winning maternity care times two

Providence Little Company of Mary is the only hospital in the South Bay to be recognized by U.S. News & World Report in both 2023 and 2024 as “Best Hospital for Maternity Care.” Singled out as a “High Performing” facility, Little Company of Mary earned the distinction for its quality of care, including fewer complications in newborns and lower C-section rates than other hospitals.

For more information on Providence Little Company of Mary hospitals, call 844-925-0942.

About the Author

The Providence News Team brings you the updates to keep you informed about what's happening across the organizational ecosystem. From partnerships to new doctor announcements, we are committed to keeping you informed.

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