Bianca knew that her natural beliefs were going to be at the center of her birth plan for her firstborn, but she didn’t know she would also have to factor in how the COVID-19 pandemic was going to impact her delivery. Fortunately, the certified nurse-midwives (CNM) at El Camino Health Bay Area Maternity created a supportive and nurturing environment for Bianca to welcome her new child using natural methods within the safety of the hospital.
“The El Camino Health team was supportive of everything we wanted in our birth process and it was as close as we could get to a home birth while still being in a hospital,” says Bianca. “It was a perfect blend for us.”
Even before the birthing process began, she knew it was important to let go of any fear she was holding on to about delivering her baby during the pandemic and recognize she would be safe and well cared for in the hospital environment.
When Bianca arrived at El Camino Health’s Los Gatos hospital for her delivery, a greeter conducted a symptom screening and temperature check for everyone entering the facility. She also noticed that hospital staff and nurses took extra care with sanitizing, wearing masks and minimizing people in hallways and patient rooms. Bianca appreciated that there was a dedicated care team, comprised of nurses, anesthesiologists, obstetricians and midwives, who only work in Mother-Baby to limit the risk of exposure from other parts of the hospital.
Throughout her pregnancy, Bianca also consulted with a doula who offers emotional and physical support during childbirth. During the pandemic, the hospital has temporary visitor restrictions in place which allows one visitor per patient, so Bianca’s doula was unable to come to the hospital for the delivery. The extremely supportive hospital staff and Bianca’s partner all did their best to offer her support during labor.
“Prior to the delivery, our doula gave us helpful charts and affirmations to display in the room,” shares Bianca. “She also taught my husband how to offer the physical support she would have during the labor. We joked that he became my ‘dude-la’.”
Bianca and her husband decorated the room with positive affirmations such as “Through God who gives me strength,” “She’s almost here,” and “Breathe.” They also brought a special blend of lavender, orange and sage essential oils to promote relaxation and opening. The midwife provided suggestions for positions that would alleviate pain and advance the birth.
“Our midwife for the delivery, Brittney, was very easy going, a good listener and confident in her decision making,” says Bianca. “The entire team offered so much support, quietly assisting me on walks and accommodating our requests.”
“We partner with women to help them give birth in a personalized, positive and safe manner,” says Brittney Wood, CNM, El Camino Health Bay Area Maternity. “We want all of our patients to feel supported and empowered throughout their pregnancy and labor.”
The midwife team at El Camino Health Bay Area Maternity consists of four CNMs who work collaboratively with obstetricians and maternal-fetal medicine for any complications that may arise. The CNMs provide supportive and therapeutic services with the main goal being to monitor and guard the pregnancy, labor and birth. Patients meet with all four midwives to develop a birth plan and the on-call midwife supports the mother during labor and delivery. The midwives are advanced practice nurses who are all licensed by the State of California and the American Midwifery Certification Board. They place an emphasis on holistic care and support and can offer options for pain relief and labor induction if necessary.