*** Commentary *** Politics Of Birth Here

Kazuya Akimoto painting

(Editor’s note: A shorter version of this commentary appears in the Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2010 edition of the Big Island Weekly.)

By Tiffany Edwards Hunt

I am hapai (pregnant) with my second child. I had my first child at the Waimea Women’s Center. I was hopeful that, with this pregnancy, I could avoid the hour-and-a-half commute to Waimea, by getting the midwifery care that I desire at Pahoa Women’s Center, which is operated by the Bay Clinic Family Health Center.  All too soon I learned that the prenatal care in Pahoa is limited and ultimately results in a hand-off to an ob-gyn at the Hilo office of the Bay Clinic.  Let me give you the run-down of my interaction with Dr. Eric Helms, who is fresh off the jet from Florida.

After my initial visit with certified nurse midwife Roxanne Estes at Pahoa Women’s Center, I was scheduled to meet with Helms on July 14, 2010. A week before that scheduled visit, pain in my lower left pelvis area led me into the Pahoa Women’s Center again.

I hoped for an ultrasound to relieve anxiety that I could possibly have a tubal pregnancy.  As it turns out, a $25,000 ultrasound machine I understand is supposed to be at the Pahoa Women’s Center is not there.  It is located in Helms’ office in Hilo.  But Helms’s schedule was too full to see me before July 14.  I drove myself to the Hilo Medical Center emergency room (ER) and, five and a half hours and an ultrasound later, was assured my fetus is safe and sound in the womb, but I have an ovarian cyst.  Pressed for details, the ER doctor said I would have to consult with my ob-gyn. Enter Helms.

The day of my scheduled appointment with Helms, driving from rural Puna into Hilo, I had trouble finding the new office of the Bay Clinic and ended up being 10 minutes late for my appointment.  The nurse tried to reschedule, but I was determined to see Helms and discuss the results of my ER visit. I waited for nearly two hours and, thanks to my persistence, I ultimately saw Helms.

When conversing with him,  I shared that I am a “cheerleader for midwives.”   I told him my plans to meet the new Hilo Medical Center medical director, Dr. Ted Peskin, later in the week to see about incorporating some of the successes in Waimea in Hilo.  Helms prefaced with, he didn’t want to be discouraging, before speculating that it would be “five to 10 years” before midwives are allowed access to the Hilo Medical Center. He then shared with me that if he is to be my ob-gyn for labor and delivery at the Hilo Medical Center, I would not be permitted to have a midwife present.  He also told me that, for him to be the doctor at my delivery, I needed to have my baby during business hours Monday through Friday.  If not, there would be an 80 percent chance he would be the one on call at night or on the weekends, since he shares on-call duties with the handful of private-practice ob-gyns in Hilo.

After my visit with Helms, he called me  a few hours later to tell me he was referring me to the Waimea Women’s Center. I  contested, saying I had not decided I wanted to make the trek to Waimea. He stressed that if he was to be my ob-gyn I would not be permitted to have a midwife at my birth in Hilo. I noted “there is a disconnect” with Bay Clinic, offering midwifery services for prenatal care and then not allowing a midwife to be present for labor and delivery in Hilo.  He noted his ob-gyn practice is very different from midwifery.  I  told Helms I wanted a chance to meet with the Hilo Medical Center medical director a couple days later and to confer with my husband, before being referred to Waimea.

The very next morning, Helms called to tell me he was going to refer me to Waimea. I reiterated that I had not decided I wanted to give birth in Waimea.  He let me know that it was not my decision to make. I said, “What are you trying to tell me? You’re going to deny me care?”  “Yes, I am” he responded.  I told him I would be contacting the chief executive officer of Bay Clinic, Paul Strauss.

I had hoped Strauss would be the voice of reason.  Alas! With Bay Clinic management having a notorious reputation for overworking staff, burning them out, and firing people on a whim without apparent cause or explanation, I was too optimistic.  After two unreturned phone messages, I emailed Strauss details of my interaction with Helms and the forced referral to Waimea.  Strauss replied within a few days with what I view as a paternalistic response that does not bother to genuinely address my questions or concerns:

“Dear Ms. Edwards Hunt,

Thank you for your correspondence concerning your experience as a patient at Bay Clinic Family Health Centers.  We appreciate the opportunity to answer your concerns regarding midwifery services and value your perspective for continued quality care and service.

As you may know, certified nurse midwives are an integral part of our Women’s Health Care Team.  Certified Nurse Midwives at Bay Clinic provide a spectrum of primary women’s health and preventive services and support OB/GYN services including prenatal care up until delivery.  Unfortunately, at this time Certified Nurse Midwives are not able to be credentialed to provide delivery services for our hospital patients in the hospital setting.

We recognize and respect your preference for a delivery performed by a Certified Nurse Midwife, and in that spirit have provided a referral to a healthcare organization that can best accommodate your favored choice.  We wish to continue to be your provider of choice for all other aspects of your general primary and women’s health needs at both our Pahoa and Hilo-Komohana locations.

We hope that this letter expresses our sincere appreciation to you for sharing your views as a patient of our health centers and member of the community we serve.

Respectfully,

Paul Strauss

Chief Executive Officer “

Notice, while he doesn’t offer me a cookie, he does provide me crumbs.  Bay Clinic won’t offer me prenatal care, but is willing to assist me in “primary and women’s health needs.” Talk about fragmented care. Strauss doesn’t say why the $25,000 ultrasound machine is in Hilo and not at the Pahoa Women’s Center; he doesn’t say why Bay Clinic failed to address my emergency health needs; He doesn’t say why Helms, a doctor for a community health center that receives county, state and federal funding, can deny me prenatal care.

Strauss  gives no regard to the fact that the Waimea Women’s Center that Bay Clinic wants to refer me away to is located an hour and a half away from the community in which I live and work. He offers no explanation for why certified nurse midwives are not able to be credentialed to provide delivery services in the hospital.

See, Bay Clinic was on the precipice of something great by opening the Pahoa Women’s Center and staffing it with a certified nurse midwife.

When applying for the Hawaii County Council’s 2009-2010 Human Services and Economic Development Committee grant, Bay Clinic claimed the women’s center would provide for the “whole health of mother and child.” Noting the need for providers and support staff for women’s health services, the grant application, stated, “This will include one obstetrician/gynecologist to compliment our certified nurse midwives and nurses” who were hired in December 2009.  It all sounds so great on paper. The reality has proven to me to be quite different.

Bay Clinic, if it would utilize certified nurse midwives to the full extent that they are able, could become known as one of the most progressive health care organizations in the state. As it stands now, Waimea Women’s Center at the North Hawaii Community Hospital is the one shining example of a health care organization leading the way here on this island, allowing certified nurse midwives to attend all deliveries.  Kalihi Pulama Health Center and Kaiser Permanente on Oahu are also allowing certified nurse midwives to attend deliveries.

So many women who wish to have midwives attend their births, who cannot afford the commute to Waimea or Oahu, are resorting to home births.  They pay up to $2,600 for a lay midwife.  Those of us who have given birth know what fragile ecosystems we are, and that technology exists for a reason.  There have been bad outcomes from women giving birth in the boondocks.  I’m sure that the staff and ob-gyns at all the island’s hospitals can all talk about those bad home-birth outcomes. They don’t talk so much about the successful home births, because they are only seeing the ones that went wrong.

Peskin, of the Hilo Medical Center, when I finally met with him, noted he is supportive of midwives, but he does have a concern with home births.

“I have a strong life long interest in making pregnancy and childbirth as safe as possible, while making the experience a warm, positive experience, which encourages the strong family bonds, which are so important to the psychological and physical health of our infants and children,” Peskin told me. “I have worked with certified nurse-midwives and ‘doulas’ (labor support individuals)  in the past and am very supportive of them.  However, I have a major concern with home births.  The majority of home births are uncomplicated and can provide a very warm and comforting environment and I understand their appeal,” he said.  “However, I have seen cases of infants who died or have life-long disabilities because of complications of home birth, either because the problems were not recognized in time or because the home was too far from a medical facility.  I have also seen many cases in the hospital where rapid actions saved the lives of mothers and infants.”

I understand and share Peskin’s concern.  In my mind, the success of Waimea Women’s Center is that it has been able to bridge both the home birth and hospital birth for an experience that acknowledges the need for “a very warm and comforting environment” and the latest technology for that dreadful occasion when nature does not take its course.

Peskin listened intently and showed a keen interest in knowing why my natural child birth experience in Waimea was so positive, and after just a few minutes of visiting with him, transformed a bad week into a good one.

A resident of Kapoho Vacationland subdivision, Peskin understands the commute we Puna residents have to make to Hilo, let alone Waimea. He helped start two midwifery programs at hospitals on the mainland.  Hailing from Massachusetts, his resume reflects an impressive amount of experience and expertise in obstetrics and gynecology.  He  has been the medical director for acute care, including obstetrics, at Hilo Medical Center since April 2010. He has a voluntary position as clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Hawaii Medical School.  He also plans to soon have a small gynecology practice at the Family Practice Residency Program in Hilo.

Peskin and I toured the obstetrics unit of the Hilo Medical Center with head nurse Christina Ranan.  There are an average of three to four births per day at the Hilo Medical Center.  The unit is comprised of eight private labor rooms, and three rooms are used and equipped as birthing rooms for labor, delivery, and recovery.  Two of the birthing rooms have a shared shower, while the third has its own shower, which laboring patients are free to use as long as they and their baby are doing well. Knowing how much I relied on a hot shower for relief during most of my labor,  I cannot imagine having to share the bathroom with another laboring woman.

I did not like hearing that, after the baby is born in Hilo, he or she is taken from the mother to the nursery for cleanup and a pediatrician’s examination.  In Waimea, the baby never leaves the mother’s side.  The cleanup and pediatrician’s exam occurs in the birthing room.

As we toured, I looked out the windows of the rooms, trying to find a space outside that could be transformed into a garden for laboring women to walk around — like the garden that lies outside all of the Waimea Women’s Center birthing rooms. I spotted a triangular-shaped atrium through the window of one of the rooms.  My mind raced, envisioning how this existing green space could easily be manicured and have a trail cut for laboring women to traverse.  Peskin later responded later with, “Unfortunately, that area is not safe for walking or sitting because of building code issues.”

I told Peskin about the birthing tub available to laboring women in Waimea.  He said he would inquire about installing bathtubs or whirlpool baths in Hilo. Later, he responded with, “There are construction issues that prevent this from occurring.”

While news of inaccessible atrium and construction issues blocking the installation of birthing tubs was discouraging, Peskin did offer some hope for the obstetrics unit in Hilo.  “We will be embarking on a painting and renovation of the obstetrical unit shortly, which we think patients will appreciate,” he said. Generally, Peskin emphasized that Hilo Medical Center is “very open to suggestions from current and potential patients about what they would like to see in Obstetrics” there. He asks that comments and suggestions be relayed to the hospital’s community relations director, Elena Cabatu, who can be reached via email at ecabatu@hhsc.org.

Did you have a successful natural child birth at the Hilo Medical Center?  Did you opt for Waimea Women’s Center instead?  Did you receive your prenatal care at the Pahoa Women’s Center, and then get handed off to an ob-gyn in Hilo or referred to the Waimea Women’s Center?  I would love to know your birth story as well.  Email me your comments, concerns, even your suggestions, at newswoman@mac.com.

Maybe the time has come for Hilo to pursue a birth center.  Do you realize how far Waimea is from rural Puna, even Ka’u?  Imagine being in labor trying to make that drive?   What that drive requires is an insured and reliable vehicle, the gas money to get there, and the money for a hotel room in the event that the laboring woman is not dilated enough to be admitted into the hospital. Imagine being in the car laboring, and how nerve-racking the thought of giving birth on the side or the road could be?! It’s truly a psychological journey that commute to Waimea.

In my view, despite the funding, backing and the necessary tort insurance, Bay Clinic has dropped the ball on progressiveness. I am no longer looking to that organization to be making positive headlines on anything progressive.  Maybe Hilo Medical Center will lead the charge in maternal health care by accepting certified nurse midwives into the fold — either Hilo Medical Center or Kaiser Permanente up the street.  Or, maybe just maybe, the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School Of Medicine Hilo Residency Program will be the one?! Women should not be forced to commute an hour, even two hours, to a medical facility while in labor, bypassing another hospital and staff that refuse to get with the times and offer midwifery care.

As our nation looks to 2014, when health care reform is to take effect, we must look long and hard at maternal health care.  Think about it: How women give birth changes their entire perspective on life.  How children are birthed into this world will have a lifelong effect on them, their parents, and their family unit as a whole.  Indeed, when looking at maternal care, and at health care in general, we must see and conceptualize the continuum. This is not about practicing defensive medicine, offering fragmented care, warehousing people, treating clients as a statistic, referring customers away, or neglecting people altogether — leaving women to give birth in the middle of nowhere or, God forbid, on the side of the road.

This is — about exactly what the mayor is calling his upcoming health care conference — building a healthier future together.  This is about being inclusive, incorporating varied philosophies, building consensus, and seeking quality care to maximize health and well-being.  Let’s change the politics of birth here. I guarantee, we have nothing to lose and plenty to gain.

31 replies
  1. Agw
    Agw says:

    The issue you are experiencing around how you would like to give birth is only the tip of the iceberg regarding medical care and access for our large population. This is an issue that I will try and introduce at Saturday’s forum.

  2. Jerry Carr
    Jerry Carr says:

    Tiffany, I really respect the way you have kept asking tough questions about your own care and that available to women in general on the Big Island. Forgive me if I somehow missed it, but did you ask Dr. Peskin why Hilo Medical Center is taking so long to credential certified midwives to practice their profession in that facility? Despite the lack of a garden walk and adequate shower/bath arrangements, using HMC might still be preferable for many mothers over the commute to Waimea. Are there bureaucratic issues blocking midwifery at HMC? It would seem that Dr. Peskin should be leading the charge to overcome them if that is the case.

  3. Bibingkalove
    Bibingkalove says:

    I do not have a local birth story to share, but after birthing 2 babies on the mainland & moving here, I was horrified by my first gynecologist’s visit several years ago. A local, older OB-GYN was referred to me – he was supposed to be a very thorough & caring physician. The first visit to his Hilo office was shocking – the waiting room spilled out into two separate hallways where pregnant women, children, and others paced back & forth, overflowed the benches, and generally just lined the hallways (sometimes blocking other offices because there was not enough room for them). One of the forms I was given to sign was a statement from the physician that he did not support midwifery and basically said by signing the form, I was promising not to seek any midwifery care & that if the doctor found out that I was seeing a midwife, my care would be terminated & he would turn me in (to whom exactly? I can’t remember the “authority” associated with that threat – it might have been my insurance company). That statement made my blood boil. I asked the receptionist about it & she said even if I wasn’t pregnant, if I didn’t sign it he wouldn’t see me, & I would forfeit my appointment. To this day I regret being bullied into signing that statement, even though I knew childbearing was behind me.

    I am very PRO-midwife & a woman’s right to natural birthing. After the appointment, I told my husband about the statement, about the women lining up like cattle outside this doctor’s office only to be bullied into signing a threatening form that abdicated their choices. I decided to never go back to that doctor & now must travel considerably farther for my GYN visits. But I remain incredibly saddened/frustrated to know that so many pregnant women on this island were/are being treated like deviants for wanting a midwife birthing.

    My 2nd child was birthed w/ a certified midwife in a hospital setting & it was a very good experience for me & my family. It takes one brave doctor to start a midwife partnership with his practice, and one brave hospital administrator to allow them into the delivery room. That’s what happened in my hometown, a small, conservative place, not an urban center with a state-of-the-art birthing center. One doctor who had formerly opposed midwife opened his mind & let a midwife practice WITH him, and one hospital let her into the delivery room. His practice flourished. It could happen here. Keep pushing for it moms & dads!

  4. James Weatherford
    James Weatherford says:

    Thanks for sharing this, Tiffany.

    As I have previously indicated, my own children were born (1981, 1983, 1986) with a midwife assisting. An OB-GYN provided pre-natal care and was on call.

    The birth of a child is a family matter. It is absurd that a family preparing to welcome a new baby would be treated the way you have described.

    The ‘disconnect’ you speak of is disappointing and totally unnecessary — the child must be born ‘business hours Monday through Friday.’ Auwe!

    Your courage is magnificent.

  5. Darren
    Darren says:

    Hats off to you for shedding more light onto such instances of professional arrogance and institutional dysfunction resulting in the absurdities surrounding childbirth.

    Does anything typify it better than the notion that the newborn must be whisked away from the mother in order to perform tests and measurements?

    The “conveniences” for the current system have resulted in laboring women being advised “please stop pushing, the doctor hasn’t arrived yet!”

    Suffice to say that, we too had a wonderfully supportive natural childbirth at the Waimea Women’s Center. (Birthing tub? It was friggen’ key in mom and baby’s work that night!)

    Anyway, there is a lot to be done regarding the women of our community and their ability to more naturally give birth.

    Thanks for having the…ovaries to tackle such a 500 pound elephant in the room. (And yet, here’s hoping you put down your SuperActivist-cape for a time to just lay around in your nest!)

  6. Greg
    Greg says:

    We had two of our three children at home and it was a real eye opener. Birthing at home takes advantage of a woman’s natural “nesting” instinct and makes everything easier. I’ve always felt that if the prenatal work seems normal, there is minimum risk in a home birth. If complications arise, the HMC is 30 minutes away.

    Roxanne was the primary midwife and has worked tirelessly for years to promote midwifery and integrate it with the mainstream. She’s made great progress, but is still evidently fighting the ol’ boys at the AMA.

    In the old days you couldn’t even tell your prenatel Ob-Gyn that you were seeing a midwife (They’d fire you).

    Our daughter recently gave birth at Waimea, and we felt that even though it is distant, it is far and above superior to Hilo. Good luck Tiff!

  7. Casual Observer
    Casual Observer says:

    The lesser of all evils have been to simply drive to Waimea. Sad how all the other hospitals handle bebe hanau.

  8. Mynna
    Mynna says:

    I agree with AGW – access is a huge issue – Is anyone considering opening a rural access hospital with birthing capabilities and an emergency room in Pahoa – the Kau community did it, and we have a large population in Puna that shouldn’t have to drive (or find a ride) to Hilo all the time for specialty and emergency services. If Kau can do it why can’t we? Hopefully this will be discussed at the Mayors conference Tiffany referred to, or this saturday.

  9. Dan Domizio
    Dan Domizio says:

    Aloha Tiffany!
    And thank you for bringing this issue into the public eye. My wife and I have been working at achieving a balance between a woman/family’s right to choose where they will have their chilbirth experience, and a health care system stubborn resistance to facilitate all the options, including birth at home, in a Birthing Center, or in a hospital if that is the place they choose. It has been a 40+year battle!
    There could be ambulances or birthing vans nearby for the at-home delivery that develops problems; there could be doulas, midwives and nurse midwives. There could be pleasant centers such as the one in Waimea.

    As you know, one of Puna Community Medical Center’s stated objectives is to creat a birthing center in Puna. This would be a facility geared to the “NORMALCY” of childbirth, unlike our hospital based system geared almost entirely to obstetric disasters and bad outcomes..

    The current system has as an invisible and unstated premise; that women cannot fulfil on their most basic biological function (birthing) without intervention. Intervention, by the way, that is almost always provided by a man. What a sad, depressing, and unnecessary load for women to have to carry.

    It is essential to carry this battle forward.
    Thanks again

  10. dd
    dd says:

    mid wives all the way!!!
    My kids Derek @ 9lbs 10oz and Mary @ 8lbs 80z were both born in our bed. The midwife let me deliver Mary.
    They are both in their 30’s now. Our grandson was born in waimea birthing center.
    We studied and watched the birth of about 40 other babies on film. Our midwives had a monthly meeting of all patients and the ones who were filmed giving birth shared their films with the rest of us. This went on for the whole 9 months. By the time our children were born we were very comfortable with birthing.
    anyway my wife could tell you more.

  11. Marcia Brinkley
    Marcia Brinkley says:

    If Bay Clinic is saying that the CNM’s aren’t “able to be certified” to deliver babies at HMC, that sounds like the issue that needs to be addressed. From the wording of that statement, I’m not sure if the issue is a delay in credentialing, as Jerry Carr mentioned, or if HMC has already said “no” for some reason. You may want to ask more questions along those lines.

  12. Casual Observer
    Casual Observer says:

    Hilo Medical Center is the unofficial King of C-Section surgeries. Pretty lucrative venture for surgeons. 🙂

  13. Pops
    Pops says:

    My son was born at Hilo Hospital 22 years ago.
    Though my wife and I had gone through weeks of natural childbirth classes, we knew we were not doing this at home, thankfully.

    His mom was having a long, painful time with back labor. Over 20 hours had passed, and baby wasn’t coming out anytime soon. The hero in this story, Dr. John Uohara, was able to attach a tiny electronic stethoscope to the top of baby’s head, and we could see he was in serious trouble… the cord, wrapped around his neck, would constrict blood supply to his brain with every contraction. A quick c-section, and he was born bright eyed and smiling. Today he is a healthy, intelligent, artist of a young man.

  14. Sarah of the Pahoa Village Museum
    Sarah of the Pahoa Village Museum says:

    Right on. This is quality journalism at its best. Pahoa seems like an ideal center for alternative health and birth center–this is the healing island. Local midwives unite. Please keep up the good work, light the way.

  15. guennigirl
    guennigirl says:

    I had my last 2 children at home, back in the time when there was NO support for it by the medical community. There was no such thing as a Certified Nurse Midwife back then. I did my homework and found a midwife who I had confidence in. I made sure I had prenatal care. With my last child, I had no insurance and no money for a doctor. I bought a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff and did the monitoring myself. My home deliveries were the most comfortable ones of all, because I wasn’t confined for hours to a bed. If I had to deliver all four of my children again, I would do all four of them with a midwife, instead of just my last two. The midwife experience was SO much easier and more comfortable.

    I had problems with the first home delivery and pregnancy —- but with prenatal monitoring by the doctor (who said, “I don’t think you should ever deliver at home, but I think it will go okay for you”), and awareness of the problems (placenta detached while in labor before baby was born), all turned out well.

    Mistakes happen in hospitals during deliveries that would not have happened if the babies hadn’t been “managed” (incorrectly) by traditional medical methods, just as mistakes happen at home that wouldn’t have happened if the delivery had happened in the hospital. Mistakes happen both ways, and the medical profession needs to admit to that and stop presenting themselves as infallible when it comes to birthing, and midwife assisted births as fallible.

    Midwife birthing, whether at home or in a facility, comes back to being informed, and getting prenatal care. The medical profession needs to let go of their position that only doctors have enough knowledge to manage deliveries.

    I am SO pro midwife deliveries and support and encourage all efforts to increase opportunities for its’ acceptance and practice on the Big Island.

  16. Colleen
    Colleen says:

    Hi Tiff,
    First of all..Congratulations!!! That is amazing news. We both had our first children one month apart and so am so excited to hear about your journey with baby number two. Also, as you know I also gave birth at WWC and it was such a positive, amazing, warm, peaceful experience and I did labor in the car on the way there from Volcano! But it was worth it. I have visited some of my friends who gave birth at Hilo Hospital and it seems their experience was sadly very sub-par and I had to restrain myself from comparing experiences because of course delivering a healthy child is the most important thing. However, I too am not keen on tempting fate again with the long drive to Waimea if we have another child…it seems so strange that with the amazing community that we have on the east side of the island that there is not the standard of women’s health care that would seem complementary to this. This is an extremely important issue that deserves alot more attention and discussion. Mahalo for bringing this to the community forum.

  17. Jade
    Jade says:

    Thanks for bringing attention to this Tiffany! I am 5 months pregnant currently & plan on having a natural homebirth with midwives Patricia & Melekai at my home in Ka’u. I pray all goes well.. I do have fears sometimes (it’s a rocky, bumpy road where we live, 1 hr away from Hilo), yet I just feel that this baby is meant to be born at home. Yes I’ve also wondered why there isnt a birthing center in Puna.. In the future, I’d like to help with making this a reality! Best wishes to you & all the other pregnant mamas in the world ~~~

  18. Professor Ke Rong-fei, Taipei Medical University
    Professor Ke Rong-fei, Taipei Medical University says:

    What an excellent article! Reminds me of when I was “birth shopping” and ended up so discouraged that I gave birth off-island — many dreadful encounters.

    And it rankles how you were brushed off with language from lawyers that meant f— off tho said with other words. I wish you the best, and all Big Island women a better deal than they’re getting from the crappy health services.

    Your writing means a lot and I’m one ex-newsie who appreciates and seeks it out. Strength to your sword arm! (oh, and all those other muscles too…)

    Rong-fei in Taipei

  19. Pua
    Pua says:

    Tiffany,

    I’ve had three natural deliveries in local hospitals. I’ve found staff and doctors kind, compassionate, professional and supportive. Between various family members, we’ve had babies at Queens, Kapiolani and Hilo Medical Center. Kapiolani had one of the better set ups.

    Of course I’m old enough that the hospital stay for my first child was three days as opposed to the present one day in and out of the hospital. Times change. Back when my generation was born, the hospital stay was one week.

  20. We Need a Solution!
    We Need a Solution! says:

    Tiffany,

    We should get a petition to allow midwives deliver our babys in Hilo. I am almost 8 months pregnant and I also really wanted a midwife. Doctor Helms became my ob/gyn after they fired my midwife. I was upset. Then I found out that I might have to get a c-section! I don’t want to drive out to Waimea either and am very concerned about me and baby!

  21. Margie
    Margie says:

    Im freaking out, I’ve heard such horrible things about having a baby at Hilo Medical Center and I’m not into the all natural so thats not the problem. I’ve had 2 kids, one at Tripler and one back home in WA and I NEVER had to share a room and they didnt have nurseries. I’m really scared at the thought of having to share a room and that theres a nursery and I’m OPPOSED to BOTH! They should really make having a baby (which is an experience in itself) a lot more comfortable and safe!

  22. Miriam Abrin
    Miriam Abrin says:

    Thanks for enlightening information about birthing on the big island.Please keep me informed of yourpursuits in the future.Your persistence will educate other local women
    of their choices in childbirth.I lived,birthed
    and practiced on Oahu form 1971 to 2011 and although
    not perfect the choices have expanded there.

    Aloha,
    Miriam

  23. puna newbu
    puna newbu says:

    I recently relicated to puna, lovethe area and have lived there previously. Hsd to relocate to mainland to attrnd to dire family issues. Got back tp discover. pre cervical cancer. Dr Helms wacked upu vervix
    I cannot at all get Bay Clinic to discuss paymemt for any office visit ortreetment. How doI get them to give me a payment invoice and then after they get my money give me a receipt? The office staff every time telos me tjey ate to nisy, they’ll do it next time but they don’t. So, I came to Ca. toy former doctor for follow up because at least I’ll know how much to pay and I’ll get a receipt.

  24. puna newbu
    puna newbu says:

    Please take my name and email off. It says it won’t be pyblished but it is. My comment above was in no way disrespect towards dr helms. It was ment to try to figure out how to get the llffice staff at bay vlinic to discuss payment.

  25. Ivan
    Ivan says:

    Dr. Helms is the man! He kept my baby and my gf alive! That’s the main thing right? Making sure both baby and the mother make it through.

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  2. […] there, first of all I came across your story as I was looking for the number for Pahoa Women’s Center. I am from Maui, but was living in […]

  3. […] had my first child at the Full Birthing Unit of North Hawaii Community Hospital and having had the negative experience I had with Bay Clinic at the onset of this pregnancy, the drive is tolerable.  What I’ve decided to make these car […]

  4. […] maternal health care.  You probably read my column in the Big Island Weekly and on this blog about the politics of birth here, so you can imagine that I am quite interested in seeing a birth center built in Puna.  I envision […]

  5. […] so much for printing Tiffany Edwards Hunt’s comments about both the importance of breast feeding and midwifery. Here in Hawaii we have fallen behind the […]

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