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Getting Your Homebirth Covered By An HMO
Letter to hospital after 1st birth
My second birth story
My first birth story
Letter to hospital after 1st birth
Other Links, Books & resources
1st letter to med director of IPA
2nd letter to grieveance dept of HMO
HMO grievance panel presentation
DMHC complaint letter
Thoughts after presentation to panel

After my first birth I wrote a letter to the hospital about my stay.

Margaret Herman
Director of Memorial Women’s Hospital
2801 Atlantic Blvd.
Long Beach CA 90801

Ms. Herman:

I have recently started to prepare for our second child. I would like to clear up some issues and
policy questions that came up at my first birth and also to report a serious baby security lapse. I regret
intensely that I was not prompt in this report yet I still feel it warrants your attention. My other
questions follow and I would like to have them addressed as well.

Recently, I found a picture, taken during my stay at your hospital during the birth of my first
child on Aug 5, 1998. It is of a nursery nurse that came to my room in the early morning hours of Aug.
6. She came in wearing nurse “garb” and said she needed to take my baby to the nursery for the shift
change. I let her do so but then began to feel very anxious. This woman was not wearing her ID badge
with the pink background behind her picture that we were told about during the “maternity tea” we
attended. I had given my husband strict orders during the birth never to let our baby out of his sight. I
then began to feel nauseous at the very thought that something could be very wrong and so I hauled my
self, stitches and all, down to the nursery where I thankfully found them. I picked up my baby and
asked her “Where is your ID badge? You’re supposed to be wearing your ID badge.” She told me, “No,
we’re just supposed to have it in case you ask for it”, as she pulled it out of her lab coat pocket. I was
astounded! I know that was not correct. I returned to my room and, regretfully, did not pursue it
further because I did not see any other employees on my walk back. Then the next day as I was being
discharged (after waiting the whole morning) this same nurse came in and was rude and pushy to my
husband and I, telling him to “hurry up” as he was dressing our baby to leave. Apparently the time had
come and she wanted us out. If this nurse still works at your hospital I would hope that you take
appropriate action with her specifically and maybe review the policy with your other nurses if you deem

During my pregnancy I asked my OB/GYN about being able to eat and use the bath during labor
and a few other things. He assured me that everything I wanted was definitely acceptable to him though
not in the usual routine of the hospital. He consulted with someone at the hospital who told him to have
us make a birth plan. I had been hesitant to do so because I know that the hospital staff sometimes
reacts to them in a negative way. But he assured me this was not going to be the case and that he had
been told that nurses did follow them as much as possible. So I made up the birth plan and he signed it.
I had a signed copy placed in my chart and I had extras on the night stand which I pointed out to my
first nurse, and I think the one that started my pitocin. Everyone said it was all fine but then many of
my requests were completely ignored for no reason whatsoever.
I was denied solid food at lunch Aug 4th, even though I wasn’t even in labor! My signed plan
said I could eat or drink whenever I wanted.
When I was finally in labor I was in the shower trying to soothe back pain and the nurse came in
and actually yelled at me “YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE IN THERE!” The water was too cold
anyway and I was getting out. I thought it was obnoxious of her to yell at me but I didn’t feel like
fighting with her. I was a bit busy for that. My doctor said it was ok to use the bath or shower
whenever I wanted.

And the one that really upset me was the removal of my baby to the nursery just because she
weighed 9 lbs. I wanted complete rooming in and the nurse lied to me. When she was born the nurse
said “we need to take her to the nursery and check her sugars because large babies sometimes have their
sugars drop” I specifically asked her “can’t you do that here in the room” and she said “no”. Now that
my husband is diabetic, we know exactly what it takes to check a glucose level and she certainly
could’ve done so in my room. I do not appreciate being lied to. It makes one wonder what else was a

I was pressured to sign all sorts of consent forms including those for drugs and surgery hours
before my labor even started. I feel the consent forms were very inappropriate in their timing and
incomplete in the explanations. I never wanted any pain meds yet I had a signed consent form in my
chart. There easily could’ve been a mix-up where a nurse could’ve injected Demerol into my IV
without my knowledge or informed consent.

I was also told that there is a law that says that in California a mother cannot take her placenta
home. Is that true? It came from my body, it seems I should have some choice of what happens to it.

At the time we considered ourselves lucky that we were able to get a private postpartum room
so my husband would be allowed to stay with us. After 2 nights of sleeping on that fold out chair that
did not flatten completely my husband’s back was killing him. I think we paid sixty something dollars a
night extra for that room and my husband still had to go out for meals 3 times a day. I believe since we
paid extra for that room it should come with meals to keep our family together during that special time.
After all, families are the whole point of the labor and delivery department.

If you have any further questions or would like to contact me I am usually home in the
afternoons (phone# )Thank You.



The response from Ms. Herman, via phone call, was basically "Sorry about the nurse without the nametag, we have 2 nurses that look like that and from this picture we can't really tell who it is, the other nurse doesn't work here anymore. She did say that she shared my letter at the meeting of OB/Gyn's and staff. The birth plan issues weren't really addressed, She offered to show me to a private "tour" instead of the maternity tea and group tour that everyone else gets. She did say she was not at this hospital at the time of my first birth and that they had begun making changes recently. I couldn't figure out what exactly they had changed. All the written policies look the same (in 2002) to me. I did tell her that I was insulted and shocked at the maternity tea that one of the nurses said "While you're here the're our babies too." That should have been the tip off, it pretty much summed up the hospital attitude that I ultimately chose to avoid altogether.