A Gem in Jeopardy

Editor: Greetings . A couple of weeks ago I felt compelled to write a letter to you regarding a Gem in your community . But , as happens , the urge passes and we become busy and move on . But this afternoon , I learned that this Sonoma “Gem” may be threatened and I wanted to bring to light what a special place The Sonoma Valley Hospital Birth Place and how much I have been enlightened and enriched in just the short time I have worked here . I moved to Napa almost 2 years ago when my daughter was born . I continued to commute to the Peninsula to a Large Birth Center that I loved and found very difficult to leave after 13 years . The commute became more of an issue and I found it time to make some changes. This Last September I was hired as a Labor and Delivery RN at SVH Birthing Center .During the interview process, I was impressed with the instant warmth that exuded from just about every employee @SVH (I couldn’t look at a sign for directions without someone offering to take me where I was trying get to)I found the Birth Center to be quite inviting and was very impressed with the culture of caring for the mother/Family/newborn as a unit . I had concerns leaving the security of unit
that delivered 200-250 newborns a month to one that delivered 13-25 newborns . I had concerns about potential lack of resources and “What if there is an Emergency?”(I would later learn that the resources are there and work beautifully together as needed ) I have to add here that the Supervisors at SVH are truly a special breed of supervisors that really jump in and support or just hold down the fort if needed . They are truly Jacks of all trades (So vital to a small Community Hospital)

What I found was a beautiful little Hamlet of care . The philosophy of each nurse that I worked with here is consistently that of caring for and individualizing care for each Family with minimal interventions in a supportive , safe environment in which Family Bonding takes priority and education is fostered . These patients are the most rested and well cared for that I have seen . Each nurse is trained to take care of all your needs , what this eliminates is a revolving door of , lab, hearing screen , birth certificate and other important interruptions. We are able to group interventions according to the Families rest and bonding needs . This hospital is as close as it gets to having a home birth experience with the safeguards that hospital has to offer ( Anesthesia , Physician and an OR) The culture is to provide a gentle, efficient , team approach in caring for our Patients . As Pauline Headley (Med Surg/Labor and Delivery Manager) stated in my interview , “We take the very best care our patients until the moment we say goodbye to them when we are bringing them to their car” . Larger , higher census hospitals can’t help but to put laboring moms on a clock .They want to implement all the same bonding protocols but often just can’t . This just doesn’t happen here …babies usually pick their own Birthday and time …we are just there to ease the transition if needed . The way it should be .

This weekend , we learned that due to financial concerns , Sonoma Valley Hospital Birthing Center will likely have to close (decision to be made this coming January) It has been such a gift to the community that SVH had really tried to keep this unit open to serve the community (operating at a loss for some time) It’s amazing that in such a brief time that I have been here , so many patients stories are already playing back for me. Whether it’s the Grandfather of a newborn proudly telling me he and his daughter were also born in this hospital (Many 3rd generation SVH Babies) or the fieldworker rushing in happily exhausted from an satisfying 2013 Harvest to see his first baby being born … I have learned a lot about the people and beauty of Sonoma and from my amazing colleagues and patients at the Sonoma Valley Hospital Birth Place and feel honored to have had this window into this very special world.
Christa Steinrok
Napa


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