Sweet Child O’ Mine Statistics
Thank you to all the families for whom we’ve had the privilege of serving over the past year and since our founding in 2009. Thank you for your trust in us. Thank you for blessing us. We love what we do so much and know how important and special it is for you. We are blessed each time we see you; each sacred birth, each tearful conversation is precious to us. I have to say it was great greeting a mom in labor and seeing her face without her mask on for the first time and thinking, “Oh that’s what her face looks like!”. There’s nothing better than seeing the pure love, triumph and joy in your and your partner’s faces as you cross over the line, from the travail of labor to parents, and greet your baby for the first time. Our joy is making these moments special for you. Thank you for allowing us this privilege.
Reporting period July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021
126 Babies Delivered – 109 Birth Center, 17 Home Birth
11.8% Transfer Rate in Labor (17 out of 143: 6 for waters released without sufficient contractions and progress, 6 for failure to progress, 5 for maternal exhaustion / pain management)
38% Suturing Rate
2 Postpartum Transfers (retained placenta/hemorrhage)
4 Newborn Transfers (2 for respiratory distress, 2 for low oxygen saturation)
0 Neonatal Deaths. 0 Maternal Deaths.
29 Prenatal Transfers (Preeclampsia-5, HTN-2, Preterm Labor/Rupture of membranes-1, Complete Previa-1, Breech-2, Premature Rupture of Membranes without contractions/not admitted-4, early labor decision for epidural-2, Postdates at 42 weeks-2, Oligohydramnios/Poor BPP score-2, Intrauterine fetal demise at 38 weeks-1, intrauterine growth restriction-2, polyhydramnios-1, fetal anomaly-1, infectious disease-1, twins-1, 2nd trimester miscarriage-1)
5.6% cesarean rate of those who began labor with us (8 out of 143)
Check out that 84% waterbirth rate! Awesome!
Transfer rates in labor were up a bit from last year, but they are still in line with the national average of 12%. I believe this increase is largely due to the effects that covid-19 had on the industry.
- compromises in care and education
- significant increases in the anxiety of our families making them more prone to want to go to the hospital when the rubber hits the road
- the exhaustion that our staff experienced due to staffing shortages
- an influx of families rushing into care late in pregnancy to avoid having to go to the hospital for birthing. We know how important good mental and emotional preparation is for the success of natural birthing. Also, fear is probably not the best motivating factor for choosing where you will deliver your baby, right?
I want to say a huge thank you to our team at Sweet Child O’ Mine. You are all magnificent! Truly. I hear it all the time. “You have the best team, Kim, how do you pick them?” I’m so impressed with all of you, by your willingness to jump in and help out, your desire to grow and learn, and your special spirits that bless the families that we serve. You work so hard and you care so much. I truly appreciate all of you and applaud your work.
So what happened this year? It somewhat feels like a blur, honestly. The pandemic brought many challenges. First of all, there were immense supply shortages. We were repeatedly told we weren’t eligible to purchase gloves or only sent a small allotted amount. We were literally rationing gloves, as well as sewing our own masks and improvising. Believe it or not, things are just NOW starting to improve on the availability of supplies such as gloves. Areline carried the weight of this, as she is the one who does our inventory, ordering and stocking. For months, she was stalking Walmart and other stores to see when they were getting their deliveries, then descending on them with multiple family members to each buy their allotted amount of toilet paper. Then she would hide the toilet paper in the trunk of her car to prevent it from disappearing. Cleaning agents like bleach, Cavicide, alcohol and peroxide were also difficult to procure. Prices increased dramatically, sometimes doubling and tripling. Thank you, Areline Williams, for all your hard work ordering and keeping us supplied.
We had staffing shortages. Each time a team member was exposed or had a sniffle, they were tested and quarantined for two weeks, often to receive their results the day after returning to work and finding that they were negative the whole time. Because of this, we were all working double time to cover for each other. We were down to two midwives between July and October, so in order to have any time “off” (we were never really off), we had to do prenatal visits and be on call at the same time. Sleep? What’s that? We changed call at 4 am so that both Kitty and I could at least get a half night of sleep on occasion. Thank you, Kitty, for working by my side through the worst of it. I say working by my side, but the truth is, we hardly ever saw each other during this period of time unless it was giving report as we passed the baton to the other at 4 am. This was partly on purpose, so that if one of us got the virus, the other would hopefully not be exposed.
Because we were on the front line being exposed potentially every day, we were separated from seeing family for many months. A few of us live alone, so we became each other’s family. At the very beginning of the pandemic, I moved. For the last 16 months, I’ve been living on the birth center property in a fifth wheel. It was a good thing to be so close when I was working so much.
Then finally in October, the virus hit us. We knew it would happen eventually; we were just hoping we wouldn’t have to shut down for a couple of weeks. About half of us went down, and a few others were exposed and quarantined. We went through the grueling task of individually notifying over 100 patients, one by one. We were closed for two days while staff members were waiting for test results; however, we didn’t miss any births. After this, there was a sense of relief. We had some immune staff, so we no longer had to worry about shutting down and not being able to deliver your babies..
As many others have experienced, many of our staff lost close relatives and friends to covid-19 and we were unable to be with our loved ones, join with our families to mourn, and we continued working like nothing had happened. Our team became a close family as we supported each other, fed each other and gave each other IV’s. Thank you to all my team, but especially Maureen, for taking care of me when I lost my parents.
Covid affected the families that we serve as well. We learned how to do virtual prenatal visits, dropping off a kit at the door when they were ill. Prenatal care was spaced out, so monitoring wasn’t as frequent. Mamas who needed a higher level of care were having difficulty getting that care. If they went to the hospital, they were quickly treated and sent home even though they needed to be admitted. This affected outcomes, for sure.
Then there have been some Medicaid changes including our primary Medicaid HMO being acquired by another plan which we are not in network with, being told that any new plan we contract with will only pay us 77% of what we have been receiving, and the state of Florida once again issuing pay CUTS for Licensed Midwives for at least the second year in a row. Unfortunately, all of this means that we are no longer able to accept Medicaid after Oct 1st of this year. Truthfully, our costs at the birth center have always exceeded what Medicaid pays us. I’ve never wanted to tell our families that we lose money, because I felt it was so important to provide options for natural birthing to all women, regardless of their insurance. But there comes a point where we have to admit to ourselves that if we stay on the same path, it would not be sustainable for us to stay in business. I wrestled with this decision for months. In the end, we decided not to continue taking Medicaid, but to offer a reduced fee for those who are eligible for Medicaid.
Despite these challenges, we rose from the ashes and rebuilt our team. We became stronger, more closely unified, kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and others. We’ve built a family atmosphere and the families that we serve feel that family spirit of love, care and compassion. Both our team and our practice is growing. We have two new midwives, Glenda Datsko and Maureen Berning, and another midwife, Sydney Logan, will be joining our team this September. Melinda Morales is our new Office Manager; she is just a few weeks in and doing a fabulous job. I have two midwife students working with me: Nicolle who is starting her last year and Belinda who is starting her first year of school. The doula services have taken off and we owe that to Sarah’s leadership and the dedication of the entire doula team: Sarah, Melinda, Belinda & Lena.
We converted to a new electronic health record system, just because we weren’t busy enough already. It was a lot of work, but everyone pitched in and it wasn’t as rocky as it could have been. We started a new Facebook group called Sweet Moms O’ Mine, which is a place for our mamas to connect with each other. We will be planning some upcoming events for our families to gather together, so be watching for that. We are now partnering with Lauren McDonald of Lauren McDonald Photography and offering special photography and birth video packages to our families and will very soon be promoting that.
So, after 12 years and over a thousand babies, Sweet Child O’ Mine is still here and going strong. We look forward to another great year!