You may not have noticed the small addition to the “Noteworthy” column, but I wanted to point it out even if you did.  DePaul hospital is a wonderful hospital that serves most of the under-insured and completely un-insured in its area.  In addition to that, it is the only hospital with a midwifery center in our area.  By our area, I mean you have to leave the state to find something comparable, which is a minimum of a hour drive either north or south of here.  After losing money for a few years, the people in charge decided to phase DePaul out.  They wanted to open several smaller centers in cash-cow medical practices such as plastic surgery. 

While birth may not be a cash-cow business, it’s a very important business, I can assure you.

          Things that need to be made clear to the people in charge are as follows:

We need:

  • a centrally located facility – DePaul easily serves Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, as well as Portsmouth since they are right off the highway in Norfolk. They can serve the area in the same capacity as Norfolk General’s tertiary care and CHKD.
  • an institution that respects what women value in their birthing experience – a place where they have a voice – the majority of L&D nurses are doula trained and are accustomed to supporting women and their desire to have the birth THEY want to experience within the safety of the hospital.
  • acknowledgment that DePaul has ALWAYS served this need for women – this did not come along with The Midwifery Center.

Other things that might apply each of us as individuals are:

  • willingness to travel long distances to get to this facility – Many families CHOOSE to drive 30 minutes to receive care in the facility. The hospital right down the street with limited options sometimes is not an option.
  • decisions to travel to this facility based on birth experiences elsewhere – Women choosing a different course the second or third time around based on previous birth trauma or a feeling of mistrust in their last experience; a core desire to do things differently this time and be better supported in their decisions.
  • women choosing care elsewhere based on the physical conditions of the facility – lets face it aesthetics sells, and wouldn’t it be a shame to loose this birthing option because of the carpet and aging walls?
  • women who value the care over the aesthetics – They keep coming back to have a wonderful experience despite the physical conditions.
  • birth workers’ (midwives, doula’s, educators, etc.) comparison of experiences in and out of DePaul or an accredited Birth Center.

                       We need safe and sensitive care for women who are seeking to be a partner in their maternity care. Women desiring a birth that is not scheduled or systemized, and continues to be safe is surely within our grasp as a community and a culture. DePaul’s track record and level of obstetric care is worthy of a face lift; that in itself may attract the numbers of women they are looking for to sustain their financial investment.

                         To show your support for DePaul, click here

                       Please help us keep this option open, even if you’re not a local!


Up-date for 2008: After our initial outpouring of letters and the outcry of concern as, not just birthing women, but consumers, the forces that be have agreed to continue to offer maternity care in Norfolk, in a brand new building that will be just across the street from the old!  The transition is supposed to seamless, with nary an interruption in obstetric and maternity care.  We have been heard, but your support is still needed!  There is still a fight over how many labor and delivery beds there will be, etc.  Keep that support coming!!!