I had my first child via c/section with Dr Gianotti. For a c/section it was a good experience, but if you want a natural birth this is not the place to go if you want a lot of choices. Dr Gianotti has a good bedside manner and is sensitive when giving bad news about miscarriages, unwanted procedures, etc., but I did not find him willing to entertain many options other than c/section for my breech baby. I love his manner, but at the same time I felt like I didn't have any choice, whereas I later learned there are doctors and midwives he could have sent me to in the area to either deliver my baby breech or have my baby turned. There are other more natrual things he could have recommended trying as well. A breech baby doesn't need to be an automatic c/section.
I do respect that he was straightforward with me when I asked about VBAC that for him it was entirely out of the question. He wished me well and said he understood if I wanted to go elsewhere and I could continue to come to him if I wanted for well checks, but he would not deliver VBAC. While I think he (and ACOG) needs to rethink his position on VBAC, I do respect that he was straightforward and professional about it.
If you want a c/section, Dr Gianotti is apparently a great surgeon. My incision healed well without any issues and I have very few problems with adhesions. He was sensitive to my fear of the spinal anesthesia and had an anesthesiologist come talk to me to prepare me for that. He is straightforward and professional, which I respect.
I would recommend this doctor for someone who knows they need to schedule a c/section, as he is very good and does his best to make that the experience the best it can be, and the hospital is very baby and mom and breastfeeding friendly. However, if you're wanting a more natural birth or a VBAC, I would not recommend this doctor as you are going to have to fit the textbook perfect labor more than you might actually be able to...in that situation it will be harder to be successful. My opinion is, if I'm going to have major abdominal surgery, I'd like it to be a necessary lifesaving procedure, not something done just in case or because we don't do that (deliver breeches or VBACs for example) anymore.
We enrolled our child in this brand new school for the upcoming school year. The school is a dual language program, with Spanish immersion in the early years (80% Spanish or so) evening out to 50% in the later years. They have half-day and full day programs; the half-day programs cater to the homeschooling community by allowing their children the opportunity to get the language immersion, which is often something not available to this population. Anyone that values their child learning a second language well early in life, this is the program for you. The teachers are awesome and are putting their all into the kids. The school currently takes Kindergarten through second grade students but has plans to expand the program annually.
This has been a really good experience so far for our child...I was nervous at first since none of us speak Spanish but his frustration level has been very low, and he loves the people.
I would recommend them to anyone...dual language programs are one of the best ways to learn another language early and well. I was so thrilled to find out about this opportunity that I withdrew my son from another great school to have this experience. The tuition is at a low rate this year due to it being the school's first year and the current economy...but even when it goes back to full tuition, it is still a good value.
My only tip is to call and enroll if you want this experience for your child...don't wait. There are limited slots available.
Dr Krenie Stowe is our children's pediatrician. We have been very happy with her. She explains both sides of any issue to us, and treats all our questions with the utmost respect. She treats non-mainstream lifestyle choices with respect, and actively seeks to educate her patients and their parents about health issues. She takes the time to get to know her patients, and has been a source of great support to our family during some rocky times. She goes above and beyond what she is paid for by insurance reimbursements, in my opinion.
I have only paid for our visits with Dr Stowe through insurance, so I don't know about absolute value, and wouldn't know how that compared to other pediatricians anyhow. But what I do know is that for the price of an office visit, you get much more from this doctor than just about any other doctor or health care provider I've ever visited, except maybe a midwife. Great value in terms of time spent with the patient explaining things and educating.
I would recommend Dr Stowe to anyone. She has the kids' best interests at heart.
I am currently a client of this practice. I basically went for long-term wellness although I am generally healthy and have no major complaints.
The first appointment was about 1/2 a day, a full workup. The staff take your history and ask you a bunch of questions, schedule you for the nutrition consult and follow up appointments. The doctor spends time with you asking you more questions about your health history and habits, and why you are there, and clarifying / getting more details on the answers you gave. The doctor answered question after question from me regarding the treatment. She also ordered lab work, to confirm her treatment plan.
Currently, I have been told to increase my Vitamin D and Fish Oil intake. My energy level (not low before except for a slump in the afternoon) is sky high now (no more afternoon slump) and I feel so much better. I haven't had the sore throat / drainage issues I had before either. She recommends a yeast cleanse as well, but was ok with us waiting until September to do it (our appt wa in June) as we were traveling in July and have our kids' birthdays in August, and are in good health overall. I did attend the nutrition consult that helps you learn how to eat to get through the yeast cleanse process, and it was great...we spent four hours going through the science and how-to of it, and touring the local grocery store to find out where we could find permitted foods for the various stages of the cleanse. (They allow a small number of cheats too, which is nice...I've never been a fan of total deprivation.) You get a cookbook with yeast-free recipes as well...the ones we've tried so far have been delicious. I really am looking forward to the cleanse (in spite of my sweet tooth).
As part of the program, the first 5 weeks the staff checks with you by email or phone (your choice) to make sure there are no adjustments needed. I chose email and it was nice to be able to respond at my own convenience.
They also offer free educational services to the community. There are "lunch and learns" (some of which are at breakfast time) to learn about the practice and what they do, and there are "Wellness Nights Out" in the office (with prepared-from-scratch, healthy, and delicious hor d'oeurves provided, and wine provided by a local business) to provide exposure to other alternative medicine practitioners in the area.
It's hard for me to know if doctors are a good deal or not, because we so rarely pay out of pocket for anything these days. They do not routinely file insurance; that is your responsibility, and little of it will likely be covered. However, I see that as a problem with the insurance companies, not with the practice. It is definitely a better price if you can do it with a friend...you each get a percentage off (and savings is significant). I am doing the program with my mom.
I would definitely recommend them. The doctor and all the staff we've met have been wonderful. And in my opinion, there's not a person out there that couldn't use a little wellness/lifestyle tweaking or counseling!
As with any care provider, I would say it's important to do your research, attend the information sessions, ask the questions you need to ask. I always think the most important thing in a care provider is to find one whose philosophy of care converges with your own. Other than that, I have no cautionary words.
I used the Specialists for Women for my VBAC in 2007 (well I planned to, but ended up delivering at home). My OB was wonderful. She spent probably 45 minutes with me at my first appointment answering question after question. She was willing to be flexible on dates, as my charted ovulation date was about a week different than my LMP or ultrasound dates (this would be important for postdates options). She was a caring OB (one time we couldn't find the heartrate with a doppler and I think she was more worried than I was) and was willing to tell me where she stood on any issue. I respected her straightforward manner. She (successfully!) performed my external version (turned my baby from breech to vertex) and according to the nurses in the hospital is highly sought-after for this procedure. She was wonderful in the postpartum period as well and has been very supportive of me since in dealing with other issues. I also loved the office environment. I rarely saw her in scrubs, and instead of a hospital gown I got a terricloth robe on days I had to undress (especially nice since as everyone knows, offices in Houston generally feel like meat lockers due to a/c)! The staff also warmed the gel that goes on the ultrasound and other internal instruments, so it didn't make you tense up with the cold.
I am not sure how to determine if they are a good deal; I know they negotiated with my insurance company and I was not billed any extra for their services. So I would say from what I saw they billed honestly and at the negotiated rates.
I would definitely recommend them to any woman wanting to birth in a hospital setting. This OB is probably one of the most natural-birth supportive OBs in the Houston area (from conversations with her and with many mothers). Her protocols are mother/baby friendly within the bounds of what ACOG will allow. However, many of her patients that aren't worried about a natural birth like her as well..overall, I'd say she's an OB that will LISTEN and do what you want as long as it's healthy, ethical, and safe.
As with any care provider, the tips I would give include thoroughly interviewing any care provider, as it is so important to choose a care provider whose philosophies match yours. If you're interested in a VBAC she does them (she's very VBAC supportive) but currently the backup does not (although she is actively working to rectify this situation), so there is a 50/50 chance you might go in and have the c/section doctor. At the time I was pregnant, all the doctors in the practice did them...and based on the people I've known that VBAC'd with this practice since then, they have lucked in and this has not ended up being an issue (although there was stress around it as the dates approached). As with any OB, be sure you know what the hospital will and will not allow as well, and be sure you're ok with standard hospital protocol, as this can sometimes be difficult to work around even with a supportive OB.
I used this midwifery service for my VBAC in 2007. The midwife was willing to listen to my concerns and consider different ways than standard to deal with issues, such as calling in experienced help (this ended up not being needed). She was relaxed during my LONG labor and did not pressure me or make me feel as if I was on a clock. She was totally encouraging and supportive. She identified that I was having trouble getting going because I was a "shy" laborer and asked everyone to leave me alone unless I called for them...she was right. She helped care for me after the birth and stayed until she was as certain as could be that things were going well (probably 3 hours)...helped get breastfeeding started, gave me guidance on the postpartum period, etc. She patiently tolerated many worried calls from me after the birth, because I only heard about 1/2 of what she said in the haze of having just had a baby and postpartum after a natural birth is a lot different than after a c/section! She was a great resource in the early breastfeeding period as well, if I needed medical attention I could count on her for advice on possible alternative treatments that were more compatible with breastfeeding.
I believe she offers massage services too, although I did not ever use them...except in labor.
I definitely think the service is a good deal. The price she requested was consistent with other midwives in the area, and she even comes to your home for visits (loved this...my blood pressure was markedly lower in my home than in a doctor's office). Considering the level of care you get, even if it's not covered by insurance, you can't put a price on the care.
I would definitely (and often do!) recommend this midwife to others. As for tips - she's pretty much willing to listen to an informed client and work with them, and will be straightforward with you regarding her personal limits of comfort. As with ANY care provider, interview her thoroughly up front to make sure you're philosophies are a good fit.