Midwives at Sutter's Milvia Care Center in Berkeley

Does anyone have experience delivering with any of the nurse midwives at Sutter's Milvia Care Center in Berkeley (Kassandra Donnels, Martina Chwascinska-Szarek, Heide Cruikshank, or Dominika Dymarczyk)? I know I'd prefer to go with a midwife within this practice, but it seems like their all fairly new to the center and I'm having a hard time finding any information or reviews on these specific midwives.

Parent Replies

Parents, want to reply to this question? Sign in to post.

I haven't delivered with any of them but Heide Cruikshank leads our centering group (group-based pregnancy care with other expectant patients) at Alta Bates and I can say she is absolutely wonderful and deeply adored by our entire group. She is both deeply knowledgeable about medical interventions, non-medical interviews, and broader holistic pre-/ post-natal care. She is funny, empathetic, and warm but feels very grounded in information and experience. She's super approachable with great energy, so much so that I am strongly considering moving my upcoming scheduled C-section so she can be on call for it, if that gives any indication :) Good luck! 

I am currently a patient at Sutter's Milvia OB/GYN practice and am 36 weeks pregnant. I met with Dominika Dymarczyk once as part of the "Centering Pregnancy" group I took part in (group meetings combined with your individual OB appointments) since the OB was on vacation for one of our sessions. Dominika was great. That said, the way the Sutter group runs delivery is that doctors in the practice rotate through their on call times at the hospital. Because of that setup, you will not be able to specify who you will deliver with. It will just be whoever is on call, though from what they have communicated, they are currently working to ensure that a midwife in addition to an OB is always on call at the hospital, and therefore present for your delivery. I hope this helps! I think you'd be able to clarify their policies with them further if you set up an initial appointment as well. 

I had kassandra Donnells, and she was great. But when you go to deliver, you get whoever is there that day. My understanding was that the doctors attended the more complicated births going on, and if your delivery was straight forward you might get a midwife instead. It didn’t seem like you could opt for one or the other. 

I delivered with Martina and she was AMAZing!!! That said, at Alta Bates you deliver with whoever is on call when your baby says it’s time. My perception was that any of the clinicians I met with during my labor would have been good.

I may be wrong, but I think Martina only works in the hospital.

For outpatient prenatal care I saw Kassie Donnels for a few visits and ended up preferring the OB I was later paired with (Cindy Zhang).

Hope this helps!

Hi! I delivered at Alta bates and was under the care of the OB group at Sutter Milvia. After my delivery, Martina (midwife) was on rotation for the group and she was one of the best parts of my (second) birth experience. She was warm, caring, and such a source of strength for me in my recovery. I definitely had the thought that I wish I worked with her sooner. And 9 months later I still remember her name and am writing my first BPN post for her :)

I regularly met with two midwives (Kassandra and Martina) during my prenatal care (Fall 2021 - Spring 2022) and they were absolutely amazing. I was so glad they were my primary care for my pregnancy instead of the OB I was originally seeing; the midwifery care model was just a much better fit for me for various reasons. I was told they were the only two midwives on call to deliver babies at the hospital, but I'm not sure if that's changed since I gave birth. You should know that the provider you deliver with at Sutter is generally based on when the birth takes place; at the time of my care, midwives were available in the morning (in addition to an OB), and only OBs were available at night. You also don't get a chance to request who you deliver with, it's based on a rotating schedule of midwives/OBs. If you would like to deliver with a specific provider, you can ask what the hospital schedule is! For what it's worth, I gave birth at night so didn't get a chance to work with a midwife. At my 6 week checkup they mentioned they are expanding the program, which will hopefully offer more coverage! I'm looking forward to working with them again in the future.

Kassandra Donnels delivered my baby at Alta Bates in February 2021. I was a transfer from a birth center and was wary of a hospital delivery but I found her energy to be compassionate and very in line with the care I was used to receiving from my own midwives. Alison Roberts was on duty when we arrived but seemed very brusque and intervention inclined so I was glad when Kassandra started her shift shortly thereafter. 

She was very new then and this was a year and a half ago, but my only complaint was the stitches she did (for a minimal 1 degree tear that should have not been a big deal) did not heal very well requiring subsequent attention. Apparently she only stitched internally? I wish I had known more to have better advocated for myself in the moment. 

Please feel free to reach out directly with anything else! Wishing you a smooth and joyous delivery. 

Hi! Dominika delivered my son two weeks ago at Alta Bates, and she was absolutely exceptional! She was so encouraging, genuine and warm. She and the incredible nurses made the whole experience beautiful (tearing up thinking about it!). I also met Martina and Heide who were on shift before and after my birth, and they also seemed incredibly caring. This was my first experience with midwives, as they were not a part of Milvia when my first was born at AB. I was so impressed with the team. I have no doubts you will be in good hands! 

I gave birth with Mika and she was FABULOUS. She was kind, patient, respectful and detail oriented. I had no tears thanks to her massaging. She stayed well beyond her shift to see me through a long labor. I would schedule an induction next time just to have her deliver my next baby! 

I delivered with an OB in the same group but saw Kassie Donnels once during pregnancy and in the hospital immediately postpartum. I am very knowledgeable about pregnancy and birth and had very specific birth preferences and I thought she was supportive and informed. I would have happily delivered with her if she had been on call when I gave birth. Hope that’s helpful! 

While they're not my primary provider, I've seen both Kassandra Donnels and Heide Cruikshank for appointments when my primary OB has been unavailable, and both seemed great --  very friendly and knowledgeable and non judgemental about choices for pregnancy & birth.

I absolutely adore Martina!! She was not at my delivery, but she did part of my pre and postnatal care. She is so warm, knowledgeable, and personable.