The Gentle Greeting – A conversation with Dr. Ronald Cole about multidiscipline alternative birth including water birth.
Dr. Cole is unique as an enlightened birth advocate and a leading pioneer of spirituality in the field of pregnancy, birthing, and healing. How he came to this role in the field of obstetrics was through his own continuing spiritual journey, which led to his abiding interest as a birth advocate for pregnant mothers.
Unique in itself is the fact that Dr. Cole began his professional life as an engineer, graduating from the University of Missouri with both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in civil engineering. He was working at the Enjay Chemical Company (later to become Exxon Chemicals USA) in Baytown, Texas, when his second child, Kent, faced a medical crisis at the time of his birth in 1969. Kent was born with an “open” spine, or a congenital condition known formally as spina bifida.
Through Dr. Cole’s leadership in the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) of Houston, he also came into contact with the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR). In 1971, while Dr. Cole was serving as president of the Houston chapter of SBA, he met Thorkild J. Engen, who designed plastic orthopedic braces at TIRR. Cole helped to bring together TIRR and Enjay Chemical in order to continue development of the braces.
While Kent was undergoing a series of operations, Dr. Cole’s proximity to hospitals and doctors sparked an earlier interest he had had in medicine. So in 1973 he was accepted and returned to his alma mater and begin medical studies at the University of Missouri College of Medicine. During his residency and internship, he specialized in obstetrics and gynecology in Houston, Texas.
In 1982 Dr. Cole opened a private practice in Baytown, Texas. It wasn’t long, however, before he began to realize that the traditional birth experience needed significant improvement. As he pursued his personal interest in the study of the spiritual aspects of life, and their practical applications, he began to open his mind to developing a more loving approach to healing, life, and new life.
While stressing the importance of good obstetrics, Dr. Cole became an enlightened birth advocate. It has been some years since he pioneered multidiscipline alternative birth options at his local hospital, including water birth. At the time, however, this was accomplished over the medical establishment’s criticism. Now he finds that many such options are both commonplace and expected.
Dr. Cole has counseled and delivered babies for thousands of women in his practice and has delivered hundreds and hundreds of babies. He has come to share with his patients the value of a positive, loving approach to childbirth, and the intimate connection between body, mind and soul in the conception, pregnancy and birthing process. He integrates this approach in his practice on a daily basis.
He continues his communication with other dedicated birth advocates, as well as a number of the major birth organizations. In addition to being a founding member of the Spina Bifida Association of America, he is supportive of birthing groups with a philosophy similar to his own. These include Lamaze International, the International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA), the Association of Pre-and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH), and the American College of Nurse Midwives. In having attended national conventions of most of these groups, he feels that through networking with others and encouraging parents to speak up, more needed positive, gentle medical changes will occur.
Dr. Cole’s abundant enthusiasm for life is not limited to newborns. He has coordinated a world-record skydiving team, and other of his interests and hobbies include scuba diving, arts, racquetball, four wheeling, ranching, and having fun. He currently resides and practices obstetrics and gynecology in Baytown, Texas.
Dr. Cole’s next book projects include “Universal Spiritual Laws”, “Universal Spiritual Laws and Healing”, and “Communicating with the Unborn Child.”