the state

– of extreme birth? by vastate
Friday, 27 March 2009, 14:29
Filed under: -of harrisonburg, -of health, -of jhumphrey

i’m also not sure what to think about this article in the nytimes about midwife, cara muhlhahn, and her clients.

A prenatal visit at the office of her client Nicole Tucker.   (Photo: Liz Rubincam)

A prenatal visit at the office of her client Nicole Tucker. (Photo: Liz Rubincam)

here’s a portion:

She also doesn’t practice like a typical midwife. Personal experience has led her to dismiss many of what she calls the “myths” that are still taught in school as the bedrock of safe practice. The big babies—ten-pounders and more—that most obstetricians are loath to deliver vaginally, because of the risk that their shoulders will get stuck in the birth canal, are nothing more than “fit challenges” to Muhlhahn, necessitating only patience. She regularly does vaginal births after C-section at home, and has even home-delivered the riskiest births, breeches and twins. “She’ll put herself on the line way more than most people, like taking on a birth that’s a little more high risk that most midwives wouldn’t take,” says Abby Epstein, BOBB’s director. “It’s not that she’s a cowboy. It’s because she wants to serve these couples that say, ‘I trust my body. I believe in this process.’ She puts her ass on the line in a huge way every time she kind of steps out of bounds to help somebody. That’s just who she is.”

actually, the whole article is a not-so-very-flattering take on this NYC homebirth midwife so celebrated in The Business of Being Born.  and it points out that the issues with safe homebirth that we have here in our little city are not so unique.

to counteract my feeling of depression after reading the above article, i am re-reading a really quality midwife memoir right now by former bay area homebirth CNM peggy vincentbaby catcher: chronicals of a modern day midwife is a really beautiful look at west coast homebirth in the late-seventies to the nineties: a relative heyday in modern homebirth.


vincent says

I wrote BABY CATCHER as a celebration of the best years of nurse midwifery in California. There was a window of time, a decade when a few of us had everything: supportive backup doctors, hospital privileges, affordable malpractice insurance, and a patient population that wanted exactly what we had to offer. It was brief, and it may never happen again, so I wanted to document all that was so wonderful about it.

lots of great birth stories that encourage confidence.  lots of stories of collaboration between hospital and home.  lots of inspiration or just wistfulness?  i want to believe that the days vincent describes in this book could inded happen again.  and right here in harrisonburg.

i am interested in how the new birth center for area old order mennonite women will affect how the community (doctors, midwives, and women) perceives safe birth.  i am hopeful.


1 Comment so far
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maybe I could borrow Baby Catcher from you? love, Kathleen

Comment by Kathleen Temple

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