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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #39

A Sensual Birth

Dr. Michel Odent is a French physician and surgeon who practices
in a state hospital in the small town of Pithiviers in northern
France. As head of the Pithiviers Maternity Unit for twenty
years, he is a pioneer in active, natural childbirth practices and
has created a minor revolution in modern obstetrics. His book,
Birth Reborn, is published in 1984; in it, he champions the use of
midwives and very little obstetrical intervention. His maternity
unit boasts some of the lowest perinatal mortality, cesarean, and
episiotomy rates in the world.

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #38

A Very Long Birth
(or the “Princess Syndrome”)

In every birth, the woman teaches me a lesson. This was
particularly true in the early days. Betty’s birth is runner-up
for one of the longest labors I attend, although years later, the
all-time winner comes in at eighty-eight hours. Betty’s labor, at
fifty-two hours, is one of the longest with spontaneous ruptured
membranes; it definitely is one of the most exhausting. Betty is
a savvy, gregarious journalist who writes a regular column for
one of our alternative newspapers. She is considered an elderly

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Eugene, Oregon ~ March 13-15, 2009. Carol Leonard will be selling and signing Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga at

* Eugene, Oregon ~ March 13-15, 2009. Book selling and signing of Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga at the Midwifery Today conference at the Hilton Eugene & Conference Center (www.hiltoneugene.com) Any Mamas in Oregon?

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #37

The Fallen Canopy

Every fall, I see the Rosal kids at the Sunapee Craftsmen’s Fair,
tending their father’s jewelry booth. Their father is an artisan
who makes wonderful, exquisitely wrought, cast-silver jewelry of
whimsical wizards and lizards and other fanciful creatures. The
children are strikingly beautiful and gregarious, like a small band
of dark-haired gypsies hawking their parents’ wares.
Joshua, the youngest Rosal, is the only child I haven’t seen
since he was born in 1979. Now, I finally see him near his family’s

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #36

As vice president of MANA, I do a lot of speaking engagements
to further the profession of midwifery. One afternoon, Ken calls
me in from mulching the vegetable garden to answer the phone.
It is the Today show, asking if they can fly me down to New York
City for the following day’s live program with Jane Pauley, which
is about natural childbirth. I say I’d be delighted, and I hop on
the next plane to the Big Apple. I think this will be a lark. I meet
up with a couple of midwife friends who work in the City and
324 Carol Leonard

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #35

My Cousin’s Birth

My mother was orphaned at a young age. After her two older
brothers and their wives die in their later years, she reluctantly
finds herself as matriarch of the whole family. With this position
of honor in mind, my cousin Neal asks my mother, the grandaunt,
if she would like to attend the birth of his second baby that I
am intending to catch. She is delighted, for even after having
four children herself, she regrets that she has never seen a baby
born. Her telling the story of my birth, her oldest child, is always
tinged with disappointment and anger.

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