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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #14

Sun, 01/25/2009 - 11:27 -- Carol Leonard

The Worst Bleed

Every midwife dreads a bad bleed. Even though we are trained
and prepared for hemorrhaging, a heavy bleed always gets our
adrenaline going like no other complication. We carry the same
medications and equipment that are available in a standard
hospital birth. Severe hemorrhaging is very rare in a properly
nourished, screened, low-risk woman, but it does happen once
in a blue moon, and it is not fun. I have a midwife friend who
is superstitious; she won’t wear red to a birth, lest it be bad luck
and “turn on the faucet.”

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #13

Sun, 01/25/2009 - 06:34 -- Carol Leonard

A Painful Birth

There comes a time in every midwife’s career where she reaches
what I call the cocky stage. This is where her arrogance can
actually get her into some serious trouble. In my own case of
cockiness, I am beginning to feel fairly smug and sure of myself,
which is why I think I ignored a pretty obvious ground rule like
'Don’t work alone'. I learn this fundamental lesson the hard way,
fortunately without too much disaster.
Francis and I are at another birth in Hillsboro when
Franchesca calls from a neighbor’s phone; she’s in labor with

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #12

Sat, 01/24/2009 - 06:20 -- Carol Leonard

My Little Sister’s Birth

My younger sister, Wendy, and her husband, Jim, have been
trying to conceive a child for almost a year, when Milan has the
great idea to make them a fertility box. I have no idea where
he cooked this up, but we look in old herbal-folklore textbooks
and find plants and related items that are considered fertility
promoters. Milan gathers all these together and puts them in
an ornately decorated wooden box. He is very much into the
efficacy of his creation. He tells Wendy and Jim to sleep with the
box under their bed. My sister is pregnant in one cycle.

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #11

Fri, 01/23/2009 - 17:15 -- Carol Leonard

The First Abortion

I do not know what possesses me to think I can just cruise
right through an abortion procedure without a reaction. I have
Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart 25
had a pathological needle phobia and crash-and-burn reaction
to the sight of blood since childhood. My idealistic cause of
devoting myself to women’s health has temporarily taken hold of
my senses. The procedure is described to me in graphic
detail. I go into the procedure room with my first woman; I have
all the naiveté of a Florence Nightingale wannabe.

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #10

Fri, 01/23/2009 - 10:15 -- Carol Leonard

The First VBAC

The relative safety of vaginal birth after cesarean section, or
VBAC, as this is commonly called, is still very controversial and
hotly debated. Most physicians have been trained to believe
“once a cesarean, always a cesarean”—that the first cesarean
section automatically mandates a cesarean from then on. Their
argument being that the cesarean-scarred uterus is weaker at the
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suture line and is likely to dehisce, or rupture, at a much greater
rate than a non-surgically scarred uterus. This may have been

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #9

Thu, 01/22/2009 - 10:28 -- Carol Leonard

The Woodchuck

There is a picture on my wall in the peanut gallery of which I
am especially fond. In the picture I am holding an enormous
newborn girl; her big sister is leaning on my knee, and she is
checking out the interloper for the first time. In the background,
their mother is smiling, and her blonde hair is in a disheveled
cloud around her head. She looks angelic. I attended both
daughters; this one comes fast and weighs in at eleven pounds.
Their mother, Becky, is sweet and soft-spoken. I feel unusually
close to her.

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #8 (sorry mamas, this is a rough one...pls DON'T read if you are pr)

Wed, 01/21/2009 - 18:20 -- Carol Leonard

The Only Mortality

My dreams about impending births are always disturbingly
prophetic. I grant them a lot of credence because I know they
are based on intuitive and unconscious factual information. My
dreams are an invaluable tool in my practice. Many times I am
forewarned by a dream that is a prediction of a future emergency,
so I am prepared in advance. The following story illustrates my
dreams’ role to the extreme.
Barbara is an eighteen-year-old woman living in the North
Country, who calls late in her pregnancy to ask if I will help

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #7

Wed, 01/21/2009 - 06:14 -- Carol Leonard

A Handcuffed Birth

Melissa and her husband, Eric, are of the Bahai faith. They
are attractive in a very wholesome, clean-cut way. They are
an incredibly sweet and loving couple. Eric is a policeman in
Manchester. Melissa is having her first baby, and it is breech. Dr.
Brown is seeing Melissa for her prenatal care. He still plans to
attend her at home, if all goes well. Francis doesn’t hold with
the current attitude that all primip breeches are dangerous
and should be routinely sectioned. He feels that breeches are
simply an error in polarity; that 3 percent of the time, gravity

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Our own gay bishop's inaugural invocation in DC (beautiful!) SO proud of Gene ~

Tue, 01/20/2009 - 06:51 -- Carol Leonard

New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson kicked off yesterday's inaugural festivities with an invocation reading for President-elect Barack Obama, who'll officially take office tomorrow. Here's a transcript of Robinson's prayer:

"Welcome to Washington! The fun is about to begin, but first, please join me in pausing for a moment, to ask God's blessing upon our nation and our next president.

"O God of our many understandings, we pray that you will . . .

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Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #6

Mon, 01/19/2009 - 05:48 -- Carol Leonard

The First Birth

The first call comes quite soon after our meeting. It is 3:00 am,
and Dr. Brown’s cheery voice says, “Carol? Let’s go!”
He gives me directions to an apartment in a government subsidized
housing development up on Concord Heights. He
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says it is the woman’s third baby—he attended the first two as
well—and that her water has broken, but she isn’t contracting
yet. He says we should get there soon, though, because the
woman is a Christian Scientist, and they tend to have a pretty

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