Saturday, December 05, 2009

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

This book had a lot of flaws when it came to planned home birth with a midwife in this century but it certainly had a page turner story to tell.

The events are laid out by Connnie, an OB/GYN Doctor and daughter of Sibyl Danforth, the midwife who is on trial. She is remembering what happened when seh was 13. The event was to be a normal home birth of Charlotte Bedford's second child. A few things in the birth process changed for the worst, and Sibyl, unable to get to the hospital due to a snow storm did an emergency cesarean section to save Charlotte's baby. Charlotte's husband, and Anne, the inexperienced assistant were present during the unfortunate incident but had different opinions to what happened. The jury must now decide if Sibyl Danforth performed the cesarean section while Charlotte was alive, thus killing her because of a massive hemorrhage or if she was already dead before she saved the babies life. Hero or manslaughter?

I think the author did a good job trying to tell what it was like to give birth and from a girls perspective too, but he failed to knock out some stereo types. Midwives and their clients are not all hippies wearing long dresses and hugging everyone. In fact most now days aren't at all like that. Not all teenagers smoke weed behind their parents backs and they don't all drink, smoke and think about sex all the time! I guess he just doesn't think very highly of that age group or women that don't follow the crowd to the hospital.

The trial was interesting because it kind of helped me get a sense of the different strategies lawyers use to stack the jury and time things just right for psychological dramatic effect in the courtroom. So many small details go into each trial. The lives of the people on trial are changed or destroyed by what seems like powerful people...the lawyers. They are either defending or prosecuting and if they make a mistake lives are changed forever. The lawyer in this book seemed really on top of things but so did his opponent. I really didn't know who would win until the very very end of the book. Suspenseful!

For fictional light reading I think the book was okay but to learn about midwives and home birth, I think I would stick to the real thing. The truth about birth goes much deeper then a murder trial or a teenagers perspective on the world. I have used midwives with three of my babies births and have found the whole experience to be enlightening, peaceful, and educational. I was very thankful for the wonderful midwives that have passed through my life and helped me find joy in the process of getting my little ones here. I wouldn't have done it any other way despite the pros and cons that can sometimes seem scary. I think the risks would have been greater for me to have my babies in a hospital. Thank goodness we live in a time where Medical professionals and midwives have so much technology at their fingertips. Birth is a natural thing!

Healing Book, Broken Book

1 comment:

Tristi said...

I remember reading this one a long time ago and thinking pretty much what you did. I've had three of mine at home and it was a very different situation from the book - my midwife doesn't wear long dresses, either. :)

Hey, your cousin Arlene sent me to see you about doing book reviews for the company I work for. Could you send me a note at tristipinkston AT