Birth Pregnancy & Obstetrics | Hektoen International

Enough

Laura Loertscher Portland, Oregon, United States   Photograph of author (Laura Loertscher) and her son. Personal photograph taken by author’s husband, Jesus Moreno, and submitted with his permission. The last food you ever ate was a cup of orange sherbet from the nurses’ station. I saw no reason to make you NPO. After all, you […]

Bob Edwards and the perils of publicity

James Owen Drife Leeds, United Kingdom   Edwards (seated, left) and Steptoe brief the press at Oldham General Hospital after the birth of Louise Brown. A license to publish in Hektoen International has been obtained from Press Association Photos Limited, London. The physiologist Robert Edwards began thinking about human in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) in the 1950s and […]

Welcome another Earth-dweller

Ndembou C. Jean-Louis Bafut, Cameroon    Maternity ward of Bafut District Hospital, 2017 “Doctor, we have a thirty-eight-year-old lady, recently injured, having difficulties bearing down. And her baby’s heart rate is not the best,” a harried sounding nurse gushed over the phone. I groaned inwardly and reassured her I would arrive at the maternity ward […]

A mother’s voice

Kelsey Hart Denver, Colorado   The trappings of NICU life; a mother’s view her daughter and the equipment needed to help her live and grow. Photo credit: James Hart I sit in the blue plastic recliner, coping with the familiar feeling of boredom and anxiety by flicking through a game on my phone. My daughter dozes […]

A history of breastfeeding and wet nurses

Nursan Cinar Sumeyra Topal Sinem Yalnizoglu Caka Sakarya, Turkey   The bond established with the milk never breaks off even if years passed. Wet nurse’s own son (at left) and milk son. Photo by Sümeyra Topal. Breastfeeding has been vital to life since the beginning of humanity. For infants who are unable to get this unique […]

“Sara, Bill, Kristine, … you’re pregnant!” Gestational surrogacy, biomedicalized bodies and reconceptualizations of motherhood

Eva-Sabine Zehelein Frankfurt, Germany   The day we left the hospital, a therapist from the perinatal loss department presented us with two death certificates and asked us if we wanted the bodies for a burial. … We were being taken out the back like the trash, sparing those families who came to the hospital and […]

The midwives of San Gimignano, 1336

Mary A. Osborne, BSN, RN SeniorBridge, Chicago, Illinois, United States Before the story line for Alchemy’s Daughter flew into my imagination, the idea of writing historical fiction had not occurred to me. I had penned a number of short stories, often inspired by my experiences as a home care nurse, and two semiautobiographical novels that […]

When angels sing

Mary Sommers Chicago, Illinois, United States Photography by Matthew Paulson   All living things have a natural urge to sing. Humans and other mammals, birds, insects, and even the great, extinct woolly mammoth sing special songs to call their children home. Though singing is universal, many people feel uncomfortable singing, as if we’ll be judged […]

Miracle on Kedvale

Mary Sommers Chicago, Illinois, United States   Photography by Oplotnik Elizabeth enraged her family by falling in love—the wrong thing to do, as far as they were concerned, for a poor girl from a broken home in a small town in Mexico. During a secret courtship, she became pregnant. Elizabeth’s pregnancy added another burden to […]

When did you last let your heart decide?

Sukanya Sam Chennai, India This woman in labor is not my patient. But the nurses worriedly tell me that the baby’s heartbeat could not be localized. Both handheld Doppler machines had broken down in the labor room unit of our small tertiary hospital. I was the resident on duty. I use the Pinard’s stethoscope, my […]