Birth Pregnancy & Obstetrics | Hektoen International

Enough

Laura Loertscher Portland, Oregon, United States (Spring 2018)   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 […]

Bob Edwards and the perils of publicity

James Owen Drife Leeds, United Kingdom (Winter 2018)   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 […]

Welcome another Earth-dweller

Ndembou C. Jean-Louis Bafut, Cameroon (Winter 2018)    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 […]

A mother’s voice

Kelsey Hart Denver, Colorado (Winter 2018)   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 […]

A history of breastfeeding and wet nurses

Nursan Cinar, Sumeyra Topal, and Sinem Yalnizoglu Caka Sakarya, Turkey (Winter 2018)   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 […]

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

Eva-Sabine Zehelein Frankfurt, Germany (Fall 2017)   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 […]

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 (Fall 2012) 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 […]

Miracle on Kedvale

Mary Sommers Chicago, Illinois, United States (Fall 2012)   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 […]

When did you last let your heart decide?

Sukanya Sam Chennai, India (Summer 2015) 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 […]