Marion’s Message: Making the Best of the Birth Environment

Editor’s note: This article first appeared in Midwifery Today, Issue 66, Summer 2003.Join Midwifery Today Online Membership Selena and Mac are country people.* I attended their births early in my career and learned a lot from them, especially when they had Sophia, their third baby and first daughter. Mac didn’t believe in hospitals or doctors. He and I had lengthy debates and I had pointed out to him that he went right to the emergency room when his leg was broken. However, he saw that as somehow different from childbirth. I made sure he knew what my protocols were and what kinds of situations I believed were safer in the hospital. Sophia turned to a breech position when she was 32 weeks along and Selena started doing the tilt board and some acupressure points to encourage her to return to head first. My phone rang a little after six one morning. It was Selena and her voice was a tearful wail. “I’m in labor!” she said. “I’ve been having cramps all night and I’ve been telling myself I ate something bad, ’cause I’ve had a little diarrhea too. But it’s not that! I can feel the pressure! Can you come and see if I’m in labor?” “I’ll be right there!” I replied. I pulled her chart from my files. Just as I thought, she was not yet quite 36 weeks. And possibly still breech! Hurriedly, I dressed and drove to their home. Selena was lying on the thick rug in their living room, her legs propped up on a big pillow. A quick exam revealed the irregular presenting part of a complete breech, covered by the taut, smooth surface of the waterbag. No cervix could be felt. “You’re complete,” I said. “And the baby’s still breech. And premature, Selena.” “What… Read more…. Marion’s Message: Making the Best of the Birth Environment

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About Author: Marion Toepke McLean

Marion Toepke McLean, CNM, attended her first birth as primary midwife in August 1971. She received her nursing degree from Pacific Lutheran University in 1966 and her midwifery and family nurse practitioner degree from Frontier Nursing Service in 1974. From 1976 through 2001 she did home, clinic and hospital births, while also working as a family nurse practitioner. In 1980 she taught a year-long program for local midwives, returning to Frontier Nursing Service to teach during the summer. She had a homebirth practice until 1985, when she went to work at the Nurse-Midwifery Birthing Service, a freestanding birth center. In June 2000 she completed a BA in International Studies at the University of Oregon, with concentrated studies on Mexico. Since 2002 she has worked in a reproductive health clinic and attended an occasional homebirth. She lives in Eugene, Oregon, and is a contributing editor to Midwifery Today.

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