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Laurice Gilbert ~
4th January 1986 / opened the journal and wrote the first entry:
swapped completely from mercury to digital thermometer
basal body temperature: a colorful set of graphs that each invests
3 months with footnotes, asterisks and inexplicable numbers
Reading: Birth Without Violence / The Paper Midwife
A Guide to Responsible Home Birth
21st January / passed my Distance Learning exam in Horticulture
Human Biology next
Andrea Eisenberg ~
Many years ago, on a busy day in my obstetrics-and-gynecology office, one of my partner’s patients came in for “bleeding, early pregnancy.” Since my partner wasn’t in that day, I saw the woman, whose name was Sarah. After we’d talked a bit, I examined her and did an ultrasound. As I’d expected, she was having a miscarriage. Feeling sorry that Sarah had to hear it from me, rather than from her
It’s called a missed miscarriage: You arrive, as I did, at the doctor for your first-ever pregnancy appointment, suffering from morning sickness and filled with joyful anticipation–only to learn that your body has not yet registered the death of your small embryo. Despite all of my doctor’s tinkering and double-checking, the ultrasound screen showed no movement. There was just the outline of a baby in me, quiet and still.
Hoping for a
The woman lying on the transport cot in the examination room was terrified. I could see it plainly in her eyes, but there was no time to stop and comfort her.
I was a young, recently graduated nurse in a busy urban emergency room, struggling to keep up with its daily array of shootings, stabbings and crises. ER nurses hustled. We dealt with life and death, and we did it quickly.
tucked into the chaos of the emergency department
is a single room with stirrups, a floor spackled with blood,
& a woman whose face betrays nothing.
the bodies of all those i have touched who have then
died pile before me like so many broken eggshells
so i stand against the wall to distance myself from her
& her cramping uterus, her dark red clots that fall
Once again, I see a still heart. As I stare at the fetal monitor, I search for signs of life. The screen flickers; my son’s heart does not.
The last time I saw him, he looked happy–content in his life-bubble. As he turned somersaults, he waved at me. I had thought he was saying hello, but I realize now that he was waving goodbye.
Soon I must deliver his still form into the
From the moment I walk into the room, she breaks my heart. She has just been sent to obstetrical triage from the ER, where an ultrasound has revealed a twenty-two-week pregnancy and a cervix dilated to four centimeters–halfway to delivery stage. She is moaning from her labor pains and moving restlessly on the narrow cot.
I am a second-year family medicine resident in a Midwestern hospital, and well past halfway through a busy