Monday, March 8, 2010

Isolated Birth

       On my last post I jokingly established my worth according to a doctor bill for my birth. After that I began thinking about the conditions surrounding my birth. I also began wondering how much people know about the experiences during a time of which they have no memory. We know about our birth from what stories our parents tell us and the odd bit of history which occurred at the same time.
       I have written previously about my isolated farm life.

      My mother was born and raised in a small Manitoba city. When she married my Dad and came to live on his small farm in Saskatchewan, she must have had some culture shock although she had been on farms occasionally. She only knew one person in the district and that happened to be an older cousin. My father's family were very German and they looked on him with some disappointment when he married an English woman! The house on Dad's farm was a somewhat primitive small wooden structure. It was probably 16'  by 30' and was completely uninsulated.

      Nevertheless, I made my debut into the world about 2 years later in 1939. I was born in the above descibed little house. It was a beautiful warm October day and the house became hot due to all the water which had to be boiled on the wood cookstove. My Mom had two friends with her who had given birth to several children and they set things up as the doctor requested. My mother was probably somewhat terrified as she was well aware of the risks in childbirth. However, the conditions of my birth were pretty well standard at that time. Hospitals were distant and transportation primitive. If someone had tried to travel to a hospital under those conditions they would likely not have made it successfully.

     So my birth took place in a fairly routine manner very fortunately for mother and child. Kind neighbors helped my Mom until she could resume normal duties. Those housewifely duties were challenging as the house was not only meagre but there were no facilities. Water had to be hauled and washing was done by hand. You can imagine what else was lacking in this situation. Everything!

    Under challenging circustances I survived and had two brothers and a sister in the same house. By the time I was eight another more substantial house with some facilities had been erected.

     When I tell my children about these conditions I stop and listen to myself and can hardly believe what I'm saying. It was a totally different age.

    Do you know of conditions pertaining to your birth?


  1. the Dr's worth my friend:)
    U inspired this thought.,.
    to share=) it was a sad day the last house visits by our family Dr.

  2. Hi Skating Buddy,
    Thanks for the comment. I really think that Dr. house calls today would be a waste of time. Technology allows them to do so much more in a clinic or emergency.In the old days all there was , was what was in the Dr's. little bag. Hospitals didn't have much more. Their greatest gift was their interest and care given at the bedside.
    Today EMTs are highly skilled and have lots of bells and whistles. If we're too sick to go to a clinic then the EMTs take over and they are really, really good.

  3. I have to disagree with the second comment. France has on-call physicians who will come to your house and assist. Not necessarily on major incidences like births, but certainly for other more minor issues and ailments. Why not?
    Think of the time you waste sitting around a doctor's office or hospital emergency room! May as well enjoy your discomfort at home if the situation allows for it.
    Portable technologies are also aiding in medicine; my current doctor's office (okay, admittedly, in the US) uses small laptops; everyone walks in and out with them and logs all information directly into shared drives and my file. No confusing obscure scribblings in paper charts. Instant information. Macleans recently ran an article of how portable technologies are further advancing accessibility for medical practice.
    Imagine what a qualified Nurse Practictioner could do in more remote rural areas if they had access to working (wireless) equipment? Scan and send. Look it up. Call in.
    And speaking of births - the real topic of this post - I'm not so sure it all needs to be hospitalized like a life-threatening event. Yes, birth can be difficult and dangerous, but not for all. I'd applaud any increase in trained alternative services for families that want to have their babies at home if possible. Besides, for many women, they're ejected out of the hospital the next day anyway. Again, why not enjoy a somewhat unpleasant experience in the familiar comforts of home if you can, and free up the hospitals for more critical cases (birthing or otherwise).
    As for my own birth, all I know is I was delivered with forceps because I was coming out flipped over the wrong way. My head was squished for a while. Maybe I've never been quite right since?! :)
    Just as well we have no real memories of such moments!