Wednesday, November 21, 2012

I’ve learned more about birth from birthing women than medical text books


People ask me all the time

if my birth story is in the play Birth.

It’s not.

But there is a scene

just before Jillian’s third birth

where she meets a doctor

in South Texas,

a place where finding a

mother-friendly obstetrician

was a long shot,

but Jillian found one.

Well, that obstetrician

in the play

was MY backup obstetrician.

Yes, I was having a


Every home birth midwife knows that

a champion backup OB is


One that TRUSTS


In Arkansas the odds of meeting that

Champion OB

wasn’t something I’d bet

our life savings on.

Well, I should have.

I remember the first time I met

Dr. Baldwin

his office piled with books,

a British accent,

black hair swung to the side

to cover his receding hairline.

A tea cup.

Yes, he offered me tea.

We spoke of women’s  glorious bodies,

the power of pregnancy,

how ‘midwives are the people who should do normal birth’,

and then at the end he told me:

“In my 30 years of medicine

I’ve learned more from birthing women

than I ever did from medical text books.”

It was at that moment

that I fell in love with

Dr. Baldwin.

I’d found an

Obstetric Birth champion.

When I wrote my play

YES I heard story after story of

the BAD obstetrician.

But sprinkled in there

I also heard

Dr. Baldwin stories.

Birth champions


listening to pregnant women

planting the seeds of empowerment

through their





Today I give thanks,



every obstetrician who has ever


pregnant women’s bodies ROCK.

I’m grateful that people like


and many others

keeping the light on

for pregnant women

to shine.

Can I hear an Amen?

If you know an obstetrician who’s a birth champion please tell us their name and share something about them to give thanks for their bold service to the world.

Final note...10 years after I gave birth my play Birth was performed where I gave birth in Little Rock, Arkansas. The night I got into Little Rock my midwives had arranged a late night dinner at a local Asian restaurant with a bunch of midwives and doulas. After dinner we look over and sitting in the corner of the restaurant having a quiet meal is Dr. Baldwin and his wife! The photo above was taken that night. Thank you, Dr. Baldwin. :)


Leah DeCesare said...

We have our wonderful Dr. Morton and Dr. Magee here in RI. We're thankful for them championing and respecting normal birth!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Anonymous said...

It doesn't bother you at all that Fischbein and Biter have been placed on probation for extremely problematic conduct?

Karen Brody said...

Well, Anonymous...after receiving your comment I did a little investigation and yes, since both men were placed on probation I have decided to take their names off of this post primarily because it distracts from the purpose of this post which is to celebrate OBs who champion mother-friendly birth and listen to pregnant mothers.

But I do want to say this: If Dr. Baldwin was practicing today he could very well also be an OB put on probation. He was ALWAYS pushing the edge of what was acceptable in the conservative medical setting. He was talked about behind his back in hospital hallways for being too risky (encouraging low risk patients to labor at home until they were late in their labors), people went up to his house and threw bricks into his windows, and of course he supported and spoke out in favor of home birth and midwives to his colleagues who thought he was NUTS.

So while I am removing the two OBs mentioned originally in this post because honestly I don't know about their cases enough to comment with integrity I feel very strongly that not every obstetrician (or midwife for that matter) should be 'hung' jut because they are placed on probation. There are witch hunts against bold obstetricians just as there are against midwives. Every case is individual and warrants judgement based on individual facts.

I appreciate BOLD (evidence based, safe) practicing obstetricians all over the globe. And thank them dearly for their willingness to challenge a culture that does not put pregnant women center stage.