Home birth delivery by midwife
(Editor's note: As feminists, we believe in a principle of choice in
matters pertaining to our own bodies and babies. Natural childbirth
and/or midwife delivery are options open to women. Breakthrough
will examine other child bearing alternatives in future issues).
Martha Frosh, Ardis, and mirror gat up for viewing
By Sharon Helene Lynn
Witness! The story of the
successful home birth of a first
child: a child born in a setting of
quietness, familiarity and health.
Shawna was born at dawn on
November 20, but preparations
began one year earlier when wife
and husband decided to have the
child. The mother's name is
Ardis and she lives in Houston.
"I began to read Adelle Davis'
book LeVs Have Healthy
Children and I followed her
prescribed diet of natural and
healthful foods," Ardis said. "I
followed the whole spectrum of
vegetables and fruits, nuts,
legumes, yogurt, and fresh lean
met - especially liver. There was
no junk food such as Coca-Cola
and no drugs except for an
aspirin once, to relieve a
headache when all else failed.
"I also made up Ms. Davis'
Super Drink which, taken in the
morning, will energize you for the
day," Ardis continued. "It's
particularly good if you are
hypoglycemic like I am."
2 cups milk
1 cup instant dry milk
1 cup fruit
2 T nutritional yeast
2 T vegetable oil
1 T calcium lactate
1 T lecithin
1 tablet magnesium oxide
"When I told my doctor I
planned to have this child at
home, they all flipped out," Ardis
said. "He yelled at me and asked
me if I didn't realize that I was
taking my baby's life into my own
hands. Well, what better hands?
The nurse wouldn't tell me
anything that I needed to know
.... very nasty, but let me say that
pre-natal care is very important."
Toward the end of her
pregnancy, Ardis took the
LaMaze course of natural
childbirth in preparation for the
drugless birth. She obtained a list
of midwives from the City Health
Department and chose a name ....
"I wasn't sure if I was going to
call Martha when the time
came," Ardis said. "Very
strange feelings were surfacing
of wanting to go off all alone and
have my baby like some animal
might do. But, certainly in the
end I did call Martha and was
grateful for her. The final act of
childbearing is at times very
Shawna weighed over 11
pounds and Ardis tore considerably. In the afternoon her
husband took her to Hermann
Hospital for an episiotomy. The
emergency room fee was $150.
Martha Frosh charged $60.
Normal hospital births cost over
$1,000, and the people attending
women are not usually responsive to their wishes; they are
responsive only to their
I believe this is the real reason
for the trend toward home births.
Women are tired of having
pregnancy and birth treated as if
it were an illness; tired of having
their genitals shaved for no
reason; tired of having the
decision-making in childbirth
snatched away from them
by doctors who claim they know
best and refuse to give any information.
Women are also tired of being
shot up with an oxytocin to induce
labor simply because the hospital
schedules are set up to deliver a
baby every two hours. One
midwife said that obstetricians
should have their scrotoms slit
and stitched and have to sit on it
for a week so they would know
what it feels like. Then they
might not perform espisiotomies
on a standard basis.
Too, some women are tired of
being offered or even slipped
drugs without their consent such
as Demerol by people supposedly
looking out for their and their
baby's best interest. And they're
tired of having the child taken by
forceps as standard procedure
because time is money in a
Even in hospitals set up for
"natural childbirth," the attitude
there is that you will not make it,
" naturally!' In Ardis' bedroom
Martha Frosh says to her, "Come
on, you can make it. You've made
this far,just a little bit longer."
Some women, like Ardis, have
taken their child's life into their
own hands and have made it.
That is their choice.
Photos of birth sequence by
Martha wipes child s face, manually clears her mouth and nam
Child's hood crowning
Ardis and new baby daughter, Shawna.