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10 thoughts on “Midwives

  1. Chana Chana says:

    It was very well written but I read it with mixed feelings When I was done I had to say that I didn't like it The author says many positive things about midwifery but in the final analysis it really is an indictment of lay midwifery and home birth I gave birth to 5 children at home 1 with an old time doctor and 4 with a lay midwife I had 3 at the hospital 1 without drugs 1 with an epidural and 1 with a CS So I feel ualified by experience to at least comment My home births were by far my better birthing experiences especially those with the lay midwife and all of those children were born whole and healthy thank G d Home is private and sacred and if your midwife is competent and you are in good health with a normal fetus and pregnancy then I am all for home birth I'll try not to bore you with birth details but I have had a couple of bad experiences in the hospital 1 doctor yelling what the hell are you doing? at me when I rolled onto my side during labor rather than staying flat on my back That child was not in danger btw and was born healthy shortly thereafter 2 nearly losing the CS child because the hospital delivery staff didn't believe the lay midwife who said the child had to be born by CS and thereby making us go through trial of labor before rushing me into a emerg CS delivery like a Monty Python skit My CS child lived and there is no doubt that both of us would have died if not for the CS as he was a PWS baby with very low muscle tone and he was a face presentation as well Basically he was like a limp noodle in utero with his face against the cervix and he wasn't going to be born without surgical intervention BUT the midwife knew he was face presentation at 8 months and suspected an anomaly as stress tests showed his heart rate was too flat The hospital paid her no heed and my child's heart was slowing down and then stopping in 2nd stage labor in the hospital setting managed by hospital staff hence the EMERGENCY CS which could have been performed without the emergency part if the doctors had listened to the midwife or me Now how is this mis judgment on the part of the hospital staff so different from the mis judgements made on the part of the lay midwife in this book? She actually did pretty well saving the life of the child I guess what the author wants you to recognize is that if the hospital makes mistakes they have everything right there surgical suites and all to correct their error But you know what? Hospital staff make mistakes all the time but they are better protected against the conseuences of their mistakes If lay midwifery were supported in this country with certification for midwives to deliver at home with a support system of doctors hospitals and emergency transportation then we could have women deliver at home with less risk ALL birth entails risk There is an attempt in this book to link home birth with hippies and all that that lifestyle might entail I really resent the idea that home birth is less hygienic than hospital birth when the fact is hospitals are home to a plethora of the very worst germs around It is as I said a well written indictment and no amount of story telling and fictionalizing and choice of narrator changes that

  2. LeiAnn LeiAnn says:

    The premise of the book is that a very experienced lay not certified midwife has a messy delivery in a patient's home in which the mother ends up dying In order to save the baby when her efforts at CPR fail she performs a cesarean on the mother The baby incidently does live because of her efforts However her inexperienced assistant and the father of the baby both have their doubts about whether or not the mother was actually dead at the time of the incision and the midwife goes to trial for manslaughterI liked the story and the relationships between the midwife's family and friends and lawyers as told by her teenaged daughter The author does a good job of creating suspense and I did find myself drawn into it I really wanted to find out whether or not the mother would be convicted or not and really whether or not she killed her patient I won't spoil the end for you but I will say I was surprised and sick when I read it

  3. smetchie smetchie says:

    DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANG I have no idea how Chris Bohjalian wrote the voice of a 14 year old girl so well that it actually made me remember what it felt like to be 14 AND against my will mind you I would do anything to never feel 14 again There are many other wonderful things about this book But it's enough to say read it because here is a man writing in the perfect 14 year old girl voice and that's some amazing motherfucking writing

  4. Bonnie Bonnie says:

    I’ve had Midwives Chris Bohjalian’s fifth novel on my to read list for uite a while but I resisted reading it until now because of some personal baggage my only son was born perfectly healthy in a hospital; but the labour was prolonged resulting in life threatening complications that brought me back to the hospital in isolation for almost three weeks during which I was not even allowed to hold my own newborn child Midwives is a story about a pregnancy that goes wrong but not in a hospital in a home The novel is mainly told through the eyes of Connie the daughter of midwife Sibyl Danforth Each chapter begins with an entry from Sibyl’s diary Connie’s narration does reuire a degree of concentration from the reader Bohjalian takes us back and forward in time from Connie telling the story as an adult going back to when she was fourteen And because she was the point of view character Connie had to overhear many many conversations Once I had the narrator and the author’s narrative techniue firmly fixed in my mind I was able to settle in to reading this compelling novel For years Sibyl enjoyed a thriving career as a “catcher” of babies And then one cold winter night after a difficult and lengthy labour Sibyl realizes she needs to get the mother Charlotte to the hospital But the phone lines are down and Sibyl drives her car into a snow bank She returns to continue to assist in the birth and then Charlotte collapses Believing Charlotte has had a stroke Sibyl attempts CPR and after some time concludes that the mother has died – but that there may still be time to save the baby She performs a caesarian section and saves the baby but did she kill Charlotte in the process? Sibyl’s inexperienced apprentice Anne and Charlotte’s husband Asa later contend that she did that Charlotte was still alive before Sibyl performed the operation The coroner comes to the same conclusion and Sibyl is charged with involuntary manslaughter The book is the story of the trial and the events leading up to it As I read this novel I was never bored; and as I approached the end it became for me and of a nail biting page turner I found the trial and the complementary battle outside the courtroom – medical community against midwifery – very interesting reading Throughout the story Bohjalian casts doubt even as he leads the reader – sometimes “astray” – to certain assumptions For example Charlotte hid her medical history from Sibyl Did this contribute to her prolonged labour and resulting collapse? Then there’s our discovery before the end of the book that Connie is now as an adult a certified OBGYN We must assume that this is because of her mother’s experience Finally we never really know what happened that night until the very end of the book Clearly that was Bohjalian’s intention and he pulled it off very well Read Midwives with an open mind and you’ll form your own ideas about why and how Bohjalian decided to write this story He certainly did his research and he makes us think the major issues surrounding midwifery and the dangers associated with any birth are presented without the author taking sides For myself in the end I feel I didn’t so much read Midwives as ingest it Looking back I think that if I had had a certified midwife along with a doctor working with me during my pregnancy things might well have turned out better Interestingly Chris Bohjalian himself has been uoted as saying that “in a heartbeat” he and his wife would be comfortable having a baby at home or using a nurse midwife at the hospital

  5. Stephanie Stephanie says:

    I LOVED this book which was totally unexpected It was absolutely riveting for me There wasn't a slow part in it I really enjoyed the organization with the journal entries and the tone associated with the author's reflections kind of if only It made the whole book feel like you were hearing an exciting story first hand where the story teller felt compelled to add little bits of insight or extra information along the way to help enhance your experience I really enjoyed how it begins and especially how it ends WHAT AN ENDING Makes me think of the relationship between justice and mercyI loved the setting and the pace of the criminal trial proceedings I had read Civil Action before and it was far too mundanelytediously detailed and slow moving for me The court case in Midwives was a LOT better and it would make a substantially better movie tooThe characters were great as well Their relationships with each other were interesting and realistic without being overdramatic Normally I don't appreciate a male author writing a story from a woman's perspective especially a subject that is this feminine but I think Chris Bohjalian did a fantastic jobFABULOUS BOOK I would definitely recommend it Especially to mothersJust read it for the second time 210 for another book club It's still awesome

  6. Rebecca McNutt Rebecca McNutt says:

    Midwives reminded me of a Lifetime or Hallmark film I found it kind of sappy to be honest but it's an interesting concept with a good mystery

  7. Kristen Kristen says:

    So the Washington Post Book World says that this will keep readers up late until the last page is turned I started the book this morning and only had hopes that it'd be as good as the last few books I've read Didn't think I'd do all 370 pages today LOLI guess depending on how you feel about midwives and home births you could view this book as an injustice upon Sibyl or an injustice against the woman who died Personally I feel that a woman has the choice as to whether she wants a home birth or a hospital birth It's her body and if she wants the baby at home fine But if there's a medical problem then the hospital is the place to go But I understand that things happen I'm getting worked up about this and I know it's a work of fiction But I know women have been prosecuted and tortured for being midwives It's an Oprah Book Club book of course it's going to bring up opinions Don't a great deal of her choices do? So yes A thought provoking book Well researched And I was surprised to see it was written by a man lol

  8. Amy Amy says:

    I would like to preface my comments with a recommendation that if you are pregnant or are planning to have children sometime soon this would NOT be a good book choice Having said that I thought this book was exceptional I was definitely drawn to this book having delivered both of my children with a nurse midwife This story is told from the adult daughter's perspective regarding her mother's role a midwife during a home delivery gone bad As I noted in someone else's review I had to stop a few times and remind myself that this was not a true story The author very realistically portrays the struggle of the lay midwife vs the nurse midwifephysician I thought it was uite thought provoking and I could not put it down for the last 14 of the book It is not a light fun read but an incredible one nonetheless

  9. Erin Erin says:

    Another book loan from a bookclub member and an author that I cannot resist reading Written in 1997 Chris Bohjalian takes readers to a wintry night in Vermont where a seasoned midwife named Sibyl Danforth makes a decision to save a baby's life But by the next evening rumors will begin to fly that Sibyl is actually a killer Told through the eyes of Sibyl 's daughter Connie the unfolding investigation and courtroom drama definitely kept me wondering as to who is telling the truth? I was absolutely hooked by this one even when the book slowed down Although I had a feeling what was ultimately going to be the conclusion of the story I still felt the story was thrilling enough to keep me engaged I thought it was interesting to have the story told through the eyes of Sibyl's daughter Here Connie was this normal teenager and then her whole life is turned upside down and neighbors are taking sides and yet she doesn't want to be helpless She wants to ensure readers that her mother was excellent at midwifery She's any kind of teen that adores her parent In between chapters we are also given glimpses into Sibyl's midwife journals and this also allows a glimpse into Sibyl the midwife and not just Sibyl Connie's motherA book that I wouldn't hesitate to re read or recommend to others Goodreads 200320

  10. Marc Marc says:

    This was a gripping read and I loved Connie the 14 year old narrator of this story A compelling story and great characters I'm glad I had the chance to read this novel which was written in 1997 If I hadn't have seen mention of it in a review of another Chris Bohjalian novel I would probably never have chosen to read it Highly recommended

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Midwives ✯ [BOOKS] ⚣ Midwives By Chris Bohjalian ✼ – Midwives Chris Bohjalian's fifth novel is the story of Sibyl Danforth a lay midwife in rural Vermont and her daughter Connie The nexus of this cautionary tale is an emergency Caesarean section Sibyl p Midwives Chris Bohjalian's fifth novel is the story of Sibyl Danforth a lay midwife in rural Vermont and her daughter Connie The nexus of this cautionary tale is an emergency Caesarean section Sibyl performs during a home birth that goes disastrously wrong Believing the mother is already dead from a stroke Sibyl operates and later finds herself on trial for killing the woman The compelling story of her trial and its aftermath comes to us from Connie who believes this is my story too In fact Connie's reaction to her mother's ordeal is to go to medical school and become an obstetrician The book raises provocative issues about medical ethics and the limits of risk.