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On Becoming Birthwise ~ Understanding Birth by Design

Bearing down with tremendous effort, she works at pushing the waiting life out of her body. Her husband wipes her beaded brow and gives her a supportive word, and she continues her courageous work. Finally, a hairy scalp emerges. Forehead, eyes, nose, mouth, and chin follow, and the parents get their first glimpse of the little person they have dreamed about for months.

With blinking eyes and puckered lips, the passenger completes the journey. As the baby slides into the waiting hands of the birth attendant, a new citizen is announced. It’s a girl! The baby’s first breath is the culmination of a perfectly timed, physiologically detailed plan. For nine months she has depended on her mother for survival, as the intricate workings of the placenta sustained her life. Now changes occur to ensure her independent survival. For the first time her heart pumps blood into her lungs, and the designated vessels close to complete the self-contained breathing process. With that first breath, she’s on her own.

As the birth attendant cuts the umbilical cord, the parents celebrate their baby’s first step of independence and the part they have played in the amazing process of birth that has design. In On Becoming Birthwise, our goal is to give you reliable information about every aspect of childbirth and increase your understanding of the amazing changes that take place in your body. We explain the role medical procedures play, discuss the options available, and encourage in-depth, open communication between you and your health-care providers, all in the hope of promoting healthy outcomes.

by Anne Marie Ezzo, R.N., Sharon Nelson, M.D. Diane Dirks, C.N.M. Sharon Augustson, R.N., Pam Harer, R.N., Kathy Hoefke, R.N.