The remaining women fell ill a few days after delivery and died two weeks later. At Capt Meloys allso Rainy. I take another and put it about her thighs etc. This was, of course, exactly the position taken by Henry Sewall in his letter to George Thatcher. Ephraim is calm and independent and generally lets Martha have full authority over her duties and whereabouts. Foster was once again suing Henry for defamation.
Left her rationall tho Exercisd with some pain. Never again did she feel it necessary to summon a physician. In addition, 1 percent may result in accessory complications, fainting, vomiting, tearing of the perineum, or life-threatening hemorrhages or convulsions. If this council was like most others, it considered a broad range of issues, doctrinal and personal. Topics range from marital infidelity, the spread of rural debt, evolving or devolving medical practices, and the neighbor economy.
Who they were we do not know. The first stage of delivery lasted from several hours to several days and at first might not even be accompanied by genuine labor. In some families, birth intervals grew further apart; in a few, deliv- 193 Page 194 Chapter Five - A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich eries stopped abruptly. A midwife's skill was mirrored in her patients' well-being. Foster asked for two hundred pounds and eventually got a hundred, not a bad sum after two years' service. In chapter three the citizens of the village get mad at the greediness of Jane.
William Howard dropped his action for debt against the minister, the Walker case was settled, and when the Supreme Judicial Court met again in Pownalboro, the indictments against Elijah Davis and Joshua Burgess were dropped. Martha was in a difficult position. The two institutions that dominated his thinking, the court and the church, had one thing in common, however: they were both ritualized structures set apart from everyday life. If it had been published in Hallowell in 1791 instead of Boston in 1771, one might consider it a comment on the Foster-North case. Births Mr Whites and Mr Parkers daughters. Indeed it was midwives who virtually saved the Hebrew nation when they stood up to the Pharaoh's command to kill the Hebrews' newborn sons.
Perhaps the acquittal settled it in her mind, and she had no desire to expose the man further. Cyrus typically worked in Pittston during the week, returning home on the Sabbath. Rather than deferring to the midwife, as would have been proper with one of her age and experience, perhaps remaining in an outer room with the husband in case of emergency, they chose to participate in the routine work of birthing. As the title of the book implies, Martha was a midwife; attending 816 births in twenty-seven years. Maintaining the garden is personal, but it is also a community effort, with Ephraim helping to dig and set hop poles and neighbors plowing the field. There is a striking correspondence between the names on Martha's lists and known residence patterns in the town. The diary begins in Hallowell and explains the remainder of Martha's life through her midwife practice; her garden; travels taken by herself, family, and neighbors; trading; weaving, and trials.
My patient deliverd 8 hour 5 minute Evening of a fine daughter. Because the Fosters had moved from Hallowell to Vassalboro, Martha was not on hand for the delivery. Martha attended deliveries up until about a month before her death. Perhaps more payments were in kind than the cash values recorded in the diary would indicate. She nursed Isaac Foster through scarlet fever in July 1787 and attended Rebecca in childbirth in September.
One scene even parodies the traditional use of testimony taken from unwed mothers in delivery, a practice still followed in the Kennebec, as we shall see in Chapter Four. I was Calld to Mr Parkers at 11 Evening. I travild some Rods in the snow where it was almost as high as my waist. White, who lived two miles away by sleigh. Isaac was pastor of an Episcopal church in Coventry Parish from 1795 until his death in 18oo. Ignaz Semmelweis in Austria, but the bacteriological nature of the disease was not settled until the 1880s, when Louis Pasteur demonstrated the presence of what is now known as streptococcus in patients suffering from the affliction. Sober, industrious, taciturn James is a respected member of the local militia, and, before the murders, Martha bakes for James and often trades goods with the rest of the family.
If she called her midwife, labor might stop; if she did not, she might give birth unattended. Her second encounter with Ben Page was more dramatic. Martha was unwilling to invite any more information than she was given unbidden. Benjamin Page - A Hallowell physician who sometimes works with Martha. Not only was it the home of Hannah Brewster, one of the few published female poets in New England, it was the site of an Indian Charity School established by Eleazar Wheelock, who later founded Dartmouth College. Martha was patient in such circumstances. The young man was not yet twenty-four years old and still unmarried, yet he seemed bent on making midwifery a part of the full-time practice of medicine.
The next section delves into the community of Hallowell. Some historians have discerned an effort in New England toward the end of the eighteenth century to control family size. Rebecca Foster was twenty-seven years old when she arrived in Hallowell, exactly the same age as Martha's oldest daughter, Lucy Towne, though she probably seemed younger, having been married only a short time. To the end of the century she performed two-thirds of the deliveries in the town, whether the babies were the children or grandchildren of public officials and merchants or of ordinary timbermen and farmers. His wife was deliverd at 12 0 Clok of a daughter and I was Calld back to Mr Parkers. A prospective minister had to please the town as a whole, at least the adult male part of it, as well as the tiny minority who made up the membership of the covenanted church.