An excellent history of cesarean birth - done by the National Library of Medicine, lots of illustrations
More history links
The First Caesarean Birth --based on a shamanic journey experience in 1984 - Jane English
First cesarean delivery in Indiana - 1880
First Caesarean Birth
--a possible scenario based on a shamanic journey experience in 1984 - Jane English
In a cave part way up the side of a valley a small group of people sit around an open fire. It is early spring at the end of a long hard winter. Several members of this small band of people have died during the winter. The others are weak but glad to see the beginnings of spring.
Until this night they had also been happy about the imminent birth of a child to one of the women. But the mood is somber as they sit around the fire. For the woman lying on some furs is near death after a long hard labor. The child has not been born. It seems that not only is there not to be a birth but that there will be one more death. The band is getting so small it may not survive.
Across the fire from where the young woman lies is an older woman whose hair is beginning to grey. She is the keeper of the knowledge of herbs for this band and is consulted in all health matters. She suddenly sits up straighter and peers intently at the younger woman lying there. She can see no movement of breathing; perhaps death has already come. Reaching into her leather pouch for an obsidian stone she uses for cutting leather, she stands and silently walks toward the young woman.
Telepathically she communicates to the young woman not to be afraid. She sees that the woman's soul has indeed left the body and is hovering there above the fire. Gently the older woman pulls aside the furs and leather dress covering the young woman's belly. Carefully she cuts open the belly a layer at a time, finds the head of the child, and lifts it out. By now other women have come to assist her as she delivers the child. All are awed, some are afraid, but they trust the older woman. The child cries and breathes jerkily as the women clean him off and wrap him in soft furs. The older woman motions another young woman who is the mother of a one-year-old to take the newborn and nurse him.
The older woman puts herbs, maybe sage, into the wound and thanks the great earth-mother-goddess for this new life and for the vision of how to safely deliver the baby from its dead mother's body. Perhaps the older woman remembered seeing living baby rabbits come from the cut open belly of a pregnant rabbit whom the woman had killed with a rock from her sling.
This small band of people has lost yet another adult, but it has a new child. And it has new knowledge, a new way of giving birth.
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By BOB KRIEBEL, For the Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
Fifth of six articles.
Motorists on U.S. 52 southeast of Lafayette pass an historical marker by a wood frame farmhouse west of the pavement. It calls attention to the date November 6, 1880, and to the site of the first successful Caesarean surgery ever performed in Indiana by Dr. Moses Baker, 57, of Stockwell.
Born on an Ohio farm, Baker had studied for his profession in the LaPorte (Ind.) School of Medicine, and from Jefferson Medical College (Philadelphia) where he graduated in 1852. He located in Lauramie Township, Tippecanoe County, and lived near the community called Monroe.
While his long record of good service spread to many townships and nearby counties, people most remembered Moses Baker for the Caesarean birth episode. The Lafayette Courier of Dec. 4, 1880, printed his first-person account:
On Wednesday, Nov. 3, I was called to Luther Lucas' wife. He is a farmer living in Sheffield Township. I found her in labor at full term, and found a tumor filling the pelvis below the child in such a manner that it would be impossible to deliver her by the natural process. I found another tumor connected with the upper part of the womb that would probably have weighed some five pounds. The child was between these two fibroid masses, and the woman was in labor with not the least possibility of natural delivery.
Feeling the great responsibility (to me, at least) of such an uncommon case, I requested the assistance of my neighboring physicians, and had Doctors David H. Crouse, of Dayton, and John Simison, of Romney, called in. We concurred in the opinion that the only hope for both mother and child, and either mother or child, was in performing gastrohyter-otomy or, in other words, the Caesarean section.
It is one of the most dangerous operations known to surgery, even when the operation has been performed for deformed pelvis and the womb healthy; but much more so in a case like this, where the child was embedded in tumors. But as it was the only possible chance, we decided to try.
On Saturday, Nov. 6, we operated, assisted by and in the presence of Doctors D. and J. Crouse and L. Strather, of Dayton, Doctors Simison and Pike of Romney, and Doctors A.A. Wells and William Lambert, of Stockwell. The operation consisted in making an incision through the abdominal walls of the mother of some seven inches in length, commencing in the measian line just above the pubic bone, and extending it some two inches above the umbilicus. When the womb was reached we made an incision some five inches in it from below upwards so as to extract the child and afterbirth through it.
The balance of the operation is not of interest to the general public. Suffice it to say the mother and son (for the child is a Garfield boy) are doing well, with every prospect of a speedy recovery.
Kriebel, retired editor of the Journal and Courier, may be contacted at 30 Wildcat Bluffs Road, Lafayette, Ind. 47905-8449; telephone (317) 589-8922. Send e-mail to email@example.com, use our form, or send a fax to (317) 420-5246.