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Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy,…
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Past Due: A Story of Disability, Pregnancy, and Birth

by Anne Finger

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I bought this book out of curiosity after reading Finger's newer book, Elegy for a Disease, about her struggles with childhood polio and abuse in a disfunctional family. Her writing was good enough that I wanted more. Past Due did not disappoint. The writing was first-rate, although the subject matter could be - and often was - absolutely heartrending. Finger's pipe dream of natural childbirth at home with a midwife attending went up in scary smoke, ending in a complicated and emergency hospital Caesarian delivery. For months Finger didn't know if her son had suffered brain damage, and lived through a nightmare of special meds and equipment and midnight ER visits. There are scenes of intervention in the neo-natal ICU which will bring tears to your eyes. Here's one, where they couldn't get an iv line into the baby's arm, so attempted to put in into his head:

"'I'm going to to put a rubber band around his head,' the doctor says. 'It'll make his veins stand out.' ... The doctor taps her finger agains his flesh until a vein appears; she shaves a patch of his scalp; the needle goes in, but not into the vein, and she probes, pulling the needle in and out, in and out, in and out, while he wails in pain. He stares into my eyes and I cry with him ... 'Oh, Max,' I say, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so sorry.'..."

Anne Finger has much to say in this slight volume, and not just about the difficulties of a disabled woman giving birth, but about our society's attitudes toward the disabled, the helpless and the disenfranchised. This is important stuff, a book which should probably be read by all of those pro-choice and pro-life adherents - both camps. Too bad it's out of print and largely inaccessible now. I'm glad I took the time to read it. ( )
  TimBazzett | Apr 6, 2010 |
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