I, like many midwives and naturopaths of my generation remember Dr Babnick. He was Portland's elder of the home birth community. I remember listening to him at workshops and going to a birth or two with him. He was the obstetrics instructor at the Naturopathic School for many years. He taught many of the ND's who went on to support and teach new generations of midwives and naturopaths. He is an important link in the story I am trying to put together.
I try to remember the births I attended with him. He put nuchal pitocin in the laboring woman's nose. This is the image I have retained. A young woman walking around with q-tips in her nose. I also remember his birth chair and him putting it on the bed. And that he told me to put my fingers in" there" and dilate her cervix. I looked at it all with some doubt, I will admit.
Now, all these years later, I am trying to discover who he was. Where did he learn and when did he first deliver babies. I go to the library at NCNM. When Dr Babnick got his ND degree, it was a night program that chiropractors could take after becoming an ND. For years it was located in the upstairs of the old postal building. This was where Dr Babnick taught obstetrics.
Today, I walk into a beautiful. large, well equipped school with many students. There are schools in Seattle and Arizona. Dr Babnick would have been amazed at the grout of his profession. I ask the librarian if she has anything on him. She shrugs and hands me a DVD of him giving a lecture on patent - doctor relationships. He is gruff, good natured; wise and funny. He says its important to listen and to touch your patients. He says he always gives them a little massage and warms them up with some form of heat.
I google him. I find out that he was most likely Catholic and had four children and ten grandchildren. I wonder if I can find them. What are their memories of their home birth doctor/ father?
He married his wife, Catherine, in 1945.
Someone tells me that one thing, I should know. He delivered all of Bill Walton's children. Bill Walton was the most famous Portland Trailblazer. That was in the 1970's.
There are names of other chiropractors that come up in conversations. It has been a long time since chiropractors delivered babies. Still the midwives, I talk to; the ones who were working an learning in the 1970's, remember chiropractors. And I am trying to follow that trail.