Summer Concerts with NPT!

Nashville Public Television has your tickets to some of the hottest concerts in Nashville this summer. First, we have a great on-air lineup of music programs. Then, with your generous donation during our June Membership Campaign, we’ll send you two tickets to one of the shows below.

Enjoy the music and thank you for supporting Nashville Public Television.

 

summer concerts 2015

 

Sunday, May 31, at 7 p.m. Beach Boys co-founder Brian Wilson performs the band’s classics and a selection of new songs in Brian Wilson and Friends: A Soundstage Special. See Brian Wilson June 27 at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater (formerly The Woods at Fontanel).

Wednesday, June 3, at 7 p.m. Jackie Evancho teams with Cheyenne Jackson to perform classical pieces, sacred songs, Broadway tunes and pop songs in Jackie Evancho Awakening – Live in Concert. See Jackie Evancho June 17 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Wednesday, June 3, at 8:30 p.m. In The Texas Tenors – You Should Dream, the trio brings their cowboy charm to the Phoenix Symphony for country, folk, opera and Broadway tunes. See The Texas Tenors July 2 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Thursday, June 4, at 7 p.m. Gospel legends The Fairfield Four are joined by The McCrary Sisters and guests across several musical genres in Rock My Soul. The performers include Amos Lee, Lee Ann Womack, Van Hunt and Lucinda Williams and was recorded at Nashville’s Downtown Presbyterian Church during the Americana Music Festival last fall. See The Fairfield Four and The McCrary Sisters July 10 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Friday, June 5, at 7 p.m. Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent, the “rock stars of bluegrass” are joined by their 10-piece band and a full orchestra for a mix of original material, Statler Brothers covers and patriotic songs in Dailey & Vincent-Alive! See Dailey and Vincent July 16 at the Ryman Auditorium.

Monday, June 8, at 8 p.m. Filmed during the Canadian rocker’s current world tour, Great Performances: Bryan Adams in Concert includes hits like “Cuts Like a Knife” and “(Everything I Do) I Do It For You.” See Bryan Adams June 25 at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater.

Tuesday, June 9, at 7 p.m. Australian Pink Floyd Show: Eclipsed by the Moon was filmed during the tribute band’s 2013 German tour. See Australian Pink Floyd 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 at the new Ascend Amphitheater downtown.

Tuesday, June 9, at 8:30 p.m. Lindsey Stirling Live from London is a lively mix of dance and modern classical music performed by the young electric violinist. See Lindsey Stirling June 23 at the Carl Black Chevy Woods Amphitheater.

Clarksville Teens in 2015 National Memorial Day Concert

There will be quite a few special moments during this year’s National Memorial Day Concert, which will air live on NPT Sunday, May 24, at 7 p.m. with an encore presentation immediately following at 8:30 p.m.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and is also the 10th year actors Joe Mantegna and Gary Sinise have co-hosted the concert (it’s also the concert’s 26th year on PBS). For Middle Tennesseans there’s another special element to the 2015 concert: Two Clarksville teenagers will be among the honored guests, part of a segment wherein letters from servicemen and servicewomen and/or their families are read by celebrities.

Cameron (17) and Bayleigh (15) Dostie live in Clarksville with their mother, Stephanie Dostie. Cameron will graduate from Ft. Campbell High School in June; Bayleigh is also a student there.

Bayleigh and Cameron Dostie

Bayleigh and Cameron Dostie

The Dostie teens are Gold Star children whose father, U.S. Army SFC Shawn Dostie, was killed 10 years ago while serving in Iraq. Their story focuses on memories of their father before he went to war, and then how everything changed when just after Christmas “two men in uniform” came to their house. Bayleigh Dostie’s words will be read by actress Stefanie Scott (Insidious: Chapter 3; Jem and the Holograms).

This won’t be the Dostie family’s first time watching the National Memorial Day Concert in person; they’ve previously attended as participants in TAPS – Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors. “It can be a very emotional experience, it can be overwhelming,” Mrs. Dostie said of the concert.

The Dosties’ involvement with this year comes through filmmaker Mitty Griffis Mirrer, who interviewed Bayleigh for the 2012 documentary Gold Star Children. Mirrer worked to get Gold Star children featured in the letters segment, going before a special committee to get approval. Once that happened, Bayleigh and others participated in phone interviews in which they were asked to share stories and memories of their parents, according to Mrs. Dostie. Then, six weeks ago, Mrs. Dostie received a call asking if both Bayleigh and Cameron could participate.

In addition to Mantegna and Sinise, this year’s concert will include appearances by Gen. Colin L. Powell USA (Ret.); seven-time Grammy Award-winner Gloria Estefan; actor Laurence Fishburne; “The Voice” season five winner Tessanne Chin; classical crossover artist Katherine Jenkins; and renowned tenor Russell Watson in performance with the National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Jack Everly.

As viewers enjoy this year’s concert, Mrs. Dostie wants them to remember that her children are just two of many Gold Star children. “There are so many other children out there,” Dostie said. “These children are still serving every day. These kids continue to carry this burden.”

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 4 Episode 8

For the fourth season in a row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7 p.m. CDT through May 17. Check in every Monday morning for historical and contemporary context on the show along with some fun discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Be aware that some posts may contain spoilers.

 

Violet (Annabelle Apsion), Chummy (Miranda) and Marlene Dooley (Rosie Sansom)

Violet (Annabelle Apsion), Chummy (Miranda) and Marlene Dooley (Rosie Sansom)

 

By Bethany Domzal Sanders

Bethany SandersAs is fitting for the season finale, this episode of Call the Midwife focused on beginnings and ends. In some ways, birth symbolizes both. On one hand, there is a new role for the mother and of course new life for the baby. On the other hand, birth is the end of the work of labor and the culmination of the 40 weeks of pregnancy. In the case of a first baby, it is also the end of autonomy for the parents. We often hear the expression “when one door closes another one opens” and birth certainly embodies that. This episode also saw relationships joyously beginning and tragically ending (and I certainly shed more than one tear). What struck me the most, though, is that we continue to see the evolution of ideas about labor and birth throughout the Call the Midwife series.

The idea that fathers should be present and involved in the labor and birth process gained traction in the 1950s. Dr. Lamaze introduced childbirth classes, relaxation, breathing techniques and emotional support from the father in France in 1951 and these ideas quickly spread. Previously, men had been excluded from the female-centric birth culture unless presiding in the role as the physician. Often delegated to boiling water or waiting outside the delivery room, men were not thought to contribute to labor or birth. With the popularity of Dr. Lamaze’s ideas, though, men began to be seen as crucial support. As Nurse Franklin said, “June needs at least one person who truly understands her and that person happens to be the father of her child.” Although some cultures still consider birth a female-only event, now most women expect their partners or husbands to be present for the labor and birth. I’ve attended many births where the father took an active hands-on role, at times even assisting in receiving the baby at birth.

Another newer idea entering the scene in the early 1960s was that nausea and vomiting in pregnancy was treatable. Hyperemesis gravidarum – extreme nausea and vomiting, accompanied by weight loss and dehydration – was recently publically acknowledged when the Duchess of Cambridge was hospitalized with this condition early in both of her pregnancies. Previously this condition was thought to be mostly psychological and many women were told, as was Maureen by rather unhelpful but well-meaning midwives like Sister Evangelina, “Mind over matter and polo mints, that’s what will get you through this.” Hyperemesis gravidarum effects up to 2 percent of all pregnancies and treatment usually consists of rehydration, correction of nutritional deficiencies and medications for nausea and vomiting.

Thalidomide, first introduced in Germany in 1947, quickly grew in popularity as a treatment for nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. Soon after it was used in the U.K. and other countries and many women, like Maureen, hailed it as a wonder drug. (Without giving too much away, I have a hunch we will be seeing Maureen again next season.) Thalidomide is no longer used for this purpose, although there are several newer medications that are effective in treating hyperemesis gravidarum.

As we say goodbye to our beloved midwives of Nonnatus House for this season, I can’t help but look expectantly for another season full of changes in the personal lives of many and best of all, more births. Each season is like a pregnancy to me – full of the hope and promise of new life and while it seems so long in the beginning, it ultimately concludes so quickly.

Bethany Domzal Sanders, MSN, CNM, is a member of the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives, the clinical practice of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing located at West End Women’s Health Center.

‘1971’ documentary premieres May 18 on Independent Lens

Premiering Monday, May 18, on Independent Lens, 1971 is a suspenseful documentary with all the intrigue and tension of a classic heist movie. The film airs at 9 p.m. on NPT and has two Nashville connections: Producer Katy Chevigny recently relocated here and much of the archival footage used in the film was found through Vanderbilt University’s Television News Archive.

 

    Keith Forsyth (played by Daniel S. Taylor) reads a stolen document. Credit: Courtesy of Andreas Burgess

Keith Forsyth (played by Daniel S. Taylor) reads a stolen document. Courtesy of Andreas Burgess

 

The caper
While most people have heard of the Watergate break-in that eventually took down a president, it wasn’t the only significant Mid-Atlantic burglary in the early 1970s. On the night of March 8, 1971—as Muhammad Ali battled Joe Frazier in a much-anticipated bout—eight people broke into an F.B.I. field office in Media, Penn., and stealing every one of the agency’s files. The documents revealed that the F.B.I., then still led by J. Edgar Hoover, was engaged in illegal surveillance of American citizens and was also attempting to infiltrate and/or discredit organizations involved with civil rights, women’s rights and other issues deemed problematic.

Calling themselves the Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the F.B.I., the burglars sent copies of their findings to members of Congress and the media; one recipient was Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger. Though the Post reported on the documents and there eventually was a congressional hearing based on them, the Media, Penn., burglary never became part of the nation’s collective memory the way Watergate and other events of the turbulent late-1960s and early-1970s did.

This is partly because though the F.B.I. launched a massive manhunt, the people involved in the burglary were never caught—that was one aspect of the story that appealed to filmmaker Johanna Hamilton.

 

 

The film
1971 is suspenseful and restrained, unfolding at a measured pace akin to that of All the Presidents Men, the 1976 film about the Watergate break-in. The film incorporates newsreel footage, contemporaneous photographs and interviews with the burglars.

“It’s such an improbable story,” Hamilton said by phone from her home in New York. “We were solving one of the last mysteries from that time.” Hamilton expressed interested in making a documentary about the break-in as soon as she heard about it from Medsger, who was researching a book on the story. “I said to her, please let me know when you’re ready to make the film,” Hamilton said. “About five years ago she phoned me up and we took it from there.”

One of the challenges Hamilton faced was how to make the story seem relevant and how to convey the drama of the incident and its aftermath. “On the one hand we wanted to telegraph the importance of the story up-front, but also we wanted to…have people a little bit on the edge of their seats throughout,” Hamilton explained. She also had to counter the absence of footage of the break-in, the planning sessions, etc., and chose to do so with reenactments (filmed by Maureen Ryan, whose work she admired on Man on a Wire).

“There’s still a little bit of a scoop element to” the film, producer Katy Chevigny said over coffee in Nashville recently. (Chevigny and her family relocated to Nashville this past February.)

“I’m so used to this film being shrouded in secrecy,” Chevigny said as she talked about how Hamilton revealed the project to her. “She said I’ve got this amazing story, it’s really secret; I can’t let anybody know about the film while I’m making it.” For Chevigny, who like Hamilton has long been interested in social justice, the film was irresistible. “I knew it was going to be good. You don’t always know that with a film,” Chevigny said, “but I was like, this is going to be good.”

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 4 Episode7

For the fourth season in a row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7 p.m. CDT through May 17. Check in every Monday morning for historical and contemporary context on the show along with some fun discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Be aware that some posts may contain spoilers.

 

Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris), Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Shelagh (Laura Main)

Sister Evangelina (Pam Ferris), Sister Julienne (Jenny Agutter) and Shelagh (Laura Main)

 
By Michelle Collins

Michelle CollinsI imagine that many people watching this episode wondered if they had tuned into Call the Nurse rather than Call the Midwife given the storyline of the elderly couple (he with bedsores, she with a diagnosis of breast cancer). What many viewers may not know is that midwives in the U.K. during the show’s time period functioned as community nurses as well. Thus, the midwives rotated between stints attending to pregnant women and providing general nursing care to the public at large.

Today’s version of this is the certified nurse-midwife (CNM), educated in two disciplines: nursing and midwifery. CNMs provide primary care to women from adolescence to beyond menopause. Primary care includes health maintenance and promotion; disease prevention; counseling; client education; and the diagnosis and treatment of acute and chronic illnesses. What this definition means in real terms is that we CMNs see clients for annual preventative wellness exams, performing the following when indicated: Pap testing; sexually transmitted infection testing; cholesterol evaluation; thyroid testing; infertility evaluation; preconception assessment and counseling; menopausal management; diagnosis and treatment of cervical abnormalities after abnormal Pap results; treatment of acute and chronic illnesses like ear infections; strep throat; upper respiratory infections; asthma – just to name a few. CNMs also care for newborns during the first 28 days of their lives.

In this episode, I particularly enjoyed the illustration of how science is translated into practice, wherein midwife Barbara Gilbert (portrayed by Charlotte Ritchie) suggests an alternative treatment for the elderly man’s bedsores. At the time, the treatment for bedsores (or pressure ulcers as they are known, seen in bedridden individuals) was to cleanse them with hydrogen peroxide and “seal” over the wound with egg white. In the episode, Nurse Gilbert mentions to Nurse Miller (played by Bryony Hannah) that she has heard of a study in which simply repositioning the patient every two hours (without using any peroxide) is more effective for healing. Interestingly, though people still reach for the peroxide to clean wounds, it was proven several years ago that not only is peroxide unhelpful in wound healing, but it can actually impede the healing process. For the conscientious midwife, incorporating science to improve our care is a never-ending endeavor.

The final theme I drew from this episode was that of the sisterhood of midwives. When Sister Evangelina (played by Pam Ferris) made a dreadful error in mixing up two babies during a fire evacuation, her sister midwife colleagues (sisters in more than one way, since they were also nuns!) did not hesitate to step to her side proclaiming “we are family and we will face this together.” No matter the midwife’s gender, there is a “sisterhood” that draws us together, binds us in purpose, and empowers us to go forward when we stumble. When one midwife falters, the others (ideally) gather around and carry her/him forward. In this way, midwives are continually “midwifing” each other. Midwifery is so much more than a career path; it is really a philosophy for all of life.

Michelle Collins Ph.D., CNM, is an Associate Professor of Nursing, Director Nurse-Midwifery Program, at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 4 Episode 6

For the fourth season in a row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7 p.m. CDT through May 17. Check in every Monday morning for historical and contemporary context on the show along with some fun discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Be aware that some posts may contain spoilers.

 

Paulette Roland (Nell Hudson) and Vaughn Sellars (Sam Gittins)

Paulette Roland (Nell Hudson) and Vaughn Sellars (Sam Gittins)

 

By Bethany Domzal Sanders

Bethany SandersAs I watched this episode, I struggled to find a commonality between the different storylines until the very end when it all clicked. Two simple words—“let go”—the last words uttered during this episode, tied together the stories of the people and midwives of Poplar.

We midwives sometimes see a woman fighting the birth process because of the intensity of what she is feeling. When this happens, we find ourselves urging women to relax, release fear or tension, and let go. As the Sister said as she assisted with a labor, “[You have] a brave beautiful body. It knows the way and so do you.” Sometimes as labor unfolds new information presents itself. We find ourselves encouraging women to let go of the expectations or plans they had previously held and instead embrace their course of labor. For some women this could be deciding it is the right time for the epidural they didn’t want or the Cesarean section they really wanted to avoid. As Vaughn said, “Sometimes what’s best for you isn’t what you want.”

Paulette and Vaughn were faced with a heart-aching decision in which they had to let go of the future they dreamed of. In the 1960s our understanding of Type I diabetes (often called juvenile diabetes since diagnosis was usually made in childhood) was much more limited, as were treatment options. As recently as 1924, over half of babies born to women with diabetes did not survive (www.diabetes.org), so the risks that Dr. Turner and Nurse Crane were worried about were very real. Another popular portrayal of Type 1 diabetes in pregnancy comes from the movie Steel Magnolias, showing that even in more recent history diabetes and pregnancy can be a dangerous combination. Thankfully as medical knowledge and diabetes management has advanced, the routine termination of pregnancy in diabetic women is no longer recommended.

This episode of Call the Midwife also saw an older mother having to let go of some of her fierce independence. With her ailing grandmother unable to assist at her birth, she instead had to rely on an outsider and a new mother whose own baby she had recently assisted into the world. Sometimes the line between birth and death is so thin, and I certainly had tears as the encampment said goodbye and let go of the grandmother. I loved the multigenerational view of the family and the sense of community they shared. I found myself hoping the young mother would become a midwife herself “sustained and inspired by those that had heeded the call before them.” After all, I believe the phrase “call the midwife” refers not only to summoning a birth attendant, but also to the internal drive that leads women to choose this profession.

Bethany Domzal Sanders, MSN, CNM, is a member of the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives, the clinical practice of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing located at West End Women’s Health Center.

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 4, Episode 5

For the fourth season in a row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7 p.m. CDT through May 17. Check in every Monday morning for historical and contemporary context on the show along with some fun discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Be aware that some posts may contain spoilers.

 

Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) and Janice Prendergast (Bethany Muir) in Season 4, Episode 5.

Dr. Turner (Stephen McGann) and Janice Prendergast (Bethany Muir).

 

By Michelle Collins

Michelle CollinsNo matter one’s opinion on vaccines, I found this episode to be very timely given the recent Disneyland measles outbreak.

We saw the midwives treating the pregnant woman for diphtheria, which probably none of us has ever seen in our lifetime since diphtheria immunization is currently widely practiced. Diphtheria is a life threatening infection that begins with symptoms easily brushed off as an ordinary upper respiratory infection – low-grade fever and sore throat. The bacteria causing diphtheria reproduce in the throat and form a strong film which can actually cause the person’s airway to become obstructed. This film was historically dubbed the “strangling angel,” as literally, victims can choke to death.

Consider that not until the 1920s was adequate diphtheria vaccine coverage widely available. Prior to that time, there were as many as 100,000 to 200,000 reported diphtheria cases in the U.S. yearly. We cannot fathom the magnitude of 206,000 cases and 15,520 diphtheria-related deaths annually, most of those deaths among children, which was the actual state of the disease in 1921. (See Immunizations for Public Health.) Compare that to the present day, in which only one case of diphtheria (or fewer) is seen annually in the U.S.

Also in this episode, we saw a realistic example of the vulnerability we feel as healthcare providers. When Dr. Turner (played by Stephen McGann) missed the diagnosis of a very rare disease in the baby with multiple bone fractures (which turned out to be osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as “brittle bone disease”) it sent him into a downward spiral of self-doubt, and dealt a heavy blow to his confidence. Every midwife has had those moments where we wake in a panic in the middle of the night thinking, did I overlook something in that patient? Or, did I miss something in the course of that labor that I should have picked up earlier? Any midwife (or practitioner) who says this has never happened to them simply hasn’t been practicing long enough.

Most of the time we midwives would agree with people who tell us we have the best job. When all is going well, it is an awesome job (arguably a calling much more so than a job). There is nothing that compares to receiving a new life into one’s hands; it is a privilege to be sure. However, when things go wrong or there is a bad outcome, there is literally nothing more sad or tragic. Given that, we all just try to do our best every day, with every patient, despite overbooked schedules and little sleep, juggling work and family, often times while enrolled in school to further our education. Just as Dr. Turner realized, we are all human, and no one individual is perfect.

Was it reasonable that Dr. Turner surmised, from the baby’s symptoms and history, that the fractures were a result of child abuse? Absolutely, because 99.9 percent of the time that would have been a correct diagnosis. The reality is that even a slight error on our part could have catastrophic consequences. That, my friends, is just sometimes too great a truth for any midwife to dwell on.

Michelle Collins Ph.D., CNM, is an Associate Professor of Nursing, Director Nurse-Midwifery Program, at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

‘Reconstruction: A Moment in the Sun’ premieres in April on NPT

Reconstruction: A Moment in the Sun, the ninth of NPT’s original Tennessee Civil War 150 documentaries, premieres Thursday, April 23, at 8 p.m. An encore presentation airs  Monday, April 27, at 11 p.m.

Reconstruction ad

The documentary is a riveting tale of revenge, domestic terror and broken promises after the Civil War, told through reenactments and interviews with historians Beverly G. Bond, Ph.D. (University of Memphis); Carole Bucy, Ph.D. (Volunteer State Community College); Crystal A. deGregory, Ph.D. (HBCUSTORY, Inc.); William Hardy, Ph.D. (Tennessee Tech University); and Tennessee State Historian Carroll Van West, Ph.D.

Reconstruction: A Moment in the Sun is the fifth Tennessee Civil War 150 documentary for NPT producer Ed Jones. A history buff, Jones said though he started the series with a good working knowledge of the Civil War, he’s learned quite a bit while working on the programs over the years. What did he learn from researching this last one?

“If anything, Reconstruction has reinforced my previous beliefs about the war,” Jones said.  “It was such a horrible waste of lives, resources and time.  All because of greed, greed which blinded slave owners to the horrendous crimes they were committing against fellow human beings.”

 

 

NPT’s Tennessee Civil War 150 series received the Tennessee Society of the Daughters of the Revolution’s Public Relations and Media Award earlier this month. The organization was impressed by the “depth and breadth of the presentation of the events of the Civil War in Tennessee and its effect on the lives of Tennesseans throughout the state.”

Reconstruction: A Moment in the Sun was made possible by the support of The First Tennessee Foundation and the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area.

‘Call the Midwife’ Recap: Season 4, Episode 4

For the fourth season in a row, we are honored to have the faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing back to guest blog for us each Monday morning about the previous night’s episode of Call the Midwife, airing Sundays on NPT and PBS Stations nationwide at 7 p.m. CDT through May 17. Check in every Monday morning for historical and contemporary context on the show along with some fun discussion. SPOILER ALERT: Be aware that some posts may contain spoilers.

 

Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates)

Sister Winifred (Victoria Yeates)

 

By Bethany Domzal Sanders

Bethany SandersAt the beginning of this episode of Call the Midwife, we hear the voice of Jennifer Worth, upon whose memoirs the series is based, setting the scene with a mention of “pain as well as joy.” That certainly is what this episode was all about. There was so much packed into this hour I felt like I needed to watch it over again to make sure I didn’t miss anything! The pain of gender disappointment was so eloquently shown in this episode. Trixie’s heartache and struggle with her own demons showed the depth of her vulnerability. The tragedy of prostitution had us rooting for Bridget despite her “wickedness.” And yet, it was Norah who I wanted to know more about and who felt the most broken to me.

Syphilis has a long and storied history, dating back to before the days of Christopher Columbus. Primarily a sexually transmitted disease, syphilis starts as a painless ulceration to the skin. Without treatment syphilis progresses to secondary syphilis, which is characterized by a rash, and then becomes latent with the infected person showing no symptoms. Throughout the first four years after contracting syphilis the disease can be spread to others. Tertiary syphilis occurs as the disease continues to effect different parts of the body, including the brain and heart. This is where the skin growths called gummas are seen (like what afflicted Norah’s neck and chest). Syphilis can also be transmitted in pregnancy to the developing baby; up to 75 percent of babies born to mothers with active infections contract the disease. Thankfully, syphilis is treatable. Interestingly, the recommended medication has not changed since the 1940s so the same penicillin that Bridget received is still given today as a series of weekly injections.

While syphilis is not a new disease, and we know how to treat it effectively, infection rates in the U.S. recently began to increase for the first time since the 1940s. As part of a public health campaign you may see billboards around Nashville urging people to get tested. Use of condoms, or “sheaths” as the earnest Sister Winifred calls them, can prevent the spread of the disease. In 2013, Tennessee reported 214 cases of primary and secondary syphilis to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Two of these cases were in infants infected during pregnancy. All pregnant women should be tested by a simple blood test at least once during pregnancy, just as the midwives of Popular were administering over 50 years ago.

As for the joy part of the episode, it is truly a delight to see images on television of women giving birth in positions other than on their backs. Most women in labor find laying on their backs to be more painful and uncomfortable, which makes sense because of the very mechanics of birth. So many media images of birth, however, show women in what is called the lithotomy position – flat on their backs, legs up and pulled back, often in stirrups. My midwifery heart smiled when I saw Bridget squatting for the birth of her baby, a position that increases the space in the pelvis. Mrs. Robbins laying on her side demonstrated another position favored by midwives, especially for tired mamas after a long hard labor. The experience of labor and birth can often be summarized best as Romans 8:18, “The pain that you’ve been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming.”

Bethany Domzal Sanders, MSN, CNM, is a member of the Vanderbilt Nurse-Midwives, the clinical practice of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.

VOCES documentaries highlight Latino culture

Fridays through May 1 we’re showing documentaries from ‎VOCES, Latino Public Broadcasting’s arts and culture series. Each program airs at 9 p.m.

 

Friday, April 17: Children of Giant returns to Marfa, Texas, where Elizabeth Taylor, ‪‎Rock Hudson‬ and James Dean filmed the movie ‪Giant‬ in 1955. Hector Galán’s documentary reexamines the Anglo/Mexican-American racial tensions in the original movie.

 

Javier Sicilia in Arizona.   Credit: Courtesy of Loteria Films

Javier Sicilia in Arizona.
Credit: Courtesy of Loteria Films

 

Friday, April 24: Now en Español introduces the women hired to dub “Desperate Housewives” into Spanish for American audiences. In the documentary, the close-knit group talks about the challenges of being Latina actresses and the frustrations of being just this side of the Hollywood dream. Now en Español is also a look into the fascinating world of dubbing films into other languages.

 

 

Friday, May 1: El Poeta profiles Mexican poet, novelist and essayist Javier Sicilia, who launched an international peace movement following the brutal murder of his 24-year-old son. Juan Francisco was killed along with six friends in March 2011; they were more victims in a brutal drug war that has left more than 70,000 people dead since 2006.