"NPC," read the bulletin board—no prenatal care. Good, from the point of view of a medical student waiting to deliver his first baby, because there would be no private obstetrician. Bad, from the mother's standpoint, because of the increased risks. I wrote my initials in the box marked "physician" and entered the room.
Mrs Cortez was a very short, bronze-skinned, black-haired woman who seemed to be in her early 20s. Apart from her height she bore physical traits of many of the Mexican women who crossed the border just in time to give birth to new US citizens. She wore tattered jeans that were slightly soiled and rolled at the cuffs. A dusty, knitted shawl draped her broad shoulders. Her fingers were calloused, as if she had long worked in the fields. Her face, which she must have protected from the sun, bore sparkling eyes and rosy skin over gentle