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Word Count: 924
If Lia had been born in Laos where her parents and twelve of her brothers and sisters were born her mother would have squatted on the floor to give birth The floor was dirt but it was clean Her mother Foua sprinkled it regularly with water to keep the dust down and swept it every morning and evening with a broom She used a bamboo dustpan which she had made herself to collect the feces of the children who were too young to defecate outside and emptied its contents in the forest Foua never let them actually touch the floor She remains proud to this day that she delivered each of them into her own hands Reaching between her legs to ease out the head and then letting the rest of the body slip into her arms No one else was present during this but if her throat got dry during labor her husband was permitted to bring her a cup of hot water Nao Kao her husband could do this as long as he looked away from her body Foua strongly believed that moaning or screaming would distract the birth so she did not make a sound An occasional prayer would be made to the Hmong gods and ancestors to ease the pain She was so quiet that all of her other children slept undisturbed a few feet away and woke only when they heard the cry of their newborn brother or sister After each birth Nao Kao cut the umbilical cord with heated scissors and tied it with string After the birth Foua washed the baby with water she had carried from the stream earlier that day Foua conceived carried and bore all her children with ease If there were any problems she would use a variety of remedies that were commonly used by the Hmong culture Some Hmong couples chose to not conceive Some Hmong woman could even also take certain precautions
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