My interest in the subject of birth first began to develop in 1979, during the practicum for a medical anthropology course at Brown University in which I observed and assisted at a Providence, Rhode Island health center that served the residents of a low-income, multiethnic enclave of the city. The questions that I formed after witnessing a Hmong woman give birth, and my abiding interest in their lives, were later to lead to an enduring research interest in the subject of Hmong women and birth. After I began my doctoral field research in 1988 in Northerrt Thailand, I was to witness many other births (one of which is described in this chapter as "The Case ofNtxawm") and to discover the complex layers of meaning that surround that life event from a Hmong woman's perspective.