ELVIRA IÑURRIETA AZKARRAGA
Elvira was the town midwife in Elorrio, and she helped bring more than 2400 children into the world.
She was born in Barcelona, where her family had moved to work, in 1895. After living in various locations around Spain she eventually married in Donostia-San Sebastián. It was there that her vocation to become a midwife came to her when she was called on to help out at a birth and the attending doctor praised her attitude and skills.
Her services were called upon from time to time by other families to assist doctors attending women during childbirth, and she gradually acquired the skills that she needed for what was to be her calling for the rest of her life.
At the outbreak of the Civil War the family moved to Elorrio, where Elvira’s mother had been born. She soon gained a reputation in the town as an expert midwife, and her ministrations were widely described as both effective and affectionate. Her devotion went beyond the call of duty and led her on many occasions to take on the job of a housemaid and stay on for several days to care for mothers who were in difficulty after giving birth before she returned home. She would make up a basket of clothes for the newborn baby and even baptise children if dramatic circumstances so required.
In all she handled around 2400 births in Elorrio. Curiously, the first baby whose birth she attended was a girl who was christened Ignacia, and the last was a boy who was christened Ignacio.
On 27 June 1976 she was treated to a well-deserved tribute by the people of Elorrio at which she is said to have shed a few tears. She eventually passed away four years later, at the age of 85.