Renee Montagne

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In recent months, mothers who nearly died in the hours and days after giving birth have repeatedly told ProPublica and NPR that their doctors and nurses were often slow to recognize the warning signs that their bodies weren't healing properly.

This story was co-published by NPR and ProPublica.

Four days after Marie McCausland delivered her first child in May, she knew something was very wrong. She had intense pain in her upper chest, her blood pressure was rising, and she was so swollen that she barely recognized herself in the mirror. As she curled up in bed that evening, a scary thought flickered through her exhausted brain: "If I go to sleep right now, I don't know if I'm gonna be waking up."

A joint NPR and ProPublica investigation finds the U.S. medical system can be unprepared when the complications of childbirth turn deadly. NPR reports on healthy mothers who developed one highly treatable complication — preeclampsia — and how it killed them.

As a neonatal intensive care nurse, Lauren Bloomstein had been taking care of other people's babies for years. Finally, at 33, she was expecting one of her own. The prospect of becoming a mother made her giddy, her husband, Larry, recalled recently— "the happiest and most alive I'd ever seen her."

If you want a peek into the history of drugstores, there's the History of Pharmacy Museum at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy, in Tucson, Ariz.

A hand-carved wood prescription counter helps recreate the look of a small-town pharmacy in the 1800s. And some of the old-timey medicines give you a sense of what the place must have smelled like.

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You wouldn't expect a Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic to take you to the sort of place that's wedged between a 99-cent store and a boarded-up meat market.

But that's exactly where I sat down for lunch with Jonathan Gold — at a downtown Los Angeles eatery called El Parian.

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Here on the West Coast, along with turkey and trimmings, there's a highly-prized delicacy on some holiday tables - fresh Dungeness crab pulled right out of the Pacific.

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In this country, a celebrity jewel thief is awaiting arraignment. Doris Payne is 85. She's accused of stealing earrings from an Atlanta department store.

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A giant clothing retailer has broadened its notion of what a model looks like. H&M produced an ad with an unusually wide variety of people.

(SOUNDBITE OF AD)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Look fake. Look chic. Look sheikh. Take a stand.

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And the winner is...

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: The International Olympic Committee has the honor to announce the host city of the Olympic Winter Games 2022 - Beijing.

(APPLAUSE)

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On the shores of California one recent morning, female Marines were heaving heavy chains to secure amphibious assault vehicles that soon would roll into the waves.

The exercise was one part of a yearlong experiment aimed at settling the question of whether women can handle the punishing world of ground combat.

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OK, it's Black Friday, and you know what that means.

(SOUNDBITE OF STAMPEDING CUSTOMERS)

MONTAGNE: Stampeding customers crashing through doors, elbowing and shoving to get in on some incredible bargains.

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It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

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And I'm Renee Montagne.

On Saturday, voters turned out in large numbers despite threats of Taliban violence. It will take weeks to learn who will become Afghanistan's next president. Hamid Karzai can't run for a third term

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