Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Catching Babies

I just finished a lovely book called Baby Catcher by Peggy Vincent. Brilliant book! I am considering going into the field of midwifery and this book was great for me. In it she share beautiful birth stories and birth stories that are sad and tragic. The novel chronicles her journey from a nursing student to a privately practicing midwife.

I believe this book helped nudge me more toward a job in midwifery. Who knows how many other nudges I will need to take that first step though.

"From Publishers Weekly
It was in nursing school at Duke in the 1960s that Vincent found her calling: delivering or "catching" babies. She moved to California and became a midwife, specializing in home births; over the course of 40 years, she brought some 2,000 babies into the world. There's a predictable plot structure to most of the stories she recounts: the initial meetings with the pregnant woman, the last-minute phone call once labor speeds up, the coping with contractions, the appearance of the baby's head, the wet newborn, the oven-warmed blankets, the celebratory meal afterwards. Despite the repetition, Vincent's account is a page-turner. It's not just the risk that something might go wrong (meaning a nail-biting trip to the hospital for an emergency cesarean), and not just the quirkiness of home birth settings (which can involve jealously raging house pets or leaky houseboats), but something inherent in the magic of birth itself. What sustains Vincent and her readers is this sense of standing ringside at the greatest miracle on earth. A solid writer, Vincent doesn't preach the virtues of unmedicated birthing; she just lays consistent stories of women doing it Christian Science moms, Muslim moms, spiritualist moms, lesbian moms, teen moms and just plain ordinary moms. With the midwife's axiom "birth is normal till proven otherwise" as a guiding principle, all these women have a chance to make childbirth a crowning moment in their own lives. Male readers may find this female-centered narrative off-putting, and mainstream readers might raise eyebrows at the inclusion of children in the birthing process, but Vincent addresses these issues fairly directly herself. Agent, Felicia Eth. (Apr.)Forecast: With appendices guiding readers to more technical resources, Vincent's latest baby is bound to be popular with women's health and alternative medicine readers. A cover blurb by Anne Lamott could break it out further."


Howling Hill said...

There's an excellent book called Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart by Carol Leonard you may want to check out.

Brittney said...

That looks like a very interesting book! My library system doesn't have it...just means I'll have to go to the bookstore! Thank you for an excuse to go!!