Chronicles of a Modern Midwife
by Peggy Vincent
I read this book several years ago when expecting my own child. It recounts many of the experiences Peggy Vincent had as a midwife. She began her career as an obstetric nurse, then worked in an alternative birthing center in California before becoming a certified midwife and assisting women to give birth in their own homes. Most of the stories in this book follow the same pattern: Vincent meets the pregnant woman, learns her background story, gets called at an odd hour to rush over when contractions begin, describes the birthing experience with all its drama, mess and emotional glory, presents the baby to its mother, and they all have a feast afterward to celebrate. The families Vincent assisted as midwife were all different: hippies, recovering drug addicts, single teen mothers, couples who allowed their children or pets to be present at the birth. All the stories are rather sensational, and often told with a splash of humor. Baby Catcher has many interesting anecdotes and is very informative regarding the birth process, but it did not convince me that home births are safe or wise. Especially seeing that some of the birthing experiences she tells about did not have good outcomes, and a few of the stories are quite frightening, for an expectant mother. Still, I enjoyed reading this book and felt like I learned a lot from it. It also addresses some of the legal problems midwives run into against the conventional medical establishment, and I found it enlightening to read the factual account of what happened to Vincent, in comparison to the fictional book Midwives (by Bohjalian).
You can visit the author's website here.
Rating: 3/5 ........ 336 pages, 2003
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