Last night, I finished reading Peggy Vincent’s memoir as a home-birth midwife: Baby Catcher, Chronicles of a Modern Midwife. I think I could have read all 322 pages in one sitting – you know, had I not had anything pressing to do for my family. The book was really that gripping. In it, midwife Peggy shares her journey of becoming a midwife and some of the astounding stories of her 3000 deliveries. I don’t tear up during movies and much less when reading a book, but her engaging writing brings the reader right along with her in the homes of her patients, experiencing the unpredictable nature of childbirth. I cried like a baby at least twice. I don’t want to give the best stories away – for that you’ll have to read it yourself. Here is an inspiring book for all women interested in childbirth in general, midwifery and for those considering home-births, but also other birth options and models.
Here is an excerpt that I just had to jot down, it was so beautiful:
I marvel at the tremendous leap of faith taken by women like Julie who choose home births for their first babies. Medication of pain is not an option in a home birth, yet these first timers, clueless as to what labor pains will actually feel like, willingly create a scenario that won’t allow them a choice in pain management. They just say: “I know I can do this. I don’t know how. I just know I can.” Usually, they’re dumbfounded at the intensity of the experience, at the raw primal nature of the pain, the relentless rhythm of it, their inability to call time out. They talk about a trapped feeling, being overwhelmed by the previously unknown power within their bodies. Yet in all my years of doing home births, I never once took a woman to the hospital because of unmanageable pain. Not once. And time after time I had the honor and privilege of looking into astonished faces of first-time moms as I laid slippery newborns in their arms. They gazed back at me, awed by the intensity of this thing called child-birth, this rite of passage they had just completed. Having made that journey, having tapped depths of strength they never knew they possessed, they crossed a line and never looked back. Right before my eyes, they left girlhood far behind as they stepped with both feet into womanhood, into the world of Women Who Have Given Birth.
I marvel at these women too. I certainly didn’t have the faith to attempt a home-birth for my first. By maybe I would have considered it after this book…hmm..or maybe not?! 🙂
Again, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but here is just one last fun quote:
I remembered my midwifery school classmate, Gaia’s comment: “Just think about it. As midwives, we meet wildly interesting people and stay up all night with them. We ask them questions about their sex lives, eat their food, feel inside their bodies, snoop around their houses, drink champagne at all hours, and best of all, we get to catch delicious little naked, wet babies. What I can’t figure out is, why doesn’t everyone want to be a midwife?”