Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Peggy Vincent and Her Amazing Birth Stories

     Several months back, my sister-in-law, Gillie, recommended Peggy Vincent's book, Baby Catcher.  I immediately requested it from the library and could barely put it down. This was one of the most riveting, fascinating, informative, and memorable books I have ever read. (And I love to read and read a lot, so that should tell you something).
     In Peggy's memoir of her years as a home birth midwife, she related the most incredible stories in the most rich and expressive writing I have read in a long time. She highlights some hilarious stories from the nervous, meddlesome physician father of the birthing mama to a hair-raising birth on a little boat during a wild storm. There's the heart-rending story of the young stud father-to-be who, after coming on to Peggy numerous times,  broke down after the delivery of his baby when he realized how powerfully affected he was by his child's birth.  There were accounts of dramatic hospital transfers and the politics of unhappy people and unfortunate circumstances. How her interaction with the obstetrical community in the Bay area to lawyers and hospitals shaped her career was incredibly compelling and saddening.
     I was so affected by the book that I would like to read it again. Quite frankly, I don't have time. But I would love to hear your comments about this book. Even if you're not interested in home birth, treat yourself to this book for an enjoyable literary experience. I'd greatly value any input or discussion of your favorite stories from the book. It's available in your local library.

1 comment:

  1. This is a really fun book--great read. Thanks for the recommendation!

    You may also enjoy The Midwife by Jennifer Worth. It's amazing. Couldn't put it down. She chronicles her early years as a nurse midwife in London's East End in the 50's. It's a hard read in that some of the info gets fairly graphic, esp. when she deals with a prostitute at a brothel. But the stories are real, gritty, encouraging, and inspiring. What's most "shocking" to me is that home birth was just so darn normal then! And doctors worked cooperatively with the midwives!

    BTW, this book is available at both the Altadena and Pasadena library systems.