Monday, April 19, 2010

Book Review: Baby Catcher, Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

My Latest read was Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife by Peggy Vincent. This autobiography recounts dozens of the births that Peggy attended throughout her career as a Midwife in Berkley California during the 1980's. She practiced as an OB-RN on a mother baby unit at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkley for 15 years before she decided to go to Midwifery school. Once she graduated and became a Certified Nurse Midwife she started a private practice specializing in home births. She also was instrumental in opening one of the first hospital sponsored birth centers in the Berkley area.

The book is separated into three basic parts; her beginning career as a RN, her midwifery career, and her journey afterward. The many birth stories occupy individual chapters throughout the bulk of the book. Each chapter is a different family, a different pregnancy, and a different labor journey filled with support, love, a little calamity and always good laughter. It was a book recommended to me by several of the OB Nurses on a nursing message board I frequent online; and I would recommend it to any woman who is looking for a good read.

It was especially interesting for me to learn more about the popularity of home births during that time. She went to Midwifery school in the late 70s during the height of the "hippy" movement in Berkley, and home birth was on the rise. People wanted to have the freedom to labor in their own homes at their own pace, seems reasonable right? Today that option is really risky; since liability has pretty much obliterated the ability for Midwives to get insured for home birthing. So laboring at home has become dangerous because there is a lack of skilled personnel that can be present. It's frustrating to me how much of a monopoly OB-GYNs have on the "market" so to speak. With cesearans on the rise more than ever before the need for CNM's is even greater, we need to get back to the basics, after all, women were giving birth long before there were OB-GYNs, or hospitals, or anything medical for that matter.

I feel that any woman who is thinking about having kids should read this book, or something like it to open your eyes to the different options you have available to you. I know for sure that I will have a Midwife deliver me when I decide to start having children, and I think I'm going to try my damnest to have a natural childbirth as well.

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