Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"Baby Catcher" Book Review

Baby Catcher:  Chronicles of modern midwife
by Peggy Vincent
A few short months ago, I landed my dream job in labor and delivery.  It's a long story as to why I was forced to leave my old hospital/postpartum job.  But three weeks after I delivered my baby girl at home, I was on a new job search.  I applied to one of the biggest baby hospitals in New Orleans for an L&D position and had an interview within a few days.  My interview went more like a "welcome-to-the-unit" party as my soon-to-be manager paraded me around to meet everyone.  It was my very first time leaving my new 6 week baby girl and, by God's grace, I got the job one the spot.  This new hospital was actually my backup delivery plan if I were to risk out of a home birth.  This hospital is natural childbirth friendly, employs both midwives and OBs and does water births.  I couldn't have asked for a better place to work.

So after being a nurse for almost 4 years now, I've officially been working L&D for 3 months.  It's amazing.  I love it more every day.  They gave me a great orientation and I'm on my own now, but still learning an incredible amount every shift.  A few of my coworkers are actually in midwifery school and one in particular told me about this book.  She said she read it when she was in nursing school and it changed her life.  It's called, "Baby Catcher," by Peggy Vincent.  So what did I do?  I went out and bought it.

"Baby Catcher" is one of those books you just can't put down.  It's the book I would find myself reading at 3 am as I nurse my own new baby.  Talk about hormone overload!  The book is written by an L&D nurse turned midwife who ended up delivering over 3,000 babies over the course of her career, both in home and hospital.  It's story after story, of the births she attended, of families being made.  The amount of detail she recalls is beautiful and amazing.  As I attend births at the hospital I feel like I've been reawakened to the beauty of laboring women and the profound beauty of the birth process.  

I'm reminded that labor is not something to rescue a woman from.  Pregnancy is not a disease.  Delivering a child is only something the woman can do.  Doctors don't deliver babies, women do.  That's why a lot of midwives call themselves baby catchers.  When I see a woman tremble in pain or fear, it's my job to comfort her and reassure her of her strength.  I can't take the pain away.  I might give her the prescribed pain medications.  But the best thing I can do for a woman walking that bridge into motherhood is to assure her that when she climbs over this mountain, it will be worth it.  Women often get to a point in labor (usually at the end near transition) where they just want the baby to be taken from them.  I probably said it myself a few times while I labored.  "Can't you just pull the baby out?!"  But the answer is, "No, honey.  The only one who can push that baby out is you."  The sooner you accept that, the faster it's over.

And the actual delivery of the baby, which Peggy recalls countless times, may seem graphic to some; but she portrays birth as the natural process it truly is.  Beautiful.  A baby's first few breaths of life are so sacred.  It is such a privilege to watch such things day after day.

I'd recommend this book not just to labor and delivery nurses or aspiring midwives, but to all women who are pregnant or who wish to bear children one day.  The only way we can start to view birth as normal and not scary, is to stop listening to the drama filled stories on television who only depict the scary side of birth, and listen to the many stories that uplift the idea women are perfectly capable of having their babies.  I like what midwife Ina May says when she says that when God made the female body, he did not make a lemon.  Your body works!  Not only will your body expand to epic proportions to grow this little human, your body will also push him out, and usually whether you like it or not.  

This book was such a great read.  I'm sure you ladies will love it!  And if you do read it or have in the past, let me know what you think.


  1. Hi Bridget! My name is Cameron and I had a question about your blog. I can be reached at the email below. Thank you so much, I greatly appreciate your time.

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