Baby Catcher

Baby Catcher

Chronicles of a Modern Midwife

Each time she knelt to "catch" another wriggling baby -- nearly three thousand times during her remarkable career -- California midwife Peggy Vincent paid homage to the moment when pain bows to joy and the world makes way for one more. With every birth, she encounters another woman-turned-goddess: Catherine rides out her labor in a car careening down a mountain road. Sofia spends hers trying to keep her hyper doctor-father from burning down the house. Susannah gives birth so quietly that neither husband nor midwife notice until there's a baby in the room.

More than a collection of birth stories, however, Baby Catcher is a provocative account of the difficulties that midwives face in the United States. With vivid portraits of courage, perseverance, and love, this is an impassioned call to rethink technological hospital births in favor of more individualized and profound experiences in which mothers and fathers take center stage in the timeless drama of birth.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 336 pages | 
  • ISBN 9780743219341 | 
  • April 2003
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: You Have to Lie Down

SEPTEMBER 1962

DUKE UNIVERSITY, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA

"Please lie down," I begged Zelda. "Please."

Wearing nothing but a shiny coat of sweat, the young black woman stood upright on her hospital bed, stomping from the lumpy pillow to the foot rail and then back again. For the past fifteen minutes she'd been running laps on top of her bed, towering four feet above me as I raced along the floor with my arms outstretched in the futile hope that I might catch her if she fell.

"It's against the rules to do that," I whined, aware of how prissy and juvenile I sounded, but I was just a... see more

About the Author

Peggy Vincent
Photo Credit: Colin Vincent

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