One Person Becomes Two People {Guest Post by Peggy Vincent}

by Ruthiepedia on January 4, 2013

Yes, that’s right. Peggy Vincent.

Waitaminute. What? Peggy Vincent? Yes. Peggy. Vincent. As in Baby Catcher. Have you read it? If not, please do yourself a favor and pick up a copy and a few boxes of Kleenex.

Peggy has written much more than what we find on the pages of this vibrant, historical, joyful, and heartbreaking book, and she’s planning on sharing with us. We can expect more guest posts from Peggy as she learns to traverse the blog world, but for now here’s a tidbit and a bit of beautiful advice if you’re a birth worker.

Rebecca Gosselin Photography 2009

“Very early in my career as a delivery room nurse, I placed my hand one day on a woman’s bare belly after her baby’s head had emerged. When the next contraction began, the infant’s bum rose to a firm little mound right above his mother’s belly button. I cupped it with my hand, staring at his visible head – but touching his invisible bottom. Teetering on the brink, this baby seemed to be creating himself like clay on a potter’s wheel, shaping his appearance molecule by palpable molecule as he edged further toward Life.

His mother gasped, screamed, then pushed again. As my eyes watched the baby’s shoulders appear, my hand felt his bum sink into the lower part of the uterus as if taking a dive toward some mysterious source of light emanating from the exit to a cave. His legs straightened within the rapidly emptying womb – and for a second or two, no more, his heels beat a tattoo against the palm of my hand. He was kicking. He was doing a flutter-kick like a tiny swimmer pushing off from the edge of the baby pool.

Then he was gone, I blinked, and there he lay, squirming in the doctor’s hands. My palm lay on an empty belly.

One person had just become two people. I’d seen it with my eyes – and more mysteriously, I’d felt it with my hand. I had felt the cleaving, felt the separation, felt the moment when one person multiplies itself and becomes two. The umbilical cord, translucent and pulsing, swung between mother and baby like a kite string. I stood still, blinked again, then stared at the baby, the mother, her belly, and my hand.

I wondered for the first of perhaps ten thousand times if it hadn’t all just been some trick done with smoke and mirrors.

Try it yourself when you’re at a birth: Just put your palm lightly on the belly as the baby is emerging, and prepare to be amazed.” {Peggy Vincent}

I plan to, Peggy. :) ~Ruthie

*Picture of Ruthie by Rebecca Gosselin Photography

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