Catching Babies
by J.D. Kleinke

[Fourth Chapter Books: Portland, Oregon: 328 pages, paperback.]

[Review first published in Midwifery Today Issue 100, Winter 2011/2012, © 2011, Midwifery Today, Inc. Review by Joni Nichols.]

I raced through this volume nonstop! With heart pounding, I was drawn into the relentless and exhausting world of OB training for residents in the United States.

Kleinke’s novel provides accurate descriptions of the numbing fatigue reproductive specialists experience, as well as the exhaustive medical training these trainees must undergo regardless of where they plan to work after their residencies. In addition, his accounts of appropriate and timely medical interventions are riveting. I loaned my copy to an OB resident who recently homebirthed with us and she said it was “frighteningly realistic.” My only disappointment with the novel is that Kleinke succumbed to the “dramatic copout” of using a cord wrap as the cause for a fetal death. I found myself crying out “No” when his novel surrendered to the street knowledge and ignorance that a cord wrap is dangerous and/or catastrophic. This is a cliché embraced by movies and television that neither educates nor inspires, and it certainly doesn’t transcend current misinformation. Kleinke’s book is far too powerful and too realistic to include this weak link. Had Kleinke found a plausible cause or even ventured to posit that no reason was to blame for the baby’s death, I would recommend this novel without hesitation.

Reviewer Joni Nichols is Midwifery Today’s Country Contact for Mexico. She is a childbirth educator, doula, labor assistant, activist and partera who co-founded the pioneering waterbirth center, Nacer en Plenitud, in Guadalajara. When not working with pregnant families, attending their births, making presentations at conferences, or participating on online forums about birth, she is reading something birth related.

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