A Midwife's Story Author:Penny Armstron and Sheryl Feldman Penny Armstrong delivers babies for a living. — She is usually summoned at four in the morning by a young Amishman who had to walk across two fields to get to the nearest phone. She inspects her medical bag, puts on her coat, and drives in the dawn light through the perfect peace of the orderly farms of Lancaster County. — Across the fields, the ... more »flickering light of a kerosene lamp in the window marks the house where the expectant parents wait. Penny climbs the porch steps, the door opens, and an eager Amish father-to-be motions her inside. Penny walks into the bedroom and looks at the laboring woman. She could be:
*A nineteen-year-old first-time mother. Brimming over with excitement, she has no idea that she?s at least a day away from delivery. Penny knows it will be a long 24 hours.
*A mother whose eight other children were whisked away to grandmother?s hours earlier. She looks at Penny with exhausted wariness. Penny smiles and unpacks her bag.
*One of the amazingly energetic ones. She?s in the kitchen washing the floor because she?s already baked six pies and there is nothing else to do.
This is what Penny has trained for. This is why a country girl from Maine spent a year at a bleak midwifery school in Scotland, and months afterward delivering babies to unwed teenage mothers in inner city Philadelphia. The struggles with the local hospital, the doctors who tried to deny her hospital privileges, and her own internal battles over which was better for the mother: hospital births or home births - all have been resolved. She has her own midwife practice. And she has come to care deeply for the strong, intriguing Amish people who are the core of that practice.
In the past few years Penny Armstrong has learned a lot about herself, about the joy and power of birth, the types and qualities of love, the power and healing of a family, the inevitability of death. She learned it all through these mothers, and in this book she shares their extraordinary experiences with us.« less