(I originally wrote this for DebraPascaliBonaro.com).
Roanna Rosewood’s Cut, Stapled, & Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean is an incredibly honest, exquisitely written book for mothers, women recovering from traumatic birth, doctors, midwives, nurses, all birthworkers, expectant parents, pregnant women, and fathers.
Cut, Stapled, & Mended is like a beautifully detailed birth story arching over Roanna’s first two cesarean births and third birth- a healing, pleasurable, bubbly VBAC, complete with her insights to birth and a broken maternity system. The book is about childbirth and about “the exquisite and raw birth of a woman” and we get to witness this via delightful treks into her life of running a restaurant, traveling to Hawaii, and mothering her two boys and husband who have creative ideas of play: “When the dish soap goes missing, I find it and the three of them on the trampoline.They have added water from the garden hose and are jumping—Dad and Avram fully clothed, Jonah buck-naked—in mountains of suds.”
Desperate to avoid cesarean, mom says: “I don’t need to sleep, I’ll take Pitocin. I’m fine. Really. Give me Pitocin, or Cytotec even. I can do this.”
Sadly the most challenging part of Roanna’s story is common to so many- as consumers we trust our doctors and facilities only to find this approach didn’t work. Roanna admits: “As an articulate person, I had assumed I would be able to rationalize through labor, to troubleshoot, to concentrate and verbalize and make decisions. I was wrong.” After we are taken thru the heartbreak of this very traumatic first birth, we head towards her second birth with more optimism and although, it too results in cesarean surgery, the experience is better and mom is able to employ different pleasurable birth techniques: “Our Hypnobirthing routine works well. I don’t experience “pain,” the surges continue to be manageable.” And after the surgery they receive MotherBaby Friendly care: “I am grateful for the gift of this profound time, to be the first person my baby sees, to allow the familiar beat of my heart to comfort him, and to have the dignity, privacy and warmth of my little cave…””
“The moment her eyes find mine, she quiets, recognizing me though we have never seen each other. We are even more connected than when we were still one body.”
For birth number three, mom goes into full training mode even having found acceptance: “If we have to go through a cesarean, it will be okay. Birth is not everything.We have an entire lifetime to share.” But instead she finds herself in a place where she can say: “Where before there was pain, now there is only exquisite pleasure.” And to her a “merbaby” is born!
This is such an important and beautifully written book for anyone preparing for pleasurable birth, recovering from traumatic birth, as well as all birthworkers- doctors, doulas, nurses, and midwives alike. Enjoy your read- you won’t want it to end!
Roanna with 2 of her 3 children and her wonderful midwife, Laura, at boRook launch party.
Roanna is an the author of Cut Stapled and Mended: When One Woman Reclaimed Her Body and Gave Birth on Her Own Terms After Cesarean, an award-winning international speaker, co-founder and host of Birth Plan Radio, and the executive action chair of Human Rights in Childbirth and most importantly, a mother. In her not-so-humble opinion, the latter makes her a true birth expert.