(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.
(Originally published on Future of Birth.com)
The media is single-handedly the biggest change-agent for American culture views birth and Vicki Elson frames it all up for us in her comprehensive documentary Laboring Under an Illusion (DVD, 50 minutes).
"Anthropologist Vicki Elson explores media-generated myths about childbirth. As a childbirth educator for 25 years, she observes daily how our culture affects our birth experiences. In this film, she contrasts fiction with reality. The result is hilarious, engaging, and enlightening." - Laboring Under an Illusion website
Vicki presents the reality of birth in the media via hilarious clips and self-narrative. Laboring Under an Illusion's biggest impact is when it shows us a sensationalized birth clip up against a natural birth clip. Not only does it make us wish the sensationalized birth could get dunked in a waterbirth bath but it also makes it very obvious why natural or normal birth has not been embraced by the media - it is not fast action, exciting material. It is something quite different indeed. Is there a place for normal birth in our media and pop culture? What will bridge this divide and what is the future of birth media and will normal birth ever find its voice in the media?
In 2012, if you are an expectant parent or birth professional you might take the initiative to find normal birth in the media outside of the mainstream. Lately many have people have taken that initiative and arrived at the Business of Being Born or even Orgasmic Birth: The Best-Kept Secret. And it will be interesting to see if Birth Story: Ina May Gaskin and the Farm Midwives is embraced by the mainstream media - we hope so. If you are really eager or a childbirth educator (or in a class) you might see some other films from InJoy or Passion for Birth but they are more difficult to access. Viewers are finding
threads, playlist, or subscriptions on YouTube, Vimeo, and others (check back soon for more details). Hopefully this demonstration of consumer demand will help shift the 75% of the viewing being online and 75% of the advertising being on television. To find more birth media that represents normal birth check back with the Future of Birth / Birth in the Media or watch our Media Shorts or visit Vicki's Resource page for listings.
Other things you can do to view and advocate for better product:
* Seek out and view programs that support sustainable birth via online resources or purchase (purchase costs can be divided amongst viewers).
* Organize a screening at your home or at a community location. It is important to include the children so try previewing programs to see if they are age appropriate for the younger ones.
* Host a screening thru Baby International Film Festival and they will provide you the films: http://www.babyff.com/web/films.
* Send the network's Viewer Relations an email and let them know you are not satisfied with the programs you are seeing and provide suggestions for what you hope to see in the future.
* Visit us here at Future of Birth for information about the latest productions and to view trailers and online videos.
New ACOG guidelines reports "Ultrasound done late in pregnancy is associated with an increase in cesareans with no evidence of neonatal benefit. Macrosomia is not an indication for cesarean." Read more from Judith Lothian.
With cesarean rates rising to 30 and 40%, it is important to think about what we can do to protect birthing rights for the next generation. (c) 2011 Rachel Connolly Kwock