Sunday, February 17, 2013

Update on book about "Homebirth Cesareans"

Guest post by Courtney Jarecki and Laurie Perron Mednick

The Homebirth Cesarean book shines light on homebirth women who transport to the hospital for a cesarean, and the midwives and others who care for them.

Homebirth Cesarean (HBC) began as a conversation between us: a homebirth midwife, and a mom who went from the dream of having a homebirth to the reality of a cesarean. Eight months after the birth experience we shared, we reconnected to process the birth and postpartum care. Although our experiences of the same birth were different, we felt immense relief in realizing that we still maintained a powerful connection as midwife and mother that hadn’t been broken through the HBC. We also realized that mothers require more support and resources following these births, and midwives and birth professionals were open to learning more about how they can best serve these families.
While the percentage of women who go from having a homebirth to a cesarean is small, their stories are nonetheless powerful, meaningful and important. Until now, however, no one has gathered and shared these stories, leaving many HBC moms to feel as their birth experiences don’t matter, and creating a vacuum their stories would otherwise fill. Just as HBC mothers often find themselves estranged from the homebirth community, many midwives and birth workers are at a loss as to how best support these women and their families.

Stories are power and knowledge
Since 2011, we have interviewed more than 100 HBC moms, midwives, partners, birth educators, counselors and experts in an effort to bring HBC births into the light. Our goal is to give voice to HBC mothers, and to support the midwives, partners and advocates who accompany them on their journeys.
Some mothers speak of loss. Others speak of how the joy of having a new baby mixes with the sorrow of what they feel was an incomplete, broken, or failed birth experience. Many of our interviews with birth and medical professionals such as Penny Simkin, Sarah Buckley, Pam England, Elizabeth Davis, Michel Odent and others delve into the physical, emotional and psychological trauma associated with HBC births. Together, these far ranging conversations are the foundation of our book in progress.

Now we need you to help us complete our work
While the majority of our story gathering is complete, our next phase involves the heavy lifting of synthesizing our interviews, and moving forward with the writing process. Our hope is to find a publisher who is excited to partner with us and bring this book to print. We are also exploring self-publishing options should that be the best route. We have broken our costs up as follows:
  • Book editing: $2500
  • Illustrations & photography: $2900
  • Book design and layout: $3000
  • Childcare expenses (childcare for the four children we have between our families): $6400
  • Marketing & promotion: $3000
  • Printing, copying, shipping of perks and postage: $500
  • Web hosting, hardware and software upgrades: $1100
  • Self-publishing costs: $5000
  • Indiegogo and Paypal fees: $3000
  • Additional office and miscellaneous expenses: $2800
Total fundraising goal: $25,000*

*Our goal is less than the actual budget listed above, as we have covered some of these costs out-of-pocket, and/or through in-kind donations by friends, family members and project supporters. If we exceed our total goal, we plan to bring more artwork and illustration to our book, as well as paying a small stipend to us.

Even the smallest donation will help us move closer to our goal of completing this book. For those of you who wish to donate more but simply cannot, please help us get the word out. We also encourage you to pool your money with friends, coworkers, or even a larger organization in order to support the project and receive higher level perks.


  1. I understand how difficult it is to deal with the unexpected outcome in birth. There ARE skills you can learn during pregnancy to help both manage your birth and manage your SELF, no matter what happens. Happily, birthing skills based upon your own unique birthing body do tend to make outcomes more in line with our expectations. It's going into birth with no skills beyond breathing and "trusting your body" that is like going to run a marathon having done the same type of prep. Maybe you'll get through, but there's good chance you won't. It's NOT all 'chance' -- if you prepare with skills, you are ready to deal with unexpected situations intelligently. Check out and The Pink Kit. Since all my doula clients have been learning these skills and learning their own bodies, almost no unwanted outcomes in birth. Check it out, give it a try. You will be glad you did.

  2. Catherine, as a doula and a mother I appreciate your perspective and experience. Both betterbirthing and the pink kit are wonderful resources and I am glad that your clients have had success with them. However, regardless of the amount of time a mother puts into preparing to greet her child, for a variety of reasons sometimes the birth simply does not go the way she chooses. C-sections happen for even the most educated and informed. We do a disservice to the women we work with to infer that her birth outcome is perhaps her fault and the result of her not having one enough pre-natal work. This is a really wonderful project and I look forward to including this book in my library.

  3. I agree with Leah. I labored for 54 hours unmedicated with cervical scar tissue. Knowing that I had had a cervical biopsy my midwife and I did all we could to prepare for the possibility of scar tissue. I took 5w for 5 weeks prior to my due date to condition my cervix and evening primrose oil orally and vaginally. My midwife was able to massage out the tight "rubber band" of scar tissue, after several incredibly painful cervical massages that make labor pains seem like a walk in the park. We will never know why I stalled out at 5cm--without my midwife's preparation and expertise I probably would never have got past 1. My uterus was exhausted, my contractions were spacing out, and I ended up with a c-section. Preparation is very important, but sometimes all the prep in the world can't change the outcome.

  4. Ananda, thank you for posting about the Homebirth Cesarean project. I have been involved in this project in Portland, OR. Courtney and Laurie's work in shedding light on homebirth cesareans has been absolutely invaluable in my own healing. For moms who intend homebirth, even the most educated and best-prepared for anything to happen, it can be devastating to have a cesarean birth and difficult on all levels of recovery. This is a very real issue to be dealt with and this is ground-breaking work that will give moms, midwives, doctors, and other birthworkers the information they need to best support moms, babes, and families all along the journey.

  5. After twice having found myself in this situation, firstly, after my planned HBA2C and then with my HBA3C, I am delighted to say that I anxiously await to hear how others have coped and dealt wit finding themselves in this position. For me personally the journey has been long and is still ongoing. The support that I received form my doula once I left hospital the last time around was paramount in making it a much more positive experience and not seeing myself as the complete failure that I felt that I was ( and occaionally still do). Her ongoing support twenty one months after the birth is so integral to my whole being!! I felt that hospital staff were dismissive and insenstive to the circumstances and I would sadly imagine I am not alone in that experience.