COUDERSPORT — Brooklyn James will hold a book signing at Otto’s Books in Williamsport from 6-8 p.m. July 5 and at From My Shelf Books & Gifts Store, 7 East Ave., Wellsboro, from from noon to 2 p.m. on July 7.
“Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family’s Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth,” is James’s birth memoir and first nonfiction book.
James was a postpartum nurse at the time of her first child’s birth, so medicalized births weren’t anything new to her, she said. But she never expected her birth to be medicalized.
Shortly after her 39-week cervical check, her water trickled due to a premature rupture of membranes. Her OB/GYN said she had 12 hours before active labor started, then another 24 hours before she should deliver. But James didn’t want to go to the hospital; her instinct told her to stay home.
“I wanted to stay home. I was having some lower back aches and I thought, ‘Things are starting here, it’s going to happen, it’s OK,’” James said. The doctor’s office called her two more times, asking why she hadn’t checked in yet.
“I was like, ‘I just want to rest. Why would you induce me tonight and keep me up all night long, then expect me to have any kind of stamina left?’”
When her doctor called, James succumbed to the fear of something happening to her unborn child. She went to the hospital.
After 37 hours of labor, James wasn’t dilated enough to deliver and doctors wanted to do a cesarean. All the while, her instinct was telling her to tell the doctors no, that she wanted to do it naturally.
“It took all of that to get it through my thick head that maybe birth is something that is very instinctual, maybe I should follow my instinct,” James said.
After the medically unnecessary cesarean, James had several unexpected health issues and a miscarriage. During this time, she was with a midwife and she told her she wanted to go through the miscarriage naturally.
“She said, ‘Your body knows how to do this,’ … where, when I told my first provider in my first birth I wanted to try and birth naturally, her response was, ‘We can try, but there’s no need to be a hero,’” James said.
The birth of her second child was with a midwife and was a home birth. She said her experience with a midwife, compared to with an OB/GYN, was more empowering and personal.
“Women should consider and think about — before birthing — ‘What is your vision?’ and then go from there,” James said. “Don’t start at the hospital, or don’t start at home. Start with, ‘What do you want out of your birth?’”
James hopes to see a change in the way doctors talk to their patients so it’s centered around what the person who is pregnant wants. She also wants to see more people feel empowered to make their own decisions regarding their birth and make it more than just a medical event.
“The book doesn’t push home birth, it doesn’t suggest that all women have a home birth … it’s just a matter of saying we should all have accessibility and the choice and the right to birth in our own vision,” James said.
As with most “medical events,” people don’t usually talk about their actual births. James hopes the culture around it changes and more awareness is brought to the topic.
James will be at Otto Bookstore as part of First Friday, a monthly community event in Williamsport where local businesses host and celebrate the arts. With the book signing, there will be live music, demonstrations, food and more, as well as free parking.
For more information, visit www.brooklyn-james.com. “Born in the Bed You Were Made: One Family’s Journey from Cesarean to Home Birth” is available on Amazon.