Real Birth - Women Share Their Stories by Robin Greene Official Book Blitz!

Robin Greene serves as Professor of English and Writing, and Director of the Writing Center at Methodist University in Fayetteville, NC. She is a past recipient of a cosponsored National Endowment of Arts and North Carolina Arts Council Fellowship in Writing, the Al Cleveland Award for Teaching, the Best Professor of the Year Award, and the McLean Endowed Chair of English

In addition to her university teaching, Greene teaches writing at an annual writing, yoga, and meditation retreat for women in Oaxaca, Mexico. Click on to learn more about this retreat

Greene has published four books —two volumes of poetry (Memories of Light and Lateral Drift), a novel (Augustus: Narrative of a Slave Woman) and two editions of Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories. She regularly publishes poems, fiction, and creative nonfiction in literary journals and has about ninety publications to her credit

The Shelf Life of Fire, Greene's new novel, is scheduled for release from Light Messages in April 2019

Greene received an MA in English Literature from Binghamton University and an MFA in Writing from Vermont College of Fine Art. With her husband, Greene co-founded Longleaf Press, Methodist University’s literary press

Available for readings, writing workshops for pregnant women and new mothers, and for workshops and presentations on creative writing, academic writing, and grammar, Greene can be reached at or through her website 

 ~ Website ~

Intimate and intensely personal, the forty-five first-person narratives contained in Real Birth: Women Share Their Stories offer readers a window into the complex and emotionally exciting experience of childbirth. Women from a full range of socioeconomic backgrounds and circumstances recount the childbirth choices they’ve made and the ways those choices have played themselves out in the real life contexts of their everyday lives.
Readers meet women from all over the country who speak to us directly––no interviewer intrudes, no judgments intrude, and no single method of childbirth is advocated. Instead, these women offer us their candid experiences, presented clearly and unflinchingly. Medically reviewed by physicians Dr. Richard Randolph for the first edition and Dr. Deborah Morris for this second edition, Real Birth offers readers a plethora of correct information as well the kind of real scoop that other books and health care professionals are often reluctant to reveal. The result is a well-grounded book that reaches across the boundaries of childbirth literature.

Real Birth is introduced by Ariel Gore, journalist, editor, writer, and founding editor/publisher of Hip Mama, an Alternative Press Award-winning publication about the culture of motherhood. Also included are an extensive glossary of medical terms, a thoroughly researched selective bibliography, and a list of resources of interest to pregnant women and new moms.


Emergency C-Section

We meet Julia in the hospital at the moment that the doctor tells her that she needs to have a C-section...

The doctor was the one who suggested the C-section. At the time it felt like the baby's head was just banging against the inside of my cervix. If I had been able to walk around on my feet rather than having to stay in bed-who knows? You never know what could have happened.
It was like I was in this little brick box, beating my head against the wall. I felt like, Let me out; let me out! This has to stop! I couldn't see any way out. By 4:00 in the morning, I thought I was on my way to success... that I was going to have my baby and that there was a way to finish this whole great big project. But now I was in this box, and I just could not get out. He was inside of me going, bang, bang-like this battering. When we decided to have the C-section, everything relaxed.
By about 6:00 a.m., the surgical team was all there for the C-section. The nurses and anesthetist came in first. He was really good. He very calmly and concisely explained to me what was going to happen-and I was in there screaming at him: "Okay, okay, just do it. I've made the decision, now I just want to get it over with!"
I wanted to be awake, so I had an epidural. I had heard all these stories about how it hurt, but I didn't feel it when they stuck the needle in. The doctor checked me one more time, but I still hadn't progressed. When they gave me the epidural, I could just feel this blanket of relaxation creeping up over my toes, my knees, then my stomach. I was concerned a little because I wasn't holding back anymore and assumed my body was still contracting. But the pain and mania I had before, the panic I was gripped by, just let go.
They took me into the surgery room. I didn't feel the cut or anything. It was the same feeling you have at the dentist when he's drilling your teeth. You know what's happening, you feel what's happening, but it's not painful. I just felt this little pulling feeling, and I kept trying to look over the shield that they had. But they wouldn't let me. They were talking about contaminating the field and were firm about that. As soon as they got him out, they showed him to me. Then they cleaned him up and took his Apgar scores. They were really good.
I remember when they first pulled him out. I could hear him cry-it was a gurgly sound, and my husband was there. He had a Polaroid camera-we didn't do any of that video stuff. Bill followed the doctors and nurses just to take pictures all the time, so I was able to see later what he looked like when he was first born. He was perfect, except for a little nick above his right eye-I think from the scalpel.
For about the first three months after having the baby, I was very, very depressed about the C-section. My mom was very mindful of watching for signs of postpartum depression because I'd been treated for bad depression about ten years before. It was just outpatient care and counseling I needed. And my mother had had postpartum depression when she had us. It got progressively worse with each baby, and when she had her last and third child, my sister, my mom was hospitalized for a while.
My mother's situation was different than mine; she was very isolated. But, nonetheless, I was very concerned and told everyone around me all the signs to watch for. Also, about a month after the delivery, I got a uterine infection. I was having back pain which kept getting worse and worse. Then I started running a high temperature of about 103. I went in to the doctor, and he gave me antibiotics. The infection cleared up within twelve hours.
For a while after Joey's birth, I couldn't watch or listen to the sounds of childbirth. My mom rented this movie and a baby was being born in it. I had to walk into another room-I just couldn't watch. Everybody says, "The most important thing is that the baby is okay." And that's what I kept telling myself, but it sounded so hollow. I kept feeling that I was being selfish because I didn't feel right about the whole birth experience. I mean, it wasn't what we expected or planned for. It took me a full year to get over my feelings, to finally come to terms with my C-section. Now, it doesn't bother me much anymore. What helped me to get over it was the realization that I was not the only person who felt that way. I read and looked for material that dealt with C-sections and VBACs. I definitely was not the only woman who felt inadequate or that I'd been cheated because I'd had a C-section. Also, I came to understand that wanting a vaginal birth wasn't a matter of being selfish and that it was okay to feel sad about the whole thing. Also, it helped to take care of Joey; I'd look at him and think, It was all worth it, no matter what I went through. And that's the bottom line. I didn't have to feel guilty about feeling guilty. It just happened, and I didn't have any control over it.

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