Book Review: The Birth Next Door

Heather Dessinger

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BIRTH: Experienced In Almost Every Way

Standing at the hospital sink in sunglasses while catching her own baby between her legs. In the backseat of a car. On Dr. Seuss’ birthday.

Stories of beauty, heartbreak, triumph and healing mixed with phrases like “I told my midwife I was about to blow my butt out” and “the most obnoxious guttural cow noises.” Hey, it’s birth!

Actually, it’s The Birth Next Door, an anthology of twenty-eight births in and around Tarrant County, Texas. Not sure you’ll like any book with a boring word like anthology in it? Me either, but these stories had me struggling through tears, and not just because one of them is mine. Vivid and captivating, honest and vulnerable, they rarely end quite like you’d expect. Like this one from Stephanie M:

“High risk. Whatever. This was laughable to me. I felt fine. Though she was measuring very big, my baby was healthy and I felt great throughout my entire pregnancy.

But now I was in a doctor’s office nearly 3 times a week being treated like a terminal cancer patient . . .”

Stephanie M, Planned Hospital Birth (emphasis mine)

Wondering how that turned out?? What about this one from Maggie G:

“No, don’t push, just wait until C gets here.”

Yeah right, I said no, I really have to push . . . Todd ran to get the phone and called C.

He came back in and told her I was pushing. He asked if I could get back in the tub. Uhh, no, I need to push here and now. He was concerned that we wouldn’t coordinate catching the baby and she would land on the ceramic tile. I pushed once and I heard Todd say that she was crowning, then I heard the phone hit the floor.” (emphasis mine)

Is There A Story In Here For You?

This book does not sprinkle pixie dust over each story to make it “right” according to one birth ideal or another. There are water births, planned hospital births, and cesareans. There are surprise endings and soulful lessons to be learned.

If you’ve given birth and want to reconnect with the raw emotion of that experience, this book will do it. Whether your journey was ecstatic or challenging in a way you didn’t expect, I bet you’ll find yourself in good company within these pages.

If you’re pregnant or trying to conceive you’re probably already being flooded with advice. I don’t have any of that, but I’d like to share one little statement I found helpful:

“You will only birth this baby one time.” ~ Donna Ryan, The Birth Next Door

Births rarely seem to go exactly according to the script we write for them ahead of time, but being informed can help us get closer than we might have otherwise. You’ll learn so much about the ways birth can unfold from The Birth Next Door, and it won’t be boring!

Where To Buy The Birth Next Door For $2.99

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The Birth Next Door is available for immediate download on Amazon Kindle.

Don’t Have A Kindle?

You can read this e-book by downloading a free Kindle Reader App for your computer, iPad, iPhone, Android, or Blackberry device here.

Oh, and by purchasing The Birth Next Door you’ll also be supporting the efforts of my (real life) friends at the Tarrant County Birth Network.

They are doing amazing things to improve the way mothers are cared for by their providers, empower mamas who want to birth vaginally after a cesarean (VBAC), and support ALL women in their birthing choices, regardless of what they are. Thank you for your generosity!

Click here to download The Birth Next Door for $2.99

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Heather is a holistic health educator, herbalist, DIYer, Lyme and mold warrior. Since founding in 2009, Heather has been taking complicated health research and making it easy to understand. She shares tested natural recipes and herbal remedies with millions of naturally minded mamas around the world.