On the night you were born, after I was stitched up,
after we finally met,
after all the relatives were gone,
I tried to sleep.
But instead I began gushing blood,
an unstoppable flow, it seemed,
but I really only felt the warmth of it.
I didn’t see it. I wouldn’t have wanted to, anyway,
but the memory is hazy, you see.
To this day I’m not sure what meds they gave me for pain, to stop the bleeding.
I have vague impressions of medical staff running back and forth, someone saying “go wake up a doctor.”
It was more terrifying for your dad than me, him not having the benefit of mind-clouding pain pills.
All I knew was
despite the medicine.
The nurses came back again and again,
checking the pads they put under women after c-sections,
They pressed on my tender, recently sliced belly to push out blood clots,
and I cried like a little child,
In my confusion I understood only as much as a little child.
Recently I’ve been reading a memoir about brushes with death.
The author, too, had a c-section, and afterwards,
profuse bleeding. blood everywhere.
Medical personnel dashing around in panic.
Later, she read about maternal mortality statistics, how the US and the UK are high up in the rankings for maternal deaths,
and the number one cause of death?
So that gave me something to think about.