Labor Part 3: Bleed Me Dry

An explosion – she was born

“Do you want to hold her?”

“y-y-y-es.” I said as I quivered and shook with the aftershocks of birth.

All the pain was instantly gone.  I felt an overwhelming joyful warmth come to me and I knew I would never be the same.

Too soon they took her away from me.  I could see that Andrew was torn.  Should he stay with his weary wife or go to the corner with his new daughter?  So … I made him go with her to the special warming area they had prepared for little Clare.

The birth was so fast that he did not even have time to put scrubs on, which I know he had been looking forward to.  Days before I had noticed Andrew being super careful and cleanly just in case that day was “the day”.

I strained my neck to look at Clare, now so far away, but the rest of my body was experiencing such relief that I couldn’t have tensed a muscle if I wanted to.

The placenta was removed.  Wow…that felt good. A warm and wet minister passing over the places of me that were burning from the epic stretch.  Everything I had read said this would be extremely painful.




After expressing my surprise to the doctor she told me I was “weird”. No joke.  Whatever.  Talk to the hand. (When I say doctor I mean Resident because the doctor literally made an appearance at the doorway as I was delivering and immediately walked out.)

“Now’s not the time to be a hero.” I heard the head resident say.  “If you want drugs you’d better say so now.”

“No I’m telling the truth. I can’t feel anything.” I said.

And I couldn’t.  I had torn and was receiving stitches but I was on such a high that I could not feel a thing as they made stitch after stitch.

Me and Clare....I've seen better days.

Me and Clare....I've seen better days.

After what seemed like forever they brought my baby back to me and we shared our beautiful first moments alone together. I sang to her:

“The Lord bless you and keep you.

The Lord make his face shine upon you

And give you peace, and give you peace

And give you peace forever.”

I was amazed at how beautiful she was with her perfectly round head and her rosebud lips.  She looked so much like her father…but…a girl. And I thought in that moment how extraordinary it was that an act of love could make something – something so beautiful as her.

Andrew brought the family members that had held out through the night to meet Clare, many of them sleeping on the floor of the hospital waiting room. Coos and ahhs and smiles were everywhere and then they were gone.

Andrew and Clare were instantly moved to the Mother/Baby ward.

As they left everything again went dark and now I lay, strained, hollow and more tired than I have ever been. The nurses reclined me and the deepest, dark sleep came over me.

When I woke the nurses stood me up to go to the bathroom, the plan being to then reunite with my family.

“I’m suuuuuuppper dizzy. Everything is getting reeeeeeally warm….”

Suddenly a dream – family all around.  I’m walking without purpose.

“VALERIE! Can you hear me? Valerie!”

I was back on the bed and now saw blood leading back from the bathroom.

“Where’s my husband? Where’s Andrew?

They repaired me and gave me a bunch of narcotics and I kept hearing myself say, “This stuff makes me sound like my grandma.”…don’t ask me…I could feel the stitching now but the drugs made unable to protest.

Then I was left again.  I had just given birth to a beautiful baby girl and I was alone in a room cold and by myself.

In the next 24 hours I was given 4 bags of IV fluid.  I wasn’t aloud to walk. I was then given a unit of blood once they determined I would hardly recover on my own. I did not see my baby girl for 7 hours though I begged. I sat in the room I gave birth in for 24 hours.

Normally girls look all rosy and happy after they gave birth. And though I had a wonderful birth experience I looked green for days.


Exhausted but reunited.

In the end all this doesn’t matter. I could simply throw this post away. You could have bled me dry for all I caree because despite the difficulty I left 2 days later with my baby in my arms, strangers congratulating me and funk music blaring from a live brass band across the street.


8 responses

  1. You are truly gifted. I love what you do with words. What a beautiful gift you’ve given both yourself and Clare by recording these initial thoughts, feelings, and happenings while they are still fresh. You will both treasure these posts in the days to come.

  2. I know that a lot of us older Moms have been through the birth thing many times before and some without drugs but NEVER has it been more wonderfully spoken about until now. As the tears run down my face I say…Clare is a lucky little girl to have a mommy that can paint a beautiful picture with her words! Story time will be great at your house! Love Love

  3. Valerie…a poet, an author and you speak the very words I had no time to write when our very own Olivia Clare came into this world. The exhaustion, the thrill, the faint, the overwhelming sense of amazement at life. All in your words. That my friend, is really what life is about. The birth.

  4. Just wanted to let you know that I absolutely love that you sang that song to your daughter. Really. It was the icing on the cake of this labor diary of yours. 🙂 You truly have many gifts and your family will be in my prayers for a long while, I think.

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