BirthCut

"The ax forgets; the tree remembers" ~ African proverb

Poetry

First Anniversary

11:58

You Say it Doesn't Matter

Birthrape

In it alone

Bloody

Unmotherly

Before My Cesarean

Broken Machine

Green

To Mason

She Got the Best of Me

When I was Torn

Staying here

For Leilah

How Dare You?

I'd Rather Wet My Pants

It Was You

To Silence Someone Like Me

Shucked

Words

Never Cried Like This Before

Not Again

As We Approach the Memories

rendered unto cesar

Questions

Birth Day  - 2 poems from the same mother--each written after her very different births. The first was after her induction turned cesarean section birth of her first child, the second after the homebirth of her second child. The difference is startling.

Jude's Birth

Time

 

 

 

 

 

First Anniversary

This series of poems was written approaching my sons' first birthday. I have found out the first anniversary is extremely hard--a lot harder than I had imagined.

 

Part I  Winter Nights

Warm winter nights

so quiet

the window open

I feel cool air kiss my face

A kick from within;

I smile

Yes, I know you are there

my boy

 

Christmas lights strung on every house

child like glow all about

walking the streets

late at night

quiet and peaceful

waiting for my baby to come

 

Every night full of wonder

will tonight be the night?

When will I become a mother?

Quiet nights, oh how I loved them

it was just us- you and me

waiting for that big day

waiting to become your mother

 

Part II  Giving In

I wanted to meet you so badly

I couldn't wait to hold you

night after night of prodromal-

when would I meet you?

Family calling,"Is it time yet?"

eventually avoiding their calls

Doctor prodding me,"Still only 1 cm dilated..."

Why oh why won't it happen?

The induction scheduled

and though I wanted a natural birth

part of me selfishly wanted it over -

us over

Though I wished for labor to start on its' own

you just knew it wasn't time

could you sense it was coming?

 

 

Part III  Giving Up

IV stuck into my arm

EFM my prison

chained to my belly

Why didn't I walk away?

Instead I lay and let the rape begin

 

So nervous, your daddy and I

we don't speak; simply glance

The pitocin courses though my veins

assaulting me, assaulting you

too late to turn back now

 

My legs spead as Doctor pokes at your

amniotic home

only a small trickle escapes

as if you are telling me,

"No!"

Left alone, pitocin raging

light fading outside, as well as my pride

 

Pain, so much pain

I writher in bed

I want to get up, but I can't

I trudge to the bathroom, dragging my chains

trying to escape a while

to be alone with you

Tap, tap, tap at the door

"Are you okay?" Nurse asks

Why don't they just leave us alone?!

 

Doctor breaks my water this time

maybe you gave up, too

Now we are doomed

I want to be unconscious;

the pain and fear too great

I opt for the needle in my back;

something I never wanted for me or you

Nurse is mad at me because I can't

lean forward the way she wants me to

when I am getting the epidural

Water gushes to the floor with

every contraction

I don't care-

the pain so bad

I don't even feel the needle go in

then I am numb

I can't move my legs

I can't labor how I want

I am starving, but I cannot eat

 

Doctor declares my pelvis too small,

you too big

my body broken;

deformed

 

We couldn't do it, Mason

 

Part IV  Nightmare

Wheeled down the halls

watching the ceiling above me

avoiding eye contact;

I am too ashamed

I failed

I failed you

Where is Jason?

Now the white double doors

with red foreboding letters,

"Operating room"...

No!

I am giving birth

why am I here?

This isn't happening...

I am picked up like an invalid

Please don't drop me!

I am placed on the table

I can't feel my legs

Bright white lights

bright white room

I am exposed

Anesthesiologist by my head

talking to me

tries to make me smile

Please, shut up, please....

"My legs are on fire!"

"Yes, that's the spinal...."

Burning up and down my legs

losing sensation in my body

I can't feel you anymore

No! Don't go away

Pinching my belly

"Can you feel this?"

"Pressure or pain?"

PAIN!

Please don't start cutting!

Oh, the terror

Not to be able to defend yourself

totally vulnerable

to people you don't trust

Blue sheet cuts me in half

I can't see what they

are doing to me

I just hear voices

though they are very close to me

they seem miles away

I feel myself becoming more numb

disappearing

I can't move my fingers

can't feel myself breathing

....am I breathing?!

Oh, there is Jason to my left

Help me!

How long have I been in here?

My lower body tugged around

They've started?!

Oh no...It's happening

All I see is a blue sheet

and bright lights

Doctors voices sound far away

I don't hear words, just sounds

No one speaks to me

I'm here! I'm here!

They're cutting me open...

"Its a boy!"

"Looks like a blondie!"

12:04 AM

My son!?

I don't hear you cry

I ask your daddy if you're okay

He says "Yes"

I want to see you!

I can't move

I ask your daddy to move the blue sheet

that obscures my view

"No", he says,"I can't"

Why?!

My baby! Is that really you?

I hear a low, weak cry

you sound so defeated...

..scared?

My boy, I want to hold you so badly

I am so numb

I don't feel happy

I feel nothing

..some pictures..

our first family photo

taken by a stranger

I only see you for barely a moment

before you are gone

Jason has gone

I am being sewn up

feeling sleepy

Am I dying?

I can't sleep

I have to fight it!

I panic as I think I may never

see you again

Doctors gone

never said anything-

just left me

I am wheeled down the halls

Where am I going?

No! I just want to see my son!

I can't stop shaking

Why can't I stop shaking?

Everybody is with you

and I am alone

I am supposed to be with you,

nursing you, my boy

Now I am just a defeated,

beaten animal

gutted and raped

and left to lick my wounds

I fall asleep

It is two hours before I finally see you

hold you

nurse you

Are you my boy?

Were you the one in my belly?

Are you the one I was dying to meet?

Then why do we feel like strangers?

 

 

Part V  Post Partum

Wounded mother

High on pain meds

numbs the heartache

The mild winter has

turned its' back

becoming cold and grey

It always seems nighttime

Reliving the fear

It's always 12:04 AM

I cannot sleep

I feel claustaphobic

I feel I am choking

Crying when I think of my

lost big belly

Cry when I see the scar

Alone.....fear...restlesness

endless nightmares

Ice cold, left alone

No one understands

I don't  understand

why it hurts so much

Broken body

Broken spirit

not how I had envisioned

becoming your mother

 

- Michele

 

 

 

 

11:58

Flesh still untouched;
perfect
still safe in my womb
before the scalpel
tore me open,
nicked at my fascia,
before they tugged and tore
and burnt my flesh
....before I was a changed woman

That last moment of perfection;
11:58
unaware of the wound
that would cut so deep;
tear apart more than
just flesh

Don't cut me, please
leave me and my baby be...
"..time of incision is 11:59"....

-Michele De Mont

You Say it Doesn't Matter

You lie to yourself

you hate what happened

it was a rape;

it was a murder on the table

your baby taken away

"But I saw her first", you say

though she was in a strangers' arms

"I held her in recovery", you say

Yet it was precious hours later

"We bonded right away," you insist

but you had asked yourself if it were even your baby

"I wouldn't change a thing", you say

but inside you feel robbed, a huge blackhole

"All that matters is a healthy baby," you preach

but you feel like you don't matter at all

 

Tell yourself "it doesn't matter"

if it makes you feel better

if it gets you through the days

tell yourself you wouldn't change a thing

lie to yourself

then lie to yourself some more

Then look deeper-

stop pushing away the pain

feel it; admit you hate it

 

So many women of the knife

feel the need to insist it doesn't matter-

it shouldn't matter

because birth doesn't matter

the mother doesn't matter

then why do you bring it up so freely;

without persuasion?

Maybe you feel the need to lie

outloud to yourself as well;

it makes the lie more real

 

It's sad you don't acknowledge

the betrayal,

the scarring

if you push the pain aside,

you will never heal

 

I am that thorn in your side

that won't let you forget

I make you angry because I

make you question yourself

I bring back those feelings again;

the ones you try to hide

the ones you are afraid to feel

The day we "let it go"

is the day we give in to

the Birthrape;

we say it's okay to do this to us

and we loose more than just our rights.....

 

- Michele

 

 

 

Birthrape

On the bed

you are tied down

your legs apart

as a hand is thrusted inside

then another....

...then another

 

In so much pain

no one hears you scream

Lay there and  shut up

be a good girl

The pain is too much

so you get a needle in your back

to numb the pain

of the rape

you see, it's less traumatizing

that way

 

After all of this humiliation,

another hand is thrusted in

you are told you are not doing

good enough

you are not letting the rape happen

the way they want

so it's down to the OR

for gangrape

 

You are placed on the table

arms strapped; crucified

you are given more drugs

to numb your body even more

you see, it will make this

extremely violent act

more bearable

you won't feel a thing, dear

 

They put a blue wall

in front of you

so, my dear, you won't see

how we are violating you

just lay back and enjoy

the miracle

 

You are numbed so much

you can't feel your fingers

you wonder what they are doing

so many of them standing

around your body

behind the blue wall

why so many?

Cutting, pulling, shoving,

raping

 

Your innocence is gone

you see them take it away

that beauty growing within you

is taken away

to them it was nothing

to you-everything

just another rape

you are one of many that night

 

In recovery,

you shake, you cry, you sleep

your body used

never the same

innocence gone

your attackers...gone

you never saw the faces

hiding behind their masks

 

-Michele

 

 

 

In it Alone

No one there to hold my hand;

too busy staring at the machine

so cold next to me

 

So scared, so alone

everyone ignores me

I am in it alone

 

the scariest ride of my life

I feel I am a scared, lost child

I am an insignifigant speck of dust

the machine pinging in my ear

dictating the orders

telling them how safe we are

 

I cannot eat;

yet I am starving

There is no one helping me up;

I am watched as I waddle to the toilet

 

"Just lay there and listen to us. Do not question us."

No one there to hold my hand

"You cannot birth your son. Your body broken.

You will now be cut."

No one there to make a stand

 

-Michele

Bloody

Bloody

Beaten

Battered

The sterile walls

blood splattered

My unborn

torn

yet was said to be

born

Bloody

Beaten

Battered....

 

....Numb

 

-Michele De Mont

 

Unmotherly

Feeling unmotherly today

my womb assaulted

my child ripped from me-

unripe

 

never felt my son

enter this world

wanted to take his hand

and show him Mother

 

but he was taken

never felt his Mothers' touch

was he scared; lost

in this cold, bright world?

 

will I ever feel birth?

my womb filled-

yet birth empty

my arms empty

my soul empty

unmotherly

 

-Michele De Mont

 

 

Before My Cesarean

Before my cesarean

I was not afraid

I never thought of birth

and death

in the same

 

before the cut

I was not aware

that birth could be cruel

and void

of care

 

before the rape

my belly was round

and full

a moment had passed

and in silence;

empty and still

 

before my cesarean

before the murder of birth

I had hopes for the moment

my son entered

this earth

 

-Michele De Mont

 

 

Green

On the most important

moment in my life

the most beautiful moment;

he was gone

a void where he sat

green and numb

to touch

numb to happiness

so alone

 

why didn' t you fight

my valiant knight?

why didn't you fight

for what

was right

that night

the night that I died.....

 

-Michele De Mont

 

 

Broken Machine

I see everything so differently

my rose colored glasses that I wore

in my naive former life;

were smashed so tragically

so sugically

 

my perfect woman body is mangled

and torn

it is gone

replaced by a broken machine

 

where is the dream?

the dream I once had and held

is gone now

and forever

a broken machine

 

-Michele De Mont

 

 

To Mason

I am so sorry you were

ripped from me

not yet ready

to breath the air

 

I am so sorry you were

taken from me;

thrown around like

a peice of meat

 

I am so sorry you were

pricked and prodded

and I lay there

helpless

unable to protect you

 

I am so sorry you were

taken away

alone in your new

scary world

so tiny

 

I am so sorry you were

left all alone

my precious gold

were you looking for

my breast?

 

I am so sorry how you were

welcomed to this

world

my hand not there;

my arms

tied down

 

Will you forgive me

my precious boy

I am sorry I was not there

but I will be here

now

my arms will never again be

tied down

 

-Michele De Mont

 

 

She Got the Best of Me

A cut so deep

A stare so cold

A trust was broken,

cut and torn

my flower picked

my heart ripped

 

She didn't care for me

or my son

she cared for her lost time

and wanted it back

my soul torn

for my unborn

 

And she just washed

off the blood

watched it go down the drain

and went home

unscarred

as I lay there

bloody and broken

my arms tied

as I died inside

 

I doubt she even remembers

my name

or my sons' sweet face as she was

the first face he saw

not mine

Now I have a scar

that brings me to shame

reminding me forever

of her ego--

obstetric fame

 

-Michele De Mont

 

 

When I Was Torn

I was cut out, causing my mother pain

I don't know if she was scared

or had time to prepare

I don't remember the surgeons'cold hands

the first to greet me in this life

Was I thrown in the nursery all alone?

Just like my son-crying for mother

I now feel my mothers' pain

We have the scars to match

Is this the curse I inherit?

The cut of birth and rape of soul

What was she thinking as she lay there?

A mans' gloved hands in her gut,

violating her insides

and numb to it all

What did she say when I was torn?

Did she smile or cry?

Or did she not say a word and feel nothing?

Did she feel detached like I felt when

my sons' squirming body was ushered past?

Did she shake uncontrollably and think

she might die?

Did she feel angry; wanting to grab me

from strangers' hands?

Did she hate the man that cut her so

he could be home for dinner?

Was she able to move her arms and hold me?

Or was she numb up to her neck as was I?

Did she cry, curse and shake her fists at the sky?

Wondering why?

Did she hate me for that?

Did she feel detached when she saw me at last?

Until she knew I was really hers,

how many days had passed?

I never felt birth--I was never born

I never gave birth

from a scalpel my life lies

onto cold, sterile hands

 

- Michele De Mont

 

 

Staying Here

Part of me will always be here

wandering ghost, haunting the halls

and my dream birth forgotten under the bed;

collecting dust

 

Part of me will stay here

along with the shelter that once

housed my son

I was raped here; so my heart

stays here

until I am whole again

 

Part of me lives here

still pregnant, naive, innocent

with the fetus memory of my son

that will never be born

-Michele

For Leilah

“How has your c-section impacted you?”
There is a numbness.
His touch no longer welcome
My body no longer a holy place, a sanctuary
Now a war-zone, battle-scarred.

There is a shimmering anger,
a dark undertow which drags on my heels
follows me like an unrelenting ravenous wolf
a pursuer through a waking dream..

There is a sadness…no,
a deep rending grief that tears through my flesh
more deeply than the scar belies.

There is a misshapen hole
(just the size of my dream-birth)
in my heart.

I had a cesarean,
But no one told me that the knife
would cut me this far open.

-Krista Cornish Scott

How Dare You?

You said to me:

You’re putting the life of yourself, of your child at risk—

How dare you?

What if he dies what if you choke what if they slip—

How dare you?

A selfish thought, and childish to birth at home—

How dare you?

To take responsibility for this child as if he was your own

How dare you?

And oh by the way, you hate that they cut you?—

How dare you?

So you share with me thinking I’ll care what they do—

How dare you?

What I heard you say:

You know what you’re doing; you know that you’re right—

I’m scared of you

You protect your baby and you’re prepared to fight—

I’m scared of you

I’d rather not feel it, wake me up when they’re through—

I’m scared of you

You really know so much more than I do—

I’m scared of you

If I sign my name on this paper here, they say—

I’m scared of you

Baby’s fine, I’ll be safe, I give my responsibility away—

I’m scared of you

What do you want from me? What am I supposed to do?

If you want me to say I’m wrong, or scared, or weak, or okay

How…dare…you?

 

-Becky Taylor

 

 

I'd Rather wet My Pants

I sneezed today and wet my pants

and if you thought perhaps, perchance

that it was caused by the way

I gave my baby his best birth-day

You would be correct in your assumption—

Though this knowledge is for public consumption—

I kept this baby in my womb,

then he grew and grew ‘til there was no room

And on the day that he decided

without the pressure, he wasn’t chided

I wasn’t strapped, I wasn’t cut

Pushed from my vagina, not extracted from my gut

Shortly after he was born

I was stitched where I had torn

But then I walked all by myself

Just like his birth, without much help

Some would call this my "ordeal"

though that is furthest from how I feel

It was an adventure, a journey, a ride

So you’ll please excuse my glow of pride

Through this all my muscles stretched

My body working at its best

And if my bladder received slight trauma

From all this baby-pushing drama

Some might ask if it was worth

slight incontinence "just to give birth"

From the rooftops I’d shout, in every corner I’d scream—

Not really caring if it sounded mean—

"I was cut once, but never again.

My poor little daughter, my sweet little man.

If it means giving my babies the very best chance

I’d always, always, always rather wet my pants.

 

-Becky Taylor

 

 

It Was You

Dear, dear son

Always remember this dear, dear one: because of you, I grew as much as you did in those nine months.

You are a vow I made to myself and to her. The night she was born

you were born also. As they pulled her from me, He began to gently place you

first in my heart, and later in my womb.

You were always with us. Her first step was your first step. Her first word was yours. Everything she did, I looked forward to seeing you do as well.

My gradual awareness of you was so much a part of my healing. That first fluttering kick, so faint, so low. A tiny little foot treading on a huge scar. Testing, pushing, gently saying, "it’s okay. I’m here. you’re okay"

The fullness of my belly mirrored the fullness in my heart. Perhaps it was the confidence you gave me—I never wondered if it could be done, if I could really give you birth. You never let me question. You simply were, and let me simply be. Let me simply believe.

I labored with you in our own sweet, private way. No one experienced it quite like me, it couldn’t be explained. It was you and me, and no one else knew. You were so patient with me, you never tired. It was a long time. Still, you simply were and let me simply be.

There must have been an unknown fear, remnant scar, maybe some doubt that hurt you just a bit. Your little hand by your head, touching that face I would kiss a million times, and then a million more before you were a week old.

We made it though. As they held you near me, fresh squeezed. I thought you

had left me. So gray, no breath. You were like a little puppy the way they rubbed you.

I wanted to touch you, but I had no strength. Maybe I had given it all to you. Remember, though, I called your name. I did say your name. Then you took a breath. You needed to know who you were.

If I could only tell you one thing, it would be how much

you mean to me. You mean life, and hope. You are my gift, my blessing. My apology and my forgiveness.

 

-Becky Taylor

 

 

To Silence Someone Like Me

Every time someone like you

tries to accuse someone like me

a mother is lied to

Every time someone like you

tries to ignore someone like me

a mother is numbed

Every time someone like you

tries to overlook someone like me

a mother is draped

Every time someone like you

tries to reject someone like me

a mother is tied down

Every time someone like you

tries to forget someone like me

a mother is cut

Every time someone like you

tries to overlook someone like me

a mother is taken away from her baby’s birth

Every time someone like you

tries to avoid someone like me

a mother is ruined

Every time someone like you

tries to dismiss someone like me

a mother is scarred

Every time someone like you

tries to belittle someone like me

a baby

experiences an irrevocable act of violence

Every time someone like you

tries to silence someone like me

a mother dies, a baby dies, because of yourclosed eyes.

 

-Becky Taylor

 

 

Shucked

To think of myself as an animal

Led to the slaughter

Not really choosing

 

They stripped me

They shaved me

They shot me

Full of fear

So I'd be losing

 

All the feeling

But the feeling never goes

I heard 'oh you won't feel anything'

When I couldn't move my toes

 

First the needle

Then the knife

And they say that it's all right

They say I'll feel some tugging

But I don't, I just feel nothing

 

I was screened from my body

It's bloody

The baby, where's my baby

There's the baby

Could be anybody's baby

 

They take it away

And I'm left on the table

I want to be happy

But right now I'm not able

 

To see past the blood and the light

And the screen

Strapped to a table

The end of the dream

 

Gutted and cold

In pain and alone

Unable to speak, or to cry or

To moan

 

But the hate

And the anger

And the pain

Will subside

After I've grieved

After I've cried

 

I won't have the nightmares

Or wake with such fright

I'll think back and smile

On that terrifying night

 

My wonderful baby

So tiny and pink

At that moment all I could

Think

 

Of was my pain and my fear

But what about you?

So cold and so scared

So little, so new

 

I look in your eyes

And I know what to do

I'll weep and I'll mourn

Then I'll tuck it away

Doesn't mean it's not there

But I'll keep it at bay

 

So now when I think about how

My baby came into this world

I choose to think of myself as an oyster

And my beautiful baby, the pearl.

 

 -Becky Taylor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Words

(This was the authors' third unwanted c/s with inadaquate anesthesia. This was the first time she had seen her baby right after she was pulled from her womb instead of hours later.)

 

Words

On Paper written black and white

Words

In my head never come quite right

Words

Left unsaid, shame, guilt, fear
 
Screams

Muffled, Gagged, Choked

Screams

Mask over face, floor is soaked

Blood

On the floor, drip drip drop

 Blood

Oh God  make the pain stop

Baby

Above me, Touch her Fast

Baby

My Baby, First to see her touch her instead of Last

Pain again

Overtaking me, I don't care

Pain again

My Joy is Fading, so not fair

Words

On Paper, Black And White

Words

Still not enough, still not Right

Words

Now said, guilt, shame, fear

all that's left are the tears.


 

 -Rebecca Warren

Never Cried Like This Before

All the pain I counted joy
the bliss of giving birth to a girl or boy
And then the shame, needle and cut
laid on the table, exposed to the gut. 

Be happy, baby is healthy, don't cry
so may drugs and the days go by
Drugged and dizzy, some bring flowers
If only they knew the hospital and its powers.

I look at the child and he's deprived
of the day of his birth and O how I've cried
To reach down to the center of my being
draw on the strength from above to the birth I was seeing.

I could see nothing covered in drapes
be happy they say, but I feel raped
God how it hurts when it used to bring joy
even to bathe this precious naked baby boy.

Everywhere, everyday I think of the pain
I look at his face and I'm reminded again
The love I feel cannot be surpassed
I will count it all joy at his first laugh.

But now I wonder forever and always
Will I ever give another birth day
Will this body betray me again?
I cannot imagine another within.

The tears are coming, they drop to the floor
I've never cried like this before
My head says be happy, my heart breaks
Just one c-section is all it takes.

-Teresa Nagy

 
I try to be happy as you begin this new chapter in your life
I smile for you, as my heart breaks again
All the joy I should feel clouded by my own misery
You hold your beautiful new baby, glowing
The glow of a new mother, not cut open
Your child was not ripped from your womb
Not taken too soon, scared and alone
Hooked up to machines, away from Mommy and Daddy
 
Your child was born, not perfectly, but not violently
You heal quickly, no pillows needed to nurse your child
You hold your baby with no pain, no fear of infection
And I envy you, though it pains me more to do so
You saw your child immediately, I tried to stay awake
You held your child, mine was taken away
Not knowing my touch for hours
I didn't want to abandon her, but had no choice
 
I should be happy, I have a healthy baby
Yes, there was a birth today, but also a death
The death of my hopes and dreams
The death of hope, reborn as fear and pain
What is wrong with me?  Why couldn't I do it?
What did I do to deserve this punishment?
No woman should feel this pain on her child's birth day
 
Now I mourn the death of maternal dreams
I soak up knowledge, learn it could have been prevented
It wasn't my fault, but whose was it?
I should have trusted my body, my baby
It was my fault.  No, I trusted the doctor too much
I didn't know he had his own agenda
Didn't know the system my child was born into
Now I know, and can only hope
To educate other women before their dreams are killed
 
-Shannon

As We Approach the Memories

Blessed  mother I know you carry
 the memory
Of the reality of tomorrow’s world
In your sacred womb.
Lying close under your heart.
Connected  by cord and thought.
Today.


Sensitive to the world
The lights
the cold
 the wind
 the chill
the warmth inside the womb.
Challenged by moments, minutes, hours,
Days,
time.
Challenged by thoughts of closure, end…continuing
Continuously.
Change.
Whirling
Change.


To be ONE with the journey
To be present in the moment
To be able to dream
Of  the  future.

To succumb to the journey
To give in to the moments
To lose the dream
Of this future.

Tumbling through the confusion of memories
Retrievable memory…never to be owned again
As your legitimate dreams….only fantasy.


For ever.

Forever scarred.


Blessed mother,
I hear you calling from the darkness of  the scared and the scarred and sacred
Scared
Scarred
Sacred
Womb.
Dreams altered.
Reality disturbed
Nature destroyed
Nature destroyed
Destroyed

I hear you calling
Your shouting of memory torn with joy of dreams once held.
Wretched  with the dull dark tones of agony.
Pains too great to feel.
Joy lost in the depths of pain
Sobs too low  to hear
Anguish
Human anguish
Confusion

I hear the silence.
The spaces of silence.
I hear the silence.

I hear you call as you rise up
Your rising up from the darkness
Reclaiming
Owning
Opening
Reclaiming
That which is sacred
That which is scarred
All that is Yours
Healing

-Bonnie W. Cowan

rendered unto cesar

your paper heart is strong and ready it
steadies mine, my heavy eyelids
burn

she’s terrified, our crying minds
press together, skin is sweaty, fingers
tremble

she’s dressed in metal, plastic, paper hearts
are numb, heads covered, smiles
masked, and we

speak a little, gazing upward into
watery reflections of now, burning brightly
and splintered

she’s torn, fingers and metal find you, lifted
standing, i burn you into my heart, i’m
choking

and singing, this stinging joy, dripping
eyes, dripping numbness, you’re
singing but

she isn’t finished reclaiming her guts
sewing shut the pit of life and poor choices and
money

now loneliness, to rest, her bliss is
dark, to pass the test she is angry with her
toes

i slowly rock, you rest your body
fits into my chest and finally i can
breathe

-Evan Austin

Questions

Alone and scared
No one to hold my hand
"Where is Kenny?"
No answer

Bright lights
Noise
"You may feel pressure"
Trying to hold back screams

Pulling, tugging
Emptiness
"Why isn't she crying?"
Finally, strained screams

Tears flow
He's by my side
"Here's your daughter"
I just want to hold her

Dark and quiet
In a daze
"See you tomorrow"
Fall asleep again

Tears and a photo
She's all alone
"Do you want to try nursing?"
Too numb to care

Hoarse cries
She screamed all night
"Mommy's here"
I betrayed her already

Wires and monitors
Too upset to latch
"Give her formula"
My heart breaks again

Home now
Alone every day
"I love you my angel"
Will the pain ever go away?

-Shannon

Birth Day

Six months have come and gone since my sweet baby came to be

Time enough, you’d think, for me to move on and be free. 

But the pain of all I went through sits within me like a weight

And I cry and I am angry, and sometimes I even hate. 

I cannot stop reliving it, the fear and all the pain

When I try to talk about it, I get looks like I’m insane. 

But the books teach natural birthing, to let nature take its course

To just let the mother birth her child….there is no need to force. 

Books written twenty years ago with proof that less is more

And still we give birth blindly, never knowing what’s in store. 

I checked in so excited, the picture of good health

And I walked out cut and broken, a shadow of my former self. 

They put an IV in my arm, they said it was the rules

And though it hurt, I let them, just like a passive fool. 

Next they stuck their fingers in me “to see just where you are”

Then they pumped me full of drugs because “you’re really not that far.” 

They dressed me in uncomfortable clothes, they said I couldn’t leave

Then they ripped apart my birth plan and all that I believed. 

When the drug-induced contractions came, the pain was just too much

Next came the epidural, then I was numb to any touch. 

Each time they touched my body, they took part of my dream

And they never even blinked, as cruel as that may seem. 

They made me push for hours, but didn’t feed me for two days

And when she didn’t come, they tried to pull her out their way. 

But I was so exhausted that I couldn’t lift my head

I no longer cared who saw me lying there with my legs spread. 

Before I could say “yes” or “no” they said that it was time

And I knew that this experience was never really mine. 

I couldn’t keep from shaking as they wheeled me in the room

And they talked of their vacations as they pulled her from my womb. 

I only got a glance before they took my child away

And I won’t forget that emptiness until my dying day. 

It was many hours later when they wheeled her to my bed

But where had they been keeping her?  What had she been fed? 

After days of being jabbed at, bullied, and kept up all night

I needed to escape, and if I had to, I would fight. 

I went home in a stupor, couldn’t even stand up straight

I simply couldn’t understand how this could be my fate. 

After weeks of sadness and regret and pain I couldn’t face

I realized that I should have stayed at home, where I was safe. 

My daughter was a victim, and I was a victim, too

If only I had stood up strong for all I’d read and knew. 

But there is no going back now, it’s over and it’s done

And they’ll never know what they did wrong, so in a way, they’ve won. 

I wanted an experience to sustain me through the years

And instead I got a nightmare that has only brought me tears. 

And yes, I have my daughter and she’s healthy and she’s whole

But they took the joy that was my right and robbed me, heart and soul. 

So now each time I shower and I look down at my scar

I think of how our doctors haven’t really come that far. 

The power and control that they have taken from us all

Will someday turn around and it will lead to their downfall. 

They have no right to handle us or to take our dreams away

No right to touch our babies or to rob us of our say. 

They only have the right to do what we allow them to

So we must stand up for ourselves and all that we believe is true. 
 

We have every right to look at them and say a loud, strong “no”

We have a right to be informed, we have the right to go. 

Let’s demand that we be treated kindly and humane

Let’s be smart when they insist that we should numb the pain. 

For one thing leads to another, they must think that we are dumb

They blame us, but it’s their fault, and now our time has come. 

We are built to birth our babies, we were meant to do the dance

Just follow what your body says and give yourself a chance. 

Let’s all take back what used to be our own, God-given right

To have our babies naturally by the will of our own might.

-Trisha Lawrie

 

-------------------

She walked in the room with her bags in her hands

Looking fresh, even though it was late

I watched her set up with such meaningful purpose

Aware of the calm she creates. 

I knew when she got there that all would be well

Through my pain, she would help me be strong

For this was my moment, and now I would call

On the trust we had built all along. 

There were moments when I needed guidance

When I felt that I couldn’t go on

It was then that her steady assurance

Was the rock that my soul leaned upon. 

She never imposed on my body

Frequent checks simply didn’t exist

Unlike doctors, who make births about them

Pam was there just to simply assist. 

When my daughter was born, Pam’s hands caught her

She lovingly gave her to me

And if a more beautiful moment existed

I can’t think of what it might be. 

My daughter was treated with love and respect

Her first touches were gentle and sweet

The birth that I had with this baby

Has made me more whole and complete. 

I rested in bed with my daughter

While Pam busied herself in the room

She cleaned up and made it so easy

For our lives to just simply resume. 

In my wildest dreams, I could never have thought

That a birth could be so calm and healing

Whenever my mind takes me back to that night

I am filled with a wonderful feeling. 

I wish I could shout from the rooftops

Tell my story again and again

I would tell everyone, have your babies at home

With Pam, who so many call “friend”. 

You may never know how important you are

Or how much the world needs what you do

I for one would just like so say “thank you”

To Pam….who makes wishes come true.

-Trisha Lawrie

Jude's Birth  

40 weeks 4 days
My midwife suggested Induction 
for high blood pressure
So tired and selfishly wanting my son to be in my arms
I didn't question it,
I just agreed.

4cm before my Induction
Thursday April 3rd, 2008
Pitocin rolls through my veins and I coast through active labor
In the tub, on the birth ball, John supporting my every move.

Transition hits
11 hrs in...
12 hrs in...
13 hrs in...
14 hrs in...
15 hrs in...
No progress
Discouraged, defeated and swollen with their fluids...

I cry
I fight
I whimper
I beg for that needle in my back
my midwife holds me in a hug tighter than anyone has ever held me before
I didn't want her to let me go
But she had other patients to see

2:00 am
20 hours in...
In walks the midwife to check me
9-10cm - 0 Station
Same as hours earlier
They say baby isn't descending
I can feel the doubt now, I am broken. I must be. Why haven't I had my baby already?
My midwife had mentioned c-section earlier

But I wanted to wait.

I wait. Waiting for the permission to give up or the courage to go on. 

After hours of no change
I decide to get the c-section
and am labeled FAILURE to progress.

FAILURE
FAIL
F

Is all I hear.

Rolling into the OR
John can't come in yet
Alone
Cold
Scared
Strapped to the table
Shaking
John peeks above the curtain
I scream out in pain
Dr. tries to calm me down
I say this can't be normal, It feels like someone is pulling me apart
Liquid quiet in my IV
Suddenly sleepy but I stay awake to see my son
Pulled from my belly he is poked and prodded
Held by at least 8 people before me
Alone in the OR
Layers of sutures left
Where is my baby? My husband? 

Finally 
I get you
I nurse you
I hold you
I smell you
I cry the most grateful tears for you.

To this day, I still cry those grateful tears for you...

However I can't help but
touch my scar to check if it is still numb.

I am reminded by where sensation used to live

of the surgery that forever changed me.

-Taryn Goodwin 

Time 

It wasn't supposed to happen this way. 
Months of planning, hoping, preparation.
Too big. Too old. Were they talking about my baby?
Or me?
Didn't matter - any excuse was reason enough
to cut.
I watched myself fall down the same path
I'd seen before.
Cervadil.
Pit.
Artificial rupture of membranes.
Artificial everything.
Impatience.
Impatience.
Impatience.
I walked.
I rocked.
I willed.
Fuck.
It wasn't time.
Their clock was ticking - I should have
taken the time, claimed it, told them all to
go to hell. 
Sign the papers, sell my soul. 
Informed consent? There wasn't time.
The mirror squeaked, I did not run.
And so the stripping had begun.
Dignity first, then womanhood, 
and finally humanity, 
strapped down, perched upon a ledge.
The sheeple added one more member,

sisterhood of the scar 

 

-Kendra 

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