Thursday, December 4, 2008

birth poetry

Birth Story

(I'm drowning)
And the midwife holds me in her arms and says
Yes, it's hard, isn't it? You're doing so well!
(I'm surfacing)
And she says you're doing it exactly right
(And I'm drowning)
And she says you're taking such good care of your baby
(And I'm surfacing)
And she says yes this is how it is, you'll live, you're good and strong
(And I'm drowning)
And she says, good, good, that's good!
(And I'm surfacing)
And part of me says damn you, I'm dying here!
(And I'm drowning)
And part of me says, Oh God, I am doing this, aren't I?
(And I'm surfacing)
And part of me says leave me alone save me help me
(And I'm drowning)
And part of me says this is the most incredible thing I've ever done
I can't believe I'm actually doing this yes yes yes
(And I'm surfacing)

And the baby comes in a long, sea salt waterfall flood ocean of sweat and tears and birth waters and blood and I take her slippery warm wide-eyed amazed and knowing little self against my created~and~moved~the~universe warm and billowy belly and tell her she's wonderful and safe. And I follow her with a red and glorious afterbirth.

And I think "I did it. I am totally incredible!! We want some prizes and news coverage in here." Did you see that? Was that great or what?!?!?"

(And the Doctor writes: 32 year old gravida II Para I presents in active labor. Normal, spontaneous vaginal delivery of a viable female LOA over intact perineum. Apgars 9 & 10.
Uneventful delivery......)


-Barbara Kozlowski, CNM





Los Nacimeientos/Births

We will never remember dying.
We were so patient
about being born,
noting down
the numbers, the days,
the years and the months,
the hair, the mouths we kissed,
but that moment of dying:
we surrender it without a note,
we give it to others as remembrance
or we give it simply to water,
to water, to air, to time.
Nor do we keep
the memory of our birth,
though being born was important and fresh:
and now you don't even remember one detail,
you haven't kept even a branch
of the first light.

It's well that we are born.

It's well that in the room
or in the woods
or in the hut in the fisherman's district
or in the crackling canefields
there is a very unusual silence,
a moment solemn as wood,
and a woman gets ready to give birth.

It's well known that we were born.

But of the profound jolt
from not being to existing, to having hands,
to seeing, to having eyes,
to eating and crying and overflowing
and loving and loving and suffering and suffering,
of that transition or shudder
of the electric essence that takes on
one more body like a living cup,
and of that disinhabited woman,

the mother who is left there with her blood
and her torn fullness and her end and beginning,
and the disorder
that troubles the pulse, the floor, the blankets,
until everything gathers and adds
one more knot to the thread of life:
nothing, there is nothing left in your memory
of the fierce sea that lifted a wave
and knocked a dark apple from the tree.

The only thing you remember is your life.


-Pablo Neruda

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