Thursday, April 8, 2010

A Moment.

I remember the weakness in my body after giving birth. I assumed it was because I had proven myself an amazon woman, with power beyond all power: I had pushed another human being out into the world. My legs were unbelievably shaky and I almost had blind spots, when I stood up I had to be held. I had to pee so badly and the bathroom seemed so far away. The nurse was so kind, so loving, as she took my arm and helped me hobble across the floor. I was naked, but still had the IV pole attached to my arm with sticky white tape. It trailed along behind me with a slow squeak as I shuffled my way towards the open door, which was only about four feet from the bed. Bright red splotches of blood followed me, a trail to lead me back to where I needed to return.
I sat down on the toilet, terrified for the pain I anticipated. I was dizzy and disoriented. I peed and peed, gallons it seemed, pee that was now able to fill a bladder previously squashed and cramped by the baby inside me. I looked down and saw all the blood and I was woozy again, and the nurse had to help me with the peri bottle because I felt too sickened to do it.
She asked me, do you hate the sight of blood? Does it bother you when you get your period? And I answered her with the truth, no, none of this bothered me. It was just this, this blood, this end of a pregnancy that was supposed to bring me a glorious life and was instead sucking me into a vaccuum of pain and oblivion. It was this beginning of the aftermath that I could not bear.
She helped me up, and dried me off. Then we followed the trail of blood splotches back to the bed, and I looked up, and he sat there with the baby in his arms.
And for the first time, I noticed that she was completely still, and the horror swept over me, and as the nurse helped me crawl back onto the bed, I cried and cried.

5 comments:

Taking Heart said...

I never really thought of it that way. I walk women to the bathroom for the first time after giving birth. I watch the blood drip from their empty womb. I clean their bottoms and ice their stitches. I wipe up the trail.

But you are right. There is a story in that blood. Everyone has a different story to tell. Just this week I received an email from a patient whom I cared for a year ago... when she nearly died from bleeding to death. Her blood is forever stained in my mind. She will always be the one to me that I almost lost.

Your story is precious, achingly sad... and I appreciate how you can place meaning on even the most simple drop of blood. You make me better at what I do. Thank you.

mommymichael said...

i appreciate how much you share with us. It's so hard to convey over the internet - I've never been very good with words - and saying (hugs) just doesn't seem enough.

I feel like I know you without knowing you.

I'm sorry that sweet charlotte isn't here with you.
thank you for your stories. I think of your family whenever I hear the name.

Jen said...

Carol, I am so appreciative of your ability to capture your pain, amazement, honesty in words. This is such a powerful thing you've described; I can feel my body react with each description of the blood dripping, the gallons of pee, the horror of the stillness.

Holding you and Charlotte close in my heart.

Hope's Mama said...

Vivid, painful memories of my own walk back from the bathroom after my midwife (now a close friend) finished showering me after my birth. I remember the blood that literally poured from my body and the tears that would pour from my body afterwards. Daddy was also holding her after my shower. And oh how I remember that stillness. Still brings me to my knees.
Another beautiful, heartbreaking post. One where I wish it wasn't my story as well as yours.
xo

Erika P said...

Heartbreaking, Carol. At one point when I was holding Sierra, Tim looked over and said, "She isn't moving much, is she?" It was an attempt at a joke, of sorts, but also an expression of just how wrong the whole scene was. I said no, and then we just stared at each other with tears in our eyes. That moment broke my heart, too.

I remember after Austin was born being a bit shocked by my bleeding. I was prepared for it with Sierra, but I think if I had lost my first baby I would have been horrified by the blood.