Poem Birth Story- "Medwives"

I received an emotional and touching birth story in the form of a poem from a reader recently.  She told a story about a friend who was convinced to have an induction during those impressionable and uncomfortalbe last days of pregnancy.  She wanted a natural birth, but it didn't go as planned.  The poem is touching and heart wrenching, and while not written by the mother but by the observent friend, it tells a sad tale.

It just breaks my heart that this is how women are giving birth when I know it can be so very different. 

(Names have been changed.  Dialogue indicated by BOLD, the mother's dialogue indicated by bold and italics.)


Not a degree
but a disease

Highly communicable.


I need to sleep, I need to sleep

Back labor
Slidey eyes
Unsteady head

I need pain relief, isn’t there something you can give me?

Blood tests

You need to be augmented, my dear.

Pitocin: 4 ml/h
Covert amniotomy
Pitocin: 6ml/h

It hurts
Push your button, Mia.

Pitocin: 8ml/h
Failing epidural

It hurts, it hurts
Ahh, ahh, shh-shh-shh
Have you pushed your button?

Pitocin: 10ml/h
Failed epidural
Pitocin: 12ml/h

Oh God, it hurts
Mia you have to listen to us, we can't help you if you don't listen to us.

Eighteen hours out from Cervidil.
Fetal malposition
brings on maternal malposition.

Chest flat on bed
Numb legs hold
butt in the air

We’ll check in half an hour.
If this doesn’t work,
we'll have to deliver baby another way--the vaginal bypass route.

I can’t breathe
I’m falling, I’m falling!

Chest pain
Contraction pain
Vertigo panic

Your chest has to be flat on the bed.
You’re not falling.

Hand after hand
Tube after tube
Into her red

You understand why we're doing this, don't you?
We're trying to avoid a c-section.
Then you'll know, everyone will know we did everything we can to avoid a c-section

Mia I need you to speak up and speak clearly to me, I can't help you if I can't understand you

Beestung breasts
Log legs
Pufferfish feet

Pitocin: 16ml/h
Shouts to ten
Intrauterine pressure catheter

Full dilation
Full two hours of pushing
Fully-formed hemorrhoids

Do you want a mirror?
If Pat was here, she’d make you have one. She can be very authoritative.

No progress.
No progress.
No progress.

Mia, we’re gonna have to deliver this baby another way.
She keens No!
I can’t have a c-section!
Why? Why can’t you have a c-section?
What are you afraid of?
Everything about it!
I feel like a failure
I feel like a failure
I feel like a failure

The recovery for a normal birth is about five days; for a c-section, it’s about 7.

The final lie
the final cut.

This one to the belly--
the rest to the woman.


Chloe grice said…
Oh god what a heart-wrenching picture of a woman in terror & pain being talked to like a dumb cow (and cows are not dumb, I know). The simile fits though: women are cattle lined up to be sliced up if they don't perform as expected.
Thank you for posting this.
:( Reminds me of the birth I was at this past weekend. "Of course, we'll support you in a natural birth dear." Wink, wink. "Now can you tell me again for the sixteenth time how you would rate your pain level??" At the very end "Of course there was NO way you could've gotten that baby out vaginally. He was over eight pounds!" Sigh.
Susan Sene said…
This sounds very familiar to me - like my first birth. Shes now four and I STILL struggle with those emotions