The End but not the Means

Bright blue veins stretch a map across her belly,

giving no indication what’s happening underground.

Her hand cups the full-moon, the cusp of new life;

the woman dreams as cells are dividing, beginning.


A sudden panic of white coats round a monitor,

two on the phone, the others inflated with facts.

The woman no longer exists, she’s just a vessel grown in size

with the same pale hand now gripping on for life.


A curtain cuts her clean in half, a foretaste of the scar.

Tears stream from her unseeing drug-fogged eyes.

Bright fluorescent lights and Technicolor red:

waterfalls, rivulets, forceps and a beck.


An oxygen mask hides her face, Cannulas cover her arms,

a latex glove wields a thread, pulls the gash taught and tight.

One hand holds a purple, glistening tiny fist, the other

strokes dark wet hair on hospital-issue white.


A score of cards displayed randomly on the shelf, the wall, the door.

Late morning sun pervades their bedroom: a yellow halo glow.

Three heads on the pillows leaning in to touch, all

unaware of this moment of calm: hand in hand in hand.


babybirthcaesarean sectionmotherhoodsurgery


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Kaye Heyes

Sun 17th Feb 2013 11:38

Thank you so much for your kind words, Ann.
It's not my usual style but writing in the third person as a series of snapshots over the week of my son’s birth enabled me to get some distance from the trauma. By concentrating on the visual, not the emotions – my usual starting point for writing – I’ve also been much more able to accept how dark it all was and find a real compassion for myself back then. X

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Ann Foxglove

Thu 14th Feb 2013 13:10

Very dramatic - birth is such a dramatic event, even if all goes smoothly, and yet of course it is such a common occurrence too! I love the last verse - and was relieved too!

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