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Yes She Was

I recently interviewed Lisa Flato, the author of the following piece/poem. Our subject was post-traumatic growth. A recording of the interview is accessible to all members of the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death. Each month I host interviews, webinars, and open discussions focusing on the threshold points of birth and death as well as mindfulness when it comes to breath/living.

 

Yes She Was

by Lisa Flato

 

Yes She Was

Yes, she was beautiful. Yes, she was 8lbs 15 ounces. Yes, she went past her due date. Yes, she made me sicker than a dog. She kicked me, early on and often.

 

lilahs birthMy waters never released. My contractions were nothing much. At 41 weeks and 5 days we got serious, very serious, about getting the party started.

Membranes were stripped, acupuncture was had, herbs were drunk and candles were lit.

Friday night, finally something! I panicked, my husband panicked. We called the doula. She did not panic.

Labor came and labor went. My midwife came and my midwife went. My doula came. My doula stayed.

Saturday came. Saturday went.

 

Yes She Was

Yes, she was beautiful. Yes, she was 8lbs 15 ounces. Yes, she went past her due date. Yes, she made me sicker than a dog. She kicked me, early on and often.

 

I remember these moments of looking around the room and watching everyone sleep. Everyone but me.

“Assholes!” I thought.

I was lonely. My midwife whispered to my doula: “At some point she has to come to terms that she is the one doing this. She needs to be alone.”

I understand now what she meant by that, but at the time all I could think was, “Assholes!”

Then little by little things began picking up. We walked the streets of Greenpoint in the dark. We enjoyed brief moments in the labor tub.

Sunday came and Sunday went.

Monday morning came. It was the real morning – a 3:45am morning all birth workers can feel in their bones morning. It was quiet, still, dark.

It was Monday morning and things were shifting. Things were getting harder, my doula talking my jaw soft through every contraction. My midwife? Well, now she came and now she stayed.

We rocked. W rolled. We squatted. Yes, “we” because it was a group effort. Everyone took turns for me to hold on as I squatted with every last drop of will I had.

After checking my daughter’s heart rate, my midwife said, “You need to push her out. NOW!”

Now.

“Oh shit” I thought. “Okay.”

“You need to push her out,” she repeated. “NOW. Or I will have to cut you.”

“Oh shit” I thought. “Okay.”

So with her hands pulling and my will fighting, I pushed her out.

 

Yes She Was

Yes, she was beautiful. Yes, she was 8lbs 15 ounces. Yes, she went past her due date. Yes, she made me sicker than a dog. She kicked me, early on and often.

 

Screams.

Panic.

Faces of joy quickly turned to fear – a fear I hope never to see again.

“Talk to her,” they said.

“Call her by her name,” they said. “Should we call 911?”

“She’s fine,” I said to my husband.

A fear I hope never to see again.

Bring me the warm blankets! Bring me ice!

Oh God. Please God. Oh God.

A fear I hope never to see again.

Monday morning, July 23rd 2007, it was raining. 11:15am, my daughter was born-still.

I remember a kick just before I pushed her out. I said: “Don’t kick me just come out!”

I feel like she was saying good-bye.

Later, I am the hospital before being put under for a D&C because my placenta wouldn’t detach on it’s own. As he was placing the mask on my face, the anesthesiologist said…”Ah, once a cesarean always a cesarean.”

“No, not true” I said before going under. Then, I take a pause.

I take a pause for my daughter.

I take a pause for myself.

I take a pause for all of the mamas for whom bringing their babies into the world was hard.

I take a pause for all of the mamas for whom bringing their babies into the world was blissful.

I take a pause for my midwife who has to live with her demons every day. And I wish her well.

I take a pause for my doula. She never left my side.

I take a pause for my husband and the bond that has never been broken.

You see for me, death has become a wake up call. It’s like we are going through our lives and BOOM! Death is there to remind us all of THIS moment, like it’s screaming: “WAKE UP!”

There is no one right way to have a baby. We all know that.

Am I still a home birth advocate? Absolutely.

My baby didn’t die because I had a VBAC at home.

My baby died because that was her journey.

I went on to have another daughter. I do not live in fear. I do not doula in fear.

I take the gift I was given. I take a pause, I take a moment and I remember.

 

Yes She Was

Yes, she was beautiful. Yes, she was 8lbs 15 ounces. Yes, she went past her due date. Yes, she made me sicker than a dog. She kicked me, early on and often.

 

She comes to me in my dreams and tries to talk to me of things to come.

 Yes, she IS my daughter.

 Yes She Is.

 

biopicLisa Flato is dedicated to supporting women and their families through her work as a birth doula and yoga instructor. She feels passionately that “peace on earth begins at birth.” Learn more about her work.

  • April 30, 2016
  • By Amy Wright Glenn