a placenta is often described as the tree of life
Fisted by violent cramps,
she was frightened by all the blood
that streamed down her legs.
Backed against a vengeful dam,
the embryonic water raged,
passed unnoticed in a red flood.
Help she sought, but too late.
How unimportant the dried blood on her hands,
streaks smeared to her elbows,
stains leaked to her socks, her cloth sandals;
assisted into bed,
attendant hands like birds' wings
fluttered around her.
Yet there was a heartbeat,
his faint call soon drowned in the maelstrom.
She pushed hard for a cruel reward.
He, thrust against her rough bones,
delivered without life,
like an uprooted tree surrenders to the river's current,
She lifted him, firstborn,
touched the orbs of his eyes,
the curve of his cheeks,
her gesture birthed of stark, unspeakable beauty.
Carol Brendsel is a staff nurse specializing in maternal-child health at Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, CA.
The Art of Nursing department is coordinated by Joy Jacobson.