Mullberry Whine

poured out before bed

When She’s Done

Camille on the Beach, 1870, Claude Monet…

The steadily increasing pains have reduced her to breathless whimper, the cheerful jesting of latent labor long forgotten.  She gestures for her boyfriend’s arm, clutches at my hand as another contraction seizes her, panting as tears squeeze from her big brown eyes.  Her boyfriend is completely engrossed in his texting activities.  Her mother sits sullenly across the room, having muttered something about loose women and painful labors a few moments before.  Her brother and father have gone down to the cafeteria for hot dogs.  I squeeze her hand to the slow beat of my heart and encourage her to breathe, focusing my prickly annoyance at her relations on supporting her.

The labor is grotesquely long, tiring even to follow.  The epidural fails; she feels no relief despite the best efforts of the anesthesiologist.  She pushes for hours, sobbing between desperately long contractions, sweating through her thin hospital gown and trembling with exhaustion.  When her big, beautiful little boy is born, and as his skin colors from a ghostly lavender to a fresh, clean ebony, there is no one from her family to praise and welcome.  When she begins to hemorrhage, there is no well-loved face to calm her, worry for her. They’ve gone to dinner at the Olive Garden.  She should call when she’s done.


– Step 2 CK Throw BackFrom Obstetrics

8 comments on “When She’s Done

  1. Marie
    October 20, 2012

    This was one of the most touching of your blog posts (and that’s saying something, as they are all very touching in their own ways!). I hope that woman came out of her labor successfully, I hope her family gets a clue, and I hope you continue sharing your beautiful stories. Thanks!

    • mullberrywhine
      October 20, 2012

      Thanks very much, Ms. Marie, so glad to hear you enjoy. And I’d say I hope similarly, thank you!

  2. Arman
    October 20, 2012

    This was so sad but a very true reality for a lot of women out there. Families really have no clue a lot of the times.

    • mullberrywhine
      October 20, 2012

      Absolutely. I understand the disappointment, even the anger surrounding teen pregnancy. I do not always understand the abandonment I sometimes see, in teen pregnancy, in unwed pregnancy – in just any sort of tough medical or social issue…

  3. kindredspirit23
    October 20, 2012

    Heartless families, the boyfriend and I would go round and round; mom not any better. I excuse Dad and brother only because I don’t care for the attitudes of most men concerning all this. That doesn’t mean they are right in how they feel and/or act. Thank you for being her angel here. I think she needed one.

    • mullberrywhine
      October 23, 2012

      It was so tough to watch. My greatest hope is that things have drastically changed, such that both she and baby have all the family support they could ever need…

  4. ahyesplans
    October 22, 2012

    I’m glad that she at least had you. One of the saddest stories I’ve read so far, though.

    • mullberrywhine
      October 23, 2012

      I had about 8 other laboring patients that night – all with their own unique high risk and variously scary or sad stories – but I can’t tell you how powerful the guilt I felt when I had to leave this lonely little lady to check in on or attend the deliveries of the others… Hope her family felt just a touch of that guilt after the fact, and that it’s moved them to act like family!

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The views expressed on "Mullberry Whine" are NOT intended to diagnose or treat disease.
The med-ed related stories described here are based on real events. Details have been changed in accordance with HIPAA de-identification guidelines to protect confidentiality.
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