Let me tell you my birth story…

Trigger warning.

Triggers everywhere, in the sheets, on the floor, in my hands… with a flutter, with a cramp, with ripping and a scream, we are triggering all the way to where I have been for 15 years.

I am bleeding.

We are racing towards the hospital. I am in the middle seat in the back of a taxi, bent at the waist as wave after wave wraps around me, tethering me to this moment in time forever.

I am 20 years old. My husband is 22. We are not ready for this, this thick and thin, unto death do us part bullshit we were told is our saving grace. Who’s death did they mean? The deaths of our rebellion? The death of our future? The death of the beating heart inside my womb?

There is no time to think about it. Through thick we race, pulling up to the emergency room.

Everything is spinning.

25 weeks is maternity, not emergency. Head on up the elevator, white and bright contrasting with the red red red running down my legs. I am unsteady, so unsteady, as unsteady as I’ll ever be.

Now I’m in a bed, and it’s moving down the hall as someone pries my legs open and asks me a question I can’t answer because she’s already yelling about 10 centimeters. I am helpless as the room forms around me, and people file in.

She’s tiny, the woman at my feet.

Mami, look at me… look at me, Mami… I’m going to need you to push.

And my legs are in the air, and panic is building because I don’t know anything, but I know that I don’t want to push.

The room is filling up, and someone is holding my hand, and he is wearing scrubs, and he has kind eyes, and he looks deep into my soul.

Take a deep breath. Just concentrate on me. We’re going to help you.

And I am crying and crying, and I can’t stop the pressure.

I can’t… I can’t… he’s not ready!

Those eyes pierce me, and he squeezes my fingers, and there is nothing he can say.

The woman at my feet is not going away.

Mami, you need to work with me. We get him out together, or I have to cut you. Mami, we don’t have time.

The man with kind eyes nods


And I push and push, and there is no scream, there won’t be a sound at all for the next three days until the beeping stops, and the machines are rolled away, and I am holding my tiny dead son against my broken heart.

For now, I look up at the only person who is focused on me.

Did I kill him?

He shakes his head and slowly relaxes the grip he’s allowed me to hold.

But I know that I did.


There is bubbling inside me

rising panic

calm pushing down

rising fear

serenity pushing down

and I am reminded of the breaths I forgot to take

as I rode the waves of birth







no air

no space

no end

until there was a scream.

But the first time

there was no scream

and I saved my breath

for round two

and only let it go

when I heard the second cry

the third time around.