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78 Seconds – A Birth Story

Mother with newborn baby in hospital.

“It’s just that there’s more blood than we would like to be seeing.”

“Someone call the doctor in.”

“She’s coming.”

“What’s she dilated to?”

“She’s at 5cm and about 80% effaced. She just started bleeding.”

“Get peds in here. Get them ready. Let me check her.”

“She’s complete.”

“Oh that explains it.”

“Get the team.”

“Let’s get him out.”

Push. Push. Push. Breathe. Push. Push. Push.

Am I doing it? I can’t feel it.

“Do it. Do it.”

I’m trying.

“Keep going.”

It’s really happening. He’s coming.

“Keep going. Push.”

“His head is out. He’s almost there.”

“He’s here.”

1, 2, 3,

What’s wrong? Why is there so much blood? Why is he so limp? Is he okay? He’s not crying. What is happening?

4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

“Clamp it. Dad, come and cut the cord. Right here. Do it now.”

11, 12, 13, 14, 15,

Why can’t I hold him? What happened to delayed cord clamping? Can I have him? What’s going on?

16, 17, 18, 19, 20,

Where is he going? We’re supposed to have skin to skin contact! Why is he grey?


He isn’t crying.


Why is there so much blood?


What is happening?

24, 25, 26,

“It’s a placental abruption. We need to get the bleeding stopped.”


It’s too quiet. Where is he?

28, 29, 30

I can’t ask the question. Is he… will he be… oh god it’s too quiet.

31, 32, 33, 34, 35,

They’re in the way. I can’t see him! why are there so many people in here?

36, 37, 38,

“It’s the pit?”

“Yes it’s the pit.”

“I turned it down.”

“We have to stop the bleeding.”

“How much has she lost?”

39, 40

It’s too quiet. Too quiet. Why isn’t he crying?




“Give her the shot.”


What is that tugging? So much pressure.


“Are we keeping the placenta for any reason?”

No… I’m not that kind of Mom.

“Not you. Get it to the lab. Let’s get it checked out.”


“An abruption?”

“Yes, it’s shredded.”

“The pit?”

“Yes, the pit.”

47, 48, 49

It’s quiet. Is he…


I can’t see him. I can’t hear him. Stop worrying about me, tell me what’s going on! Where is he?

51, 52, 53, 54, 55,

Why won’t anyone tell me what’s happening?

56, 57, 58, 59, 60,

This is taking too long! I need to see my son! Please tell me what’s happening!

61, 62, 63,

MOVE! Please!

64, 65

A gurgle.


A cry! 


He’s alive! He’s okay! I want to see him!

68, 69, 70,

Is he alright??


Why do you get to hold him? Give him to me!


You’re posting on Facebook?? I haven’t even SEEN him yet!


He’s okay. He’s okay. He’s okay.


I thought…

“We have to stop the bleeding.”


“How much has she lost?”

“It’s still going.”


Can I hold him?? Please, can I hold him? 


“He gave us quite a scare there! But we got him back.”


Please, let me see him.

“Here is your son.”

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