Off the Shelf
comment 1


Normally I’m itching
to be involved in a delivery.

But now I’m hesitant,
Is this crossing the line?

Am I intruding on this couple’s privacy?
Their limited — so short —
time with their child?

Once I enter the room
my mind goes elsewhere.
I’m all sterile equipment, eyes, heartache.

This delivery
is different.
The room is quiet and dark.

These are not joyful moments,
but they are still

Head is out
shoulder’s coming
I catch her.

You can barely tell once the little newborn cap is on.
We’re all crying. Listen —
The heartbeat slows.

This is their experience
But it’s mine too.
I will never forget this sweet baby.

And her parents who thanked me
for being a part of their experience.
Thanked me?

I can’t process that day with my head.
I feel it
in my heart.

Britta Knutson Britta Knutson (2 Posts)

Contributing Writer

University of Minnesota Medical School

Karin Britta Knutson: I'm a fourth year medical student at the University of Minnesota, applying to residencies in Obstetrics & Gynecology. When I'm not at clerkships or writing poetry, I'm either training for a marathon or spending time with my husband and goldendoodle.

  • Ann Marie Farmer

    Beautiful poem. My middle daughter had anencephaly and I will forever be grateful to the nurse who delivered her for her compassion and care. The ‘thank you’ from the parents means more than they could possibly put into words.