One young woman sits and waits patiently, scrolling on her phone to pass the time. A couple sits across the room talking softly to each other. The air feels light in the quiet room. A woman arrives, checks in, walks with heavy steps to a chair and sits down with a sigh.
She had her head bowed over her sleeping newborn, and her perfect plaits of braids were blanketing her shoulders, cascading calmly despite the insurmountable turmoil clearly manifesting on her face.
After our first week on clinical rotations, my third-year medical student colleagues laughed about the silly and awkward things that made their first days hard. Someone was shunned for bumping into the sterile field during their first operation. Someone else couldn’t figure out the scrub machines and was stuck mismatching for the day.
During my OB/GYN rotation, one of my primary roles as a medical student was to observe and assist during labor and delivery. On one particularly memorable Friday afternoon, after we welcomed a healthy baby boy into our world, I delivered the placenta wholly intact on my own. However, while I felt satisfied with a job well done, something was dripping down my leg…
I heard about the blood / that you described as a flood, / and the terrible stomach pain
She said, / “Doctor: / I know you’ll think I’m crazy, but / I really want to get pregnant.”
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to give birth in space? To labor and bear a child in the voids between celestial bodies? Quite possibly you have never really given much thought to giving birth at all, let alone beyond Earth’s atmospheric shell.