Where the blue takes us

06:27. It’s hard to hear the outside sounds, through double-paned glass. But if I open the window… and I do… there is the sweetest tuning-up of a spring symphony audible… and the sky is the palest rainbow of colour washing up from the hills…. but minus the green… as if the land has stolen it. Lavender, myosotis, lilac, rose, peach, gold… and then baby blue.

Baby blue… where does this saying arise? There is no baby-blue in a newborn baby… not in the eyes, at least… aha! What I said before is not true. Since new babies do come out, most often, with faces entirely… blue.

It was quite a shock to my husband, when the first one came. I was standing in a lion’s half-crouch in our bathroom, bearing down with my fore-paws pressed with all my might against the counter; I did not know what was happening, except that for one of the first times in my life, I felt completely connected with the earth, in the most primal way… and without any drugs.

My midwife was there, praising me… giving me the praise I needed… yes, yes, you are doing so well… yes, that’s right, you’re amazing, you’re amazing, your baby is coming, your baby is coming, it’s happening, soon he will be in your arms, it’s happening, yes, that’s just right, Nadine, just like that, keep going… yes, wow! you are utterly amazing (this being when my roar threatens to shatter eardrums)… yes, that’s it! you’re baby’s here, I’m catching him, yes! yes, oh, he’s beautiful, he’s beautiful – oh! –

… and then I sat down on the toilet, which had been just behind me, opposite the counter, before, and leaned back, and my body was not mine anymore, and yet it was, so much more so then, than before… and this little being was placed against my still-round but now-soft belly, and he began to push and push with strong, strong tiniest little legs, pushing to get what he immediately and instinctively needed… and I did cry and kiss and cradle him with shaking, shaking hands, as all the power drained out of me… but he would not get what he needed, for a long, long time yet.

I had not known, then, that the baby needed all those post-birth smells and feels to navigate his way to his future sole source of nourishment, comfort, immunity from many illnesses —

immunity from many illnesses. That’s what had sort of been in the back of my mind when I began this piece… that about two dozen other themes. I get so overwhelmed, when I face the page, just like in the old days.

Anyway… (off-topic meta-rambling deleted)… it took me nearly two months of challenges, to get my first baby to latch well enough to get milk from the breast… and the possible causes could be a thousand words essay in themselves, which I have likely already written somewhere a few times over, to various mothers, when I later became a La Leche League volunteer, and since then, as well…

…but in the meantime, I had to express my milk (first with a borrowed dual-electric hospital-grade pump, obtained for me by my midwife, and later with a portable hand pump, bought by me at the local pharmacy)… and give it to my first baby that way… at first by a needle-less plastic syringe (squirting small amounts into his mouth though the tiny plastic nozzle of the tube), then attempted by tube attached to my breast (it’s complicated), and when that didn’t work, by bottle. But eventually, at around seven and a half weeks, everything clicked, or rather, relaxed… and it was smooth sailing until (and for a few months after) I was pregnant with our next planned baby, just over a year later.

But the baby was blue-born, to come back to colour schemes, as I’d roared and half-all-foured on that similarly golden-blue morn, and it was a shock for poor T, who was there to help, and he’d thought it was still-born, as he’d later told me.

So many things we don’t know, before birth, since the old knowledge is no longer commonly known. But that is the natural colour of a newborn baby. It matches the face of the placenta… which is born not long after the infant, and on the placenta, is the pattern of a beautiful… Tree.

I don’t know how these strange creations come out of me, quite honestly. I just go with the flow… and let the flow grow in me.  Thanks for bearing down with me, and my con-textual oddities.


Image: found via keyword search “Placenta tree art” – by Amy Swagman, via Pinterest

I do have pictures of the actual placenta – but I thought I’d spare you those – for now, at least. ;))


For further reading:

“As an intelligent woman, you are probably used to learning as much as you can before making major decisions. But when it comes to one of the most important decisions of your life–how you will give birth–it is hard to gather accurate, unbiased information. Surprisingly, much of the research does not support common medical opinion and practice. Birth activist Henci Goer gives clear, concise information based on the latest medical studies.”- Book blurb for a helpful book I was given to read, about 17 years ago: “The Thinking Woman’s Guide to a Better Birth,” by Henci Goer, 1999

“If someone who is breastfeeding becomes ill, it is important not to interrupt direct breastfeeding. The baby has already been exposed to the virus by the mother and/or family and will benefit most from continued direct breastfeeding.”  – La Leche League International News Release, “Continuing to Nurse Your Baby Through Coronavirus (2019-nCoV; COVID-19) and Other Respiratory Infections” (news release), https://www.llli.org/coronavirus/, 19 February 2020

“One way breast feeding protects your newborn from illnesses is the immune molecules, called antibodies, that are present in human milk. Antibodies are made by your body’s immune system and are very specific molecules that help you fight each illness. When babies are born, their immune systems are very immature and they have less ability to fight illness-causing germs. Through your breast milk, you give your baby immunities to illnesses to which you are immune and also those to which you have been exposed.” […]

“Human milk is delivered without excess packaging or processing and thus contributes to the health of our planet.” – La Leche League International, “Importance of Breastfeeding (including global benefits), https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/benefits/, 2020

I occasionally work with Medicins Du Monde, in the local area. They help connect the most vulnerable members of society with the medical help they need, at the lowest cost. One of their latest articles is here:

“Protegeons-nous les plus fragiles.” (“Let us protect the most vulnerable members of society.”) – Medicins Du Monde, https://www.medecinsdumonde.org/fr/actualites/nos-combats/2020/03/17/covid-19-mobilises-pour-les-plus-fragiles, 17 March 2020.

I find their website (https://www.medecinsdumonde.org/en – for English frontpage) to be incredibly loud and confusing (lol), but their mission statement is a good one, and the paid employee at our local branch, whom I’ve had the good fortune to accompany, over the past year, on various consultations (I’m a volunteer), is very patient, kind and caring — perhaps the most important characteristic for a worker in this industry.


xo Nadine/lia/sobrietytree-lover

p.s. Yes, we are healthy, yes, thank you! – since so many kind folks have been asking, by email and otherwise – with the whole family, at home in the countryside, in Auvergne, France.

p.p.s. Yes, of course we have been following all the COVID regulations, as they’ve been implemented. And I bring groceries to anyone who needs them, nearby. And chat with them, from a two-meter distance over the fence. And while I believe in providing for my six-person household, when I go shopping, so that I don’t have to beg at the neighbours’ houses when the shiz hits the fizz (though I would certainly give food if *they* came to us – and already have – half of our remaining 12 eggs are gone, thanks to that – and they went to a one-person household)… I don’t ever take more than a reasonable-for-us share at the very plentifully-stocked local grocery store, and I do not at *all* understand the point of hoarding toilet paper, of all things (leaves, people! use leaves!. :))

In sum, please don’t worry. I’m not as much of a rebel as I make myself out to be. ;))


Nadine inhales & exhales words & images from current vantage point in Auvergne, France. Thank you for reading. ❤︎



39 thoughts on “Where the blue takes us

      1. It’s so interesting to read your birth story. I vividly remember mine. Perhaps it merits a blog post—though there was no lion’s roar, my baby New Year was surprising in other ways.

        Three cheers for the creative writer’s willingness to follow her wandering mind. Much richness unfolds.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Definitely merits at least a page or three… even if it doesn’t end up a blog post, I definitely recommend writing it down. I wrote a much more detailed version of this a few days after the birth, and for the next two as well. But we can still do a version like this, even if we’ve forgotten details… I still have to do one for our last babe…. overdue by 8 years now. ;))
          Thank you, Annie, for your lovely comment.

          Liked by 1 person

        2. I actually did write it down then. It was an assignment from our natural childbirth teacher. I gave birth the day after my last day of work, when my office had feted me with an enormous Chinese banquet. Coincidentally, I had heard stories that eating Chinese food could bring on labor, so I titled my birthing report: “So it wasn’t moo shu pork!”

          Liked by 1 person

        3. Awesome that you wrote it down!! I don’t know what moo shu pork is, but that sounds like a comic title! And amazing timing, wow are you ever organized. :)) For this (first) baby, he was 11 days overdue, and he came after a lovely dinner out, too. But it wasn’t Asian food… I don’t think… it was some super-swanky (to me at least) restaurant. The kind we usually never go to, but I think T’s bro treated us… he was definitely there, with a friend, anyway. So I guess if one wants the babe to come, feed it good. ;)) #oldwivestales #possiblytrue :))


    1. Ahhhh, thanks for bringing the bluetiful back to me, here, Nina. 💙🌀Very kind giftie… and the rest… even sweeter. 😚💓 “Right back atcha,” as another blog-friend would say. 🤗

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love your description of your lion’s pose when in labor, the whole brith starry is very beautiful. I have a photo of my placenta too, the tree of life, so amazing what our bodies can do! People think that breastfeeding is easy but not so! I drank much mother’s milk tea to help, not to mention the pain! All worth it of course! Nothing better for your baby than mother’s milk. Thank you for sharing your story🌸🤗

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a personal and moving piece of writing. Just curious: did you fall into this line of thought just from the phrase baby blue or did you set out to write about childbirth? The birth of my kids is probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt in my life! The only person in the room without a real purpose!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Matthew! 🥰 Yes, bizarrely it was from the phrase baby blue. And no I did not at all set out to write about childbirth. However… I’d lain awake for a good while before that thinking of many things… covid, ways to slow it (though the eventual spread of it is inevitable, just like most similar viruses), ways to protect the most vulnerable… I’d remembered how ill I’d got from an infection after my third baby… I thought I was going to die. Just from what began as a “common cold” or flu or something like it. Breastfeeding through that, against the doctor’s orders, kept my baby in good health, I believe. So all these thoughts were twirling when I hit the page… but I was as surprised as anyone might be at what came out.


    2. p.s. I so, so so sympathize with the predicament of the father in the room. I really do. It’s amazing to be there to support… but it’s so hard for anyone to know how. Still I think it’s wonderful that changes have been made to the whole birthing process and that fathers (and/or other significant others) can be there if they choose to be and/or if the birther prefers that. My dad and mom told me that when I was born, my dad was one of the wave of the first fathers to be allowed in (at the hospital) during the birth, in that era. They lucked out, because their regular doctor who would not have allowed it was absent at the last minute. But yes, basically I hear you!!! My husband felt the same.


        1. Ahahaha I love this! My husband felt much the same. But I think witnessing someone we love experiencing grand travail, can be as big, or almost as big, of a suffering, sometimes – at least, if we are in any way empathic. And, in the end, “no pain, no gain.” ;)) Thanks for the kind wishes, further above… and heartfully same to you and yours, dear bud. 🌷

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Charlie… and wow. What a pensive and haunting and melancholy song…

      I’ll add one that my sis-in-law once sent to me, which reminds me of my own mama, and I feel its message can also apply to my core feeling about what we can all do, in times like these…. hope you enjoy. :))
      Take care, sending hugs 💛🌱

      (Alela Diane – Oh My Mama)

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are welcome Nadine. I’m glad that new NIN song made you feel the way it felt to me and the rest of our planet.

        Oh…my goodness. I love the song and Alela Diane has an incredible voice. A true talent and the words are moving and emotional yet hopeful. Thank you very much for the recommendation. She’s one I’ll be most listening to more frequent. 🙂

        Big hugs my friend…stay safe out there.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I don’t know if everyone on the planet feels the same… but it helps to share stories, so we can remain in Love’s grand game.

          I’m so happy you loved that song!! Isn’t she amazing? Beyond beyond. I sang and played it quite often, before my own mom was gone.

          Much love, wishing you peace and health. xoxoxox

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pam… yes it’s life changing that’s for sure. A watershed moment… amazing way to put it, what with the birth waters and all. I’m well, and I hope you are, too. Sending love to you xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I liked hearing about the home birth of your first child. What a blessing. I had the opposite experience, in the hospital with a doctor that told me only when I was completely dialated that she didn’t DO crouching. Gosh, it was on my birth plan… Have a gem of a child, though, all worth it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so, so sorry to hear of that happening. I was very afraid of this… which is why I went for a home birth… and when I came to France, where it is not yet “legal” to have home births (though it’s not illegal either – it’s a-legal, like it used to be in BC, Canada) – I did plan to do a hospital birth, since I couldn’t find a French midwife nor doctor who would help me at home… but they said the same thing. Certain positions not allowed, and required intravenous needle stuck in the mother’s hand, taped there throughout labour, for “convenience” in case of emergency. No thanks. But yes… every birth is special, every trial strengthens us if it doesn’t kill us… and it’s worth it in the end. I am so happy for you, and so grateful to you for sharing this story… it truly means a lot to me, and could help someone reading here. So many thanks, again. :)) xoxoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was 41 and needed a doctor to assist because of complications, so I don’t regret the hospital birth. My partner was there with me. I stood up as long as I could and paced. That was great. My acupuncturist was there and helped alleviate pain until it was time for the birth. Our child and I are on our back porch watching birds at the feeder. So thankful for them in our lives. R

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I like how you write. It seems like a more focused stream of consciousness format. It’s different then what I am used to a great way. This is amazing personal description: “and my body was not mine anymore, and yet it was, so much more so then, than before”. I cannot fully, fully relate to such a post in a physical sense, but this is very much a relatable post to all! Glad you shared these thoughts and words.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for this Nadine. I needed this perspective: I attended, as a physician, the births of my second two children. By then, I had delivered dozens of babies, and the experience was ‘clinical’. You put the heart in it. Thanks again. Dr. Bob

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I didn’t know you were a physician, on top of everything else! Yes, I imagine it would get clinical, much like tending to (human) machines… I can see both sides of it for sure. Thanks for your super kind words, Dr. B. Always uplifting to me.


    1. Aw that is so super kind, Punam… I feel very encouraged by your words… and at a moment when it is extra appreciated. Thank you for taking the time. 😚🙏And haha, baby pink! Why not, indeed, that would be a great prompt… for writing at least. 😇😉💖😜

      Liked by 1 person

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