Birth Stories

Published on December 18th, 2018 | by Lenore Eklund



Once there was a woman who was a maker and a man who was a baker. The woman would make until her crafts were perfect. And the man would bake until his recipe was perfect. When things could not be any more perfect for the maker and the baker, they decided the time was right to have a child.

The family elders agreed that all was perfect to have a child. As did the doctors, the midwives and the doulas. The business people, the school children, the grocer, the postal worker, the barista and the homeless dweller on the corner together also agreed that all was perfect. But no one consulted the fortune teller.

When the time came for the maker and the baker to give birth to their child, they made their way across the river and up the hill to the hospital. Upon admission, the perfect plans started to unravel. The couple was told there were many, many problems for the baby inside. “But everything was perfect,” the maker stammered. Because the problems were so great, and so many, the maker and the baker could not give birth to their child in the way they had planned.

On a cold solitary table, the maker lay while the baker stood next to her holding her hand. Small faceless beings buzzed around them busy with machines, instruments and concoctions. The towering faceless ring leader whisked into the room, tossed a curtain up over the maker’s belly, waved a wand and then threw back the curtain. All of a sudden, a little girl appeared before the maker and the baker’s eyes. The ringleader vanished but the circus of small faceless beings busied themselves around the family. The maker and the baker gave no notice to the busy beings because they were falling deeply in love with the little girl.

Problems continued to be great for the child, so the maker and the baker could not hold their little girl in the way they had planned. They could not feed her in they way they had planned. And they could not leave the hospital with their baby as they had planned. The hospital keepers told the maker and the baker a spell was keeping the little girl from leaving the hospital. Despite the spell, the little girl’s spirit was strong and she radiated a bright emerald light of love.

Each day, the maker and the baker crossed the river and climbed the hill towards the emerald light of love that shown so bright it could be seen throughout the kingdom. They were not alone in their journey. As they started up the path, they noticed other couples moving towards the hospital. At the hospital, all of the babies that had spells on them were put into the highest tower. Parents gathered around their babies. Some of them were crying. Some of them praying. All of them hoping. The maker and the baker watched as spells were broken for some of the babies. When a baby was released, a spider web of cables, cords and tubes disconnected from the tiny body so the parents could scoop it up in their arms and walk out into the open land together. The maker and the baker inquired with the leaving parents, asking what would break the spell. The answer was never the same.

The maker and the baker allowed the hospital keepers to try anything that might break the spell for their daughter. They let the nurses put funny contraptions on her. They let the chemists give her different potions. They even let the surgeon and the assistant perform a procedure to saw her in half and put her back together. Nothing was releasing the little girl from the spell. The attempts began to feel wild and the ideas reckless. The doctors wanted to see what would happen if they removed parts of her body and replaced them with machines. The maker and the baker began to notice that the focus was no longer on the little girl. Doctors were looking at meters, old books and other babies. Listening to intuition and mustering up their strength, the parents blocked the doctors from doing any more experiments on the little girl. Full of ego and shocked by the objection, the doctors said, “You do not want our help? Then you may leave the hospital.”

“Did you hear that?” the maker asked the baker, “Just like that, she is released!”

“It was our love for our daughter that broke the spell,” the baker said to the maker.

The maker and the baker untangled their little girl from the spider web of cables, cords and tubes and took her to their home and placed her in a cradle. But the little girl did not look well. The maker sang to the little girl. But she did not look better. The baker read stories to the little girl. But she did not look better. And then one day, while the maker and the baker were holding the little girl, she stopped breathing. They called for help and caretakers took the little girl in their carriage, pumping fresh air into the little girl’s lungs which helped return the color to her cheeks. A caretaker told the maker and the baker the spell had not been broken and the little girl should not have left the hospital. The maker cried, “But they told us we could go!” The caretaker did not respond. When they arrived at the hospital, a giant spider dropped down from the highest tower, wrapped the little girl in a webbing of cables, cords and tubes and ascended back up to the tower leaving the maker and the baker down below.

“Our love was not enough,” cried the maker and her tears began to puddle at her feet. Her tears kept flowing and soon the puddles began to stream into the kingdom’s river. The tears did not stop and the river began to flood the kingdom. The river rose and engulfed the maker and the baker, pulling them down as they choked in the river of sorrow. When they finally were able to come up for a breath, the sun was rising and they were back at their home next to the empty cradle. Filled with remorse and heartache, they began up the path towards the hospital. The maker and the baker returned to the bedside of the little girl everyday. But everyday, their hope faded and their fortitude diminished. And the emerald light from the little girl dulled and was no longer visible to the maker and the baker when they returned home.

One morning as the maker and the baker reached the castle, they spotted the caretaker near the entrance enjoying the hilltop view. “Please tell me,” implored the maker, “if we would have let the surgeons do what they wanted to our daughter, would we have broken the spell?” The caretaker drew in a deep breath and still looking out said, “No. It is not their spell to break. And it is not your spell to break. It is your daughter’s that she alone has to do.”

The maker and the baker now understood. The control was not theirs and this brought some peace to their souls. The peace made way for healing, which brought strength back to the couple. That day they did not return to their home for rest. Instead, they stayed by the little girl’s bedside. The maker on one side holding the little girl’s left hand and the baker on the other holding the little girl’s right hand. In the darkness of the night, the emerald light from the little girl’s heart space began to illuminate the room. By day break, her light was shining brighter than the late summer sun.

The giant spider that had brought the little girl up to the hospital tower peered in the window and said, “She has broken the spell. However, she will face challenges still as she leaves the hospital. One of my spiders will come with you and act as her guardian outside.” The guardian spider did not disconnect the cables, cords and tubes, but rather wove them together and pulled them aside so that the maker and the baker could gather up the little girl. They held tightly to each other now free to leave and to live and to love and to shine.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

About the Author

Lenore Eklund is a filmmaker. Along with directing documentaries, she collaborates with other filmmakers and artists, co-owns a restaurant with her husband, and advocates for her daughter. Lenore is currently exploring drawing and writing as a creative release. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

5 Responses to Release

  1. Pingback: Spotlight: Release: An NICU Fairytale | Graphic Medicine

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to Top ↑
  • Subscribe to Mutha

    Enter your email address to subscribe to MUTHA and receive notifications of new articles by email.

    Email Frequency