W ith you suckling at my chest, the pool of blood gone, and our family here to celebrate your birth, I feel elated, and sure it must be over.

But it isn't quite over yet. The family are ushered out for the doctors to begin stitching me up. I lie on my back, feet in stirrups, and try to think more about you than about the four or five people examining the damage.

"You are never taken from my side, and I love being with you, but I miss you being inside me, almost a part of me."

I miss my pregnant belly. I study you, awake and asleep, getting to know all the parts of your face and your body.

I recognize the way you move, curl up, stretch out, from how you moved inside me. I look for the things that I recognize from me, and the things I don’t recognize, that must come from him.

I have no colour in my face. Even my hands and arms have the pallor of a corpse. I'm not getting much stronger.
The doctors don’t think I lost enough blood to be in the state I'm in, but decide to test me, and find that I have.
They'd weighed the sheets and blood after the birth, but somehow underestimated the amount. A blood transfusion is recommended and I'm given pamphlets laying out the risks and benefits.

Apprehensively I decide it is the best thing to do.
The blood comes, and I feel very strange as I watch it make its way into my body. Within hours I start to feel stronger, and by the next day I have the strength to leave my room, to explore the ward, discover the toaster, another food supply!

You are peaceful and perfect, sleeping well, feeding well and making me feel more filled with love than ever before.
I haven’t decided on a name yet. I've got it down to three, and thought I'd know once you were born, but my head is so foggy that I'm just not sure!
I try to ignore opinions and pressures and after the transfusion, I have clarity.

"Astrid. Your name is Astrid. It takes weeks to feel natural, but we settle into it. Astrid is definitely who you are."

This is an independent production made by me, Sophie Harper.

Music by permission from the artist: Hooked by Versus Shade Collapse, a listener who reached out and offered her music to use in this and future episodes. Thank you.
Music from freemusicarchive.org - CC NC License:
Oxygen Garden by Chris Zabriskie; Sleepless Nights by Dexter Britain; Spellbound by Broke For Free.

Thanks also to my family, my friends and my daughter, for allowing me to record and for your endless support.
To every one of the 152 people around the world who donated to my fundraising campaign, I am moved and inspired by your generosity. Thanks to your support, I can and will continue the series for several more months, or maybe even longer.
If you'd like to do something more to help me and the series, leave an iTunes review! I love reading them, and reading your emails and messages.