1503 c/o Paula Bomer

Elizabeth York, wife to Henry VII,
King of England, Dies Shortly After
Giving Birth to her Seventh Child

Oh, the pain. The contractions bear down on her now, her knees are weak with pain. Her mouth opens. Oh, Jesus, what is happening? Can this really be happening? Ever time she gives birth, it astonishes her. It doesn't get easier, it doesn't ever become normal or less frightening. And again, a big one, and Elizabeth falls to her knees now, holding on to the window sill.

"Come back to the bed, my Queen."

It is going to happen, it is. They’re right.

The blood, the pain, the shit.

Another moan escapes. It’s a quiet one. She leans her head down on her belly, down between her knees. She’s squatting now and for some reason, this feels good for a moment. A clear moment, a moment where the vise grip of her own body lets go, so she can think for a minute, everything is OK, everything is OK. I’m going to be OK. And then another contraction.

Elizabeth falls forward. She’s on her hands and knees now and she moans louder. She moans through the contraction. She gets up then, when it’s subsiding, not really over, but almost and she throws herself on the bed.

"There you go my Queen, there you go. He's coming soon. Any minute now."

She curls up in a fetal position for a moment. Then, it’s that time when she needs to be totally naked. She’s hot. Her body is like an oven. So the robe lands on the ground. Her body is her enemy now. It’s hot, it’s huge, it’s doing weird things to itself. It’s not recognizable and it fucking hurts like hell. Now, now is when Elizabeth knows that there is a God and he doesn’t love her. And that is why the pain feels so right, because she deserves this pain. She deserves this message from God. And she feels blessed. She feels in communion with God, she feels he is letting her suffer, letting her burn in the hell that is her body, her burning body, and it all makes sense. She deserves this pain. It is the pain she has caused to others, coming back to say hello.
And then another quiet moment. Elizabeth feels weak, spent, shaken. Yet, she can see clearly. She runs to the chamber pot in her room and shit pours out of her. Her head is in her hands, her elbows on her knees, and her head feels cold and clammy. She goes and gets the robe off the floor and wraps it around her for a second.

“I don’t know how you do this.” Elizabeth says to the doctor. Her voice sounds strange, deep, almost vibrato. “How can you watch this?”

"There there, Your Majesty. Not much longer now."

“But how can you stand it?” Tears stream down her face and she moans and stoops over the bed, moving back and forth as another contraction bears down on her. “It hurts.”

And then a trickling down her leg of water. Her water broke. Slowly, it’s coming down her legs. No big gush. No fountain of water.

“Oh God. Help me God. Oh God.” And then she stands up, her eyes wild with fear. “It hurts now. It hurts so badly. I don’t want to push this baby out. I don’t want to do it. I’M SCARED. I’M SCARED OF THE PAIN. I’M SCARED THE BABY WON’T BE OK. I’M SCARED OF MEETING THIS BABY.” And then another one hits her and she falls on her hands and knees and rocks back and forth, back and forth.

Elizabeth’s mind hits another clear spot. Suddenly, it sees outside herself. She looks behind her. There’s the window. And then, in her clearness, she feels bile rise and she rushes for the newly cleaned chamber pot, not quite making it, and vomits on the floor.

She pants, throws herself on her bed and everything is clear now. She’s having baby. She’s going to push out a baby. And she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

When the pushing starts, the top half of Elizabeth will try and run away from the lower half. With one final burst of energy, she’ll roll over on her hands and knees, from where she was on her back getting ready to push the baby out, and she will try and crawl away from herself. But it doesn’t work. Gravity, reality, her body and soul, slay her back on her back, knees splayed, heaving stomach before her bulging eyes, and like a volcano splitting the earth’s skin, her daughter comes out.