Badass Activist | Eve Reiland

A Mother of a Birth Story (Part 6) | Message From The Archives

Fri, Oct 2, 2009, 1:37 PM | From My Journal

Please let this work. And please, don’t let it kill me.

Nurse Jenny pushed the plunger on the syringe and watched the monitor as the medicine flowed through the heplock into my vein.

At 30-weeks pregnant, the goal was to keep the baby and me alive. The hope was to give her more time to develop and grow.

It was no longer a question of if she’d be premature due to preeclampsia but when. How soon would the doctors have to intervene and deliver her to save us both? No one on the medical staff could give me an answer or even a guesstimate. The outcome depended entirely on how my body responded to the medicine and how long my daughter could stay strong in a hostile environment.

The EKG must have showed my heart was able to handle the push of drugs because both the nurse and aide relaxed.

“How are you feeling?” asked Jenny.

I didn’t feel different. Still the same level of miserable. “Fine, I guess.”

My husband shifted in his chair. He’d been leaning forward and patting my leg. It wasn’t until he removed his hand that I noticed the comforting gesture. “How long before we know if it worked?” he asked.

“Pretty quickly.”

“If it works, does that mean I won’t have to take the magnesium?”

“Hmmm.” The nurse’s lips twitched. “If it works, you might not have to.”

That wasn’t comforting. How soon was ‘quick’ in medical terms? Maybe she already knew the answer but couldn’t say because she wasn’t the doctor and didn’t make the decisions.

I don’t know why I asked. Deep in the pit of my gut, I knew. The horror stories I’d read about it in the pregnancy forums flipped through my memory like a Rolodex. Be strong Gen. Don’t freak. Breathe.

My husband twisted and looked at the clock behind him. It took me a moment to make sense of the hands: It was midnight. Already.

“Babe, I should get going.”

No! He couldn’t leave me. Not now, not yet and certainly not before I it was confirmed I take the mag. “Jim …”

Guilt chased the panic. He looked haggard. For the first time I noticed the wrinkles around his hazel eyes. He’d already been handling the household, the kids and meals for weeks while I was on bed rest.

He didn’t sleep much and often worked overtime. I wasn’t sure how he was able to handle everything and still be so gentle and attentive with me.

“Please don’t go. I can’t do this on my own yet.”

I felt like a burden. It wasn’t that he wanted to leave me, but felt he should relieve his mom. She was watching our kids and had to be at work in a few hours. So did he. At six in the morning his grandmother would arrive so he could commute. She would get the kids ready and off to school.

“Just stay with me until I know.” He knew what I meant.

Jenny finished entering data into the computer next to my bed and then answered her cell phone. It was the doctor. She relayed numbers and information to him that I didn’t understand. After a few uh huhs, more medical jargon and confirmations she hung up and said, “Dr. Terry has ordered for you to be put on the magnesium.”

I didn’t feel the impact of her words at first. They floated through my ears like a dream. Then, after the verdict made itself comfortable in my conscience, it doused like a bucket of ice water.

This was real. So. Freaking. Real. Oh my god, why didn’t I take that Xanax I asked for earlier and then refused? I yelped or yowled and struggled to sit up more. The pressure on my chest and ribs was too much to bear with the added weight of fear.

“Calm down, calm down.” The nurse patted my hand.

My husband was by my side, stroking my hair. “It’s going to be OK. This is going to help you.”

“Do I have to?” Please, say I have a choice. I can’t do this.

“Babe, you don’t want to have seizures do you? Those could damage your brain permanently.”

I had a lot of brain. Most of it wasn’t used right? No, that wasn’t rational. That was fear and I needed to push past that. I couldn’t be so afraid that I’d prefer brain damage.

“OK. You’re right.”

The nurse got the medicine ready and injected it into my IV.

I counted each second as it passed. I was OK. So far, all was good. I’m here and I’m alive. My husband is here. The nurse is here. I can hear the TV. I’m OK. I’m fine.

All I had to do was breathe and be brave. Besides, wasn’t being brave about working through fear and doing it anyways? I could do that.


By Eve Reiland

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