She was so small…
So tiny, and frail. All gawky knees and elbows, the beginnings of angles showing in her pale face. She was so small, barely into her teens. This was a child strapped onto the bed.
The next seizure to ripple across her swollen belly jolted us into action. “IV’s in place!”, the intern flung across the room. “Start the Ringer, it’s too late for an epidural now”, I stated calmly, gloving up. “Why didn’t you get here earlier?”, the nurse shot at the mother, standing mutely in the door, watching everyone bustle around in the calm madness that deliveries are. There was no answer except a blank stare. You only had to glance at her pinpoint pupils to know the narcotic haze she was in.
And then the screaming began.
Wave after wave of contractions coursed across her pitiful frame, each accompanied by ear splitting shrieks. The agony of a child laboring to bring a child into this world. She gripped the frame with white knuckled hands, bruised arms, and screamed. And screamed. Till another piercing wail joined the squalling.
She’s still bleeding! I thought urgently, clamping the cord and passing the infant away to refocus on the girl, losing more and more blood by the minute. “Start a bimanual massage”, the senior snapped. I placed my left hand on her lower abdomen and started pressing downward, willing her womb to retract, desperately trying to stop her from losing the precious blood we were pumping in through the IV line. And there was so much blood, so much blood, gushing out from the eerily quiet girl, all over my hands and forearms, spattering the front of my gown. The slowly diminishing flow of life from her. And… she was safe.
“Pass the episiotomy kit and gauze pack”, I said to the hovering nurse. This battle was finally won.