I hold her down again tonight,
arms pushing against tiny legs
as she thrashes and squirms and begs.
I feel for a place on her belly to put the needle in
and her limbs curl protectively over it,
in one sharp move
as if my arms are feather weight.
She’s strong when she’s frightened.
“Not there, it’s sore.
Not there either”.
I can feel the sweat forming on my upper lip
and the telltale pinch of anxiety in my shoulders.
Her face crumples into a mass of tears
“I don’t know.
My whole tummy is just sore all over”.
I don’t want to do this anymore.
Her father gets to stroke her hair.
He whispers softly to her,
tries to talk her around to letting me pierce her skin
and not for the first time since all of this started
I feel resentful that he gets to be the kind one
while I am mean.
Not of him
but of the situation.
I resent the situation.
I may have thought it many times but this is the first time I have verbalised it
and it’s like twisting a knife into my lungs.
I feel as though I can’t breathe.
Her eyes search mine to see if I will relent -
if I will give up first (and I want to, goodness knows I do)
but I can’t.
The needle is unsheathed and ready to go
and I am committed.
These injections and infusions mean healthier days and extended periods out of the hospital.
They are necessary.
A procedure that should have taken barely a minute has already extended to ten
and I can feel the tears prickling at the corners of my eyes
from watching her distress and uncertainty.
Her hands move without destination every time I try to find a place needle worthy
until I ask Dave to hold them
and they both look at me as though I am the cruelest person on this earth.
Maybe I am.
I feel cruel tonight.
My temper is thin and I feel judged
I want to throw the syringe as far as I can and
I don’t know how it got to this;
this place of not coping.
This place of extreme bargaining and fear
but I wish that someone would take it all away for her.
I wish that I could.
Instead I count to three and push the thick fluid into the tissue of her tummy
followed by another quickly afterwards.
“I’m sorry“, she says as she hugs me tightly and I, her.
“I’m sorry I cried and was upset but I couldn’t stop it”.
I tell her that it’s all okay -
it’s alright to cry and be sad.
I kiss the hurting places,
dry her tears
and tuck the girl and her brother in for the night
and only then
do I lock myself in the toilet to cry.
The toilet -
the only safe place a mother can release the pent up emotions of the day
without seeing the affects they have on her children.