She watches as I draw up the needles.
She sees me tense.
She has not followed through on our ritual of ‘giving back control’.
Despite having every opportunity.
No places have been nominated, by her,
on her little tummy
and she is already sobbing and hyperventilating
and I know
that tonight is going to be bad.
I ask our nurse if she will do the hand holding.
I’m not sure she knows what she’s getting herself into
but because she is kind and wants to help us
Ivy’s sobs have turned into wails
and I am sweating before we even start.
We, the nurse and I, both try to calm her
but she was beyond relaxing before we even started
and I tell our kind nurse ashamedly;
“when it gets like this you just have to hold her down and do it”.
As I unsheathe the needle the bargaining begins -
“please Mum, please I know where the needles will go now. Please!”
“not yet Mum, please, I just need to relax”.
Her eyes dart wildly around the room,
She is like a wild deer trapped in headlights.
I give her lots of options, lots of opportunities to relax and be in control
but by the time we are at this point
everything is a stalling tactic.
There are no spots chosen
and any chance of control (hers or mine) is long gone.
I apologise to the small girl
and to our nurse
and ask that hands be held because I know that flailing arms are a dangerous weapon
when you have small sharp needles to dispense.
Our nurse does admirably
but Ivy is twisting her body from side to side
and pulling her legs up
and begging for me to not hold her down.
She has begun to tell me that she can’t breathe, that she is choking (a new cry in her repertoire of anxiety)
and my heart breaks with every alarmed scream
and every time she asks for me to stop her eyes bury deep into mine.
My fear is reflected straight back through those eyes.
“Not there” she screams, as I start to clean an area.
“Not there either!”
It all hurts!”
and it continues like that as I pinch up the small amount of subcutaneous tissue needed to place the first needle.
Two more nurses come -
their faces full of care and concern shadow the doorway
hoping to help in some way.
I am hunched over her, my elbow pinning one tiny hip to the bed
my chest holding her legs
and for all the world this feels wrong,
How can this be what she needs?
How can I say that this is all for her own good?
the needles find their place
and she rips away from the both of us -
head into pillow,
crying and shaking.
It’s getting harder for her to forgive me these days.
I apologise over and over
both to my girl
and to our nurse
who asks me how we keep going
and if we are getting help for this
and rubs my back
and that is the absolute end of me.
Big fat tears of resignation and failure slide down my face
and rack my body
and I launch into a diatribe of words that make little sense to anyone
especially to me.
It takes a full fifteen minutes of mutual sobbing before the girl slips into my lap
and we begin the dance of forgiveness and comforting.
I rock her
and stroke her hair
and tell her it will be okay
but my thoughts are already moving towards the next night
when we have to do it all again.