She is lying on the table in a fetal position facing the wall. She looks younger this way, her skin smooth and her fancy underwear with a bow on the back. I stand at her head with my hand on the side of her face.
He feels her back, finds her spine. An inch out of place and nobody ever notices. Presses firmly here, and there, looking for the right place. He paints her back with an antiseptic sponge. Frames her spine with paper.
A shot to mask the pain. She doesn't flinch, she is sedated. The next needle shudders as it hits bone, stops and starts as it looks for a way through. I rub her cheek as she moans. It hurts, it hurts. Out and in again. Prodding.
He stops and looks for something else to stop the pain. I help him get the bottle out of the cabinet, hold it at an angle so he can fill the syringe. I was my hands afterward thinking I should have washed them first. I hold her head as he pricks her again.
The baby starts crying. We trade places, R. and I. The needle goes in again. She cries. The baby cries. Pain down her leg, her hip, her knees. I start to nurse. Blood trickles down her back. R. holds her head as she cries out, whimpers, moans. He ankles hurt. Her left leg jerks. She cries out in pain.
The baby is quiet. The needle moves in and out. R. is holding her head. She is crying. Nearly the right spot. Her legs kick. R. is holding her head. He tells her to be strong. Be strong for the babies. She is crying. Blood is trickling down her back.
Ten minutes. Twenty minutes. Thirty minutes. Nearly an hour gone and finally it comes down the needle: clear fluid, like water dripping from a leaf. She is quiet as we watch it fall, drip by drip, into the vial. One vial. He turns the needle to see if it will flow faster. Two vials. She mutters and her body starts to unfold. Three vials. Four vials full from the needle in her spine. He takes out the needle. She is still as he washes her back. Puts a bandaid on.
I want to remember this so I don't judge her too harshly.