The Seed of Hardship - Chapter 18
Kristel kept her eyes tightly closed. She wished she could block out her auditory senses as well. If she could, she wouldn’t have heard Dr. Boas say, “… interesting…” while he was looking at her sonogram. Kristel squeezed Tori’s hand. Tori was silent, staring fixedly at the sonogram monitor. “Freeze that,” Dr. Boas instructed Nurse Dinah.
The nurse pressed a button that paused the picture on the monitor. “Kristel,” Dr. Boas called. “I need you to look at this.”
Kristel’s heart was beating extremely fast. Her throat tightened. Slowly, she opened her eyes but she looked at Tori. Tori’s eyes were still focused on the monitor so she didn’t notice Kristel looking at her. Kristel’s apprehension made it extremely difficult for her to carry out the simple act of turning her head.
At last, she turned to the sonogram monitor. For a brief moment, her brain didn’t register what she was looking at, but when she did notice, she immediately sat up. Dr. Boas kindly asked Dinah to step aside and he took her place near the monitor. He traced the outline of the dark figure on the screen and said, “Here’s the head, an arm, leg and…” He chuckled. “Well, you know what this is.”
Kristel stared at the screen, her mouth agape, her eyes wide. She let go of Tori’s hand and placed the palm of her hand against the recliner she was sitting on. Her hands were trembling. “Kristel, you’re six months along,” Dr. Boas told her. He looked at Kristel almost nervously, anticipating a panicked reaction from her.
Kristel didn’t even blink. She continued staring at the sonogram monitor. Then, suddenly, her eyes fell shut and her body became limp. Fortunately, Tori was still right beside her. She quickly put her arms around Kristel as her body almost fell sideways. “Oh dear,” Dinah calmly said. As Tori laid Kristel’s limp body back on the recliner, Dinah began raising the lower side of the recliner to elevate Kristel’s feet.
Dr. Boas placed two fingers on Kristel’s neck, feeling for a pulse. “Dinah, can you get the BP machine?” he asked.
“Right away,” said Dinah, walking around the sonogram machine to get to the tall blood pressure unit. She wheeled the unit the short distance to the recliner, took down the blood pressure cuff and quickly wrapped it around Kristel’s upper arm.
Kristel stirred. “She’s awake,” Tori, said, sounding relieved.
“Kristel?” Dr. Boas called, feeling for the pulse at Kristel’s wrist. “Can you open your eyes?”
Kristel’s eyes fluttered open but she squinted and closed her eyes again as Dinah began inflating the blood pressure cuff around her arm. Once Dinah deflated the blood pressure cuff, she reported the reading: “150 systolic, 98 diastolic.”
Kristel groaned in response to her blood pressure reading. “Alright, Kristel,” said Dr. Boas. “We’re going to need you to just lie still and relax, okay? I know it’s hard to relax right now but you can do it. You’re not going anywhere until your blood pressure stabilizes.”
“I need to go to the bathroom,” Kristel quietly said.
“I’ll get a wheelchair,” said Dinah, beginning to leave the room. Kristel opened her eyes again and turned her head to look at the sonogram monitor. “D-did you say—” Kristel swallowed a knot in her throat. “Si-six… months?”
“Don’t worry about that right now,” said Dr. Boas, putting the stethoscope ear pieces into his ears. He held the diaphragm of the stethoscope against Kristel’s inner elbow and began to inflate the blood pressure cuffs again. Kristel closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Dr. Boas listened for Kristel’s pulse as he slowly deflated the blood pressure cuffs, then he said, “150 over 96. Kristel?” He draped his stethoscope around his neck.
Kristel opened her eyes but she didn’t look at Dr. Boas; she looked right at the sonogram monitor. “I want to admit you, right now.”
“No,” said Kristel, quickly sitting up.
“Kristel,” Dr. Boas said in a calm warning tone. “If I admit you today, we should have your BP back under control by tomorrow morning. I have already spoken to Dr. Mitchell. You will no longer be taking the Vasotec. They are safe for breastfeeding but it’s best to avoid ACE inhibitors in pregnancy, especially in the later trimesters.”
“This is impossible,” said Kristel. Dinah re-entered the room, pushing a wheelchair ahead of her. “How can I be six months, pregnant without any symptoms?” Kristel loudly asked.
“It happens,” said Dr. Boas, handing Kristel a few paper towels to wipe the transmission gel off her abdomen. “You were breastfeeding, so you expected your menstrual cycle to be irregular anyway.” He pointed to the sonogram monitor. “The foetus is very far towards your back, which is why your abdomen isn’t distended. Once he changes position, you’ll most likely look pregnant, probably immediately.”
“This can’t be happening,” Kristel tearfully said. Tori comfortingly placed her hand on Kristel’s shoulder. She seemed to be in as much shock as Kristel was.
“Once we get you situated into a room, we will hook you up to a foetal heart monitor to make sure that your little boy’s health stays within good range. Dr. Mitchell will also come in to discuss a new regimen to manage your hypertension,” Dr. Boas told Kristel.
“And I will check on you as often as I can,” Dinah chipped in.
Dr. Boas nodded and smiled reassuringly. “I know this is a shock to you, Kristel, but your stay tonight is crucial. If your blood pressure does not stabilise, you risk developing pre-eclampsia and eventually, eclampsia.”
Kristel wiped tears from her eyes continuously but they continued to flow. “Tori,” she said through her tears. She turned to look at her friend. Tori had been so quiet for the course of the examination. It was unlike her to be so quiet but it was obvious of just how worried she was. “Please don’t tell the kids anything about this.”
“I won’t,” said Tori.
“And please, please do not call Matthew. I don’t want him to even know that I’m in the hospital.”
Tori seemed hesitant at first but then she agreed not to tell Matthew. Kristel turned and hung her legs over the side of the examination table. She faced Tori while continuing to wipe her tears away. “Don’t let my kids worry, okay?”
“Of course not,” said Tori. She hugged Kristel tight and said, “You’ll be alright.” Then she smiled reassuringly at her and held her arm as Kristel slid down from the recliner. Kristel sat in the wheelchair that Dinah was holding, then she waved to Tori as Dinah began wheeling her away.