November 10, 2015

In Which Nanalie Recalls the First Three Lessons

December 12, 1195

Arydath stopped at the foot of the bench, her trek from the door of a slower pace than Nanalie recalled as typical for her. She may have been smiling or frowning, one of those inscrutable expressions a midwife had to adapt when the potential mother could have any possible reaction. Nanalie herself had studied under Arydath. She knew the senior midwife's ethics well, and those ethics did not include projecting her own feelings onto her patient.

In this particular case, Nanalie doubted Arydath was even sure of her own feelings. Lord knew she wasn't.

"So... I've checked the mixtures a few times now for good measure. It seems that, against all odds, you are pregnant."

Within Nanalie's own, Rina's hand shook. Nanalie offered a forced, but hopefully reassuring hint of a smile just in case her niece could see her in her peripheral.

Not that it mattered. Nanalie was not Rina's focus right now--and Rina was too focused, and too unfocused, to notice the subtle changes in the corner of her eye. "Oh. Uh... do you think it's safe, me giving birth?"

Arydath sighed. It had been Nanalie's second lesson: Never lie to a patient. The first had been to never make the patient feel afraid. Then came the third lesson.

Sometimes, you couldn't adhere to both the first and second lessons at once.

"I won't lie to you, Rina; your womb was in rough shape last I examined it and I doubt it could have healed itself naturally, at least to the point where a pregnancy would be sustainable. You said your last course was some time in the earlier half of September?"

Rina drew her hand from Nanalie's, in favor of a meeting with her other one. Her knuckles might have been those of a marble statue. "Around then."

"Was that course any easier on you than any of your previous ones?"

Nanalie took to running prayers in the back of her mind as she caught Rina biting her lip. Even if, by some miracle, the body could repair that sort of damage unaided, it wouldn't have happened in the span of a month. "...No."

"Hmm." Arydath pursed her lips. There was, Nanalie was sure of it, a course of action Arydath would have taken had it been her own self. In the same place--if she let herself think about it--Nanalie had to relent that she'd probably do the same. But, Rina was neither Arydath nor Nanalie, and neither Arydath nor Nanalie could much understand the inner workings of Rina's heart. "I suppose all I can tell you at this point is that I won't make your decision for you. It will be a risky pregnancy, but if you decide it's a risk worth taking, then it's your risk to take and I'll help you take it. If you decide otherwise, I'll help you too. And given how much you have to think about, I don't expect you to decide right away."

Rina's fingers fell to her stomach. A couple twitched at the contact as she swallowed. "Thank you."

"And if you have any questions or concerns, call on me at any time, day or night. I'll tell my household that you're welcome to come as you please. I'm sure you can expect a similar offer from your cousin Nata, as well as your aunt here."

To confirm, Nanalie nodded. She'd been a midwife in her own right for many years now, but with a situation like Rina's, she preferred that Arydath remain the primary authority. Still, Arydath couldn't be everywhere at once. "Absolutely. I can even come stay with you and Severin if you need me to."

Rina gave the slightest of nods, no doubt preferring not to think about what could go so horribly wrong that a midwife would be required to stay in her house. Arydath's eyes fluttered shut--no doubt not keen on the sight of someone in such a state. "For now, all we can do is try to keep you from miscarrying. Make sure to get plenty of rest and eat well, and perhaps cut down your hours at the bank if need be--and tell your husband to keep his hands to himself for the next few months. I'll meet with Aerina this afternoon to discuss potions and tonics; we'll both come by your house as soon as that's been settled."

"All right." Rina drew her hand from her gut and to her chest. Her heart, maybe--as if an answer lurked in its beat, waiting to be found. "Might I leave now? I think I want to be alone for a while."



Van said...

Next post is the last of 1195.

Ann said...

Oh wow. Now that is rough! Poor Rina! What a choice to make!

Here's hoping that whichever way she decides she and Severin can live and work with in the long run! I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for that!

Van said...

Yeah. :( Rina wants a baby, but she also wants to... you know, live. Plus, if the miracle pregnancy ends up resulting in a miscarriage or stillbirth, that's a huge trauma there.

Severin's leaving it up to Rina. I doubt he has a clear-cut opinion anyway. He doesn't like kids, but he knows that Rina wants a baby, but he doesn't want to lose Rina, and on and on and on. :S