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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Breathe (08/19/10)

TITLE: "Breathe, Maria"
By Fern Brown


“Breathe, Maria”

Married almost two years, their first child was due in eleven days. Going home from church, Maria urgently commanded, “Honey, pull over. I’m sick.”

He grinned at her, thinking she was kidding. Catching the twinkle in is eyes, she insisted, “Please pull over – fast.” Scarcely stopped, she threw open the door and vomited.

“Honey, what’s going on? You haven’t done that one time in this whole pregnancy. Why now?”

“I don’t know. I feel horrible and my head is aching something awful.”

Arriving at his parent’s house, for the usual Sunday dinner, he tenderly asked, “Do we need to go home?”

“No, I’ll rest a while and then I’m sure I’ll be all right.” Easing her pregnant body onto the couch, she excused herself from the meal and quickly fell asleep in an upright position.

David shot a few hoops with his younger brothers, hoping to ease the churning in the pit of his stomach. “I’m finished. I have to check on Maria.”

Curiously, his mom said, “She’s in bed, resting a little between trips to the bathroom. Did she eat something that didn’t agree with her?”

“I’m concerned that it’s more serious than that. Paint fumes always make her nauseous and the janitor just sealed the Sunday school floor yesterday. I’m afraid that’s the cause.”

Before heading to the evening service, he watched her heavy breathing, reluctant to disturb Maria. “It’s almost time for church. Can you go, Sweetheart?”

“Can you pick me up afterwards? I’m feeling pretty bad.”

“I’ll stay with you.”

“Your mom will stay with me. You’re singing in the men’s quartet tonight, remember? I’ll be okay,” she smiled feebly.

Her languid body didn’t respond to his careful prodding to go home, except to say, “Give me just a few more minutes.”

David’s solemn, watchful eyes rested on Maria. An eerie quietness flooded the room.

Suddenly her body began jerking and flailing. Stunned, David ordered his mother, “Do something!” Fear gripped his heart.

“I don’t know what to do.”

“Call the ambulance, then. We need help quick.”

Maria’s hands clenched into a tight fist as her entire body stiffened. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head before her total being went as limp as the spaghetti noodles they had for lunch.

Maria stopped breathing.

David panicked. “Maria,” he shouted in desperation. “Maria, breathe! Oh, God, please help us. Please, help Maria.”

His army training kicked in and he began first aid. “Will that ambulance never get here,” he thought, though he subconsciously heard the siren blaring. Furiously he continued his attempt to snap life back into her listless body. With each force of air into her lungs he pleaded, “Breathe, Maria.”

Quickly the medics inspected the situation, realized the danger she was in and transported her to the hospital. David road in the back with his sweetheart. Every bump and turn agitated her. Not realizing she was the patient, she asked, “What is the siren all about?” What’s going on?” The words incoherently pushed across her thick tongue.

Her own physician, on call, summarized the ordeal immediately. He had dealt with eclampsia before. “We must get her blood pressure down to subdue the seizures. Another major convulsion could cost her life and the baby’s.”

David waited alone, praying, while they rescued her from the ravages of death. A nurse kindly informed him, “Maria is hooked up to IV’s and the medicine should kick in soon.” Seconds, minutes and hours ticked slowly into oblivion, as his emotions oscillated between hope and dread.

Hours passed before the doctor gave his report. “The imminent danger is over, although she may have more convulsions. She and your tiny baby are fighters. Your wife experienced extreme trauma tonight, and won’t be very alert for a few days. If you hadn’t administered resuscitation when you did, she wouldn’t be here.”

He clung to his beautiful daughter, kissing her small fingers, brushing his lips on her cheeks, while his thankful tears fell on her newborn skin, until they took her back to the nursery. Tiptoeing into Maria’s hospital room, David gently touched her round, un-pregnant belly, to make sure she was breathing. He whispered, “Keep breathing, Maria, love of my life. We need you. Our sweet little girl is beautiful – looks just like you. I’ll be right here when you wake up.”

Lamentations 3:56 Thou hast heard my voice: hide not thine ear at my breathing, at my cry. KJV

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This article has been read 275 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Mildred Sheldon08/26/10
All I can say is thank you for such a tender story. This touched my heart and brought tears to my eyes. You were right on target with this story. Thank you for sharing and God bless.
Joyce Morse08/26/10
Awesome story. Very well-written. You built the suspense and I wanted to know how it turned out. Great writing!
Daniel Kane08/27/10
This was a very interesting (though probably a bit too long) story. I loved the analogy 'limp as the spaghetti noodles'. Thanks for a good story.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 08/28/10
This was done superbly. I knew as soon as the headache was described that she had pre-eclampsia (I used to work in OB) I was worried that the husband wouldn't figure it out in time. You did a great job of playing with just the right amount of suspense and conflict.
Nancy Bucca08/30/10
This is a marvelous suspense story. You really had me wondering what was wrong with the woman. I was holding my breath wondering how it would all turn out.
wendell a brown 09/02/10
Fern, i really liked your story, it held me on the edge of my seat. I ran through each sentence to the very end to see what the conclusion would be. It was good story telling, that can move a heart.