Miracle Under the Mistletoe - Page 41

‘Hi! It’s Karen, isn’t it? I’m Molly and I’m a nurse. So how are you doing?’ she said, kneeling beside her. She was somewhat older than Molly had expected, probably in her early forties, and it was obvious how scared she was.

‘I think I’m in labour.’ She looked up and there were tears in her eyes. ‘Please don’t let my baby die. We’ve waited such a long time to have a child of our own and I couldn’t bear it if anything happened to it now.’

‘Nothing is going to happen to you or your baby,’ Molly said firmly, knowing this wasn’t the time to worry about the ethics of making such a statement. Karen needed all the reassurance she could give her if she was to get through this ordeal. ‘Let’s make you more comfortable for starters. Can you stand up if I help you?’

‘I’ll try.’

‘Great.’ Molly put her arm around her and managed to get her to her feet and onto the sofa. ‘I need to examine you to see if you are actually in labour, if that’s all right.’

Karen nodded, her face scrunching up with pain. Molly suspected it was labour pains but she still needed to check that it wasn’t a false alarm first. She quickly removed Karen’s underclothes, hiding her dismay when she discovered that the woman was fully dilated. There was little doubt that the baby was going to make his or her appearance very shortly.

‘You’re definitely in labour,’ she told her. ‘I’ve brought everything we need with me so I’ll just get ready. Have you been to any antenatal classes?’

‘Oh, yes. Mike—that’s my husband—and I have done them all. Breathing and relaxation techniques, what happens during the delivery and afterwards.’ Karen gave a slightly hysterical laugh. ‘We thought we were completely prepared for the birth, but the one thing we didn’t foresee was that this would happen!’

‘No wonder.’ Molly laughed. ‘Where is your husband, by the way?’

‘He went to fill up the car with petrol to make sure he wouldn’t run out over Christmas,’ Karen explained. ‘I wish he was here. I’d feel a lot happier if he was around to talk me through all those breathing techniques we learned.’

‘I’m sure you would but we’ll manage fine.’ Molly squeezed Karen’s hand. ‘The fact that you’ve done the classes will be a big help.’

‘But the baby is still going to be born early,’ Karen said anxiously.

‘Yes, but only by a few weeks so the lungs should be fully developed,’ Molly assured her. ‘Right, I’m just going to fetch what I need and then listen to your baby’s heartbeat.’

Opening her bag, she took out the emergency birthing pack that was part of their standard equipment. Fortunately, she’d done a refresher course earlier in the year on delivering a baby so she had few qualms in that respect. However, delivering a child in the confines of the A&E department was very different from what was happening here. Just for a moment, she found herself wishing that Sean was there with her before she sighed. Sean wasn’t here and she would have to get through this on her own. It would be good practice for the future because, once Sean completed his contract, he would leave Dalverston and she doubted if he would ever come back again.

* * *

The time seemed to pass with excruciating slowness. Sean found himself continually checking his watch, unable to believe that mere minutes had passed when it felt like hours since Molly had disappeared into the upper reaches of the building. What was happening up there? Had Molly found the woman? Or had she encountered some sort of a problem? His mind raced over a dozen different possibilities, each worse than the one before, and he groaned. He would drive himself crazy if he carried on this way!

The crackle of the radio receiver cut through his thoughts. Sean’s heart lifted when he heard Molly’s voice issuing from the speaker as she asked to speak to him. He took the receiver with a nod of thanks, overcome by relief.

‘How’s it going?’ he asked, trying not to let her know how worried he had been. ‘Have you found the woman?’

‘Yes, and she’s definitely in labour. She’s fully dilated so it shouldn’t be long before the baby arrives. I’ve checked its heart rate and everything seems to be fine but can you arrange for an ambulance to be standing by just in case anything happens at the last moment?’

‘Of course.’ He paused but the words had to be said, no matter what repercussions they might cause. ‘Be careful, won’t you, Molly? I don’t want you putting yourself at risk. You’re too important to me.’

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