‘Yes, thank you. I guess baby didn’t want the pickles, chocolate spread and bananas after all. These, however, smell delicious.’
‘You still want to eat after…being sick?’ There was concern in his tone.
‘I do. Once the morning sickness has passed, I’m usually fine—’ She chuckled. ‘That is until the next time I eat something baby doesn’t appreciate.’ CJ peered at the pancake batter in the jug. ‘So does this mean you know how to cook?’
‘It does. Please, help yourself.’
CJ did just that and soon was sitting down with one pancake, drowning her own in real maple syrup. ‘Mmm. These are heavenly, and if you decide that you do want to stay here for the next six months, feel free to make these any time.’
By now, Ethan had finished his breakfast and was stacking the dishwasher. ‘Are you usually sick in the morning?’ His tone was one of doctorly concern.
‘No. Not really. I mean it depends on what I’ve snacked on around three o’clock in the morning.’
‘That’s your usual middle-of-the-night routine?’
‘At the moment, but some advice I was given regarding children is that just when you think you’ve got them into a routine, they change it. So I’m not holding out because Junior here changes his, or her, mind almost as much as I do.’
‘You don’t know the baby’s sex?’
She shook her head. ‘I’m more than happy to be surprised.’
‘And you’ve spoken to your obstetrician about your morning sickness?’
CJ angled her head to the side, surprised to hear the hint of real concern in his tone. ‘You’re concerned about me?’
‘Naturally. You’re a pregnant woman, I’m a doctor. It’s part and parcel of who I am.’
She chuckled at that. ‘I hear you wholeheartedly. I can’t go to a restaurant without silently diagnosing the people sitting around me.’
‘OK, then you understand that I’m only asking these questions because I’m professionally concerned?’
‘I do.’ She nodded. ‘And although I know all the ins and outs of pregnancy and giving birth from a doctorly perspective, going through the process is giving me a whole new perspective.’ She took a mouthful of pancakes, savouring the flavours. After swallowing, she continued. ‘I’ve come to realise that my pregnancy doesn’t run parallel to many of the medical texts but then, as Donna has said, each pregnancy is different and with mine, morning sickness has been sporadic throughout, not just in the first trimester. Even now, with only a few weeks to go, my appetite is as hearty as it’s always been.’ She smiled.
‘And just to appease your concern, my blood pressure is fine, my ankles aren’t swollen and I’ll continue to see Donna weekly until the baby decides to make an appearance.’
‘The obstetrician won’t be here?’
‘If she’s here, then well and good but both Donna and I hold diplomas in obstetrics.’ CJ forked in another mouthful.
‘So you’re happy for Donna, your friend and colleague, to deliver your baby?’
‘Women in country towns usually rely on a friend or a grandmother or an old aunt to help them through deliveries, especially if it takes for ever for the doctor to arrive. Why is this any different? Except in my case, my experienced friend is also a well-trained doctor.’
‘What about midwives? Are there any in the district?’
She shook her head. ‘It would be good, though. We have two part-time district nurses, one from each hospital, but a midwife would definitely be helpful. However, the government believes that with two district hospitals and two GPs this area is well provided for…and I guess we’re much better off than some other districts.’
* * *
He pondered her words as he fixed himself a coffee. ‘Can I get you a drink? I see you have some decaffeinated coffee here. Or would you like some herbal tea?’
CJ shook her head. ‘I’m fine for now, but thank you.’ As she continued to eat, he hunted around the kitchen for the sugar and took the milk from the fridge.
He was glad she was receiving regular check-ups with Donna. With everything that had happened to Abigail, it had made his doctorly instincts almost over-cautious with all pregnant women. He would also need to get used to not working with the latest equipment and specialists on demand. He’d had no idea that Pridham would only have visiting specialists who came this way once a month, sometimes less, leaving the overworked GPs to pick up any slack. Perhaps this job was going to be more interesting than he’d thought.
Ethan glanced across at her, watching her devour those pancakes, secretly delighted that she was enjoying his cooking. He usually had little time to prepare balanced meals, preferring to grab something relatively healthy from the hospital cafeteria. Now that he was in Pridham, he would have the time to exercise more, do more cooking and drive his car. Sure, he’d be working but the stress would be different. Consulting in clinics and doing house calls would be very different from all-day operating lists, overbooked outpatient appointments, departmental administration work and research projects.