Falling for the Pregnant GP - Page 23

‘Sure.’ He turned back to the table and sat a few seats away from her.

CJ blew on the hot tea. ‘So, I called through to the hospital to check on Robert. He’s sleeping soundly. All vital signs are fine.’

‘Good.’

‘I’m glad you were there to help.’

‘You would have been able to handle everything with your hands tied behind your back,’ he commented.

‘Thank you. That’s nice of you to say, but I have to tell you, in my present condition, I definitely can’t move as fast as you. It’s frustrating.’

‘I’m sure it is. Soon, though, it will all be over—’

‘And I’ll be frustrated for a different reason,’ she finished with a wry grimace.

‘I thought you were looking forward to it.’

‘I am. I’m getting desperate to meet my child. To hold it in my arms, to smother it with kisses, but the fact remains that being a single mother is not going to be an easy trick. Then there’s the clinic and what if I need time off after you leave and we can’t get another locum? What if something goes wrong with the birth? I’m happy with my level of medical care, don’t get me wrong, but I just have all these thoughts constantly running through my head and I can’t seem to stop them.

‘What if I go over my due date and I have to be induced? What if I have a reaction to the medication? What if it’s so painful I can’t cope? What if Donna’s at another emergency and I have to deliver the baby myself? What if something’s wrong with the baby? Am I going to be a good mother?’ Her voice had risen to a crescendo and she buried her head in her hands, her shoulders shaking as she started to cry.

Ethan was horrified. Not at what she’d said but how concerned she was about everything. He’d had no idea her stress levels were this high and the doctor side of him kicked in, knowing such stress could seriously affect her blood pressure.

‘I was trying to call Donna to talk to her about all of this but she’s actually out at an emergency at Whitecorn Hospital and I also don’t want to bother her every time I have a moment of neurotic weakness. And…and…all of those questions are only the tip of the iceberg because once my anxieties start to warm up, they really get going.’ She sniffed and raised her head again. ‘What if I can’t cope with the baby and can’t return to work—ever? What if I have postnatal depression? What if I can’t do this by myself?’

‘Borrowing trouble won’t get you anywhere.’ He tried to placate her, wondering if he should leave a message for Donna to stop by after the emergency. For the moment, the best thing he could do was to let CJ talk, let her get her frustrations out, because he’d come to realise that she wasn’t the sort of person to bottle things up…unlike him. If she could talk things out, cry a little and release the pressure from her anxious thoughts, then she soon might be able to get some rest.

Tears continued to trickle down her cheeks and she patted the pockets of her dressing gown for a handkerchief. Trying not to feel helpless but also wanting to be helpful, Ethan quickly took the box of tissues from the window ledge and brought them over to her.

‘Thanks.’

He sat down beside her and took her small hand in his. The instant he did that, he realised his mistake. His intention had been to talk to her like any other patient, to reassure her, but all he could now concentrate on was that her skin was so incredibly soft. Ethan rubbed his free hand over his forehead, trying to jump-start his mind. When he spoke, his voice was lower, more intimate than he’d intended. ‘It’s natural to have doubts, CJ. Very natural.’

‘I know, but what if some of them come true?’

‘Then you’ll deal with them.’ His words were direct and filled with hope. ‘One by one. You’ll formulate a plan, you’ll find the help you need, and you’ll get on with things. You’re very well supported in this town. Everyone—and I mean everyone, from the cleaner at Whitecorn Hospital to the store manager at the grocery store—is supporting you.’ He shook his head in amazement. ‘I know I’ve said this before but it really does astound me because I’ve never met anyone who was so well respected and so adored by those around her. You’re a genuinely nice person, CJ.’

‘Wow.’ Fresh tears trickled down her cheeks, but they were tears for a different reason. ‘That is such a lovely thing to say, Ethan. Thank you. You’re a good friend.’ She withdrew her hand from his and blew her nose.

Ethan closed his eyes, remembering a very similar conversation with Abigail. She’d been stressing and he’d placated her, thinking he was comforting her, but he’d been wrong. Her worries had been well founded and he hadn’t done enough to help, because she had kept so much from him, and he hadn’t seen the danger till it had been too late. It was one of the things that ate him up at night and even though the specialists had told him there was nothing he could have done for either his wife or his child, deep in his psyche he couldn’t stop feeling that hadn’t been the case.

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