"Finished the Amy Andrews last night and it’s one of the best debuts I’ve read. She’s really got a handle on the line. Great medical cases, a hero you could really fall for, a heroine you could sympathise with, brilliant conflict, good sex scenes (especially as they weren't there for the sake of having a scene - they moved the plot forward), lots of emotion. One to watch out for."
The exhilaration midwife Claire West feels at bringing a new life into the world is magical. But Claire fears she carries a genetic illness that she could pass on to her own child. She'll never experience the wonder of motherhood...
So when determined baby doctor Campbell Deane begins to pursue her, she knows she cannot get involved. But Claire finds him hard to resist!
Then Claire discovers that she may be pregnant. Yet with Campbell's dedication, her dilemma could turn into a miracle for them both...
Shirley was absolutely right, the baby was coming. In fact as Claire removed Shirley’s underthings it was evident that it was already here. Adrenaline accelerated her heartbeat as they looked at the baby’s bottom and scrotum bulging from the birth canal.
"Delivered any breech’s before?" Campbell asked quietly.
"A few, when I worked out west. You?"
"I studied for six months under a French Obstetrician who specialised in breech deliveries. I delivered plenty while I was there. So, we can do this, OK? Remember the cardinal rule? Hands off the breech."
"Let’s do it." She smiled and he squeezed her hand.
His confidence buoyed her. The potential for complications increased with a breech presentation. It was good to have an experienced Obstetrician by her side.
Claire got up and pulled a trolley close. Campbell grabbed some gloves and pulled them on.
"Okay Shirley, your little boy is going to be here soon."
"Yes, the evidence is hanging free for all to see. I’m just going to have a feel and see where the legs are, okay?"
"Sure," she panted.
Campbell inserted two fingers and shut his eyes, concentration puckering his brow. "It’s a frank," he said, removing his hand. A breech in a frank position meant that the legs were jack-knifed onto the abdomen - the commonest form of breech.
"You’re doing so well, Shirley. At the next contraction, feel free to push with it, OK? We’ll see if the legs will come out without any help."
"Oh boy, another one - now," she said, starting to breath heavily.
"Go with it, Shirley. Big push for me."
Shirley bellowed loudly as she bore down. The legs slipped out in textbook style and the baby was now visible up to his belly button.
"This baby sure wants out, Shirley," Campbell joked. "He’s doing all the right things. He’s practically delivering himself."
Campbell pulled a loop of umbilical cord down to give them some slack for when the rest of the body made its appearance. The baby started cycling his legs, slowly inching himself out, obviously determined to be born. The arms and shoulders came out next. The baby was almost completely out now. Only the head remained.
"Wonderful, Shirley," Claire soothed. "You’re doing really well. The head will be out soon."
"I’ll hold you to that." A flushed and sweaty-faced Shirley attempted humour.
Campbell was supporting the baby’s weight, cupping his bottom. His other hand spanned the tiny chest, to slow the delivery, while they waited for the next contraction to deliver the head.
Both Claire and Campbell knew that delivering the head was the crucial time and the one most fraught with potential complications. With a normal delivery the head was the first part out, having fully dilated the cervix and vaginal opening to accommodate it. With a breech, the head was the last to come out, so if full dilation hadn’t occurred and particularly if the head was large, the baby could get stuck.
Shirley moaned as another pain contracted her uterus. Graham comforted and encouraged her as he took her weight. Campbell continued to support the baby as the back of the head cleared the canal. They could see the nape of the neck now. Shirley cried out as her birth outlet slowly stretched to allow the passage of her baby's head.
Campbell supported the baby as it slipped out. He stood and placed the newborn in his mother’s arms. Jubilation reigned supreme as the baby wailed lustily. Claire felt hot tears prick her eyes. She let them shine, uncaring whether Campbell saw them or not. What a rush! The Birth Centre’s first birth and a breech! Shirley and Graham stood in the middle of the room, hugging and laughing and crying.
Putting her excitement aside, Claire covered the wet newborn in a warmed blanket and helped Shirley to the bed. The job wasn’t finished yet. The cord had stopped pulsing so she clamped it and showed Graham how to cut it. She administered an intra muscular injection of a drug that stimulated uterine contraction and then she delivered the placenta.
Frivolity, excitement and laughter ebbed and flowed around her as she completed her responsibilities. Campbell sat on the bed with the new parents, admiring the latest addition to their family. Claire watched him surreptitiously. It was good to see the grin couldn’t be wiped from his face either. It made her own smile even bigger.
A quiet knock at the door interrupted the celebrations. It was Valerie Baines. She was one of the Centre’s midwives who'd come in especially today to attend a training course. She’d been out to lunch.
"Oh! I leave you alone for one hour and you deliver our very first baby!" she exclaimed.
"A breech too," said Claire.
"Such clever people," she teased and joined in the excited gathering, cooing at the baby and congratulating everyone.
"This requires a celebration," Valerie declared half an hour later after the paperwork was completed and the room was put to rights. "Let’s crack open that bottle of champagne we’ve been keeping for this occasion." She ran off to get it.
She returned with the chilled bottle and five glasses. They clinked them together and toasted the baby - David John Miller. The newborn slept peacefully in his father’s arms. He'd had a tough day too. They also toasted Claire and Campbell and the Birth Centre.
"To you." Campbell raised his glass to Claire as Valerie helped Shirley to the shower, husband in tow.
Claire stroked her finger down the soft red cheek of baby David. "Ditto." She smiled and they grinned at each other like idiots. Claire felt the attraction between them treble. She was in real trouble! "You know Martin is going to have a fit over this, don’t you?"
"Let him," he said and laughed. They toasted that as well.
Claire had to admit working beside Campbell had been exhilarating. She’d seen another side to the man who had pursued her so persistently. The dedicated doctor. Cool and calm in a situation that would have tested most doctors' mettle. And he wasn’t afraid to get on his haunches to deliver a baby. She felt admiration for him rise and mix with her burgeoning attraction. The champagne must have gone to her head.
Campbell stared at the very different Claire in front of him. Her cheeks glowed and her brown eyes were as tempting as the expensive chocolates he’d been sending her. For once he could read everything in their sweet depths. She wanted him. It was there, as plain as day. He should have plied her with champagne a month ago.
"Have dinner with me tonight." He held his breath.
"Okay," she grinned. Yup. It had definitely gone to her head.