“Don’t worry,” said Kate. “I’ll be fine. I just need to get out for a while. These four walls are starting to drive me crazy.”
“Where are you going?” asked Rhys, ever the concerned husband, for Kate was eight months pregnant with their first child.
“I thought I’d take my painting things down to the harbour. I haven’t been there for ages.”
“Now make sure you take your mobile phone with you, love.”
“Of course,” replied Kate.
It was wonderful to be protected and cared for, but in some ways Rhys’s fussing was slightly irritating. She was a fully grown woman, after all, who had travelled the world alone before meeting the love of her life and settling down. There was nothing too daunting about a short drive to the harbour and setting up her easel, even though she felt as big as a house. Kate loved to paint, and she’d been meaning for ages to make studies of the boats in the harbour and the yachts out in the bay.
Within an hour she was busily at work. She’d set up her easel on the broad arc of the stone harbour, and was sketching the rough outline of a sturdy little fishing boat that was bobbing at its moorings. Kate’s only care in the world was the brisk sea breeze whipping her hair about her face. She rummaged in her box of paints, hoping to find an elastic band, a bit of string, anything she could use to secure her hair.
She felt a sharp pain which made her wince. Perhaps she’d bent over a bit too suddenly for the baby’s liking, she thought, so she straightened up. She took a few deep breaths and the pain eased. Then she knelt down more gently to resume her search for a hair tie. Next thing Kate knew, she was writhing on the ground in the grip of a fierce contraction.
“Not yet, baby!” she gasped. “You’re not due for at least two weeks!”
But the baby clearly had other ideas.
A man on the fishing boat noticed the young woman lying on the ground. Either she was very fat, or she was expecting a baby. Whichever, she was clearly in distress. He clambered up the rope ladder and ran to her side.
“What’s the problem, madam?” he enquired politely.
“The baby’s coming!” gasped Kate, fumbling in her pocket for her mobile phone. “Could you get help please? And call my husband?”
The man took the phone from Kate’s outstretched hand. “How do you make a 999 call on one of these things?” he asked.
“I’ve no idea,” replied Kate, gripped by another spasm. The contractions were coming very quickly now.
“I don’t think we’ve got time to get help. I’ll fetch some blankets from my boat to make you more comfortable. I’ll be back in a minute,” he called as he scrambled back down the rope ladder.
Kate shrieked in pain. She thought she heard the man call out to her that she could trust him, he was a doctor. Clearly a rich one with his own boat.
True to his word, he came straight back with a couple of blankets. A bit grubby-looking, but Kate was in no state to care. She gripped the doctor’s hand, panting as instructed, holding back even though she felt she could split apart like a pea-pod.
“I can see the head,” he said. “Now push like mad!”
Little Evan burst forth into the world in a mighty rush, and it was all over. Kate sat herself up as much as she could on the rough stone dock and wrapped her brand new son in a reasonably clean t-shirt which the doctor offered her. She picked up her mobile phone and rang her husband.
“I’ve had the baby, Rhys,” she gasped. “Yes, I was really lucky. There was a doctor on the boat I was painting. He’s been great, but I’m going to have to go to hospital of course. He’s just rung for an ambulance.”
As she ended her call Kate noticed the doctor was laughing.
“Sorry to disappoint you, lady, but I said I was a docker, not a doctor. Mind you, I’m a father of three, and I was present at each birth.”
By Karenne Griffin
Last Modified on: 05-11-2015