Jennifer was moaning in pain, doubled over, and Derek’s chest tightened as he saw himself in Joe’s shoes, holding Vivian as she cried out.
“She went into labor, Evie,” Joe Jr. said. “It happened so fast. One minute she was fine and the next her water broke.”
“Her water broke? Get her into exam room one,” Evelyn said.
She was cursing under her breath as Joe Jr. scooped up his wife and carried her to the back.
Joe Sr. and Tim braced the door shut, locking it as the wind hit, trying to throw it open with a god-awful howl which made Derek’s insides turn into ice. It reminded him of the night Mo was born. The storm that had hit then. The howl and groan of the wind as it had dumped snow, almost burying them alive and impeding the medical attention Vivian had needed. They hadn’t been able to get out and by the time help came it had been too late.
That storm had cost Vivian her life, and he prayed that this storm wouldn’t cost Jennifer hers.
Derek headed to the back room and helped Joe lie Jennifer on the operating table. Evelyn was in the next room, putting on scrubs. He could see the look of dread on her face as she did so.
Tim was prepping Jennifer, and was already in a set of scrubs. Jennifer was unconscious, the pain having overtaken her.
“What’s going to happen, Dr. Taylor?” Joe asked with terror in his eyes. “I can’t lose her!”
“Come on, Joe. Let’s go sit with your dad. Let Evie take care of her.”
Tim ran past him to lend a hand as Derek walked Joe Jr. back to his father.
“What do we do?” Joe Sr. asked.
“I have to go help, but Jennifer is in safe hands, Joe. Evie is a good doctor. A good surgeon. Evelyn is brilliant.”
And he would be there, every step of the way.
It wasn’t ideal, but they wouldn’t lose Jennifer or the baby.
He had every confidence.
This time he would win out over death.
“It will be fine, Joe.”
Joe nodded nervously and didn’t respond, but Derek had a good feeling that Evelyn would save Jennifer’s life.
He was willing to bet on it.
Evelyn gave him hope even though he was worried about the storm, about Mo—about a lot. The one thing he was sure of, that he believed in, was Evelyn.
She’d done it before and he knew she’d do it again.
She might have a complicated past, like him, but she didn’t let it interfere with her work.
The past was in the past. That was what he’d told her the other day when she’d opened up about Martha.
He had never thought he’d say that.
But he’d meant it. Evelyn had given him hope for so much more. If he could just let go…
* * *
“I know anesthetics,” Tim said as he finished scrubbing and headed into exam room one, which was now an operating theater. “I can manage her airway.”
“Great,” Evelyn said as she got into a surgical gown and gloves. “We’ll deliver this baby here and now. Tim, get the incubator ready when Jennifer’s anesthesia is stable.”
“Of course, Dr. Saunders.”
Derek came into the scrub room and changed in front of her. She was grateful that he was going to assist. She needed Janet to manage the baby while Evelyn operated on Jennifer and got her stable. Then Evelyn could focus on keeping the baby alive.
“There was meconium in the water,” Evelyn said to Derek as he finished scrubbing and got a gown on.
“That’s bad,” Derek said.
“Yeah, I’m worried the baby aspirated it, and that’s a definite sign of distress. The baby’s heart-rate is elevated. We need to get that baby out of there.”
The wind howled and the clinic creaked. The lights flickered and Evelyn took a deep breath.
You got this. You can do this.
“Back-up generators are running. If we lose main power we have the back-ups, and the incubator has a battery pack that is charged.” Derek smiled from behind his surgical mask. “I’m glad you’re here.”
“Thanks.” She sighed. “Let’s go.”
Evelyn took a deep breath as she entered the makeshift operating room. She wasn’t used to conditions like this. She was used to state-of-the-art facilities. Large operating theaters that were fully staffed, and a gallery full of eager interns and residents who wanted to learn.
She wasn’t used to working in the wilds of Alaska, where situations like this meant life or death.
The lights flickered again, but came back on.
Just stay on. Please.
This was what her father had done every day. There had been no specialists flying in. It had just been him.
She could do this because she had Derek by her side. Because this baby and Jennifer were family. She had to make sure she didn’t lose any more family members.