She’d ruined enough lives.
She took her spot and went to work. She washed Jennifer’s abdomen with betadine and then picked a scalpel off the tray. She drowned out the sounds of the storm, of the monitors, and of everything else.
The only sound she focused on was her heart. The only voice she heard in her head was her own, telling her what move to make.
She’d done countless C-sections before.
This was no different.
Evelyn looked up and saw Derek across from her, holding the retractor. He nodded and she reached in and pulled out a tiny thirty-three-week-old baby boy. He wasn’t breathing, but that was to be expected. She was prepared for that.
She quickly cut the cord and handed the baby over to Tim, who was holding out towels. Tim whisked him over to the warming table and there was a tiny cry, but it wasn’t strong.
Still, it was a cry, and tears stung her eyes as she thought of her little third cousin—alive.
“Keep him ventilated, Tim—and warm.”
“Yes, Dr. Saunders.”
Evelyn finished her work on Jennifer and made sure she was stable. She closed her up and injected antibiotics into her IV. Jennifer was going to make it.
She wanted to cry for joy, but she kept her emotions in check.
“Take her into the other exam room, Derek—and, Tim, bring her out of the anesthetic.”
Tim nodded, but Derek stayed by the incubator.
“Is something wrong, Derek?” Evelyn asked.
“Nothing. He’s breathing with the vent and his stats are good.”
“Good. That’s good. And Jennifer will survive.”
And that was the only answer she could give. It was a relief.
“The baby will need the services of a neonatal doctor. I hope this storm lets up soon. I’m going to stay here with him now.”
“Dr. Saunders!” Tim shouted. “There’s blood in the drainage tube of the IV line.”
Evelyn whipped back around.
“I need to open her up again. I think her uterus has ruptured. Hang blood. Lots of blood.”
And she was glad the stock of blood she ordered, for this reason, had come in before the planes had all been grounded.
Evelyn quickly worked on getting back in there to try and fix the damage.
Derek was pale as he stepped back. “What’s happening?”
“She’s bleeding out. I need help, Derek!”
“Tell me what to do!” Derek said, jumping back into the fray with her.
Evelyn knew this was hard for him after what had happened to his wife, but she also knew he was strong. Stronger than he gave himself credit for. Stronger than her. He was there, by her side, ready to save a life. He was a doctor first and foremost, and a damn fine one that she could rely on.
The first man in a long time she could rely on.
Even though Mo was still out in that storm he didn’t fold under pressure. And she wouldn’t either. He gave her strength in this moment. Strength she hadn’t thought she had.
And she was glad he was here.
With him she couldn’t fail.
She wouldn’t fail.
HURRICANE TINA LASTED for twelve hours before it moved over the mainland and lost steam. The tree on the road was cleared. Janet, Mo and Edna made it safely to the clinic. There was no way Edna could get home yet, but her family was safe and everyone was relieved that the three of them were okay. Derek had Mo resting in his office and Edna had taken one of the empty exam rooms.
Evelyn was exhausted. She’d managed to stop Jennifer’s bleeding, but Jennifer would need a hysterectomy. They had to get her into Sitka.
The baby was still alive and she’d given him some saline and packed cells to try and dilute the packed red blood cells. His lungs were wet and underdeveloped still, even though Jennifer had been given a shot of steroids in Juneau to help quicken lung development.
Little Baby Boy Yazzie still had a long way to go. He needed to be in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Jennifer was still under sedation because of her blood loss and the major surgery.
Evelyn and Janet traded on watching the baby in the incubator. Just so they could have a break to stretch or eat or have coffee.
Evelyn’s eyelids felt as if they were made of sandpaper now, as she sat next to the incubator, monitoring the tiny little infant.
Her third cousin was cute.
Evelyn smiled at him. She might have told herself she never wanted to have a family, or planned on it because she was too terrified, but she really did want one. A husband, kids, and to travel around the world.
That would be perfection.
Or you could just stay here.
“The planes are back up and running,” Tim announced as he came in from the staff room. “The hurricane is over, just a tropical storm now, and the air ambulance is ready to take Jennifer and Joe the Third to Sitka.”