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The Call

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The St. Mary's Hospital in Edinburgh was busy attending the victims of a big traffic accident it had happened on the city centre. The only place that seemed peacefully was the Maternity floor, where only a couple of labours were going on. Midwife Claire Beauchamp was having a tea break on the staff room when a nurse came for her. 'I need ye on the reception Claire.'

'What is it, Fiona?' Claire asked, already standing up and following up the nurse.

'We have a call.' Nurse Fiona said. 'A woman in labour close to the area of the accident. She canna come to the hospital because the roads are closed, and the ambulances busy.'

Claire took the phone and spoke 'Hello, I'm Claire, I'm one of the midwives...'

'Thaing Dhia.' A nervous male voice spoke, with one of the thickest Scottish accents Claire had heard on her eight months in Scotland. 'My sister is havin' her bairn now. I donna ken what to do.'

'First, you need to calm down.' Claire said, sitting on a chair. 'Tell me, what's your name? And your sister's name?' A woman screamed in pain on the background and Claire quickly took a pad and a pen for her notes.

'James, Jamie, my name is Jamie Fraser.' The man answered. 'My sister's name is Jenny. Janet, Janet Fraser Murray if ye need to look for her on yer files.' Another scream and some words in what looked like a different language.

'OK, I just need to know how many weeks Jenny is pregnant?'

'I dinna ken.' Jamie Fraser said. 'Her husband is not here, he took the van for some deliveries and got stuck because of the big accident, and the ambulance said me they canna come here either. I need help, I canna do this, I dinna ken what to do.'

'Stop babblin' ye fuckin' idiot.' A woman's voice came through, making Claire laugh.

'You must help your sister.' Claire said. 'The services are unavailable now. I'll help you, just keep the call going. Now breath.' Claire heard Jamie take a deep breath. 'And listen. Are you at home?'

'Nae, we're in our Deli shop. We sell organic products made by farms on the Highlands.' Jamie said to Claire.

'Focus on me, ye bloody bastard.' Jenny screamed again.

'Do you have a kitchen, towels you can damp. Any type of blanket?'

'Aye, we have a small kitchen, and we dinna have towels but we have cloths, tablecloths and fabric napkins.' Jamie answered, Jenny screaming again on the background.

'It should be enough.' Claire made some notes. 'I want you to pick some stuff up. And any kind of ribbon you can clamp the cord with. And something to cut it. Just remember to clean it well first, and clean your own hands.'

'I canna leave Jenny...'

'Leave the phone with her. I'll take care of Jenny.' Claire heard Jamie giving the phone to Jenny and leave. 'Hello Jenny? I'm Claire, how are you?'

'Sorry for the dumb...' Jenny screamed again...'The dumb idiot I have for brother.'

'It's OK, he's just too nervous and worried for you and your child.' Claire said. 'Tell me Jenny, is that your first baby?'

'Second, I have a lad, Jamie, like his idiot uncle.' Jenny said, another contraction coming. 'This one's a lass, Maggie, after my Gran.'

'That's a great name.' Claire said again. 'How many weeks are you pregnant?'

'37. And she canna wait for another day.' Jamie came back and Jenny gave him his phone back. 'Brother, the babe is comin' right now. I can feel the head.'

'I got the stuff and I washed my hands three times.' Jamie said once he got the phone back.

'Good. It seems the baby is coming quickly' Claire said to him. 'I need you to assume the position to receive it.'

'She's my sister, I cannae look and touch her...'

'Jamie, focus!' Claire shouted at Jamie. 'Go there and tell me what's going on.'

Claire heard some rustle before Jamie spoke again. 'A Dhia, the head is almost out.'

'OK, once the head is fully out, I need you to hold the baby with one hand and try to manoeuvre the shoulders, so to help them go out easily.' Jamie cocked his head to keep the phone on his ear while he followed Claire's directions. 'The rest of the baby's body should slip out easily after the shoulders.' Jamie did as he was told, barely breathing. Soon the baby girl was in his arms.

'She's here, what should I do now?' Jamie said.

'Rub her face to encourage breathing.' Claire smiled as a loud cry came through the phone.

'I canna believe I...She's...' Jamie said.

'Tell me how she looks. Does she seem to be breathing well?' Claire asked.

'Red and sticky, is it normal?' Claire laughed.

'Yes, it is.'

'Give me my lass, Jamie.' Jenny said.

'Time for you to cut the cord.' Claire said. 'Mama is waiting. Clamp the cord in two places, and cut around the middle.'

'Just like that?' Jamie asked.

'Yes, just like that.'

Jamie did again what Claire asked and soon wee Maggie Murray was on her mother's arms, wrapped on a tablecloth with Lallybroch Deli embroidered on it. Claire smiled again, waiting few seconds before speak again. 'Jamie, are ye still there?'

It took for Jamie to answer a few seconds. 'Aye, I am.'

'I need you to take care of Jenny for bit.' Claire said. 'We need to see the placenta out and check for any abnormal bleeding.'

'Och, disgusting.' Claire heard a couple of minutes later. 'I thought this thin' would be nicer.' Claire laughed and heard Jenny laughing too. 'That's a cloth we arena usin' anymore.'

Few hours later, Jenny was finally relaxing at her hospital room with her husband and children, just for the night to see her well. Jamie was waiting at the door, leaving the Murray's some time alone, when someone called his named. 'Jamie?' He turn around and his heart stopped as the most beautiful woman he had ever seen smiled at him. 'Is that you?'

'Aye, and ye are...'

'I'm Claire. I came to see how Jenny and the baby are doing.'

'A Dhia, it's ye!' I canna tell ye how thankful I am for having had ye today. I couldna have done it without ye.'

'You're very welcome.' Claire smiled to Jamie again. 'You did very well.' Claire went to the room and had an animated chat with Jenny and Ian, Jamie still looking from the door.

'Claire!' Jamie said, as Claire left Jenny's room. 'I was wonderin'...if ye would accept a drink from me. A thank ye gift. I want to do somethin'.'

'Why not?' Claire smiled again. 'My shift finishes in ten minutes, can you wait?'

'Aye, dinna fash for that.' Jamie smiled back and went back to the room, to coo over Maggie Murray while she fell asleep on Jenny's arms.

Little the little girl knew at that moment that, almost two years to the date, she would be having the important task of being the flower girl at her Uncle Jamie and Aunt Claire's wedding...