English Girl in New York

By: Scarlet Wilson



Dan sucked in a deep breath. ‘Well, like I said, I’m no expert but I guess this means we have a newborn.’ A million thoughts started to flood into his head but he tried to push them aside. ‘And I guess I should say congratulations, we’ve got a boy.’ He rewrapped the blanket and lifted the little one onto his shoulder, trying to take in the enormity of the situation.

‘I have a friend who works at Angel’s, the children’s hospital. Let me give her a call.’

‘Her?’

He lifted his head. It was just the way she said the word her. As if it implied something else entirely.

‘Yes. She’s a paediatrician. Since neither of us know what we’re doing and we can’t get any immediate help, I guess she’s the best bet we’ve got.’

He walked over to the phone and dialled quickly, putting the phone onto speaker as he adjusted the baby on his shoulder, away from his cast. ‘Can you page Dr Adams for me? Tell her it’s Sergeant Cooper and it’s an emergency. Thanks.’

It only took a few seconds to connect. ‘Dan? What’s up?’

The relief he felt was instant. Shana was the best kids’ doctor that he knew. She would tell him exactly what to do.

‘Hi, Shana. I’ve got a bit of a problem. I’ve had a baby dumped on my doorstep and from the looks of it, it’s a newborn.’

‘What?’ He could hear the incredulous tone in her voice. ‘In this weather?’

‘Exactly.’

Shana didn’t mess around. She was straight down to business. ‘Is the baby breathing?’

‘Yes.’

‘How cold? Do you have a thermometer? What’s the baby’s colour? And how is it responding?’

Carrie burst in. ‘We think he was outside for just over five minutes. His skin was cold when I brought him in—and he was pale. But he’s started to warm up. He looks pinker now.’ Her brow was furrowed. ‘Do you have a thermometer, Dan?’ She was shaking her head. ‘I don’t.’

‘Who’s that?’

Daniel cleared his throat. ‘That’s Carrie, my neighbour from upstairs. It was she who heard the baby crying. And no, Shana, we don’t have a thermometer.’

‘No matter. Crying? Now that’s a good sign. That’s a positive.’

Carrie shook her head. ‘Not crying exactly, more like a whimper.’

‘Any noise is good noise. You said he’s a newborn. Is the cord still attached? Is it tied off?’

‘Yes, it’s tied with a piece of string. Doesn’t look the cleanest. But the baby was only wrapped up in a blanket. No clothes. No diaper.’

‘Sounds like no preparation. I wonder if the mother had any prenatal care. Does the baby look full term?’

Daniel shrugged and looked at Carrie, who shook her head and mouthed, I don’t know.

‘To be honest, Shana, neither of us are sure. I guess he looks okay. What does a full-term baby look like?’

‘Does he have a sucking reflex? Is he trying to root?’

‘What? I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ He was trying hard not to panic. This was all second nature to Shana. These types of questions were the ones she asked day in, day out. To him it all sounded like double Dutch.

They could hear the sound of muffled laughter at the other end of the phone. ‘One of you, scrub your hands thoroughly under the tap then brush your finger around the side of the baby’s mouth. I want to know if he turns towards it, as if he’s trying to breastfeed or bottlefeed.’

Daniel nodded at Carrie, who walked over to the sink and started scrubbing her hands. ‘Give us a second, Shana.’

Carrie dried her hands and then walked back over and lifted her finger hesitantly to the side of the baby’s mouth. It took a few gentle brushes to establish that the little guy was reacting to her touch, turning towards it and opening his mouth.

‘Yes, Shana. We think he is responding.’

‘Good. That’s a sign that he’s around full term.’ She gave an audible sigh. ‘Okay, Daniel, you’re not going to like this.’

‘What?’ Did she think something was wrong with the baby?

‘There’s no way I can send anyone from Angel’s to get that baby. Our emergency room is packed and the roads around us are completely impassable. And from the weather report it’s going to be like that for a few days.’

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