The Baby Doctor by Fiona McArthur

New release from Fiona McArthur
The Baby Doctor
is out now!

Read an excerpt below

The right people turn up in your life at the right time if you let them.

Sienna Wilson is living her dream in the city – a rewarding obstetrics job in a leading hospital, an apartment with a view, and handsome Sergeant McCabe on call whenever she needs him. The last thing she wants is a posting to a remote outback town to investigate a medical mystery.

But on arrival in Spinifex, Sienna is brought to life in new and exciting ways. In a community riddled with secrets, she meets troubled young barmaid Maddy, and tough publican Alma, both with their troubles to hide.

As they draw strength from each other, new friendships, new loves and new babies are born, proving that when strong women join forces, they can overcome even the greatest odds.

Excerpt from The Baby Doctor by Fiona McArthur

Chapter One


The last triplet was always tricky. The beam from the operating-room light followed the flash of tiny limbs in the uterus like the final dancer on the stage. This baby did not enjoy the limelight.

Dr Sienna Wilson blew breath up under her mask to shift the wisp of blonde hair that had dared to escape from under her floral theatre hat during the struggle. Scooping the squirming passenger from his mother’s previously crowded womb, she admonished the tiny face, ‘I’m sorry, young man. It’s your time to shine.’ The staff in the theatre exchanged glances with relief.

‘Born O310.’ Everyone heard the excitement in the scout nurse’s voice despite the early hour, and there were a few smiles.

‘A very determined young man,’ Sienna murmured, as she handed the baby on towards the final team of neonatal specialists. Her clenched belly relaxed with the delegation of the last baby’s welfare and she stretched her neck to see over the screen to the parents. ‘Congratulations. Number three is a boy. And he’s strong.’ No one could see the relief on Sienna’s face under her mask, but it was there along with the thrill of the chase. Worrisome wee people, babies, when they came too early.

She refocused her full attention on the operating field. She needed to ease the huge three-lobed placenta away from where it had nestled and nurtured the triplets for the past eight months.

When she was done, Sienna pointed with a finger to draw the attention of her junior. ‘Looks like we’ve got all the fragments and membranes, but we’ll get them to check straight away.’ Her voice stayed low, instructional, inaudible to the parents. ‘This over-distended uterus probably feels as bone weary as we do – if uteruses had bones, that is.’

Cilla, her registrar, nodded. She was a serious little thing, seven years younger than Sienna at thirty-two and a whole lot shorter, hence the nickname Sienna pretended she hadn’t heard pairing them as Snow White and Doc, but her work ethic endeared her to Sienna, who went on in a normal tone, ‘Why do you suppose babies decide to knock on the uterine door at three am? Why not wait until everyone else is awake?’

‘Childish contrariness. Like my two-year-old.’ Dave the anaesthetist rubbed his stubbled chin. ‘He thinks sleep is over-rated.’

‘Poor Dave.’ Her lack of empathy made Dave roll his eyes, because everyone knew Sienna considered combining family and career a recipe for exhaustion. Sienna glanced across at the neonatal teams working on the three resuscitation trolleys.

She acknowledged with a nod the thumbs up from the overseeing paediatrician. ‘Good job, people,’ she called. She listened with satisfaction to the soft, petulant kitten cries that drifted towards the big round light Sienna worked under. In her periphery of sound, she could hear the steady blip, blip, blip of the mother’s heart monitor and the hissing gurgle of the wound suction gobbling fluids.

With this team, she was enjoying her work in Sydney even more than she had in Melbourne. Life didn’t get any better than this.

Cilla began to suture the first layer under Sienna’s approving eye. She glanced at her boss. ‘You were calm. Watching you deliver them made me nervous. How many triplet births have you had?’

‘None myself.’

Dave laughed. Cilla looked confused.

Sienna closed her eyes for a moment. Not everyone enjoyed her sense of humour, or her teaching style, but she was working on it. And Cilla was learning at incredible speed. ‘Sorry. Seven sets for other women. I can remember them all. Four sets in Melbourne and three sets in the six months I’ve worked here.’

She gestured to the personnel busy around the room. ‘You need a good theatre squad – Dave doing his job brilliantly despite his lack of sleep.’ Dave bowed. ‘People moving in and out to take babies,’ she continued, flicking her gloved hand at the paediatric ensemble. ‘Scrub sister anticipating my every request before I make it.’ She waved grandly at the friendly theatre sister Sienna tended to team up with.

‘Thank you, doctor. I must be clairvoyant.’ The amusement in the sister’s voice made Sienna thankful that someone else had a sense of humour despite the ungodly hour.

She watched Cilla insert another suture, dabbing at a swell of blood, all the while scrutinising the edge of the uterus. She needed to keep a close but discreet watch over Cilla’s movements. ‘It’s like a ballet.’ Sienna’s voice became somewhat dreamy. She glanced up again to acknowledge the people, the skills, the technology that encapsulated her world. The urgency, decision making, and intricacies of obstetrics fascinated her, filled her days.

The scrub sister asked, ‘Any fun plans for the weekend, doctor?’

Sienna’s endorphin high from the birth slipped down a notch like a loop of umbilical cord in a prolapse. Though she disliked to admit it, there was a but here …

But … she didn’t have a life. Or life balance.

Ha! Push that thought away. Balance was something you did with a scalpel before you cut, not something you lived.

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