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Miracle Babies at Paddington's Children's Hospital

Written by Annie O'Neil

Chapter Five

Isla shot Rosie an apologetic look. She wasn’t trying to be difficult, but as the days went by, life was becoming more complicated, not less. There had been a swirl of rumours about what may or may not have happened but when the speculations tightened round the idea that she’d gone for a sperm donor via IVF she hadn’t said no. It was easier than saying the man she’d thought would marry her hadn’t so much as sent a text.

Jerk.

No. That wasn’t fair. She hadn’t expected anything. Hadn’t wanted anything. Expecting and wanting only led to disappointment. And the day she’d found out she was pregnant…after the shock had worn off…it was as if her body had been filled with sunshine. The purest sort of happy she had ever felt. Peaceful for the first time in her life. It was just the extra shifts that were making it harder. That was all.

If circumstances were different she would be off work now. Putting her swollen feet up. Preparing a nursery. Teaching herself how to knit.

She swallowed a humourless laugh. If circumstances were different she’d have a father for her babies.

But they weren’t. And she didn’t. So here she was at work, thirty-three weeks pregnant with twins, making the best of things.

A sigh whooshed out of her chest when the driver’s door to the ambulance opened and her long-term colleague Victoria threw her a wave before heading to the back of the vehicle. Victoria had all but grown up in the hospital and ‘haunted’ the corridors as much as she did. They’d shared enough cups of tea in the various nooks and crannies of ‘The Castle’ to know they each considered the hospital home more than the places where they went to sleep at night. The idea that the governors of the hospital were meeting to discuss the hospital’s future sent shivers along her spine. The place was an institution. A lifeline for so many London families and the children they cared for. Surely they would find some money from somewhere—like they always did—and keep providing the top-rate service they always did to any child who needed it.

‘You ready for our star patient of the day?’ Victoria asked the gathering handful of medical professionals, her hazel eyes crackling with her usual high-octane approach to life.

‘I’m always ready,’ came a rich, very male, very Scottish brogue from behind her. Isla turned at the sound of Dominic MacBride’s voice. His accent wasn’t as broad as hers. He was a recent transplant from Edinburgh and she’d lived about as far north in Scotland as you could get. Then again, her accent had a lot more time to soften “Down South” as her grandparents had called England. Exactly why she’d chosen it. As far away as possible.

The moment she’d turned sixteen her not-so-loving grandparents had made it more than clear it was time to seek support elsewhere. The same age her mother had been when she’d come home with a baby in her arms. It wasn’t but a week or two later that she’d up and left her for who knew what. She’d never come back and Isla would never be any the wiser.

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About the author

Annie O’Neil spent the bulk of her childhood in the library, nos...

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Annie O'Neil

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