Story: The Tide – Part Two

image courtesy of Dimitris Vetsikas

We left the first episode of The Tide by CAROLYN DENMAN with midwife Jill in dire peril. Now read on…

Lifting up her equipment she stepped into the water. It enveloped her feet and ankles in an icy deluge. Wincing as small pebbles in the surface dug into her feet, Jill walked down the slope. A wave surged past her bringing the water up to her knees.

Jill paused, then moved into the foaming sea, gasping as she found herself thigh deep and cold. Her mobile rang; ignoring it, she looked ahead at the hundred yards of water separating herself from her labouring mum. Taking a big step forward, Jill felt her foot slid down through the mud. She toppled backwards and fell full length in the water. All her equipment fell too…


 Wildly, Jill reached out for her bags and caught her midwifery bag. A wave rushed towards her and she hurried to get upright, but her foot was still caught in the mud. She managed to get her left foot under her and balanced precariously pulling hard to release her foot. With a sucking resistance it came free and she toppled backwards again.

Can things get any worse?

Her flailing hand knocked hard against her Entonox box and she grabbed it with relief, pushing upwards to her feet.

What else can go wrong? Where are my dry clothes?

Jill wiped water from her face and peered around, but there was no sign of her shoulder bag. She burst out laughing; her dry clothes were drowned in the sea and could now be designated as wet clothes.

Shivering in the strong wind, Jill took a small step forward, then another. The waves were wetting her to her waist, the sea tugging at her feet as it receded. Her jaw set with determination, Jill pushed herself onwards. The light was all but gone, the sky black.

No woman I am caring for is going to be left to deliver alone, even If I am more like a drowned rat than a professional midwife. Just get out of the water and it’s a few quick steps to the house. I hope my equipment’s all right. Oh, gods, what will the boss say when she hears?

A huge wave reared up in the distance. Jill froze, her body going rigid. Frightened, she slogged forward fast, then it was upon her. She braced her feet as the surf broke over her head, then the surge of water picked her up carrying her with it, before dropping her down. Shivering with fear and cold, Jill tried not to cry.

The sea’s so strong, this is much worse than I expected. Hurry up, get out of the water.

Striding forward, she found herself again on a slope and made easier progress through the rest of the water. Her foot hit a rock making her yell with pain. Walking around it she reached the sand.

“I’ve made it!”

This must be a record. One midwife soaked to the gills coming for your home birth.

Scrambling up the steep slope, Jill walked in the direction of Carol’s home. Stepping over a stile, clutching her soaking wet bags, she saw the outline of the house in the distance. Jill hurried across the sandy grass to the front door. She knocked hard as there was no bell, then turned the knob. Without result, it was locked. Hands white with cold, Jill left her bags and hurried around to the back door shivering in the biting wind. Her wet dress clinging to her thighs, her sodden jacket weighing her down. She turned the back doorknob also locked.

“For goodness sake! I’m here.” Jill banged loudly on the door. “Carol, where are you?”

Filled with rage, Jill stamped her foot.

Look at all the effort I’ve made and she hasn’t even thought to unlock the door.

Stepping back Jill saw there were lights on upstairs.

“Carol!” She yelled, but the wind whipped her words away.

I’m going to die of exposure at this rate.

Feeling a spurt of temper that made her grit her teeth and thump the wall, Jill ran back to the front door and banged repeatedly. She opened the letter box and yelled through it.

“Jill is that you?” The voice was just audible.

“Carol, I’m soaked and frozen cold, come and open the front door.”

“I can’t get down the stairs. The contractions are too strong.”

“You must! Your labour’s strong, you need my help. Hang onto the banister.”

“I’ll try, Jill.”

I have never been so cold in my life.

Jill clenched her teeth, rubbing her hands together. She looked through the letterbox; Carol was a third of the way down the stairs holding tight to the banister in the grips of a contraction.

“It’s hurting.” Carol groaned with pain, banging her head on the banister. “I need something for the pain.”

“Let me in.”

Carol looked up her expression wild. “Help me.”

“Open the door, Carol.”

Carol took two more lumbering steps forward then stopped again. Jill closed her eyes as Carol screamed her way through the contraction. Jill twisted the doorknob shoving her weight into the door, but it didn’t give.

“Carol, I can help you. Just a couple more steps to the door. You must try, Carol.”

Carol lurched forward in a wild movement and stumbled down the last few stairs. Jill’s heart all but stopped as she watched. Then the door opened

“Carol, are you all right? I’ve got the gas and air, you can have that at once.”

“Thank goodness, you’ve come. I’m so frightened.”

“Where’s Jacob?”

“With his dad. You’re completely soaked. What happened?”

“Let’s get you started on the gas, then we can talk.”

Jill followed Carol into a warm sitting room. The logs on the wood burner were glowing red. She handed Carol the mouthpiece of the Entonox.

“Remember, breathe the gas as soon as your contraction starts.”

Carol sucked hard on the gas, which hissed loudly. She breathed hard and fast getting as much gas as she could.

“Try and slow down. I don’t think you’ve got a contraction at the moment.”

“Bliss.” Carol paused, releasing the gas. Jill had a hand on Carol’s tummy.

It’s coming. Now steady breaths. In, out, in, out. Much better, Carol. Come up for fresh air it’s over. Well done.”

“You’re dripping.”

Jill giggled, “That’s an understatement. Have you something I can change into quickly?”

“Jed’s dressing gown is in the cloak room across the hall.”

“I’ll be two ticks.”

Jill stripped all her clothes off and gave herself a hasty rub down with a towel. She wrapped herself in Jed’s thick winter dressing gown. Running her fingers through her wet hair to get it off her face, she rushed back to Carol.

Forty minutes later, Carol’s baby girl was born.

ill sat back on her heels, her back toasty warm from the fire behind her. She watched Carol cuddling her baby feeling tears fill her eyes. Carol was transformed now her baby was born. her face softened with love as she studied her daughter.

It was worth it. I’d do it again. She was so frightened. I’m glad I made it. But it never does to underestimate the power of the sea.

Carol looked up at Jill. “How did you get so wet?”

“The sea was wild. I fell.”

At that moment, the door opened and Jed walked in with four-year-old Jacob. Their hair was soaked. They stopped together.

“Mum.” Jacob paused uncertain.

“Darling, what’s happened? I can’t believe it. You’ve had the baby.” Jed’s face lit with a smile as he moved towards them.

“Come and meet your daughter.” She held out her hand to Jacob, who crossed the room to her.

“You have a baby sister.”

Jed held his daughter, his glance falling on Jill.

“You’re wearing my dressing gown,” he said sounding puzzled.

Jill and Carol grinned.


© Carolyn Denman


Kitty Parsons

Kitty has forgotten how long she has been here now but she loves Pembrokeshire for its beauty and it's people. She spends her time searching out stories for, swimming in the sea , drawing and painting as Snorkelfish and eating cake. She says " has been an opportunity to celebrate this beautiful county and its people. Keep the stories coming. We love to hear from you."

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