Jovinda and Noni moved into the house Kendo had given them two weeks later. Noni’s father was generous enough to pay for some of the furniture, and although the house was not filled with furniture, they had enough.
The house was two streets away from Jovinda’s old home. It was a three storey house with a small garden and four bedrooms. The ground floor comprised of a living room, dining room and a kitchen. The hall ran the length of the house with stairs mounting up the left hand side.
At the front was a living room with a bay window and behind it was the dining room. The hallway turned right to a door leading into the garden. The kitchen was right at the back.
On the first floor, there were two bedrooms and a bathroom, more stairs up to the second floor and two more bedrooms.
Jovinda declared that she must have a nurse for the coming baby as befitted her station as the wife of a diplomat and daughter of the leader of the guilds and Noni indulged her. They spent many hours setting up the nursery and nurse’s room.
Three weeks before the baby was due, Noni and Jovinda interviewed several candidates for the job of nurse and appointed a woman in her early forties. Her name was Blendin and she came with excellent references. They decided she should move in right away so she was settled by the time the baby arrived.
The early summer had been hot. The baby was due on the fifth day of Sylissdar. That day came and went, then five more. Jovinda waddled into their living room wiping the sweat from her brow and flopped down into a chair. She rang a bell and a maid arrived.
‘Please may I have some water,’ Jovinda asked the maid, who left to do her mistress’s bidding.
Jovinda and Noni were not amongst the rich of Bluehaven, he being a junior diplomat, but they were well enough off to be able to afford a maid and cook. Jovinda had been most grateful for the help these servants gave her as her confinement approached. How she would be glad when she had this baby. It was so uncomfortable in the hot weather.
The maid returned with a jug of water and a glass. She poured a glass and handed it to Jovinda. Suddenly, a pain struck Jovinda. She gasped.
‘Please, Grella, go and get Blendin, then run to the Even Embassy and find Noni. I think the baby’s coming.’
The girl ran as fast as she could, and Blendin arrived almost immediately.
Jovinda had had no more pains and she wondered if it had been indigestion and not the baby, but then she was wracked with another.
‘It’s the baby coming, alright,’ said Blendin, nodding her head. ‘The pains aren’t too close together yet, so I think there’ll be some time before we need to send for the midwife. Let’s get you upstairs and have things ready for when we send for her.’
In this instance she was wrong, though. Shortly after arriving in the bedroom, Jovinda’s waters broke. Then the pains came thick and fast. No sooner had one pain faded away than another arrived. Jovinda began to cry.
‘Make it stop. Please, Bramara, make it stop.’
Blendin wiped the girl’s sweating brow with a cloth dipped in cool water.
‘There, there,’ she said. ‘It’ll stop as soon as the baby arrives. It shouldn’t be too long now.’
‘To the seventh hell with the baby,’ retorted Jovinda. ‘The little bastard is tearing me apart.’
She began to swear profusely and to say she cared nothing for the child struggling to be born. If her father and mother had heard those words coming from their well-brought-up daughter they would have wondered where she learned them.
‘I don’t care if there’s no baby, but please make this pain stop.’
Then she felt her muscles contract involuntarily and she began to push.
‘Come on,’ Blendin encouraged her. ‘Push hard. Oh, I can see the baby’s head.’
Jovinda gave one last enormous push and the head emerged quickly followed by the rest of the baby, all wet and bloody.’
Blendin held the child up so Jovinda could see.
‘A little boy,’ she exclaimed, ‘and he’s got your auburn hair.’ The baby let out a tremendous wail at being thrust from his nice safe place into the world. ‘And a good strong pair of lungs, too,’ she added.
Just at that moment, the door opened and Noni and the midwife arrived together.
Noni rushed over to his wife and looked at Blendin.
‘Is everything alright?’ he asked. ‘He came very quickly. Is Jo alright? Is the baby alright?’
Jovinda laughed through the tiredness that was now overcoming her.
The midwife took over the cutting of the cord and the inspection of the afterbirth while Blendin cleaned the baby and passed him to his mother, now grinning. Then the midwife turned to Noni.
‘Your wife, it seems, had an easy birth,’ Jovinda grimaced at this. It had seemed very hard to her. The midwife was continuing. ‘It’s lucky your nurse has some experience in delivering babies, but I think your wife would have been fine even on her own. It’s woman like her who ought to have all the babies.’
Jovinda yawned, then said ‘Oh no. You say it was easy, but to me it wasn’t.’
‘Trust me, girl,’ replied the midwife, ‘There are women who are in labour for days, and then the baby has to be pulled out, or even cut out.’
Jovinda shuddered at this thought, then as Blendin passed the little boy to her, she held him out to his father.
‘See, Noni,’ she said. ‘See what we’ve made. A lovely little boy. What shall we call him?’
‘I think Carthinal is a good name, what do you think?’
‘Carthinal,’ she felt the name on her tongue. ‘Yes an excellent name.’
She looked into the little boy’s eyes, all pain forgotten, and said, ‘Welcome to the world, Carthinal.’