From MARRIAGE REUNITED: BABY ON THE WAY

I'm back in town and this time I'm here to stay.

So who am I, you ask?

I'm Jack Campbell,

" ¦ fire fighter.

" ¦ newly-appointed Captain of the Dustin Country Fire Brigade,

... and husband of Dr Elizabeth Campbell.

I've made mistakes, hurt the person I love most in the world" ¦ in short, I've been a damned idiot. But now I'm home for good to put things right.

How did I get to this point?

Just when you think you know what you want, when you've got your life mapped out, fate has a way of lobbing a burning ember into a pile of dry gum leaves.

The issue of having children was the ember that incinerated my marriage to Liz.

Looking back, I can see that we should never have got together. She is gorgeous, talented, from one of the original pioneering families of the High Country. The town is named after her family - Dustin.

As for me" ¦ well, let's just say my pedigree is something best left undiscussed.

Did I mention Liz is a doctor? She works in a hospital and saves lives. Ironical that the love of my life should be in medicine considering how much I loathe hospitals. The smell of antiseptic makes me queasy and I hate the hushed voices of doctors and nurses discussing your life like you weren't there. But that's ancient history. I know my Liz isn't that sort of doctor. She's sensitive to people's needs, understands them, empathises with them.

Man" ¦ once I met Liz Dustin, I was gone, head over heels in love. I proposed while we were on holiday in New Zealand.   Gotta love that three-day waiting period before you can marry. If we'd been in Australia, the month-long waiting period might have given her a chance to reconsider.

We rubbed along beautifully for a couple of years and then Liz's body clock started ticking. She wanted kids. Badly. Poor darling. She finally faced that I didn't want a family. Yeah, I know - it would have been sensible to have discussed this more fully before we got married. But that's the problem with whirlwind relationships" ¦ you somehow manage to avoid learning all those things you should.

She wanted a divorce, wanted me out of her life. We talked about it, agreed to it. I was gutted but what could I do? The only thing I was sure of at the time was that I didn't want to be a father. I couldn't be a father. I had to give Liz her freedom.

When I was offered the opportunity to work with fire departments in the USA, I leapt at it, tried to use it as a new start. Boy, was I fooling myself. The months dragged on and I missed Liz desperately. The sound of her voice, her energy, her touch. The laughing. Our loving.

The need to see her, to fix our problems, to find a compromise, became a fever in my brain. I had to come home. Generous me, I was even prepared to discuss the whole family thing" ¦ little did I know" ¦

So here I am, home. And things have changed more than I could ever have guessed.

Liz is pregnant. I'm going to be a dad, whether I'm ready or not. I've never been so scared in my life. I feel more prepared to face a large, going bushfire. At least I'm trained for that.

But I love Liz. I believe in our future. Seeing her belly round with my child is a revelation. She's beautiful, even more beautiful than I remember.

I'm going to try with every bone in my body, with every breath in my lungs, to be the best father my child could have. And if I slip every now and then, and make mistakes, it won't be for lack of trying. I'm going to be there for Liz. I'm going to make my marriage work.

So who am I?

I'm Jack Campbell, husband of Elizabeth Campbell. And father to be!

Published on eHarlequin "My Favourite Hero" blog on 6 November, 2009 as part of the Spotlight on Medicals for the eHarlequin 60th Anniversary Celebrations