Call the Midwife: A Stroke of Bad Luck

Unlike in the real world, CtM has skipped right past the miserable winter and it’s now spring! Time of new hope and new babies (but not daffodils, to Sister MJ’s chagrin. The winter has taken its toll.).

So, who’s having some babies? Well, there’s Janet, who seems nice, if not a bit smug. Her husband, Allan, is a nice guy and she seems to take a little too much pleasure in making him seem soooo much better than anyone else’s husband. When Winifred decides to open up the pre-natal classes to dads, Janet drags a somewhat reluctant Allan along. He plays nice, but when his wife floats the prospect of him actually being in the room during the birth, he blanches. They end up arguing about it, with him offering up the ludicrous notion that ‘it won’t be fun for him.’ It won’t be fun for her, either, Allan. Fun is not a word one uses in childbirth. Believe me.

Winifred goes to have a chat with Allan, who admits that he was one of six kids, and his mother had them all at home in a place with thin walls, and now he’s a bit traumatised. And that’s why I don’t think I’ll be opting for a home birth for my second kid. There are some experiences I don’t think my toddler really needs to have.

Ultimately, though, nature takes the choice out of Allan’s hands. He’s hustling his wife to the midwives when she starts to give birth right in the back of the car, so he summons Winifred from a payphone and then has to take point for a while. Winifred decides this is the ideal time to steal Crane’s car (she passed her driving test last week, but nobody really feels comfortable putting her back behind the wheel). The road is blocked, so she may as well have just biked it, but she abandons the car and gets to the birth in time. Poor Crane, meanwhile, returns home to find her car gone and goes and reports it stolen to Wolff, who’s already issued it with a ticket.

Allan and Janet have a little girl! Hooray! Everyone’s doing well.

Also having a baby: Marjorie. She’s already a mother to two, and has a sweet-but-meek husband, Dennis, and an absolute harridan of a mother, Mrs S. How Marjorie turned out as sweet as she did with this bitch running her life is a mystery. Mrs S is all kinds of unpleasant: controlling, overbearing, nasty, unsmiling, seemingly lacking in any actual redeeming qualities. Oh, and racist, too, because of course she is. It’s like she was trying to fill out some sort of asshole bingo card.

Marjorie gives birth to her first son, assisted by Lucille, which does not particularly please her mother at all. But still, things probably would have been ok had Marjorie not suffered a debilitating stroke shortly after the birth. Mrs S, of course, actually goes so far as to have herself named next-of-kin at the hospital, so the medical staff will only speak to her and not to Marjorie’s husband, which is a seriously awful move. And then she kicks Dennis out of his and Marjorie’s bedroom so she can play the martyr and take over all of Marjorie’s care, day and night.

The gossips down in Mrs S’s beauty parlour whisper that Mrs S’s insistence on Marjorie working all day right up until she went into labour was what brought on her stroke, so Mrs S retaliates, horribly, by going to the clinic and loudly accusing Lucille of having caused the stroke by being, basically, a filthy immigrant instead of a proper English midwife. Valerie, who grew up in the streets, remember, is so aghast she feels compelled to apologise on Mrs S’s behalf. She also shares her own stories of having been ill treated when she first got started in nursing, by someone whom I guess was some sort of cousin of Nurse Ratched, from the sound of things.

Have I mentioned that Lucille’s got gumption? Does she ever! She insists on remaining on Marjorie’s case, even though Crane was ready to remove her, and she goes back to the hair salon and rather loudly informs the ladies there that working is not what caused Marjorie’s stroke either, so they can all just stop gossiping already. She also goes to Dennis and basically begs him to stand up for his wife, who’s clearly tragically miserable, being stuck in bed, denied more than a few moments’ contact with her own children. Mrs S won’t even allow her to start rehabilitation at a stroke clinic because… there are old people there? I don’t know. I mean, I suppose there was a certain amount of fear at play there, but it was still completely ridiculous for her to block Marjorie from getting the help she needs and so clearly wants.

Dennis finally locates a spare spine somewhere, goes home, and tells Mrs S that his wife will be attending these classes, because she can’t just lie in a bed for the rest of her days. Oh, and also? He’s moving back into his own bed and taking care of her, thank you very much. Hooray!

And, in more lighthearted news, the Turner get their au-pair, Magdela. She is a walking au-pair cliche: stylish and sexy and so good at everything she makes Sheilagh tense up and purse her lips and snipe at her about wearing cardigans around the house. Timothy, of course, is practically drooling in her wake. And Dr Turner seriously just wants more of that fab coffee she brought with her. I’m sure they’ll sort it all out eventually.

Also sorting things out: Trixie. She’s trying to be all kinds of domestic, but it turns out she’s all kinds of lousy at it. Her attempts at broiling a grapefruit are…unsuccessful. But Christopher doesn’t mind, because he’s in luuuurve and it’s super cute. And because he can manage toast, so they won’t starve or anything.

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