- Stream Now
- Modern Midwives Blog
Welcome back for another round of “will this episode make me cry” friends! Last week ended with the tragic death of a patient and new mother, Fiona Aylward, but we’re back with Episode 3 and have our fingers crossed for brighter days. Like, we’re really really crossing them. The women have no choice but to forge ahead and Trixie returns to her normal duties at Nonnatus House after the order calls off its partnership with Lady Emily Clinic. It’s business as usual, and that means finding a new way to save the house from the grasp of evil, penny-pinching landlords of Poplar and the Department of Health. No pressure.
Unwanted Test Results
The women are no strangers to demanding patients, and this time, Louise Wrigley is one of them. A new patient to Dr. Turner’s practice, the young woman arrives at the clinic urgently asking for his care. Though she’s not on his list of referrals for the day, she refuses to take no for an answer and even convinces the orderly Miss Higgins to let her see him for an impromptu walk-in appointment. Unfortunately, the news isn’t what she’d hoped for. Following up on a pregnancy test with the doctor, she’s alarmed when she learns her results have come back negative. Louise claims she feels all the symptoms that she’d expect with pregnancy, and asks for another examination to confirm.
Symptoms of Diabetes?
In another part of the clinic, Pat Williams returns for a check-in with her midwife Lucille. After delivering her last two children in a single room without running water, she wants to start fresh with baby number three and have a “proper” home birth. However, excess weight gain during her pregnancy and traces of glucose in her urine have the midwives on high alert, and Lucille wonders if Pat has developed a temporary form of diabetes. Due to this, and the size of her child, both Shelagh and Lucille encourage her to go to St. Cuthbert’s should any complications arise.
The Clock is Ticking
While the countdown is on for the arrival of Pat’s new baby, the rush to find money to keep the order in Poplar is also sending everyone into a frenzy. The midwives only have six months left on their lease, and after a failed attempt to enter private practice (as in, Lady Emily Clinic was performing illegal abortions), time is running out for them to raise the necessary funds. A former sister of the order, experienced midwife, and most importantly a good friend, Shelagh decides to take matters into her own hands. After learning that St. Cuthbert’s needs a temporary replacement to oversee the pupil midwife assessments, she applies for the position to help bring in extra money for Nonnatus House. (We all need friends like Shelagh.)
Later, Pat is submitted for a glucose tolerance test at St. Cuthbert’s where she runs into Shelagh during her first day on the job. To Shelagh’s surprise, the expecting mother expresses extreme dissatisfaction with her care during her visit. When Shelagh inquires about the issue with her new supervisor, Mr. Armitage, she discovers that he told Pat she was severely obese and just needed to "eat less." Insensitive, much? He also goes on to dismiss Shelagh and Lucille’s concerns that latent diabetes could be the real problem behind Pat’s struggles.
A Suspicious Illness
From one curious case to the next, Sister Hilda visits Louise’s home where she complains of continuous pain in her side and blood in her urine. Like her pregnancy test, a UTI test from the hospital has also come back negative. Dr. Turner takes some additional blood samples to be sure, but still in pain after his initial visit, Louise calls his office again to ask him to return. When Miss Higgins explains that he’s unavailable, Louise takes it upon herself to seek help at Nonnatus House instead. Strangely, the pain she mentions subsides again as soon as she’s in Sister Hilda’s care and only returns again later when Louise thinks she’s going to leave her.
Date Night Plans Gone Wrong
While the midwives try to uncover the source behind their patients’ ailments, Cyril is busy preparing the ultimate surprise for Lucille with the help of Fred and Violet. He sets up a picnic and rents a car to take her to the coast, but it’s not long before Pat goes into labor and puts a halt on his romantic gesture. Womp.
Lucille rushes over to the Williams’ home, and as expected, it’s during labor that Pat complains something doesn’t feel quite right about this delivery. Dr. Turner arrives and attempts a forceps delivery, but finds that the baby’s head is still too high. So instead, they’re forced to call an ambulance to have Pat deliver her child by C-section despite her aversion to a hospital delivery. Later, Lucille relays the good news to her team that the C-section was successful and baby Williams was born at a whopping 13 pounds 8 ounces. However, because of Pat’s condition, she’s asked to stay on bedrest to heal her incision and isn’t able to be with her baby while he’s in an incubator. Naturally, she doesn’t follow this advice and heads home early.
Following Sister Hilda’s recent home visit with Louise, she meets with Dr. Turner to discuss Louise’s curious symptoms. Based on Louise’s elevated heart rate, constant pain and the blood in her urine, Dr. Turner explains that their patient might have a rheumatoid disease, but Sister Hilda expresses concerns that some of Louise’s pain might be exaggerated. This seems to be further confirmed in a later checkup when Louise mentions seeing blood in her vomit. However, Sister Hilda discovers a recently used razor speckled with fresh blood sitting on Louise’s sink and notices that Louise has bandaged her finger for a recent nick.
When Sister Hilda reports her suspicions to Dr. Turner, he reveals that two other physicians have also seen her for supposed illness. The combined evidence is all they need to support their theory about Louise’s mental state, and when she returns to Dr. Turner’s office, he explains that he wants to refer her to a specialist for psychiatric disorders. Louise doesn’t take this well, and continues to be in denial, claiming that something is physically wrong with her.
Date Night Resumed
Across town, Lucille is off-duty and finally has the chance to meet up with Cyril. Though he originally wanted to take her to Canvey Island for a picnic by the sea, he organizes a romantic meal for them at his new apartment instead. Maybe it’s the mood lighting or the L-bomb they have yet to drop, but during their date, they both express how they wish they could introduce each other to their respective families.
A Change in Delivery Plans
Later, when Lucille makes her rounds to Pat’s home, she sees that her C-section scar has become infected. Dr. Turner prescribes her a course of antibiotics that should swiftly take care of it, and also explains that her abnormal glucose intolerance test was likely a result of latent diabetes which appears during pregnancy and eventually disappears in both mother and child. From the diabetes to the C-section (which has made it difficult for her to care for Paul following his birth), it’s not the way she had hoped to bring her newborn into the world, but Lucille assures her things will get better.
Louise’s Cry for Help
Following Louise’s visit to the clinic, Sister Hilda travels to her flat to bring her food. When she arrives, she finds Louise barely responsive and sees that she has overdosed on pills. Following this scary event, Dr. Turner and Sister Hilda agree to have her certified to The Linchmere, knowing that it’s unlikely she’ll go on her own. Staying overnight with Louise until her transport arrives, Sister Hilda learns that she’s been suffering from a young age.
Louise recounts the time she (actually) had appendicitis as a child and that rather than seeking help, her mother abused her for telling lies. She tells Sister Hilda that when she was finally admitted to the hospital, she remembered being comforted by the nurses there. She was so taken by how much they cared for her, and it becomes clear to Sister Hilda that this traumatic moment during her childhood could explain why Louise still seeks out the attention of midwives, nurses and doctors alike. After hearing this story, Sister Hilda realizes that there may be others out there like Louise who could benefit from having someone help them earlier in life. With Sister Julienne’s approval, she decides to volunteer for a group called the Samaritans in her spare time to help people who may be on a similar path.
New Midwives and New Money
Though Shelagh learned, like Trixie, that private hospitals (and their doctors) aren’t always as good as they’re cracked up to be, her stint at St. Cuthbert’s paid off in more ways than one. After seeing how desperate the hospital was for staff to train their midwives-in-training, Shelagh proposes a plan to Sister Julienne that Nonnatus House act as a resource for pupil midwives to complete the second part of their midwifery training. Dr. Turner reveals that he also spoke with the Officer of Health who already agreed to the proposal. The new initiative would provide significant funding to Nonnatus House that would not only cover the balance on their rent but future payments as well. Not to mention, it would cover an increased salary for any of the supervising midwives. Come. Through. Shelagh. While it’ll be a drastic change, it’s not the first time they helped train young students in medicine, and it’s the good news they’ve all been waiting for.
Forgot how we got here? Catch up on “Call the Midwife” with the Season 10, Episode 2 GIF Recap.