Call the Midwife s01e01 Episode Script

Episode 1

Who do you think you are?! Who do you think you are? Come on, then! Come on! 'I must have been mad.
I could have been an air hostess.
'I could have been a model.
'I could have moved to Paris or been a concert pianist.
'I could have seen the world, been brave, followed my heart.
'But I didn't.
'I side-stepped love and set off for the East End of London, 'because I thought it would be easier.
'Madness was the only explanation.
' I am not a whore! Only cos he never paid ya! Well, I had him weeping with gratitude! Well, he's my husband! I'll bloody kill him once I've finished with you! Ladies, lay off it! Pack it in.
Come on! That's it! Go on! Come on, girls.
Break it up now Right! Which one of you ladies is my patient? Pearl Winston.
Why am I not surprised? Constable, Mrs Winston would appreciate your tunic.
And don't get any blood on it.
It's seen worse.
Tart! Wicked bitch! 'Midwifery is the very stuff of life.
'Every child is conceived in love, or lust, 'and born in pain followed by joy, or by tragedy and anguish.
'Every birth is attended by a midwife.
She is in the thick of it.
'She sees it all.
'I knew nothing of poverty or appalling housing, 'nothing of lice, of filth, of families sleeping four to a bed, 'and nothing of the passion that brings on baby after baby, 'labour after labour.
'I knew nothing of life itself.
' Hello.
I'm Jennifer Lee.
I was told to report to the matron in charge.
Venus and Saturn are now in alignment.
It is entirely appropriate that you should appear! Welcome to Nonnatus House.
What do you suppose that is? One hears of visitors, from realms apart from ours.
I think it's an aeroplane.
From the extreme height of your heels, I deduce that you are not a nun.
Are you a nun? We are the Sisters of St Raymond Nonnatus, midwives and district nurses, present at life's commencement and at its end.
I assume you are possessed of the appropriate credentials? I'm a trained nurse.
And I've just qualified as a midwife.
The blooms upon this table are my especial care.
Dear St Raymond Nonnatus, happy survivor of Caesarean section.
I feel we are prompted to go in search of cake.
They think they can conceal things from me.
But they are not sharp enough.
I, you see, am attuned to feel vibrations.
Only last week, I found a Battenburg hidden inside a Rinso box.
You must have another slice.
I'm almost full.
You are young you can never be filled.
You have an appetite for life.
Hello.
You must be Nurse Lee.
I'm Sister Julienne.
This is Nurse Miller and Nurse Franklin, who will be your colleagues.
Hello.
Pleased to meet you.
Actually, pleased doesn't fully cover it.
We're perfectly thrilled to have some reinforcements! I'm sorry we're late, clinic was busy.
I see you've already met Sister Monica Joan.
Yes, I have.
We'll take care of the formalities later.
I'm sure that first you'd like some tea and cake.
I think you'll find, Sister Julienne, there is no cake! Sister Evangelina, may I introduce Nurse Lee? There is nothing in this pot but crumbs! But Mrs B made one this morning! I saw her when I came in from my delivery in Mitre Street! I know she did! It was coconut, which is a very insinuating ingredient, liable to smear itself all over the consumer's face! Are you talking to me? You must calm yourself, my dear.
You are turning quite scarlet.
Our newcomer was hungry.
Nurse Franklin, go into the kitchen.
You might seek out something else to eat.
I seem to recall a packet of Gypsy Creams.
Let's hope Mrs B has put a lock on the tin! I bet the newcomer had one slice and you ate all the rest! If I were a dog, she would not be satisfied until I had slunk beneath the table with my tail between my legs.
How you all foam and fret.
I shall retire to my chamber and see you all at Compline.
Come in.
Sister Monica Joan was one of the first midwives to qualify in England.
Her family did not approve of her career choice, nor did they support her entry into religious life.
It is our privilege to care for her.
I see It's just I ate at least four slices of that cake, and I didn't realise I was coming to a convent.
Dear! Did you get a dreadful fright? I thought it was a small private hospital.
Well, I do hope you won't run away! Do you have a faith, Nurse Lee? Not really.
I'm Church of England.
We're Anglican, too.
The way you worship is your own affair.
We wear the habit, you wear your uniform.
But we are all nurses first, and midwives foremost.
I'm just back from Mrs Driscoll.
Baby's turned, no longer breech! Sister Bernadette, this is Nurse Lee.
Greetings! She's only in early first-stage labour, so I gave her chloral hydrate and left her to sleep.
Thank you, Sister.
Do try and get some rest.
I'll see to these first.
I can never down tools till I'm all set up and ready to go again! Now, a maternity box is sent to the mother's home two weeks before the due date.
These are the tools you will carry yourself.
Tin box for soap and nailbrush.
Canvas case, containing scissors, dressings, forceps.
Do continue.
Gauze, sterile.
Gauze, idioform.
Pinard.
Enema funnel.
Enema syringe.
Rectal tube Glass? And second rectal tube in case the first one breaks.
Also glass.
You are charged with this now.
Guard it well.
And we will make no further mention of the cake.
Are you all right? Yes! Glorious day.
Mrs Warren? Mrs Warren? Hello? Hello? I'm looking for Mrs Warren.
Mama! Es la matrona.
Bienvenido en mi casa.
I'm awfully sorry, I'm afraid I don't speak Spanish, Mrs Warren.
She's saying "Welcome to our home.
" It's all right.
She knows the drill.
How many previous pregnancies have you had, Mrs Warren? Cuantos? Veintidos embarazos, pero veinticuatro ninos.
Twenty-two pregnancies, but she had two sets of twins.
There's twenty-four of us altogether.
Twenty-four? But you've hardly got any stretch marks! I don't know the word for that so I can't translate it.
I'll need to ask your mother some questions, so we can establish dates.
When did you last have a period, Mrs Warren? I can't ask her that, she's my mum! How are you darling, all right? Dad! Is that you? The nurse is here and she's asking really embarrassing questions! Well, come down here and see to Denise.
She needs her drawers changing, don't you, my little dove? You behave yourself.
Let's sort you out, shall we? I reckon she's new.
Mi Len.
You're even lovelier than when you first got up this morning.
I'm afraid I need to ask your wife some questions of a personal nature, Mr Warren.
Do you need to know about her periods? Well yes.
I do.
Well, she ain't had none of them in years.
She's had all the babies one after the other.
When do you reckon it's due, then? Twelve or thirteen weeks, I think.
Well, don't let us hold you up, Nurse.
That's all we need to know.
This is a booking-in visit.
I'm supposed to advise the expectant mother on diet and hygiene in the home.
I've got some leaflets.
Don't you worry about us, Nurse.
We've had twenty-four babies, haven't we? We ain't never lost one yet.
I didn't know where to turn, or how to take my leave they seemed completely unconcerned! About the pregnancy, or the mess? The pregnancy and the mess! They only had eyes for each other.
Exactly.
And look where it's got them.
And how can anyone have twenty-four children and still look so young? Now you've opened a lovely jar of worms.
Because she was fourteen when she had her first! She may even have been younger.
Mr Warren brought her back from the Spanish Civil War.
Most men would be happy with some enemy binoculars.
She was his beaker full of the warm South.
"With beaded bubbles winking at the brim.
" I know not why you seek to scorn me, I am merely quoting Keats.
I delivered Conchita's last little girl.
And do you know, Mr Warren never left her side? What? A father stayed in the room? If I was a policeman I would ask questions.
A policeman did ask questions.
She was of interest to us when she disembarked at Tilbury.
But the Rector wanted them married, so every legal obstacle was simply waved away.
See? I am not deemed capable of coherent recollection.
But some things are etched upon my membrane, they are preserved like like watermarks on vellum.
Come on.
Stir your stumps.
I'm first call and you're coming with me.
There are between eighty and one hundred babies born each month in Poplar.
Soon as one vacates its pram, another one takes its place! And thus it was and ever shall be, until such time as they invent a magic potion to put a stop to it.
Sister Evangelina.
Afternoon! Midwives! She's upstairs in bed.
The pains are every ten minutes, and I've got the hot water on.
Cup of tea, Sister Evangelina? We shall have one apiece, and put some extra condensed milk in Nurse Lee's.
She's very junior and needs to keep her strength up.
That is, unless you've any cake.
Peg, go down to the shops and fetch some Devon Splits.
Fresh cream or artificial? Can I have a bottle of pale ale? Don't you push your luck.
Cheeky beggar! You, me, your mother, Nurse Lee.
Anybody else coming up those stairs will have me to answer to.
Thanks.
My sister's come over, and then my friend Dot, and my Auntie Peg! She's brought some cod, for me to have afterwards.
I hate cod.
I have prepared the razor.
Nurse Lee will give you a shave.
I did it myself, this morning.
After I had the show.
You shaved yourself? I know the drill, Sister.
This is my fourth! I suppose you gave yourself an enema to boot? I don't want an enema.
It's not dignified! If you were that keen on your dignity, you wouldn't be here now.
Blasted chimney.
High, hot and a hell of a lot! I hope you're ready with that po.
Excuse me, Nurse.
Is that the afterbirth? No.
Baby isn't here yet.
Fair enough.
Only when you're done and dusted, I'd like the afterbirth to take down the allotment.
Brings my tomatoes on lovely.
I'm too tired for all of this! Come on, Muriel.
Where's all that fighting talk? No cod, no enemas.
No Eddy.
I meant it about Eddy! Don't you go pulling a fast one on me! Muriel, no father has ever been allowed in one of my delivery rooms and no father ever shall be.
And there go the waters! Splendid.
Nurse Lee, we will change the bed.
No, stay where you are, Nurse Lee and I will roll you.
That's it.
I'm fed up with having babies, I'm only twenty-three! There's newspaper under here! Well, saves on laundry and lets the mattress live another day.
You're not in a hospital now, with cupboards full of spotless linen.
Come on.
It's quicker to do it myself! Look, get rid of that.
And sort that fire out, it's not drawing properly.
Yes, Sister.
Nurse Lee? Yes? You stick with me, love.
I'm an old hand.
Well done, you.
Well done.
I can see the baby's head! We're going to turn you onto your side, into the correct position for delivery, and then I want you to listen to Nurse Lee.
That's the way.
Excellent! Right knee tucked up under the chin.
That's it.
Good girl.
See how it all comes flooding back! Little push now, Muriel.
Little push don't push too hard And that's it! The head is born.
Is it nearly here? Yes.
It is.
You're almost done.
Well done.
Well done.
Well done, well done.
And that's it! You have a little boy! I'm that proud of you, I could burst! What's happening? I'll swing for that bleedin' sweep! Is he all right? Is he all right? Baby's in fine fettle.
He's fast asleep.
I meanwhile am lathered in soot, right down to my drawers.
Me too.
I haven't got any on! We need to clamp and cut the cord, Nurse Lee.
Why the delay? I'm sorry.
Come along.
Sometimes we need to deal with what the Lord has sent us.
You must be back first thing in the morning, to do the routine checks.
I'll wait for you by the West Ferry Bridge.
Mr G! All right, Sister? Bravo! All pink and white again.
Still, they always say soot is good, clean dirt.
The soot was the least of my worries! I've never seen conditions like it.
Quite! The first time I saw an East End bathroom, I actually shook.
Bathroom? You were lucky! Little did I know! I mean, tap on the tenement landing, some of them.
Sister Evangelina never turns a hair, she grew up very poor.
Somewhere near Reading.
Are you decent? We're all in our unmentionables, the sight will make your day.
This is Fred, our handyman.
You won't be able to resist his charm.
Good day off yesterday? I've had better.
Do you like toffee apples? Not really.
I'm thinking of going into toffee apples.
Fred has a wide range of sidelines, some of which are actually legal.
You can keep your aspersions to yourself, young madam.
I'm not complaining.
We thoroughly enjoyed your alcoholic ginger beer.
It was just a shame you sold some to those children.
There's no point in discussing it, for you cannot understand.
Brewing is a science.
There was error of exactitude.
Cigarette? You really do have the most lovely hands.
Do you play the piano? I've played since I was tiny but nursing doesn't leave much room for practice.
No.
I have this fantasy about painting my nails.
Cherry-red talons, gleaming in the light.
One day, I won't be able to resist it any longer.
I'll chuck out my rubber gloves, the carbolic soap and that infernal nailbrush.
Trade it all in for lashings of Atrixo and a proper manicure.
But not yet? Absolutely not yet.
There's work to be done.
I can still smell cabbage from the Pensioners' Luncheon Club.
One week we were weighing babies and there was still an old man in the corner finishing off his mince.
Not to mention Madame Enid's dancing class comes in at half past five.
Excellent! Aspirin.
Why, have you got a headache? No, I've lost a button off my suspender belt.
I ought to get garters, really, like the nuns.
I've seen them in the laundry room, drying.
Quite vile.
Have you come to see Mum? We're about to have our tea.
All right then, kids.
What are we going to have tonight? How about a lovely boiled pillow case? - No! - I fancy some fried pyjama bottoms.
No, we had pyjama bottoms last night.
I'm hoping it's underpant soup.
We had that last night! Vamos, Mama! Estamos con hambre! Abracadabra.
Ole! Not stew and dumplings again! Nurse, you going to join us, look? Coma.
Coma.
She says, "Eat up.
Eat up.
" Do as you're told.
There are no plates.
We never use them.
Tuck in, Nurse! Cor, that don't half pen and ink, nurse.
I don't know why you're bothering.
Conchita's ankles are swollen.
When that happens we have to check for a condition called pre-eclampsia, by looking for signs of protein in the urine.
Pre-eclampsia? Is that the same as toxaemia? Yes.
It is.
Well, then you ain't got to bother with the test, Nurse.
Sister Bernadette says you can't get toxaemia except with your first and second.
We're on our 25th.
Conchita's ankles are swollen.
Well, Sister Bernadette used to say that it was cos she was on her feet.
Perhaps you could persuade Conchita to lie down for an hour or so each day, with her legs slightly elevated.
I'll tell Maureen to tell her.
I take my hat off to the kids.
I mean, even the nippers can do it.
I was never much good with the foreign lingo.
You don't speak Spanish? No, there's never no need, no.
Conchita and me, we understand each other.
Mrs Merrick! Hello, Muriel.
Hello, Pearl.
Long time no see.
I've just come in for my check-up.
He's my fourth.
That's a lovely hat, you can pass it my way once his head gets too big.
Your youngest's just weed on the floor.
Yeah, I know.
We're toilet-training him but it's all right, he ain't got no pants to wet.
Mrs Winston.
Keep an eye on them for me, will you? First lie down I've had all day.
I see you're 32 weeks pregnant.
I shall need you to do a urine sample for me.
Can't you just examine me first? I've only just got comfy.
I keep having twinges, on and off.
Well, let's take a look at you, shall we? I've got some shocking discharge.
Heels to bottom, knees nice and wide apart.
Are you aware of this? Little lump in my downbelows? Yeah, it's been there a while.
I can't really reach it now.
Your face! You reckon I've got a dose, don't you? I'll have to check with someone more senior.
I'm afraid the lump in her vulva appears to be a syphilitic chancre.
Other symptoms support the diagnosis.
And of course the foetus is at risk.
Dr Turner is already on his way.
I imagine he will prescribe a course of penicillin.
Nurse? You won't catch anything.
How could she not have known? How could she have felt that thing and never cared? Pearl Winston isn't accustomed to caring.
Or, indeed, being cared about.
How can you be so calm? When I was new to district practice, I often found it hard to conquer my revulsion.
I'm sorry.
I didn't know people lived like this.
But they do.
And it's why we're here.
Tea's on its way! You look as though you need a cup.
Can I smell smog? There's a mist closing in.
It's coming up off the river.
And that ain't an encouraging sign.
Temperature out there's dropping like a stone.
No good looking in there.
There was a cherry sponge but guess who's had it.
There is frost fingering its way beneath the door into the hall.
You must take these into bed with you.
You are young, you see, and your vibrations will stimulate the corms.
They were mistaken into thinking spring had come.
I am very much afraid that they will die.
And the demise of something barely born goes against the sacred nature of our calling.
Sister Monica Joan? What about the bowl? But it would be missed.
By Sister Evangelina! I am sure we do not wish to unleash the beast.
Dr Turner wanted you to start the injections straightaway.
He'll need to see your husband, too, and arrange the same treatments for him.
Where are you going to put the needle? Leg or arse? In your bottom, I'm afraid.
I should have been a stripper! I mean, at least I'd have met a better class of man.
Mum? Mama? Mama? Mum! Mum! Help! Mum! Help! Room service! Strictly entre nous, I could murder a Dubonnet.
But we're both on call, so Horlicks is our lot.
Did you find it hard, when you first came here? I thought I deserved all manner of medals! Up all night.
Cycling for miles.
A wall of wimples at every single meal time.
And then one day I realised.
I didn't deserve any medals at all.
The mothers are the brave ones.
Baby after baby, in abominable conditions, and they keep on going.
They're the heroines.
I'm just here to help.
You will find your feet.
You ought to come out with Cynthia and I.
They have these tremendous dances, down at the church hall.
Unless, of course, you already have a chap.
No.
Do you? What? Have a chap? Well, I used to go out with this curate called Roger.
But he couldn't be seen in the parish with a woman on his arm.
We had to catch separate buses all the way to Monument before we were even permitted to hold hands.
I can't tell you how tedious it was! I thought you might be pining after some beastly absentee boyfriend.
No.
Are you sure? There's a look about you, that's all.
A look that only the lovelorn have.
I've loved someone since I was 17.
But I can't have him.
And I can't give him up.
So until I can do that, no-one else will stand a chance.
Nonnatus House.
Nurse Lee speaking.
Conchita took a tumble in the yard.
We think she's got concussion.
Mr Warren, you should call the doctor, not a midwife! No, we keep calling but we can't get any answer.
Can you get her to a hospital? No, you can't see hand in front of your face out here.
'It's you we need now, not him.
' She's in labour.
Waters are still intact.
The pains are about every five minutes.
Mr Warren must know labour when he sees it.
The birth won't be remarkable, but such a premature baby is unlikely to survive, even if the ambulance arrives on time.
Has it been sent for? The obstetrics flying squad are on their way.
Dr Turner will meet you at the house.
Have you delivered a stillborn baby before? In training.
Under supervision.
I should go with her.
No.
I have a complex case to go to, and who knows what else the night might bring? Worst fog in five years.
Hurry up, it's a bit of a step.
Come on, Nurse.
You'll be all right.
God be with you.
Good luck.
You still there, Nurse? Just about.
Not far now.
She never screams like this! She always keeps her head! Has the doctor not arrived yet? No.
We ain't never lost one before, Nurse.
Sometimes we have to deal with what the Lord has sent us.
All right.
The concussion is preventing her from recognising the pain as labour.
She doesn't know what's happening, she's too scared to co-operate.
All right, my love.
We'll soon be done.
I promise you.
I don't think it will be long now.
The urge to push will overtake her, whether she knows what's happening or not.
You need to be prepared.
How easily will it come away? I wish the ambulance would come! If you come with me, Maureen, help get your mum onto her side.
Get me the bowl, please, Maureen.
I've got you, my darling.
I've got you.
I've got you.
You can go downstairs for me now, Maureen, boil me some water, please.
Don't ask me if she's all right because I don't know.
Well, she's gone limp.
She's going into shock.
We need to keep her warm.
We don't know when help will arrive, and she's still losing blood.
You're doing perfect, my darling.
You are doing perfect.
It's even weaker.
Bebe? No bebe.
Not this time, my beautiful.
It's alive, Nurse! I didn't wrap him up! He'll be so cold.
Wrap him now! It's a little boy.
Come on, little one, come on.
Come on, little one, come on.
What's happened? You've got another brother.
He's smaller than a doll.
How's he still alive? I don't know.
Me nino.
Donde esta mi nino? She's saying "My baby.
Where's my baby?" El esta acqui.
La matrona se le ha secado.
I said he's here.
I said you were just drying him.
You must tell her that it's very small and fragile.
Es muy pequeno.
Muy fragil.
Todos los ninos son fragiles.
She says, "All babies are fragile.
" No No.
What's up? Tell me what to do.
She needs ergometrin.
What's that? Straight upstairs.
Mind out the road, kids.
The children are to stay out of the way.
What happens now, Nurse? We need the rest of the afterbirth to come away, or she might need surgery.
She ain't never been to hospital, she's had all 25 of them at home! 25? If you value her life, you will let us do what's best.
The name's Turner, patient's GP.
Sorry, I was delayed.
Three bronchitis patients, one after the other.
We, meanwhile, have a haemorrhaging mother.
And a viable neonate.
This young midwife's been very capable.
Well done.
Can I help? Take over on the oxygen.
Call Great Ormond Street, tell them to prepare for a 30-weeker.
Yes, sir.
And you can bring the ventilator from the ambulance.
Ventilator? Great Ormond Street? He needs help.
He might need to be tube fed.
That's it, it's out! Check it.
Lips pinking up.
And the baby's still breathing.
Thank God.
I'm all for giving medals to the gentleman upstairs, sir, but in this case credit should go to the National Health.
Ten years ago we would have had none of this.
No obstetric flying squad, no ambulance.
No chance.
Placenta's complete, sir! Stabilising.
She'll need a further transfusion, but we can do that here.
Right, let's take this little chap, get him sorted out.
No.
Maureen, tell her! He's got to go to hospital! Mama, el para estar en el hopital.
No! El necesita! Morira.
Morira.
I said he'll die.
He'll die.
Morira, Mama! Se queda conmingo.
She says, "He stays with me.
" Tell her she needs blood, penicillin and rest at home, the baby will be treated in the finest children's hospital in England.
Mama, necesita sangre, e Se queda conmingo! Yu soy su hopital.
El is mi sangre.
She says, "He stays with me.
"I am his hospital.
He is my blood.
" No morira.
No.
No morira.
May we come in? Yeah, you're just in time to see him take his milk.
You wait till you see his little tongue come out.
Ain't no bigger than a daisy petal.
What is that? That's something Maureen uses in Domestic Science.
She says it's an icing rod.
How often has he been fed? Every half an hour since seven o'clock this morning.
Six or eight drops, he has.
Just sort of licks them down.
Then she tucks him back in her nightie.
We have no experience of caring for such babies.
In the olden days, they did not live.
And now, they're nursed in a hospital.
Not this one.
We won't send the baby to hospital, will we, Sister? No.
We'll visit three times a day for the first six weeks and then every day for as long as is required.
Only time will tell whether Conchita will succeed.
We must see what love can do.
It frightens me, seeing him without his little nightie on.
His ribs is that delicate, they look like kipper bones.
I seen an incubator baby in a newsreel once.
Looked like a landed fish, it did.
Laying on its back, glass all around it.
It looked lonely to its marrow.
He's put on two ounces, Mr and Mrs Warren! We're on our way.
Teach yourself to be a good home laundress.
Washing and ironing most things in the home Midwife.
Follow her message and you'll find your weekly wash Did you hear I lost it? Yes.
I did.
I'm so sorry.
Can't win them all? No.
I'd like my milk dried up.
I know.
I brought you some Epsom salts.
I'll make you a cuppa.
Let me do it, Pearl.
No.
Got to keep going.
My grandma left me this.
Mind you don't sit on that chair! The little fella weed on it.
Bet you think we're all slatterns round here, don't you? As a matter of fact, I think you're all heroines.
That concludes our household tips for the day.
Now, to our afternoon music programme.
'I had begun to see what love could do.
'Love brought life into the world and women to their knees.
'Love had the power to break hearts and to save.
'Love was, like midwifery, the very stuff of life 'and I was learning how to fly with it.
'Through all the streets, like the river to the sea.
' Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne? Yes.
Yes, come in.
I generally answer to Chummy.
My pa used to say, "Long dogs need short names".
You CAN ride a bike? I can ride a horse.
That can't be so very different, surely? Miss? Miss? Could you change a five-pound note for me? People like you are supposed to help people like me.
You're very afraid of something, aren't you, Mary? It would seem, Betty, as though your baby is presenting in the breech position.
It's coming out arse first.
It's bad.