Call the Midwife s11e00 Episode Script

Christmas Special 2021

1 The ties that bind us keep us safe from harm.
They make us straight and strong.
They help us to grow the way that those who love us most think right.
And every Christmas finds us swathed and bound, drawn back to the place we came from, both exposed and sheltered, vulnerable and bold.
CLIP-CLOPPING The journey was long, the road was steep.
Exhaustion made poor Mary weep.
Kind Joseph also felt forlorn, for soon the baby would be born.
- Baaa.
- Baaa.
Baaa! - Baaa! - Shhh! That's enough! Harry, shush! And you, Terence! - Baaaaa.
- Shh! GIGGLING They knocked on doors, begged for a bed, but every hotelier shook his head.
The inn is full, I have no space! Meanwhile, time moved on apace! TINKLING SOUNDS I shall be transporting the entire ensemble over to Nonnatus House well before the big day.
I haven't fried an onion for over five weeks in case the odour seeps into the fabric! All I can smell is fresh, crisp, virgin silk dupion, with just a hint of blood, sweat and tears.
I couldn't be happier with it, Mrs Buckle.
I promise you! It should be finished by now, Lucille! You're getting married on Boxing Day! Let me just measure your waist once more, before we get onto the veil.
This is my last chance to nip that bodice in.
Violet! These trousers have split.
Can you mend them? Oh! I'm due at the Institute after the Nativity, to give presents out to the kiddies! Your lack of discipline regarding baked goods is not going to alter my list of priorities, Fred Buckle! You've lost another half an inch.
Shame we can't say the same for Santa Claus! Out in the pastures the sky was dark, when one of the shepherds cried out "Hark!" Is that a heavenly voice I hear? And lo! Three angels had drawn near! I like it.
It'll be a good suit for preaching in.
And even better for getting married in.
And here comes my best man! Don't worry, he's not wearing that.
I've got a split in me trousers! I need someone that can sew.
Bend over.
Oh! Excuse me! Quick, Cyril! They'll be finished any minute! The stable was warm, and sweet with hay, and in the manger an infant lay.
A prince sent down from heaven above.
Swathed in linen, and wrapped in love! CHILDREN CHEER AND SHOU Bravo! Merry Christmas, everyone! Ho-ho-ho! Merry Christmas! A special early delivery from the North Pole.
Ho-ho-ho-ho-ho! It appears that yesterday's entertainment raised £29, seven shillings and fourpence for the Hardship Fund.
Well, it was certainly worth selling off the advertising space.
I thought it was like watching a Nativity play on ITV.
And that was Mrs Turner on the telephone.
We've just been assigned 20 extra patients from St Cuthbert's.
But our lists are completely full! Can't they be transferred to us in the New Year? Well, apparently more than half of them are due between next week and Christmas.
What do you suppose was going on in March?! That's for the expectant mothers to know, and for us to wonder at.
But it's already chaos in the clinic.
And the Institute will book out the side rooms! Can we call the pupil midwives in, just as extra pairs of hands? Remember, they're all on leave.
I don't mind getting back on my bike! No, you'll need time with your studies, and time with your little girl.
It will help her settle in with her foster parents.
Well, I shall depart to commune with my Rolodex.
If I believed in God, I'd be praying for a miracle.
DOORBELL RINGS Parcel to sign for.
Thank you.
The whole family wanted me to have it, to wear on our wedding day.
It belonged to my grandmother.
That makes it precious, even if it isn't made of gold.
Does it open? Yes.
Look inside.
00h! Is that your parents? On their wedding day.
It seems a shame they had to cut the photograph in half to get them in the locket, but it's still a lovely sentiment.
It is a beautiful sentiment.
Their blessing on us both.
Ladies from St Cuthbert's who haven't been here before, please give your urine to me, and then turn right and hand your card to the lady at the desk.
Am I supposed to bring a sample? If you're here for ante-natal, yes.
Or, if you've come for the cooking with condensed milk talk in the cafe, then you're excused! Here you are, sweetie.
Ladies, if you haven't already, please enjoy one of our home-made mince pies.
I actually think your blood pressure's gone down a wee bit while you've been lying on the couch, Mrs Howells.
It wouldn't surprise me.
This is the first time I've had me feet up since Bonfire Night.
I've got four boys under ten.
There's that many concerts and Nativities I can't keep track of me tea towels.
There's always one on somebody's head! You need bed rest, Mrs Howells.
In our house? Ha! I'd get more bed rest in the monkey pen at London Zoo.
Or in the maternity home? Maternity home? Mmm.
If you behave yourself, we'll let you out for Christmas.
Patrick! Mrs Anita Page? When we anticipate a glut of over bookings right before Christmas, it may not be entirely wise to block out a much-needed bed in the maternity home for someone to just have a lie down in! Evelyn Howells is having her fifth baby! If she's exhausted now and her blood pressure is playing tricks, we might actually be heading off trouble at the pass.
I'm sorry it's so long since I've been, Sister.
Ah, you're here today and that's all that matters.
And we have some details from your first and only visit including your weight.
I suspect you haven't gained a great deal.
That's good though, isn't it? They say it's an old wives tale that you need to eat for two.
I shall fetch some forms and we'll get you up to date with your blood and urine tests.
I had those last time! We repeat them regularly.
It's all a part of making sure that all is as it should be.
Could you ask Dr Turner to come to the cubicle? Tell him that Mrs Page is underweight and very pale.
I'm concerned about anaemia.
SHE WRETCH ES Disgraceful! CHRISTMAS MUSIC PLAYS Have they disappeared up the chimney yet? Can we come and look? Those letters aren't going to get magicked to the North Pole if you don't go to sleep! The longer you stay awake, the longer they'll sit in the fireplace.
Ahhh! It makes it all worthwhile, doesn't it? Even May seems so settled and so happy now.
It's months since we heard from her mother in Hong Kong.
Maybe that's why she's so settled and so happy.
She doesn't understand the difference between fostering and adoption, but we do.
I can hardly bear to picture what May went through as a baby and as a tiny child.
There are some things you might never be able to picture, because you weren't there, and May was to young to remember them.
I suppose that's it, isn't it? I wasn't there.
I wasn't watching over her when she needed me so much.
Shelagh, you are a superb mother.
You know whose socks are whose, you can dry tears, you can mop up sick, make nightmares disappear.
You can actually do homework in the children's handwriting! I only did that once in an emergency! But what you can't do is travel back through time.
That was Mrs Buckle on the telephone, requesting a bridal gown fitting for Nurse Anderson at 1pm.
Is it the sleeves again? It seems to be what Mrs Buckle describes as "the embellishments".
I think she might need gas and air! That's all the extra home delivery packs finished and ready to go! I feel like putting a note in each of them saying, "No castor oil, "no curry, and cross your legs!" THEY GIGGLE It would appear that this avalanche of babies is going to bide its time.
It will probably coincide with Mother Mildred's Christmas visit.
I don't reckon anything's going to happen until the full moon.
Everybody knows mothers go into labour then.
What?! I have seen many a maternity ward over-spilling as a consequence of the lunar cycle.
It is interplay betwixt the tides and the water in a woman's womb.
I rather like some of the old superstitions, like, erm, putting a knife under the mattress to cut labour pains.
Or believing that a baby born breech will grow up to be a healer.
Oh, I was born breech.
To this day, it's the only breech birth I've ever been involved with.
Apart from the two in training, where I stood at the end of the bed and watched! TELEPHONE RINGS Ah, ladies, I do believe we may have lift off! LONG OUTBREATH Perfect, Esme.
Slow, controlled breaths, not too much noise.
At least I've got a brand spanking new sink to stare at while I'm having pains.
Stainless steel, if you please! When I was having morning sickness, it was still one of those old stone jobs.
Great big crack in it.
I had to be careful where I hurled.
New ceilings, too! Aye, the landlord seems to have money to burn these days.
Ohh! I'm sorry.
I think I need the pot.
Gave myself a dose of castor oil.
Oh! Shame Mr Rockerfeller doesn't run to individual toilets.
TELEPHONE RINGS Dr Turner's residence.
I see.
I'm sorry, Tim.
Your first night back from university.
Dad, can I come with you? We are so grateful to you and to your church.
You've put a great deal of effort into making this a very special day for the couple.
Pastor Robinson is like a son to all of us! At times, I've felt a little like the the mother of the bride.
It's a shame you don't get to wear a hat.
I spoke to the Rector this morning and finalised the Order of Service.
Nurse Franklin is in charge of the flowers.
And The Shining Tabernacle choir will, of course, be singing.
Mr Randall, from our church, will be giving away the bride, and the bridal car has been provided by Pastor Robinson's employer.
Meanwhile, the cake, which I'm pleased to report, is already made, marzipanned, iced, and ready for its moment in the spotlight.
She's even put a little bride and groom on the top of it.
But we will be following Jamaican custom, Sister Hilda.
The cakes are always made by the ladies of the church, and carried into the reception in procession, with all the ladies wearing white.
I didn't know you were planning to do that.
It's a lovely tradition, but I didn't expect it! Well, we didn't know if we could arrange it in time, but praise God, our prayers have been answered! Well, far be it from me to rail against the will of the Almighty! Erm let's turn our attention to the buffet luncheon, shall we? So, the patient complains of feeling faint and having neck pain.
What's the first thing you'd try to rule out? Fractured cervical vertebrae? Or possibly some sort of stroke? LOUD MUSIC PLAYS It's Dr Turner.
You telephoned.
It wasn't me.
It was my husband.
Charlie! - Is he here, darling? - Mm.
LOW WHISPERING Don't touch me! Don't you flaming well touch me! I am trying to stop the bleeding! You won't stop it with that stupid flannel! Is this the severe neck pain? - Somebody knifed him.
- Are you feeling faint? No, but I am.
Oh, there's blood everywhere! Oh, you're treading it into the carpet now.
Sit here.
Rum and coke.
Everybody's on it nowadays.
Have you informed the police? No, we didn't like to bother them.
They're too busy dealing with criminals, doc.
Is it his jugular? If it was his jugular, he'd be dead.
It's relatively superficial, but it will need stitches, and cleaning with antiseptic.
What, like TCP? I don't want TCP, Char.
It stings! HE GROANS You don't have to drink it if you don't want to.
No, I do want to.
It's quite nice.
Press on here.
You know, you should have taken him to hospital.
But suffice to say, I know why you haven't, and why you won't.
Who goes there? Friend or foe? Matthew! Haven't you got anywhere more glamorous to go this evening? Er, the fumigators wanted my opinion on a particularly intransigent rat's nest, and they needed to be paid in cash.
They've done frightfully well with the cockroaches.
I've been to the lavatory three times with this chamber pot and I haven't once felt anything crunching under my feet! Things are improving, aren't they? They are.
And I could follow that with, "At last!" Or, "And not before time", but I don't feel inclined to do you that disservice.
It's never too late to change something for the better.
I take it you're here to deliver a baby? WOMAN GROANS AND WAILS You should get on.
Time, tide and labouring women wait for no-one! How many more? I've already finished.
Put it there.
Does your lad want a two piece suit? It's top quality mohair.
We came by a job lot, but they're all a 38 chest.
- I'm a 38 chest.
- No, thank you.
Anita, get the doctor a couple of them mincemeat slices.
You must be starving! I won't say no.
I expect you know my Anita from your clinic with a baby on the way an' all.
I don't think we've met yet.
Do you want them on a plate, or a serviette? Oh, I don't want any more! Esme! Esme, listen to me.
The worst is over I mean, I don't want any more kids! We just need one enormous push the biggest you can muster.
I want to go on the pill but they won't allow it! Esme, sweetie, now is not the time to start debating opinions! SHE WAILS GROANING CONTINUES Come on, Esme.
Come on! Push! That's it! That's it! That's it! BABY CRIES I'd do it all again.
The trouble is, I'll probably have to.
Did you notice that girl? The pregnant one.
Mr Big's wife? She looked scared.
And not of what was happening in the flat.
She looked scared of you, Dad.
Tim, your mother is not going to hear a word about this.
The new suit might be quite tricky to explain.
Sometimes, this job is all about asking questions, and sometimes it's about doing what's essential and not asking anything at all.
A chap in an apron and a flat cap put them there.
Oh, it happens to us all the time at Christmas.
Several pounds of tangerines and a swede.
Costermonger must have left them.
I thought you'd gone home long ago! I thought you might need a lift back.
And I'd completely forgotten that you'd have your bicycle with you.
I sometimes think a tangerine smells more like Christmas than anything else more even than pine needles, or cigar smoke.
I always get a box of Havanas in but I don't enjoy them.
I just do it to be polite.
Same with cigarettes.
And drink.
I just struggle to see the appeal.
I don't think I'll ever struggle to see the appeal of cigarettes.
Drink, I can live without.
I dare say my mother will try to force sherry, white wine and claret down me on Christmas Day! If I decline, she'll think I'm not coping.
Your first Christmas as a father.
And your first Christmas without your wife.
Are you dreading it? I'm dreading my mother's bread sauce.
I believe you accepted Sisterjulienne's invitation to the wedding.
On Boxing Day? Yes.
Erm, I'm sure she only asked me out of courtesy, but You're our benefactor.
You're going to be invited to everything now, for your sins! I can neither greet you, nor offer you the tidings of the season, for the Great Silence has descended and I am mute.
It might do you good to be somewhere entirely different.
Do come, if you can bear it.
And, hey presto! It's no longer a wedding cake.
It's a Christmas cake! Cyril and Lucille are having an English wedding, in an English church, with English weather.
It's only fair they get to do a bit of something from Jamaica.
I, meanwhile, acting with extraordinary good grace, have decided that we can showcase a national traditional of our own.
We're going to host a hen night.
Party games, fruit punch, and a selection of savoury snacks! Have you ever been to a hen night? Before I took the veil, I was in the Women's Auxiliary Airforce! More snow, Fred.
More! Go on, more! More! Reginald, if you hadn't noticed, is dreaming of a White Christmas.
The only other topic of conversation is your wedding, which is also Violet's! Mrs Buckle! I hear you finished your masterpiece today.
The dress? I don't mind telling you, Cyril, I was trembling all over when I finally gave it to Lucille.
I'll be trembling all over when I see her in it.
I can hardly wait.
Ask about the stag night! Yeah, go on, Cyril.
She's been putting her foot down, but she can't resist your charms.
Please let Reggie come out with us? It'll be my last night of freedom before marriage.
I wouldn't let Fred go if he wasn't best man! It's just me and some church friends having a game of dominoes.
Very well.
So long as Reggie sticks to shandy.
Oh, if you're putting that wee in the post, can you do these cards for me at the same time? I'm afraid our urine samples are delivered direct to the laboratory, Mrs Howells.
Maybe one of the nurses can pop to the postbox for me later? You don't seem to be particularly busy.
Is the doctor in? Doctor Turner is in consultation with a patient.
Please take a seat.
Oh, no, we're not stopping.
This comes with Charlie Page's compliments.
On account of the house call last night.
Oh, how very kind! Miss Higgins, look at this! Chocolates, ham - Is that a bottle of sherry? - It's actually rum! Morning, doctor! Sent with the guvnor's compliments.
I really can't accept this.
Well, I think it's extremely generous of Mr Page, and I hope you'll pass on our appreciation.
Even perfume! I'd describe it as a warm blend of woody florals, with a a touch of chypre Thanks, Doc, I appreciate it.
You're welcome.
Oh! You've put the dress up there.
Mrs Buckle hung it on the side of the wardrobe, but the hem was getting crushed.
Phyllis? Have I upset you? There was a wedding dress on that hook once before.
You mean Barbara's? Oh, Phyllis, that was so insensitive of me.
Why? Why are you calling yourself insensitive? It's what any bride would do.
I'm the one who's being insensitive, thinking about my own feelings.
Thinking about a girl you hardly knew.
No-one will ever forget Barbara, Phyllis.
And I feel fortunate to have stepped into her shoes.
Tell me about her wedding.
She wore pure white, and she carried crimson roses.
She had a satin Alice band.
She liked an Alice band.
And a velvet cape with a fur—trimmed hood, like something from a fairy-tale.
And I was her bridesmaid.
Not like something from a fairy—tale! No velvet cape? I borrowed Violet's boucle coat suit and I ran up a little matching hat out of a remnant.
I did buy a double string of pearls, especially.
They seemed the proper thing to wear in attendance on someone standing at the altar.
There's a purity to them like there was to her.
I've not had them out of the box since.
Oh Please, Lucille, don't let me go rattling on about myself! You aren't even having any bridesmaids.
I would have done, but I can't have my sisters, and bridesmaids have to have meaning.
Barbara had the right idea, and she was a very lucky girl.
Good morning, Millicent.
Phyllis! A social visit, so early in the morning? There are social implications, but I also need your professional assistance.
DOOR FLIES OPEN We need the doctor, now! Has he been drinking to excess? He's only had what we've all had.
We've been working a night shift.
He's vomited, and he doesn't seem to respond to stimuli.
He's still breathing, but his pulse is thready.
- Alcohol? - No, not ruddy alcohol! His pupils are constricted and his lips are blue! Has he overdosed on some kind of opiate? Heroin.
Heroin?! We need him sorted, Doctor! The only place that can sort this man is a Casualty department! Miss Higgins, would you call for an ambulance, please? Yes.
Acute opiate intoxication and collapse.
That's enough, thank you! I hate drugs! I naff tog hate 'em! They're a sign of someone gone wrong someone who can't keep themselves reigned in! And you can, can you? Last year, I saw my brother die because of that stuff.
The needle was still in his arm.
I was terrified to take him anywhere, because of the law.
It's not like flogging a few dodgy suits, is it? Oh.
We'll also need a mop and bucket, Nurse Crane.
The gentleman has voided his bladder.
Are these all mine? Oh, no, Reggie.
I got them on approval from the wholesaler.
So, you choose your favourite, and then I'll send all the others back.
I like this one.
That one's, erm, pure silk.
What about this one? - Is that silk? - It's artificial silk.
I want real silk.
It's for a wedding.
Did you make this yourself, Colette? It's a wedding card.
She can see that it's got bits of white lace stuck on it! You have a very clever little sister, Nancy! Are you looking forward to coming to Nonnatus House on Christmas Day? Lucille! - Lucille! - Mrs Wallace! What's the matter? Mr Randall, him broke him shoulder! There's nobody to give you away! I'll have to walk myself down the aisle.
How can I ask anybody else from church, without hurting somebody's feelings? I chose Fred for my best man because he and Mrs Buckle were the first English friends I made.
Why don't you ask him to give you away? Because, he already has a job to do! Lucille, I've got Jesus at my shoulder and a photograph of my grandfather to put in my suit pocket.
I won't be alone.
Please, say yes, Mr Buckle! Well, I I've never given anyone away in church before, I I don't think there's a great deal of technique involved.
And I'll be as much of a novice as you.
Well, we'll work it out together then, won't we? LAUGHTER AND CHATTER More fruit punch? Any more fruit punch? I detect a smidgeon of something exotic in there, Sister Hilda.
Miss Higgins provided some rum! It was donated to the surgery.
JOLLY MUSIC PLAYS Yeah! MUSIC, LAUGHTER AND CHATTER This really is some lovely punch, Sister Hilda! You are quite the dark horse.
SHE GIGGLES SLURRING: I'm not entirely sure I've got the balance of flavours right.
Practice makes perfect! Cheers! It's only the bulb.
Keep going! Ahh! Lucille! GIGGLING I saw stars! And they're as pretty as you please.
Maybe I just have stars in my eyes because I'm in love! Bed! Oh, my goodness.
You must remain calm and keep reminding yourself that it's only a black eye.
And you're not getting married for three whole days.
It'll get worse before it gets better.
But it will get better! Besides, there's nothing Trixie can't salvage with a bit of paint stick.
I think we ought to put raw mince under the icepack.
Aren't you supposed to put steak on black eyes? Since the Nonnatus House fridge didn't run to rump, sirloin or fillet, this will have to do! Oh, and aspirin.
Aspirin brings down swelling.
Is it swollen as well? Try this, sweetie.
And just keep saying to yourself, "I'm going to be a beautiful bride".
I don't feel like a bride.
I feel like something in a butcher's window.
Still no sign of Mrs Anita Page? None whatsoever.
And I did write, as you requested, with the details of this extra clinic.
I'll arrange for a home visit, as soon as possible.
Mrs Chu? Nothing to worry about here! That's good, then.
Are you fretting about something, Mrs Chu? I'm just wishing I hadn't plumped for a home birth when they said there wasn't any room at St Cuthbert's.
People used to have babies at home all the time.
- What, even their first? - Absolutely! There's a lot to commend it.
You'll have a midwife with you every minute of your labour.
And you'll get to see much more of your husband.
I'm worried he'll get upset with all the carry-on.
He's not much of a coper.
Your husband doesn't have to cope.
You do the coping, and I'll help you.
Are you thinking they look puffy? It's something we always look at, Mrs Kaufopolous.
It can indicate certain problems.
I tell you what these indicate.
I've just got terrible fat ankles.
They run in the family.
We all look like our legs have been put on upside down.
I'm giving you a clean bill of health, don't worry! SHE GASPS IN HORROR Oh, Nurse Anderson! Please may I see Dr Turner? Oh, you poor girl.
It's more than a black eye.
There's a huge collection of blood underneath the skin.
But I'm getting married in three clays! You need to go to hospital and have this X-rayed, to rule out an orbital fracture.
A fracture? What will they do if it's a fracture? Sometimes, occasionally, surgery is necessary.
I think it's best not to dwell on sometimes and occasionally.
There's only going to be one wedding and we need to train our sights on that.
Smashing job, Reggie.
I reckon it's time to put the kettle on for a well deserved beverage.
I want to read the weather forecast.
Well, it's just going to say the same as it keeps saying! We're in for a mild snap.
I want snow.
I know it doesn't feel like Christmas when you're sweating, but the baby Jesus was born in Israel.
And I've seen Israel on the news.
It's got palm trees! What does it say in the paper? It says, "a mild night with a moderate breeze".
- I, er I've given them all a night off.
- Oh.
I reckoned you'd be tired, after coming back from the clinic.
What did the doctor say? Oh, it was just the midwives.
Nothing to report.
They said I've got ages to go.
My mum reckons you need to drink more milk.
So, I asked her how to make cheese on toast.
Come on.
How is she? They couldn't do anything for her at the hospital and sent her home.
They say it'll clear in a week to ten clays! How bad is it? It looks like a slice of blood pudding.
SHE SNIFFS Lucille? Will you let me come in and talk to you? Talk to me through the door.
I don't care what you look like.
You hear me? You are the most beautiful woman that ever drew breath.
I don't care if you do have an eye like a slice of blood pudding! You aren't going to see it anyway, because if it's not going to get better for ten clays, the wedding is off! LUCILLE SOBS Can't you just tell her you'll cover it with her veil? Cyril.
We couldn't cover it with a tarpaulin.
I've been in consultation with our esteemed doctor.
My memory may not always serve me well, but there are methods from the past that may serve us in the present.
GRUNTING MILK BOTTLES CLATTER Welcome, Mother Mildred! My dear Sister.
Felicitations of Christ-tide! Thank you.
I presume you have a comprehensive programme of activities planned for my illumination and diversion? This morning, we're actually in the grip of a medical emergency.
In which case, we must all have some milky Nescafe.
Milkman, how many bottles can I persuade you to donate? The most important thing to remember is, this method may have gone out of fashion, but it's been tried and tested for hundreds of years.
I've seen it used oft, when doctors were a luxury and herbalists were won't to play their trade.
And Theocritus spoke of it, in the third century BC.
In the third century BC, people never knew about bacteria! Your eye is to be bathed in sterile water, before the procedure can commence.
Sterile water?! I'm sorry.
You need iodine.
I'm afraid we can't use iodine, or any other kind of antiseptic.
If we do, the leeches will die.
Timing couldn't have worked out better.
Home for Christmas Eve! If I'm lucky, they'll have even peeled the spuds.
You look very well rested, I have to say, but your blood pressure's up.
You aren't going anywhere, I'm afraid.
Oh, I feel sick just looking at them.
They're medicinal leeches.
I collected them from the laboratory at St Bart's this morning.
Once, every doctor farmed his own.
Sooner you than me.
You won't feel any pain once the leech is in position.
It releases a natural anaesthesia into the wound.
As soon it starts to feed on the blood that's pooled behind your eyelid.
If the leech is at room temperature, it should choose to bite and suck without delay, but I fear the condition of this jar is not ambient.
So, I am going to make a tiny prick with a sterile needle, like so releasing a tiny drop of blood, just to encourage it.
And that's the ticket.
All is well.
You merely walk a path that many have trod before you.
Seems to be attaching nicely.
How does it look? Well, the good news is, it's a fairly sizeable specimen, so, I think you won't need more than the one.
In 45 minutes, we'll examine it, and see if it's drunk its fill.
Oh, are you going to be all right? I've got all the wrapping up to do.
That'll keep me entertained.
It's been 50 minutes.
Hold this.
What if it hasn't worked? If the swelling has not reduced, it will not merely be the leech that failed us.
The power of prayer has been found wanting, in addition.
It's already detached.
I can open my 9Y9! SHE GASPS The puncture wound will continue to ooze blood for as long as ten hours, until the haematoma is completely drained.
The leech, er, secretes a chemical The chemistry is of no consequence.
Our bride-to-be will be restored to unblemished perfection.
And that is the only fact that matters! Hey, Reg! How about a carrot for Rudolph? Snowflake! - You'd need a magnifying glass to see that! - There's another one! Yeah! SHE MOANS I never thought we'd pull that one off, Millicent.
I feel like a cross between an undercover spy and an overwrought fairy godmother! I feel like a stiff glass of sherry.
Excuse me? I need help.
Lady in the back in advanced second stage! We need to get her inside.
It's coming! SHE GROANS All is well, Anita.
All is well.
Bring the birthing chair! Will I will I know what to do? Yes, lass! Look how far you've come already! You listen to Nurse Franklin now.
Anita, this contraction is going to give us baby's head! No big sounds, just short little breaths.
SHE PANTS Well done! Well done! SHE STRAINS BABY CRIES You have a girl, Anita! A gorgeous, gorgeous little girl! Small.
Is she all right? Is she all right? BABY CRIES She is absolutely beautiful! Please may I speak to Nurse Lucille Anderson? You already are, Pastor Robinson.
I was thinking.
Tomorrow's Christmas Day, and I'm not allowed to see you because the next day is Boxing Day and we're getting married.
It isn't tomorrow yet.
Have you seen it? Have you seen my eye? It's perfect! You realise you would have had to say that anyway? And you realise I would have thought it anyway? It's perfect.
It's a shock when you have your first.
How much did she weigh? 4 lbs 10.
Oh, you'll soon fatten her up.
I've seen babies inflate like balloons.
Your husband has telephoned, and I conveyed the glad tidings.
He's coming in tomorrow.
You need your rest, and Her Ladyship here needs a try at the breast.
I'm not feeding her myself! Absolutely not! Well, she'll come to no harm tonight if I just give her a bottle in the nursery.
We have to find a carrot somewhere for the nose.
Them always have carrots for noses when you see them in a storybook.
Are you giving me instructions on how to build this thing? Me, an award-winning civil engineer?! All I'm saying is, it looks more like a cat than a snowman.
Happy white Christmas! Reggie? What are you doing out at this time of night? It's snowing! The snow might melt.
We thought the same.
Who wants to wake up in the morning to a load of old slush, eh? Are you on your own, Reggie? Where's its head? Do you want to help us finish it? - Yeah! - I'll go and telephone Fred and Violet, so they know you'll be home soon.
And you bring us that nose when you come back! And something to make a set of buttons! DISTANT PEAL OF BELLS LAUGHTER All right! All right! One last snowball? Just one each! You win! You win! All right! There'll be bells for your wedding soon.
- There will.
- And then you will never be lonely.
I feel sorry for lonely people.
I have love, so I am lucky.
And wise, too.
- Reggie! - Oops! Reggie, what are you playing at? He's all right, Mrs Buckle.
No harm done.
Reggie, have you picked out a tie for this wedding of mine? - Might have.
- Is it a very, very special one? It's silk.
Because there's something I'd like to ask you.
Hi, little one.
If it hadn't been Christmas Day, I'd have got you a bunch of roses as big as the Ritz.
- Thank you.
- No thank YOU.
All I wanted was to be a father, and you've given me that.
Do you want to call her after your brother? Dean? - I was thinking Denise.
- No.
I'm not calling her after anyone who threw their life away.
Nurse! Merry Christmas! Compliments of the season.
I have just lost the biggest mucus plug you have ever seen.
And I'm having twinges.
Hmm! Jingle bell, jingle bell Jingle bell rock Jingle bells swing and jingle bells ring Snowin' and blowin' up bushels of fun Now the jingle hop Would you put all the crackers out? Jingle bell, jingle bell We want them to go out to everybody.
Jingle bells chime in jingle bell time Dancin' and prancin' in Jingle Bell Square In the frosty air What a bright time, it's the right time To rock the night away Jingle bell time is a swell time BALLOONS POP THEY CHUCKLE Oh, clear! Mrs Howells is ticking along nicely.
But, because it's her fifth baby, I called St Cuthbert's to see about transferring her, but there's no beds available.
I've no concerns about her delivering with us.
You know where I am if there are any complications.
Thank you.
Mrs Howells! I need you back in bed! And I need to talk to my husband about the dinner! Giddy-up jingle horse, pick up your feet Jingle around the clock TELEPHONE RINGS Nonnatus House, midwife speaking.
'It's Mr Chu.
Please come! My wife needs you.
' BABY SCREECHES Oh, sweetie.
The sprouts, and the carrot and swede both need a good 40 minutes on a low light, and you need the water off them for the gravy Mr Howells? Rest assured, tap water will be entirely fit for purpose.
That call was important! TRICKLING SOUND So is this.
We need help.
Midwife calling! Oh, Merry Christmas, Mrs Chu! I've just been putting new sheets on the bed.
They were a wedding present and I've been saving them for the big event.
Not that I want to crush your spirits, but I think you may come to regret that.
Do you need hot water? Not just yet.
BABY CRIES And she isn't feeding? Barely half an ounce, and she brought it all back up.
It's the high pitched cry that worries me the most.
How is her mother? She's just started to worry me as well.
GROANING Anita, I know your waters broke some time before you contacted us.
Can you specify how long it was? A day.
Maybe more.
I didn't have any pains.
Not straight away.
I think you may have contracted an infection.
I'd like the doctor to come and see you, and he can take a look at baby at the same time.
GROANING I'll move Mrs Howells to the delivery room.
Now, just keep that turkey hot, and we'll be back before you get to the cheese and biscuits.
Come on, no sad faces.
This happens to daddies who are doctors all the time! GASPING SHE STRAINS Keep it coming, Susan.
Try to keep it coming.
You haven't said "well clone" for ages.
I'm pushing hard enough to get an elephant out! I know you are.
I think we're going to need a change of tack.
I won't be a moment.
It's the Queen's speech.
Mr Chu, can you telephone Nonnatus House and tell them Susan's baby is in the breech position? Is that bad? No! I saw them all the time when I was in training.
TELEPHONE RINGS Nonnatus House, midwife speaking.
Well, sort of.
Nurse Corrigan, can you send Sister Hilda to the maternity home immediately? Another mother in labour has arrived.
Do I need to take a name or anything? Maria Kaufopolous.
I think you're going to have to spell that for me.
ENGAGED TONE I don't do it every day.
It's just when I feel bad.
When you feel bad like this? When I feel bad inside.
When I want to feel calm, as if nothing matters.
Where do you get the heroin from, Anita? Oh, friends of friends.
It's not hard when you know who to ask.
It's in fashion.
The medication I've just given you is very similar to the drug that you've become addicted to.
I've prescribed it, so it's legal.
How soon will it work? Soon enough.
Before my Charlie's in for visiting? Your husband doesn't know, does he? I was really, really good at managing it.
Anita, I don't think you were.
Doctor! Doctor, would you come through to the nursery? Baby Page is fitting! How can a breech birth be not much different?! A bum is nothing like an head! Your baby's still going to be born naturally.
Susan, you're still going to push him out into the world, and we're going to guide you.
How many of you? Just me and another midwife, and the doctor will probably drop by, just to make sure everything is as it should be.
I couldn't get through.
The line was engaged.
But it isn't as it should be, is it? It isn't as it usually is.
But breech births are not rare, and they're nothing to be afraid of.
But are you afraid, Sister? Give me your hand.
- You're not shaking.
- No, I'm not.
I trust you.
I want these warmed, and I need two kitchen chairs.
And when you come back, you'll have to put on a gown and mask.
The convulsions have eased off.
In line with her temperature coming down.
But there are no two ways about it, this poor little scrap is in wretched distress.
The baby is as addicted as her mother.
Anita knew what she was doing.
She avoided tests and appointments, refused to breast feed.
Must we give the baby opiates? I don't know what else we can do.
But nor do I know what dose, or what frequency.
I've never seen anything like this in such a tiny child.
Next time you push, Susan, I want you to brace your feet against these chairs.
OK? Right, now.
Now, push.
Push! Go on, push! Everything's under control! There we go, there we go.
Don't be afraid of pushing hard.
OK? If needs be, I'll support your perineum with my hand.
What's a perineum? It's the band of tissue between your birth canal and your anus.
I'll show you a diagram later.
Get me the warm towels, then I want you up on the bed behind your wife, supporting her.
Baby's bottom's almost with us, Susan.
With the next contraction, I want you to push exactly like you pushed last time.
There we go! There we go, there we go, come on.
LAUGHTER ON TELEVISION One for Dr Turner, one for Sister Hilda, one for Master Timothy, one for Nurse Franklin and one for Sister Julienne.
No sprouts for the latter.
I've observed she deems it a somewhat indelicate vegetable.
We mustn't forget some of these.
I've never seen so many unpulled crackers! I shall, of course, lead from the front.
Follow me, troops! SHE WHIMPERS Is it just hanging there? We're just waiting for Baby's head to move through Susan's pelvis.
His body is resting here.
He's wrapped up warm, so the cold won't shock or disturb him.
Are you all right, Susan? I can see his hairline, which is just what we want.
So I'm going to pop baby over my arm and then I want you to give me some little pushes as we ease his head out, OK? There we go.
There we go SHE PANTS BABY CRIES SHE GASPS Congratulations! Oh, look at you! My first breech! A Christmas Day baby! Did we do that? I think we did! You never know what you can do, until you try! Oh, isn't that ruddy head out yet? Baby's being a bit bashful, I'm afraid.
I'll give it what for, once it's out.
We bring succour and the comestibles of the day! Mr Buckle will be up with the rest directly.
Mrs Kaufoplous is going to have to deliver on the ward.
I must find a gown and see if they need help.
Er I will accompany you! I could have done this at home.
It hardly hurts at all.
That's my girl.
Christmas baby and all! Only one lot of presents to get.
It's getting two lots! One wrapped in birthday paper, one in Christmas paper.
I'm about to perform a very personal examination on your wife, Mr Kaufoplous.
I suggest you retreat to reception, where ample reading matter is supplied.
BABY SHRIEKS It is a new challenge in this country, and it will become a scourge.
But one constantly saw babies suffer like this in Hong Kong.
There'd always been opium, and always laws against it, but heroin Infants born to addicted mothers arrive weighing less than they should, crying more than they should, febrile, and often convulsing.
Your daughter was one such child.
May? She screamed and she trembled for 13 days.
Her mother, likewise, trying to cleanse her blood of the drug.
We never knew! Well, we were never told.
It is in her past.
One day it will be in this one's past.
I know the dosage, and the method.
No nurse who has done this work forgets.
Any more than she can forget that cry.
I want to do it.
Administer the drugs? Administer the drugs, and hold her so that she's not alone.
I will not fight you for the honour.
And it is an honour, to nurse a new life back to where it ought to be, despite the pain for all involved.
She will need chloral hydrate for sedation.
And you will, of course, transfer her to the children's hospital.
It's Christmas Day.
I haven't even been able to speak to the consultant.
For tonight, I will advise on the dosage, and then depart.
The measure of love the child requires, you know already.
DOOR OPENS Doctor, I'm afraid you're needed in the delivery room.
Evelyn Howells' baby's taking too long.
Tim, we're preparing for forceps.
Do you want to observe? Not half! Charlie saved me! Or he thought he did.
Anita, the next chapter isn't going to be about saving you.
It will be about doing what's best for your daughter.
And that's for the Welfare Office to decide.
I was under the Welfare Office because my mother drank.
She'd go the pub in broad daylight and the corner shop after dark.
You'd be amazed what you can find underneath a counter.
And the way it seeps out of their pores the next day.
I can't even walk past a pub with the door open because I think, "That's the smell of my mum's skin.
"And her hair.
" Did the Welfare Office take you into care? I wanted them to.
But I was terrified they would.
My mum needed me.
And I was good at being needed.
She died of a haemorrhage.
Afterwards, I just stripped the bedding and threw it right down the rubbish chute cos I knew I'd never get the blood off.
And then I lay down on the mattress and slept for three days.
I was 11.
It's your baby needs you now, Anita.
I should have done better than my mother did, shouldn't I? Not worse.
Can I hold her? She's never going to smell anything bad on me.
She's going to think I smell like soap and roses.
Or lemons.
Only good things.
Like a proper mother.
I bet it wasn't like this in ruddy Bethlehem! No.
Poor Mary didn't have any gas and air for a start! You can have it, if you need it for the pain, but a very small amount.
You'll be able to concentrate better.
Wait for the pain, Evelyn.
Wait for the pain.
Now you can push.
Not too hard.
Let me do the heavy work.
Just keep bearing down.
Push it down.
That's right.
Have I ripped? I feel like you've ripped me open! Doctor gave you an episiotomy.
One or two stitches, and all will be well.
I need to clear its airways.
This will pass, Maria.
This will pass.
I thought this might be required.
It's not stopping.
It's just not stopping! Maria.
Let me feel your tummy.
Oh! SHE SOBS And there we are! Welcome to the world.
I think the afterbirth's coming.
Maria Kaufopolous.
Intrapartum haemorrhage.
Come on then, Mr Medical Student.
What have I got? It's a boy! Just what I wanted for Christmas! A five—a—side football team! Now keep pushing, Maria.
Just Push and push! We need this baby to be born as soon as possible.
Pulse is 120.
Syntometrine, Ergometrine.
The Flying Squad are on their way.
Come on, Maria, darling.
Push for your baby.
Push as hard as you can.
The baby's out! The baby's breathing, but he's shocked.
He needs oxygen.
The placenta's out, but she's still bleeding.
Sister? You're not praying.
Pray, now.
Not some other time, when this is all a memory.
That's it, come on.
There are times when I find silence as plangent as any bell.
I think often of the peace in that stable, after darkness fell.
There's no peace to be had in the parlour.
The Turners' offspring are all crying for their parents.
Is there nothing to distract them on their infernal television? Only light entertainment.
And they don't like Ken Dodd.
I lived in terror of you finding out.
Of anybody finding out.
What did you think I would do? Stop loving me.
Start hating me, like you hate your brother.
Hating him hurts less than missing him.
And I don't want to have to miss you.
Well they're they're trying to see if they can get me treatment and find somewhere for me to go.
You come back.
Things will be better.
Even if it was just us two? Without the baby? Nobody knows what the authorities are going to say.
I don't do what the authorities say.
I never have.
And now we both have to, because of me.
I'm sorry.
Look, I'd do anything for you but I'd do even more for her.
And you've got to be able to say the same for both of us.
So you're going to have to kick the gear, turn your back on it and walk away.
Ru try.
I need you to.
And so does she.
I'm good at being needed.
"Christmas a humbug, Uncle?" said Scrooge's nephew.
"You don't mean that, I'm sure!" "I do", said Scrooge.
"Merry Christmas? "What right have you to be merry? "What reason have you to be merry? "You're poor enough!" "Come, then" returned the nephew gaily.
" "What right have you to be dismal? "What right have you to be morose?" I just spoke to St Cuthbert's.
Maria Kaufopolous' baby has had a blood transfusion, as has she.
But both will recover.
Now what about this little one? She will go by ambulance to the children's hospital later tonight, where you can help to wean her off the heroin.
She will have a future.
She's given me the chance to travel back in time.
"If I could work my will," said Scrooge indignantly, "every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips, "should be boiled with his own pudding, "and buried with a stake of holly through his heart.
He should!" "There are many things from which I might have derived good "by which I have not profited, I dare say, returned the nephew.
"Christmas among the rest.
"But I'm sure I have always thought of Christmas time, "when it has come round, "as a good time.
"A kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time.
"The only time I know of in the long calendar of the year "when men and women seem by one consent "to open their shut-up hearts freely, "and to think of people below them "as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, "and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
"And therefore, Uncle, "though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, "I believe that it has done me good "and will do me good, and I say God bless it!" Telegrams have started arriving! You're supposed to be next on the bathroom rota! Phyllis, where have you been? That's for me to know and the bride to find out.
What's this? Openit I found them in the drawer.
I hope you don't mind.
"Wear your pearls today, for Barbara.
"Because love lasts longer than time itself, and" Friendship never dies.
I'll miss you, lass.
And I'll miss you.
But I'll be living close by and our lives will stay entwined.
I did absolutely the right thing, putting these corsages in the outhouse overnight.
They're as fresh as they were when I finished putting them together.
Lucille is going to have kittens.
That was Cyril's boss.
The wedding car's broken down.
KNOCK ON DOOR Yes? Oh! Total punctuality.
Just what I expect from my best man.
That's not straight.
Thank you.
Shall I leave you to it? Reggie's going to look after me just fine.
I, erm, found a cap that belonged to my father's old chauffeur.
Do you want me to wear it? Whilst I don't doubt you'll look dashing in it, I think you've been quite generous enough! Oh! THEY ALL GASP CLAPPING Phyllis? What's this? You said to me that bridal attendants should have meaning.
All these little boys and girls were brought into the world by you after you arrived in Poplar.
This is Elizabeth, one of your first deliveries.
And this is Nazreen, and Alison.
And this is john, and this is Kirk, who needed very special care.
Oh! I remember all of them! Their mothers made their outfits, and every single one of them said they would never forget you.
Who giveth this woman to be married to this man? I, Cyril Alphonse.
I, Cyril Alphonse take thee, Lucille Priscilla, to be my wedded wife.
To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God's Holy ordinance.
And thereto I plight thee my troth.
I, Lucille Priscilla, take thee, Cyril Alphonse, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, cherish, and to obey, till death us do part, according to God's holy ordinance, and thereto I give thee my troth.
The ring, please.
With this ring I thee wed.
With my body I thee worship, and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Let us pray.
Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder.
Give me joy in my heart, keep me praising Keep me praising, oh Keep me praising till the break of day Oh, sing Sing hosanna, sing hosanna Sing hosanna to the king of kings Sing hosanna, sing hosanna - Sing hosanna to the king of kings - Give me love Give me love in my heart Keep me serving Give me love in my heart, I pray I pray Give me love in my heart Keep me serving - Keep me serving till the break of day - The break of day Sing hosanna, sing hosanna Sing hosanna to the king of kings Sing hosanna, sing hosanna Sing hosanna to the king.
Family may be sacred, but community has a holy dimension of its own.
Blood is never the only thing that binds us.
It is often the ties we choose that have most power.
Love connects us all, like links in the finest chain, like ribbon around roses.
Like the weave of thread in a fine, white cloth.
And so we entwine, becoming indivisible.
This is the pattern that was meant, the lace for which the silk was destined.
And, stitch by stitch, we tell our story, under the gaze of the angels and the stars.
There's nothing better than this feeling, is there?
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