Believe it or not, we’ve already reached the halfway point of Call the Midwife Season 11. A heatwave has settled over Poplar when, just last week, spring showers were softly falling on attendees of the Nonnatus House centenary celebration. Nurse Corrigan befriended a homeless man with a serious alcohol addiction and Nurse Crane supported a young woman with a big decision to make about her future. The full recap can be found here if you need a refresher.
Moving on to this week’s adventures, our resident entrepreneur, Fred Buckle, has purchased a rather large number of ice lollies just in time for the stifling heat. Violet is skeptical that he can shift them, so the couple makes a wager. If he can sell them all by the end of the day, Fred gets a steak dinner; if he can’t, he must clean Violet’s shop.
Reggie discovers their store freezer is broken, so the two men gather up all the lollies and give them away to friends and neighbors before they melt. Sister Monica Joan is particularly appreciative of the chilly confection. Can you imagine how uncomfortable wearing a nun’s habit in extreme heat must be?
Of course, Violet finds out pretty quickly how Fred “emptied the freezer”. As a punishment for his deception, Mrs. Buckle eats his steak dinner in front of her husband.
The weather isn’t the only thing heating up in Poplar. Nurse Franklin and Matthew have begun courting! Unfortunately, their first date is a bit of a letdown for Trixie; a picnic (she had to pack) in the park with baby Jonathan tagging along and spilling ice cream all over her dress.
Nurse Corrigan hears about the less than romantic outing and boldly gives Matthew some unsolicited advice. "You're not interviewing for a nanny. You're trying to sweep a lady off her feet. Get a babysitter, polish up your dancing shoes. Make her feel like she's the only girl in the world."
Mr. Aylward takes Nancy’s words to heart and makes amends. Their next date is dinner at a swanky, romantic restaurant.
As for our newlyweds, the Robinsons, their carefully laid plans have hit a snag. The couple intended on starting a family after Cyril secured an engineering position and they could afford a place of their own.
Lucille confides in her former roomie, Nurse Crane, that despite taking the contraceptive pill, she may be pregnant. Phyllis sneaks her urine sample past Miss Higgins and is pleased to report to Lucille that she is, indeed, expecting.
Of course, dear Cyril is over the moon at the news that he is to be a daddy. Their love and their faith will get them through any bumps in the road.
Last but not least, we must discuss the patients of the week. First, we have the story of the Rosens. Orli (Alexis Peterman) is due to deliver her first child soon and wants to have it at home. Sister Hilda visits the flat above the family’s furrier workshop and agrees to clear her for home delivery under two conditions. 1) The business and living quarters remain separate and 2) her husband Sammy (Alex Waldmann) is checked out for his persistent cough.
It turns out the delivery and new baby boy are perfectly fine. Sammy, on the other hand, has a few issues that need tackling. The problem with his lungs is actually a serious allergic condition related to inhaling dust and animal hair. He must give up all contact with fur which he can do by moving into a management role in his grandfather-in-law’s business.
More difficult to resolve are Sammy’s memories of his traumatic past. At 13, he was held at an extermination camp and is his family’s lone survivor. Sister Hilda is concerned that Mr. Rosen has cut himself off from his faith. She’s spoken to a local rabbi who agrees to help Sammy celebrate his long-delayed Bar Mitzvah, but only if he wishes. He agrees he would like to do this and gives Sister Hilda a lovely remnant of the fox fur coat that she so admired because it reminded her of her mother.
Finally, is the story of new mum, Yvonne Cawder (Lily Knight). She’s having a hard time settling her infant daughter Melanie into a feeding routine. Meanwhile, Yvonne’s twin sister Ivy (Katherine Moran) has just given birth to twins of her own and is sailing through new motherhood.
Nurse Franklin diagnoses Mrs. Cawder with a painful breast infection (mastitis) and gets her started on antibiotics. In addition, her baby has lost too much weight and needs supplemental bottle feedings. Despite Trixie’s interventions, Yvonne continues to struggle.
At a breaking point, the distressed mother endangers baby Melanie by leaving her crying in her pram outside. A shocked Trixie comes upon the infant on the doorstep and realizes even daily visits are not sufficient support for her patient.
Sister Julienne is able to find a place for Yvonne and her baby at a post-natal center nearby that offers round-the-clock support for mothers with feeding difficulties. Nurse Franklin informs Yvonne about the center and stresses that accepting help is the opposite of failure. Sometimes it’s the only way we succeed. Wise words from one who knows.
So ends another installment of the adversity and benevolence we witness each week on Call the Midwife. I’m always impressed with how the midwives (and Dr. Turner and his staff) go above and beyond to improve the lives of their patients- physically, mentally, and spiritually. What impressed you this week? Let’s discuss in the comments!