Beyond the call – mothers, nurses, midwives and doctors

Our oldest son joined us for dinner on Sunday. He stayed around and watched one of our favorite shows “Call the Midwife.” He certainly got a lesson in births as they had several trying deliveries as the midwives mentored some new doctors. In one instance, the baby’s arm got stuck behind its back and was not coming out very easily, so seeing how the midwife handled it was cool.

We reminded him of the stories of the three births of him and his siblings. His birth was the easiest of the three, with one key note. His mother asked for an epidural too late and proceeded to have him sans pain reliever. So, he was the first of three deliveries without epidurals. His mother obviously has a high pain threshold. A funny story is my wife’s doctor told her the day before it would be another week, until she showed up at my office the next day after her water broke at lunch with a friend.

Our middle child had some challenges, but they were not uncommon to the nurse and doctor. Meconium is a fancy term for the baby’s first bowel movement. It is not uncommon for this to be released before delivery and cause aspiration issues. The nurse detected our son was having breathing issues with each contraction. They whisked my wife’s parents out and brought in a swat team. After delivery, the swat team cleaned out his passages and everything was fine. The doctor told the nurse under his breath “nice catch.”

Our daughter was born in a non-uncommon manner as well. She came out purple. The umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck and was causing breathing difficulties. The doctor went clip, clip with scissors and everything was fine. The doctor said it happens enough not to be rare.

Let me finish with two stories, one before birth and one after. A colleague of mine was in labor with twins and walking around the mall to move things along. In so doing, she was talking with a client on how to resolve a problem with various solutions. When they realized she was in labor, their favorable impression increased even more. That is beyond the call on client service.

The final story is about our neighbors who had triplets after a previous older child was born a few years earlier. The parents said, when one gets sick, they all get sick. They said they did assembly line feeding with the same spoon and three lined up high chairs. When I asked how they were doing, they said “we are numb.”

Kudos to mothers, nurses, midwives and doctors. Childbirth happens everyday, but we still should applaud the miracle it is. Tell me some of your stories.

Around the world on the small screen

My wife and I enjoy watching TV shows that tend to have more dialogue and plot, so we spend a lot of time watching shows produced outside of the US. This is not to say there are not good shows produced here as we watch several. But when these foreign shows are aired on PBS, they are sans commercials and can be focused on. You may not care for these or have not given them a try, so here is a taste of a few.

800 Words – is an Australian produced show about a unique coastal town in New Zealand called Weld, a made up name. In short, a columnist father moves his two teen children from Sydney after his wife dies suddenly, to a town called Weld he visited as a child. The town is replete with unique people and he captures this on a column he writes online called “800 Words.” It is not unlike “Northern Exposure” made in the US a few years ago.

A Place to Call Home – is another Australia based series which follows the travails of one family whose widowed head of household falls for a Jewish woman. The show is set in the 1950s, so there are lingering biases toward some Italian descendents as well as recurring prejudice toward this woman. There is enough machinations going on to keep people interested, with a power hungry women trying to upset everything and the head of household’s mother who has the best part to play.

Two other Australian shows which we have enjoyed are Doctor Blake Mysteries and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The former is about a forensic doctor who had been in special forces during the second world war, while the latter is about an avant garde woman in the 1920s who is a clever mystery solver. It also has one of the best theme songs around.

From the UK, we have several we watch and none are Downtown Abbey, which we have seen a few of, but caught on too late.

Endeavour – is a police detective series set in the late 1960s and 70s. It focuses on the camaraderie of an older and younger detective team (Inspectors Thursday and Morse), but there is a close knit team that abets their efforts. The shows are 90 minutes long, so require a little more investment of time.

Call the Midwife  it started out tracing the diaries of a midwife in England from the late 1950s over four years, but has continued well beyond into the 1960s. The issues, the attire, the lower middle class and poverty are all well researched and presented. They covered the Thalidomide babies who were born with severe deformities, abortion, unwed mothers, rape, disease, and environmental toxins.

Other shows we enjoy are Father Brown, about a crime solving Catholic priest and Grantchester, about the friendship of a Church of England vicar and police officer who solve crimes together. Both are set in different time periods which add to the nostalgia. We also watch Midsomer Murders and Doc Martin. 

A limited series show from the UK is called “Unforgotten,” is about a team that digs into old cases when a body is discovered years later. It is very somber, but well done, as the detectives have their own problems as they explore those of others.

Finally, a Canadian show is of interet called “Burden of Proof.” It features the relationship between a very capable, but disillusioned attorney who left her father’s firm and a small town attorney who continues to surprise her with his capabilities and due diligence.

Let me know what you think. Do you like these? Do you have others you prefer?