'Call the Midwife' Recap: Season 10 Episode 5

Daniel Hautzinger
Sister Julienne and Vera Sands in 'Call the Midwife.' Photo: Neal Street Productions
Sister Julienne fears that something is wrong with Vera Sands's first child. Photo: Neal Street Productions

Call the Midwife airs Sundays at 7:00 pm and is available to stream for a limited time. Recap the previous and following episodes and other seasons.

A tragedy has occurred: a leaky pipe has dripped all over Miss Higgins’s records at the maternity clinic. She requires a “competent” individual to help her dry and inspect them all, so Dr. Turner brings in his son Tim, who has just been accepted to medical school in Edinburgh.

Tim may be done with his entrance exams, but Jeanette Owen is still preparing for them—while also nearing the end of her pregnancy. Her mother Doris has a whole plan in place, which Jeanette has agreed to, to put the baby up for adoption. Then Jeanette can go on to university.

When Jeanette feels light-headed, she is admitted to the clinic to stay until she has her baby—she has preeclampsia. Doris is initially against having Jeanette stay at the clinic for so long, as she wants as little fuss as possible over the baby so that Jeanette can quickly and easily move on with her life after the birth.

At the clinic, Jeanette asks the pupil midwife Nancy if her baby’s father, Glen—a classmate of Tim’s—can visit. She hasn’t been allowed by her mother to see him during the pregnancy. Nancy helps Jeanette send a note to Glen.

When he arrives, visiting hours have ended, but Nancy allows him a quick fifteen minutes with Jeanette. She seems hesitant now about the adoption, and he comes right out and says that he doesn’t want to give up their baby. Doris comes in and sees him, and insists that he leave.

Later, Shelagh chastises Nancy for breaking the rules. Adoption cases are complicated, she tells her, and the rules are there for a reason. A midwife’s care extends beyond the medical, and she must always do what is best for the mother and baby.

Shelagh helps do just that after Jeanette tries to check herself out of the maternity clinic to go to Glen and slips on the stairs when Miss Higgins calls after her. Jeanette is horrified that she could have hurt her baby—but she is fine. Shelagh reassures Jeanette about adoption, talking about her love for her two adopted children—and their mothers.

When Jeanette goes into labor, she decides not to have her mother present. Doris instead waits in the lobby, and calls Glen to let him wait there too. Nancy is upset about Doris’s protectiveness, and Shelagh has to chide her for letting her passion overrule her compassion. After Jeanette gives birth to a boy and Doris lets Glen hold him while she herself sobs in the lobby, Nancy finds the compassion to comfort Doris.

Miss Higgins finds a place at the maternity hospital for Jeanette and her baby, where they can stay until he is adopted. Glen and Jeanette name him Oliver when Miss Higgins tells them that their name will always be on record even if it is changed. Glen even buys Jeanette a baby book in which to record milestones passed while at the hospital, and Miss Higgins lends him her fine pen for it.

But the plan is stymied when Doris brings in a woman to take Oliver to the adoption agency, as was originally decided. Miss Higgins takes Oliver’s ID bracelet for Jeanette and Glen before he is taken away. Tim reassures his old classmate Glen that the agency is a happy place; it’s where his sister came from.

Jeanette decides to make a fresh start: she will still go to university, but will live with Glen, she tells her mother.

Cyril and Lucille are also making a new start. When their engagement is celebrated at the clinic, Lucille thanks everyone for being their family in their new country. This is our home because of you all, she says in thanks.

Trixie is becoming a type of family to Matthew Aylward and his son Jonathan. Matthew calls her, desperate for help finding a new nanny and advice on taking care of a baby. Trixie happily offers her aid and helps him find a more suitable nanny. When he sends her a plant in thanks, it inspires giggly speculation amongst the midwives, but Jonathan assures Trixie that he went to pains to insure it gave a professional message, not a personal one. Because it’s purely professional, as he and Trixie agree.

Jonathan is healthy, but Sister Julienne fears that another young child has some sort of condition. Vera Sands is pregnant, and when Julienne visits her at home she is surprised by her daughter Elaine’s lack of development and responsiveness: she’s not walking or talking yet. Vera feared something was wrong but refused to see it.

Dr. Turner is perplexed, until Shelagh suggests a condition called PKU. He goes to search the clinic’s records to see if Elaine had a PKU test when she was born—no luck. When Sister Julienne tests Elaine for the disease, it comes back positive. As Julienne is leaving, Elaine suffers a seizure. The midwife holds the girl’s tongue back so that she doesn’t choke.

A low-protein diet can prevent Elaine’s condition from progressing further and specialists can help her speech and skills, but some development will be permanently held back. Vera’s new baby could have PKU, too, but the infant will be tested right away.

When Vera goes into labor, she’s terrified that something will be wrong—and worse, that she won’t notice. She blames herself for not picking up on Elaine’s condition earlier. Julienne reassures and encourages her: she is a loving mother who will do anything for her children. And she gives birth to a boy, without PKU.

Even better, Vera and her husband are learning to help Elaine flourish. Now they have two extraordinary children.