“N&S: Nurturing Love, Ch. 77-79: The Babies Meet their Family, 5/14/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #185)
Author’s Story Recap from the previous posting: Margaret and John had their babies and now the family gets to meet them.
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 77: Baby News to John and Margaret’s Family
In addition to Mother Thornton being gathered in the parlor, so are Fanny and Watson, and Father Hale. The Vicar also stopped by, just in case. But they all walk out into the foyer when they year footsteps coming down the stairs. The Doctor and Thompson walk down the front hall stairs looking tired, but pleased with themselves.
Doctor: “Well, the babies are born. And both they and their mother are doing fine.” He smiles warmly.
Looks of relief show on all of the family’s faces.
Vicar: “Praise the Lord!”
Thompson: “I’ll just be going to start making the luncheon sandwiches for you as Mr. Thornton directed.” And she walks back to the kitchen to do that.
Doctor: “And we had a little surprise. Their youngest child, the smallest of the three …”
Mother Thornton, Fanny, Watson, and Father Hale: “THREE!?!” They all say excitedly interrupting the doctor.
Doctor: “Yes, three.” He says smiling broadly because doctors don’t often get to deliver triplets. “It seems that she had an extra baby hiding in there. Anyway, she had a girl, then a boy, and then another girl. The youngest, the littlest girl, is quite small, but she seems to be holding her own after some initial difficulty breathing. The cord was wrapped around her neck while she was in the birth canal and I had to unwrap it so she didn’t suffocate. Mrs. Thornton fainted from the pain of that procedure, but she has now recovered and is nursing her babies. In fact, the littlest baby is taking nourishment quite eagerly.”
The family takes this astounding news all in—three babies, not two; a boy and two girls; and the littlest girl is doing okay after some birthing problems.
Mother Thornton: “Where is John?”
Doctor: “Well, actually, he’s been right behind Mrs. Thornton the whole time–literally—sitting behind her and supporting her back through the births and then helping her hold the babies while they nursed and she was still unconscious. So, he’s not able to come down and see you at the moment, because he’s busy.”
Father Hale: “You know, I was with my wife when she gave birth to Margaret. She was a tower of strength. I loved her all the more for the pain and suffering she endured.”
Mother Thornton: “Yes, my husband was with me when John was born–though, he was merely in the room.” She says pointedly with an amused look on her face regarding John’s level of participation in his children’s birth.
Watson: “Well, I’ll be.”
Fanny: “Oh, no you won’t.” Fanny pokes her husband teasingly. “You’ll be at your club when I give birth. And, I’ll let you know when you can come in and see me.” She says not wanting to have her husband with her during childbirth. Mother Thornton and Father Hale laugh. And Watson is secretly pleased not to be expected to be present at his child’s birth.
Thompson: Coming out of the kitchen she says. “I have some sandwiches and such for you to enjoy in the small sitting room and breakfast nook while you’re waiting for Mr. Thornton to come down.” Everyone nods and heads back to the kitchen for some much needed refreshments.
While the family and the Vicar are eating a few sandwiches in John and Margaret’s small sitting room and breakfast nook, Margaret finishes nursing her babies—with John and Midwife Jenny helping with the burping. After their son seems finished nursing, Midwife Jenny puts their older daughter on her left breast. All the while, their littlest daughter keeps nursing on her right breast. Finally, all babies are fed. Then, Midwife Jenny gets the baby supplies—diapers, baby nightgowns and such out of the cream colored bedroom babies nursery–as directed by John and Margaret—and brings these supplies into the master bedroom and bath and she finishes bathing, diapering and then dressing the three babies.
Midwife Jenny: Saying with characteristic aplomb. “Well, at least you’ll be able to tell the girls apart since your third child is so small—at least for now.”
John and Margaret nod. While Midwife Jenny has been tending to the babies, Margaret had dozed off since she is still comfortably cradled in her husband John’s loving arms. But now, Margaret is awake again and eager to hold the babies again now that she is more alert.
John: “Margaret Darling, shall I help you into a fresh nightgown? The one you have for nursing more easily in?” Margaret nods.”
Margaret: “John Dearest, might you please help me to the bathroom, too?”
Midwife Jenny: “Now Mr. Thornton Sir, you’ll be carrying Mrs. Margaret in there for the next few days.”
John: “Yes, of course.”
John gingerly slides out from behind Margaret and gets up from his side of the bed. It is a little tricky because they don’t have a third bassinette so Margaret is still holding their littlest baby girl who is sleeping peacefully in her arms after being burped. John comes around to the other side of the bed and takes their littlest daughter from Margaret, kisses the baby’s head, and he gives her to Midwife Jenny’s waiting arms. Then John lifts Margaret into his arms and he takes her into the bathroom through her dressing room. After sitting Margaret on the commode chair—that Thompson had helpfully emptied earlier from Margaret’s water bursting—Margaret does manage to use the commode. Meanwhile, John finds the nightgown Margaret wants and brings it to her. He lifts her birthing nightgown over her head and places it on the tub. Then he hands Margaret a soapy wash cloth for her face and her chest and then he washes her back for her. Giving birth has been a sweaty process for both of them. So, John also takes a wash cloth and gives himself a sponge bath as well.
Margaret puts on her fresh nightgown and John puts on a pair of casual pants and shirt so he can at least go down and greet the family. John helps Margaret up off the commode and she washes her hands. Then John carries her back to their now freshened bed since Thompson has been up in the mean time to change the sheets and pillowcases. Margaret gratefully lays down in the clean cool sheets and puts a new freshly cold ice pillow on her abdomen. Then John gives Margaret her oldest daughter again to hold.
John: “Margaret Darling. If you’re ready, I’m going down to the family and bring them up in two’s—Mother and Father Hale, first.”
Margaret: “Yes, John Dear. But we should really settle on their names before we get inundated with unfortunate suggestions.
John: “Right, what had we decided on? I’ve forgotten in the whirlwind of the births. And such a lovely whirlwind.” He smiles then sits down on his side of the bed again–taking Margaret into his arms and kissing her [(2) right].
Margaret: Though Margaret was at the center of that whirlwind, she capably says. “Our son is Robert Hale Thornton after our fathers.”
John: “Right.” He nods. “And, for the girl, we had decided on Rachel Catherine.”
Margaret: “Yes, but let’s split those names and call our older daughter here Rachel Maria and the younger daughter Catherine Hannah–with their middle names honoring our mothers. What do you think?”
John: “That’s perfect. I’ll bring Mother and Father up now.” Margaret nods and John kisses her on her lips again before he heads downstairs. He is a now a proud papa and can’t wait to show off his off spring to the grandparents.
Midwife Jenny nods as she continues rocking John and Margaret’s littlest girl—now named Catherine Hannah–in her arms, since there is no third bassinet for the baby to sleep in.
To be continued with Chapter 78
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 78: Father Hale and Mother Thornton Meet their Grandchildren
John bounds down the back stairs and into the kitchen and breakfast noon sitting area. Cheers and congratulations and hugs and kisses are given all around by their family members.
John: “Thanks everyone. But the credit all goes to Margaret. She was amazing—even through some incredible pain with our third baby. Oh, did the doctor tell you that we have triplets!?!” He says astoundingly.
Mother Thornton: “Yes, John Dear. That’s so wonderful!”
Fanny: “So, what did you name them?” She always get’s right to the point.
John: “Well, we’ve given them family names—Rachel Maria Thornton, Robert Hale Thornton, and Catherine Hannah Thornton.” Of course the proud grandparents beam at having their grandchildren named after them.
Father Hale: Smiling broadly, Father Hale [(3) right] says. “My boy, my boy.” Then he tears up while proudly patting John’s shoulder.
John: “I’ll take you up to see Margaret and the babies by two’s for short visits. So, if Mother and Father will come upstairs first, we’ll get started.”
Mother Thornton and Father Hale eagerly follow John to the foyer and up the front stairs to their bedroom. John knocks on his bedroom door to make sure that Margaret is still presentable for receiving company.
Margaret: “You can come in.” Margaret is half lying and half sitting up in bed holding a daughter in each arm, with pillows propped under her arms for support. Midwife Jenny hands John his son and he kicks off his shoes and slides onto his side of bed—to Margaret’s right. John sits next to Margaret and kisses her cheek. Mother Thornton and Father Hale each lean in and give Margaret a kiss from her side of the bed.
John: “Margaret Darling, do you want to do the introductions?”
Margaret: “Well, first let me say that that lady over there is Midwife Jenny—whom we would not have been able to do this without her help today.” Midwife Jenny smiles and nods at the grandparents—whom she of course knows who they are. “In my right arm is our oldest child and our oldest daughter, Rachel Maria Thornton—named after my mother.” Margaret kisses baby Rachel’s forehead. “And in my left arm is our youngest child and our youngest daughter, Catherine Hannah Thornton named after John’s Mother.” Margaret kisses baby Catherine’s forehead. “Since Catherine Hannah is our littlest baby, we wanted to give her a name with all the strength of character that her grandmother has.” John and his mother beam at Margaret. “Mother, would you like to hold your namesake?” Mother Thornton eagerly steps forward to hold her grandchild, Catherine Hannah, and sits down in the chair that Mr. Hale brings up behind her.
John: “And this little fellow is our middle child, named after both of his grandfathers, Robert Hale Thornton.” John kisses baby Robert’s forehead. “Father Hale, would you like to hold your namesake?” Father Hale brings a chair around to John’s side of the bed, then receives his grandson, Robert Hale, and sits in the chair. John puts his arm around Margaret who is still holding Rachel Maria.
Mother Thornton: “They’re all so precious. Oh Margaret my dear, how are you feeling after your ordeal?”
Margaret: “I’m very tired Mother. But John was a big help and got me through it.”
John: “Margaret was amazing.” Then he can’t help himself and he kisses Margaret adoringly and lovingly on her lips for a few minutes in full view of the grandparents—who cough to get his attention. “I’m sorry, but I’m just filled with so much love for Margaret and our little ones today.”
Father Hale: “That’s completely natural. John, may I switch babies and hold Rachel Maria?” They do so. Father Hale lovingly looks at the little baby girl who bears the name of his beloved late wife, Maria, and he smiles.
Mother Thornton: “Now John I’ll give Margaret this little one and hold your little boy.” And they do another baby swap.
John: “We’re going to need a third bassinette. Mother, do we have anything suitable at the manor that we may use?” He asks kneeling down next to her chair.
Mother Thornton: She lovingly takes her son’s face in her hands [(4) right]. “Well, we still have your old bassinette. So, I’ll send a servant for that. My carriage driver can go and get it. It’s in the attic and the servants will have to clean it up before they bring it over here.”
Midwife Jenny: Standing quietly to the side up to now, she says. “Mrs. Thornton, Madam, I’ll go down and relay that to your driver. Then I’ll ask Thompson to bring up some refreshments for Mr. Thornton and Mrs. Margaret.” Then she says pointedly to Margaret. “Mrs. Margaret, you need to drink plenty of fluids and keep yourself nourished with you nursing ‘three’ babies.” Margaret nods and Mother Thornton nods. Then Midwife Jenny turns to leave to attend to her errands.
John: “Thank you Jenny.” He says as Midwife Jenny heads out the door. “Margaret Darling, I plan to stay home with you as much as possible this week—since I was going to do that any way if you had given birth in a few weeks. Maybe Mother and I can trade shifts being with you and being at the Mill.” Mother Thornton nods her head. “But would you also like me to hire Jenny to help out this week?” Margaret nods her head.
There is one last baby swap as Mother Thornton holds their older daughter Rachel and Father Hale holds their younger daughter Catherine. Though they have only been up here fifteen minutes, John can tell that Margaret is tiring and he still wants Fanny and Watson to have a chance to come up. So, when Midwife Jenny comes back, they put two babies in bassinettes—with Margaret holding the littlest daughter Catherine Hannah since Midwife Jenny feels caring touches will especially help this littlest one to thrive—and John escorts his Mother and Father Hale back to the small sitting room.
To be continued with Chapter 79
“N&S: Nurturing Love”, Ch. 79: Fanny and Watson see their new Nieces and Nephew
John bounds into the small sitting room with Mother Thornton and Father Hale trailing behind him. And John says to Fanny and Watson.
John: “Fanny and Watson, now it’s your turn to see your nieces and nephew. Fanny Dear, would you like me to carry you up the stairs? I’m used to doing that for Margaret.”
Fanny: Shaking her head no. “No John, I think that I can make it up the stairs alright. I’m only having one baby, thank goodness.”
John: Laughing. “Ha ha ha! Yes, we seem to have an embarrassment of riches with three babies. It is a little overwhelming, but in a good way. So, shall we?”
John leads Fanny and Watson upstairs. And as before, he knocks on the door to make sure that Margaret is ready to receive them. But Margaret has fallen asleep again from her childbirth exertions.
John: Doing the introductions, he whispers pointing to the sleeping babies in the bassinettes that have a pink or blue ribbon on them since swaddled babies all look alike. “This is our oldest child, our daughter Rachel Maria Thornton.” He picks her up, kisses her, and he hands her to her Aunt Fanny’s waiting arms as she sits in a chair.
Fanny: “Oh John, she’s beautiful.” She whispers and John beams.
John: “And Midwife Jenny is holding our youngest and our littlest daughter, Catherine Hannah.” Midwife Jenny holds the sleeping child close to them to see. “And, this little man …” John says as he picks up his sleeping son from his bassinette and kisses his cheek. “… is Robert Hale Thornton, our son. Watson, would you like to hold him?”
Watson: “Oh no John, I’ve never held a child. I’ll be afraid that I’ll drop him”
John: “Well, you better start learning because you and Fanny will have your own little one in a few weeks. So, sit down in this chair.” Watson does so sheepishly. “Cross your legs and here’s a pillow to support your arm.” Then he gives his sleeping son to Watson to hold—while standing watch over him.
Fanny: “John, where did you learn to be around babies?” She says in astonishment.
John: Laughing he says. “Fanny Dear, you forget I’m nearly twelve years older than you. I held you when you were a baby all the time. I even changed your diapers for Mother.”
Fanny: “Oh John, really!” She says embarrassed.
Watson: “John, you’re a very lucky man.” He says looking down at the little boy in his arms. “I can’t wait for my darling girl, Fanny, to have our own little one in the next few weeks.” Then Watson looks over lovingly at Fanny and she sheepishly returns his warm gaze. John seeing these tenderly exchanged glances between this sister and her husband thinks, well, maybe Margaret was right, Fanny’s baby wasn’t an immaculate conception after all. He smiles shaking his head in amusement.
John: “Here Watson, let me take him and I’ll put him back in his bassinette.” And John lifts his sleeping son into his arms, rocking him gently, kisses his cheek, and then he lays him in his bassinette. “I’ll also put Rachel Maria in her bassinette.” And John repeats the baby laying down process.
Margaret: “Ooh. Hello.” Margaret’s eyes flutter open. “I’m sorry. Did I doze off?”
John: Rushing to Margaret’s side and sliding in bed next to her from his side of the bed, he says embracing her and kissing her forehead. “Oh Margaret Darling, you need your rest. Fanny and Watson here have just enjoyed holding the babies.”
Fanny: “Yes, Margaret Dear.” She says standing up and giving Margaret a peck on her cheek. “They’re so cute and adorable. I can’t wait for my own little one to come soon.” She says patting her pregnant tummy.
Watson: Standing up behind Fanny and squeezing her shoulder Watson says to Margaret. “Yes Margaret Dear, you and John are very lucky. And, the babies have slept peacefully through our whole visit.”
John: “Well, as I said, I babysat Fanny a lot. And from experience, I can tell you that babies don’t always sleep when you want them to. Fanny could wail with the best of them when she was still just a few months old.”
Fanny: “Oh John, really!” They all laugh. “Margaret Dear, John has been torturing me with stories about how he diapered me and such when we were growing up.”
Margaret: “Well, it’s good to know that he has some experience in that area. I’ll put him to work while I’m recovering.” She says sleepily. John kisses her cheek.
John: “Margaret Darling. I’ll go down stairs and say goodbye to everyone and I’ll be back up in a moment with some broth, tea and cinnamon toast for you for an early lunch since it’s now about 11:00am—and a fresh cold ice pillow.” Margaret nods her head gratefully and dozes off to sleep. Midwife Jenny is still rocking little Catherine Hannah. Midwife Jenny nods at them and then smiles at the sleeping child in her arms.
John escorts Fanny and Watson back down to the small sitting room where everyone says their goodbyes and John gives his thanks to them again. As he walks his mother out, her carriage has returned with the third bassinette they’ll be using. It has indeed, been cleaned thoroughly by the Thornton Manor staff before being brought over. Thompson takes it upstairs and she makes it ready for little Catherine Hannah. John kisses his Mother goodbye, shakes Father Hale’s hand and hugs Fanny and shakes Watson’s hand. Those three all ride in the Watson carriage back to the village—the Vicar having left earlier to tend to the later Easter morning services. Mrs. Thornton rides home alone in her carriage. In the meantime, the doctor has checked in again on Margaret during the family leave taking–and he now also leaves as well. John’s smile [(6) right] as he waves to them goodbye clearly shows his happiness.
To be continued with Chapter 80
(1) The “North & South: Nurturing Love” story logo is a composite of three images, with text that I added:
(a) John Thornton (as portrayed by Richard Armitage) having just kissed his love Margaret Hale (as portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe) and them gazing lovingly at each other in the North & South (BBC 2004), episode 4 (pix 346) train station kissing scene; the image was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/slides/ns4-346.html;
(b) a cropped image of the brambled tree branches in the Milton cemetery as John Thornton walks through it in North & South, episode 3 (pix 15); the image was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/slides/ns3-015.html;
(c) a masked image of the yellow rose John Thornton picked in Helstone in North & South, episode 4 (pix 271); the image was found at
(2) Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe was from the BBC’s 2004 North & South, Episode 4 (pix 366) and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/slides/ns4-366.html
(3) Cropped image of Tim Piggott-Smith portraying Father Hale was from the BBC’s 2004 North & South, Episode 1 (pix 42) and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode1/slides/ns1-042.html
(4) Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton and Sinead Cusack portraying Mother Thornton was from the BBC’s 2004 North & South, episode 3 (pix 35) and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/slides/ns3-035.html
(5) Image representing Margaret Thornton falling fast asleep after her birthing ordeal is that of Margaret (as portrayed by Daniela Denby-Ashe) napping on the grass was found at http://www3.images.coolspotters.com/photos/311112/margaret-hale-and-north-and-south-gallery.jpg
(6) Richard Armitage portraying John Thornton was from the BBC’s 2004 North & South, Episode 4 (pix 357) and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode4/slides/ns4-357.html
Previous Story Links for “North and South: Nurturing Love” are found at