“N&S: Nurturing Love, Ch. 84: Fanny Birthing Trials, 5/25/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #193)
Author’s Story Recap from the previous posting: Three weeks after their triplets birth, John’s and Margaret’s lives have settled into a routine. They also celebrated their first anniversary on May 18, 1852.
Author’s Note: My fan fic story, “North & South: Nurturing Love” will conclude on Monday, May 28th. There is still a bit of excitement ahead in our story–and perhaps, a ‘not so surprise’ ending. But no spoilers.
Latest Posting: “N&S: Nurturing Love, Ch. 84: Fanny Birthing Trials, iLz vzz 5/25/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #193)
N&S: Nurturing Love, Ch. 84–Fanny Gives Birth
Though everyone might have excused Fanny for her wishful thinking about a quick birthing process, none of them could have expected that the very next week, Fanny would give birth herself. It was a normal Saturday May 25th for Fanny and Watson. After Fanny and Watson breakfast in their nightclothes in their shared bedroom, Fanny and Watson then dress to tend to their morning routines. Fanny’s brother John would no doubt raise a curious eyebrow that his sister and her husband do, indeed, sleep in the same bed–even though John and Margaret enjoy such an arrangement themselves–since Fanny and Watson are not that affectionate with each other, even around the family.
As usual Fanny sits on their home’s back garden terrace and reads since the weather is lovely in late May. And Watson sits in his study going over the household accounts that Fanny has prepared for him to double check for her. Then, Watson joins Fanny on the garden terrace of their home. However, when Watson comes out to the garden terrace this Saturday morning around 10:00am, he finds his wife, Fanny, in discomfort and pain.
Watson: Seeing Fanny grimacing he says. “Oh my darling girl, are you in pain? Do you think you’re getting ready to have our baby?”
Fanny: “Yes, I am.” She says matter of factly in answer to both of his questions. “Watson Dear, will you help me up to our bedroom and then ask the doctor to come to me on your way to your club?”
Watson: “I’m not leaving you.” She starts to protest. “Even if you don’t want me in the same room with you, I’m staying in the house.” He looks at her determinedly and she nods, then Fanny has another sharp pain as Watson helps her to stand and he catches her as she crumples a bit. Then, Watson simply picks up his darling girl Fanny and carries her through their home’s main floor, telling one of their servants to. “Please send for the doctor and the midwife. My wife is in labor. Then, please notify Mr. and Mrs. Thornton at Rose Cottage and Mrs. Thornton at Thornton Manor.”
Fanny: Not used to her husband taking charge, let alone carrying her, she says. “You know Watson Dear, this could be a false alarm. We don’t want everyone to come here and then have nothing happen.” Then Fanny grimaces with another sharp pain. “Ooh! Maybe you are right.”
The servants go off notify the doctor, Midwife Jenny, Mr. and Mrs. John Thornton, and Mrs. Thornton.
After Watson settles Fanny into their room, her ladies maid helps Fanny change into her birthing gown in her dressing room while Watson paces the floor of the sitting area by the fireplace in their bedroom. Then, a servant knocks on their bedroom door.
Watson: “Enter.” He says commandingly.
Housemaid: “Mr. Watson Sir, the doctor and your brother-in-law are here.”
Watson: “I will come down to greet them.” He says to the servant. “I’ll be back in moment, Fanny Dear.” He says kissing her forehead. Fanny nods and sighs.
Watson strides into the upstairs bedrooms hallway and down the grand front stairs of their opulent home. And we know that it is opulent not only because Fanny would have it no other way, but also because she finished her sitting room from “Indian wallpapers” she found at the Great Exhibition.
Watson: “John! He says warmly clasping his brother-in-law’s hand.
John: “Watson, this is a momentous day for you and Fanny! Margaret is nursing the babies at the moment or she would be here, too. Please give Fanny both Margaret and my love. How’s she doing?”
Watson: Turning to the Doctor, he says. “Well, doctor, if you will go tend to my wife, maybe you can answer John’s question.”
Doctor: “Certainly, Mr. Watson.” And he heads upstairs to the Watson bedroom.
John: “This is exciting. A cousin being born!”
Watson: “Yes, we can’t wait. I just hope that my darling girl doesn’t have too much of a tough time of it.” Watson starts tearing up. “John, I know that I’m not particularly affectionate with Fanny when we’re around family, but I love my darling girl very much.”
John: Touched by Watson sharing such a personal confidence, John says simply. “Yes Watson, we know.”
Watson: “You know?” He asks in stunned awe. Watson had thought that he and Fanny were discreet to the point of seeming indifferent to each other when around others.
John: “Yes. You’ve affected a transformation of my sister Fanny from her being the very spoiled baby of the family to the now mature and kind woman she is today. What else could it be, but from love?”
Watson: Watson smiles. “I will have the servants bring out some tea and sandwiches for you in the parlor.” Watson nods over at a servant who heads out to do just that. “I’m going up to see how Fanny is doing—despite her not wanting me in there while she’s giving birth.”
John: “Watson, Fanny will be fine—and so will you. Good luck!” John smiles knowingly at his brother-in-law since John went through their babies births last week.
Watson: “Thank you John. I will tell Fanny that you’re here and give her your regards. Will you please send your Mother up when she arrives? I know that my darling girl will want to see her.” John nods and he goes to sit in the parlor to each his sandwiches with tea while Watson heads back up to his bedroom.
In the meantime, Midwife Jenny arrives and walks up the stairs with Watson to see Fanny in their bedroom. When Watson opens the door, he sees an inordinate amount of bustling activity going on. Fanny is already in bed in her birthing nightgown, but her ladies maid is still hovering about waiting for instructions. Another servant is busily moving the baby bassinette into the bedroom and arranging the baby diapers and such, while a third servant brings the doctor—and now the midwife a pitcher of hot water and a bowl to wash their hands in, towels and such.
Fanny: Just then, Fanny grimaces and cries out in pain. “Oww!”
Midwife Jenny: “Has her water broken yet?”
Doctor: “No.” He says with an air of perturbation.
Midwife Jenny: “Well, Mr. Watson, please carry your wife into the bathroom to sit her on the commode just in case.
Fanny: Again, Fanny starts to protest about the immodesty of her husband seeing her in their bathroom. “But …”
Watson: “Fanny my Dear, no arguments.” Watson lifts Fanny into his arms and quickly carries her into their bathroom that adjoins their bedroom. He sets Fanny’s feet on the floor. She looks up at him a bit embarrassed. “My darling girl, you better raise your gown and sit on the commode before your water breaks or the water will be everywhere and you will really be embarrassed.”
Fanny: Nodding with the common sense of that, she does as her husband says and sits on the commode with him standing by to help her. “There!” After a few minutes tick by, her water does break—gratefully into the commode Fanny thinks. After Fanny is done after her water breaks and Watson helps her stand to wash her hands and such, he then carries her back to the bed.
Having finally arrived, Mother Thornton enters the bedroom—having peeked her head into the parlor to say hello to John on her way up.
Watson: “Mother Thornton, we’re glad you could come. Fanny dear is going to have our baby today.”
Mother Thornton: “Yes, that is exciting my dears.” She leans down and kisses her daughter’s forehead. Then Fanny gives her Mother a sidelong glance, nodding to her husband. “Oh, Watson, John is waiting for news down in the Parlor. Did you want to go and fill him in?” Mother Thornton says helpfully to get Watson out of the birthing room per Fanny’s wishes.
Watson: “Yes, Mother Thornton, but I’ll be back soon, Fanny Dear.” He kisses her now perspiring forehead. “Oh, and John said to give you both his and Margaret’s love. She was in the middle of nursing just now or she would have come, too.” Watson walks out of the bedroom and down to John in the Parlor.
Fanny: “Thank you Mother. I’m so glad to see you. I was afraid that Watson would be in here when I actually give birth. I don’t want him to see me that way.”
Mother Thornton: “Fanny Dear. Your father was with me when I gave birth to both John and later you. If you think that Watson won’t faint—because he’s such a big man, none of us could stop him from falling—then, I don’t see any harm in him being in here. Watson, obviously, wants to make sure that you’re all right.” Fanny makes a face.
Doctor: “Very well ladies, if you could give Midwife Jenny and I some room to examine Mrs. Watson, please?” Mother Thornton moves to the other side of the bed, sits down on it, and clasps her daughter’s hand.
Meanwhile, down in the Parlor, Watson arrives to fill John in.
John: “Watson! How’s it going?”
Watson: “Well, Fanny’s water broke—in the commode, happily. She was none too pleased that the doctor had me carry her in there. But, I pointed out that she would be less embarrassed there than if her water broke while she was in our bedroom.” He raises his eyebrows and makes and amusing face.
John: “Sounds logical.” John is non-plussed at Watson taking charge—and Watson not saying a word about food. Although John just had some tasty small sandwiches that Watson’s servants had kindly provided him at Watson’s direction.
Watson: “Oh, and I did give Fanny you’re and Margaret’s love.”
Just then, John and Watson hear Fanny give a very big yell. Mother Thornton leans over the banister.
Mother Thornton: “Watson, your baby is being born. So, if you want to be present for the birth, you had better get yourself up here now.”
Watson moves quickly and bounds up the stairs. John is amazed at Watson’s speed and alacrity since his brother-in-law is about fifteen years old than he—Watson is forty five years old–and John has never seen him move that fast. On his way up the stairs, Watson removes his coat and vest and cravat. He hands these items to Fanny’s Ladies maid who is standing inside their bedroom.
Watson enters their bedroom and sees Fanny grimacing in pain, sweat pouring down her face, and doubled over as she is bearing down pushing and groaning in pain.
Fanny: “Oh Mother, I don’t want Watson to see me like this.” She says knowing that she looks a fright—and she does.
Watson: Taking a cold compress and wiping Fanny’s perspiring brow, he says commandingly. “Nonsense! You’re having our child Fanny. And if I can comfort you in any way, I’m going to stay.” Watson kisses Fanny’s forehead and supports her shoulders as he stands at the side of the bed to her left.
Fanny: “Aahh! I’m in too much pain to argue with you. Aahh! Why doesn’t this baby come out?”
Doctor: “Well, you’re baby’s head is crowning. So, it won’t be long now. One more push and the baby’s head will be out.”
Fanny: “Aahh!” She cries out in pain, pushes, and the babies head is out.
Doctor: To Watson. “Do you want to see the baby’s head?”
Fanny: To Watson, she says glaring at him. “Don’t you dare.”
Watson: “Alright my Darling Girl. I’ll give you that bit of modesty.” Then he leans down and whispers in Fanny’s ear. “Fanny dear, I love you so. You’re being so brave, my Darling Girl.” Then he kisses her cheek and Fanny smiles up at him. Then, another pain comes and Watson returns to patting Fanny’s face and neck with the cold compress as she pushes.
Mother Thornton: Amazed at this tender scene between Fanny and her husband, she says. “Fanny Dear, it won’t be long now.”
Midwife Jenny: “You just have to push like you’ve never pushed before to get this baby out Madam. It’s a big one and those shoulders come out next.”
Fanny: Grimacing in pain, Fanny looks at Midwife Jenny with incredulity. “I really didn’t want to know that the baby is big. Can you just not tell me things like that?” Everyone nods their head in understanding. “Oh my! Oh my!!!” Fanny then screams so loudly due to the pain that she’s in, that everyone is sure that the windows will break. “Aaaahhhhhh!!! “
Even Fanny’s brother, John, waiting in the parlor hears Fanny’s blood curdling scream and he briskly walks out to the foyer to look up the stairs. Then, there is a moment of silence that is then followed by a baby’s cry. John bounds up the stairs, eager to hear the news about his new nephew or niece. John paces the hallway in front of the closed bedroom door, waiting to hear some news. Mother Thornton comes out and sees John there.
John: “Mother, how is Fanny? That scream was horrifying.”
Mother Thornton: “Yes, their baby boy is rather large. Well, you’ve seen Watson.”
John: He nods in complete acknowledgement. “Yes, but how are Fanny and the baby?”
Mother Thornton: “They’re fine. They’re cleaning up Fanny now.” Just then, they both hear another scream from Fanny.
Watson: Opening the bedroom door, Watson is frantic. “Mother Thornton, you’re needed!”
Then Watson shuts the bedroom door behind her and John is left to worry for his sister Fanny. The minutes tick by slowly. Then, John hears the doctor say through the door.
Doctor: “Mr. Watson, tend to your wife, she needs you.”
John wonders, oh my god, is Fanny dying? Women do die in childbirth. It is an all too common and sad occurrence in the era in which they live. And for all of John’s teasing about his sister Fanny being spoiled, and that she cannot carry a tune and such, he loves Fanny dearly and John does not want anything to happen to her. John clasps his hands together tightly—though he is not consciously praying, his body has assumed that pose. Then, Mother Thornton slowly and quietly opens the bedroom door, she leans against the doorframe, and she looks at John with a deep sadness on her face.
John: “Oh Mother, Fanny’s alright isn’t she?”
Then, they both hear a baby cry and Mother Thornton’s tears turn to a smile as she dashes back into the bedroom. John is left to wonder what is happening—and he is terrified. After several more minutes of tense waiting, Watson opens the bedroom door again—this time with a huge smile on his face.
Watson: “John, you won’t believe it!”
John: “Watson, tell me now. Is Fanny alright?” He asks his brother-in-law worriedly while they stand in the hallway outside of Fanny and Watson’s bedroom.
Inside Fanny and Watson’s bedroom.
Fanny: Calling out to her brother, she says weakly. “I’m fine John, come see.” This request is completely uncharacteristic for Fanny, because of course, she still looks like she just gave birth—sweaty and red faced from her exertions.
John: Walking in the door, he turns his head and sees Fanny holding an enormous baby. “Oh Fanny Dear. I was so worried. Good Lord Watson, are you sure that’s not a toddler?” Of course, everyone laughs.
Watson: “Yes, my darling girl had a tough time of it.” He leans down and kisses her on her lips—something that the family has seen only once before since their wedding ceremony.
Fanny: “Oh Herbert, …” Fanny says smiling up at him standing at her side and using Watson’s Christian name–also something she has not done in front of the family since her wedding day. “… at least it’s over now.” Watson/Herbert leans down and kisses Fanny again—on the lips. “John, this is your nephew—and your namesake–John Herbert Watson.” Fanny looks up smiling at her brother John, whom she and Watson have just named their child after.
John: “Fanny Dear, Watson. I’m so honored to have the baby named after me. He’s adorable.” John smiles warmly at both of them and shakes Watson’s hand several times.
Mother Thornton: “Well, and he’s not alone.”
Midwife Jenny now turns around, holding a much smaller baby that she hands to Mother Thornton.
Mother Thornton: “And this is their daughter.”
Fanny: “Hannah Margaret Watson—named after her grandmother and her wonderful Aunt Margaret!” Fanny looks very pleased with herself.
John: “Oh Fanny and Watson, Margaret and I are both honored. And it will be nice having a little Hannah in the family.”
Watson: “It was touch and go there. Of course, none of us knew that there was a second baby. And Fanny Dear fainted when the second baby was born. The baby didn’t breathe and cry at first and then Fanny was losing a lot of blood. So the doctor was trying to stop that.”
Fanny: “I don’t think that we need to give him all of the details Herbert, Dear.” She smiles lovingly up at him. “It all turned out alright in the end.” Then, the babies being held by their mother Fanny and their Grandmother Thornton start to move their mouths wanting to suckle. “Alright everyone, I’ve had enough witnesses to these births, I don’t want witnesses as I nurse the babies.”
John: “Of course Fanny Dear. “ He says kissing her forehead. “Margaret and I give you all of our love. I’ll go home and tell her the good news. Then maybe I can bring her back later to see you and the babies?”
Fanny: “That will be nice, John. Thank you for coming. I think after I nurse the babies, I’m going to sleep.” She says weakly.
Watson: Beaming, he says. “Yes, my darling girl. You’ve earned a rest.” He leans down and kisses her forehead.
(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
Previous Story Links for “North and South: Nurturing Love” are found at