“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 71 (PG-13):
Advent Surprises, Part 2, July 19, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #605)
[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters: Richard Armitage for John Thornton, Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale, Tim Pigott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, and Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, John Light as Henry Lennox, Tim Faraday as Watson, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, and Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, etc.] [(1) story logo]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” is a story with mature themes of love and relationships set within a period drama of the 1850’s. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous chapter: Hannah Lady Airlie and Cameron Lord Airlie welcomed their baby son Lord Gavin Victor Ogilvy into the world at Airlie Castle in Scotland on Friday, November 28, 1851 with John & Margaret, Baird and Fanny, and Thistle and Jamie in attendance. And Lady Fiona manages to go into labor in the same days–several weeks early of her January 1852 due date.
N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 71 (PG-13): Advent Suprises, Part 2
The scene around the birthing bed in the Airlie Castle Master bedchamber suite is intense–with John and Margaret, Lord Jamie and Lady Thistle and their children, and Lord Baird and Lady Fiona surrounding Hannah Lady Airlie and Cameron Lord Airlie. The family has just met Hannah’s and Cameron’s baby son Lord Gavin Victor Ogilvy only minutes ago when Lady Fiona experiences birthing pains several minutes apart.
Cameron: “Herrre we go again!” The extended Ogilvy-Thornton family patriarch and physician shakes his head wryly.
Fiona: “Aaaaaaaaah!” Fiona cries out in even greater pain now that she has been in active labor for fifteen minutes.
Hannah: “Fanny, you should lie down in one of the guest bed chamber suites.’’ Hannah invokes her motherly concern for her daughter, even as she cradles her newborn son.
Fiona: “Mama? My name is Fiona.” Fiona/Fanny says a trifle petulantly before another pain hits her. “Arrrrgh! Oh Baird? I want to have our baby at our home!” She holds her tummy as another pain hits her.
Baird: “Papa?” Baird flails about–giddy with the excitement of their baby about to be born and terrified all at the same time.
Cameron: “Nay, Fiona! Let me examine you firrrst to ascerrrtain your prrrogrrres.” Cameron admonishes firmly.
Lady Fiona nods and is assisted into a nearby guest bed chamber by her husband Lord Baird Ogilvy, her cousin Lady Thistle, and her father-in-law, Cameron Lord Airlie–with little five year old Lady Blythe Ogilvy tagging along in the rear. Once inside the guest bedroom, Cameron turns into Dr. Ogilvy.
Cameron: “Let us remove your dress and petticoats and get you into bed where I may examine you.” He states officiously like the medical practitioner he is. Baird nods his head.
Fiona: “I don’t know if I want my father-in-law examining me. Arrrrhhhhhhg!” She cries out in pain.
Thistle: “Fiona, ye must see sense. Cousin Cameron is a physician. Let him help you.”
Lady Blythe: “I will help, too.” Lady Blythe raises her hands and wiggles her fingers gleefully.
Thistle: “Not now, Blythe.” Her mother, Lady Thistle, gently pushes her daughter Lady Blythe’s hands to her sides and stifles a laugh.
Baird: “Fiona?” Baird looks helplessly at his wife, begging her to give in.
Fiona: “Oh, alright.” Fiona shakes her head and closes her eyes as Lady Thistle helps her disrobe behind a standing screen and then she slides into bed in her camisole and pantaloons. “I suppose you do this all the time.” She looks at her father-in-law nervously as she wriggles out of her pantaloons under the bed sheet.
Cameron: “Well, at least with grrrreat rrregularrrrity. Baby 3, 452 was Gavin. And yourrr baby will be 3, 453.” He sets his medical bag on a bedside table and pulls out his stethoscope.
And little Lady Blythe thinks that she will keep track of the lambs and babies that she helps to be born. So far, one lamb is to her credit. But if Lady Blythe gets to help birth Lady Fiona’s baby, then she would also have a person baby on her list–thus evening the tally between her two groups of patients.
Baird: “Ye keep trrrack, Papa?” Baird asks quizzical astonishment.
Cameron: “Aye! I dooo.” Cameron smiles pridefully as he leans over his daughter-in-law Lady Fiona and listens to her heart, then to her stomach. Then he throws back the blanket and lifts up the bottom end of the bed sheet and guides her legs open to let him have a look. “Ach! Yourrr womb is quite dialated now and the birrrth could be prrrecipitous.”
Cameron states firmly after examining her womb visually and by probing her birth canal for its widening. Something that Fiona did not want to have happen–her father-in-law, down there–but he is a doctor and Baird insisted that she receive his care. The winter weather is too precarious to risk sending for the village doctor. And the midwife is already here at Airlie Castle, attending to Hannah Lady Airlie.
Baird: “Then Fiona should not be moved to the cottage. My Love, ye will have our bairrrn in the castle!”
Lord Baird smiles brightly and pats her hand, as if his wife Lady Fiona giving birth in Airlie Castle is a special privilege. It is, but characteristically Lady Fiona does not see it that way.
Fiona: “But Baird, all my birthing preparations are at home–especially my birthing chair.” She looks pleadingly at her husband Baird.
Cameron: “I think we might have a birthing chair in the castle attics.” Cameron wearily walks over to the wall–rolling his eyes bemusedly, since none can see him–and he pulls on the nearby chord to summon a servant to search for a birthing chair.
Fiona: “But I want my birthing chair, Papa. It was made to fit me. And I have practiced sitting in it every day to get used to it.”
Baird: “You have?”
Fiona: “Yes, I must have it!” Fiona nods her head, then she is racked with another pain. “Aaaaaaah!”
There is a knock on Fiona’s guest bed chamber door. Thistle goes to see who it is.
Thistle: “It is John and Jamie, Fiona. May they come in?”
Fiona: “Ahhhh!” She cries out in pain. “Oh why not?” Fiona says facetiously, but Thistle takes her meaning literally and lets John and her husband Lord Jamie into the room. “Good heavens! Let’s bring the whole village in here to watch me give birth.” Fiona shakes her head.
John: “Fanny, dear. How are you feeling? May I get you anything?”
Fiona: “Arrrrgh! I want my birthing chair! And please call me Fee–oh–na!” She stresses as she pants her breathing.
Blythe: “I remember your name Lady Fiona.” Little Lady Blythe chirps.
Feeling out of place in the birthing room, Lord Jamie steps back and leans against the wall–trying not to look in Lady Fiona’s direction–with her ankles and lower legs exposed from the bed sheet only haphazardly dropped by Cameron to cover her womb.
Baird: “Fiona, I do na want to leave you to get yourrr blasted birrrthing chairrr contrrraption!”
Jamie: Finding a way out of feeling embarrassed by being in the birthing room, Lord Jamie says eagerly. “I’ll go and fetch it and take the wagon.”
John: “I’ll come, too.” John adds–him wanting to be of assistance to his baby sister.
Fiona: “And I want my leather strap with the soft leather padded hand holds to pull on–for when I must bear down.” She calls after them as they begin to leave room
Baird: “Fiona, I’m surrre we can rrrig something up here.” Baird pleads.
Fiona: “I am giving birth to the Airlie heir and I want my padded leather strap, too!” She wails. “Arrrhhggg!” She cries out in pain.
John: “We’ll get them.” He nods to Fiona.
Baird: Turning to John and Jamie, Baird suggests quickly. “Ourrr butlerrr at Airrrlie Cottage can assist you in finding what Fiona is referrring to at our home.”
Cameron: “Be quick about it lads, Fiona could give birth at any moment.”
Fiona’s imminent birth is still ongoing three hours later–long since after her brother John Thornton and cousin Lord Jamie Ogilvy returned with Fiona’s birthing equipment consisting of her birthing chair, a padded leather strap, and they also brought with the metal floating tub for good measure.
Fiona feels like a watched cooking pot as she waits for her birthing trials to be over and done with.
Fiona: “It’s not fair! Mama barely had time to sneeze and her baby was born. Aggghhhh! I want my baby to be born soon.” She worries that she might have the same fate as Margaret and have a difficult birthing experience.
Cameron: “Let me examine ye again.” He does so, but does not find much progress. But he is hampered by his large hands being uncomfortable for Fiona as he tries to determine where the baby is in the birth canal.
All eyes turn to little Lady Blythe who has become Lady Fiona’s nursemaid–bringing her cold compresses and fresh water to drink. Lady Blythe senses that the room has stopped its buzz of conversational groupings and she looks up at cousin Cameron.
Lady Blythe: “Shall I trrry to see if I can find the baby?” Lady Blythe smiles, holds up her tiny hands and wriggles her fingers. She is gleeful to get the chance to help birth another baby to be born. Well, the last baby she helped birth was a lamb baby. So this will be her first people baby.
Cameron: Cameron turns to Lady Thistle and Lord Jamie? “Arrre ye alrrright with this?” Little Lady Blythe’s parents’ nod in agreement. “Fiona?”
Fiona: “Yes, please, anything.” Fiona is tired and just wants this to be done!
Lady Blythe: “Yayyy!” Little Lady Blythe raises her arms in the air in jubilation–for her experiencing a person birth [(2) right]. “Mama, please help me rrremove me drrress and I will need an aprrron so I do na get messy.” Lady Blythe wrinkles up her nose–because she guesses that people baby birthing is messy like lamb baby birthing, just without the hay.
Cameron: “Of course, Blythe. But ye arrre only inserting your fingers–maybe your hands–into the birth canal.
Lady Blythe: “Are you cerrrtain? When I birthed the lamb baby, almost me whole arrrm was inside the mama sheep–up to me elbows!” She lifts up her arms to show them.
Lady Fiona blanches, Lady Thistle and Lord Jamie roll their eyes at their daughter’s straight forwardness. John and Baird look uneasy at what Fiona’s reaction might be.
Cameron: “Only yourrr hands arrre rrrequirrred herrre, Blythe.” Cameron assures his daughter-in-law Fiona and every one else in the room.
Lady Blythe: “Don’t worry Lady Fiona.” Lady Blythe suggests soothingly. “I have tiny hands.” She raises them up into the air–wriggling her fingers again. And Lady Blythe thinks that at least with Lady Fiona, she is not likely to get kicked by hooves.
Fiona: “Thank you, Blythe. Papa, Please have her do this quickly.”
Lady Fiona’s much ballyhooed birthing chair sits forgotten off to one side of the bed chamber. Actually, Lord Jamie is absentmindedly sitting comfortably in it–Fiona lies back on her bed pillow, listlessly. She is mortified to have her little cousin Lady Blythe actively assisting in the birth. But there is nothing for it–just as Lady Fiona had to assist at Margaret’s birth.
The next few minutes are tense ones as Cameron talks little Lady Blythe through putting her hands in Lady Fiona’s womb and seeking to find the baby’s head.
Blythe: “I feel something round and hard.” She says.
Cameron: “That’s the baby’s head.” He nods.
Blythe: “Ooooooh! I feel an ear!”
Cameron: “Gently now, Blythe. Place yourrr hands on eitherrr side of the baby’s head–at the ears–and slowly guide the baby out.”
Lady Blythe places her hands in position. Lady Fiona winces in slight pain, but knowing that Lady Blythe’s small hands are a blessing.
Blythe: She gently pulls, then grimaces. “The baby won’t move.”
Cameron: “Hhhhh!” Cameron sighs heavily. For having avoided doing a risky ceasarean operation on Margaret last Summer nor on his wife Hannah earlier today, he might have to do one on Lady Fiona. But operating is a last resort. “Keep trying. Push Fiona.” He admonishes her.
Fiona: “I am pushing.” Lady Fiona whines as she lies listlessly on her pillows.
Lord Baird feels hopeless to help his beloved wife. This is nerve wracking for him, too. He does not want Fiona to be in pain. And he is also worried that the baby still has not come. Then he has a burst of inspiration.
Baird: “Let us trrry your birrrthing chair. Maybe it will help.” Baird looks over at Lord Jamie. “Jamie, ye will have to give up yourrr seat!” Baird grins impishly. Jamie blushes as he remembers just what he is sitting on–the birthing chair–and he stands up.
Jamie: “Sorrrry.” He apologetically shrugs his shoulders with a sheepish look on his face.
Fiona: “Anything.” She sighs tiredly.
Cameron: “Aye! Let’s try it! Blythe gently rremove your hands frrrom Fiona’s womb.” She does so.
And Blythe’s Mama, Lady Thistle, quickly takes her to the adjacent bathing chamber to wash her hands.
Then Baird and Cameron assist Fiona in rising from her bed. As soon as Lady Fiona is vertical, something seems to shift inside her.
Fiona: “Ahhhh!” She cries out in pain.
Baird: “My love?”
Little Lady Blythe comes hobble running out of the bathing chamber with clean hands and she dives underneath Lady Fiona’s billowing nightgown to check without Cameron needing to ask her. Lady Blythe has a true vocation as a physician–or maybe, as a veterinarian. She hasn’t decided yet.
Blythe: “The baby is coming!” She announces to the adults focused upon what is happening to Lady Fiona.
Lord Baird and Cameron quickly lift Fiona into the air, walk her over to her birthing chair, and deposit her onto it. A pale Lord Jamie turns away to give Lady Fiona some privacy–as does her brother John–since Lady Fiona’s nightgown is now puddled around her hips while she sits on the birthing chair. Little Lady Blythe sits underneath her ready to catch the baby when it comes out.
And not two minutes later, a wailing baby Ogilvy heir comes into the world. He is not small, but not too big–just right!
Blythe: “Oh, too bad. It’s a boy.” Little Lady Blythe says despondently as she holds the baby out to her Mother to take and clean up. Not so messy as a lamb baby, thinks Lady Blythe.
Baird: “Fiona! We have a son!” She nods wanly.
Lady Thistle and the Midwife take the baby and clean it off while Cameron attends to the after birth. But Cameron discovers something amiss with Fiona.
Cameron: “Blythe, please put your hands into Lady Fiona’s womb again.”
Fiona: “Oh let’s not. Aren’t we done yet? I’m done. Let’s be done, everyone.” Lady Fiona protests wanly with a half hearted smile.
But her father-in-law Cameron and little Lady Blythe ignore Lady Fiona. And everyone in the room leans in, astonished to consider what might be happening next.
Blythe: “I feel more ears!” Lady Blythe chirps gleefully.
Two babies! Although Lady Blythe’s cat had a litter of kittens last week, most larger animals only have one baby at a time–like people, that is, except for Lady Fiona.
Then rapidly, Lord Baird’s and Lady Fiona’s daughter is born–and she is much smaller than her big brother. But she cries dutifully once, then she goes contentedly back to sleep after her birthing trials.
Fiona: “My little girl!” Lady Fiona gushes, eager to hold her baby girl in her arms.
Cameron and Thistle help Lady Fiona to tidy up by giving her a sponge bath to refresh herself as the maids put fresh linens on the bed before Lady Fiona is settled back into bed. Then they hand Lady Fiona her baby daughter whom she gazes upon with astonished wonder.
Carrying his now cleaned up baby boy in his arms, Lord Baird saunters over to his wife in the bed and leans down and lovingly kisses her forehead.
Baird: “My love! We have two childrrren!” Lord Baird’s sense of manly pride is enhanced by this proof of his virility. Of course, his wife Lady Fiona also had something to do with the births. “My son and heir and you have your little gerril.” Lord Baird smiles broadly. Lady Fiona smiles adoringly up at her husband. The rest of the family smiles in joy and in relief.
Fiona: “Lovely! Because I am done with giving birth! Never again!” Lady Fiona declares emphatically. Famous last words.
And so, Lady Fiona and Lord Baird welcome their twins to the world on November 28, 1851–Lord William Charles Ogilvy and Lady Agnes Diana Ogilvy. And the extended Ogilvy-Thornton clan has increased by three today–when you include Hannah’s and Cameron’s son Lord Gavin Victor Ogilvy. Now if only John and Margaret could also one day have a son and heir themselves.
To be continued with Chapter 72
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 71 References, July 18 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #605)
1) “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29
2) Image of baby feet is a stock photo from MS Office Clip Art.