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Birth Summary in English by A.J. Cronin
Birth by A.J. Cronin About the Author
|Author Name||A.J. Cronin|
|Born||19 July 1896, Cardross, United Kingdom|
|Died||6 January 1981, Montreux, Switzerland|
|Full Name||Archibald Joseph Cronin|
|Movies and TV shows||Citadel, The Stars Look Down|
|Awards||National Book Award for Fiction|
Birth Summary in English
Andrew reached Bryngower at almost midnight. Joe Morgan was waiting for him, walking up and down, looking visibly disturbed, but at the sight of Andrew his face showed his relief. He wanted the doctor to accompany him home, as his wife was about to deliver their first child. Andrew put away his personal thoughts, got his bag and accompanied him to his place, Number 12 Blaina Terrace. Andrew now felt dull and lacking in energy. He did not know that this night would be unusual and would affect his entire future in Blaenelly.
They reached the door of Number 12 and Joe did not go in but told Andrew, he was confident that he would do them good. Andrew went up a narrow stairway and reached a poorly furnished small bedroom that was lit only by an oil lamp. He saw Mrs Morgan’s mother, a tall woman of nearly seventy, and the stout, elderly midwife waiting besides Mrs Morgan. Mrs Morgan’s mother offered to make him a cup of tea. He realised that she was afraid of him leaving the case, saying he would return later. He assured her that he would not run away.
Down in the kitchen he drank the tea. Though he was stressed, he realised the patient would demand all his attention. He decided to remain until everything was over. He went to the bedroom, recorded the progress and once more sat by the kitchen fire. It was a still night. The only sound that he could hear was the crackle of ember in the fireplace, the slow tick-tock of the wall clock and Morgan’s footsteps as he moved to and fro in the street outside. Mrs Morgan’s mother sat opposite him quiet and still. Her eyes, extraordinarily alive and wise, looked inquiring.
He was confused and thought about the depressing incident that he had seen at the station in Cardiff. He thought of Bramwell, who was foolishly loyal to a woman who deceived him and of Edward Page, tied to the quarrelsome Blodwen, and of Denny, living unhappily, separately from his wife. He believed that all these marriages were miserable let-downs. He wished to think of marriage as a peaceful state in which he would be happy with Christine. There was a conflict between his mind that doubted and his heart that was overflowing with emotion. This made him feel resentful and confused. He was thinking of this, when Mrs Morgan’s mother addressed him. She was thinking of her daughter, Susan Morgan. She said that Susan did not want to be given chloroform if it would harm the baby. She was really looking forward to having this baby. In fact, all of them were. Andrew assured her that it would not do any harm.
At half-past three, the nurse called for him. He went up to the bedroom and understood that it was time to begin his work. After an hour’s difficult struggle, towards the early hours of the morning, the child was bom lifeless. Andrew was horrified. He had promised them that all would be well. His face, heated with his own effort suddenly seemed to grow cold. He was indecisive, to save the child, or the mother who was in a hopeless state. There was no time to think. He had to make a quick decision. Impulsively, he gave the child to the nurse and turned his concentration towards Susan Morgan who lay collapsed and almost pulse-less. In an instant, he broke a glass ampule and injected the medicine. He struggled to restore the lifeless woman and after a few minutes of intense effort, her heartbeat became steady. Ensuring that she was safe, he quickly turned his attention to the child.
The midwife had placed it beneath the bed. Andrew swiftly knelt down and pulled out the child. It was a perfectly formed boy. The lifeless body was warm and white. The umbilical cord lay like a broken stem. He inferred that this unconscious condition was caused by the lack of oxygen and excess of carbon dioxide in the blood.
He shouted in urgency for hot water, cold water, and basins. He laid the child upon a blanket and attempted to artificially induce respiration. The nurse came with the basins, the ewer, and the big iron kettle. He poured cold water into one basin and warm water into the other. Then, with quick movements, he hurried the child from one basin to the other. This continued for fifteen minutes. Andrew was panting and his eyes were blinding with sweat.
But the child did not breathe. He felt utterly dejected. The midwife and the old woman were watching him with utter attentiveness. He remembered the old woman’s longing for a grandchild, and her daughter’s longing for this child. But the situation was grim, and efforts futile.
The floor was in a state of mess. As Andrew stumbled over a sopping towel, the midwife cried that the baby was a stillborn. But Andrew did not pay attention to her. He continued his efforts for half an hour. In his last resort, he rubbed the child with a rough towel, crushing and releasing the little chest with both his hands, trying to get breath into that limp body.
Then miraculously, the tiny chest began heaving. Andrew felt giddy with the sense of life springing beneath his fingers; it almost made him faint. He intensified his efforts till they heard the child’s cry. The nurse sobbed hysterically as Andrew handed her the child. He felt weak and dazed. The room was in a state of mess and the mother lay still on the bed, still not out of the effect of the anaesthetic. The old woman still stood against the wall with her hands together and her lips moving in silent prayer.
Andrew went downstairs, took a long drink of water and as he stepped out he found Joe standing on the pavement with an anxious, eager face. Andrew told him that both were well.
It was nearly five o’clock and a few miners were already in the streets moving out after their first of the night shift. Andrew walked with them, tired, but eternally relieved at having “done something real at last.”
Birth Summary Questions and Answers
Why was Joe Morgan waiting for Andrew?
Joe Morgan and his wife had been married nearly twenty years and were expecting their first child. At nearly midnight, Joe was worried and walked up and down, waiting for Andrew to reach Bryngower.
“Andrew now felt dull and listless.” Give two reasons.
On Joe Morgan’s call, Andrew, along with Joe, set out for Joe’s house. The night air was cool and deep with quiet mystery but Andrew felt dull and listless because it was past midnight and he was reflecting about his own relationship with Christine, the girl he loved.
What did Andrew notice as he entered Joe’s house?
As Andrew entered the door of Number 12, he saw a narrow stair which led up to a small bedroom, clean but poorly furnished, and lit only by an oil lamp. Here, Mrs Morgan’s mother, a tall, grey-haired woman of nearly seventy, and a stout, elderly midwife waited beside the patient.
What was the old woman’s fear? How did Andrew reassure her?
When the old woman returned with a cup of tea, Andrew smiled faintly. He noticed the old woman, her wisdom in experience, and realized that there had been a period of waiting.
She was afraid he would leave the case, saying he would return later. But he assured her that he would not run away.
What were the only sounds that Andrew heard in the thick of the night?
As Andrew sat by the kitchen fire, he noticed that it was a still night. The only sound that he could hear was the crackle of embers in the fireplace, the slow tick-tock of the wall clock and Morgan’s footsteps as he moved to and fro in the street outside.
What was weighing on Andrew’s mind as he waited with the patient?
Andrew’s thoughts were heavy and muddled. The episode he had witnessed at Cardiff station still gripped him and made him gloomy. He thought of Bramwell, foolishly loyal to a woman who deceived him. He thought of Edward Page, tied to the shrewish Blodwen and of Denny, living unhappily, apart from his wife.
Why does the writer say that the old woman’s ‘meditation had pursued a different course’?
While Andrew was thinking about the futility of marriage and relationships, the old woman was thinking about her daughter. She was concerned about both the mother and the child. She said that her daughter,
Susan, did not want chloroform if it would harm the baby. She really looked forward to having the child.
What dilemma was Andrew caught in? How did he resolve it?
After an hour-long struggle, the child was bom lifeless and the mother was in a critical state. Andrew was tom between his desire to attempt to save the child, and his obligation towards the mother. He overcame the dilemma, instinctively; he gave the child to the nurse and turned his attention to Susan Morgan.
How did he revive the mother?
To revive Susan Morgan, who lay collapsed and almost pulse-less, Andrew smashed a glass ampule, instantly, and injected the medicine. Then he flung down the hypodermic syringe and worked, ceaselessly, to revive the almost lifeless woman. After a few minutes of intense effort, her heart strengthened and she was safe.
What did Andrew think was wrong with the child? What did he do?
Andrew saw the child was a perfectly formed boy. The head lolled on a thin neck and the limbs seemed boneless. He knew that the whiteness meant asphyxia pallida. He thought of the treatment, he remembered being used at the Samaritan. He applied the same to the stillborn child.