1. THE MIRACLE BABY
Every birth we see on Call the Midwife tugs on our tear ducts. But the story of Terence and Abigail Bissette, which went rapidly from hope to tragedy to joyous miracle, was enough to give us emotional whiplash. The couple, who came from the West Indies, were looking forward to the birth of their first baby. Mum-to-be Abigail was so excited, she'd already started knitting garments for the bun that was still in the oven.
But then came the shocker. Despite all signs to the contrary, despite the midwives apparently hearing a heartbeat, it turned out her child had actually died in the womb. After the poor thing was taken out, it was time for the grim delivery of the placenta - and that's when the miracle happened. Another, LIVING baby was delivered. Abigail had been carrying twins, and it was this sibling's heartbeat which had been heard. A bittersweet ending, made all the more poignant when daddy Terence remarked that his new child was "crying for two".
2. TOMMY AND GERT
Sweet old couples are adorable, but that word doesn't quite do justice to the sheer sweetness of Tommy and Gert. This elderly pair were everything to each other, quite literally. Poor Tommy was bedridden, suffering from sores due to his inability to move anywhere, and Gert was his dutiful, devoted carer. It was a matter of pride as well as love, with Gert even refusing to be helped by the council because she regarded tending to Tommy as her precious role in life.
So it was such a blow when a lesion was discovered on her breast, and cancer was diagnosed. Now, after all these years, Gert was forced to put her own health before her husband's, and take time away from his bedside to undergo surgery. Her sheer selflessness about it was almost too lovely to watch. And just in case that wasn't enough, we had Tommy making us blub like babies when he told her: "We live for one another, Gert. Be with me as long as you can, please."
3. THE NEGLECTED SIBLINGS
Imagine a young lad, grubby and downtrodden and penniless, pushing his infant sister in a baby carriage almost too big for him to handle, scrounging for milk tokens. That was the sight that broke Trixie Franklin's heart, and encouraged the fun-loving nurse to show her serious side by taking the lad and his siblings (there were two others, in an equally neglected state) under her wing.
The whole situation was both touching and agonising, especially when the poor kids were finally given a much-deserved pampering courtesy of Trixie. The sight of the siblings taking such innocent pleasure in hot baths and hearty grub was like a soothing balm after the trauma we'd just seen ("I don't get hungry, but my sisters will cry," the lad had explained after stealing some food). A happy ending? Not quite - it transpired they were later shipped off to Australia, to face greater hardships under the now-notorious Migrant Children's Programme. Yet another heartbreak, then.
4. ALEC'S DEATH
Jenny and Alec were one of the great love stories of the series. But who could have foretold how suddenly and tragically it would end? And to think it was all indirectly due to Alec's romantic offer of a few days together in Brighton. Overjoyed at first, Jenny then got it into her head that Alec was only after a "dirty weekend" and angrily called the whole thing off. Moments later, Alec suffered a fall at work, and was rushed to hospital.
After hearing that Alec would have to lose his leg, a distraught Jenny made things up with him, and they seemed to cherish their relationship in a new way. Then... just when all seemed to be back on track, Alec took a shocking turn for the worse and died. The worst part? Jenny having to go Alec's home, and seeing the packed luggage and hotel reservations - for a holiday that would now never take place.
5. THE MOTHER WHO LEARNED TO LOVE
A parent's love should be unconditional from birth, but sometimes a medical trauma can stop tender emotions in their tracks. That's what Douglas and Ruby Roberts had to deal with when their baby was born with spina bifida. Ruby was inconsolable, bitter and overwhelmed, to the point of distancing herself from the whole sorry situation. It was so gruelling to see her unable to even hold her baby and show it the love she had deep within her.
"If I held him, I think I might die with the sadness," she said. And then the heartbreaking question, "Why did they save him?" The situation prompted father Douglas to take a startling gamble: he made out that they would put the child into professional care, and this was what finally snapped Ruby out of her reverie, and caused the maternal instincts to come pouring out. "He's not going anywhere," Douglas said as Ruby finally cuddled their child. "He's staying here."