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Chaos with lasagne

She is over 40 weeks pregnant when a familiar pregnant woman calls me with contractions. 'It's started I think,' she says softly on the phone. She sounds focused on the phone. I don't hear her sigh but know this woman can handle her contractions very calmly. 'Do you already have babysitters for the other children?' I ask in the meantime. She replies that she has already called her parents and they are on their way. I promise to come soon. 

Just under 15 minutes later, I am with them in the living room. The house is neatly tidy and there are three children watching a movie on the sofa with popcorn. 'Sweet tooth,' he says to me with a wink. The children pay no attention to who comes in and watch the Pokémon characters on the television intently. Meanwhile, his wife walks around restlessly, catching the contractions well. 

Since it's not her first child and I expect it to be quick, I call the maternity assistant ahead of time and get all my things ready in their bedroom. In the baby's room I find two hot water bottles and walk downstairs to fill them, to warm cloths and clothes. Through the kitchen window I see her parents and the maternity assistant arrive. 

"We came as fast as we could!" the grandmother says when I let them in. The children jump off the sofa and fall into their grandparents' arms. A few more things are quickly packed and then the mob heads out the door. 

Sir stands restlessly by the fridge when I ask if I can do something for him. He talks calmly but looks nervous. Then he opens the fridge door, takes out a stuffed baking dish and pushes it into the already preheated oven and turns the timer to 50 minutes. 'Well it's almost six o'clock and I'm incredibly hungry!' he says. 

With filled jars, I walk back upstairs. Madam walks a few more laps around the bed and then gets down on her hands and knees next to the bed. 'Pressure!', she says quickly between contractions. 'Do you feel pressure or should I push on the back during a contraction?', I ask her. She quickly points to her lower back and sighs away another contraction. I massage her back under pressure.

Meanwhile, I slide the white rug away from the bed and ask the maternity nurse to put it in another room. The man stands next to me. The birthing woman no longer answers a question from him. He obviously wants to help her. 'Will you take over from me?", I ask her husband. He nods and takes me over. At the next contraction, she pushes him away without using words and grabs my hand and puts it on her back. The husband looks at me in amazement. 'I push pretty hard and back pressure is nice,' I quickly explain. 'Keep encouraging her, she's going to appreciate that,' I say. 

'Busy!" she says again. I ask again if she means her back but get no answer. I see her belly making a rippling motion and hear that she is pushing. Quickly I put on my gloves. 'The birthing stool is behind you, sit on it,' I say. The woman remains on her hands and knees, sighing away the push contractions with increasing difficulty. 'Handling her child herself, together with her husband and giving birth on the birthing stool,' the birth plan said. The husband looks at me and I shrug. 'She will give birth on her own,' I say. 'It's ready,' I point to the stool.  

Less than five minutes later, she squeezes along with the contraction. Her waters break at that moment. The mat I had shoved under her knees, as a precaution for this moment, is clearly inadequate for the large volume of amniotic fluid that follows. Sir and I stand beside her with sodden socks. 

'He's coming!" woman shouts out. Sir dives down to see what is happening. He blocks my view at that moment. 'Do you still want to get on the stool?' he asks between her legs. Still on her knees beside the bed, she does not answer. 

Sir comes up again and looks at me. 'I see a head,' he says with big eyes. I quickly look between her legs and see the baby's face. I wait for the head to turn, develop the little body and gently push the baby between her legs towards Madam so she can handle it herself. She sees her baby between her legs, which at that moment gives its first cry, and lets herself fall backwards against the bar stool to recover. I am still holding the baby and have to move towards the woman because the umbilical cord is still attached to her.

I look at the man fleetingly and say: 'I need your help to get her on the bed'. He nods and bends sight over his wife. I push the baby into her hands and instruct the man to grab one of her arms and lift her up under her armpit.

I do the same on the other side, but notice that I also push the baby against her with one hand so that it stays firmly in its mother's arms. At that moment, I choose the woman and her baby and leave the floor for what it is. We hoist her up when at that moment, without notice, the placenta is also born. With a dull bang, the placenta falls to the floor. The husband grabs both his wife's armpits, I keep one hand on the baby and with the other I quickly pick up the placenta. The husband puts his wife on the bed and crawls next to them. The mother has clearly regained her senses and deftly takes care of her newborn baby. I place the placenta between her legs. Then I look around me...

The entire floor on the side of the bed where I am standing is smeared with amniotic fluid, mucus and blood. Some of it is in my socks, on my skirt and on my arms. I look at the maternity nurse who, in turn, looks at me from the floor. 'Are you going well?' she says, smiling. 'At least the dress is clean!', I joke back, laughing. 

Together, we clean the floor. I tie a button in my skirt and take off my socks. 'I was so prepared with my birthing stool for her delivery plan,' I say to the man, smiling, and thank him for his help. 'I was glad I could do something,' he says. At that moment, an alarm goes off and we all look at each other. 

'Oh, that's my preparation!' the man says quickly. 'The lasagne is ready!'

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