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Water ballet

It is around 3am when I receive a wake-up call. In the screen of my phone, I see the name of my fellow practice in town. I take a deep breath. After all, she's not calling at this time of day to ask if I fancy coffee. 'I'm standing double with a delivery can you help me?' she asks cautiously. Outside, I hear the inclement autumn wind beating against the windows and feel the warmth my bed gives me. 'Sure I want to help you,' I say as kindly as I can. 'Where can I go?'

Twenty minutes later, I step into a house of an unknown couple. 'I'm your new best friend,' I say to the man who opens the door for me. He laughs and shows me the way to the kitchen. 'She wants to give birth here you know,' he says over his shoulder. I nod and inspect the room. The large kitchen offers enough space for a birthing tub, single bed and a dining table conveniently pressed against the wall. On the countertop is an ornate bowl with Christmas lights in it. Her husband is busy disconnecting the hose from the tap, which was connected to the befall bath. After a few minutes, he sits back on the chair next to his wife and raises his legs in a cross-legged position.

'I think you are hard at work,' I say to the lady in the bed and smile. I get a half smile back and she nods her head towards the delivery bath. 'I'm not going in there with you, though. I can't find a position in that bath. I'm fine on this bed!' After washing my hands, I sit down next to her on the bed. I examine her carefully. After the abdominal examination, I perform an internal examination. 'You are already 9 cm dilated, you are going very fast,' I tell her. 'Do you already have a pressing sensation during a contraction?' I ask.

At that moment, I feel my socks getting wet and barely hear her reply. I look at my feet to understand what I am standing in and then I see that the entire kitchen is under water! Looking around, searching for the cause, I see that the hose is off the tap but on the other side is still in the bath. Due to the pressure differential, the water runs back into the hose to the floor where the other end of the hose is.

'Quickly get that hose out of that tub,' I shout to the man. At that moment, he sees what I see and stands up startled and looks at his own wet socks. 'Oh how stupid of me,' he shouts as he fiddles with the hose. Madam, meanwhile, has an audible slight urge to push. I ask the man for his biggest pile of towels and meanwhile take off my socks. With my feet, I sweep the towels across the floor around the bed, which in turn immediately fill themselves with bathwater. As I sigh, I give instructions to madam, meanwhile looking for the number of the maternity bureau in my phone to ask for assistance from the maternity service.

'Someone is coming your way now,' the operator tells me. I thank her and hang up. Quickly, the man and I mop the floor with towels. Then I grab my things from my relief bag as fast as I can, while the man provides boiling water for the jugs, to warm hydrophilic nappies and baby clothes. In a few minutes, kitchen is dry, the maternity nurse is on her way and all my things are ready. Two pairs of wet socks hang mournfully over the stove by the window. Madam no longer holds back the urge to push and I make her push with me. After an hour of hard work, a healthy baby girl is born. After everything is completed, I call the colleague from the other practice to inform her of the delivery. It turns out the two children were born 10 minutes apart. Later, I send her a delivery report over email so she can enter it into their own system herself.

Just before shift change, I come home, brew a cup of coffee and prepare a hot oatmeal breakfast while waiting for my own colleague to take over my shift. 'Summer shower?" she asks smiling as she walks in, nodding at my bare feet in my trainers.

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