"Quick, my baby is coming!"
"Is the baby coming now?"
A rapid response unit is dispatched from the nearest ambulance station, its driver preparing in his mind to add another delivery to his tally. Arriving no more than three minutes later, and rushing with multiple items to the front door, I am met by the lady in question and stupidly, ask the obvious.
"Is the ambulance for you?"
"Yes! Quick! The baby is coming."
The young lady in question is in no distress, and is having no contractions.
"When's the baby due?"
The calls to ambulance control are numbered, resetting to call number 1 at midnight. This is call number 3. The call start time is only a few seconds after the witching hour.
"I understand that you think the baby is coming now, but why do you think that? Are you having contractions? Have your waters broken? Do you feel like you need to push?"
"I don't understand what you're asking me. Talk to him. I just need to get to the hospital!"
"Is he your partner?"
"No. He's my babyfather." Babyfather. I never get used to hearing that.
He doesn't utter a word, just hands over the yellow book, it's corners dog-eared and cover stained, and the expected delivery date hand-written in the top corner. He points repeatedly to the date as he shoves the book into my hands. Through gritted teeth and a look of disdain he mutters the only words he would say.
"The book says it's today, so it's today. Now just take her to the damn hospital."
"Is this your first baby?"
"Mine, yes. Him, not. He's got four. Well, will have today."
"You do realise that just because the due date is today, doesn't automatically mean that that's when the baby will be born? It's just an estimated due date!"
"Oh. But that's why I waited 'til midnight to call!"
"As it happens, most babies aren't born on their due date at all. You need to go into labour first. You know, contractions and stuff."
"Oh. But it's the due date. So can you take me to the hospital?"