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Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
  1. Andrea Trombetta
  1. IRCSS Burlo Garofolo, Universita degli Studi di Trieste, Trieste, Italy
  1. Correspondence to Dr Andrea Trombetta, IRCSS Burlo Garofolo, Universita degli Studi di Trieste, 34137 Trieste, Italy; andreamer91{at}

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It is 04:00. The phone rings: the delivery room announces that 25-week preterm is about to be born from unstoppable caesarean labour; we will probably have to intubate him.

They do not have time to say anything else; I start running.

It is a recurring nightmare of a neonatologist’s nights, being alone to manage a preterm delivery. Imagine then that he is a 29-year-old resident who works in a neonatal intensive care unit, the place where he always wanted to be, and who is about to manage a problematic pregnancy of two little preterm twins, sons of a gynaecologist resident.

Imagine there is a father outside the delivery room. Immerse yourself in this father, who, on the other side of the receiver, with a heart beating and quivering with expectation, in the touching attempt to hold back the fleeting moment a little longer, wishes that everything goes well.

The dream fades, and the only audible sound is the low hum of the intensive care unit alarms, the place I love. It is the unconquerable temple and, at the same time, the arena where everyday silent battles are fought in the name of life, where the soul is broken down into thousand doubtful arabesques, where hesitation is not allowed.

The day I learnt that I would be a father, it was spring and there was a light breeze: my partner took me to the Molo Audace: literally the pier of …

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  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.