When Christine sent me a text at 5pm telling me she was having intermittent cramps, I was a bit shocked, but I certainly shouldn't have been.
This wouldn't be the first time I would be her doula and her babies stereotypically come early and fast. There wasn't going to be anything different this time either.
My family and I went to dinner and when we got back, I went right to bed. Christine touched base around 8pm that her cramping had turned into intermittent contractions , but they were nor close together or intense. We both decided to try to get some sleep, knowing that things could quite possibly pick up.
At 10pm I checked in again and she said they were coming inconsistently, even having a few that were 11 minutes apart. I warned her that 3rd babies can sometimes be tricksters and to not doubt that she was close to active labor. She confirmed she was still in bed resting and that the contractions hadn't gotten any more intense.
At 10:45pm things really picked up and she was feeling their intensity and they began coming consistently at 6 minutes apart. I decided to head her way as I lived about an hour from the birth center where she would be birthing this time. Christine didn't seem concerned and I think thought maybe I was coming too early even.
We decided she should let her midwives know and the midwives asked her to head into the birth center where she would be having her baby this time, based on the speed of her last baby, When we talked on the phone I told her I would see her in 45 minutes or so and she was delightfully cheerful and excited.
I arrived 7 minutes after Christine did, at 12:06am. I found her laboring in the tub and she was happy to see me. We chatted in between contractions and I could tell this baby was well on it's way. She was still laughing and sharing a story about how she thought she would drive herself around just a couple of hours earlier and how her husband Michael had encouraged her not to.
Christine mentioned that she hoped this wouldn't last forever and the contractions began to come every 2 minutes and ramped up in their intensity. I suggested that she was probably just minutes away and she said, "That would be lovely."
Christine made a noise unlike the previous ones and I crouched down beside the tub, "You're almost through. Just a few more and you'll get to meet your baby." I whispered. Michael held her hands tightly and reiterated my words.
The midwife entered the room and began to introduce the nurse whom had just arrived.
"It's coming!" Christine yelled in a shaky voice.
Everyone came down to the tub and in two pushes, Christine brought Constantina earth side with ease at 12:33am on November 3, 2019, less than two hours after consistent contractions had began.
Within just a few minutes they were tucked cozily into the bed at the birth center and her placenta arrived. Christine was back to being cheerful and happy. She cuddled her 3rd little girl and we all discussed how she had her own look that wasn't much like her sisters.
They ogled her and discussed all of her little features, discussed her fingernails and soft skin. I assisted to get her latched and they quickly found a comfortable ease with that as well.
While sometimes precipitous birth is far much more terrifying than most would expect, this is one example (and maybe the only ones I've experienced as a doula) that aren't full of fear and worry, but full of joy.
Thank you Christine and Michael for having me as part of this journey once again. It is always a pleasure to witness your strength and power in the birth space.