Christina Kniffin wasn’t planning to give birth in her bathtub.
But that’s what happened last Wednesday night when her third child was born at her home with the help of ambulance service personnel and McMinnville firefighters.
Giving birth at home wasn’t the plan. Christina just left the hospital about an hour earlier after being told she had only dilated to 4 centimeters and wasn’t ready to have the baby. She was resting on her sofa when her contractions got so painful she went to the bathroom.
That’s where her daughter, Trinity Rene Parker, came into the world on Wednesday, June 12, at 11:12 p.m.
“The pain was so intense, but it didn’t hurt as bad when I started pushing,” said Christina. “I had one big push and I felt her head come out. I pushed again and I felt her shoulders. I pushed again and there she was.”
It was a tense situation with father Umar Parker calling 911 and saying, “I was definitely scared.”
Christina’s labor screams were heard throughout her apartment complex and a crowd began to gather when it became apparent she was going to give birth right there at home.
“For it to be an unexpected home birth, it couldn’t have gone any better,” said ambulance service employee Jason Rice, who noted home births are a rarity.
Will Rose was one of two firefighters on the scene, along with three ambulance service workers. Rose noted the five have a combined 100 years of first-responder experience and none of them had ever been part of delivering a baby.
Rice was by her side in the bathroom and was as glad as anyone when Trinity was born.
“She had a death grip on my hand,” he said. “I told her, ‘Thank you for letting my hand go.’”
Ambulance service workers say pregnancy calls are somewhat common, but since childbirth is usually a drawn-out process it’s normally not a problem to make it to the hospital.
“Our philosophy is tell the mother to hold it in and we provide high-flow diesel,” joked Rice.
A quick trip to the hospital was the plan for Christina too, but Trinity had other ideas.
“They had gone down to get the stretcher so we could load her up,” said Rice. “Another few minutes and she would have had the baby on a stretcher in the breezeway.”
Also on the scene were EMS workers Bobby Hodges and Curtis Triplett, and firefighter Caleb Barnes.
“We see the other side so much, it’s welcome relief to get to see this,” said Barnes. “This is a great story.”
Christina admits she was surprised how quickly Trinity was born. She was in labor with her first child for 18 hours. Her first two children were both born at River Park Hospital.
For precautionary measures, Christina and Trinity were taken to the hospital immediately following birth and were monitored for a day to ensure there were no complications. Trinity officially weighed 6 pounds, 8 ounces and was 19 inches long.
“She’s doing great,” said Christina. “She started breastfeeding on the way to the hospital.”
Although they don’t use the skill much, firefighters and ambulance service personnel are fully trained in child birth. Rice said as soon as he cleaned out Trinity’s airway, she started crying. He then wrapped her up because it’s important for newborns to stay warm.