A special delivery: P.E.I. woman gives birth in Jeep on Christmas Day

·3 min read

Santa wasn't the only one making a delivery in the early morning hours on Christmas Day.

A Jeep on the side of the road proved as good as a manger for one P.E.I. couple.

Natasha Constable and her partner Nathan Gallant planned on opening presents with their sons on Christmas morning — but those plans quickly changed.

Constable woke up for a moment around 5 a.m. with lower back pain.

"I just thought it was cramping," she said from her hospital bed on Monday. "I did not think it was labour at all. It was the last thing on my mind."

She got out of bed around 6:30 a.m. and noticed she was having contractions. At 7:15 a.m. the couple called the labour and delivery line.

"They just said to wait til the contractions are closer and stronger," Constable said she was told by the operator.

Submitted by Natasha Constable
Submitted by Natasha Constable

Constable decided to try to relax and enjoy Christmas — but that was short lived. She went to the bathroom and quickly realized she was in labour.

Constable and Gallant left the kids with their grandparents and headed for the family Jeep. Constable lives on Stead Road in the community of Wheatly River, which is about 30 minutes from Charlottetown. Before the couple could reach the end of the road she asked Gallant to call an ambulance because she wouldn't make it to the hospital.

"I could tell she was going to be here any minute," she said. "We pulled over on the side of the road and I kind of screamed some from what I can remember…I looked at him and was like, 'she's effin here.'"

It still feels so surreal. Like, it doesn't feel like it actually happened. - Natasha Constable

Constable started to pull her pants down while she was in the passenger seat of the Jeep. She said she could see the baby.

The birth was quick. One contraction and about three pushes and Ariel Victoria Gallant was here, Constable said.

Gallant helped get the baby out of her and up onto her chest, she said.

Natasha Constable
Natasha Constable

Gallant was on the phone with a 911 operator who instructed him to rip off his shoelace to tie off the umbilical cord.

"We happened to have a sheet in the trunk and we wrapped her and I up in that and waited for the ambulance," she said. "I was cleaning her face, like, her mouth and her nose off and trying to make sure she was breathing because she wasn't crying."

Constable tried not to panic and she checked her newborn daughter's breathing by putting her hand on her chest lightly and could feel "little breaths" out of her mouth.

"It still feels so surreal. Like, it doesn't feel like it actually happened," she said.

A paramedic showed up 10 minutes after the birth and helped the couple until the ambulance arrived about 10 minutes later, Constable said.

Constable and her new daughter are now at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown.

"She's healthy, she weighed six pounds, seven ounces, 18-inches long. She is doing great. She has a little bit of jaundice we're working on that right now," Constable said.

She hopes she and the baby can get home in the next few days.

Excited brothers

The two boys were happy to meet their sister in hospital on Boxing Day, Constable said.

"They were looking at her little fingers and her little toes."

The plan is to cuddle into bed with her kids and husband and watch a movie and "enjoy some time together," when she gets back home.

"I'm probably going to cry when I get home," she said.

Her daughter wasn't supposed to be due until Jan. 16. Constable said people should have a bag in the car with clean blankets and essentials in case labour starts unexpectedly.

She said she recommends avoiding giving birth in a vehicle if at all possible.

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