Katie Fundalinski knew that if her first pregnancy was any indication, delivering her second child was going to be fast.
She never expected it would happen with complete strangers — now friends — while in the back of an ambulance that was screaming down the road on the way to the hospital.
On Wednesday, EMTs from University of Colorado Health and crews from Windsor Severance Fire Rescue reunited with Katie and Adeline, the baby they delivered en route to Medical Center of the Rockies on Aug. 22.
This encounter at the Fundalinksi’s Windsor home, though, was a little more relaxed. Toting gifts for mom, baby and Katie’s 17-month old son Ethan, emergency workers recounted the day everyone agreed changed their lives forever.
Katie, a nurse practitioner at Medical Center of the Rockies, and her husband, Justin, moved to Windsor in April with Ethan. As the couple prepared for their new baby, they looked back on Ethan’s birth for a little indication of how things might go. After all, he was born in just three hours, so they were ready for a quick birth.
When her water broke while she was at home with her mom — her husband was at work in Fort Collins — she knew she needed to get to the hospital as soon as possible. If only she knew just how quickly things would go from there.
“I kept thinking, ‘this is gonna happen fast. This is gonna happen fast,’” she said.
And it did.
With her mom, they drove and made it “about a half mile” down the road before the contractions got bad enough to call 911. But then they eased, and she canceled the EMTs, who were listening to the chatter on their radios.
Then she realized once and for all she needed help and called again for an ambulance. “It’s kind of a blur from there,” she said.
The ambulance arrived almost immediately. Rob Chapin and Amanda Barlow had just pulled the ambulance into Windsor for coverage when they got the call about a woman in labor on the side of the road. Neither had ever delivered a baby — it’s rare for things to happen that quickly.
After Katie’s roadside pick up, Amanda drove toward the hospital while Rob — whose calm demeanor was praised Wednesday — worked mostly at keeping Katie calm, at least as much was possible in the back of an ambulance that was barrelling toward the hospital.
“You made it pretty easy for me.” Rob laughed as he turned to Katie. “You did all the hard work.”
The next things Amanda heard from the driver’s seat that day was a healthy cry — under Interstate 25.
“It was quite the experience,” she said.
Katie remembers a lot about that morning. She remembers going out for her run — or as she put it, a “waddle” — and being thankful contractions didn’t start then. She remembers the EMTs’ calm faces and reassurance despite the hectic circumstances from the moment they met her and her mother on the side of the road all the way to the hospital. They even stuck around afterward to answer questions and reflect on what had happened.
But among the most memorable moments from that day, Katie said, is when the ambulance arrived at the hospital. As she was being wheeled out of the ambulance, she saw her husband, who she called at his Fort Collins work the minute her water broke, standing by the door with a crew of medical professionals — all eager to help and all surprised the delivery had already happened.
He got off easy, she joked, remembering seeing tears of joy streaming down his face.
“It was great.”