Baby Brooks just couldn’t wait.
Four days from her child’s due date, Haley Christiansen decided to treat herself to a maternity massage at the Solei Day Spa and Boutique in Lakeland Hills.
What she didn’t expect in her first visit to the spa was that such pampering would help induce the birth of a healthy boy.
Twenty minutes into her session with massage therapist Jessica Coker on Jan. 23, Christiansen’s water broke.
“I didn’t feel like I was in trouble,” Christiansen recalled. “At the time, I didn’t think we were in a hurry to get to the hospital (St. Elizabeth in Enumclaw). It was very surprising when everything advanced so quickly. … ”
So quickly that the baby had to be delivered – then and there – in the spa’s sanctuary, on the floor of a changing room.
One moment, spa staff was in the middle of a shift change, working with clients and monitoring appointments on phones and computers, the next moment they were grabbing towels and asking what to do next.
“We were freaking out,” said Amanda Clift, the spa’s marketing manager. “Is she doing (the delivery) here? … The whole team came together.”
Spa manager Brittney Rossich stepped in. A licensed doula, Rossich had already helped deliver 16 babies, mostly at suitably-equipped birthing centers, in her three years as a birth support specialist.
One look into Christiansen’s eyes told Rossich all she needed to know.
“She really didn’t want to have the baby here … but she was raring to deliver,” Rossich said.
East Pierce County Fire & Rescue EMTs arrived just in time to help deliver the baby. Paramedics methodically untangled the umbilical cord, which was wrapped around the boy’s neck, so that Brett Christiansen, who had just rushed in from the family’s Bonney Lake home, could cut the cord and share the special moment with his wife.
At 7 pounds, 8 ounces and stretching 21 inches long, Brooks Edwin Christiansen entered the world at 2:50 p.m. that Wednesday. He joins a sister, Jane.
“Baby is doing fine. We’re settling in as a family of four,” said Brett Christiansen, a Kirkland firefighter, back home after mom and son’s short stay in the hospital.
The family was thankful for the professional response of paramedics and the level-headed actions of spa staff.
“I’ll remember the staff being so amazing and accommodating,” Haley Christiansen said. “I felt like I was taking up all their space. I was so worried about everyone else in the area versus myself, but they did a really great job in assuring me that I was right where I needed to be and that I wasn’t an inconvenience to anyone.
“We were very lucky that we were where we were,” she said. “The fire department arrived in time. The guys from East Pierce were fantastic as well.”
Jenni Shires, spa owner, had been joking with the mother earlier, suggesting that “maybe you’ll have your baby here.”
“Honestly, it was a scary situation for her, being in a place … and being surrounded by people she didn’t know,” Shires said. “But she handled it amazing.”
As for Shires’ crew, it was an adventure they will not soon forget.
“It was the loudest, strongest baby cry … we could hear it through this closed door,” Clift said of the birth. “Then there was this hush over the front office. And then tears. Everybody starting crying. It was so beautiful.”