Hazel Grace – A Birth Story

16 Aug

My sweet Hazel arrived in the world with a bang, on the night of a full moon.  Before we get to all that, I should begin at the beginning, which is around two weeks before I gave birth.  I was having a LOT of Braxton Hicks contractions leading up to Hazel’s arrival.  Not once, but twice, I alerted my troops (aka Mom & Dad) that the time was “definitely nigh!” and they needed to drive the one hour distance from their house to mine and be on standby to watch my sous chef.  My sous chef was going through a particularly charming stage wherein she was refusing all baths and throwing herself backwards off the couch, so I needed people I could trust.  Twice my parents arrived, expectant grins on their faces, only to be met by yours truly who had to  sheepishly report that the contractions had fizzled and I would not need them after all (unless, of course, they wanted to stay and give my sous chef a bath and buy me dinner).


On Thursday,  August 2, I’d been up since about 4am with contractions that were about 15 minutes apart.  I had an appointment with my OB that morning at 9:30, and I felt excited, like we were very, very close.  My husband decided to work from home so he could take me to my appointment–and just in case something happened.  I spent the morning gleefully packing my hospital bag and organizing clothes for my sous chef to wear while I was in the hospital.  We went to our appointment where my OB did my  absolute fave activity ever, the old cervical progress check. She announced that I was about 4cm, fully effaced, etc.  This really meant nothing to me, since I’d walked around 4cm dilated for weeks with my sous chef.  She then did my second fave thing ever, wherein she announced that she was heading out-of-town “for the weekend.” I would like to note here that to my OB  “for the weekend” means from Thursday to Monday.


We arrived home after the appointment feeling a little disheartened.  Once again the contractions had fizzled out.  My mom was at my house and she suggested we start walking.  Since it was 1oo million degrees outside, this meant going to the mall and doing the geriatric “heart healthy” walking path inside the mall. It’s about a mile, and my mom, sous chef and I did it twice while being lapped by a  tribe of sprightly silverbacks.  I should also add here that I ate a couple of soft pretzels while walking, because I know you want every exciting detail of my birth story.


The rest of the day was fairly uneventful.  I took a nap and complained a lot.   That evening I walked another 20 minutes or so on our treadmill before finally going to bed at 10:00pm.


Suddenly I woke up with a start.  I was having some sort of weird dream where my dad was telling me to go to the hospital, NOW!  And then I felt a strong contraction.  It was really different from my previous contractions in that it wrapped around my back and took my breath away.  I sat up a little confused and prepared myself for what I was sure would be another false alarm.  Suddenly I felt another huge contraction.  Hmm…that was, what, about three minutes since my first contraction?  I looked at the clock.  It was almost 1:00am.  I decided to wake up my husband, since I am not one to suffer in silence.  We agreed that I should take a shower, since in the past that had usually slowed things down.  As I was getting ready for my shower, the contractions kept coming every two or three minutes.  My husband called my parents and told them things looked serious and they should come down.  I finished my shower, got dressed and finished packing my hospital bag.  In between contractions, I somehow managed to make my bed and throw in a load of laundry.  You can just call me Martha Stewart, thank you very much.


My husband and I went downstairs so I could moan and wail without disturbing my sous chef.  At this point, the contractions had increased in intensity and I could not talk at all.  I could only moan, while rolling around on my yoga ball.  My husband called my parents to see how far away they were. They told him that they were still about an hour away and my mom asked to speak to me. I remember hearing Sean say, “ummm, she can’t really talk right now.”  As if on cue, I started moan/wailing.  My mom heard me and told Sean to take me to the hospital, pronto.  She said they would meet us there to pick up our sous chef.


Less than an hour had passed since I’d had my first contraction.


We woke up our sous chef, who was amazingly cheerful considering it was 2:00am.  We loaded her into the car, with me moaning loudly the entire time (sorry, neighbors). My husband only had to run back into the house once to get “the guys,” which are the approximately one million stuffed animals that my sous chef sleeps with every night.  She clutched onto them for dear life and asked me periodically, “Mommy, you otay?”  Luckily for everyone, the hospital is only two minutes away.  We arrived and parked, and I only had to stop four times on the way in to have contractions.  At triage, they brought me a wheelchair and asked me a few questions, then whisked me upstairs to L&D.


I remember passing a nurse who cackled with excitement and said, “Another one?  Must be the full moon!”  For some reason I found her very frightening.  I made a mental note to keep my baby away from her.


Now this is where things become a bit of a blur.  The nurses busied themselves with putting in an IV and collecting a urine sample and all that fun stuff.  Meanwhile, my contractions were getting unbearable.  At some point, around 2:30am, they checked me and I was 5.5cm dialted. Everything seemed to be happening at once.  I remember a nurse telling me that the doctor who was on call for my doctor (aka the extravagant traveler) would be there “soon.”  I remember my parents coming to pick up my sous chef (this was around 3am).  Then I remember a nurse coming in and telling me to let her know if I had an urge to push.  She then left the room and I promptly felt like I needed to push.  I told my husband and he called the nurse back in who checked me again (joy of all joys) and announced that I was 9cm!  Umm, wasn’t I just 5.5cm half an hour ago?  It seems things were moving very, very fast.  There was still no sign of my doctor substitute, and the nurses appeared to be stalling.  One of them, who I believe was put through nursing school by Lucifer himself, kept telling me to “pant like a dog.”   This was not advice I was going to follow.  I remember ripping the stupid automatic blood pressure cuff off my arm and throwing it in her general direction.  I also turned over so that I was on my hands and knees because this was far more comfortable than being on my back.  At this point, the urge to push was overwhelming.  In fact, my body was basically pushing for me.  Luckily, at the last-minute the doctor ran into the room and coached me through it.  I only had to push three times and little Hazel was out!


Hazel was born at 3:25am, only two and a half hours after I’d woken up with my first contraction.  The birth was so fast, that I had a lot of tearing, so it took awhile for the doctor to fix me up.  I didn’t really care in that moment, because I was too busy meeting my new little one.  It has, however, made the whole postpartum recovery a lot more difficult.  Later in the day we found out from our pediatrician that Hazel had broken her wee little collarbone.  Apparently, this is what happens when you race down the birth canal like a bat out of hell (beautiful symbolism, I know), also known as a precipitous birth.  She’s healing well, though, and I’m healing well, too.  My sous chef is transitioning into big sisterhood like a champ, and my husband is the world’s best support for all of us.  And while we’re all a little sleep deprived, we are very happy to now be four.


And here she is, brand new, in her all her glory!

What just happened, Mom?


10 Responses to “Hazel Grace – A Birth Story”

  1. pianoplayinmama August 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    Great Job Mama!

  2. eripaige August 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm #

    I laughed and cried at this story! You are a female warrior!

    • sunandmoonandstars August 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm #

      awww, thanks, eri! I can’t believe it was two weeks ago already!

  3. Abbie August 17, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    You are a rock star – and I love that so soon after an admittedly traumatic experience, you’ve already got a sense of humor about all of it. Love you, and want to see you guys soon!

    • sunandmoonandstars August 22, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      Thanks, Abs! Sorry I missed your call last night. Someone (Bea) switched our home phone onto silent mode. She wants to ensure nothing disturbs our 1000th viewing of “Tangled.” It’s fixed now! xo

      • eripaige August 22, 2012 at 9:06 pm #

        That is because Tangled is the greatest movie ever! You can tell her that Auntie Eri will watch it all day long with her if she wants!

      • sunandmoonandstars August 23, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

        She really loves it. Of course I cried twice while watching it!

  4. Anonymous August 22, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    Caught this on the linkedin, great to see everything is going well for you all!
    Take care!

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