Hazel Ann Nichols ~ Birth StoryI've put this off for way too long. I feel like it was yesterday and hope my memory serves your story well.
I began having a few random contractions on October 31st, this was the day I hoped our baby wouldn't be born. It's not that I hate Halloween, I just didn't want a holiday baby. I felt good throughout most of the day, a contraction here and there but nothing to think about too much. I left work to help Ida's daycare take the children trick-or-treating at the hospital. Ida wore a lion costume that made her look simply adorable. At this point I was 5 days overdue but still feeling good. Mentally, I was ready to have the baby, excited to meet the little person who'd been growing inside me for 10 months!
After helping the daycare children trick-or-treat, I headed back for a regular day of work until around 3:30 when most of the parents in the office left to pick up their children and go trick-or-treating down town. I picked Ida up from daycare and we met Kisa and her family down town. We caught up with lots of friends as we walked up and down Main Street in search of yummy treats. Todd had to work until 5 pm so I hauled Ida up and down a flight of stairs and tried to make her walk as much as possible but her two year old legs were tired. So, I ended up carrying her on my shoulders through town laughing and joking with friends that I was trying to get my labor started. I continued to have random contractions throughout the rest of the night but nothing regular.
The next day, I went to work and began to have regular contractions...nothing painful or bothersome but I started paying attention to them just in case. After a full day's work I told Todd that I was having contractions about 10 minutes apart all day. I tracked them on an app on my iPhone as often as I could remember. At this point the contractions were still painless but regular. I continued to track them throughout the evening, they grew closer together but didn't increase in intensity.
With Ida, I was induced so I didn't really know what to think about going into labor on my own. I wasn't sure if it'd be quick or long and drawn out. I tried my best to hold the excitement in so I wouldn't get Todd to worked up or worried...who knows how long it could have taken!
That evening at home, I continued to have contractions. I texted our friend Kisa who would come to the hospital with us and my parents to let them know I was contracting and that most likely we'd have a baby in the next day or so.
They were a bit closer together and consistent but not painful so we went to bed. I was able to sleep through the contractions until about 1 am when I got up to pee. The contractions weren't painful but I was getting too excited and couldn't fall back asleep. Some of the contractions were coming closer together, sometimes 4 or 5 minutes apart and then back up to 10 minutes apart.
I decided to let Todd sleep and got up for a while. I was just to excited to be going into labor all on my own, no induction this time around. We were so excited to meet the newest member of our family. Todd woke up around 2 am and couldn't go back to sleep. He kept asking if we should call the midwife. I told him that I felt fine and we could call once I started feeling some pain or it got a little closer to morning.
I paced around the house trying to find something productive to do. Todd took a shower so he'd be ready to go. Ida Mae continued to sleep. :)
Around 4am (I think) I called my midwife to let her know my contractions were consistently around 6 minutes apart but still not painful. She told me I sounded pretty good and to call her around 7am and plan to drive in to meet her around 8 am.
My whole pregnancy, I was pretty nervous about the decision of when to leave for the hospital. You see, we're about an hour from the hospital where we delivered our babies. It made me nervous that we wouldn't make it in time or that we'd be in the hospital forever. I wanted some sort of balance.
After talking to the midwife I called my parents (who live in Montana...about 4.5 hours away) and told them that they could start thinking about driving down, and that Todd and I would head over to the hospital around 7 am. I called Kisa to let her know too. We planned to drop Ida off early at daycare and head to the hospital.
Well, as soon as I made those three phone calls my body decided it was go time! My contractions kicked in with force and I began pacing back and forth through the house. Back and forth from the front door to the back kitchen door, pacing and breathing. If I tried to stop moving everything became more and more painful. So, back and forth and back and forth I went.
Todd kept asking me when we should leave. In my mind I thought, surely this will take hours. But at some point I told him to start the car.
We let Kisa know we needed her to come over, now, that we weren't going to be able to take Ida to daycare as planned. We asked her to come over and stay with her until she could go to daycare. This was really disappointing for me because I wanted Kisa to be with us for every part of the birth, I didn't want her to miss anything. But at this point, I could tell that there wasn't going to be time to find someone else to watch Ida.
Back and forth I went until Kisa arrived. She said she knew we were serious when she arrived and our car was already started. As soon as she arrived we were out into the crisp quiet night air. We loaded up in the car and headed down the road to Rexburg.
I sat on a pillow in the front seat buckled up while Todd drove through the night. Thankfully we didn't have any snow or ice on the roads. We listened to a mixed CD I'd made a few months earlier and I was happy to have something to distract me a little from my ever-growing in intensity and closer contractions. I was timing them on my phone at 4 minutes and then 3 and then even 2 minutes apart. I kept that information to myself. I knew Todd didn't need any more distractions while driving...night driving is not his favorite. I kept wondering if I was really timing the contractions correctly...maybe I wasn't using the app correctly?
The intensity of my contractions increased and I had to keep my body moving. So, I rocked back and forth from side to side, holding the handle above my head to help leverage my movement. I breathed through contractions and tried to focus on the music.
After many rolling hills, we made it into Rexburg and seemed to hit every red light in town.But we made it to the hospital and found the labor and delivery entrance. I remember thinking that Todd parked crooked and worried that we'd get a ticket. I'm pretty sure they're used to crazy parkers at labor and delivery.
Todd helped me inside, between several intense contractions. We bellied up to the nurses station counter and explained that we were in labor and were meeting our midwife. I couldn't stand still. The contractions were around 2-3 minutes apart and I had to keep moving. Back and forth and back and forth I went while trying to sign paperwork and give the nurses my information.
Our midwife had not yet arrived. She told us on the phone earlier that she would drop off her children at daycare and meet us at the hospital. We knew she'd be there soon.
A nurse escorted us to an exam room where she had me put on a gown so she could check my progress. Todd went back out to the car to re-park and grab our bag. I could hardly stand still let alone get on the table for the nurse to check me. I rocked back and forth and tried to be as still as possible.
"Ah, I see, you're 7 cm dilated, 100% effaced, station -2 and your bag is bulging" said the nurse.
So, after making sure I was really in labor, they swiftly moved me to a delivery room. They got me into bed where she hooked me up to a monitor to watch the baby's heart rate while she asked me 101 questions about allergies, medications, weight gain etc. I was so uncomfortable laying on the bed. I had to keep moving. Where was the midwife? Why do I have to answer all these questions now? Just keep moving.
Water broke! Game on!
I finally finished with the heart rate monitoring (the baby sounded great) and finished answering all the questions. I was able to get off the bed and really move!
Just about now, our midwife Rachel arrived. Seeing her familiar face was wonderful. I felt like I could relax a bit more, knowing that the woman I trusted to deliver Ida was here to help us deliver our second baby. She made some sort of remark as she entered the room..."I didn't think you were this ready to have this baby"
I swayed back and forth standing next to the bed. At some point an overwhelming urge to push came over me and I told Todd and Rachel that I needed to change positions. Between contractions I climbed onto the bed and got on my hands and knees. This was familiar to me. This is how I birthed Ida.
Rachel gave me the go ahead and I began to push on my next contraction. The familiar pain and control over the pain came back to me. I remembered how it felt when Ida came into the world, the pushing contractions felt so different. I could do something with the pain.
I pushed through 3 contractions, with each one I told myself that the better I pushed, the sooner it would all be over. At 7:43 am, I pushed through one final contraction and out the baby came. Todd was trying to get video and photos but was having trouble with the camera but was able to help catch the baby. Todd handed the baby to me and they checked to see what sex we had..."It's a girl!"
Hazel was 7 lbs 12 oz, 19 inches. She had the cord around her neck once but it was loose. Her poor face was very squished and her ears looked like they'd been bent backwards...but, to us, the most beautiful baby we'd birthed that day! :)
I held her on my chest and nursed her for a very long time. They didn't cut the cord for over 15 minutes when I delivered the placenta. We were so happy to meet this little person...our fourth family member...a sister for Ida Mae!
Rachel said to me as she was getting ready to leave the room, "Emily, you made this too easy for me. You are made to have babies. You should probably have 10!"
Our little girl had arrived! We named you Hazel Ann. Had you been a boy, we would have debated for days about names. We liked the name Hazel because it was a little old fashioned and went well with Ida. Your middle name Ann is after both of your grandmothers and mother. All of our middle names are Ann.
Hazel was occipital posterior which means she was "sunny side up" or face up when she was born. Typically, occipital posterior babies are harder to push out and take longer because their heads do not flex the same way most babies do when they're born face down. So, I think it's safe to say that had Hazel not been face up and a bit more difficult to push out, we would have had her much quicker and probably in the car. Her sunny side up position probably had something to do with my water not braking until so late in the process too.
When looking back at the chart we found that we arrived at the hospital at 6:56 am, my water broke at 7:10 am, my midwife arrived at 7:26 am, I started pushing at 7:35 am, and at 7:43 am Hazel was born!
Shortly after Hazel was born, Kisa arrived (after taking Ida to daycare and driving over to Rexburg). We were disappointed she missed the birth but were SO thankful for her help with Ida. Also, in her absence there are far fewer photos of labor and delivery...guess that's how it goes when you're the second child!
My parents arrived a few hours later after I'd showered and we were moved to the recovery wing. Todd drove back to Teton Valley mid day and brought Ida back to the hospital to meet her new sister.
Here's a video of their meeting. So sweet.
We love you Hazel Ann. Welcome to the world!