When I was pregnant with Hazel I didn’t obsess too much over having a birth plan, but I did obsessively read other women’s birth stories! I loved that everyone’s experiences were all different, beautiful, and they all got through it! That encouraged me immensely.
With that said, I always knew I wanted to write and share Hazel’s birth story. It took me a while, but here it is!
Hazel’s Birth Story
Twas the night before labor and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Except for Hazel Ray Hartley. She was trying to beat her mother’s bladder to a pulp from inside the womb…
Gathering that she wanted out of there VERY soon, and along with the increasingly strong contractions, I laid down around 10:00 pm on June 9th to try and get some rest. That turned out to be a great decision (and I am so thankful I was able to actually fall asleep for a few hours).
I Thought My Water Had Broken
At 1:00 am my contractions picked back up and I believed my water had broken. With it being my first pregnancy I really wanted to be more safe than sorry, so with some encouragement from the triage nurse on the phone, we headed to the hospital. In the process of changing, gathering our things and loading up the car, I noticed a dramatic change in the painfulness of the contractions.
By the time Shannon had pulled up to the Dutch Bros window by the hospital, I was clutching my stomach and trying to do some form of breathing to relax and really in a lot of pain with each contraction, which were happening anywhere from 3-15 minutes apart. They gave him a free large coffee because, hey, he was “really gonna need it.”
My Water Had Not Broken….But I Was In Labor!
We got to the hospital at 2:30 am. I was dilated at 3cm and having strong contractions, but it was determined that my water had not broken. At this point, we were given two hours to wait in a triage room and encouraged to walk around to help things progress.
I didn’t even need to walk as the contractions REALLY seemed to kick up another couple notches as soon as the nurse left (of course). I was progressing pretty quickly, so after unsuccessfully trying to walk one lap around the birthing floor, I was in too much pain and decided I could face the contractions best on a birthing ball instead.
Shannon and I were alone and he did amazing supporting me physically, breathing with me, and encouraging me every second during those couple of hours. The contractions were powerful and I experienced my whole body shaking.
Two hours later the nurse came back and said “you look a lot different than when I saw you last!” Yes. Yes, I do…
I was admitted and got into a room around 5:30 am and at 4cm. I didn’t make up a birth plan before going into labor because I just really didn’t know what to expect and I wanted to feel things out. I didn’t have strong opinions for or against pain meds and just wanted to do what was best in the moment.
Give Me The Meds, Doc
At 6:00 am I was already so exhausted and in so much pain that I decided to get an epidural. I was very happy to get a few minutes of rest after that! The rest didn’t last long but that’s okay.
Luckily, my amazing mother drove through the night from Pendleton and got there around 7:00 am. She is such a source of strength and encouragement. To have her join us at that time was amazing and I think it was awesome for Shannon to have a teammate in encouraging me because I know he was getting tired as well. I truly couldn’t have asked for better supporters.
At 8:00 am I was at 5cm and my water still hadn’t broken so the doctor assisted. The transition following was intense and I went from 5cm to 10cm in the next hour and a half. It was best for me primarily laying on my side and I focused on trying to relax between contractions, again shaking but focused on my breathing with the help of Shannon and my Mom. I had packed this little pink battery-operated handheld fan and I remember that I really liked having someone hold in front of my face….
The Final Step
At 9:30am I was ready to push! I haven’t mentioned how wonderful my nurse was yet. I was disappointed when we first checked in and learned my OB wouldn’t be there, but my awesome nurse helped make up for it. She was another source of calm and encouragement the whole morning and she helped coach me through the pushing at this point. It was so so tiring and the hardest thing I have ever done. I had a few moments of sheer exhaustion and just wanting to be done. Shannon and my Mom were on each side of me refusing to let me say I couldn’t do it.
Around this point, my Mom asked if they could bring a mirror in for me, which I didn’t even know was a thing. And I know the idea of seeing what is happening freaks a lot of women out, but I have to say it was amazing and so helpful for me. Being able to see her head as I was pushing gave me not only a sense of control but improved the efficiency of my pushing and gave me such an increase in motivation! Read more about labor mirrors in this post.
I got more and more motivated the closer we got and found the strength within myself to keep going. And an hour and twenty minutes later, at 10:48 am, at 8lbs 8oz and 20in long, Hazel Ray was born. They placed her on my chest and I can honestly say I have never felt such joy.
At our hospital, you move to a recovery room separate than the delivery room after skin to skin time. Holding her in my arms as I was wheeled across the floor…I can’t describe how fiercely proud I was at that moment. She was and is amazing, and every day that I get to be her Mom is an honor.
As I write this Hazel is about to turn one year old. And I really cannot believe how fast it has gone! It has been an amazing, humbling journey so far. And all I can say for now is, stay little, my baby.