Our little Hazel is here and we are on cloud nine! I don’t want to forget any detail of her birth story so I’m documenting it here since I know how fun it is to read other people’s birth stories too!

All of January Ryan was doing a dental rotation in Des Moines, which is about 2 hours from our home. His last day was the day before our due date, February 8th. He drove back to Iowa City every Friday and Sunday for the whole month and we crossed our fingers I wouldn’t go into labor before the due date.

My doctor was amazing and let us set our induction date on my due date since she knew my mother would be in town and Ryan doesn’t get paternity leave. I didn’t initially plan on doing an induction but as a planner it was so much less stressful knowing we would have a baby by that weekend for sure!

Friday came along and before we could confirm that there was a room for us, the hospital called and bumped our induction to the next day at noon. I was so bummed, mostly because the hours were going by so slowly! We ate dinner and I went to bed early.

Around 3 AM I woke up with some bad cramps. Nothing I couldn’t handle but by 4 I noticed they were becoming consistent. I started watching Netflix (Ryan had already left to sleep on the couch downstairs because of my snoring ha) and I counted contractions. I thought I could maybe wait until noon to call but by 5:30 I couldn’t handle it any longer and called the hospital to let them know I was in labor and wanted to come in early. Contractions were about 6 minutes apart and by the time Ryan had showered and we pulled our stuff together, they were closer to 2 minutes. We got to the hospital at 6:30 and were admitted! Once we got to our room, I immediately threw up the oranges I had eaten that morning and the nurses said that was a good sign, that labor was on it’s way. Surprisingly that was the first time I had actually thrown up the whole pregnancy! While I was signing the waiver, I was feeling so out of it from my contractions that I started signing Christensen instead of Rucker and almost wrote the date as 2014 instead of 2019 ha.

I labored for about 3 hours and it got increasingly worse in my back. Laboring in the tub really helped and Ryan would put pressure on my back while I sat on the birthing ball, but I decided why torture myself any longer! I received my epidural at 9:30, thank the heavens for modern medicine! Holy smokes, I don’t know how those women do it naturally, they are amazing! It was a goal of mine to get to a 4 before I got an epidural and I was able to do that so I felt pretty good about it. I also wanted to see how the contractions felt compared to my miscarriage at home and I would say it was when I was at a 3. We got to the hospital right before the shift change so my doctor, who was on call all night, came in and said hi before leaving which was nice!

​After they finished the epidural, my right side still felt some of the contractions so they came back in and fixed it. Ryan enjoyed watching the resident give the epidural to me, he said it was pretty similar to the shots he gives as a dentist but obviously on a much larger scale. It took him a while but overall not a bad experience, besides the fact that you have to hunch over in the middle of a painful contraction while trying not to move.

From 9:30-12:30 I was pain-free and it was so great to watch the contractions chart rise and fall while I couldn’t feel a thing. They checked me again and I was still at a four so they put me on Pitocin. I was grateful to already be in labor when I got there so I didn’t have to feel the Pitocin contractions because holy cow the chart was showing them as way longer and much stronger. We played some games and honestly I don’t know what I did those few hours. I didn’t watch TV, I wasn’t really on my phone all that much. I just sat there, prepping for what was to come I guess ha.

​Around 3:00 PM, after 2.5 hours, they checked me again and I was at a 9! WHAT!? We were so surprised, I dilated 5 centimeters so quickly — they said it usually takes an hour a centimeter. The one thing I think really helped was the entire time I laid on my sides (necessary during epidural and the nurse has to come and help me turn every hour), I had a peanut ball between my legs.When the midwife checked me, she barely had to do anything to break my water and Ryan got so excited and started pacing the room. He ended up having to turn on a movie on his computer to calm down ha. They found meconium in my amniotic fluid so they told me when she was born, the pediatrics team would be in the room to make sure she was healthy and safe.

At 5:45 my epidural started to wear off a bit and I was feeling contractions again. The doctor came in and checked and I hadn’t really progressed more. He said to turn down my epidural so I could feel the pushing and boy was I mad at him. We had seen lots of different nurses and doctors because we came in right before a shift change and ended right after one. So this doctor was new and I was not happy about his decision ha. Plus the way he looked at the nurse when checking me he made it seem like I was not going to be very good at pushing and that it was going to be a long terrible process. I’m sure it was just my imagination and insecurities but I thrive in a positive environment so I was excited when we did start pushing that it was not him in the room with us.
I sat there with horrible back contractions for an hour, Ryan turned on the TV to try to distract me and we watched Hunger Games for a bit. They had told me to call them in when I felt the urge to push or felt pressure but I never really did. By 6:45 I told them I was ready to push although I never felt the huge urge to push like everyone always talks about. I was so done with the back contractions and wanted to get things rolling.

We started pushing and the first few no one counted so I told Ryan to count, “but make sure to keep it nice and quiet and not annoying” ha. After a few contractions of pushing, I asked for the mirror and I’m so glad I did because it was so helpful to see the progress. I realized, oh you do have to push like your brain is going to come out of your ears, okay. Ryan absolutely loved the delivery process, he found it so crazy and he was doing such a great job as my coach. The nurses were giving him thumbs up. We were getting very close to another shift change right when she was crowning and I really wanted our nurse Gina to meet our baby since she had been with us all day so I buckled down and gave it all I had.

After 35 minutes, Hazel was born and they plopped her right onto my chest. I don’t remember this, but Ryan says I was so stunned that the doctors had to almost catch her again before I realized what was happening and pulled my arms in to hold her. She was bloody and slimy but she was so chubby and so beautiful! They took her to the table to check if she had ingested any meconium and she hadn’t, she was healthy!

Her stats were:

February 9, 2019 | 7:20 PM | 7 lbs 15 oz | 19.5 in long | 35 cm head

They took a long time to stitch me, I had a 3rd-degree tear. I probably shouldn’t have been so anxious to get her out and taken the pushing a little more slowly but oh well, she was here and I’m glad it wasn’t a 3 hour process. My epidural had worn off and my legs were no longer tingly, so I felt them stitching, man that hurt. I would definitely tell people to make sure to get your epidural turned back up for those because it stung. It got bad enough at the end that they decided to leave a few tiny tears alone that would heal on their own and I finally got to really hold my daughter! She was all wrapped up and so alert and she was able to nurse for a bit!

It was seriously such a smooth labor. I am so grateful there were no complications or problems. I see why people say they would do it all over again, she is so worth it and we love our Hazel Sue!