RICHMOND -- Everything seemed normal when Susan Hassard went to her daughter's house last Thursday, April 28 to bring her to South County Hospital.
You see, Stephanie Hassard-Ferreira, 31, was in active labor with her third child. And she was still in the house while her mother outside packing bags into the car. She had also just placed 23-month-old Vincent in his car seat with a sippy cup full of juice.
"We were all ready to go," Hassard, 54, said.
But that was before she went back into her daughter's home to make sure they weren't forgetting anything. It was then that she saw the look on her daughter's face as she sat in the bathroom.
"She said it felt like the baby was coming out and, sure enough, the baby's head was crowning," Hassard said.
She then promptly helped her daughter to the cold tile floor and about a minute later told her to wait until she had a strong urge to push. Once that happened, Hassard knew that was it. She placed some towels near her daughter and a moment later, a child was born.
"She just did one push and the baby flew out in one shot," Hassard said. "It was very easy delivery."
While it was easy, it was not something she had ever done before. But what helped was that the fact that she herself had gone through natural births so she was well aware of the process. Also, she said she looks at birth as a very natural thing. So for that reason, she added, she probably wasn't as nervous as some people would be.
"But it's not that I wasn't," Hassard made clear. "Because I was. But with God's help I was keeping my cool and my daughter was cool -- not crying or yelling or anything.
"I think she just knew she loved her baby and had to do what she had to do," she added.
They also remained calm as they both worked to move the umbilical chord from around the newborn's neck. Hassard noted that it was only lightly wrapped around the neck and arm and, after a little teamwork, it was unraveled.
Mother and daughter then together held the newborn girl, Hazel Susan Hassard-Ferreira, who had "loads of dark black hair." Her middle name is a tribute to her grandmother.
"We could tell she was fine," Hassard said. "When she came out, she didn't cry or make any noise but she was of excellent color. She then cried a little bit and moved her fingers."
It was then that they were able to get in touch with emergency personnel, who showed up within 10 minutes. she also made sure to check on her grandson, who was still belted into his car seat. Like his mother, though, the toddler cool and calm as he sat there sipping on his cup of juice.
Hassard couldn't help but laugh as she explained what happened prior to the birth. Apparently she left her phone in the car and attempted to use her daughter's cell phone to call the paramedics. But Hassard wasn't acquainted with how to use the slider-style phone so she held it in her daughter's face and asked her to call 911.
"She looked at me and just said, 'I cant!'," Hassard said with a chuckle. She then held the phone up to her daughter after the birth and this time Hassard-Ferreira could successfully dial 911. The dispatcher helped them maintain until the paramedics came to the scene to take mother and baby to South County Hospital.
A similarly funny situation occurred when the child's father, Gabe Ferreira, was called to inform him of the emergency. He thought his mother-in-law was joking, though, until she used her phone to send him a picture of the paramedics as they were helping his wife in the bathroom.
"So I think it sunk in at that point," Hassard said, noting that he had good reason to feel that way because her daughter's other two labors were far longer and much more difficult.
Hassard-Ferreira concurred. She said that it took upwards of 12 hours for her other children, Vincent and Jasmine, the latter of whom is 8 years old.
"It went as smoothly as we could have ever wished," Hassard-Ferreira said.
Within five minutes, she added, it was over and done with. And according to the now mother of three, she was in the best hands possible for the emergency birth.
"I had the best person I could have with me there with me."