The story of Hazel Lara Jacobus’ birth starts at the Iowa state high school baseball tournament.
Her parents, Nicole and Dalton of Des Moines, Iowa, attended the Class 2A state championship July 28 at Principal Park. After Centerville upset Iowa City Regina 4-3, Nicole, who was several days overdue, felt her water break as she walked to the car.
The first-time parents went from the parking lot to the hospital. Hazel arrived 19 hours later after a fight. Her umbilical cord had wrapped around her neck twice, and she had breathing problems and an infection.
Hazel arrived “purple as a plum,” her father said, but she was born with a strong will, too.
“She came out swinging,” Dalton said. “A tough little thing.”
It was all jokes – until after the game
Dalton’s uncle Larry Jacobus, his godfather, was umpiring in the 2A state championship and about 20 members of his extended family showed up to watch.
Four rows behind home plate, Nicole Jacobus took a seat.
She adopted Centerville as the team she’d cheer for — the underdog Big Reds faced the No. 1 seed in the title game and brought an enthusiastic group of fans.
“I love the camaraderie of a baseball team,” Nicole said.
Nicole squirmed in her seat, though.
“She said she had had some cramps,” Dalton said. “She couldn’t get comfortable.”
Nicole also was teased by some of her family members. When she jumped after every foul ball hit her way, the jokes flew, too.
“It would start every time, ‘Oh, did your water break?'” Nicole said.
After the game, when the family members walked back to their cars, there was no more joking.
She started to cross the street while walking back to car.
“Oh no, I just wet myself,” Nicole said.
Her water had broken.
Her mother-in-law, Heather, let out a cry of joy in anticipation of being a grandmother.
“I think she cheered louder than anything during the game,” Nicole said. “She was pretty jazzed.”
Ready to rally
Dalton and Nicole went to Iowa Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines — a short drive from Principal Park to the downtown hospital — and the couple asked what they should do next.
Nicole was admitted and delivered a 6-pound, 10.9-ounce baby girl 19 hours later.
Hazel Lara Jacobus struggled with a variety of problems. She had a hard time breathing and was placed on oxygen at the neonatal intensive care unit at Blank Children’s Hospital.
Her umbilical cord twice wrapped around neck. She had a bit of jaundice.
But like the Centerville team that topped the top three seeded schools to win the championship, Hazel was ready to rally.