History of Hazel Johnson Christensen


Carl’s Birth

When I had Carl, I had to go to the hospital.  I nearly died at that time.  I had started hemorrhaging about a week before he was born.  As time inspector, Joy went out on the road Monday morning and would get back Friday night.  When he left that week, he wrote down every place he’d be, because as it happened, it was the week he was on the motorcar.  He had to go to Caliente and back to Salt Lake on the motorcar.  He would get the section men that way.

We had a woman to come in and stay with me when the baby was born, and I gave her the list of where Joy would be.  I gave it to her beforehand and said, “Now if anything goes wrong, give this to his father and he can trace him.”

She forgot about the list; they had to call the railroad company, and they called all the way along the line and caught him at Delta.  They stopped one of the crack trains that didn’t stop at Delta and put him on it.

I had been sick in the day so I got Joy’s uncle’s wife [Anna Malmrose Jorgensen] to stay with me.  She was a practical nurse.  I woke up in the night and it was bad, so she called the doctor.  He was out to the fairgrounds with his kids.  It was the state fair.  His partner said, “You had better bring her into the hospital.”

She was going to call her husband, Joy’s Uncle Lawrence, to take me in, but I decided, “I’ll call Joy’s dad and tell him.”  When I talked to him, he said he would take me to the hospital.

As it turned out, both men came.  It was a good thing because they had to carry me out to the car.  When I got to LDS Hospital the other doctor was there.  I said, “I want Dr. Reese.”

The doctor told Joy’s father, “She won’t let me do anything.  She wants Dr. Reese.  He should be here soon, because I’ve sent for him.”  When he came, I didn’t have any pain, but I would keep going in and out of consciousness.  I remember one time it hurt and I could feel his hands pressing on my side.  I said, “Oh, don’t do that.  It hurts.”

“I have to,” he replied.  That’s when the baby came and the afterbirth came with him.  He was pressing with the baby’s foot to hold the afterbirth back and let the baby come first.

The first thing I remember was coming to, and Mother was there.  I don’t know when Joy got there, that night I guess, but long after Carl was born.  They had sent word to my mother and father and told them that they had better come if they wanted to see me alive.  So my youngest brother and his wife brought them down.  Aunt Edith (Joy’s stepmother) had called Hattie, and she went out to the farm to get Mother and Father and Rene and his wife.  I believe Hattie came too.  I can’t remember for sure.

Then my cousin that lived there didn’t know they had been called so she called Floyd at his office.  He was a dentist in Preston, and was in with a doctor.  The doctor asked about us and Floyd told him, “They’re both alive.”

“It will be a miracle if they both live,” was his opinion.  “Usually they lose one or the other or maybe both in a placenta previa case.”

I remember Mother being in the room and the doctor was talking to her.   He told what had happened, “We gave her a pint of blood and then after the baby was born, I gave her another pint of blood and took her up to the operating room to remove her uterus to stop the bleeding.  By the time I got her up there she had lost that pint of blood so we brought her back down and just packed her.  She isn’t going to live, I’m afraid.”

“Should we be talking like this in front of her?” Mother asked. 

“She won’t remember anything of it,” he replied.  He told Mother later, “She has the will to live.  She kept saying, ‘I can’t die and leave those little kids.'”

I told Mother that they had given me enough chloroform so I didn’t have any pain, but the doctor told her, “No, she didn’t have a whiff of chloroform.  She just passed out.  She would faint on us and we would bring her to.”

I guess it was a miracle.  I remember once coming to and Joy’s father saying, “Brother Lyman and I are going to administer to you.”  It was Richard R. Lyman.  I only remember him saying that, I don’t remember them doing it.

Richard R. Lyman was married to Mother’s cousin, Amy Brown Lyman.  She had met Edna, my sister, there in the hospital and asked her what she was doing there.  She told her that I was really sick and she asked, “Would you like Richard to go and administer to her?”

Edna answered, “I sure would.”  Their granddaughter was in the hospital sick.  He was an apostle then, but was later excommunicated.  Evidently the blessing still worked.

Afterwards, when they took the packing out, they left one in and I got blood poisoning.  I was in the hospital three weeks.  Edna came down and dismissed the woman when her two weeks were up, and Mother came down.  They didn’t want me in with the other women, so they moved me up on the next ward, the surgical ward. They let them bring in the three kids to see me one day there.

Anne had such pretty curly hair, but the woman hadn’t fixed her hair very cute, and they didn’t look too well-kept.  It was almost worse seeing them than if I hadn’t.  I hated to have them leave.  I will always remember those three little kids standing there by the bed, Anne with her curly hair.  She was just three years old.

Then when I got home, the piece of packing came from me.  The doctor came and he said, “This is what I was waiting for the whole time she was in there.”  As soon as that left, the smell all left, and I started to get better.


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