Teacher’s baby makes dramatic entrance
Published: March 6, 2007 | 5748th good news item since 2003
Drama is a part of Stacy Hansen’s life each day as she teaches the craft to high school students.
But Hansen, who lives on Des Moines’ west side, experienced a drama of her own – complete with a happy ending – when she traveled with 78 of her Valley High School students to Ames for the Iowa High School Speech Association All-State Festival.
Hansen served as a member of the All-State committee and her responsibilities included taking center stage during the opening ceremonies to introduce guest critics and working with her students during their performances throughout the day.
She was nine months pregnant, and three days from her due date.
As she took the stage, she said she began to feel “some pangs.”
“I didn’t think anything of it and I certainly didn’t want to cause any alarm,” Hansen said.
Valley senior Margaux Mireault of Clive has worked with Hansen on plays for the last four years and knew something wasn’t right.
“She was very composed, standing around afterward smiling and talking to people like nothing was going on,” said Mireault, a member of the Choral Reading group that performed that day.
Within 30 minutes the pain worsened, but Hansen was determined to champion for her students who were set to perform throughout the day. She sat in the hallways and rallied for students who came to report their successes, masking her pain with smiles and congratulatory conversations.
“My real concern was that I didn’t want students to worry, I wanted them to stay focused on their performances,” she said. “I later learned that they were already on a thrill ride just being there and this, for some reason, seemed to add to their excitement.”
A drama parent, who could see Hansen’s discomfort, sat with her and together the two began to time the contractions that Hansen still believed were indications of false labor.
“They started out at six minutes apart and within the hour increased to three minutes apart,” Hansen recalled.
Soon, her husband, Derek Claussen, who directs the Valley Group Mime, approached along with a good friend who helped deliver Hansen’s first child.
“They both could see what was happening, but I was still in a bit of denial,” Hansen said.
They took her to Mary Greeley Medical Center in Ames, where she delivered daughter Scout Meseck Margaret Claussen less than two hours later.
“It was quite a dramatic entrance,” Hansen said. “She’s definitely a thespian.”
The remainder of the day, students visited her bedside and Hansen received reports of the festival’s progress.
Hansen’s students won three banners that day, a Critic’s Choice Award in Group Mime and Choral Reading and the E. Wayne Cooley Sweepstakes trophy awarded to the school with the most entries.
The following day, Feb. 18, Mireault carpooled to Ames with a group of students to see Scout, share the trophies and take photos.
Hansen’s technical director at Valley, Ron Borstad, said he believes she mustered up sheer willpower to keep that baby from coming any sooner.
“I think she decided that baby wasn’t going to be born until she got her kids to All-State,” Borstad said. “She truly views all her students at Valley as her own kids.”
Two weeks earlier Hansen hosted the state contest at Valley, orchestrating rooms, schedules and placement of 4,000 students and judges. Borstad said everyone involved assumed the baby would come then.
Mireault said it has been a memorable season. “I am very touched by her strength especially through ‘The Laramie Project’ this fall when she was pregnant and going through all of that. She’s a very loving person.”