On Sunday, we got up to go to breakfast around 9:30 and I felt fine—just a little tired. At breakfast, they forgot to give me my grape jelly, so I got up to get it. On my way back to the booth, I felt a little pop and a trickling sensation. At first, I thought, What can this be? It was more than 4 weeks before my due date. I told Jason that I thought my water broke, but by then my khaki pants were soaked to the knee and the booth was pretty wet, too! I cried a little because I was shocked that this was happening a month early, but I wasn't scared. Jason went to borrow a jacket from the restaurant's lost and found (because it now looked like I had gone to the bathroom all over myself) and he pulled the car around to pick me up.
We went home and I called the doctor. While we waited for a call back, we both showered then headed to the hospital. On the way, we called all the grandparents. We got there at 11:00 and I was admitted. They verified that my water had, indeed, broken and by then I was having mild contractions. I loved my labor and delivery nurse, Arta. She started me on Pitocin and we waited for things to start progressing.
Things went pretty quickly; I think Emerson was just ready to be born. I stood most of the day because I was trying to help Emerson move down in the birth canal and I really, really didn't want to have a cesarean section. By 3:00, the contractions were getting very painful and I was ready for an epidural. After I had it, my right side wasn't numbing as much as the left so they put me on my right side. Then they couldn't get a reading on Emerson's vital signs and when they did, her heart rate was irregular, so Arta literally picked me up and flipped me to my left side and gave me oxygen. They also put an intrauterine fetal monitor on Emerson. I had seen them on birth shows on TV but I didn't know they actually went into the baby's skin. By then, Gran and Nana were both crying, so Arta kicked everyone out of the room so they wouldn't upset me.
After a short time, I could tell Emerson was really ready to come out, so they checked me. I was 10 cm dilated so it was time to push. I pushed for a few minutes until the doctor arrived. After that, I pushed through three contractions and Emerson Campbell was born at 5:23. When she was crowning they said, "I see lots of dark hair!" and Jason and I just looked at each other said "dark hair?" Everyone expected her to be a blonde like me, but she wasn't. I guess it was my first lesson that she'll always be just who she wants to be, and not who we think she should be.
I remember the first time I heard her cry. It was the greatest sound I've ever heard. The neonatal intensive care unit was in the delivery room in case Emerson needed support, but she was great! She weighed 6 pounds and was 18 3/4 inches long with lots of brown wavy hair. Looking back, I think she looked like a boxer—her nose was sort of smashed down and both eyes were a little bruised from the trip down the birth canal and she had the fetal monitor sticking out of her head and it looked like a space probe. But she was so beautiful! Jason cried a little but he'd never admit it now. It was the happiest day of my life.