My daughter is turning nine years old tomorrow. Hard to believe my baby girl could be that old. We had a blast with three of her little girl friends over for a slumber party this weekend and will have a family celebration tomorrow night. Again, we love birthdays in our house! A couple of weeks ago I told you my son, Cole’s, birth story on the eve of his sixth birthday and I promised you Em’s story so here it is (again, men beware, this may be a bit of a personal sharing violation for you!).
When Jeff and I found out we were going to have a baby, we were so excited! A few months into the pregnancy, an ultrasound turned up a condition – I had an incompetent cervix. In essence, my doc was concerned that if my cervix continued to thin prematurely, the baby would come early. It was decided I would endure weekly ultrasounds (the real up close and personal ones J) and monitor my cervix. I have since found out that incompetent cervix is somewhat common, but at the time, I had never heard of it. The classic comment came from my father who said, “Well, honey, that’s surprising. You’ve never been incompetent at anything!”
So there we were having weekly ultrasounds and all seemed well, but at week 28, my cervix thinned so much in one week my doc decided to perform an emergency cerclage . . . as in, “Meet me at the hospital in the morning for the procedure and you are now officially on bed rest, effective today!” To which I responded, “Bed rest? What? But I have a real estate business to run, classes to teach, etc., etc.” Again, to make God laugh, simply tell Him your plans! So, I went back to the office and in an hour, prepared to be gone for possibly three months. The next morning we went to the hospital where my doc literally sewed my cervix shut with the hopes of keeping the baby in for at least another week or so. Off I went home to bed rest. Thankfully, the cerclage worked and we were able to keep the baby incubating in my belly for another six weeks.
Let me digress to discuss bed rest for a moment. Though it sounds lovely to be “forced” to your bed/couch to rest and relax, it was the most depressing time of my life – to be so dependent on people to do everything for me from laundry to cleaning my house to shopping for food to basically everything – horribly humbling. My best friend Angie brought me a stack of magazines two feet high and it became my nemesis as the days dragged on – I had to finish the stack! I watched HGTV and Food Network all day, every day. To this day, I have recipes that I printed out that I have yet to cook. A few weeks later at a regularly scheduled appointment, my doctor finally released me from bed rest for one hour per day (I think Jeff might have called him ahead of time and begged him to let me off bed rest, if only for his sanity). I could go to work for an hour, get my nails or hair done for an hour, go shop for an hour, whatever I wanted, but only for an hour a day. Still frustrating, but at least I wasn’t confined to my house which had become my jail.
So, the morning of February 13, 2003, at about 5:30 am, I woke up needing to go to the bathroom. I didn’t quite make it and thought, hmmm that’s weird, what’s that all about? Heading back to bed I sensed I needed to go again and once again, didn’t quite make it. Let me take a little detour again and say that Jeff and I chose not to take the Lamaze classes. At 33, I had decided I had no interest in sitting around in a circle with all these young moms learning about breathing. Besides, how painful could it be? I didn’t even recognize at the time that perhaps my water had broken! Lamaze classes might have helped! Back to 5:30 am. So, I went over to the bed and woke Jeff up with “Houston, I think we have a problem.” We decided not to mess around (which in hindsight was the smartest thing we’ve ever done) and got in the car and headed off to the hospital. Once at the hospital, the 15 year old, Doogie Howard resident on call came into my room to examine me. I believe his exact words were, “My goodness your baby has a lot of hair!” Now, we knew that Emerson had hair, we’d seen it in the ultrasounds, but remember six weeks earlier, my doc had sewn my cervix shut so the fact that he could see the baby’s head totally freaked me out. So, clearly, this baby was coming, there would be no more delays! I was only 34 weeks along. Along came the epidural (God bless that stuff!), and literally an hour later (remember my sister calls me the Human Salad Shooter), Emerson entered the world at full tilt, screaming like a banshee (unlike her brother who came in with barely a whimper). We often say that Cole would have stayed inside forever, but Emerson clearly was ready to come out into the big world and start living!
As an aside, my hour out that day was to have been a presentation to 1,200 Realtors at the Real Estate Market Forum. I sent my sister to my house to find my presentation and deliver it to the Spokane Convention Center to the Executive Officer of the Spokane Association of Realtors so he could deliver the presentation. Though if I could have felt my legs, I might have gone down myself! I felt that great after delivery.
Emerson was only 5 pounds, 10 ounces so she had to stay at the hospital for while. As it turned out, she was there just shy of two weeks. That was terribly difficult, also – to have this wonderful little girl and not be able to take her home. We were allowed to visit her every four hours to feed her, but then had to leave. God bless those NICU (Neo Natal Intensive Care Unit) nurses and docs. They took the best care of us! I went ahead back to work (and sold a house two days later) since sitting at home without my baby girl was miserable. Besides, work was closer to the hospital so I could get there every four hours easier from work. On the bright side, we were able to get some good sleep since they suggested we not come to the hospital during the night to allow Emerson to sleep through the night if she would (and she did, the little angel). How many parents of newborn children do you know who get to sleep through the night for two weeks after the birth of a child. It was a rude awakening when she came home and only slept 6 hours. Although Emerson was a preemie, she quickly caught up with all her benchmarks and became a healthy little baby!
So, Emerson was anxious to get into the world. Nine years later, I can say that I am so glad she was and did. I have enjoyed every moment of being Emerson’s mom. She has taught me patience. She has taught me how to love without boundaries. She has brought out the best (and unfortunately sometimes the worst) in me. Though I am nowhere near perfect with either of my children, they propel me to be the best person I can be.
So, when Emerson was a toddler, every night, I would ask her, “Emerson, do you know how much I love you?” She would respond, “No Mommy, how much?” And I would say “I love you as tall as the tallest mountain, as deep as the deepest ocean and as long as the longest, winding river. That’s how much I love you.” It is my love song to my daughter!
Happy Ninth Birthday, baby girl!