Emily Johnson, 31, and her husband Michael, of Vacaville, California, were expecting their second child — but they weren’t expecting the way he’d make his big debut.
About a week before his estimated date of arrival, he decided enough was enough. It was Nov. 4 when Emily started experiencing contractions, but she’d been through this before and knew that contractions 10 minutes apart were not a sign it was time to rush to the hospital.
Ironically, Emily had also secretly hoped that their baby would be born early.
“I was really, really eager to be done,” Emily told KCRA-TV. “I was hoping he was going to come early, but we never really knew.”
Plus, the hospital was only five minutes away, so there was nothing to worry about — until, in the span of just half an hour, Emily’s contractions went from 10 minutes apart to one minute apart.
“The contractions went to five minutes and three minutes and two minutes and one minute in like a matter of about 20 to 30 minutes, and we are like, ‘Oh, we got to get in the car we got to go,'” Emily recalled.
But it was far too late for even a short drive to the hospital.
“Got to the car, stood at the car, and just said, ‘No, I can’t get into this car,'” Emily said.
Instinct took over, and Emily prepared herself to give birth on their front lawn, under an open sky.
“‘I’m just going to get on the grass,'” she said of her thoughts at the time. “‘And I’m going to be here. This is going to be my spot.'”
Kristy Sparks, Emily’s mom, had arrived right before they planned to set off to the hospital, and she was just in time to welcome little Thomas into the world.
First responders arrived to find the grandmother already cradling her newest grandchild.
“By the time they walked up to me, I had a baby in my arms crying,” Sparks said. “And it was unreal.”
Once Thomas made his chaotic entrance into the world and medical professionals arrived, Emily was able to take a moment to herself and process what had just happened.
“I was laid back in the grass and just took a nice deep breath,” she said. “All right, he’s here, I could — I could relax, he’s fine … but man do I never want to do this again.”
Reminders of her very natural birth kept popping up even after she was being tended to in the relative sterility of the hospital.
“I joke that it was like, you know, being a cow giving birth in the field,” Emily said.
“Once I got to the hospital and I went to the bathroom, I had grass clippings just falling off of me and the nurses were wiping dirt off my knees and I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, I did give birth in the lawn,'” she added, laughing.
A short while after the fact, dad realized the whole birth had been recorded.
“I was like, ‘Oh, oh this is going to be on the camera,'” Michael said. “I’m going to watch this and we can share this.”
Emily has a good sense of humor about the whole ordeal, highlighting the fact that it was a small miracle that she just so happened to be positioned in a way that the video was shareable.
“And I’m just thankful that I was faced in that direction because otherwise, I don’t think we’d be able to share the video footage with anybody,” she said.
Thomas and Emily are both doing well, and the family met up with some of the first responders under less urgent circumstances.
“As chaotic as it seemed, it was probably one of the smoother ones I’ve seen in my career,” one medic said of the birth, according to The Gazette. “So everything just happened very naturally.”
And while the video and story will last a lifetime — and no doubt Thomas will roll his eyes over it one day — his parents are hoping the circumstances of his birth are not an indication of his future.
“We’re hoping that all the chaos, he got it out on the first night,” Emily said. “And we’ll just have a nice little easy go with him after that.”
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