Emily met her husband, Mike, at the age of 30 through mutual friends and married a year later. They knew they wanted to have kids, but the process had to be put on pause. Shortly after they were married, Emily had to have major hip surgery and would need to recover prior to conceiving.

Emily and Mike had trouble conceiving initially so they opted to see a fertility specialist with RADfertility. After many tests and a hysteroscopy surgery later, they were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. At this point Emily and Mike had been trying for two years with no outcome. Once they made the decision to move forward with IUI, they found out they were pregnant! Emily had a healthy, beautiful baby boy in August of 2020.

Due to her being considered “advanced maternal age” and wanting their kids to be closer in age, Emily and Mike knew they wanted to try for baby number two as soon as possible. Luckily this time around, they became pregnant relatively quickly.

The Birth Story of Eliana Morgan told by her Mother, Emily

Because my first labor and delivery occurred during the pandemic in 2020 when restrictions were tight, I decided to hire a doula from The Birth Center for the birth of our second child. I was somewhat familiar with The Birth Center, and it just so happened that when I was looking for a doula they were having a Doula Meet and Greet event within the next few weeks. This was the perfect way to meet a doula and pick one that fit our needs. We ultimately decided to go with Sarah Korbeck. Her initial prenatal visits were very helpful to me moving forward. She walked me through plenty of unknowns in my prenatal process, one of which was helping  me advocate for myself about my desire to not be induced once I was past my due date. I was induced with my first pregnancy and wanted the opportunity to go into labor naturally.

My due date was August 16th which came and went. The final days leading up to Eliana’s birth, we tried walking everyday, going out on hikes, sitting on the exercise ball, curb walking, you name it, I was doing it. Those last few days were hard because you just don’t know how to plan for anything. It was stressful making sure I had care scheduled for my son in case I went into labor.

“On Friday, August 19th, I was given a choice to be induced the following Tuesday. I asked for my options, and my OB said to wait another week or be induced. I chose to wait. On Sunday night I went to bed and woke up a few hours later around midnight with contractions throughout the night. The contractions were irregular averaging 15 minutes apart. I couldn’t sleep all night because I was so excited that I was going into labor on my own. I decided not to wake my husband because I figured the baby is coming, and I will be up for a long time. I wanted one of us to be well rested. Once my husband woke up, I told him I was contracting all night and he said “WHAT!” I had a regularly scheduled appointment that day. Contractions were still 15 minutes apart at that point. My OB did an exam and I was shocked when she said I was six centimeters dilated. I hadn’t been in much pain. I only felt a little pressure. I was told to go home, eat lunch, take a walk, and head to the hospital. We went home and walked in our neighborhood. The contractions at this point when I was walking were non-stop. I was worried the baby was coming faster than I realized.

I had tested group B strep positive; therefore, I knew I would be needing antibiotics prior to delivering. My husband and I decided that we needed to start heading to the hospital. We got to the hospital at 4pm, and they started the antibiotics. My doula, Sarah, arrived shortly after. We asked for a birthing ball to help with the contractions around 8pm. Contractions were 7 minutes apart, and I could no longer talk through the contractions. I started focusing on my breathing once contractions were every 3 minutes. We moved over to the bed and tried different positions there to help ease the pain. My goal of the birth was to be unmedicated and go into labor on my own. However, I knew that there were a lot of things that could happen that are completely beyond my control. I did have a birth plan, although it was vague and minimal. 

One thing that kept me from requesting an epidural was my thought that there was no way that I would be able to sit still for them to administer it. I also thought I was too far in the process for an epidural. Everyone at Christiana Care was very supportive, positive, and warm. My doula started doing counter pressure. She put wet washcloths around me to keep me cool, one had lavender essential oil and that was very calming. I kept opting out of cervical exams from the midwife. I felt like things were progressing, yet I didn’t want to be discouraged if they were not. So I figured let’s just keep going forward.

What helped me to the end was doing some mental exercises that Sarah suggested. I had done a lot of physical feats in the past when I played tennis competitively, ran marathons, and climbed mountains that were over 14,000 feet high. So trying to remember those experiences is what helped me. I kept telling myself one contraction at a time, and don’t get ahead of yourself. Just think about this contraction. I was thinking about when I used to run and how I used to count my steps and just that act of counting took my mind off of the act of running itself.

I thought labor was getting harder so I started counting, and it eased my mind a little bit during contractions. After a while, I started to feel pressure, and I started saying that I need to push, I need to push! This was around 10:30 pm. The Midwife asked if she could do a cervical exam, and I was fully dilated. I had not seen anyone in what felt like hours because I kept a cold washcloth over my face, I pulled it off and looked at my husband, and I just told him “I just love you so much and we are going to meet our baby very soon.” This was my favorite moment other than the moment Eliana was born. It was such a powerful and emotional experience. To share all this with my husband was such a beautiful thing.

I am naturally a very calm, reserved and quiet person, yet at this moment I was completely unleashed and just started screaming and pushing the baby out. (My husband and I joke about it now and say it sounded like war cries during battle.) I pushed with everything I had for less than an hour. To everyone’s surprise, Eliana was sunny side up. Nothing in my labor and delivery had indicated that this was the case. I heard her crying and part of me couldn’t believe that I had done it. We chose not to know the gender, and while I was pulling myself together, my husband said “It’s a baby girl!” And I kept repeating to myself over and over again, “I’m so happy, I’m so happy” as I held my baby girl for the first time.

I felt empowered and supported during my pregnancy, labor and delivery. Even though unexpected situations can happen during labor and delivery, I’m so thankful for the experience that I had. And the feeling of being face to face with my baby for the first time was such a beautiful, powerful experience. There is nothing else in the world like it!