Emilia's Birth Story | Phoenix Birth Photographer
Emilia's birth was the first Cesarian birth I ever witnessed and photographed, and it was such an honor. Even though things didn't go as planned, Jen was still able to have a beautiful and powerful birth experience. This is her story.
Emilia didn't quite come the way I had planned, but it was all beautiful in a completely different
way. My family was there. Everything came together so fast and perfectly timed. Everyone
made it and she came out happy and healthy and that's all that matters.
I had wanted a beautiful home birth so badly. I fell in love with the photos and videos of these
powerful mamas laboring naturally. Their strength and grace, I wanted to experience that, as
terrifying as it was. My pregnancy was full of indecision about providers and location of my birth.
It was filled with anxiety and excitement but I knew I wanted to have the benefits of a natural
birth. I wanted that natural oxytocin to flood my system. I wanted to feel it in my soul that I had a
baby. I wanted a good milk supply. I wanted daddy to catch his baby girl and for her to be put on
my chest, cord still attached. I wanted to feel powerful and breathe my baby down. I wanted to
do a good job, but I didn't get that chance.
Our little girl picked her due date to start labor, but things weren't quite right. The contractions
were too long and too close together, but I felt fine. My water finally broke the next morning at
five am. I was thrilled because I didn't want to go overdue and need to be induced. I was so
excited and felt ready to go into labor. I was prepared. I texted my midwife and excitement
turned to worry. I was bleeding more than I should've been and I didn't know it wasn't normal.
When she arrived and checked me, I was only 1cm dilated and baby flipped breech…. at 40
weeks. My boyfriend had gone to work to get a few things done since we expected some time
for early labor with my first birth. Next thing I knew, I was calling him telling him to meet me at
the hospital. Jetta, my midwife, suspected a slight placental abruption. Shit. I thought if I was
going to have a c-section it would be the easy way out. Boy, was I wrong.
I poked my belly throughout that long car ride to St Joe’s, the place I was born over 31 years
ago and the place where I began my nursing career. I wanted to feel my baby moving every
second. I just wanted her to be ok.
When Dr. Medchill performed the ultrasound, he confirmed her breech position and didn't
visualize any active bleeding. However, considering that the abruption was a high probability
and laboring would only cause more separation from the uterine wall, the best and safest option
was a c-section. (He did offer to allow me to labor and deliver a breech baby, was extremely
calm, supportive and put the decision in my hands.)
I agreed to surgery. I cried and grieved the loss of a “perfect birth.” They wheeled me back after
I looked down and said goodbye to my belly. My family had all been on their way and they gave
me lots of hugs. I hugged my amazing midwife and my boyfriend and I went off to the OR. I am
so thankful they allowed my photographer back, too. There is so much I never would've seen.
The spinal block wasn't very painful. I wasn't afraid of surgery. I wasn't afraid of a c-section in
general. A big part of me, and my boyfriend felt the same, was less afraid of a c-section than all
the possibilities and unknowns with labor and birth. A c-section is controlled, calculated and
As the drugs kicked in, my legs started going numb. The rush came. The slight feeling of
difficulty breathing. The loopy, high feeling. Some drowsiness. I watched in a tiny, crappy mirror
above my head. Everyone in masks, I was otherwise blind to what was happening. They
prepped my body and began to cut. I was in another reality. It all felt so strange. They cut and
pulled and out came her butt, then came one leg and the other. She slipped out and froze. I
froze. “Is she ok??” I asked. It seemed the world stopped and all were silent. Then… she
moved. She cried and I sobbed. They held her above the drape and I sobbed some more. My
boyfriend was thrilled and asked if he could go see her and leave my side for a moment. Of
course. It seemed like an eternity before she came back to me. “Are they almost done?”
She was brought over. I laughed with pure joy. I was in love. That moment she was placed on
my chest was exactly what I had been hearing about. I lost it and tears flowed for love of my
daughter. I could not believe how soft her skin was. I hugged and hugged. It was the most love I
have ever felt in my life. C-section or not, birth is truly incredible.
After that moment, I felt sicker and sicker. I asked them to take her and she went off to the next
room with daddy. I tried to throw up but couldn't from the paralysis and ended up getting
phenergan. I was so knocked out from that I could barely keep my eyes open. Dr. Medchill
showed me my placenta where it had been separating from my uterine wall and had clotted. No
doubt a continued labor would've led to an emergency. I am so fortunate I to have had an
excellent midwife to keep us safe and make the right call to bring us in.
The rest of the day was a blur as family came in and out. The love and support was more than I
could ask for. I could barely hold and feed my baby but I did it. It wasn't what I wanted or
planned, but we are safe. In the end, I am beyond thankful above all else for that and have
beautiful memories of a very exciting birth in the hospital - the first day to a lifetime of love and