With a baby on the way and miles from home or hospital, one remarkable mom took matters into her own hands.
When 35-year-old opera singer Emily Geller Hardman was attending a wedding in Lancaster Pennsylvania with husband Travis Hardman, she was packing more than just a dress.
Emily was 37 weeks pregnant with their second child, but that didn’t stop her from enjoying a great night full of dancing without a hitch.
Everything was going smoothly until that night at the hotel when Hardman’s water suddenly broke. Amazingly unphased, she went back to sleep to rest up for a trip to the hospital with Travis.
It turns out the baby had other plans.
That’s because just a few hours and many intense contractions later, she was in back of the couple’s car as Travis raced to the nearest hospital. Talking with PEOPLE, he remembers the chaos clearly.
“She was like, ‘pull over,’ and I said, ‘I can’t pull over here. It’s a deathtrap.”– Travis Hardman
Finally, Travis found a spot for them to safely pull over and Hardman to get out and stretch. She was barely hanging on.
“I remember my legs were shaking,” she says. “I was thinking, ‘I’m bearing down too early. I’m pushing too early.’ I had no control over my body at that point.”
That’s when her motherly instinct kicked in.
“But, I willed myself back into the car at that point because I just thought, ‘Well, we have to make it to the hospital.’ “
“This baby was coming out of me one way or another,” she said.
“I either needed to, for lack of a better word, get on board with what was happening and just allow my body to do what it was doing or I could fight it tooth and nail, which didn’t seem like it was going to be helpful.”– Emily Geller Hardman
And then, they were two.
“I was just feeling a lot of pressure,” recounted Hardman. “So instinctually, I just put my hands down and then I felt the head and immediately after that, she flew out in the next contraction. I caught her and brought her up to my chest and I said, ‘There’s the baby.’ “
In one fell swoop, out came a beautiful and healthy Rosemary Claire. An ambulance arrived 10 minutes later to transport them to the hospital for some much-need R & R.
Preparation creates courage
Amazingly, Hardman downplays any stress from the wild birth. Instead, she credits being an opera singer and especially the work she put in to being ready for the moment.
“You have to perform at a high level under stress, so you’re used to those types of situations and having to focus on what you’re doing and not how you’re doing.”– Emily Geller Hardman
Much of that comes from her belief that childbirth is a process a mother should own.
“I think I’m really lucky in a lot of ways, but I do view birthing babies as a natural process, and that for the most part, it doesn’t need a lot of intervention,” she says.
Hardman’s wild story shows that however a woman chooses to give birth — and whatever unexpected bumps happen along the way — it’s a process to own and savour.
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