Emily Geller Hardman, 35, was planning to give birth without medication for her second child.
But giving birth in the hospital – or even at home – was not on the cards for the singer.
Instead, she greeted her daughter in the backseat of her car on a New Jersey freeway.
“My first was a cesarean, and since then I’ve been planning and enjoying preparing for a drug-free birth,” said Geller Hardman, who sings in opera and musical theater. CNB.
“I worked for almost three years to try to achieve it and then it happened and it was amazing but it was in a car, which is not expected.”
Her firstborn Wesley, now 3, arrived by Caesarean section because he was in breech. During her second pregnancy, she was busy preparing for a non-medicated delivery at Danbury Hospital, about 45 minutes from her home in Briarcliff Manor, New York.
But at 37 weeks, at a cousin’s wedding in Lancaster, Pa. On May 14, she gave birth.
“I got a lot of comments like ‘Wow you’re gonna dance that baby’ or ‘dancing causes labor, you know,'” she recalled. Shortly after leaving the wedding hall around 10:30 p.m., her water broke.
Geller Hardman knew that contractions could take 12 to 24 hours to really start, so she and her husband, Travis Hardman, went back to bed. But at 3 a.m., her contractions intensified. They got in the car and headed for New York.
She used a contraction timer app and tried not to push. But the baby had other plans.
“So I felt the top of the baby’s head, and I said ‘there is a head’ and he said ‘OK’.” As Hardman tried to stop, “his whole body flies away.”
Thanks to his extensive research, Geller Hardman believes that what happened was something known as the fetal ejection reflex, also known as the Ferguson reflex, which is when the body expels a baby without any forced pressure from the mother.
“I was trying not to push because I didn’t want to give birth in the car,” she said. “I wanted to give birth with my midwives, with the doula and, you know, when you’re not in a claustrophobic space on wheels.”
When Geller Hardman caught the baby, she found out she had a daughter. Rosemary Claire arrived on May 15 at 5:47 am.
“She’s out and she’s breathing, she’s not crying or screaming but she is breathing,” she recalls.
“And so I grabbed a bunch of towels which I instinctively grabbed from the hotel room again on my way out and wrapped her up and started rubbing her to try and stimulate her to make her cry.” and I knocked her over, rubbing her back just trying to let gravity drain any kind of fluid if there was any mucus or gunk. And we blew up the heat and the car trying to keep it warm, and my husband called 911. ”
Paramedics arrived to find the well-doing mom and baby and took them to Saint Peter’s Teaching Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey.
When telling the story now, Geller Hardman said people imagine screaming and chaos.
But in reality, “it was really quite peaceful,” she said.
“Birth takes place everywhere, in all kinds of places, and it’s rarely something we can control. But I think the most important thing is to try to cultivate and plan, to deliver in an environment where you are respected and heard, and you feel safe. It doesn’t matter how you give birth, ”she said.
“I think the mind is very powerful and that you are capable of more than you think. The power of positive thinking, meditation, and breathing can really go a long way. “