After several years as a midwife, and nurse practitioner, Emily Dial, of Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, knew she wanted the moments she welcomed her third child to be extra special.
Dial, 34, who expected to give birth via C-section, says she knew early in her pregnancy that she wanted to help deliver her new baby. So, when she welcomed Emma Kaye on Sunday, Dial excitedly pulled the little girl out of her stomach. (Her photographer captured the powerful photos during the birth and posted them to her Facebook page here.)
“It was a perfect moment. It was probably one of the most perfect moments of my life,” Dial tells PEOPLE, noting that she expected the baby to be a boy. “I was in shock and awe. I really wasn’t thinking about my belly being wide open. I was just like, ‘Oh my God! This really is a girl.’ ”
For the delivery, Dial scrubbed in and wore gloves throughout the birth. Doctors draped a plastic tarp over the top portion of her body and Dial avoided kissing Emma immediately after the delivery, as she wanted to “maintain sterile technique.” Medical staff helped Dial onto the table and put the gloves on the woman so nothing would be contaminated.
Dial has given birth to all of her children via C-section. Her first child, Grayson, died at just 10 days old due to health issues. And when she gave birth to now-4-year-old Ella in 2013, Dial was much too nauseous to be active in the birth.
But things were different the third time around.
“I pulled my own baby out! It’s gonna be really difficult in the future to top that moment,” the doting mother says. “I had the [plastic] drape in front of my face and, trying to maintain sterile technique, I couldn’t kiss [Emma]. I just kept bringing her up to my face and looking at her, like, ‘I just want you in my arms so much.’ ”
After 13 years together, Dial’s husband, Lucas, wasn’t at all surprised that she wanted to bring their third child into the world in such a way.
Photos from Sarah Hill Photography showed the nontraditional birth, and Dial sported a wide smile when she finally got to embrace her new daughter. She says having Hill photograph the birth was extra special, as Dial helped deliver Hill’s baby in 2016.
“You follow women through their whole lives. You don’t just get them at their birth, you get them through their whole lives,” Dial tells PEOPLE.”I know [Sarah] had a passion for photography, so with my vision for my birth I said, ‘Sarah, I really would like you to come.’ We made it work.”
The significance of the delivery wasn’t lost on Hill either.
“It was incredible to be able to capture that moment through my lens! Besides giving birth to my own boys it was one of the best days I’ve ever had,” Hill tells PEOPLE. “There’s something so special about witnessing life come into this world but when you get to see a momma do it the way Emily did it’s indescribable.”
Hill first shared Dial’s story with Love What Matters.
Now, Dial is happy at home with her newborn daughter. And she says the hope her “amazing” delivery can send a message to other women.
“No, it is not ideal for a woman to have a Caesarean deliver, but even if you do, you can still have a great experience,” she says. “It doesn’t mean you have to just be laying on a table. You can still be a part of your birth. Even if you’re not pulling your baby out, you can still be an active part of your birth and have a great experience.”