As a midwife, Emily Dial has lots of experience delivering babies under a variety of circumstances—but likely none will ever compare to the moment she delivered her own baby via C-section in March 2018.

“It was a perfect moment. It was probably one of the most perfect moments of my life,” the Kentucky mom told People, adding the biggest shock to her was the baby’s sex. “I really wasn’t thinking about my belly being wide open. I was just like, ‘Oh my God! This really is a girl.'”

mom delivers her own baby by c section
Sarah Hill

The amazing scene was captured by photographer Sarah Hill, who had used Dial as her midwife before. Sharing the photos on Facebook page, Hill, says of Dial, “She was meant to bring babies into this world and didn’t let a little thing like a C-section stop her from delivering her own! To watch her colleagues rally around her and make this happen was so beautiful.”

To make it happen, Dial stayed in “professional” mode as much as possible during the delivery by scrubbing in and wearing gloves.

“I had the [plastic] drape in front of my face and, trying to maintain sterile technique, I couldn’t kiss [Emma],” Dial says. “I just kept bringing her up to my face and looking at her, like, ‘I just want you in my arms so much.'”

The moment was especially significant for Dial, whose 4-year-old daughter and late son were born during C-sections she was unable to assist. (Beyond, of course, the role of mama.)

Here’s what it looks like when a mom delivers her own baby via C-section

mom delivers her own baby by c section baby coming out
Sarah Hill

And although delivering your own baby via C-section is not for everyone, Dial says she hopes her experience sends an important message to other women who have cesarean births.

“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.”

[This story was originally published on March 15, 2018. It has been updated.]