Mother's Day: The Story of Gabriel's Birth

Adriana Letorney and her husband welcome baby Gabriel, born at the Birthing Center at the University of Vermont Medical Center.


Every birth is unique and special. Throughout a pregnancy and birth, women make a complex series of interconnected decisions that will define their experience throughout the nine to ten months and, especially, during labor and birth. One big decision is where to give birth. 

From the moment we learned we were expecting a baby, I knew two things: on one hand, I wanted to be assisted by a midwife, and I also wanted to be at a hospital in case there were any complications. I was 34 years old, and it had taken Graham and I more than three years to conceive. My inner voice revealed that the right decision for me was to merge both our confidence in my body to deliver a healthy baby with the guidance of a midwife – and our realization that the support of a hospital was an invaluable resource in case of the unexpected.

We were delighted to learn that the University of Vermont Medical Center has a Birthing Center, where the midwives are accessible 24/7 during your pregnancy and at birth. During my pregnancy, I always had the option to consult with an OB doctor, who was available at all times if needed—that being said, I did not use this service during the time because the midwives provided me with all the information, resources and guidance needed. This group of professional midwives prepared me in such a way that I felt the confidence that I could do this, as well as the strength to face any of my fears or insecurities that naturally rise during the process.

I entered the UVM Medical Center seeking service, support, assistance and expertise from an empowered woman about how to go through the most powerful, yet painful experience of my life. My mother in law told me “Think of it like a marathon,” and although I have never run one, I knew exactly what she meant. I was to set myself with a series of goals that came with real physical, mental, and emotional challenges – all of which I could overcome.

Although I visited the hospital regularly throughout my pregnancy and for the birth of our son, I was not sick. Giving birth is not a disease, and although I did get nausea and contractions hurt indescribably, I was not sick. The midwives at the Birthing Center respected my body and the decisions that I made during the process. We aimed for a natural birth and they respected that decision. Meanwhile they also prepared me for the unexpected.

Mother and baby.


Gabriel Robert Letorney was born in 2013 at the University of Vermont Medical Center. I was assisted by Martha Churchill, one of the midwives at the Birthing Center. She was my angel.

My husband and midwife delivered our son after ten hours of labor. Yes, I just described how a midwife delivered our son in a hospital. It was the most beautiful, rewarding experience in my life, for I was surrounded by my dream team. Marti was my coach alongside my husband. She walked me through the process with love, respect, kindness, serenity, and focus. She never left my side, and I am forever grateful to her.

At the time of birth, complications arose that solidified that we had made the right decision: to give birth at the Birthing Center in a hospital. For one, it took Gabriel a while to breath once he was born, and I had an internal rupture that caused a lot of bleeding. For the first three minutes, everything became a blur. That being said, I never felt fear. I knew I was in the right place with the right team, which included my midwife, husband, and the doctors at the NICU. By the time I realized I was bleeding and my son wasn’t breathing, the bleeding had been controlled and our son was taking his first breath. This was all within a window of five minutes.

The birth of our son was special and unique. It is a story that I will cherish and remember for the rest of my life. My life has changed completely, and I am fulfilled in ways I never knew existed.

Every birth is unique and special. Every child is a gift of life. The entirety of this experience is in part thanks to the Birthing Center and its team of midwives, whose knowledge and guidance brought life to our lives.

Learn more about the Mother-Baby Project at the University of Vermont Medical Center. 

Adriana Teresa Letorney is the Co-founder & Creative Director of FotoVisura Inc, which produces, most notably, Adriana is also a writer, photo editor, curator and photographer. In addition, she is a guest writer at the New York Times Lens Blog and Huffington Post.