When we tell people that we originally didn’t plan on having any children they’re often surprised. It took us 5 years of marriage before we felt somewhat ready to welcome a child into our family. We had our son Jack in 2014 and were beyond happy with our little man who loves adventuring, is a great traveler, is emotional, a total Momma’s Boy, throws some epic tantrums, is sweet, loving, inquisitive, and so much more.

Jack on the trail at 6 weeks!

Again, we spent a long time debating the addition of another baby. After we decided to give it a go we had a miscarriage in October, 2015 while visiting Acadia National Park. I was beyond devastated. I wasn’t sure if I would ever be willing to go through with trying for another baby ever again. Bobby’s words following our miscarriage really solidified in me a desire for another child. He said, “It feels like there’s a hole in our family. We don’t feel complete.” That was the moment I realized he was right and that I was willing to risk it and try again.

In February, 2016 we found out we were pregnant again!

White Sands National Monument the day we found out we were pregnant!

The pregnancy was harder then I had expected and while I was able to do some adventuring along the way, I wasn’t nearly as active as I had been when pregnant with Jack.

38 weeks pregnant with Jack and hiking at Mt Rainier National Park.

7 months pregnant with Rowan in the BWCA

Being an adventurous person and being an unhappy pregnant person is an unfortunate combination. When Rowan’s Due Date began approaching I was filled with fear and dread. Jack’s birth had been 2 days long with 2.5 hours of pushing with 2 codes being called. Our birth plan was thrown out the window and in the end I was able to deliver him vaginally, but it was an incredibly stressful experience. I feared Rowan’s birth would be just as difficult. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Part of why I began this blog was to create a virtual journal to help me remember the monumental moments in our life. I have a notoriously bad memory so writing out our adventures is a great help!

While we have done some pretty amazing things in our lives, the birth of our two children remain my biggest adventures ever. So, here goes, Rowan’s birth story!

At 4:30 in the morning on October 25th I awoke and experienced a small gush of fluid. Not thinking much of it, since I wasn’t having any contractions I fell back asleep. An hour later and I awoke to a slightly larger gush of fluid. Huh… Weird… Maybe my water was breaking!

I have an “irritable uterus” and had been having Braxton Hicks contractions every 10 minutes or so since 17 weeks pregnant with Rowan. But, all that had come to a stop. I had GroupB strep so I called our midwife and headed to the hospital in order to receive the antibiotics that would protect Rowan.

By the time we arrived at the hospital a little after 6:00 a.m. I still was having no contractions but my water was definitely broken! We got checked into triage, put on the monitors, and hooked up with my first round of antibiotics.

The midwife on call told me that from this point on things were up to me. They would wait up to 12 hours after my water broke before interfering. But, if I wanted to sooner I could.

As we prepared for the labor and delivery of Rowan we knew she would be our last baby. I also knew that I wanted Bobby to be completely present at the birth with me and not need to worry about capturing the moments on camera. So, I enlisted the help of birth photographer extraordinaire, Alicia, from Alicia Faye Photography. All these gorgeous photos during the birth are thanks to her remarkable talents!

We opted to walk the grounds of the hospital to see if we could get things moving along. Alicia met up with us along the way.

Nothing was happening and we were both running on a full nights sleep so we decided that if there was still no action by noon that we would opt to be induced. The thought of receiving pitocin terrified me. My history of an overactive uterus and Jack struggling to survive as my body pushed him through a difficult labor had me extremely apprehensive. I called my mom, knowing I would need the extra support as I navigated this birth.

My mom was also with us during Jack’s labor and delivery. She is a calming, reassuring presence to have in the room. During contractions she would place her hand on me, sending me the energy, the strength, the courage, and whatever else I needed to make it through.

Three hours after receiving pitocin labor finally started.

We had toyed with the idea of a water birth so were placed in a room with a large tub. While we were prohibited from delivering in the tub due to the pitocin, I was allowed to labor in it. The tub was so big it was actually a little difficult to find a comfortable position, but once I did, the warm water helped as my labor progressed and intensified.

The contractions came strongly and swiftly with minimal breaks in between. I struggled to keep up and lost the rhythm of the labor.

Bobby became my rock. I clung to him needing him close. Needing to feel his strong steady breath. He was my anchor trying desperately to keep me calm and focused as panic attacks threatened.

Rowan was in a slightly odd position so my amazing midwife, Suzanne, had me labor in various, uncomfortable positions in an attempt to get Rowan to move to a more desirable spot. It was agony to labor in these positions but with Suzanne’s steady guidance, a nurse, my mom, and Bobby all supporting me, both physically and mentally I made it through and we got Rowan moved.

I had hoped for a drug-free labor but it wasn’t to be as I sobbed out that I wanted the epidural. The time between contractions was too short. I couldn’t recover. I needed help. The anesthesiologist was soon there and I received a bit of relief.

My labor had been back labor. Rowan’s head was pressed up against my tailbone so the epidural didn’t do much for that pain, as it was bone on bone. My midwives encouraged me to rest. The lights were turned out and we all settled in for a nap. Alicia finally took a break to get some food. Minutes later the pressure intensified and wouldn’t stop. The midwifes were called back. I was fully dilated and ready to push. Alicia came running back. Rowan would soon be with us.

It was our hope that Bobby would be able to catch Rowan, with the help of our midwife, and we weren’t disappointed.  Everything was going well and he got into position and was taking directions from the midwife. He was mildly terrified after being told she would be slippery and not to drop her!

Soon enough, at 11:14 pm, there she was. On my chest. Screaming. And enormous.

I couldn’t believe she was here. So much waiting. So much hope. So many prayers. Here she was.

At all my prenatal appointments, I always measured about a week behind so the midwives assumed she would be a smaller baby. Nope! She was huge! Weighing in at 8 pounds, 15 ounces and 21.5 inches! My midwife proclaimed, “You were ALL baby!” We couldn’t get over the size of her biceps!

Bobby’s love for his little girl was instantaneous. The bond made quickly. The love shared.

It felt amazing to have our family complete.

Rowan showed us her strength by raising her head moments after being born. “She may be small, but she is mighty!” had been my mantra through labor and she has most definitely lived up to it; rolling over at 7 weeks, at 3 months she already has full neck control and wants to sit up. She loves being on the move, she loves being sung to, she loves making her opinion heard loud and clear, and she loves her brother.

The last 16 weeks have been a crazy rollercoaster ride full of emotions, firsts, struggles, love, smiles, tears, and so much more.

Welcome to the world Rowan Margaret. There is so much to see and learn. We can’t wait to watch you on the remarkable journey you are sure to take through life.

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About the author

I am the youngest of six daughters and spent my childhood vacations camping in the beautiful State Parks of MN. In 2009 I married my best friend, Bobby Marko. We have embarked on numerous adventures along with our Golden Retriever, Latigo, our son, Jack (born 7/26/2014) and our daughter, Rowan (born 10/25/2016). When not adventuring in the great outdoors I spend my time as a stay at home mom and volunteer. I am a Branch Lead for the Twin Cities Hike it Baby branch. My favorite pastimes include dog training, eating chocolate, reading mysteries and crappy romance novels, and creating paper crafts, my passion lies in writing.


  1. I love love love reading birth stories and this one was no exception! <3

  2. Maura Marko

    Thanks Ingunn! I am so glad I finally sat down and wrote it all out!

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