She drew herself inward and did not panic. Summoning all of the relaxation and breathing techniques she knew, she chanted and moaned and stayed calm through the pain of labor.
Somehow, she managed to do what many would find unthinkable: Bovino delivered her daughter with her own hands while her 3-year-old son lay sleeping in a room nearby and her husband was rushing home from his overnight shift as a police officer.
"There was no time to be scared," said Bovino, 34, of Southington, Conn. "You get into a primal mode. If I had an ounce of fear, I wouldn't have been able to have a healthy outcome."
Little Stella was born in the couple's bathroom early on May 6, five days before her due date.
The birth was not without complications. The umbilical cord was severed during delivery and there was a lot of blood loss, Bovino said. But Stella did not require any special treatment at the hospital where mom and baby were taken after the birth for monitoring.
"I'm blessed that everything turned out the way it did, that she was healthy and I was healthy because, who knows, any number of things could go wrong in childbirth," Bovino said.
Still, Bovino said, she hopes her unique experience will inspire pregnant women "to trust themselves and trust their bodies. For thousands of years, women birthed naturally. Now women don't trust themselves and they fear the unknown of it."