Today we bring you Laura’s incredible birth story. Laura and her partner Mikey live in Homer, Alaska with their daughter Hannah.
I honestly don’t know the best manner or order to present all of the awesome elements of this story, so I’ll do my best to share it all as it hits me.
First of all, Laura is an incredibly strong young woman. She experienced 4 miscarriages over the course of 2 years, as well as the miscarriage of an adopted baby. After ending her marriage, she packed up her life and moved to Fairbanks, Alaska. She eventually met her partner Mikey and they became pregnant shortly after dating. Not knowing if she’d be able to carry a pregnancy to full-term, along with the new relationship, a lot of things seemed uncertain.
But as love and life would have it, Laura did carry to term. She gave birth to their daughter Hannah in a cabin (with no running water!) on a day when the temperature was twenty degrees below zero!
Laura describes her birth as a dream come true. She’s also a birth doula, postpartum care specialist, placenta specialist, and certified lactation counselor - so as a fellow birth junkie, she had lots to share!
Listening to Laura’s story gave me goosebumps - it gave me warm and fuzzies - it made me tear up - it made me grateful - it made me hopeful.
We’re so thankful for Laura and her tenacity and willingness to share with us. Oh and major PS - she straight up ate part of her placenta after giving birth. Like, her midwife cut off a piece and she held it in her mouth for a few minutes before eating. Total badass.
Laura's Written Birth Story
After somewhere around 3 weeks of prodromal labor, I was exhausted and still working my full-time job. I hit 40 weeks on Wednesday and by Saturday my partner was talking me out of taking castor oil. 😕
I SO didn't want to go to work on Monday. I had timeable contractions every night down to about 3 mins apart but as soon as I went to bed they'd stop. Sunday we did everything we possibly could to make baby come, short of castor oil. I took evening primrose oil, drank lots of RRL tea, ate dates, had super uncomfortable "let's get this baby out now" sex, walked a couple miles, danced, did nipple stimulation and pumped, etc. I went to bed feeling defeated that it hadn't worked.
I was still having prodromal labor contractions and tomorrow was the start of another work week. The night drug on. It was the most restless I'd been the whole pregnancy. I debated for hours whether or not I should go to work. My midwifes wanted to see me for my weekly prenatal in the middle of the work day so it was either stay home from work, or not see them until Friday. I guiltily let that be the determining factor.
Once Mikey left for work I sprawled out in bed and got a good nap. I woke up at about 9 feeling energized. I got up and straightened up the house. I was already having timeable contractions that early in the day.
Around 11 they changed and were completely different than anything before. They went from just uterine tightening to terrible period-like cramps with some light mucus when I peed. I texted my partner and told him I thought that it was starting. We don't have running water so I called my girlfriend to see if she could come pick me up so I could shower at her house. Her husband picked me up at 12:15 and I was having difficulty talking or acting normal through the contractions.
On the way to their house to shower I knew it was real. I told Mikey to meet me there and we got in the shower together immediately. The water felt SO good but things were intensifying quickly. I ran a bath after our shower and told Mikey to text my doula and tell her that I was in labor and would let her know when she should head my way. I lost my plug in the bath but no bloody show.
Only about 5 mins later Mikey said we needed to get home and as soon as I got out it was unbearable. I texted my doula and told her I needed her now!
On the way home we called the photographer and the guy that was delivering water for the birth pool. My midwifes were scheduled to come at 2:30 for my prenatal and I called them to tell them I was in labor. They told me that it was probably gonna be awhile so to let them know when I was further along. Less than 5 mins later I was home and time didn't exist to me.
I was moaning through every surge and opening up to meet baby. I got on my hands and knees on the ottoman and just labored. My doula arrived and called the midwives immediately to come. I was already pushy. My body had taken over. It felt like I was dry heaving out of my vagina. The feeling was uncontrollable. I sat on my potty bucket and my bloody show came.
Labor was intense! I got back on the ottoman and stayed there the remainder of my labor. The photographer arrived, then the midwives. The house was a flurry of activity but I was in labor land. I had planned to labor in the birth pool but the water was literally starting to freeze when the truck got to our house. It was -20°F outside and there was a moose hanging out in the yard.
They filled the pool about halfway up and started boiling water in every pot we had. It was comical. Meanwhile, I continued to labor with support from my wonderful partner and doula.
Up to that point the midwives hadn't touched me. I got up to pee and they asked if I wanted to know where my dilation was. I was all about it! She felt my cervix and got up with an interesting look on her face. We all stared, waiting for her response. "You can turn off the stove and quit boiling water. We're gonna have a baby soon". Guys, I was 9 centimeters!!! I had only been laboring for about 5 hours.
I sat up on the ottoman and my water broke. I was shocked and so stoked. It felt so good! I immediately went back to that spot deep in myself to bring my baby into the world. Before long, my body was doing more of the dry heaving thing. I wasn't pushing, my body was ejecting the baby out for me. The head began descending and everyone gathered around. I supported the front while my midwife supported my perineum. I kept asking if the baby had hair.
The first time I felt her little head was incredible but as I was stretching it began to burn. As soon as I felt her hair, labor paused. I was content kneeling and feeling her head but they encouraged me to push her whole head out first. The burning subsided but there was another problem. She had a nuchal arm. The midwife started trying to rotate her so she could come out but she wasn't budging. They told me I needed to turn over.
I got up (with a baby hanging out of me!!) and flipped over. She was able to turn baby so she could come out. As my baby came out, everyone gasped, gawking at her size. She was HUGE!!
I was in a daze as they suctioned her nose out and handed her to me. She was so heavy I thought she was gonna squish me! I almost couldn't hold her. We loved on our new baby as my placenta was born. Unfortunately, I began hemorrhaging and they had to give me Pitocin to help stop the bleeding. Once the bleeding was under control, I gave the baby to her daddy and moved to the couch to get cozy. I started a bag of IV fluids and drank some hot tea. I was exhausted!
I got baby back to feed her and she did amazing! We watched as she found my breast on her own and latched on for her first meal. A couple hours later after skyping our families and introducing baby, we got the placenta out to look at it. Mikey got to cut the cord with his Leatherman. He was so proud!
I was craving raw placenta and the midwife said that it could benefit me, especially after hemorrhaging. She tore off a chunk for me and I stuck it in my lip for several minutes before swallowing it. It didn't taste bad at all and I felt like a total badass. After that, everyone began filing out. They thanked me for having such a quick and easy labor so they could be home by 9! 😂
The midwives were the last to leave and when they did, all was quiet. Mikey cuddled the baby and laid down on the couch next to me. They fell asleep immediately and left me in total awe. Words cannot describe the pride I felt in myself. I had endured my abusive childhood, years of miscarriages and infertility, a failed marriage, a reinvention of myself, and a move across the world. I had stood firm in my conviction for life when I learned of my unplanned pregnancy and feared that I would have to do it alone. I decided to give love another chance, and watched a relationship blossom into mutual love and respect; the deepest I'd ever felt. I had spent 40 weeks and 5 days growing a perfect human with the daily fear of losing her like all my prior babies. I had totally surrendered to the process of birth and embraced every painful surge bringing my baby to me. I accomplished my greatest dream, proving to myself that my belief in a woman's ability to naturally birth was valid. My heart was exploding with satisfaction, gratitude and love. There we were as a family, however unconventional it looked. How could my life be so perfect. I DID IT!