The lovely Laura Yeager, mother to Connor Joseph (almost 3) and Nathan Sherlock (11 mo).
"Motherhood is hard. But it is the best thing that has ever happened to me."
Laura's first child took 8 months to conceive but nobody knew that they were trying. Several friends became pregnant during that time and while she was thrilled for them, she was devastated on the inside thinking it would never happen for her. When she learned she was finally pregnant, she was thrilled and the pregnancy was very easy and healthy. Laura carried past her due date and worked right up until the day she delivered. That morning she awoke with contractions, but was in denial that it was time. After a few hours at work she decided to leave when she realized she was having a difficult time focusing.
Laura labored at home for awhile longer before choosing to go to the hospital. Once there she still felt very much in control but says that, "Once we made the decision to tell family I was in labor, things went down hill for me. I was very overwhelmed with the amount of family members and their opinions on how I was laboring (don't do this, do this instead, you are doing it wrong, etc.). I eventually gave in at 7 cm and got an epidural and to this day I regret this decision. I feel like I didn't have the birth I wanted/planned and that somehow I missed out on the birth on my son even though I got to watch it in the mirror".
About a year after her first was born, Laura found out she was pregnant again. She hadn't yet had her period return so she didn't know how far along she was. Her OB had her have weekly HCG levels to determine her dates but after 2 weeks her levels suddenly dropped. She had called the OB's office for lab results and to see if she needed to repeat them one more week or come in for an appointment and the medical assistant casually stated how her levels were really low and that in one more week they should be back to zero. "I was numb. I replied with "Oh, so I am having a miscarriage?" and she responded,"Yeah, you didn't know that?" No, I didn't know. I wasn't cramping or bleeding. It was like it wasn't a big deal for them. There was no follow up visit or phone call after that. I was just informed that I would start bleeding and should call if I needed anything. So I called my husband and told him. And I went back to work. I didn't know what else to do so I did what I know best, work. When I got home that night I expected to be able to verbalize what happen and talk about it with my husband but instead it was brushed under the rug. I feel like everybody (my OB included) brushed it under the rug and I suffered in silence. I still feel like I never got to grieve this loss. And nobody knows about it still. I still have a hard time accepting this happened". It was halloween when Laura's body finally miscarried and her husband continued to work that weekend while she took care of their year old. On Monday she was back at work like nothing had happened but says it felt like she was dying on the inside.
Still nursing Connor and taking the mini-pill, Laura learned a few months later she was pregnant with Nathan. She was devastated. She didn't feel ready to pregnant again and cried and cried for about a month. "I felt awful for feeling that way but it was the truth. And then I saw his tiny little heart beat (and instantly fell in love)". They didn't tell anyone about the pregnancy until she was about 17 weeks along, but this pregnancy was easy and healthy too. She carried post dates and again worked until she delivered. I made it known from the beginning that nobody would be notified when she was in labor and that a friend would be watching Connor in an attempt to minimize being overwhelmed by family and friends again.
This labor was intense and she had a precipitous delivery. Her water broke at 3:15am and she delivered at 4:29am, barely making it to the hospital. She had the natural birth she'd hoped for and found it to be incredibly empowering. Nate did have a mild shoulder dystocia but is fine.
Laura was afraid of what Connor would do when it came to Nate breastfeeding but he was happy to teach his baby brother how it was done. "He proudly held my breast and Nate's head and told him to "eat". Now that is normalizing breastfeeding!" A good amount of Laura's family and her husband's family weren't on board with breastfeeding. However, after they realized she was ignoring their comments and wasn't going to cover up to nurse my baby they quickly quieted down and with the second they didn't even bat an eye.
Being a working mom and breastfeeding has been very difficult for Laura. "Employers say they are "breastfeeding friendly" but they aren't. I work for one of the largest "breastfeeding friendly" places in Louisville and still was told that my pumping was interfering with client access and I needed to quit. With my first child, I notified HR of my manager's actions and of course nothing was done. However, I continued to nurse and he had to get over it. With my second I notified HR prior to return to work and reminded them of the previous letter I sent so this time they were very happy to go ahead and block two time slots a day for me to be able to pump".
"I want to empower women. We need to empower each other wether you are a mother or not. There is too much "mommy shaming" or "woman shaming" going on in the world. I want to normalize breastfeeding and hopefully encourage someone to stand up when other's are not being supportive like I had to with my job and family. This is motherhood/womanhood. It is hard, exhausting but yet the most beautiful thing out there."