Just shy of being five months pregnant with her fifth child, Laura sat on an uncomfortable bed in the Emergency Department waiting for news. She knew something was wrong, but didn’t know what. Soon the doctor came in and handed Laura a bucket, “I’m sorry, your baby doesn’t have a heartbeat. Take this bucket home, catch whatever resembles a fetus and bring it back to us so we can dispose of it.” Laura did not use the bucket. In fact upon returning home she was confronted with the reality that far too many women face: a lack of information, resources and care for those experiencing pregnancy loss. Two weeks later, after being induced in the Labor and Delivery ward, Laura gave birth to a little girl whom she and her husband, Chris, named Claire. They did not know it at the time, but Claire was the first of seven children to whom Laura and her husband would have to say goodbye.
After navigating the losses of her seven deceased children – all vastly different experiences, at different gestational ages and under a wide variety of circumstances – Laura became a de facto “expert” on pregnancy loss; but it wasn’t until she was supporting her dear friend through a loss of her own that she felt what she describes as a calling to assist, support and educate bereaved parents and those who desire to help them.
Laura completed coursework and accrued 30 nursing credit hours to become a certified birth and bereavement doula. She apprenticed with a local doula in her area, and took classes through the American Red Cross in Psychological First Aid and trauma. Laura is also a student of Via Vitae Midwifery school. This education and hands-on training was the beginning of what is now FiLumena Birth and Bereavement: a ministry started by Laura and her husband to support and assist women and families experiencing a loss, an unexpected prenatal diagnosis, a difficult, traumatic or high risk pregnancy, or who have no other support, regardless of the anticipated outcome for the baby. FiLumena Birth and Bereavement also works to educate and inform on the issues related to the spectrum of Reproductive Loss. Laura was the highest rated speaker at the 2016 Texas Pregnancy Care Network Conference, and has spoken at the ProLife Women’s Conference on Pregnancy Loss and the ProLife Movement. She has hosted workshops and talks for a variety of audiences on a range of topics including Healing, Hope, Grief, Pregnancy Loss and Infertility, and motherhood after loss.
In her presentations, Laura combines her personal experience with loss and her professional experience supporting and assisting women and families. Laura offers hope, practical and proven tools to help mothers and families heal and concrete ways for others to support and assist those who seek this healing.
Laura’s presentations can be tailored to the needs of the audience, however the most popular talks she gives are:
Hope, Healing, and How to Help: a presentation appropriate for a combined audience of those who have experienced loss, those who wish to better understand loss, and those who wish to better support or assist grieving mothers and families. This presentation is also appropriate for pregnancy resource centers, parishes and birth professionals.
Hope and Healing: A presentation on pregnancy loss, grief, how to heal and find hope appropriate for those who have experienced loss.
Pregnancy Loss and the ProLife Movement: a presentation that explains why reproductive loss IS and MUST BE a ProLife issue.