Missouri mom Lauren Flaugher picked up a copy of the seminal book Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, which outlines the midwife's role in a pregnancy and encourages moms to return to the natural birthing methods of the past. The book—written by a woman often hailed as the "mother of authentic widwifery"—made a big impact on Lauren.
She was pregnant at the time, of course. As she and her husband, Joe, prepared for the birth of their second child, they discussed the ideas outlined by Ina May Gaskin.
Lauren decided that she would have a natural birth without medication. That choice would make the birth of her son all the more miraculous—but the birth did not go exactly as anticipated.
Lauren spent the days and weeks leading up to her labor studying the techniques recommended by Gaskin.
"I did a lot of visualizations, a lot of positive affirmations before the birth to kind of prepare myself," Lauren told Fox 2 News. But nothing could prepare her for the midwives' reaction when her son was finally born.
On May 2, 2017, Lauren's water broke, with her husband by her side. Joe took her hand in his. When labor began, Lauren went to the Birth and Wellness Center in O'Fallon, Missouri.
This birthing center is owned and operated by midwives and is the only freestanding birthing facility in the area that offers water birth. It was the ideal place to welcome the newest member of the Flaugher family into the world.
Lauren's labor lasted for nine long hours.
She dealt with the struggle by alternating between the Birth and Wellness Center's hot tub and showers. Then it was time to push.
Joe was there the whole time, supporting his wife through the entire process. "He got me popsicles when I wanted them," Lauren later told People. "And during the pushing he said, 'You're doing it! He's going to be here soon!'"
Lauren pushed and pushed for 20 minutes. At one point, her son (who was later named Finnis Steven Flaugher, or Finn for short) seemed to get stuck in the birth canal. The midwives guided Lauren through a series of movements and postures to free the child.
Finally Finn emerged into the world. Lauren hadn't taken medication of any kind. Her dream of a natural birth had come true.
Instead of painful, Lauren describes the situation as "intense."
She had trained her mind to handle what might drive others over the edge. "Part of the prep for natural birth was not to think of it as painful, but intense," she told People. "And it was really intense. I felt very aware of what was happening to my body."
Once their son was free and clear, the Flaughers and their midwives were in for a real shock. A midwife placed the infant onto the nearest scale. Finn could barely fit.
"The scale only went up to 12 pounds, so our midwife looked at me and said, 'We can't use it,'" Lauren said. "I thought the scale was broken!"
The health care team brought in a larger scale—one without the 12-pound limit.
Everyone in the room stared in disbelief at the number that flashed across the scale's display. Baby Finn, fresh from the womb, weighed an incredible 13 pounds. For context, the average baby of European heritage is just 7.7 pounds—nearly half of Finn's weight.
"At first, I honestly could not believe it," Lauren told Fox 2 News. "I kept saying, 'That's wrong, the scale cannot be right, this isn't right.' And they said, 'No, that's right. That's actually true.'"
The Flaughers had some idea that their son would be a big kid. The 20-week ultrasound showed an infant who was a bit bigger than most.
"They said, 'He's showing a little big,'" Lauren told People. "A midwife did the measurement and thought maybe he would be at most a 10-pound baby." Of course, Finn was not just "a little big" when he entered the world. He was enormous!
Women who have given birth shake their heads in disbelief when they hear the story of Finn's natural, medication-free birth.
News of Lauren's natural birth and her huge son quickly spread across social media.
Joe responded with a social media post of his own. He agreed that his wife was a "superwoman" and that the natural birth of such a big infant deserved applause.
But he wanted the world to know that his wife is fabulous for much more than the story of her second son's birth.
"What the world doesn't know is that, besides our children Finn and Aurea, she has had hundreds of children," Joe wrote. "Lauren is a teacher. She has the task of teaching those who do not speak English as their first language. She has shed blood, sweat, and tears over hundreds of children... She has so much love in her heart that she has not only our own children, but her hundreds of students."
Joe concluded with a touching and heartfelt expression of love. "While the story of the birth of our son is wonderful, this is the story of my wife that should be shared for the world to see," he wrote.