There are certain experiences in life that even the best of friends aren’t comfortable doing together, such as delivering each other’s babies. St. Mary’s Hospital labor and delivery nurse Laura Bland and her childhood best friend took their friendship to a whole new level by doing just that – four times.
Laura and Courtney met when their families joined the same church in Richmond, Virginia, in 1984. Laura was one year old and Courtney was three years old. The pair, along with Laura’s twin sister, became fast friends. They grew up together attending church and youth group activities. Eventually Laura played a part in Courtney’s wedding.
When Courtney, a radiologic technologist and a medic, and her husband, a pharmacist and a medic, decided to start a family, it seemed natural to ask Laura to deliver their first baby boy in 2009. Courtney knew she wanted to have Laura there to ease all her nerves and to give her that extra reassurance only a best friend can provide.
“Growing up, Courtney always loved babies, so I knew she would have a lot of kids,” said Laura. “She is very nurturing and makes it look very easy. We feel even closer after having experienced the deliveries of her four beautiful boys together.”
From hearing the baby’s heartbeat to the gender reveal, Laura says she was always by Courtney’s side. But when Laura was on vacation when Courtney went into labor, she was so dedicated to delivering Courtney’s son that she drove home from vacation using another friend’s car and met Courtney at the hospital.
Little did the best friends know that Courtney would have three more boys in 5 1/2 years— and that Laura would deliver all of them!
“I actually found it comforting knowing that it would be Laura helping our family through each of these massive life changes,” Courtney said. “It was also comforting to know that there are lots of amazing nurses besides Laura at St. Mary’s Hospital. All the labor and delivery nurses are best friends on the unit. They really are one big family.”
After her first son was born, Courtney and her husband experienced what all parents go through – uncertainty about what to do with a crying baby that won’t sleep. Laura came to their home next night and stayed up with the baby while Courtney and her husband caught up on sleep. Laura taught them how to swaddle a baby like nobody ever had. “From the next night on we slept,” said Courtney. “To this day, oldest son is AMAZING sleepers. I have always attributed this to Laura!”
Laura has been a nurse at St. Mary’s for 14 years. She and Courtney have been through lots of life’s up and downs together. While they don’t live close to each other today, they talk frequently and when they see each other, they pick right back up where they left off.
“There is something powerful about knowing that my babies mean so much to her, too,” said Courtney. “The fact that my best friend was there to share the magic of four new lives made it absolutely perfect.”