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New councilwoman welcomes first child 1 day before winning election

By: Mike Koury | Woodward Talk | Published November 18, 2019

 Laura Mikulski gave birth to her daughter, Lillian Rose Wojdyla, Nov. 4, one day before she was elected by voters to the Ferndale City Council.

Laura Mikulski gave birth to her daughter, Lillian Rose Wojdyla, Nov. 4, one day before she was elected by voters to the Ferndale City Council.

Photo provided by Laura Mikulski

FERNDALE — Tuesday, Nov. 5, was an exciting day for Laura Mikulski, as that night, she won a seat on the Ferndale City Council.

It was an exciting moment for her, one that she worked hard all summer and fall toward, though it would still go down as the second-most monumental thing that happened to Mikulski over the course of the previous 48 hours. That was because, at 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 4, Mikulski and her husband, Ben Wojdyla, walked into Royal Oak Beaumont Hospital so that she could give birth to their daughter.

The birth of Mikulski and Wojdyla’s daughter that day wasn’t planned, as she actually was due three weeks later, on Nov. 25, but a routine trip to the doctor’s office the previous Friday led to the induction.

“There was no choice in the matter,” said Mikulski. “I tried to negotiate to have it happen after the election. My OB just laughed at me because she knew how important this was to me. It was one of those moments where it was very obvious to them that there was some changes happening ... that we needed to address.”

The next several hours were pretty normal, according to the couple. Mikulski underwent some tests and had her blood taken. At around 9 a.m., the doctors started the process to induce labor and start the contractions.

At 4:30 p.m., when the doctors came in to break Mikulski’s water, they found the umbilical cord had come out first before the baby, which is referred to as a prolapsed cord. This is a serious complication in which the cord can become trapped against the child during the delivery.

It was a scary discovery for both Mikulski and Wojdyla.

“At that point, the nurse makes a call (and) the whole team rushes in,” Wojdyla said. “It’s probably 15 people all prepping Laura for surgery. … It’s very intense and, naturally, as it is happening, Laura is freaking out and I’m freaking out, too.”

In the span of three minutes, recalled Wojdyla, the doctors went from breaking his wife’s water to wheeling Mikulski into the operating room. Wojdyla wasn’t allowed to join because the process was happening so fast and there was no time for him to scrub in.

Wojdyla waited in the hall while Mikulski was given a general anesthetic during the birth. In just nine minutes, at 4:39 p.m., Lillian Rose Wojdyla was welcomed into the world and, despite the complication, was delivered healthy.

“That was, as you might imagine, rather relieving,” Wojdyla said.

Fast forward 24 hours, and Mikulski was in and out of consciousness from the time she came out of surgery. She was “pretty out of it,” Wojdyla said.

Election Day was mostly a blur for Mikulski, because doctors had her “on enough morphine that I feel like they could’ve knocked down an elephant. I spent most of the early portion of the day Tuesday just knocked out,” she said.

As the day progressed, Wojdyla kept tabs on the election, even though returns wouldn’t come in until polls closed at 8 p.m. Once they did, the two followed along on the Oakland County Elections website, where they saw Mikulski had the lead.

“People are a little bit protective of me. They’re like, ‘Hey, just focus on recovering,’ but at the same time, I wanted to check and see what was happening, and my husband let me know that I was in the lead,” she said.

Forty-five minutes after the polls closed, Mikulski and Wojdyla saw that all nine precincts were reporting in: Mikulski had won a seat on the City Council. Wojdyla remembered that she wasn’t able to even accept a win at that point, as she didn’t want to jinx it. It took another hour before she did.

“It was a mini celebration with myself and the nurses and my husband in the recovery wing of Beaumont, Royal Oak,” Mikulski said. “(Lillian) came a little bit early to help me celebrate.”

Even then, the newly elected councilwoman said that the result didn’t sink in until the next day.

“I saw the numbers, and I was absolutely as thrilled as you could be on that amount of painkillers, but then the next day, it started sinking in, and it’s just humbling,” she said. “Honestly, it’s really humbling because we did campaign hard, and when I say I walked to every single house in the city of Ferndale, I mean every single house in the city of Ferndale. So it was time well spent during the summer, and it was great to see there was such good voter turnout and that we really made an impact.”

Wojdyla couldn’t have been more happy for his wife, as he had been with her campaigning every step of the way. He said those 48 hours were a “heck of a rollercoaster.”

“I will say that going through that with Laura, I’ve never been more proud of her,” he said. “It changed my perspective on how strong she is and how determined she is, and it made me love her even more.”

From having to go in unexpectedly to then recovering in a hospital environment, Mikulski said the best way she could describe those two days was “surreal,” but how it happened made everything all the more special.

“You sort of lose sense of time and trajectory,” she said. “It’s a bizarre situation where you’re just going with the flow and people are taking care of you. By the time election results were coming in, I honestly couldn’t tell you what day it was. … It started out very surreal. It ended very surreal.”