Thursday, September 5, 2013

A girl before her time...the birth

I have sat down to write this story so many times, and I have many drafts and notes it is ridiculous.
This is the hardest thing I have ever had to write because every time I think about it, I still feel it. That sick in the pit of my stomach doesn't leave. I can look over at my sweet little lady and see that she is perfectly fine, but I still feel it...

A girl before her time....

Not just a girl, my girl. Here is her story...

At 25 weeks, I had an abruption...Everything was good until it wasn't... At that point nobody was sure what the bleeding was from, within the week I had several more bleeds and had been admitted for the duration of my pregnancy. The hardest thing as a mother is to be away from your children. I missed my kiddos like crazy. I wanted nothing more than to be able to make this whole nightmare go away, I knew that it wouldn't, but I wished everyday....

At 28 weeks, they found out I had mild pre-eclampsia and gestational diabetes too. My vision became blurred and I couldn't see well enough to even watch tv. Somehow I still had this dumb faith that everything would be ok.

Two days before I hit the 30 week mark, a picc line was inserted. I didn't have to get a new IV every three days and not a second IV every time I had an abruption. It was a bittersweet time, I was glad that I was making it to the end but every time I saw my kids walk out the door I felt like I was getting kicked in the gut with a concrete boot. I cried everyday. I am the one who holds it together for everyone, and I just couldn't...

At 30 weeks, I woke up excited that I had made it to this big crucial point only to find that my water had broken. My heart sank. I looked at the big wet spot on the bed and felt so disappointed in myself. I had just felt that all that time away from my kids was for nothing. But at the same time, I had this overwhelming feeling like everything was going to be ok. I don't know what it was, but I didn't feel alone. I felt like we could do this...The docs gave me antibiotics to prevent infection and told me we would hold out as long as possible. I lasted 3 days on antibiotics.

3 days after my water broke I got sick. Real sick. I remember feeling hot and then cold. Like I had the flu and then falling asleep while Rachael Ray was on, it comes on at 10am. The next thing I know, I am looking up at a doctor from bed and she is telling me it is time to deliver, that was at 4pm. I remember being kind of confused and in extreme pain. The pain from moving off the hospital bed to the delivery bed was so excruciating that I cried. Full out tears, I remember the look on the nurse's face. It was a half pity half hopeful. I couldn't imagine knowing how bad the outcome of a situation could be and still smile and try to give someone hope that it will be ok. I don't think the gravity of the situation had hit me yet.

They gave me better antibiotics and pitocin, lots of pitocin at 5pm. I finally started to feel better sometime into the night, and then I looked around. I saw all the iv bags hung. The warming table with all the equipment ready, the nurses checking and re-checking that the oxygen was working. Shit had just gotten real. There was absolutely no turning back. This was going to happen. I was terrified and oddly calm. My contractions were 1-2 minutes apart and after 10 hours I was tired, not feeling 100% and the not knowing  how things were going to turn out, I just couldn't take it. I opted for an epidural. 14 hours in, I was at 2cm and only my left side was numb. I wanted so badly to push that button for more medicine but I was scared it was bad for the baby.

About 17 hours in, people started coming up to visit. I was only at 3. It was nice to see two of my kiddos, it had been a few days. I loved seeing them. They looked to me to know if everything was going to be alright. I tried my hardest to hide my fear but I couldn't and that killed me. I felt horrible that I couldn't promise them that their sister would be ok, or that she would come home soon, or that she would live. I hated that I couldn't make those promises...

20 hours in I was at 4, everyone was getting hungry so they went to lunch. My mom went down to the bathroom and my friend stayed. Less than 15 minutes after being checked all the doctors ran in and my friend ran out to catch someone to come in with me. Literally 5 obstetricians and 4 or 5 nurses for me. There were several Pediatricians and NICU Nurses that were in the room, all of a sudden and they told me it was time. The baby's heart rate was dropping and it had to happen now. I remember my favorite doc, who came and checked on me first thing every morning before rounds, told me it was time to go. Her attending told me it had to be done in one push. I looked around and saw I had nobody and I looked at him (the attending) and he shook his head no, telling me we didn't have time to wait. By the look on his face I knew.

It was just me and her against the world.

They hooked the oxygen to my face and I took a deep breath, blew out my fears and held back my tears and I pushed with everything I had. It was one and done. I sat and listened.


I looked over to see this.

I couldn't breathe. I couldn't move. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. People were asking questions and doing all sorts of things and it was a blur. I could see or hear nothing. Tubes were going in and out and monitors were going off.

And then it happened.

The smallest, muffled little cat meow.

I have seen first steps, first words, first days of kindergarten, homeruns, 5th graders graduate, awards and metals but nothing and I mean nothing makes you more proud as a parent as to hear your tiny, precious, too soon miracle cry.
 I cut the cord and then she was stable enough for this

I looked at her, she looked so tired and small and weak but she was alive and breathing and she looked right back.  I told her

"You are no princess. You are fierce and I am going to hold your hand while you take over the world one breath at a time." 

  We had been through so much together as it was I gave her my name..

                          Carter Ashley
                           3lb 5oz
                           16 inches

The first time the kids got to meet their sister.

I want to thank all my friends and family for your support. I can never thank you enough for the kind words, meals, childcare, and house cleaning you have blessed my family with. Thank You.


  1. I feel like I lived half of this with you and still this made me cry. There are about 100 ways this could have gone wrong, but you two are a team that was meant to be.

    And she'll always be Carter Cupcake to me.

  2. Oh my God, Ashley I have goosebumps and tears as I read your story. I cannot thank you enough for sharing. I think you have a warrior on your hands.

  3. That was beautiful. Heartwrenchingly beautiful.

  4. I would miss my kids so much, too, and oh what a birth story. You were so brave, braver than I think I would have been. I am so glad everything went ok and you have such a beautiful baby girl now. Love her name.

  5. I'm glad I knew how the story turned out, or I don't think I could have read it. Thank you for having the strength to write it. That would be very difficult to re-live.

    You look so very gorgeous in that picture of you and Carter.

  6. I got goosebumps and tears in my eyes all at the same time reading this, Ashley. You went through sheer hell, but thank God you were blessed in the end with your beautiful little Carter. She is so lucky to have you as her mother, Ashley. And I just know she is going to turn out to be one very special lady....just like her mama. XOXO

  7. What a terrifying but beautiful story. Thank you for sharing. I am so relieved for the happy ending, but it's funny how easily those moments of terror and doubt can be re-felt.

  8. What a sweet little peanut she is today. She certainly has her Mama's strength and willpower. Your writing is so moving. You really should write a book.