I first met Ashleigh a few years back when she took our family photos- we had just moved out here and I didn’t know any photographers. We reconnected recently, partly because of photography but also because we have kids about the same age. I read her story of her pregnancy with Stella and birth, and thought it was both terrifying and beautiful, and something people should here! We recently traded motherhood sessions (we both know how easy it is to never be the one in front of the camera) and I thought my new gown was perfect for her. It’s called the Miracle Gown and it’s perfect for miracle and rainbow babies- both for pregnant moms and moms with outside babies- especially since it works nicely for brastfeeding as well! I asked Ashleigh to share her story in her own words so here it is:

” I love everything about being pregnant. I loved rubbing my hand over my bump, and knowing I’m keeping this little being safe. It wasn’t an easy road for my husband and I to conceive. With our first child, we went through two rounds of IUI before becoming pregnant. With our second, 3 rounds before we eventually moved on to IVF

Luckily, our first round of IVF worked. We were thrilled and after a bumpy start, we could breathe a sigh of relief and enjoy the pregnancy. At our routine 20 week anatomy scan, our tech seemed quiet. She asked me a few questions and then left the room to get the doctor. I was a little worried but try to not think the worst.

The doctor came in and told me that my baby no longer had any amniotic fluid left. Amniotic fluid is what helps baby survived in the womb, it is what helps their lungs develop and grow. My baby was now left with none. I was immediately sent down to labor and delivery where the doctor gave us some terrible news. I was told that I would likely go into labor within the next 48 hours and tragically our baby would not survive. We were told to strongly consider termination. I was in a state of shock. I just saw the ultrasound. The baby was moving, and the heartbeat was strong. How could I be so quick in ending it’s life? I asked if there was any other options. The doctor shrugged his shoulders and said we could continue in our pregnancy and let my body make the decision.

We decided to wait. I put myself on bed rest at home and my high risk OB said she would admit me at 24 weeks if I made it. 4 weeks later, I moved into the hospital. I was given steroid shots to help her lungs mature. I spent 8 weeks in the hospital, waiting and wondering what was going to happen each day. I continued to beat the odds.

At 32 weeks and 4 days, I had a massive bleed due to placenta previa. My 6th one. They decided it was safer to take the baby out. I called my husband at 5am and he rushed to meet me before I was wheeled in for my csection.

Stella Sue was born at 640am on January 2nd, 2019. She weighed 3lbs 12oz and made not one peep or cry. Her lungs were seriously deflated. Her oxygen levels were at 6% and we sat by her bedside a few hours later prepared to say our goodbyes. One last effort was made as they gave her nitric oxide to open up her lungs, and that saved her life! She made a complete turnaround after that. Going from a breathing tube to a nasal cannula within a 3 day period. I’ll never forget those doctors and nurses who saved our girl.

Stella is now a happy and healthy 8 month old. She has hip dysplasia and will be in a spica cast soon but continues to knock all her obstacles out of the way. She’s so strong for such a little girl and her strength amazes me every single day. I hope with sharing my story, others will know they aren’t alone and there ARE options and there is hope. I’m beyond happy that we decided against terminate and gave Stella a chance. “

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