Finding out I was pregnant with Ashley was a surprise, ok I will admit it, a major shocker. I think I took about 10 pregnancy tests to confirm. The doctor was a little surprised too considering he had just told us a few weeks before that we would most likely have to undergo fertility treatments when the time came for us to have kids. Of course when he told me this, kids were the last thing on my mind.
J and I had only been married for 7 months and it had been somewhat of a hard year. After all it is not every year you buy a new house, remodel the house, lose your job, lose your father, get married and start a new job all within a few months. I guess you could say I was at my limit as far as stress went and a baby was not on my agenda. I couldn't even take care of a dog. J had given me a puppy after we got married and I was so stressed with everything going on in my life, I simply couldn't handle taking care of it. My mom took the dog and luckily Buckley is still living happily ever after with her and my stepfather. Even in my frazzled state of mind I knew I couldn't give my baby to my mother to take care of. I had no idea what I was going to do.
My pregnancy was not fun either. I was desperately sick with 24 hour vomiting and nausea. At work I would go and lay on the cold bathroom tile just to get some relief. The vomiting and nausea was followed by gestational diabetes. This was almost worse than the sickness. Telling a pregnant lady she can't have sweets is like telling a bee they can't have honey. I just knew that since I had a hard pregnancy I would have an easy labor and delivery - WRONG! That was awful too. I ended up pushing for three hours and the epidural didn't work very well for most of that pushing. Then, she was here. It was as though everything suddenly disappeared. Nothing mattered. Not the stress, or the sickness or the all the pain. Nothing mattered except her. It was as though I had been living in a coma all years leading up to this very moment just waiting to meet her and start living.
It turns out Ashley was an amazing baby and that was my reward for all the hardships of pregnancy and labor. She was an incredible sleeper (she slept from 9 pm until 7 am at 3 weeks), a good eater, hardly cried and the most beautiful creature I had ever seen. Even to this day she is an amazing little girl. When I look at her I just feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to have her in my life and know what love really is. I look back on the timing of her arrival and I realize now that it is really the decisions that are made for us that truly shape our lives. I never would have chosen that exact time in my life to have kids but I now realize I needed Ashley to save me. She opened my heart and world up in a way no one else could have done at that time.
As if this post isn't long enough, here are some special things about Ashley that I want to remember as she reaches this important 5 year milestone:
- When you ask her what she wants to be when she grows up she replies, "An ice cream girl and a vegetable grower."
- She is as "girly" as they come. She loves anything to do with baby dolls, dresses, pink, princesses, dancing and make-up. My early brain-washing obviously worked.
- She has always loved to read. Her favorite books are the Tinkerbell fairy chapter books. We read a chapter a night.
- She is obsessed with fairies, especially Tinkerbell. When she lost her first tooth a couple of months ago, she wrote a letter to the tooth fairy wishing that she could fly. When that didn't happen she was very upset. When she lost this last tooth, she wrote another letter asking why her wish didn't come true.
- She is a wonderful big sister. She is so sweet to Landen and has always helped take care of him. Now, they are super close and adore each other.
- When you ask her what her favorite restuarants are she will say "BBQ" and "Jason's Deli."
- Her favorite movie is "Annie." She knows all the songs.
- She knows the name of every major retail store and restaurant we pass. When we drive she will tell me the name of all them so I will hear such things as "Red Lobster! Subway! Kohls! Best Buy!" shouted in the back seat.
- She is quite an artist. Her pictures are very good and she will draw for hours.
I could go on and on, but bottom line - she is officially her own little person with her own little attitude and I love it. Recently, she has been telling me, "I don't want to get any bigger, I want to stay this size forever." I wish the same thing.