Jude’s birth story: Part 1

March 17, 2017

This is part one of Jude’s birth story, you can read Coltrane’s birth story here

It’s been a journey to get here and one I know so many woman find themselves on. A year ago we were mourning yet another loss and really wondering if I’d ever be able to carry another baby full term. I’d reached this point of complacency, forcing myself to accept what was and what wasn’t.

A couple days after my last miscarriage I was on a plane to San Francisco for my monthly work trip to the city we’d moved from just months earlier and one I didn’t like going back to. I remember sitting in the airport and with a delayed flight, finding myself researching miscarriage yet again. But this time I typed in ‘multiple miscarriages’ and an article about hormones happened to catch my eye. I began reading and immediately felt I’d happened upon the answer to what was ‘wrong’ with me. Why hadn’t any doctor (natural or otherwise) suggested I get my progesterone checked? I quickly texted my midwife Taylor from Seattle who caught my first son Coltrane and she said a hormone panel is the first thing she does when there is a history of miscarriages. So I did and the results were alarming. I was told, ‘you have the hormones of a 50yr old. If you don’t change something soon, you’ll likely go through menopause in the next few years’. Specifically my progesterone was severely low, as was my cortisol. I was running on fumes, physically and mentally. The previous few years had taken their toll and it was showing in a very real way. My doctor gently urged me to seriously consider leaving my job or at the very least discontinue traveling. At the time leaving my job seemed too much to handle, a career I’d dedicated 10yrs to, working my way up and sacrificing so much for…I wasn’t ready to make that decision. I began with cutting my travel and setting some boundaries with work…something I’ve always struggled with.

Over the following months things began to become more clear, specifically my calling as a mother and woman began to gain clarity. I’d always found my identity in my career, but I am so much more than a creative director or designer of the ‘next greatest cell phone’. I’m a mother. And I was beginning to realize that being a mother was enough. In fact it was more than enough. My years of believing I had to have some major career or climb the ladder or be just like the men I worked with (and better) was slowly dissolving. The lie myself and society had been telling me, that motherhood alone was not enough of an accomplishment or worth, was becoming more apparent. I’m always one to have 10 plates spinning at one time, so it wasn’t as though I wouldn’t have other interests or pursuits (i.e. Woolful), but I was beginning to find a peace that didn’t exist before and a deeper love for motherhood. A deeper love for my beautiful son Coltrane, if such a thing was possible.

What I didn’t know was that a month later I would find myself pregnant again, this time completely by surprise and that because of the hormone panel, I’d have a really good chance to carry the baby full term with the help of a progesterone supplement and lifestyle changes.

For the next 9 months I experienced so many emotions. Intense fear and joy. Every twinge or change or feeling sent my mind in a direction of anxiety. The appointment where we heard the heartbeat, lying there trying to relax, remembering before when we could no longer find heart tones. This time the midwife was struggling to find it, but reassured me. I pressed my eyes shut and prayed. Moments later a strong steady beat. Tears of incredible relief and joy shook my entire body. Coltrane sat next to me a bit confused, patting my leg and telling me it was going to be ok. This little boy, the boy who had told me months earlier that we needed a ‘baby brudder’, was so sure.

As Summer passed and Fall neared, I found myself continually in awe that I was able to experience this all over again. Had you asked me after Coltrane I’d have told you I wasn’t very fond of the pregnancy part, but that had changed…I was now fond…quite fond. Give me every ache, pain, heartburn and pound. I refused to take any of it for granted.

And then came November. My so incredibly well timed ‘Thanksgiving’ baby was soon to make himself known. I’d been envisioning this birth for years now. When we first bought the property I had dreamed that one Winter as the snow fell, I would have a baby in our warm and cozy yurt. I held onto that dream and it did indeed become a reality.

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  • Reply Bridget March 18, 2017 at 1:43 am

    Thank you for posting this! I had my second baby in December and almost lost her as soon as I knew I was pregnant. Luckily, my doctor tested my progesterone levels and I was able to supplement immediately and it saved her! I think this is a topic every modern woman should know about! I look at my lovely daughter and am so thankful for those pills, I’ll keep the bottle forever as a reminder of how blessed I am!
    I’m sorry for your losses but happy you were blessed with your tiny bundle of joy!

  • Reply samantha spigos March 18, 2017 at 6:06 am

    Ashley, this is really lovely. While I love reading all manner of birth story, I appreciate that you take your time telling your story over several posts. It can be a real flood of emotion to read a birth story from start to finish — and that’s not to speak of the emotion the author/parent must feel writing it! — and I look forward to reading more, whenever you decide it’s the right time to publish. How special it must be to find a continually deepening love of motherhood.
    Happiest March, —sam

  • Reply Angela Davis March 18, 2017 at 6:36 am

    Thank you for this beautiful, thoughtful, and very personal post. I can only imagine what it must be like to share your story like this and I am honored to be able to read it. Sending you warmest congratulations and wishes for the most wonderful times ahead as you raise your most treasured sons. I look forward to reading more when the time comes!

  • Reply Zsuzsa March 18, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. Look forward to reading the next part! Have a lovely day.

  • Reply leslie whitcomb March 18, 2017 at 2:47 pm

    Thank you for having the courage to be who you are at this time in your life and live that fully. Those early years take forever and then are over in literally a heartbeat. I have six amazing children, ages 13 – 34, and experienced several pregnancy losses and miracles. I cherish every moment of that time in my life. And I am so glad I eventually made a choice to just be home for a bit, to just be with the babies/toddlers/children/teens/ young adults. You are in a nature setting that is especially supportive of parenting. Enjoy!! Thank you for sharing your story. It brought happy tears to my eyes. And thank you for your podcast, I listen to it as I spin, knit, weave and warp my looms. It has been a real help in easing back into my own creative mojo as my youngest child moved into adolescence. Leslie (leslie.whitcomb97 on Instagram)

  • Reply Ophelie March 18, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    This brought tears to my eyes. My career has been the sole focus for so long (first in school, then in internships, and now climbing the “ranks”) and I’m also feeling that tug towards something else. How beautiful to see such a clear dream become a reality. I look forward to reading part 2.

  • Reply Esther March 18, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Thanks for sharing! Warms my heart. Looking forward to reading part 2. <3

  • Reply Laurie March 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm

    Thank you for sharing such deep, beautiful words with us. I have lost beloved babies as well, and I weep for myself and you as I read your words. I get it. “Give me every ache, pain, heartburn and pound. I refused to take any of it for granted.” Yes! So beautiful. Your words are a blessing to me tonight. Thank you.

  • Reply Emma March 18, 2017 at 11:48 pm

    Thank you for sharing not only the joys but also the miracle (and the losses) that have gone into your experience of motherhood. As someone who has also struggled with pregnancy and birth, it is all too easy for me to look at other pregnant women and imagine that things are so easy for them. Thank you for speaking your truth and reminding me that every birth is a miracle, motherhood comes easily to no one, and we all need more support as women and as mothers.

    All the best,

  • Reply Rose Young March 20, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    Thanks for all you do!

  • Reply Thea Dam Søby March 21, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Such a nice post, it brought tears to my eyes.

    Life is indeed a miracle <3

  • Reply Kristy March 23, 2017 at 3:27 am

    So good–the lie that society tells us. I REALLY struggle with that one. Thank you for acknowledging it is real.

  • Reply Vicki March 23, 2017 at 4:27 am

    Thank you for sharing your story. We always picture the journey of pregnancy as going smoothly, and it does for many. For those of us that it hasn’t, we know the rollercoaster this time can be.

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