Hi friends! I'm Ashley, the mama to our darling Hazel Emilie. This is the story behind my unexpected start into motherhood, when our baby girl was born 4 months premature at just 23 weeks,weighing just under 1 pound at only 420 grams, the 175 days in the NICU that followed and all the magic that is motherhood now that she is home.
A little about me:
1) I'm married to my high school sweetheart and wildly in love with him as my husband and as Hazel's daddy.
2) I work in the aviation industry, but I'm currently on a 2 year leave between maternity and an extended leave to be home with Hazel.
3) I LOVE coffee, thai food, and craft beer.
4) Travelling is my jam. Travelling with my little family, well now that's everything.
5) I have a lab/border collie named Luke and he's my biggest suck.
6) I'm fluent in French and English and pick up languages quickly.
7) I get excited over extreme weather.
8) I am currently working on my book, Confessions of a NICU Mom and hope to have it done by end of next year.
That's me in a nutshell. Thanks for being here!
AND SO IT BEGAN...
After two years of unexplained infertility, and 2 back to back miscarriages I was pregnant with a baby that is now our little Hazel. I had been having a healthy pregnancy until the day she was born when I started to have some symptoms that led me to believe I may be in preterm labour...
I was 23 weeks and 3 days pregnant.
The short of it is, I wasn't in labour at all, but had developed an extremely rare (I'm talking 1-2% of pregnancies) life threatening complication of pregnancy called HELLP Syndrome and the only treatment is delivery.
Hazel was born weighing under a pound at just 420 grams. She spent a little over 2 months on a ventilator breathing for her, another 3.5 months on CPAP allowing her to breathe on her own, while providing some support, and then another 4.5 months on low flow oxygen (4 of those months were at home) for a total of 175 days in the NICU - that's 6 months.
She is now a happy, healthy toddler. Given her rough beginning, we have been so fortunate that Hazel has done as well as she has with her health and her development and we continue to work closely with interdisciplinary teams (SLP, OT, PT, etc). In December of 2018 Hazel was diagnosed with childhood speech apraxia, and has been delayed in her ability to walk, thus recently starting the journey of wearing AFOs.
Promoting prematurity awareness and parental support has become so near to my heart and we are always looking for ways to do both.
To learn more about our story and the months that followed be sure to keep your eye out for pre-orders of my book Confessions of a NICU Mom next year where a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Royal Columbian Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.