When Ashton was born, I felt like I could run a marathon, hike Everest, and swim the English Channel all at the same time. You see, I was on bed rest from the time that I was 26 weeks along with my little guy. He was just impatient, and really wanted to be born already. So after lots of medicine, many blessings, and way too much laying around (all while having pretty severe contractions), Ashton was finally born only three weeks early. I was so proud to be able to hang on to him for so long, but boy when he had enough, he had enough.
We had just been into the hospital the night before, but they sent us home because the contractions weren't consistent. I was so disappointed. I was sick of being in pain. I was sick of having to lay around. I was just plain sick of being pregnant. So when they sent us home, I was ticked. Then the next day, all my contractions stopped completely. I was perplexed.
John tried to make me feel better by saying that it was better for the baby to stay right where he was, and I agreed, but after all I had gone through, I was just drained. Around 10:30 we went to bed, and I kid you not when I tell you that not five minutes later I was hit with major contractions. I was exhausted, and the last thing I wanted to do was to go back to the hospital just to be turned away. I stayed in bed for a while and timed the contractions. Five minutes apart. I remembered the nurses saying that a bath would stop the pains if it was false labor. I drew myself a bath, and after a few minutes, I realized that the contractions weren't going to stop.
By this time it was 1:30, and my contractions were about three minutes apart. I woke John up, and in his very calm way he rushed to get ready while talking to me in very slow hushed tones, like I was rabid and about to attack. I sat quietly on the bed and watched him grab the things that he needed, and the things Ethan needed because we had to drop him off at John's parents house. We got in the car, and drove to Carter's. John jumped out, carried sleeping little Ethan in, and brought LuDene out with him.
As we began to drive down to the hospital, John was on the phone with my mom. While explaining to her the situation, he realized that he didn't have shoes on. He turned to ask me if it was okay if he went back for shoes. I was white knuckling the door handle at the time, in the throws of a pretty painful contraction. I said go for it, but giggled that while he looked so calm and collected, he left the house without shoes.
Long story short, Ashton was born not too long after we got to the hospital. He didn't come out crying like most kids, in fact we had to really try to get him crying. He was beautiful, healthy, happy, and perfect. He looked a lot like his older brother with a head full of black hair. From the minute they laid him in my arms, that little guy just cuddled so close to me. He has always been the most cuddly, lovable little guy there ever was.
All of Ashton's cousins consider him their best bud (a trait he gets from his daddy). All of Ashton's friends look to him as their leader. I look to him for peace (most of the time), and kindness. Averie can hardly function without her Ashy, and Ethan considers him not his little brother, but his best friend.
I am grateful for such a sweet little spirit in our home. He has so many of his dad's characteristics, and wonderful qualities. I have spent many nights watching him sleep, and wondering if he will still look like his dad the older he gets. I have often thought that as long as Ashton is around, so is John. It's funny, we named Ethan after John's father. I suggested John's name for Ethan, but John refused. When we found out we were having another boy, John wanted to name him Ashton. I agreed as long as his middle name could be John. Irony surely is something. Ashton truly is a little John, for which I am immensely grateful.
This is the story of one woman's navigation through grief following the loss of her true love, and husband of almost eleven years. Questions of who am I now, questions of how to raise the kids alone, and leaning how to live again will be confronted, hopefully in a positive and meaningful light.