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Music to My Ears

Ashley Through the Years   

It breaks my heart when I hear my daughter, Ashley, cry. I was so blessed that she slept through the night as a baby. She had a cheerful disposition and rarely cried. But there is one time that she cried... the first time... that was the happiest sound I have ever heard...

At 9 weeks before Ashley's due date, I spent quite some time in a labor room on magnesium sulfate as they tried to stop the contractions. It was the second time I was hospitalized due to early contractions, and I got to know most all of the staff by name. They were super, even making and signing a really sweet Nicest Patient Ever poster that they hung in my labor room.

My contractions were not subsiding, and they finally had to take me off the magnesium sulfate. Dialated already to 4, they explained that it was likely that Ash would be born that day. Two special care nurses came into my labor room, stood on each side of my bed, taking my hands in theirs, told me what to expect and then caringly told me that there was a 10% chance that my baby may not survive. I had been to the special care unit of the maternity ward previously and could clearly visualize the premature infants hooked up to the respirators and other special care equipment. After the nurses left my bedside and I had a moment of privacy to shed a few tears and emotionally prepare myself, I prayed asking that my baby be given more time to develop... Within the hour, my contractions didn't just slow down, they stopped. Completely. I would later learn that the doctors were completely mystified that the contractions completely stopped. I remained in the hospital for a few more days as I developed pneumonia from having been immobilized for so long. After they quickly got that under control, they started to give me steroid injections to help strengthen Ashley and sent me home with strict instructions, a portable turbuteline IV pump and with a regular visiting nurse and monitoring equipment.

Ash continued to keep trying to make her debut into the world early. A couple weeks later on what would become her birthday, there was no way to stop the contractions. With a crowded delivery room filled with medical care personnel, Ashley greeted the world. It was Good Friday that year...totally appropriate. Things happened so quickly... I delivered Ashley naturally, but I had been on complete bedrest prior to her birth and couldn't attend birthing classes. I didn't know the ideal way to "breath" and didn't know how to "push." Once my doctor saw Ash's head, she told me to push as hard as I could. I did. Surprising my doctor who had to catch her fast, Ash made her complete debut in a matter of seconds... I was suddenly out of pain. I wondered if that meant my baby was born. But it was quiet in the room. My doctor was doing something, but I couldn't tell what. Those seconds of wonder felt like years. Then suddenly, for the first time, I heard my little girl cry. Loud! :) That was music to my ears as it instantly indicated that she could breath on her own. My little preemie was strong, healthy and weighed in at a whopping 5lb. 12 oz. Adorable, fuzzy and a little jaundiced, the jaundice was the only thing of concern.

That was 18 years ago today, March 29, 1991. Ashley was born on Good Friday that year, brought home already two days later on Easter and baptized 6 weeks later on her original due date, which happened to be Mother's Day that year.

I am immensely blessed to have a healthy, beautiful, funny, intelligent and creative daughter who is now an amazing young woman soon to head off to college out of state.

It seems like a lifetime ago that I held my tiny little girl in my arms and had the wonder, excitement and fear of learning how to best take care of her... but at the same time, it feels like just a moment ago. As Ashley graduates from high school in May, I have a newfound excitement and fear for her as she sets off to take on the world and the new challenges that are in store for her.

I have been especially grateful to have essential oils at my disposal during times of transition, stress, insomnia or grief. If you in the midst of your own transitions or major life events, visit the Emotional Well-Being section of AromaWeb's Recipe Box area for a selection of blends and recipes that can help support you.


Aromatherapy During Pregnancy

Back when I was pregnant with Ashley, I had not yet discovered aromatherapy. Pregnant women must be especially cautious when using essential oils, especially for those that have high risk of going into early labor. Some essential oils are known abortifacents, which means that they can stimuate contractions and promote early labor. Gentle oils like lavender and neroli, however, can help keep an anxious, expectant mother relaxed. For more information, see AromaWeb's Aromatherapy During Pregnancy article.

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