This is an important story.  A story of loss and light.

I was asked to join this family and capture what was to be the birth of their little being.

When Ashley told me that she wanted to share her story, I felt so incredibly grateful. Grateful for her STRENGTH, her VULNERABILITY.

Through Ashley’s bravery and willingness to share her journey, many others may find answers, comfort and solidarity while walking through theirs.

Both her and my hope is that families experiencing loss may read this and understand there is no “right way” to process, birth, interact, honour, respond, and grieve. This is YOUR journey.

Below is Ashley’s accounting.

***Please understand that these words and images are honest and raw and vulnerable and depict ALL stages of birth and loss including images of this beautiful and tiny little being.***

{As told by Ashley}

December 18, 2019 began as many days do – I got off work at 07:00, went for breakfast with some colleagues, came home, spent some time with my family, and then crawled into bed for a couple hours. After a short nap, I got up and readied myself for the day. I had a midwife appointment scheduled for the afternoon, which I was looking forward to. 

The appointment was with one of my favourite midwives, which was a treat as I haven’t seen her in years. My daughter, Eliza, being particularly attentive and sweet during our visit. Near the end of the appointment I got up onto the assessment table and my vitals were taken before I laid back for Eliza’s favourite part, hearing the baby. My midwife gave Eliza the doppler and she rubbed the aloe vera all over my belly in search of a heartbeat. When she had her fill the midwife took over and started looking for the baby.

I wasn’t fearful as the midwife searched having had other uncooperative babies, but the minutes started dragging on and we were still unable to find a heartbeat. The midwife measured my uterus and adjusted the location of the doppler accordingly, I drank some water, trying to fill my bladder, and when another midwife came in to try we were still unable to locate a heartbeat. Our family was spending Christmas out of town so the midwife recommended I attend the hospital emergency department for an ultrasound.

I started to cry between attempts to contact my husband and my sister as I imagined the possibility that our baby had passed away. Eliza danced around as we waited in the emergency department, oblivious to what was going on and also to how much joy she was bringing to those of us waiting in line.

A doctor performed a bedside ultrasound and I shed silent tears as I watched and waited. It took only a moment to locate the baby and not much longer to see that something was wrong. The baby was completely still. I told Eliza that was her baby and she smiled and laughed, obviously delighted.  My sister started crying and said, “come on baby, move for us.” The doctor rested his hand on my arm as I shuddered and my tears began to flow more freely. The doctor informed us that this was an abnormal pregnancy and that we would need a more detailed ultrasound to get a better look.

While we waited, my sister and I alternated between crying, laughing and just sitting quietly. I was eventually called in for the ultrasound and the tech took all the necessary measurements before asking if I wanted to see the baby. As she turned the screen in our direction, I smiled and tears streamed down my face. The tech took the time to show me the baby’s head, arms, legs and face and I tried to savor every bit of the experience, admiring my tiny baby. 

The doctor called us back to the assessment room and informed us that the baby had stopped growing a month earlier, at 14 weeks.  He didn’t have much information for us, but he said that we would be able to get the baby out one of three ways. 1. We could wait for a spontaneous delivery. 2. We could induce and deliver. 3. We could have a D and C done. I had many questions, but said they could wait for the OB the next day as they were mainly regarding preparing for the delivery of the baby. 

I wanted to know what to expect with the delivery. Could I do it at home? What would the baby look like having died a month before? How was I to care for it/dispose of it after delivery? What were the risks to myself if I delivered at home? How long would it take for the baby to spontaneously pass and when would I be induced if it didn’t? Would I need someone in attendance (a midwife) or would I do it on my own? What would the recovery be like?

I remember feeling sad and afraid of what was to come. I was hopeful that I would be able to honour the baby through the experience and determined to do so. I was scared of what the baby may look like and fearful of how I would react. I was heartbroken about needing to tell the kids (especially Eliza (5) and Otto (3)). I was curious about whether we would be able to determine the sex of the baby. I felt unsure of how to grieve and process what was happening, but I decided that I was going to trust myself and do what feels right.

And, it is worth repeating, I was terrified of how the baby would look.

Our last two babies were born at home so we expressed a desire to have this baby at home as well. I was surprised when the OB was supportive of this decision as I was expecting to have resistance to the idea.

I expressed concern over what the baby would look like and the doctor, unfortunately (and understandably), couldn’t tell me much. The baby would definitely be decomposing already, but she couldn’t say what that would look like. The OB said the baby may be starting to be reabsorbed by my body, may be flattened and misshapen, or may be visibly decaying. She apologized for not having a more definite answer, but I knew she wouldn’t be able to guarantee what it looked like. 

That evening we told our kids that the baby growing in my tummy had died.

We were very direct and open about what was happening and what the next few days would hold and they were gentle and tender with me and they hugged, kissed, and comforted me as I tried to stop weeping.

I took the first medication I was prescribed in the early hours of Friday, December 20. I was told this medication would ‘soften’ things and prepare my body to deliver our baby. Shortly after taking the medication I started knitting a micro-preemie blanket for our baby. I have knit baby blankets for each of my children and it felt like a way I could honour, welcome, and mother this tiny being. The process of knitting is therapeutic for me. I felt this was something I could choose to do for my child and it gave me an opportunity to prepare for and to celebrate him/her the same way I did with my other children. It normalized a little bit of the process for me and allowed me to give him/her a gift to reiterate that he/she was valued, precious, and loved. I also wanted the opportunity to have a barrier so I would be more comfortable handling the baby’s remains. I wanted to be able to wrap the baby up and tend to it if I could and if I felt unable to then I was hoping one of the women attending the birth could assist with this.

We spent most of the day trying to deep clean our house, but mainly just caring for our three children and talking about the baby. The kids were processing the information we had given them and we wanted them to have freedom to talk about whatever came to their minds. They were very blunt and matter-of-fact and it was liberating to use their vocabulary — we got to talk about the baby dying very plainly. 

My sister kindly offered to take the kids for a couple nights so we could focus on preparing for and delivering our tiny being. It was hard to say goodbye to them, but Erik brought them to her house on Friday evening and we were able to finish preparations. I created a mini home birth box with a few items we may need during the delivery. I collected a couple towels, an electrical heating pad, disposable soaker pads, garbage bags, ziploc bags (for the baby and the placenta), Tylenol and diclofenac, beeswax candles (a home birth staple), matches, gum, a few pairs of gloves, granola bars, depends, hair elastics, a large bowl, the baby’s blanket, and some cotton clothes. 

We spent a lot of time thinking and talking about how we wanted to honour this baby and the journey we were on. We never doubted our desire to have the baby at home – it felt necessary for us. I was acutely aware of my fear of what the baby would look like and what my reaction to the body would be. We knew that we wanted to be open to the experience and accepting of how it played out. We wanted to honour our baby, but to also honour ourselves. We gave ourselves permission and grace to trust our instinct and to give space for each emotion.

We decided that we weren’t going to name the baby unless we felt an overwhelming desire to do so. It isn’t a task we enjoy and we hadn’t even discussed names for this newest baby yet so we didn’t even have a list to consult. Also, I don’t consider myself a mother of four. I consider this a miscarriage and, though I am saddened, I consider this a normal risk in pregnancy. We did want to honour the baby somehow and we decided we would light a candle when the baby was born and then we would light it again when we pleased – maybe on the due date or next year on the anniversary of his/her birth. Or maybe we would never light it again. We were open to any and all possibilities. 

Much of my preparation was for what we may see when the baby was born. I had no way to prepare for what the baby might look like or how I would react and in my heart I felt the need to interact with the baby’s body. I felt that I needed to look, needed to touch, needed to respect, needed to value, needed to tend, needed to care for, needed to mother, but I was also acutely aware that I may be disgusted and/or frightened by how the body looked. I envisioned various stages of decomposition and it was difficult for me to wrap my head around how to encounter it. 

On Friday night I finally felt prepared to speak with my doula, Kathleen, on the phone. Kathleen was present for my last two births and she is such a phenomenal support and wonderful friend. I was able to share my thoughts and fears with her and it was so comforting. I felt nothing but openness, trust, and absolute support from her. 

I woke up early on Saturday morning. I cannot remember how I spent the first few hours of the day, but I took the second medication at 06:15. The medication was expected to take 2-6 hours to start working so I laid on the couch for a couple hours. I rested, trying not to fear what was coming and mentally preparing for whatever the experience would look like.

Shortly after 08:00 I texted my doula informing her that nothing was happening and then I got up to get ready for the day. As I was doing my hair I felt a tiny pop, very similar to that of membranes rupturing, and a warm trickle. In that moment, I felt no fear, just a sad sense of resolve and it felt both weighty and light. I let my husband know that I started bleeding a little bit and asked him to update Kathleen. She said she would like to come over so she was in the area if/when things picked up. 

At 08:40 I felt my first bit of cramping, very mild, and Erik updated Kathleen again. She responded saying, “We are all on our way. I’m four minutes away.” Kathleen and Jael, our midwife, arrived within seconds of each other. As they came into the house I laughed saying, “What? Do you think this baby is going to fall out of me?” It felt so good to have my people there – I felt we were all open to whatever was to come. We laughed and we cried and it was beautiful and sorrowful. I made myself comfortable on the couch and Kathleen and Jael sat on the floor in front of me. I have never felt so supported, so trusted, so tended to, or so special. They looked up at me and there was no pity, just love and tenderness and for that I will be forever grateful. 

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My husband served us coffee and water and we just visited for a while. I was able to continue my processing and I don’t know how or why, but I felt hopeful and light. I was worried about what was coming, but I was accepting of it and open to it and confident that, even if the experience itself was difficult and disturbing, I would be okay and it would be okay. I told them of my desire to be present and to savor the experience and I reiterated our desire to honour the baby, the process, and our family. We didn’t know what that would look like, but we were trusting ourselves and giving ourselves grace.

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I wanted to feel unhurried and calm and I wanted to respect my experience. I was okay with pushing myself out of my comfort zone, but I wanted to make sure that I was true to myself.kelowna birth photography doula stillbirth midwives christmas raw emotion photographer labour

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I told them I wanted to be a mother to the tiny baby – that I wanted to look at him/her at the very least, and care for him/her if I was able. 

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I was experiencing some mild cramping as we visited. I also felt some popping in my vagina and warm trickles of blood being released. At one point I felt a searing pain in my lower abdomen which is always an indication of cervical dilation for me, but it wasn’t intense and it released after a minute or two. I remember feeling a bit of dread as to what was to come and then breathing it in, accepting it, and letting it go. 

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Shortly before 10:00, I felt the need to pee so I excused myself and walked to the bathroom. As I voided, I felt a mass passing through my vagina. I panicked a little and supported it inside my vagina while I called my husband. I could tell it hadn’t fully released yet so I continued to support it while I asked for a glove. I continued peeing as I sat there and clots and tissue passed around my hand and the mass still in my vagina.

 

I wasn’t particularly comfortable perched on the toilet so I asked that we go back to the living room. I had welcomed my last two sons in our living room and it felt right to welcome this baby in a similar manner.

We put a soaker pad on the floor near the couch and I lowered myself onto it, still supporting the mass that hadn’t fully released from my uterus. I was able to see that the sac was intact and that some of the placenta had already detached from my uterus, so we sat and waited for the rest to let go.

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When it did release, I laid the sac down in front of me and leaned back against Erik and wept. I felt relieved, fearful, overwhelmed, grieved and uncertain.

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I sat, crying into Erik, dreading what was to come and needing his strength. I wanted to savor what had just happened before continuing because I was worried of what the next bit held for us – visualizing the baby’s remains. 

I don’t know if it was intentional or reactionary, but when approaching the tiny being and interacting with the sac, the baby, and the experience, I allowed myself to ease into it. I didn’t rush or feel obligated to do things a certain way, but took my time getting comfortable with one thing before moving on to the next. I allowed myself the space and grace to slowly adjust and to be present. 

I turned my attention to the sac on the soaker pad in front of me and I was grateful it was still intact as it gave me time to take it in. I was able to interact with the baby through the sac, which provided a level of separation for me, a barrier. I could see murky waters inside, but I could also see an arm and a little hand. A perfect little hand with five fingers that we were able to count.

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I couldn’t see much else, but I poked around for a while and we were able to find all the limbs and see the general shape of the body. I felt safe and comfortable inspecting my baby this way and it felt like a gift to have that memory and those moments as I didn’t know what would happen when we opened the sac. 

My birth team sat around me and I felt supported, unhurried, loved, and thankful for their presence as they held space for me, for us, for our journey. I felt safe and it felt sacred. 

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Once I felt ready, I asked Jael (midwife) how I could open the sac. She told me she had scissors available, but that I would probably be able to pull the membranes apart if I wanted to. So, with fumbling hands, I pinched and tore the membranes. As I tilted the sac from beneath the pad, brown liquid poured out. My first thought was that the baby had passed meconium, but before I had even formulated that thought I realized it was decay pouring out. Along with the brown fluid came a slumped little baby. 

My breath caught when I saw the slumped mass that was our baby. All I could really see was a head and a back as the baby had emerged in an impossibly uncomfortable position. I was unable to keep my eyes on it – I couldn’t help but look away, very uncomfortable with how it looked and the position it was in. 

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I asked for some gloves and I turned my attention to the placenta. I wanted to make myself comfortable and I have seen many placentas so it was something I could interact with without fear. I turned the membranes inside out and we saw where the umbilical cord attached to the placenta. The umbilical cord was a delicate little spiral that looked like a piece of yarn. I held the umbilical and my eyes followed it back to our baby. 

My attention finally rested on our tiny child. I tried to decide how best to maneuver it into a more comfortable looking position. I shuddered and withdrew my hands slightly when I first touched the body. The texture felt wrong – it was so delicate and squishy and I did not like it. Jael had warned me that the skin would be fragile and we wouldn’t want to handle it too much. It was a very unpleasant sensation and I had to choose to continue. I did not want to continue because I was very uncomfortable and fearful, but I chose to because I knew I needed to honour the baby and honour our journey. As a mother, I couldn’t leave our baby in such an unnatural position. 

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I gently moved the baby onto his/her side and repositioned the limbs. Once I had the baby positioned better I took another moment and rested into Erik, sobbing. I took a moment to appreciate where we were, how far we had come, and to be thankful that the baby looked less frightening now that he/she looked comfortable. 

And honestly, he/she just looked like the tiniest of babies. There was a boggy pocket of fluid at the top of the head and the face was triangular as there was no fleshy tissue to add padding.  The baby was an odd brownish color from decomposing, but there was no odor, which I was thankful for. The baby looked intact with no visible outward decay other than its general color. We could see the tiniest ears, eyes, a nose and a wee mouth. We were able to count ten little fingers and ten little toes. I gently eased the legs apart and we were able to determine that we had another baby boy. The tiniest boy I had ever seen. 

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I remember absent-mindedly removing my gloves and then requesting new ones when I realized what I had done. I think this is because I wanted to try to touch the baby without my gloves on, but I never managed to and I’m okay with that.

The gloves provided enough of a barrier for me to inspect and admire our baby boy and that was wonderful. 

I mustered the courage and gently picked up our baby and held him for the first time. And again, I cried. Looking down at his wee body cradled in my hands was heart-breaking. He was so tiny and so light and yet I felt the weight of holding him. I was so absorbed in the tiny being in my hands that I don’t remember what was going on around us. 

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Eventually I asked if we could weigh and measure him so we got out our kitchen scale and did just that. We put the blanket I had knit for him on the scale and I gently transferred him from my hands to the blanket. Our wee boy was born on December 21, 2019 just before 10:00. He weighed 45 grams and measured 13.5 cm long. 

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After he was on the blanket I was able to take my gloves off and handle the blanket with my bare hands, which again felt like a necessary step to honour him. It felt as though this helped the transition from inspecting to tending. It was another experience that reminded me of my other children’s births – holding our baby in a blanket I had knit for him – and that was comforting. It gave me a chance to feel like his mother.  

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We transferred the baby and his blanket into a small container and put him in the refrigerator as he was becoming increasingly fragile and we wanted to slow the decaying process. It felt strange tucking him in beside the eggs, but a lot of things about the experience were strange. 

At some point our midwife, Jael, helped me adjust the baby and she asked for permission to touch him prior to assisting me. I felt a little confused at the time, but said, “please do”. Upon reflection, I am thankful she did that. Not because she needed my permission, but because in her asking she was giving validation to our baby boy. By asking she was acknowledging his worth and our autonomy over how he was loved and cared for. She was giving me the opportunity to mother my child by allowing me to choose for him. She was giving me a gift and I didn’t realize it at the time, but I am so thankful for it now. 

Someone made tea for me and we sat in the living room visiting. I don’t remember where conversation went, but I remember laughing and crying and sitting peacefully together. I felt as though we all honored the birth, the baby, and each other so well and there was an indescribable lightness in the room. The whole experience felt stretching and genuine and so incredibly beautiful. I felt a deep joy and contentment I had never experienced, even at my three previous births. It was really special. I knew there would be difficult days ahead, but I wanted to rest in that joy and gratitude for as long as I could. There really are no words to convey how incredible the experience was. My husband and I have both said that it was the best day of our lives amidst a very difficult week. It felt like a gift. 

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My mom came to see our tiniest boy and I felt proud as I got to share him with her and tell her about his arrival.

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Our birth team left shortly after my mom arrived. It felt good for them to be there and it felt good to watch them go. I loved their company and they could have stayed forever, but their going felt natural. 

Our friends came and brought the wooden box they crafted. It was far lovelier than I had hoped for and I was so grateful for such a beautiful gift. I felt I could be proud arriving at the ER later to deliver our tiniest boy in a perfect box made just for him. 

Erik and I sat for a bit once everyone was gone. It didn’t take long for us to decide it was time to bring our baby to the hospital and for some reason I wanted to feel beautiful when bringing our baby away so I put on jeans and my favourite sweater, I put some lipstick on and fixed my hair a bit. I wanted to feel proud and lovely and I wanted my last memory with my tiniest boy to feel that way. I wanted to have a composed goodbye as I brought him away.

We were once again thankful for the help we received. Working in the healthcare profession I can imagine the strangeness of a couple showing up with a box, knowing the remains of a baby are in it and then having to figure out what steps to take. It took a couple hours to figure out what paperwork needed to be signed and to meet with the OB on call, but when we were finished, we went home – empty handed, but with full hearts. 

We took the wooden box home with us and it now holds an ultrasound picture from 11.5 weeks, the candle we lit when the baby was born, the blanket I knit for him, a few photos from the birth, a tiny stuffed dragon my daughter picked out for the baby, and an ornament we have to commemorate him and the experience. It is something our kids play with every day and we have intentionally ensured that it is child friendly. We talk about the baby daily and the kids play with the things in his box.

We chose not to name the baby, we call him Our Tiniest Boy, which I suppose is a name of sorts.

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We really could not have asked for things to go any better. We were surrounded – carried by those around us and enveloped in love. We were able to grieve, but also to celebrate. It was an incredible experience, one I would never ask for, but also one I would never give back now that we have had it. I feel as though it were a gift and I am thankful for it. 

In time the children will stop opening the box, playing with the dragon and looking at the pictures. In time we will speak less about the baby and our experience. It is possible the box will continue to hold the same contents and we will take them out from time to time. It is also possible that its significance will lessen over time and we will use it for something else. It is strange and comforting to know that whatever happens moving forward we have and will continue to honor our tiniest boy and his place in our lives.

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Comment

Meg
January 31, 2020
Thank you Krista and thank you Ashley for sharing. We lost our little Freya at 14 weeks as well and although our birth story was very different, it was so healing to read of another moms birth & process and know neither of us are alone in this loss. Thank you for having the strength to share, and Krista for documenting such a raw experience.
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January 31, 2020
Wow. What an incredibly beautiful story. Thank you for sharing your love and loss with the world in such a beautifully vulnerable way. I've not experienced loss myself, but feel that if I ever had to, I'd want it to look and feel like this. What a lovely way to honor Your Tiniest Boy.
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January 31, 2020
Thank you so much for sharing. There is so much beauty and love here. That vulnerability is exactly what will help others as they meet their tiny baby.
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Martha Gamble
January 31, 2020
What a gracious and loving way to honor your Tiniest Boy. My deepest respect for you and your husband , may you find peace and love in the sharing of his birth.
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Kate
January 31, 2020
So incredibly lovely. So much light and love to this family. You've honored your boy in such a beautiful way.
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January 31, 2020
This was such a beautiful, well-told story of a life celebrated with such honor and respect. I cannot truly fathom the emotional toll as I’ve never experienced this personally. I’m so thankful for her honest account of her birth, her feelings, and how she processed it all. The images perfectly suit her story and I feel honored to be given a chance to read and view her story. Thank you.
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Kali
January 31, 2020
I just lost my tiniest babe (1/22/2020),so your story is touching, healing, and brings solidarity to my heart. May the future bring you peace and comfort as you think on your Tiniest Boy. 💜
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Jodie
January 31, 2020
Just so beautiful, thankyou so much for sharing, so raw and so real, life has so many special and sad moments😍
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January 31, 2020
I am so moved by how Ashley and Erik have chosen to celebrate their Tiniest Boy. Krista these moments you captured are so beautiful given the circumstances. Thank you for sharing this post, I am in awe of this story and how strong and brave this family is, such a wonderful way to go through the grieving process from the start of experience with it. Thank you XO
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Katy
January 31, 2020
What an overwhelmingly powerful & beautiful story. Honoring your strength & love for your tiniest boy.
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January 31, 2020
Thank you so very much for sharing this is one the most beautiful stories I have ever seen xox
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Hillary
February 1, 2020
I, too, lost my tiny babe on 12/21/19. It is so nice to know that mine is now with yours. Thank you for being so vulnerable and sharing your beautiful story. I admire your strength and bravery.
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Stacey
February 2, 2020
Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. What an incredible mother you are. He was beautiful. He shall surely rest in peace knowing he was loved more than he could have imagined.
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Sigrid
February 4, 2020
Thank you so much for sharing such an important story. This is the exact story I would have liked to have read after finding out my baby had no heartbeat and awaiting my miscarriage to take place. This is a hopeful and beautiful and informative story that no doubt will help so many women in the future as they walk a similar impossible road.
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Karolina
February 4, 2020
Omg! You’re both so amazing and brave.I am touched...I am a mother of a baby girl.She was still born in 39 weeks of pregnant,she probably died around month earlier and I did not even know about it;( Send You a lot of love...
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Emily
February 4, 2020
Ashley, I read this with my new baby boy on my chest and cried for you. But as sad as I was/am reading this, I am in complete awe of your strength and grace. You’re truly beautiful inside and out. Thank you so much for sharing this part of your life. I am honored.
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    Keisha
    February 4, 2020
    🙏🏾😇
    Reply
Meghan
February 4, 2020
This is so beautiful and part of me almost feels envious in the beauty that surrounded your loss. I have had two significant losses. My first born was 3 months premature. He was larger than your baby boy, had more colour but eerily they look the same. So fragile, so tiny, eyes never to open, a mouth that never makes noise. He lived for one week and breathed his soul into the universe...in my arms. I had my second son not long after. Last year in March he turned 8 and I became pregnant for thr first time in 8 years with my new partner..whom was told he would never have children. This baby was loved immensely from conception and the loss 13 weeks later was felt. I begged to do this myself at home as I too, want to honour my baby. I wanted to say Goodbye my own way...I wanted to see. I wasnt given the same support, I wasnt comforted by my health care professionals. My comfort was my partner who, in his heart meant so well. "Havent you been through enough? Havent you suffered enough? It's okay to do have this procedure, it's okay to want to feel nothing. I support you in any choice but I am afraid, i am scared and i cant lose you too" and with that my heart was so heavy with guilt for my partner, myself and for my baby. He comforted me during and after for weeks and weeks. I share your loss and I share your joy. I am sorry for the pain, I am sorry for so many questions unanswered but I do not pity you. I'm so happy and touched psyched a terrible loss was met with such great love, compassion and comfort. May you rest, may your husband rest and may your Tiniest Little Boy rest in love.
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Claire
February 4, 2020
This post is so incredibly beautiful. I stumbled upon this story and, to be honest, I was uncomfortable even thinking about reading it. I pushed myself to read this story and look through the images to honor the sweet little babe who’s life was cut much too short, but was welcomed in such a beautiful way regardless. I commend you for sharing this, shedding light on something that happens regularly and not only are people afraid to share the fact that they lost their baby, but that there are options other than D&C which you typically hear of. You have honored your tiniest little guy and also yourself through this post and are so incredibly brave for putting this out there. Thank you for allowing others to witness one of the most intimate moments of your life <3
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Cynthia.
February 4, 2020
Thank you for sharing every one of your emotions trough this journey! You were sincere and that made it even more special to read! Love XOXO
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Cece
February 4, 2020
Beautiful and heartfelt 💔💔♥️
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February 4, 2020
This is so beautiful. My first pregnancy, 11 years ago, ended as a miscarriage in my 5th month. I was so overwhelmed and young, I opted for a D &C but I still wonder what it would have been like to deliver at home, To know the sex of the baby, to let myself grieve and process everything. I’m sorry Ashley had to go through this but so grateful you shared your experience.
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Tarryn
February 5, 2020
Thank you for sharing this incredibly raw and precious moment. It has helped me beyond words and all I can say is thank you. Sending you and your family lots of love from mine xx
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Angela Brewer
February 5, 2020
So beautiful. My son was stillborn at 22.5 weeks almost 2 years ago now. He had a rare terminal condition called bilateral renal agenesis. His name is Anthony James Jr. ❤
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Sara
February 5, 2020
WOW!!! Your story really touched my heart. I have never had to experience a pain or a loss like this, but your words, your story made me feel your pain. I cried reading every single word you wrote. You are strong momma. Thank you for sharing your vulnerability with the world. Hugs to you and your beautiful family.
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Megan
February 5, 2020
Thank you for sharing this raw and beautiful experience. Although my loss happened a couple of weeks earlier on the pregnancy than yours, the process was the same. The blindside after thinking all was well, the fear, taking the pills, the waiting, I wish I had looked and I still think about it sometimes. Seeing the images of your tiny boy has helped give me some peace. Thank you. ♥️
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Erica Pettinaro
February 5, 2020
I just cried as if I were there with you! How beautifully tragic and full of love! You are so strong! I am also honored to say my first born shares a birthday with your tiniest baby boy 💖💖 Much love to you, momma!
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Francisca Nyaaba
February 5, 2020
Wow, such a beautiful story. God bless you Ashley
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Anne
February 5, 2020
I’m so glad you shared this. I had a similar experience and it was one of the most profound days of my life. So much pain but surprisingly, beauty and tenderness, too. Sending love and light.
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February 5, 2020
Dear Ashley and family, Thank you for sharing this heart-wrenching ceremony and allowing the world to witness how beautiful and sacred something so painful can be. I am honored to have stood witness through these words and images Your Tiniest Boy's hello and goodbye. Sending you all so much love from Oakland, CA.
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Erica
February 5, 2020
Thank you for sharing this touching story. Ashley, you are such a strong mother. Honoring our babies is so important. We lost our baby boy at 23 weeks in November 2019. The day I delivered him was the hardest, but most beautiful day of my life and I'm forever proud of having mothered him in the same way you did by touching him, spending time with him and having the chance to make decisions for him. Your midwife and doula did a great job holding space for you. I will forever remember our midwife telling me our boy is beautiful before walking away with him. In that moment I was a proud mama.
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Linda
February 5, 2020
Thank you♥️
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Tasauna
February 5, 2020
What an absolutely beautiful story & experience. Sending hugs to you, your family, & your Tiniest Boy.
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Ashlie
February 5, 2020
Moving, beautiful, powerful, heartbreaking, and yet so special. Thank you mama for sharing your story. For sharing your heart. I am honored to have read it and humbled by your experience. Aloha from Hawaii 🌺
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fgsdfd fgsdfgs
February 5, 2020
<3
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Romina
February 5, 2020
Son hermosos. Perdí a dos niños por embarazos ectopicos a causa de la endometriosis. Me despedí imaginandolos mirando el cielo. Te agradezco ser así. Tan pura y en tu esencia agradezco que me contengas con tu ejemplo.
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Allen
February 6, 2020
I currently lost my first baby last January 12, 2020. She's 24 weeks, my baby didn't grow from 20 weeks. Doctor says she died for a month inside my tummy. There is no day I didn't cry after loosing her. The pain of loosing her was unbearable. It's like half of me was buried with her. We almost did the same and captured all the moments with our little one honoring her. May God bless all of us and guide us in this very difficult times.
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Samantha
February 6, 2020
Thank you for sharing this. I am presently almost 12 weeks along and my own brother refuses to acknowledge MY pregnancy until I hit 12 weeks. It is sad what some people find appropriate, but I suppose that is their way of protecting themselves. Reading what you have written along with your pictures has brought me comfort. Thank you and bless your sweet family
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Anna
February 6, 2020
This is one of the most touching, beautifully articulated, and deeply honoring experiences I have ever “seen”. THANK YOU for sharing your Tiniest Boy with us. THANK YOU for showing us what it looks like to honor every part of yourself in this journey.
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Nicole
February 6, 2020
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Romy
February 6, 2020
Gracias por compartir un momento tan íntimo como doloroso. Hace ocho años y medio mi segundo hijo decidió partir, recién hace un año terminé de procesar ese dolor, al contarle el hecho a su abuela paterna. Sé que él será parte de nuestras vidas hasta el último respiro.
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February 6, 2020
Thank you so much for showing such bravery in sharing this beautiful story. I have experienced loss, before I’d experienced labour with my subsequent children and before I really understood motherhood, so I didn’t have the insight to plan a birth that would honour the process. I have no regrets but your story teaches us there is another way. I imagine it will have a hugely profound impact on so many people. Love to you and your family.
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Monica
February 7, 2020
Achingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing your love, gratitude, and reflection with us in the most profound and meaningful way. Sending you, your family, and your Tiniest Boy love and wishing you all lasting peace.
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Amanda
February 7, 2020
Thank you for posting such a beautiful tribute to your sweet boy. The way you honored him is absolutely amazing to see and hear. Wishing you lots of love and strength ❤️
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    Anna Jóhannsdóttir
    February 8, 2020
    <3
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Kelly
February 7, 2020
The intention behind this whole process is incredible. You will help so many women by sharing something that is never talked about. Your story is a lesson not only for those going through his but also those that need to support someone going through a loss.
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Rebecca
February 7, 2020
Ashley, Thank you so much for sharing all of this so honestly and openly and with so much love and doubt and certainty. I recently experienced a “missed miscarriage” - we found out at 12 weeks but babe had stopped growing at around 7. I chose a different path that was right for me but I loved reading and SEEING your journey. I’m deeply hopefully I will be pregnant again and have a baby at the end of it, but am of course fearful of things working out differently. This gives me some hope that if that is my path, I can cope with it with a similar amount of grace and love. For myself, for my husband, our toddler son and the baby that wasn’t meant to be with us for long Thank you thank you thank you Sending you and your family so much love Xxxx
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Gisele Colbert
February 8, 2020
Thankyou
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Desteny
February 8, 2020
Ashely, your story is beautiful and so empowering! I cried and smiled throughout reading your story. I felt as though I were right beside you. I recently lost my baby at 6 weeks in October. I was afraid to look while I passed the clots. A part of me wanted to look... but I felt ashamed for wanting to look. Reading your story taught me it is only natural to follow your heart in these moments. And I am so honored to read your story and learn from this! You are such an amazing woman! And so very strong. Your experience gives me hope in my future, no matter what that holds. I feel as though I can honor my baby at any point of a celebration of life/loss! I am so sorry you went through this, Love. I do want you to know you were absolutely amazing throughout the process. And your strength to share the experience is beautiful, you’ve helped me realize a lot of normal emotions I felt. As well as knowing I can follow my heart if I ever go through it again and not feel ashamed! You’re amazing and my prayers are with you and your family. I pray our littles are playing together and smiling down on us!
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