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Ashlee is Mama of one darling boy. A 28 week early bird, now 1 and some change, doing beautifully. She lives near Chicago with her sweetheart husband and French Bulldog. She's a thinker not afraid to get her silly on. Babywearer, veggie queen, photography nut. Before the domestic days Ashlee was pursuing a future in developmental psychology but has happily shifted gears in favor of staying at home and couldn't imagine doing anything else. In her free time (ha!) you can find her whipping up babyslings, holding down the fort at Mama Speaks and spotlighting as an Itsy Bitsy Yoga Instructor.

My Baby Bump! (a photo tag)

My dearest Stephanie, had the brilliant idea to focus this week's photo tag on our baby bumps... Here is my favorite pregnant photo

We were in Rome. San Pietro I believe. David and I and our baby to be finally taking our dream honeymoon.

I was 6 1/2 months pregnant and unfortunately this is about as big as my belly was able to get. I know these here photo tags are supposed to be sunny, and I'll try my best not to cloud up the parade too much, but this is a tough one for me...

One of the hardest parts of having a preemie is the loss of your pregnancy. Obviously your immediate focus is on the health and care of your baby. But when the dust settles you are left feeling a bit incomplete. Not many understand. Your baby was the point of that belly after all, so what's the big deal? But it is difficult. Even on a biological level you are supposed to be pregnant for 9 months, my body, my mind was disrupted and confused. I delivered at 28 weeks, 1 day. I missed out on 12 weeks of pregnancy. My entire 3rd trimester. To this day I cringe when I hear a woman, 30 some weeks pregnant complain about how miserable and huge and uncomfortable she is, how much she wishes her baby would just come out already. I grieve what she takes for granted.

We know we want more children, and although I really know we're not ready I have to consistently fight the want to be pregnant again. I loved every moment of being pregnant, I felt so comfortable, so beautiful. I look forward to someday completing a pregnancy. To loose sight of my toes, experience swollen ankles and have my belly button turn itself inside out seems heavenly... and at the same time, if I could manipulate history I wouldn't change a thing.

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  • Blogger Adventures In Babywearing says so:
    9:57 PM  

    I absolutely LOVE this photo, and love what you've written. It's your story... and amazing one I am so glad all worked out so wonderfully in the end!!

    I remember when this was your profile pic when I first met you in this blogworld!

    Steph top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    10:02 PM  

    This was a beautiful post. I read it out loud to my husband. I think that is an absolutely gorgeous pic too. You are such a beautiful woman. top

  • Blogger mamamilkers says so:
    10:11 PM  

    Okay, now THAT is a stunning photo!

    Your story makes me so sad, and so happy, all at the same time. Your little boy is just amazing. top

  • Blogger Heidi says so:
    10:30 PM  

    So, I'm crying here...after having a miscarriage I feel similarly...I've just been grateful and wonderful for everyday sick or not it's such a miracle every day.

    This picture is amazing and so are you!! top

  • Blogger Awesome Mom says so:
    1:21 AM  

    I think the desire to get pregnant again is something that happened in many women that have trauma associated with the birth of their child. Days after having my first son and finding out about his heart defect I felt a deep hunger to get pregnant again. Maybe I felt that I could get it right the next time around. I am glad that I made myself wait until I was off the post baby hormone high and things had settled down a bit health wise to have my second son.

    The second pregnancy will be wonderful but bittersweet at times. Even the second infancy will have it's moments as you think back to where X was at specific times after his birth but eventually you will be able to grieve the loss and enjoy your children. They are such wonderful blessings. top

  • Blogger isunshine says so:
    5:13 AM  

    A beautiful photo and post. top

  • Blogger Cyndi says so:
    6:51 AM  

    That is a great pic! It reminds me of one my husband took of me when I was PG with Johanna. We had 2 losses before Johanna came along and stuck around. I was so thankful for every little thing when I was PG with her. She got kicked out at 42 weeks and people couldn't believe I wasn't complaining about it. top

  • Blogger Glass Half Full says so:
    7:10 AM  


    And, yes, my water broke at the local mall here. I was at Carson's returning something and thought "wait, this is more than just a normal discharge", got my money and high-tailed it outta there while Matt walked BEHIND me! I called Steve and he was more concerned about the CAR and told me to sit on a towel! HA!

    About 6 hours later Mark was born... top

  • Anonymous Peanut Butter and Jelly Boats says so:
    7:37 AM  

    This may be the most beautiful pregnancy photo I've ever seen! top

  • Blogger Stephanie says so:
    8:25 AM  

    Yes, I have to agree...this is a gorgeous photo. I can almost imagine being there, even though I have no idea where you are. Do you know what I mean or think I'm crazy? ;)

    I am sorry for the loss of your pregnancy. Thanks for sharing your story, it is a beautiful one. top

  • Blogger Tammy says so:
    9:11 AM  

    Wow. What a beautiful silhouette. And the words you've written are so poignant.
    I lost a pregnancy in-between my two babies, and there is that lost not only of the baby, but of your body.
    I'm so glad that God spared your little guy, in spite of the early arrival. Beautiful post. top

  • Blogger busybusymomma says so:
    9:51 AM  

    That's a fabulous photo!

    And you definitely have the right to grieve the loss of the rest of your pregnancy, I can't even imagine how that would throw me for a loop. I wish you the best when you do try for another. top

  • Blogger Julie Luse says so:
    12:20 PM  

    Cool Photo, and very cool story! Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing your story. Really, puts a lot of things in perspective and I feel shameful as one of those women who did complain and want that baby to come already (mostly due to talk of inducing me, and wanting to go naturally). It is so cool how everyone has a different pregnancy, birth story, it's like it makes us all unique somehow, even though we have all gone through a similar situation.
    Julie :) "Raising Contentment" top

  • Anonymous Mama C-ta says so:
    12:46 PM  

    What a beautiful photo and post to go along with it. Not anything similar at all, but I feel very incomplete from having a c-section. I feel ripped off and just very...something, empty about the birth. It's been 19 months and I still grieve not "giving birth" but having it "taken." So I can imagine that it's a lot more difficult for you even though we both probably wouldn't change a thing. Sorry, I'm not trying to compare having a c-section at 40 weeks to having a preemie at 28. Just saying I can understand how you'd having a feelng of loss. I hated the first 20 weeks of pregnancy (non stop vomitting) but even with that, I felt beautiful - a little green but beautiful!

    And I think Awesome Mom is on to something b/c as soon as Julian came out I wanted to be pregnant again and I know it was just to have the birth he deserved. But no more for us yet I occasionally get the pregnancy craving but again I know it's b/c I want a re-do!

    I'm still blown away at how ahead X is for not only his adjusted age but his real age too - or do I have that backwards? Either way, he's darn smart! top

  • Blogger Jenn says so:
    1:20 PM  

    That is a beautiful picture! Thank you for sharing your story. It really puts a lot in perspective. I'll admit it, I was one of those complainers in the third trimester. top

  • Blogger Mama D says so:
    2:13 PM  

    This photo is amazing!

    I am sorry that you didn't have the chance to complete your pregnancy. Although I didn't experience this myself I actually felt overwhelmed when A was here and I remember thinking "You were so much easier to take care of when you were inside!" I can totally understand your desire to have wanted to carry to full term.

    Lovely post! top

  • Blogger kate says so:
    2:21 PM  

    that's an amazing photo.

    i understand the sadness or incompleteness you must have felt delivering early. that must have thrown your body and your emotions--your whole life for a major loop. top

  • Blogger Carrie says so:
    5:51 PM  

    Thanks for sharing. I feel like bookmarking this particular post for my "next go 'round" to read if I make it back to the swollen leg, aching back, ready to deliver N-O-W stage. =)

    I agree that its interesting and fun to hear how everyone has a uniquely designed Pregnancy for Them. I don't think anyone had the pregnancy that they expected to have.

    I can't pretend that I understand your particular story and/or situation but I appreciate it and will put it into the memory banks to be brought out at appropriate times of a reminder of God's greatest blessing! Life!

    Thanks for sharing and I LOVE the photo also! top

  • Anonymous Nancy the Romancechick says so:
    6:15 PM  

    My preemie was born at 31 weeks and she was the only child I gave birth to and it was hard to not go through labor, to never see my belly-button turn inside out (!), to not have stretch marks and all those other "badges" of pregnancy. I miss out on sharing labor stories and experiencing that. On the other hand, few mothers I know got to see their child's eyelashes grow in. My daughter is 17 now and just as beautiful as she could be! I loved this post and I'm going to keep this blog on my blogroll! top

  • Blogger New Mama's Nest says so:
    6:25 PM  

    You brought up a wonderful point! We ARE so blessed to have gotten to know Xavier in flesh before so many parents do, we too saw his eyelashes and fingernails grow in, his skin thicken and all that hair slowly disappear...

    I would not trade those weeks at his bedside, just staring- learning every inch of his body for anything...

    Thanks for the reminder!
    Ashlee top

  • Blogger Tonya says so:
    6:28 PM  

    What a beautiful picture. Thanks for sharing your story... top

  • Blogger Allie says so:
    7:12 PM  

    Beautiful photograph!

    My first pregnancy resulted in having my son 7 weeks early. That was shocking in itself so I can't imagine what it would have been like to go 12 weeks early. I had 3 miscarriages (all at around 13 weeks) after my son and just gave birth to a gorgeous little girl. She was 37 weeks to the day and completely perfect. I had preterm labor with her at 17 weeks so never really thought that I would make it as far as I did with her.

    Good luck with any future pregnancies. Your son is a precious little boy. top

  • Blogger Jennifer says so:
    7:42 PM  

    First of all, awesome photo. I know EXACTLY how you feel - my first was a preemie, born at 24 weeks. And you definitely grieve the loss of your pregnancy once you know your child is ok. I used to want to slap people for saying I had it "easy". That was a very difficult time. I longed for a complete pregnancy with everything that came with it. And after 10 long years and several miscarriages, I finally got my wish - huge belly, swelling, and all, and worth every second. I was so able to cherish every second because of what I went through. And she made up for it weiging in at just under 10 lbs! I pray you will get the complete experience too! (Sorry to be so long!) top

  • Anonymous Anonymous says so:
    8:20 PM  

    That is one of the most STUNNING photos I have ever seen - pregnant belly pics or otherwise. Takes my breath away.

    I worked in a Level III NICU for 2 1/2 years. I've seen many, many preemies and love them all. I also empathize with your feelings of being 'robbed' - you were! Yes, you were given a beautiful gift of your baby, 1/3 of the experience was taken from you.

    If you decide to have more children, I wish you swollen ankles, popped belly buttons, and being able to only wear your hubby's clothes! :)

    Sarah top

  • Anonymous Mama C-ta says so:
    9:02 PM  

    OK you and nancy have me crying (again!)

    "we too saw his eyelashes and fingernails grow in, his skin thicken and all that hair slowly disappear...I would not trade those weeks at his bedside, just staring- learning every inch of his body for anything..."

    Gah! My heart is melting. top

  • Anonymous O Mama Mia says so:
    6:33 AM  

    I was so miserable uncomfortable when I was pregnant, but I don't think I ever wished it to be over sooner. I loved the excuse to eat! ;)
    But seriously, what a blessing to have the greatest outcome grinning at you daily!
    Stunning photo, too, girl! top

  • Blogger Staci says so:
    10:44 AM  

    I just love this picture. It's perfect, I'd have it framed.

    Wonderful post Ashlee.

    Mine is finally up. Yikes.

    Staci top

  • Blogger TAS says so:
    11:24 AM  

    What a beautiful picture! I have never thought about what you said -but I can completely understand. I remember when I was struggling to conceive and keep a pregnancy, I had a friend complaining about her post-breastfeeding b**bs (I HATE that word!). I remember telling her how grateful she should be that her body could sustain a life and that she had the opportunity - that they should be more a symbol of her womanhood than they were before she ever conceived. Amazing how different our perspectives can be, isn't it? top

  • Blogger Heaven Sent says so:
    1:05 PM  

    This is by far the most beautiful bump shot I have seen -- AND it is in Rome!

    I am so sorry your belly was taken away early; I loved my belly too. But what a miracle that your little man is so strong now!

    I pray that you are able to enjoy a nice, long 40-week pregnancy next time around! top

  • Blogger Romie says so:
    1:50 PM  

    That is beautiful and I am so happy that everything worked out. If you really want you will get another chance and can complain like the best of them about not being able to see your toes. top

  • Blogger Shelly says so:
    2:06 PM  

    what a beautiful photo, and a beautiful post as well. top