My Story

I guess my website should have my story on it.  The story of saying good-bye much to soon.

In April 2001 I found out that I was pregnant and we could not have been happier!  We already had a 5 year old daughter and we had been trying to conceive for a while.  My pregnancy was going along quite well.  We built and moved in to our brand new house in July of 2001 and things were going well.

We found out in August that we were having a girl and we were so excited!  Her name was all picked out Ashley Brooke Kalgren.  I didn’t feel Ashley too much because of some abdominal surgery I had had years prior, but I didn’t worry about it.  I was feeling good!  So since I wasn’t feeling her much we decided to rent a Doppler and then we could listen to the sweet sound of her heartbeat anytime we wanted. I was 26 weeks pregnant.

Well the country fell down around us on September 11, 2001 when the terrorist attacks happened.  Well that happened to be the same evening our Doppler arrived.  I worked at our daughters small Christian School and I didn’t watch the awful happenings all day….but my husband watched all of it and he came home quite upset and drained.  I was about to head to a prayer meeting at our church and the Doppler came.  My husband asked me to wait and lets hear her sweet heartbeat, he said he needed something good on such a horrible day.  Well we put the doppler on and didn’t hear anything….but what do we know?? We are not doctors so I told him we didn’t know what we were doing and headed off to my meeting.  My husband still saying he thought something was wrong.  No I had not felt her move, but that was pretty typical.  So off I went.  We tried the Doppler that evening and nothing….the next morning and nothing.  I still thought that it was because we didn’t know what we were doing.  My husband asked me to call the doctor and I told him that I would.  I brought our daughter to school and started work.  He called me and asked again if I called and I had not, but told him that I would.

Finally I called the doctor and they told me to come in.   I got to the doctors office with my Doppler in toe figuring they could show me how it worked.  Well I hopped up on the table and the doctor came in and searched with her Doppler and….kept searching and then said, “It’s not likely at this far along that I wouldn’t find it.” She then said she wanted to schedule an ultrasound right away and that I could use the phone in the room to call my husband.  She didn’t make it sound like Ashley was gone…..so I called my husband and he was about an hour away, so we said we would meet back at my work and go back to the hospital together.  Little did I know that he was very distraught and crying as he talked to his mother on the phone all the way to get me.  He knew….but I still thought everything was going to be okay.

My husband met me and we went to the hospital.  We were finally called in and the nurse was so awful…as we walked in to the room she said, “You know that I can’t tell you anything even if it is viable”  Viable….really??  Oh I was so upset.  So we got in there and she wouldn’t let me see the screen so I looked at my husband to see if I could read anything on his face and it was just blank….the nurse told us to go back to the doctors office.  So on the short walk back to the doctors office I stopped and looked at my husband and said, “What did you see?”  He said, “Nothing”  I said, “What do you mean?? She is gone??”  My husband put his hands on my shoulders and said, “No she is still there but she was not moving at all.”  I remember just falling to his arms as he held me.  We went into the doctors waiting room and we were crying.  The nurse came and took us to a room in the back.  It didn’t seem like too long before the door opened again and there stood Dr. Browne crying.  She came into the room and looked at us and said, “I am so sorry”  Then she sat and talked to us for a while, not ever looking at her watch or anything.  She explained that she wouldn’t know what happened until after Ashley was born.  This was Wednesday (Sept. 12, 2001) and she would have me come to the hospital on Friday to deliver Ashley.  My husband was so upset he had to leave the room for a bit.  It was like being struck by lightening on a clear sunny day.  There is nothing like it….a nightmare.

Thursday my parents met with the funeral home….the director was a friend of mine from High School….and he said that he would come whenever we wanted to.  We picked out an urn as we decided to have her cremated.  We talked to family and cried a lot.  People would ask what they could do.  I would just say, “Please just pray that we can get through this.”  Little did I know that God was listening to every one of those prayers.

Friday morning came all too soon.  I got up at 5:30 to shower and get dressed in my favorite maternity t-shirt…it has pretty flowers and butterflies on it.  At about 6:50, just before we were leaving, the phone rang.  It was a friend (more of an acquaintance at the time) Sheryl and she said, “Dawn I wanted to call and tell you that I have been in this place and I just wanted to call and tell you to hold your baby.” She said she would be praying and we hung up.  My husband and I got in the car and were on our way to the hospital, we didn’t talk much.  He almost missed the exit and I said, “Are you going to get off here?” He said, “I don’t want to get off here” He was pretty upset. We got to the hospital and we got to the maternity wing and the nurse said, “How can I help you” and my husband said, “We are here to have our baby” and she looked me up and down and said, “You don’t look far enough along to be having your baby”  Then my husband had to explain and the nurse felt bad.  She brought us to a room.  At about 7:30am the doctor came in to start labor (a slow process) and I asked her to do another ultrasound to be sure, so she did without another word.  Nothing had changed.

We had our church family and family come in and out all day.  It was September 14th and President George W Bush had ordered the day a day of prayer for the victims of Sept. 11th.  The process of softening the cervix etc was long.  I really wanted something to dress her in and we didn’t have anything.  So my mom set out to find something….she came back with a doll dress and she said that if it would fit a 12″ doll it would probably fit Ashley.  Another friend Patty went out and bought a set of cross earrings and we used one as a pin on her outfit.

At around 5pm the contractions started getting worse…intense.  At 8:35pm I gave birth to our precious Ashley Brooke born right to Heaven into the arms of Jesus.  She was 15.5oz and 11.25″ long.  She died from a rare cord accident. She was perfect and I was given God’s grace to take it all in.  I held her for about 4 hours….she was just so perfect!!!  My mom and friends came in and our pastor came in to pray for us and over her.  It was such a special time.  Then at about 1am my high school friend came and got her.  I asked him to keep her warm and to keep the lights on for her.  He handled her with such care.  Even the nurses were so amazed at how he took such special care of her.

God answered everyone’s prayers that day.  I saw my beautiful daughter through His eyes….I unwrapped her and wrapped her back up.  Looked at all of her like her long fingers with fingernails….her gums even had the teeth buds.  It was the worst day filled with so much joy.  I know that sounds weird, but I was so blessed to get to know my little girl and have some time with her…..was it ideal? No, but it was what I got and I cherished every moment.  I got to hold an angel….how blessed am I.  I thank God for the chance to be with her.  I know that I will see her one day when God calls me home…..and that brings me joy.

It has been 11.5 years and there is not a day goes by that I don’t think of her.  I started Ashley’s Angels in her memory and so that no other family has to go buy a doll dress for their baby.

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