Ashleigh’s Garden

I have a section in the front yard that I call Ashleigh’s garden. It’s probably the most prominent feature in the front yard, yet not many people know the reason for the added on piece of flower bed. It’s rather odd looking to say the least. If a walking path were to somehow become pregnant, then the large bump that protruded from its side would be this garden.

Long story short…

It wasn’t too long ago that we had two girls in our family, instead of a girl and boy. Back in late 2009, my wife and I found out we were going to have a second child. January of 2010 brought on a lot of complications to baby and mother and on the 21st of that month Ashleigh was delivered early via c-section. Early, as in 26 weeks gestation and weighing only 1lb 1oz.

She took up residence in an incubator at the neonatal ICU and was kept alive by a ventilator. The first week or so she was giving little, to no food via her umbilical cord, then she graduated to a feeding tube. 4mLs was the most she got since her tiny little stomach was not ready for this type of nutrition yet.

As the days turned to weeks an gradually into a month, we visited daily, usually twice. Stephanie held Ashleigh for the first time around 3 weeks and I was a week or so later. Late March rolled around and she was gaining weight pretty consistently. She even got the strength to breath on her own, if only for less than 10 hours.

April came and she had grew out of the incubator and into a bassinet. She was now able to keep her body temperature close to 98.6 and was gradually learning to take a bottle, though aspirating a lot. She didn’t stay long in the bassinet and quickly moved into a crib at the end of the month. Off the ventilator and breathing on her own, we were finally able to pick her up by ourselves.

May began, Ashleigh was nearing 5 pounds and we were hearing reports that in just a few weeks we would be able to being our daughter home. Only 4 days into the month and our 3 month journey came to an abrupt halt. Her heart gave out on her. It had done so much work in 104 days that her doctor said it was like a 40 year old having a heart attack.

…or so the story goes.

It was only a few weeks after this that my grandfather moved into an assisted living center and was getting rid of the majority of his possessions. In his backyard sat a fountain. A beautiful 2 tier fountain that hadn’t pumped water in probably 20 years.

And so I set off to create something I really didn’t have a plan for but knew what it’s purpose would be. A place to reflect and enjoy a sunny Saturday morning over some flowers and coffee.

Construction. May 2010

Construction. May 2010

May 2010.

Zoe smelling the flowers. August 2010

Ashleigh’s Chair. August 2010

Butterfly. May 2011

Robin. May 2011

April 2012

April 2012

Comments 3

  1. chel wrote:

    It is beautiful. I’m *so* sorry for your loss. What a beautiful and *meaningful* way to honor Ashleigh. *huge hugs* Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

    Posted 04 Apr 2012 at 12:23 pm
  2. Misti wrote:

    Some day I need to sip some coffee out there. 🙂 It is such a beautiful garden!

    Posted 04 Apr 2012 at 6:37 pm
  3. Donna wrote:

    I too would love to sit out there and have coffee and reflect. Never had the opportunity so far. That little girl did so much in so little time. I think the beauty of the garden is a reflection of how beautiful Ashleigh was and is now in heaven. “hugs” Moosie

    Posted 04 Apr 2012 at 11:24 pm

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