the night before you were born.

where my heart resides

The night before you were born, I stood in the bathroom doorway with a toothbrush in my hand and cried my eyes out.

Just hours earlier, we went out to a fancy dinner and I ate as much as I could possibly fit into my stretched out belly in preparation for the 12-hour fast. We talked about you, of course, and us, and about how life as we knew it was about to change forever. It was the kind of change that I had waited for my whole life—the same change we had prayed for, hoped for, wished for all along. That date night was a gift, you know. One of the (many) pros of having a scheduled c-section is having one last night to prepare yourself for the fact that your entire life is about to turn upside down.

As I brushed my teeth later that night, the reality of what was happening washed over me.

It was our last night as Brett and Ashlee.

The last night of being two, of being married without children, of being us.

And it shook me, deep down in my soul.

All I could do was cry. It was a weird mix of sad and happy, the very definition of bittersweet. My own tears were confused as they streamed down my face. I cried and cried and cried some more, while your daddy wrapped his arms around me and prayed for us. He was calm and collected as always, but I think he was equally terrified.

Twelve hours later, they put you on my chest, and from the instant your skin touched my skin, I knew I couldn’t breathe without you.

To know you is to love you, Everett, and I loved you the second I knew you.

When I saw you for the first time, I knew you were mine. There was no question, no doubt, no regret, no sadness, no confusion, no anything. My body was still cut open on the table, but I had never felt so whole.

From that minute, Ev, I have never looked back. I have never once thought back to the time when daddy and I were just us and wished we were still that way. Not once. I cannot imagine life without you, and I want you to always know that my life improved in every way humanly possible the exact second you entered it.

There are so many things you will never remember about this time. You will never remember life as an only child, and that makes me sad, because these have been two of the most wonderful years of my life.

For two whole years, I have held only you. I have rocked only you to sleep and tickled only you on the carpet and kissed only you goodnight between the crib rails. You’ll never remember sitting in the rocking chair reading books or sitting on the kitchen counter swiping chocolate chips out of the mixing bowl or lying in my lap for Curious George marathons. You’ll never remember all of our mommy and son dates to the zoo and the train museum and the ice cream shop and the park. You’ll never remember your solo bedtime routine or the way I rub lavender baby lotion on your skinny legs after a bath. You’ll never remember how we sing in the car, just you and I, or the way you roll toy cars up and down my tummy while we’re curled up on the couch.

You’ll never remember all these times, these hours, these days filled with enough love to cover the sky.

And it’s okay that you won’t remember them, because I know that I will. I’ll remember them for both of us, and I’ll write down our stories as best as I can as we go along.

And Ev, I want you to know that the night before your brother is born, I will cry. I will cry so, so hard. Because just like the night before you were born was the end of two, the night before your brother is born will be the end of three. And I will be sad and happy and my tears will be confused again and it will be nothing short of bittersweet.

But make no mistake, my sweet boy. You, Everett, were the one who made me a mother.

And nobody will ever, ever replace you.

I love you, Ev.

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24 Responses to the night before you were born.

  1. Saskia says:

    Ashlee, this was so wonderful, it brought me to tears.

  2. Jenn v says:

    Love this! It made me cry a little!
    Jenn v´s last blog post ..FAVORITE SUMMER RECIPES

  3. Kelsi Brown says:

    Oh mama you just ripped my heart out! I am also pregnant with my 2nd son who is due right around my sons 2nd birthday. I relate to every word you wrote 110%. It is so crazy how we can feel such happiness and sadness all at once. I keep getting told giving my son a sibling is one of the best things I can give him and I know that will be true! It’s a bittersweet ride. Xo

  4. Paulette says:

    Hey Ash –

    Just love this post!! I forgot to tell you that when we put Everett to bed Friday night in the portable crib he smashed his face up to the mesh for us to kiss him goodnight!! It was so cute and the first time he had ever done that when he is with us.

    Love, Mom

  5. Kara says:

    Loved this! So so so true. It’s such a bittersweet time – I remember thinking we needed to do EVERY single thing possible as a team of three before our 2nd was born. It feels a little betraying to add to the family when you love your first SO SO much but it’s so so good – which we know you know. But man, it is bittersweet and just plain hard. Can’t wait to meet baby brother!

  6. kelsey says:

    Love this! I wrote a post about the night before Rooney was born too (we timed my contractions and watched a bunch of Modern Family episodes). If I had truly known it was our last night, I would have cried too! Instead I waited until I was in the middle of pushing her out to completely lose it 🙂 Can’t wait to see you become a mother of two!
    kelsey´s last blog post ..Rooney, 28 months

  7. Katie says:

    This was just so sweet. <3 Beautifully written, as always!

    xo

  8. Susan M says:

    dude. tears.
    Susan M´s last blog post ..Free Printable Fourth of July card

  9. Vivian says:

    This. My goodness woman. You write so beautifully and eloquently. My eyes are flooded with tears, because I know all those exact feelings and thoughts, minus the second child on the way. But I do fear that bittersweet feeling. Good luck tomorrow and congrats!
    Vivian´s last blog post ..Summer Picked Giveaway!

  10. Sarabell says:

    My heart! I love this so, so much. Thanks for always sharing so much beautiful on this inspiring space of yours. It really is such a blessing to get so many reminders of how wonderful and precious life, marriage and motherhood are.

  11. Megs says:

    I just started following your blog a couple of days ago and I had to tell you how sweet this post is! My first son is 6 months old and I’ve been getting ready to write down his birth story for his 1st Year book… I love the idea of including the thoughts I was having so shortly before he was born… (I totally wasn’t ready when he came a week early – I was loving every minute of the pregnancy!) Thanks for the inspiration!
    Megs´s last blog post ..Do You Like You?

    • Ashlee says:

      Hi Megs! Thank you. Gosh, all I have ever known is a scheduled c-section (Everett was breech) and it’s crazy to think of doing it any other way now, or having a baby that arrives early or late! You should definitely add those thoughts to your baby book, especially before you forget them altogether 😉

  12. Katie says:

    Well, gosh darn. This had me crying into my cup of tea. Thank you so much for sharing your sweet family with us. Your writing is so lovely.
    Katie´s last blog post ..I thought I was worthless. I was wrong.

  13. Erin says:

    You are so great- I found this blog after reading coffee + crumbs. Great work- keep writing you have a gift. From one mom to another- thank you.

  14. Hillary says:

    This post makes me cry every time I read it. I especially love these lines: “I’ll remember them for both of us” and “You, Everett, were the one who made me a mother.” Thank you for your honest, beautiful, and encouraging posts. I also love seeing your beautiful instagram photos! With love from a fellow mom.

  15. Wow! I just found your blog and it’s lovely. Your writing is so beautiful and has already brought me to tears more than once. You have such heart felt posts that connect with many others. Thank you for being you! x
    Brittney Guise´s last blog post ..21 Gifts for the Homebody for under $100

  16. Molly says:

    I’m officially taking a break from your blog….for like an hour. Maybe. All of your posts are so darn touching! I have tears streaming down my face because I can relate SO STRONGLY to the fear of bringing a third person into our Bubble. It was just me and my husband for 10 years. We dreamt and prayed and planned for a family but in the end were terrified of how it would change our relationship. We were so incredibly close…was there space for another person? Turns out there was, of course. Neither one of us can remember what life was like before our Lexie came into it. But I remember when she was conceived and at routine junctures in my pregnancy, I’d cry my eyes out for my excitement at finally becoming a mama, and for the end of the Molly + Giddy era. Bittersweet, indeed! I didn’t tell anybody about those fears; I thought I’d be judged and people would think I wasn’t ready to have a family. So my husband was the only person I confided in. It feels so validating to read your post and to know I’m not the only mom out there who feared the arrival of their child for reasons other than not getting the epidural in time! Thank you 🙂

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