The Cotten Family: Zayden, Kyleigh, Ashley & Casey
It's good to have a plan. Might not work out exactly as envisioned, but that's life.
Ashley mentioned "the plan" right away.
"I have a 12-year-old daughter," Ashley began. "When my husband and I got married, we knew were going to try to have a child together. That was the plan. And since I got pregnant the first time, I just assumed that it was going to be easy the second time."
But it was not. Frustration with a previous provider ("I didn't feel welcomed or heard") led her to Dr. Allison Brubaker.
A fertility specialist at Women's Care of Wisconsin, Brubaker made an instant connection with Ashley.
"She took the time to understand me and hear my worries, frustrations, and concerns," said Ashley. "When you're trying to get pregnant, you need your doctor to take that extra time to really listen to what you're saying."
Ashley would spend the next two years trying to get pregnant, but to no avail. She blamed herself, felt she had somehow done something wrong, could not understand why her body was not doing what it was supposed to do.
"This is a really vulnerable time in your life. And you really need somebody who truly cares and is genuine, who can listen to your story, your thoughts, your concerns and really follow through with a plan to make sure that you're getting what you need," said Ashley. "Dr. Brubaker hits all those points."
Despite the efforts, one day Ashley felt it was time to take a break from the tests, the treatments, and the procedures.
"I just needed some time to figure out what we were going to do," said Ashley.
Of course, that's when Ashley got pregnant.
The celebration of the joyous news, coming as it did after so much time and doubt, wouldn't go according to plan either.
"When I found out I was pregnant, my husband found out the same day that he was positive for COVID," Ashley said. "I yelled for him to come check the test to see if it was real, but he was in no condition to understand what was actually happening at that moment. We celebrated together a week or so later. We were over-the-moon excited."
About seven weeks into the pregnancy, Ashley started bleeding.
"I just had this feeling after we worked so hard it was going to be over," said Ashley. "I called Dr. Brubaker and she just said not to freak out, that I should get to the ER and we'd figure it out."
And it turned out to be fine. Following the ER visit, Brubaker saw Ashley in clinic the same day to reassure her that things were okay.
"She paid extra attention to my pregnancy because I was high risk, and she knew that I was overly-paranoid because of the journey that led up to this point."
Because Ashley couldn't get her gestational diabetes under control, she ended up on insulin. That resulted in lots of check-ins with Brubaker. At 37 weeks, she couldn't get her fasting blood sugar under control. Brubaker, said Ashley, looked at her face and could sense that it was time.
"Are you ready to be done?" said Brubaker.
"Yes!" came the reply.
Ashley went home, packed a bag, and returned. Brubaker delivered a healthy baby boy, Zayden, and their family was complete.
Which was the plan all along.