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The Miraculous Journey of Baby Maier

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S: The miraculous story of God's Precious Gift...ELISE ASHLEY

FC: A baby is something you carry inside | you for nine months, in your arms | for three years and in your heart till | the day you die." ~ Mary Mason | God's Precious Gift... ELISE ASHLEY | The miraculous story of

1: About Our Family | Dear sweet little baby Maier, We feel so blessed and are so excited to welcome you into our family and to get to know you. Daddy and Mommy have been praying for you long before you were conceived. Our prayer has been that God would give us a healthy baby in His timing and now our biggest prayer is that we will be good parents, raising you to love Jesus first. We are already so in LOVE with you! Mommy & Daddy started dating after being friends for a long time, and we continue to be best friends. We dated through 2 years of high school and 4 years college and finally got married on May 30, 2008. We have enjoyed 4 wonderful years of marriage going on vacations, working on house projects, photographing weddings, hanging out with friends and family, and getting involved in the community and our church. Daddy completed his masters degree in August and now that life is settling down a little bit we can't wait to invite you into our friendship and enjoy your added company as we make memories together! With love, Mommy & Daddy

2: Pregnancy Journey | The journey started back in July 2011. I read an awesome book by Toni Weschler: Taking Charge of your Fertility and began charting BBT, taking fertilaid supplements, vitamin B6, using ovulation strips, and living a life of healthy diet and exercise to try to prepare myself for a healthy pregnancy.

3: January 3, 2012 - 2 weeks | On January 1st I took a pregnancy test, the line was faint but you know what they say...any line is a positive test! I was SO EXCITED but not quite sure I could believe the faint line...so I waited a few days and took another. YAHOO! This time darker...now figuring out the best part of the surprise (telling Daddy). So I took a picture of the 2 pregnancy tests and a picture of my belly with "hi daddy" written in eyeliner. I emailed the pictures to him and I will always remember the excited smile that he had on his face...PRICELESS. | God's blessed us with a MiRacLe!!!

4: FRIDAY | 10 | 1:00 PM appointment with Dr. Pete Kaczkofsky METRO | On Friday, February 10th I had my first doctor appointment with my OBGYN. I decided to see Dr. Pete at METRO after reading several positive reviews online and I felt that Metro was a great location for us because we recently found out we might be relocating to Zeeland/Hudsonville area. My first appointment went very well, I received a bag of pregnancy information including samples and books. I had my first ultrasound and found out that I was 9 weeks along your expected arrival is September 15th. | FEBRUARY | 2012 | 9-15 | new reading material

5: Prenatal appointment 1: | Blood pressure: 100/62 Weight: 124 lbs. Baby's Heart Beat: 170 | ultrasound at 9 weeks | So far mommy has been feeling great! A little bit of bloating over the past few weeks but appetite is still there and I have not experienced any nausea. I have noticed heightened sense of smell although its not bothering me. Doctor says all is well and to continue taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy, and exercising. I have been enjoying light running (3 miles), elliptical, and weight training 4 days a week. My boss was the first to guess that I was expecting at 7 weeks due to a nitrous patient in my schedule but we are waiting until 12 weeks to share the exciting news with family!

6: Sharing the exciting news with Family... | You did lots of fun things with Mommy this week: we flew in an airplane, lived on a cruise boat, visited Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Haiti, went snorkeling and rock climbing, and sailed on a catamaran in the ocean! Grandpa and Grandma Bredeweg took us along with Uncle Luke and Aunt Hannah on a 7 day cruise...little did they know that we were going to announce that you were going to be their first grandchild in September! I had a shirt custom made through vistaprint that announced our news! Auntie Hannah was the first to catch on but everyone was soooo excited! | FEBRUARY 25 - MARCH 3

7: How We Told Our Family & Friends | When we got home we skyped with Grandpa and Grandma Maier, called Uncle Nick and Aunt Erin, and visited Uncle Rick and Aunt Julie to share the news with them! Daddy called all his grandparents and aunts and mommy called her grandparents and aunts to share the good news! Over the next few weeks we told our friends...it was so fun to share the excitement with everyone! Daddy had more exciting news this month...he got a new job at GENTEX in Zeeland. We decided that we want to relocate to this area since mommy and daddy are both commuting for work. Time to get the house ready for the market! | 12 WEEKS | miracle underway, new job, moving...2012 is full of blessings and its only February! God is soooo good!

8: 9-15 | 13 weeks

9: What are you doing? Every week mommy and daddy look forward to receiving the email that shares with us what you are doing. You are such a miracle, growing and changing everyday! This week, you are about 3 inches long. You now have fingerprints on your tiny fingertips. All of your organs, nerves, and muscles are formed and are just beginning to function together. You are able to flex your arms and legs and move, although mommy is excited to feel you moving, I won't notice these movements for awhile. | What has mommy and daddy been up to? Eating healthy, working out, counseling 8th grade GEMS girls, working, looking for property, getting the house ready to sell, adjusting to a new job, reading pregnancy books, researching baby products, we bought a used crib and dresser off craigs list..and saying lots of prayers for you!

10: 9-15 | 15 weeks

11: What are you doing? This week, your reproductive system is doing the most developing. The roof of your palate is also being completed and you are developing eyebrows and hair on your scalp. Muscle development is continuing this week and by the end of the week you will be able to make a fist. | What has mommy and daddy been up to? Mommy had another doctor's appointment this past week. I got to hear your heart beat on the doppler for the first time...it was amazing! Your heat is beating around 160 beats per minute! Daddy has had lots of meetings at work and is getting started with bigger projects at Gentex. He likes his job and the people he works with a lot! We shot a wedding together this week and it went well! We are getting excited for the day when we can take pictures of you!

12: 9-15 | 17 weeks | bigger

13: What are you doing? Weeks 16 and 17 your continuing to grow and develop. Your facial muscles are now developed enough to allow for a variety of expressions. Your eyes are sensitive to light and you have probably had a few rounds of hiccups. You are adding layers of brown fat under your skin that will help keep you warm after birth. You are about 5 inches in length and weigh about 3 ounces. Mommy has already gained a few pounds! | What has mommy and daddy been up to? Daddy has been busy with house projects: pouring concrete step, landscaping, painting, and hanging things on the wall. Mommy has been shopping for wall hangings, staging the house, and cleaning like crazy! This place is looking so good and its going to be on the market next week! Mommy went to Friendship's Mom 2 Mom sale and found lots of goodies for you!

14: 9-15 | 19 weeks

15: What are you doing? You are continuing to gain weight and your bones are hardening through ossification. You can swallow and your kidneys are now developed and working. You are hearing so many different sounds and you may even notice mommy and daddy reading to you, talking to you, or singing to you. I still don't feel you moving yet, hopefully soon! | What has mommy and daddy been up to? Mommy had her last GEMS meeting this week and it was also GEMS Sunday. I have enjoyed the past 3 years teaching GEMS but have decided to take the next year off to spend time with you! I also celebrated my 27th birthday, Daddy took me to Fire Rock Grill for a yummy steak, you probably enjoyed it too! Daddy took the carpet out of our bedroom because we are getting new, so we have been camping out in the spare bedroom and have our first house showing tonight!

16: Hanging out with Grandma on her birthday. We went shopping and saw this mango at Costco and had to stop for a picture because we were reminded of you - this week you are about the size of a mango. Kind of a crazy but very exciting day, Daddy and I made big selling house decisions over several phone conversations today! | April 21, 2012

17: God's Plans are far better than we could ever imagine.. House is listed on the market thursday evening (4/19) friday morning we get a call for friday evening showing at 7pm then another call for sat showing at 9am carpet guys leave at 5:30pm on Friday evening (4/20) and we get room back together for showing the house we get offer at 11am for $900 less than asking price with us paying closing cost they want deal closed by end of day. We counter to pay half the closing cost and barter for an extra week (3wks and we have to be out) and they accept. We call our friends, Joe and Janae, and ask if we can live in their basement it is close to work for both of us. Their brother and sister move out of the basement on May 10th b/c back from honeymoon so we can move in May 11th! God is so amazing!!!!! Eric still did open house on Sunday from 1-3pm no new offers came through...once again we are reminded of God's presence and plans for our life - Jeremiah 29:11

18: our first house... | we spent 4 good years here...

19: 6715 Avalon Dr.

20: 9-15 | 21 weeks

21: What are you doing? We are over half way and you are moving! Your little kicks feel like fluttering butterfly wings in my tummy. You are about 10.5 ounces and 6.5" long. You have eyebrows and eyelids now and you are even capable of swallowing! | What has mommy and daddy been up to? Packing, Packing, Packing....and now finally MOVING! We moved all that we could to our 10x20 storage unit in Hudsonville. Our friends, Matt and Tracey Hulst and Mark Ouwinga were a huge help in moving the big, heavy things. Both of our parents helped too! We are living like campers this week: eating off paper plates and washing the two bowls and two cups that we kept at the house after every meal. We signed up for childbirth classes at METRO and are starting to think about registering. We got to see you by ultrasound and Daddy and I absolutely adore you and are so excited to meet you in less than 20 weeks!!!!

22: May 3, 2012 | 20 wks 4 days... | To see you moving, kicking, flipping, grinning, and yawning today was an amazing miracle and blessing. God is soooo good and we thank Him and will continue to thank Him each and everyday for blessing us with one of life's most precious gifts, YOU!

23: your heart rate: 141

24: 23 weeks | bigger | attempting good posture and flexing...this is not getting any easier! | ...usually baby bump look like this

25: 9-15 | What are you doing? Your more than 11 inches long now and weigh over one pound! Your ears are more developed that you are recognizing all types of sounds including those in the outside world. Blood vessels in your lungs are developing in preparation for breathing. We are staying active and eating healthy together, mom's been working out 4-5 times a week on the elliptical and lifting weights, it keeps my energy levels high! | What has mommy and daddy been up to? Sunday May 13th was an exciting day because it was Mother's Day! We spent the day with both families and Daddy felt you kick for the first time! You were very active during the church service, infact we even saw you moving! We finished moving this weekend and are now living in our friends' (Joe and Janae Byker) basement. Closing on the house was delayed another week so we moved anyways and the buyers asked that they could take immediate possession of house because of closing delay. It felt good to sign the papers and hand over the keys and deposit a large equity check on Thursday, May 17th. We will miss the house but are excited to have things finalized so that we can start throwing out offers! | MOTHER'S DAY

26: 9-15 | 25 weeks | baby is GrOwiNG...

27: What are you doing? We have reached weeks 24 and 25 now and you are over 13 inches in length.Your still very lean at this point but will be adding more weight soon! | What has mommy and daddy been up to? We had an extra long weekend because it was memorial weekend! We packed it full of fun including staying the weekend at Big Star Lake and then ending the weekend with Evan and Truett's birthday party and then Sikma Pancakes-in-the-Park. We also made a visit to Nick and Erin's cottage and did some fishing with the twins, can't wait for you to have the chance to play with your cousins. This week was also exciting because we found a house, made an offer, and it was accepted! We are excited to get a room setup for you at the new place... 9005 Ottogan Rd. Holland, MI

29: What have you been up to? You now weigh about 2 pounds and are 14.5 inches in length (about the length of a cucumber) You have developed sleeping and waking patterns of equal intervals. I can tell you are gaining strength as your kicking is getting much stronger. You can hear mommy and daddy conversing now as your ears are more developed than before. Mommy had a doctor's appointment with Dr. Irving and he said that you are measuring right on track for Sept 15th... That's just 13 more weeks and we get to meet you (yippee) | Weeks 26 and 27...! Only 13 more to go | What has mommy and daddy been up to? These past 2 weeks have been busy, fun, and even at times relaxing. Mommy and Daddy have been taking 3 mile walks every night to enjoy the nice weather and spend time together. We went up to Big Star Lake for the day to help Grandpa Bredeweg put the new pontoon in the water. Mommy shot another wedding and it was a hot 90 degrees.! Daddy had his first Father's Day and he left on a work trip to Japan for a week. We sure missed him when he was gone.

30: 29 | weeks

31: What have you been up to? | What has mommy and daddy been up to? Daddy purchased a tractor for the new yard and hopefully to help plow the 900 ft driveway this winter. We also enjoyed a nice afternoon boating with Jason and Chana on Lake Michigan. Then Friday, Mommy had another wedding shoot and it was well into the 90s. On Saturday, we went up to BigStarLake but just for the day because it has been so hot and then we received an email that we were getting our keys on Sunday...9 days earlier than expected. This turned out to be an answered prayer because mommy and daddy both had the next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday off from work for the 4th of July.! | -Your about 2.5 lbs in weight and about 15 inches long from head to heel. You have eyelashes and you can blink now. Your brain is developing and so is your eye sight. You need lots of nutrients for continued development and growth so I am continuing to eat healthy and walk a few days a week. The doctor now wants to see me every 2 weeks that we have hit our third trimester...only 11 weeks to go.

32: 31 | WEEKS

33: What has mommy and daddy been up to? | We did some cleaning at the house but they left the place so nice for us. We enjoyed a fun 4th of July at Nick and Erin's Lake House and on Thursday, July 5th we moved everything out of storage and into the house... it was a 15 hour day of moving for us. Mom and Dad Maier and Mom and Dad Bredeweg were a HUGE help. It was over 100 degrees so it was extremely difficult to stay hydrated. The air is broke in both vehicles so just driving in this 100 degree heat is making us tired. Daddy painted the crib and changing table this week, we are starting to get your nursery ready.!We finally made our way into our thick woods and found the stream at the back of our property. | What have you been up to? Your 16 inches long and weigh 3.3 lbs. Your moving a lot and can now move your head side-to-side. We had another doctors appointment and your heart rate was 145 and mommy's BP was 100/60. Mommy found out she is blood type O+ and they did the blood glucose test today to check for gestational diabetes. Doing well!

34: Blueberry Picking... | Other fun things that we did in July... | Picnic with Joe and Janae to celebrate the fun 8 weeks we had as housemates... | July 20 - last wedding shoot for Tracy and Greg Kortman...once again another hot day in the 90s

35: Holland State Park with Uncle Luke and Aunt Hannah... | Daddy burned all of our moving boxes...there were lots! | we looked at a blazer with uncle Rick and aunt Julie and they bought it! Evan and Truett LOVE trucks...now we need a trip to Silver Lake!

36: Baby Shower | with Sikma and Maier families | Great Aunt Julie's Fruit Creation | July 26 | Aunt Julie's Famous Cake

37: Baby Shower | with Friends | Our friends threw us a joint shower because Rachel Snoeyink is also due September 15th and Staci Wiltjer is due just 3 weeks later! It was fun to all celebrate this special event together... | One of Lauren's Creative Diaper Cakes that she made for us. We each got to take one home! | July 27

38: building your crib | 33 weeks

40: Daddy took these pictures of me and you at 33 weeks. He did a great job!!!

42: SILVER LAKE 2012 | 34 weeks

43: We had a fun day at Silver Lake Sand Dunes with Rick and Julie and the boys. It was a little bumpy of a ride at 34 weeks so we took it easy and enjoyed hanging out on the beach and watching people...

44: Progress | 35 weeks | What have you been doing? | What has mommy and daddy been doing? -white caps game -painting crib and finishing bedroom -baby shower with work at Dr. Lubber's cottage - mom got a call from Dr. Smedley's office about job opening 3 days a week -visiting churches in the Zeeland area | You are now over 18 inches long and just over 5 lbs in weight. Your kidneys are fully developed and your liver can process some waste. There isn't much room for you to move anymore because you are adding on weight quickly.

45: 36 week ultrasound | Dr. Irving ordered another ultrasound because I was only measuring 33 centimeters at 36 weeks which could mean that you are 3 weeks behind. He did not think that this was the case but he wanted to double check and the ultrasound came back that your size is right on for 36 weeks and that you are low in position of the pelvic bone. I also found out that I was strep B positive so now we have to decide whether we will do antibiotics during labor/delivery or not...time to do some research. I am dilated to 1 cm and 60% effaced. We had lots of fun seeing you again today...can't wait to meet you in person soon!

46: -Mommy found out that she got the new job at Smedley Dental! They are finding me subs until I can start on Nov 27th! Sharlyn and Missi who I worked with at HFD put in a good word for me! Now I will work a half mile from daddy and less than 4 miles from home! We are stocking up on meals for after you are born. We canned 20 pints chicken, froze tons of Great Grandpa Maier's corn, and have several other delicious meals stocked up in the freezer. I am so excited that Marcia Wierenga will be watching you on Tuesdays and Thursdays...now we just need to get Mondays covered! | 37 Weeks!

47: Smedley DENTAL downtown Zeeland | What have you been up to? Well we have made it to what they call "full-term pregnancy." You can come at any point now and you should be able to function on your own because your lungs are fully developed. Dr. Irving would like for you to stay another week or so to continue gaining weight...your currently a little over 6 lbs and 19 inches long!

48: 37 weeks

49: downtown Zeeland

53: Love

55: I have been experiencing more Braxton Hicks Contractions, no pain associated with them. I did have strong back pain for a whole day but was better the next day, must have been the way that you were positioned. | 38.5 Weeks | Daddy found out today that he was let go from his job at Gentex because they were cutting back several positions in the company. Thankfully we still have insurance coverage for a little while (until October 4) which should help cover our hospital delivery. We know that God has a plan for our family...we are and will be praying lots for trust, strength, and guidance. I had another doctor's appointment and I am dilated to 3 cm and 80% effaced. Doctor gives delivery a 50/50 chance of it happening this week! We are so excited to have you to look forward to and now mommy and daddy both get to enjoy some time home with you!!! | What have Dadd | What have Daddy and Mommy been up to? | What have you been up to? | Still growing bigger everyday. Infact you are gaining about half a pound a week! You are moving lots still and I'm beginning to wonder if you are having too much fun in there that you don't want to come out! You are estimated to be over 7 lbs and 20 inches long!!!

56: So it has been a few days now since we heard the news on Daddy's job. Daddy has been working very hard to find out the details of medical coverage and he had a great meeting yesterday with his recruiter, Shelly, who is also working hard to pull together opportunities for work. We feel overwhelmed with God's Love through the power of prayer. We are so blessed to have each other to rely on for love and support (Daddy and I spent the last few days hanging out together reflecting on life, it was great!) I love your Daddy's positive attitude and strong faith, he is such an amazing person and I know he is going to be a terrific Dad! We are so blessed by our family and friends who have been very supportive through the power of prayer. I had lots of contractions last night, We timed them and they lasted about 1 minute and they were coming every 10 minutes. We headed to bed hoping that we could get some sleep before they got too close together. I was really excited that we might be starting labor but the contractions slowed down in the night which can commonly happen...were getting ready and excited for the big day! The excitement is making it hard to sleep so I got up early this morning and read through various parts of the Bible... | COUNTING our BLESSINGS and remaining strong through FAITH and TRUST in Jesus Christ... | 39 WEEKS

57: As I was reading the Bible this morning, I came across these 3 verses and I was overcome with goosebumps because I felt that God was speaking directly to me: Isaiah 41:10 - Don't be afraid for I am with you. Do not be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand. James 1:2-4 - Dear brothers and sisters, whenever trouble comes your way, let it be an opportunity for joy. For when your faith is tested your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed you will be strong in character and ready for anything. Romans 8:28 - And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Dear child of God: It is my deepest prayer that you love and serve our amazing God! He know what is best for us and He wants what is best for us too! He does not give us more than we can handle and he will provide us with the strength to get through it. It is amazing how He can turn life's trials into blessings and use them to help us develop more spiritual maturity through it. He LOVES us all very much! Love, mommy

58: 39 weeks

59: Love

60: DATE: September 15th, 2012 | TIME: 12:30am | I started having contractions around 9:00 PM the night before your due date. The contractions continued to move closer and closer together until they were between 3 and 5 minutes apart. We called the emergancy line at the doctor's office and they told us to head to the hospital because we were most likely in labor. When we got to the hospital they sent us to triage. I was dilated to 4 cm and 80% effaced. They had us walk the halls for 1 hour to see if labor would progress. It did not so they sent us home at 4am and told us to return if contractions got stronger.

61: The Story of your... | 12:30 am Monday morning (9-17-2012) I awoke from my sleep with painful cramps that were about 5 minutes apart. We headed to the hospital and this time were happily admitted. They moved me to a birthing room, we were very excited that we were most likely going to meet you today! | They hooked me up to several monitors and continued to watch my contractions. At 4:30 am I was dilated to 7 cm and about 90% effaced. The cramps and contractions were getting really painful so I decided to get an epidural...I felt great after this. I continued to eat lots of italian ice and ice chips to keep me hydrated...while we continued to wait for the word that I was 10cm dilated.

62: It's a... GIRL!!!

63: Metro Health Hospital | Ar noon I was finally dilated to 10cm. Dr. Irving said that it was "go time" and that I was good to start pushing. After the first few pushes your heart rate dropped to 77. Suddenly there were people swarming around my bed and they were talking about an emergancy c-section. Daddy and I were really scared and did not like the sounds of that. They had me quickly roll to my right and left sides and then onto my stomach. Your heart rate started to climb again so we waited 15 minutes and then started pushing again. After 2 hours of difficult labor we were so excited to meet you! You were born around 2:20pm and you weighed 6 lbs 12 ounces and were 19.5 inches long. You are so adorable and we were surprised by the amount of dark hair that you had. Daddy and I cried tears of joy as you were placed immediately on my chest. You stared at us with your eyes wide open. You cried briefly after delivery but as Daddy talked to you, you calmed right down. You are the perfect gift from God and totally worth the wait! We will cherish this memory forever and we look forward to enjoying life with you...

64: ELISE ASHLEY | such a beautiful little girl...

65: LOVE at First Sight...

66: our family of 3...

67: We spent hours in the hospital just staring at you. It is an amazing miracle that God gave you to us. He has given you as a gift that we are blessed to take care of. It is our prayer that we LOVE you, RAISE you, TEACH you, PRAY for you, FEED you, NURTURE you, TRAIN you, and DISCIPLINE you in a way that honors and pleases God. | GOD'S PRECIOUS MIRACLE...

68: MEETING the rest of the FAMILY... you have awesome grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins that love you very much!!!

70: BATH TIME... | awe...so cute

71: Lots of doctors and nurses stopped in to check your vitals...

72: Getting Ready to go Home! | TUESDAY, Sept. 18 6:00PM

73: We decided to leave the hospital after one night because we were all doing well and we were excited to get you home. We are so excited for the journey ahead of making memories and enjoying you each and everyday!

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