Ashley received her B.A. in Visual Communication & Design in 2005 and spent the beginning of her career working as a graphic designer for newspapers, a photography studio chain, and communications group. Continuing education is very important to her. She completed midwifery training in December 2013, and became a Licensed Midwife and Certified Professional Midwife (certified by NARM) in March 2014. She opened a freestanding birth center in January 2016 in Kingwood, which is now located in Cleveland, Texas.
Ashley met her husband, Ryan, in 2003. The two married after graduating college together in 2005 and started their family soon after. They have six kids. Ryan is a sheriff's deputy for Harris County, Texas. The family enjoys spending time together, playing games, riding bikes, going swimming in the summer, and taking family trips.
I've wanted to be a midwife since I was a teenager. However, I wanted to wait until I had a family of my own. I assumed that would be when my kids were grown. However, God had other plans. In June 2011, I began an apprenticeship with Chris Duffy, LM in North Houston and began studying midwifery through the Association of Texas Midwives. I also attended births with Nanci Stanley, Holly Shearman, and Kathy Vande Giesen during my training. The journey to becoming a midwife was nearly three years long, and I learned so much from so many wonderful midwives along the way!
Ashley has six children and a variety of birth experiences, which have all contributed to her knowledge and experience now as a midwife. Ashley has a surprisingly well-rounded experience of birth, and she believes God orchestrated it that way so that she could connect with more women in a variety of birth situations. She has experienced the standard care of hospital birth, the accommodating warmth of a birth center, and three perfectly peaceful homebirths. She has been in the OR with moms undergoing cesareans, including her own daughter's birth. Her passion now is to empower women through education and midwifery services. As the saying goes, it's time for the women of earth to take back their birth!
Ashley's first baby was born in 2006 at 36 weeks gestation. She was induced early because the amniotic fluid level was low (oligohydramnios). She was fortunate that the induction went well and it was only ten and a half hours from the time they started the pitocin to the time he was born. She was able to have him without pain medications, however due to some intervention during the second stage (pushing), she needed quite a bit of repair. For this part, she requested demerol, which did nothing to reduce the pain. It only made her delirious. The repair took an hour and a half, so she didn't get to hold her son right away. By the time she held him, he was too sleepy to nurse. Overall, the experience was good (after all, she had a healthy baby and no cesarean), but because of the hospital routines and interventions, she wanted to avoid the hospital if possible for future births.
Ashley's second baby was born in a local birth center in 2009. Her husband wasn't quite ready to take the leap to homebirth, so they compromised. She went into labor spontaneously at 39 weeks and 1 day. It was the middle of the night, and the contractions weren't as painful as the induced ones. But they came on hard and fast. She didn't have early labor contractions (unless you count the 6 months of braxton hicks... which were doing more than she realized because she was 5 cm dilated by the time she went into labor). After a couple hours of contractions, they left for the birth center... just as she was entering transition. The drive to the birth center was excruciating. She begged her husband to pull over as every little pebble on the road felt like a speed bump! By the time they arrived at the birth center, she was fully dilated and after getting settled in the tub, she pushed out her tiny, beautiful little girl. Labor totaled just three hours. Everything was perfect with one exception... the car ride to the birth center... which is why she had her third child at home!
Ashley's third child, born in 2011, was another girl and another waterbirth. In fact, her labors with the first two girls were almost identical. They were both born at 39 weeks and 1 day. This labor was 4 hours and again started in the middle of the night. She knew with each of them that labor had started after having only one contraction (it was just that strong!); though she did have a false alarm with each of them as well. Ashley again started labor at 5 cm dilation. This birth was truly perfect! The older two kids slept peacefully in their beds while she labored in the living room downstairs. Her mom, husband, midwife, doula, and birth photographer were her support team and because she was in her own home, she was running the show. She gave birth with almost no intervention (other than listening to the baby's heart tones every 30 minutes or so). The baby had the cord around her neck twice and her leg once, so Ashley needed a little help "unwinding" her before lifting her from the water. It was so perfect, so peaceful, and so healing! She felt like she could have a hundred babies this way!
Ashley's fourth baby was another girl (her poor husband!). This labor was very much like her other girls, except that it began with her water breaking. This was new for her! She was only having a contraction every 30 minutes or so and it was dinnertime. She found out later that she was GBS positive for the first time, so that probably contributed to the premature rupture of membranes. Ashley figured she would wake up in the middle of the night and have a baby, so she went to bed as usual. She woke up around 1 am with more noticeable contractions. They quickly picked up and they raced to fill the birth pool. Her daughter was born in the water at 3:10 am after just two hours of labor. The only ones in attendance were her husband and her mom. It was so beautiful and peaceful!
The fifth baby was a boy. His labor was similar to the fourth baby. He had been posterior (with his back near her spine) for awhile, so Ashley was trying to get him to turn by softly jiggling her belly while in a knee-chest position. She did this for about 10 minutes, and when she sat back on her haunches, the water broke. They again raced to fill the birth tub. This time, she was already a midwife and had two of her students present as well as another midwife friend, her husband and mom. He was born in just two hours as well, despite weighing a pound more than his biggest sibling before him. It was another beautiful homebirth, but Ashley decided she wants to be done having kids. It was getting harder on her body and she no longer looked forward to any part of pregnancy or delivery.
Ashley's sixth baby was born in 2018, though not born to her. She begged God to make her barren after the fifth one. She told Him she would gladly have more kids if they didn't have to come through her body. Well, He took her up on that promise. This baby was truly a surprise gift from God. They found out about her through a mutual friend, and the birth parents wanted to meet Ashley and Ryan. it was clear when she was born that she was "ear marked" for their family by God because she has the same genetic ear pit that two of their other kids have... in the same exact spot! It was the easiest birth for Ashley, lol! She was a cesarean baby but Ashley got to breastfeed her since her fifth baby wasn't weaned yet. .