A Love Unimaginable

My name is Ashleigh Davis, and this is my story. My life was pretty normal up until the day my dad died of an overdose in 2009. This crushed not only my heart, but my family’s spirits. My mother was affected by this the most. She was heartbroken, and grief stricken. She turned to drinking to fill the void. Over three years I watched my mother drink her life away. Her eyes got darker and her hair got thinner, but most of all, her personality changed. My sister and I begged with her, cried with her and yelled at her. Nothing worked. On March 2, 2012, my mom went into the hospital, she fought for her life for eight long days. She lost that fight on March 10, 2012. I was lost, but thankfully my best friend and boyfriend of two years, Andrew Denham was there for me.

At 17 and 18 years old we took on the responsibility of having our own home. On August 7, 2013, I found out I was two months pregnant. We were surprised but excited. We then found out it was going to be a sweet little boy that was due on March 11, 2014. On December 28, 2013 I had a seizure that made my blood pressure go way up and was rushed to UAB and induced into labor. My sweet baby boy, Elijah Thomas Denham, was born that day, which was also the anniversary of my Dad’s passing. He weighed 2 lbs 2 oz. He was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and I experienced a love beyond anything I could have ever imagined. He was doing great for a premature baby. He was on no oxygen, except for the nasal cannula. He started his feeds and was growing fast. My sweet boy got a stomach infection and was put into NICU at UAB. They intubated him and started treating him for his stomach infection. They found an infection in the fluid around his brain, called bacterial meningitis. This bacteria spread like a wild fire on his brain. He was transferred to Children’s of Alabama to insert a shunt and drain the fluid before it damaged his brain even more. When they did the MRI, they found that the brain had already been severely damaged and there was nothing they could do. At 19 years old, I was forced to make a choice to let my son go or to make him fight for his life at a month old. We chose to let him go. On February 10, 2014 we took the oxygen tube out.

During this time I knew I couldn’t leave my baby alone but I had no family in Birmingham to support me with no way to pay for a hotel.  I overheard a family talking about the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama.  I had no idea of the amount of relief this would provide to me and my family.  Every single day I am able to leave the Ronald McDonald House and walk across the street to love on my baby boy.  Elijah is surprisingly doing well and has started breathing on his own.

He astonished us all with his courage and his bravery. His head is still growing and we don’t know how much time we have with him, but we are cherishing every second.  I couldn’t begin to imagine how much different this would be if not for the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Alabama. I am writing this to inspire others, whether you’re young or old, fight on. We all have trials, some big, some small, but you can’t give up. I have made it because I have faith.

Update:  Sadly, Elijah passed away on March 1, 2014.

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