Yellow {Makes Her Happy}

YellowI’ve held many titles in my life thus far. Many of them were given. Some of them I worked very hard for. Most of them I prayed for. All of them I dreamed of. Well, not all of them.

I was born a daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter and niece. I was then blessed with title of sister. Over time I gained and cherished the title of friend. I went on to become girlfriend, ex-girlfriend, high school graduate, college student, college graduate, teacher, fiancé, wife, and finally, the most important (and the one I prayed and dreamed of every day leading up to her existence)…mom. My newest title, a title I wasn’t expecting (yet embrace wholeheartedly), is special needs mom.

This is something I’ve written and typed more than I’ve said out loud, and not because I’m ashamed. Not in the least bit! But because, as a parent, the words are still hard to get out of my mouth. My heart still hurts when I hear my own voice refer to my precious child in those two simple words. Please, don’t get me wrong! As I said above, I am not ashamed of these words. I don’t fear them. I’m just as proud of them as I am of her, and always will be. It’s new, and it’s scary, and I wish I could go a few hours consecutively without worrying about how hard the future will be for her. These words are always on my mind now. Tucked away in the back along with my other concerns that surface when I have five minutes to myself, or when I lay down in bed at night.

It took my husband and I a year of broken hearts, month after failed month, to conceive our beautiful daughter. It was when we submitted our request to see a fertility specialist that we realized our dream had finally come true! We were pregnant! Words will never be able to describe how I felt that November evening when I saw that second line pop up pink on that test. The next morning I got my first bout of morning sickness that would last all day, every day until the day I delivered her.

I had a troubled pregnancy from the beginning. We were once told I for sure had an ectopic pregnancy and that I was going to lose her. I’ll forever be thankful for the ultrasound technician that found her snuggled in the proper place before they took me back to surgery. We then had to wait a long, worrisome week to see if our pregnancy was “viable”, as they put it. Sure enough, a week later we had a heartbeat. Throughout the rest of my pregnancy I continued to have scares. I very rarely felt her move. I felt her kick once a week if I was lucky. It was a miracle if I got through a day without worry. Upon entering my third trimester the problems began again. I found myself in labor and delivery being monitored approximately 7 weeks before her due date. Eventually, my water broke getting out of the car on the hospital sidewalk going to an OB appointment at 35 weeks. She was tiny, but she was gorgeous!

She has always been little. So little. She wore preemie clothing for a month and was only about 12 pounds at 9 months of age. At 10 months she was able to sit on her own, but wasn’t doing other typical baby things (like rolling over or beginning to crawl). It was then we entered Early Intervention. She worked with a wonderful physical therapist that had her caught up in no time! We were asked to keep an eye on her speech development and a few months later we decided to express our concerns about her lack of speech. We were then brought back into Early Intervention where we met our amazing speech therapist and sign language teacher. It was during her second evaluation that we first heard the word apraxia.

September of last year we got our official diagnosis of Childhood Apraxia of Speech: a neurological condition that makes it difficult for her brain to connect to her mouth to form words properly. In short, she knows exactly what she wants to say, but it is very difficult for her to do so. You can imagine the frustration in our household until we were given the amazing gift of learning sign language! Improvement is being made every single day. She’s blossoming, and we can’t thank the wonderful people working with her enough.

A little over a week ago, a few days after the start of my husband’s first “away” hitch we were thrown another curveball. Our pediatrician expressed his concern for her social anxieties and let me know that he’d like to refer us to an Autism center close to our home. After much research and talking, we knew this was a possibility, but when you hear the words out loud they take on a whole new meaning.

So, why am I telling you all this? Especially something that seems so personal and sensitive? Because maybe, just maybe, there is another oilfield wife/mom out there dealing with the same struggles and emotions I am on her own for now. No, I’m not “alone”, but this is something that I must deal with while my husband is away. Whose arms do you think I fell into at that appointment? It couldn’t have been my husband’s when he’s in another state! How do you think it felt to have to tell him this news over the phone and not in person? We couldn’t embrace each other and cry this out. We could only talk on a broken line with the intense hum of the rig behind him as he entered an important meeting.

I also feel that this is something that we’re told we “shouldn’t” talk about. Much like infertility, miscarriages, and broken marriages, we’re not supposed to talk about it because it might make someone feel uncomfortable. The first thing I’ve learned in all of this is: this is my child, and I will not be silent. She’s still the intelligent, gentle, funny, beautiful girl she was before she unwillingly took on these titles. She’s still a daughter, granddaughter, great-granddaughter, and niece. One day, God willing, she’ll be a sister too. She’s still absolutely, positively perfect. These titles do not, will not, define her.

Every day before bed I ask her what made her happy that day. Every day she tells me a color. Nine times out of ten, that color will be yellow. Ironically, that happens to be my favorite color, and regardless of how my day went it makes me smile. Mommy gets it, kiddo. I understand you. I know you. The real you. You’re forever my yellow!

To read more information on Childhood Apraxia of Speech you can visit the following site:

For more information on Autism you can visit the following site:

If you are a special needs mom and need to reach out you are encouraged to do so! We’re never alone.

About ashley

Ashley and her husband, Ryan, have been married for 4 years. They became an oilfield family in March of 2011. They live in Northeastern Pennsylvania with their 2 year old daughter, Anistyn, and two fur-children: Kora (the manic Australian Cattle Dog) and Jaxx (your typical lazy house cat). Ashley traded in her various degrees and certifications to take on her ultimate dream job of fulltime mommy and wife. When not throwing over-the-top toddler dance parties and reading the same storybook 104 times in a row she enjoys reading her own books, baking, writing, meeting new friends, trying new things, and saving every animal in need on the planet!


  1. OklahomaOilfieldWife says:

    I just wanted to say thank you for your post, I really needed your words today, and to know someone else is out there with all the overwhelming emotions, struggles, and worries that I face every time I look at my two little boys. II never knew so much strength was inside me to love through the hardest times. I read ‘yellow makes her happy’ at 4a.m. While up for the 3rd time that night w my autistic little boy who doesn’t sleep more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. I have 2 sons both diagnosed with Autism and as you know with daddy in the oilfield that makes things quite different than most people out there. Thanks for your encouraging words. Some days are easier than others but I wouldn’t change my oilfield life for one minute. Somehow it works for us.

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