Another Great Reveal for Designing Women
During Reader Weekend 2015, readers were wowed with the unveiling of the cover of Love After Dark, featuring Marie’s friend Ashley Lopez and her husband, Bryan—as well as the chance to meet the cover models in person! The cover for book 13 of the Gansett Island series was designed by Ashley’s identical twin sister, Courtney Lopes. The women comprise what Marie calls her “Designing Women,” helping to design book covers and advertisements, among other items.
Less than a year later, the sisters have unveiled their greatest works to date—new babies. On May 10, Ashley and Bryan welcomed Addyson and on May 25, Courtney and husband Collin and daughter Harper welcomed son Colton.
Ashley says she knew she wanted to start a family with Bryan long before they said “I do.” She’d witnessed how wonderful he was with children and recalls how he was at a friend’s birthday party and was soon sitting in the driveway, surrounded by kids, drawing with sidewalk chalk.
“Bryan and I had been trying to start a family prior to our Love After Dark journey,” she says. “I had ovulation kits and calendars and we did everything by the book. Months passed, each with a negative pregnancy test, and after several doctor visits we heard the two most frustrating words: unexplained infertility.” While she felt “so helpless, so alone, ashamed, and confused,” Ashley also felt sorry for Bryan because she knew her whirlwind of emotions were piled on top of his own disappointment.
Realizing their road to parenthood wouldn’t be typical, in July 2015 they started their first round of Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), which entailed a month of ultrasounds, blood work, an HSG procedure, oral medicines, and an injection. In September, they started what felt like a very long two-week wait.
On September 11 they learned they were going to be parents.
“It was Friday when we found out we were pregnant,” Ashley says. “That Saturday we went to the Jason Aldean concert with Courtney and her husband, Collin. And on that Monday, Courtney called to tell us they, too, were expecting. So in reality, there were six of us in attendance at the concert and Babies After Dark was born!” In January, Ashley and Courtney designed a special Babies After Dark cover to reveal to Marie and her team that they were pregnant.
When Courtney was recently asked if Marie’s books in any way contributed to the turn of events in her life, she responded with a laugh, “Events did start to turn after designing the Quantum series.”
Courtney says she’s a much more confident mom than she was when she had Harper two-and-a-half years ago. When Harper was new, a ride in the car was seen as a major production. With Colton, she just puts him in the car and goes.
“Collin is an awesome Daddy!” she adds. “He’s just a natural. He’s a huge help with feedings and diaper changes, even at 1 a.m. He’s also sweet enough to let me sleep in for a little bit on the weekends.”
Courtney says she and Collin are very aware of giving Harper, a daddy’s girl, her special family time, too. She’s adjusting quite well to having another child in the house and recently came home from school and exclaimed, “”Colton, I missed you. I love you so much.”
Courtney and Ashley’s parents are over the moon about the babies, they say. Courtney says they’re used to having multiples. She calls her mom every day asking for advice. She and Ashley call their parents’ home “Camp Mimi Pap.”
“The family room is just littered with fun baby and toddler gear and I know they love it when Harper takes her princess car for a spin on their hardwood floors,” Courtney says. “Laughter and memories just echo in their house. It’s the best!! Family is everything.”
So what was it like for her to share such a special time with her sister?
“It was so much fun being pregnant at the same time as Ashley,” Courtney says. “Pregnancy is just easier to go through when you have a friend that’s right there alongside you. We would call each other after every doctor’s appointment and text to let the other in on any recent food cravings (popcorn!!!).” They took advantage of the buy one get one half off maternity clothes deals and shared some outfits, which helped their wallets and made their husbands happy.
Courtney acknowledges that while her and Ashley’s experiences with their recent pregnancies were different and that the odds of them getting pregnant at the same time were slim, the sisters are delighted their children will grow up together and be best friends, just like they are.