I am thrilled to be sharing the news with you that… I’m pregnant! It’s been hard to keep this a secret while we have patiently waited for this baby to grow. If you’ve followed our journey for a few years, you’ll know that growing our family has been a challenge. As thrilled as we are to have a second babe on the way, this announcement also comes with the acknowledgment that we understand how devastating pregnancy news can be if you’re in a season of loss or uncertainty as you navigate the muddy waters of fertility.
If you’re new to our story, this is actually my fourth pregnancy. Our first two ended in missed miscarriages, and our third resulted in our giggly little miracle, Coco. This is my fourth experience getting that positive sign on a pregnancy test, and we couldn’t be filled with more gratitude while also honoring some very real emotions of fear that can come from past loss and a pain that never leaves you.
Timing for Us
One of the things I feel like women don’t talk enough is about the pressure around timing with pregnancy. When to actually GET pregnant, what happens when the timing doesn’t go according to plan, and then when to announce… It’s a lot to navigate, and most of us do it silently.
With careers, age as a factor for fertility health, and our personal history of loss, trying to figure out appropriate timing to try for a second was hard. While people would comment, “It’s time for Coco to be a big sister,” there were a lot of reasons we waited a little bit before diving back into trying again.
Not only is entering a season of “trying” scary for me with our past losses, but I also had to take into account my career and figure out when would be the right time to get pregnant and plan for maternity leave. (Spoiler: there is no perfect time.)
For me, the first year after having Coco felt like I was in a fog. As my identity grew to include “mother” and we navigated a year and a half of nursing, I started to feel more like myself over time. I needed that year after the first foggy year to get my bearings, establish a rhythm to work and mom life, firm up the foundation of my career, and continue the work that had taken the backseat while I loved on my baby girl.
The past year of my life was a powerful one where I felt like my body was my own again, focusing on my health and strength. It was also a joyful year without the fear of loss, and I didn’t feel totally ready until after Coco turned two. Watching her independence grow, navigating things like potty training, and finally getting sleep through the night again absolutely transformed my feelings around another child. It was then that I started to prepare my body for what we hoped would be next.
How I Prepared for This Pregnancy
After our second miscarriage, I began the excruciating journey of understanding my body, of what I needed to do to create a safe space for a baby to grow, and how my choices and actions could influence my fertility. I’ve shared a lot about the medical testing I did after my second loss and how it changed so much for me: my diet, the products I use, how I manage stress, the supplements I take, and the way I move my body.
Going into this pregnancy, I wanted to take a proactive approach instead of being reactive. About seven months before we knew we wanted to start trying again, I went to a naturopath doctor in Duluth who specializes in fertility. We did all kinds of bloodwork, hormone testing, and walked through my current routines for diet, exercise, supplements, and more. It was so helpful to have someone listen to our future plans and I remember her saying, “I wish more women would be proactive about optimizing their bodies prior to conception.”
I was proud of myself for advocating for what we hoped would be our future, and it felt good to be equipped with a plan that gave me information and resources to help me optimize my health with a runway that allowed for those changes to truly make a difference in our pregnancy journey.
Not only was it affirming to see our test results and the difference that just a few years had made in terms of my ability to manage my stress with my cortisol and adrenal numbers, but it also affirmed some of the lifestyle choices I was still abiding by (like eliminating gluten four years ago).
We focused mainly on liver health and detoxing my body, seed cycling, making subtle changes like less caffeine, dry brushing, more water (we all need this), and taking the supplements my bloodwork revealed I needed! If you’re curious what else I did in prep, click here.
One of the biggest blessings on our journey is that I’ve always been able to get pregnant pretty quickly. I don’t take that for granted at all, but it does add the fear what while I can get pregnant, can I stay pregnant? We started trying in January and that month my period came ten days late.
I took pregnancy tests three different times (even overnighted some pregnancy tests because I couldn’t believe that after months of being regular, I was so late). I was disappointed when it was negative but was more confused why my cycle was so off and fearful of what that would mean for the next month.
I started seeing a fertility acupuncturist, a practice I did when trying to conceive Coco and during my pregnancy with her. It felt good to add another tool to what I was doing to prepare mentally and physically. Each week I would go in for my appointment, put on my favorite meditation music and sit for an hour with my hands on my belly, praying. Just having that quiet time to connect with my body and get in tune with my cycle was super powerful for me.
The next month I was ready to give it our best shot. I used ovulation strips, wore my Ava bracelet, relied on the apps I was using to track my cycles for the last six months and did my absolute best to predict when I was ovulating. We were super hopeful, and I mean… the “trying” part isn’t too shabby. We kept things light and fun, which was a relief since so much of the journey can feel stressful and out of your control.
Taking the Test
I was honestly not sure when to take a test since my last period was so late. The apps I was using were both predicting different start dates for my period, and I didn’t want to test too early. The night before I finally tested, I had done a Peloton workout and I just felt different. I couldn’t catch my breath as easily, my body was telling me something was off, and that night when I put Coco to bed, she was extra clingy and just wanted to be next to me.
The next morning, Drew went to the gym and I jumped out of bed, took one of my cheap pregnancy tests out, and told myself if there was even a hint of a second line that I’d do one of the expensive ones.
Well, as the strip darkened and I started to see that second line, I took the expensive test and waited for the result. Alone in my kitchen, I saw the word “pregnant” and immediately got teary-eyed. I felt so thankful in that moment and I can’t fully express the magnitude and array of emotions that I felt. When Drew got home from the gym, I woke Coco up and wrapped up a tiny newborn diaper around the test. I had her hand it to Drew and with a confused face, he opened it to see the word “pregnant.”
I hadn’t told him I was taking the test because I didn’t want to seem too eager or get his hopes up. He immediately grabbed Coco and said, “You’re going to be a big sister!” It was such a beautiful morning of disbelief and shock and joy. At the same time, those happy emotions can also be fleeting when you have had a history of loss, but we relished in it for as long as we could.
We told our families shortly after, inviting them in to celebrate and pray for us. We’ve never been the people who wait the 12 weeks to let our close circle in — we need the support the most in those early weeks and so it was joyful sharing the news with our loved ones. Conley started saying, “Baby and Sissy” and it was just so sweet to start to imagine our future.
While this is my fourth pregnancy, nothing could prepare me for the odd combination of feeling such deep joy and gratitude coupled with a loud and steady fear. The first few weeks, I was so anxious about losing the baby or if there would be a heartbeat when we went in for our first ultrasound.
On the day we found out we were pregnant, we called our doctor and got a prescription for progesterone suppositories. I also started on a children’s aspirin regimen to help sustain my pregnancy (both things I did with Coco’s pregnancy). I knew I was doing everything in my power to help this baby grow, but I also knew that we can’t control the outcome.
My first ultrasound was when I was seven weeks pregnant. I struggled to make any plans for the future work-wise, and I felt like my life was on hold not knowing what the future would look like. That limbo was exhausting, and I was so terrified but excited for the ultrasound. If you’ve ever experienced loss, being pregnant again brings everything back: the fear in wiping and seeing blood, the mix of not wanting to feel well but dreading feeling sick… All of it combined is a lot emotionally.
When we went in for the ultrasound, I was so stressed. All I wanted was to see that tiny flicker, to hear that there was a heartbeat. I was so thankful that Covid precautions were lessening and Drew could be there with me. We started the ultrasound and the first minute felt like an hour while we waited to hear the news. There WAS a heartbeat, and the baby was measuring close to what it should be, both pieces of news bringing so much relief.
We finished our appointment and the doctor didn’t have any concerns, which felt like a gift after being through what we’ve experienced. Our next appointment was set for 12 weeks, which seemed like an eternity away! While the heartbeat was confirmation of a growing baby, doubt still filled me. Sure, we saw a heartbeat on that day but would it last? Would this baby stay with us? We stayed cautiously optimistic with each passing day.
The First Trimester
The past few months have crawled at times (like waiting for ultrasounds) and flown during others. My pregnancy has been incredibly different than when I was pregnant with Coco, which has both been good and also nerve-wracking. I can’t tell if the differences are mostly to do with my mindset and the fact that I am so busy chasing around a toddler, so I don’t have as much time to be sidelined or horizontal, or if I just truly feel that different.
With Coco’s pregnancy, I feel like I knew every single day what was happening in my body, all the milestones and updates from pregnancy apps. With this one, I sometimes forget I’m pregnant.
With Coco, if I even smelt the wrong food, I would throw up. So far I’ve only thrown up a few times this pregnancy, and my food aversions have been dramatically fewer this time. While I don’t want any form of peppers near me and I mostly want to eat plain noodles, I’ve been able to stomach most of our normal foods.
I’ve been incredibly tired and exhausted but have been able to make it to Coco’s nap time 99% of the days, which means her nap time has also become mine (something I’m cherishing because I know that won’t be possible once baby #2 arrives)! I’ve also been able to keep up with work like normal for the most part, which has been a huge relief because I got so far behind during my first trimester last time that my second and third were crazy busy in order to try and prep for maternity leave!
I was teasing a friend the other day saying that I do most of my parenting while horizontal these days and definitely look for a couch or a bed to lay down in because I feel better when I’m not upright. I am anxious to get off of the progesterone, something I get to stop once I hit the 12-13-week mark, and I hope to feel even better once I cease taking it. It really messes with me, makes me drowsy, can impact my mental health, and adds to the hungover feeling that follows me 24/7.
Beyond the normal body changes (my boobs got bigger immediately, the bloating felt out of control at times, and my digestion slowed way down), I’ve felt relatively good. I’m looking forward to wanting to work out again and I’m hopeful some of the energy I am preserving these days to get work done can be put towards a Peloton ride or yoga session, just some sort of movement.
How We’re Planning Ahead
As an entrepreneur and the face of a brand, choosing to have another kid can be a difficult choice, but it was one we knew we were ready to make. I was super transparent with my team, any business partners, and colleagues that this was always our hope and plans. That openness gave me ample support and the freedom and ability to say “no” or “we’ll see” to just about everything, keeping my calendar free and open without pressure.
When I was pregnant with Coco, I had a ton of pre-scheduled trips. Flying around during my first trimester was miserable, so this time (and thanks to Covid), we kept my schedule open so that I could focus on my business first. We are actively working ahead to give me another full maternity leave, and I have the most incredible team in place who has been so supportive during these months when I’ve needed to disappear for a nap midday or change plans occasionally. They have celebrated each milestone along the way, and I feel so blessed to be surrounded by people like them (and like you) rooting for our happiness.
This next year, we’re planning on taking it a bit easy and only working on limited big projects to give us time as a family to adjust and experience the newborn stage all over again.
It’s a blessing and a curse to have been through this once before because we know what to expect (the good and the hard), and we’re ready for it all. We are feeling so wildly grateful and thankful, and we’re so happy we can let you into this next phase of our lives. Thank you for being a part of this journey, thank you for cheering us on, and thank you for giving me a space to share our lives with you.