How I Found Out I Was Pregnant With Eloise


I have put off writing this for a while because I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to share my journey. To be honest, I know being open is praised right now, but I like the idea that some things remain private. However, as my story started to unfold in September 2019, hearing and reading other people’s experiences really did help me through the process and see that there was light at the end of the tunnel. It opened my eyes to the idea that sharing really can help someone, even if that person is you.

Okay. So here goes. Deep breathes. This is going to be a long one.

Brice and I took our annual trip to Switzerland during the summer of 2019 to see his family. During the trip we asked his parents to watch Eleanor so we could go to one of our favorite places, Gstaad. It is so beautiful, with all of the mountain views, easy hiking, and crip Swiss air. I also love that it has very comfortable hotels and exquisite shopping. It has everything we want in a destination. We stayed at a beautiful hotel, Le Grand Bellevue, and had the most magical time together. We were on a high when we arrived back in Dallas (even with Eleanor being a COMPLETE terror on the airplane ride home). And low-and-behold, a few weeks later we were blessed with the news that we had a little Swiss souvenir on its way.

I can’t tell you Eloise’s story without telling you the story of how I found out I was pregnant with Eleanor.  It was not joyous news. Nothing like a Hollywood film or perfectly staged Instagram announcement. Truthfully, I didn’t think I was ready to be a mom. I wasn’t ready to give up my old life and be unselfish (which I think is required of a parent). I wanted the life I was living to continue exactly how it was. I still remember back to the day I found out about Eleanor. I was on a photoshoot with Ashley and we were talking about babies. I reiterated how I didn’t know if Brice and I wanted them and how we had just had a conversation saying that if we didn’t have them, we would be okay. We loved our time together, our wild adventures traveling, and being able to do what we wanted, when we wanted. Life was good and we didn’t want it to change. However, it was in that car that I realized, “Ashley, I am late.” I was never late so I started to panic. We had just gotten back from a trip to Peru, and while we had been “careful,” we were also living up that holiday life. After the photoshoot I went to CVS and picked up six boxes of pregnancy tests, two tests in each box. I went home and reluctantly opened the first one. I held my breath and took it. It lit up with the words, “pregnant” before I could even put it on the ground. I frantically opened another, and another, and another. I ended up taking 10 tests before I realized, maybe they aren’t all broken, maybe I truly am pregnant. PREGNANT!

It was two days after my wild and crazy 30th birthday party. I was 30. I wasn’t supposed to be pregnant. I had my life planned. I had trips I wanted to take and ideas of how I wanted to live. How could this..oh  no, here comes the anxiety attack. Lay down. I can’t breathe. Call Brice. And that is what I did. Laying on the wood floor in the hallway of my house, paralyzed with anxiety. I called Brice AT HIS WORK  in the midst of a full on anxiety attack. I couldn’t even get the words out. All I could get out was, “I.CAN’T.BREATHE.” As you can imagine he was very concerned and said, “he was on his way home.” And asked if I needed an ambulance? I fought out the words, “No! I am pregnant!” And then the tears. How could this be? WHY? He was just as shocked as I was but had to remain calm because I had enough emotion for the both of us.

I ended up going to our family doctor that day to see if they would do blood work and confirm. In my mind, the 10 tests still weren’t enough to prove I was pregnant. I didn’t do bloodwork, I guess a urine test was enough. The doctor came in and said, “congratulations. You are pregnant.” Alone, sitting on the chair in this tiny room I started bawling. The doctor, obviously confused, looked at me with shock. I still remember what he said, “Are you okay? You are married right?” Yes. “You are 30?” Yes. Then why are you so upset? I still to this day don’t know why those factors were supposed to make me all of a sudden feel better and diminish every ounce of fear and emotion I had. But he was right. It was time to accept this. It took a month for me to wrap my head around the news. I cried off and on. I had dark thoughts. And the anxiety and questions never really went away. What kind of mother would I be? Am I truly ready to raise another human being? Whether I wanted this or not, the baby was coming.

So now you know how I found out about Eleanor. It wasn’t sweet. I didn’t get to surprise my husband with exciting news. He was robbed of that experience. So this time with this little Swiss baby, I was going to do everything I couldn’t do for Eleanor. I bought Eleanor the very expensive, “Big Sister” dress. I had the camera set up to catch his reaction when he walked through the door. I had her ready to surprise ‘Papa’. It was all ready to go. And then he arrived. It was the reaction you would want your husband to have. We all laughed, hugged, and celebrated. We were thrilled Eleanor would be getting a sibling. This time was different. This time we were excited. This time it was right.

And then the following week happened. I always said, “If I had a miscarriage, I would be okay. It is a baby that would not thrive or have a full life. Better happen when it is a few weeks old than live a life that wouldn’t allow it to truly live.” I was that person. I truly believed that is how I would be. I thought I was tough. This broke me. At the first signs of what was happening I walked over to Brice while he was getting ready to go to work and told him what I thought was happening. You never truly know until you get results. Bleeding can happen for numerous reasons during a pregnancy. However, I felt it. In the deepest part of my heart. I knew, this baby wasn’t going to make it. My initial reaction was exactly like I told myself I would always be. I told Brice, “It will be okay. The baby wouldn’t thrive. It is better this is happening now.” He was shocked at my reaction and mentioned that he was in fact, “very sad about it and it was okay if I was too.” I wasn’t. I was strong. I was who I needed to be. I would be okay. I was talking myself into feeling this way. But if I let myself truly feel how I felt on the inside, I was scared. I was sad. I was angry. I didn’t want to go there. So I didn’t allow myself to.

A few days later tests results confirmed what I already knew, I would be miscarrying this baby. I would go back in a few days to retest to make sure my levels were back to zero or I would need a DNC. Over those few days life was hard. I allowed myself to start to feel my emotions. One moment I would be fine and then it would hit me. I remember very distinctly, even as I write this tears fill my eyes, walking into the pantry and absolutely losing it. A cry that was from the deepest parts of my soul. It hurt my entire body. I tried to hide these moments from Eleanor. Although she was young, I didn’t want her to see mommy like that. However, as I stood hurled over and clutching the shelves for support, sobbing an uncontrollable sob, I felt a tiny hand on my leg. It slowly wrapped around my thigh and started to squeeze. Eleanor had found me and was comforting me the only way she knew how. In that moment, I knew I needed Eleanor to get through this. She was my angel and I have never been more grateful for anything in my whole life.

I had my last phone call with the nurse who said everything was back to zero and I could start trying after two to three normal cycles (which is two to three months). That would be November or December. I was sad about this because being told you have to wait for something, even if you didn’t want it that badly before, makes you want it terribly. It meant I had to wait to give Eleanor a sibling. That I had to wait to be normal again. And it reminded me of what happened. Of my Swiss baby.

Out of the heavens a trip to Thailand fell into our lap. I had always wanted to go to Thailand and this would be on a private boat (which would be new to me). The timing could not have been better. All of the above transpired in late September and we would be leaving for Thailand in October, a few weeks later. The entire trip was great. It was a nice escape from what we had just gone through and much needed time away together. Just the two of us. But one thing that kept creeping up was that I was feeling “off”. I can’t explain it other than to say, off. I didn’t want to eat or drink much and I was tired. I chalked it up to jet-lag. To be honest, we had been very aware of our situation and what the doctors orders were, “DO NOT GET PREGNANT UNTIL AT LEAST TWO CYCLES.” This was one rule we wanted to follow. And we thought we had.

Upon returning from Thailand I was feeling horrible. I couldn’t eat. Everything made me want to vomit. And when I would think of asian food, I did in fact vomit. I have never liked asian food so I didn’t know if it was from that or if I had a parasite. As the symptoms continued for a few weeks I made an appointment with my family doctor to check for a parasite. My mom had contracted one before I was born and my symptoms seemed similar to what  she had always described. However, the night I had made the appointment I had a dream. It was so real and so “in your face” that I will never forget it. Someone in the dream shouted at me, in the loudest shout I have ever heard, “YOU’RE PREGNANT!” I immediately woke up. It was 3:30am. I never went back to sleep that night. Instead I stayed up wondering, could it be? How could it be? We took precaution. Why would a dream do this to me? However, my intuition was telling me the dream was right. I didn’t tell Brice, instead the next day I went to the store, bought a test, and went home.

I can’t tell you how many questions were running through my head. If it is true, how? Will I miscarry again because I didn’t wait until I had not only two cycles, but not EVEN ONE cycle? Is it even possible? Then I took the test. ‘Pregnant’. I took another. And another. Flashes of when I found out I was pregnant with Eleanor started happening. Although this time I knew that by test three, it was real. And there was that anxiety. I reached for the phone. I called Brice at work. I blurted out, “How is it possible I am looking at a positive pregnancy test?” His response, “Is it mine?” I know that sounds terrible. Honestly it was exactly the humor I needed. We both laughed. But also, how on earth could this have happened? We were careful. Very careful. The weeks following the miscarriage weren’t the sexiest of times. I retreated. I retreated away from everything. When would this have happened?

I called my doctor who had me do bloodwork to confirm my levels. The nurse, who I had previously promised to not come back pregnant before November confirmed it. My levels were so high I didn’t need to retest. I was around eight weeks pregnant. This meant, I got pregnant two weeks after the miscarriage. I remember the night. I still don’t know how this happened. I guess I am that 1% you learn about in health class. But actually, I am the luckiest girl in the world. This baby wanted to be here. This baby was meant to be here.

Brice and I went to the next few doctor appointments and asked the same questions, “Will the baby be healthy since I never had a cycle?” “Is this even possible?” “Is it a healthy egg?” The doctors all confirmed, it is indeed possible and the baby seems to be healthy. In my naive brain I didn’t even realized you could get pregnant without having a cycle. In medical terms, you are often times more fertile after a miscarriage than you are before. So here we are, 29 weeks and with another baby girl. She is my Mighty Mouse. She is the child I will welcome into the world in June. The one I get to introduce to Eleanor and the one I have the privilege of raising.

I feel like my story is a rollercoaster. I went from not wanting kids, to the shock of having a child, to losing a pregnancy, to wanting nothing more than to be pregnant with a healthy baby, to shockingly getting pregnant again. I see God in all of this. From those little hands that clutched me when I was at my lowest point, to the news that our baby girl, Eloise, was healthy and growing bigger by the day. To say that I am beyond grateful for my journey would be an understatement. It has made me the woman and the mom I am today. Mostly, I am grateful for that little Peruvian souvenir who knew, before I ever did, that I needed and wanted her more than anything in the world. And the same goes for my determined little Mighty Mouse, Eloise. Who held the flashlight to show me that there is always light at the end of a dark tunnel.

Here are a few photos from our trip to Switzerland and the last two are from Thailand. What a life full of adventure.

From Brezza’s to Bowls

I still can’t believe I have a 15 month old. It feels like just yesterday I was bringing her home from the hospital and feeding her at all hours of the night. But it happened. I am 100% done with bottles and have moved on to bowls.

From the time I was a child, I always knew I didn’t want to breastfeed. It is true. I don’t know why but I always said it just wasn’t for me. I had a lot of friends say, “wait until your baby comes. I bet you change your mind.” Well, I didn’t. I think it is truly amazing for all the moms who do it but for me and my household, it was off the table. Knowing that I would be making a lot of bottles one of the items that was on my wish list was the Brezza. It is a formula dispenser, where with the push of one button, warm milk comes out in the exact ounces you need. It is a Nespresso machine for formula and it is amazing! One time I went to my parents house for the weekend and didn’t bring it, I realized how annoying it would have been to have to scoop formula, wait for the water to warm, and then shake the bottle until it was all perfectly combined. I never traveled without the Brezza again. You make A LOT of bottles at all house of the night, on next to zero sleep, so anything that can make your life a touch easier, I say, DO IT!

As great as the Brezza was, to be totally honest, I was ready to be done with bottles. I talked to our Pediatrician and we decided that the day she turned 1, the bottles were done. Knowing this was our plan, I wanted to ween her off slowly so it wasn’t a shock to her system.  I first started Eleanor on solids around 6 months (banana, mashed avocado, fruit, and packets). Around 7 months I started giving her a “breakfast” and a “dinner” which accompanied her bottles. Slowly over the months she would eat more food and less milk. Around 10 months I started taking bottles away to help her rely more on nutrients from food. It was around 10/11 months where she was down to a morning bottle and night bottle. She turned one in July, so the first two weeks of June she kept her morning bottle and night bottle. But around the middle of June, I took away the morning bottle and the last two weeks I took away the nighttime bottle. Tapering off her bottles allowed for her to be completely fine when we stopped them entirely. I was so scared to take away the  nighttime bottle in fear she would wake-up in the night but she was completely fine and never fussed at all.

When it came time to buying dishes for Eleanor, I wanted the same ease as the Brezza. I wanted to know I could give her the dish, walk away, and everything would still be there. I found this Avanchy Bamboo Stay Put bowl (free next day shipping offered on this *mom win) and love it! It is clean of toxins and the suction at the bottom makes it stick to any surface so she can’t pick it up and throw it (something we are working on). The bowl comes with a matching spoon that is the perfect size for toddlers. I also purchased this Yumbox Bento Box (comes in multiple colors) for her school lunches. I love how it has each portion sized for each food group. It makes packing her lunches so easy. My friend saw it at pick-up and purchased one immediately. If you have a toddler who goes to school, I highly recommend it.

So there you have it. That is where we are in our lives with little Eleanor! I still can’t believe the Brezza has been put away until the next baby and we are learning how to use spoons and eating out of real bowls. Where did the time go?

Because our lives are so crazy I need a one-stop-shop for all of our needs. Everything from the Brezza to the Bowl’s I got at Walmart. And now that a lot of their items are free next day, as a mom, I can’t pass that up. They have been my stop shop for everything from diapers and wipes to premium brands like Avanchy, Doc-a-Tot, Boon and  Brezza (which is available for free next day shipping). If you have a baby or a toddler, you have to take advantage of their mass amounts of brands (let me say it again – ONE.STOP.SHOP), roll-backs, and shipping policies.

 

Eleanor’s Sample Meal Day:

Breakfast
Scrambled eggs / Raspberries / Toast / Milk

Snack #1
Yogurt / Water

Lunch
In her Bento Box (which makes it so easy)
Turkey / Avocado / Veggies from previous nights dinner / Cheese / Graham Cracker (a tiny bit as a treat) / Water

Snack #2
Peanut Butter + Apple or Cracker / Water

Dinner
Ground Turkey or Chicken / Zucchini / Sweet Potato  / Milk

 

SHOP THE POST


Essentials for Infants/Toddlers Part 1

 

Motherhood, Oh Motherhood. It can be frustrating and challenging, but it can also be rewarding and the best thing in the entire world. There are days when I feel like I have it all together and then days when I wonder, “is it bedtime yet?” The days where it is bad, I am so grateful for places like Walmart where I can get everything I need and delivered quickly. They even offer a free one day delivery, which every parent needs!  It is truly a one stop shop. So whether you need items for breastfeeding or you run out of diapers and can’t get to the store, Walmart has you covered. And I am SO grateful their website is easy to navigate so I can get in, get what I need, and then go handle Eleanor.

Every single item on this list I have and currently use and swear by. I took my time to curate the items that I tell my closest friends they need in their arsenal. Motherhood is tough enough, don’t go another day without these essentials.

  1. The Jovvy – This little buggy was something I used EVERYDAY before Eleanor was walking. It gave me piece of mind when I needed some time to get things done. She was fully contained so I knew she couldn’t get into anything and best part, she loved it!
  2. CeraVe Lotion – My pediatrician actually recommended this for Eleanor’s face. I use it every night on her face and her sensitive skin has never had a negative reaction.
  3. The Bumbo – I used this so much before Eleanor could sit up on her own and even after. I placed her in it on the counter while I cooked dinner. She loved watching, snacking and getting to be up high (of course I always strapped her in).
  4. Plum Organics – I loved this brand when E first started eating. She loved every flavor and that she could hold them on her own. To this day, if she sees one she tries to start eating it immediately.
  5. The Bento Box – This makes meal planning SO easy! It is sectioned off with labels like, “dairy, protein, grains, fruits.” I am obsessed and have even considered buying myself one!
  6. Glass Food Storage – I cook a lot of Eleanor’s food in bulk and then store it for the next day or two. These glass containers are so easy and makes organization in the refrigerator so easy.
  7. Munchkin Soft-Tip Spoons – These are the perfect size and so easy for infant/toddlers to hold.
  8. The Brezza – If you are doing formula this is the one item YOU MUST OWN! It measures and heats up the perfect bottle using your formula just by a press of a button. I bought my sister one for her third kid and she said she now tells all of her friends they have to own it! It makes making bottles 1 million times easier!
  9. Avanchy Bamboo Bowl – This bowl suctions on the bottom so it stays in place on the table (i.e. no throwing it on the floor).
  10. The Ergo Baby Holder – I only used this around the house when Eleanor was having a bad day. And it helped a lot! I could have my hands free and she would stop crying. It is also phenomenal during travel!
  11. Aquaphore Baby – My most used item! It works like a charm on keeping diaper rash at bay. Tip from my night nurse- put an exorbitant amount on the child at night so if they happen to go to the bathroom and you can’t change the diaper for a while, the waste runs right off of them and never hits their skin. It is something I still do to this day.
  12. Little Swimmers – No way around it, you have to have swim diapers and sometimes they are gross (#2). But these are really easy and have always worked for us. Tip – Our swim teacher said if they don’t go to the bathroom in them you can throw them in the dryer and reuse them. I have done this once and it worked phenomenally.
  13. Tommee Tippie Bibs (with the snaps) – I HATED bibs before my friend told me about this one. Eleanor would always rip hers off and it was a battle every meal. This one has snaps in the back so she can’t take it off. She has even gotten used to wearing it and no longer fights with it.
  14. Rock-A-Stack Rings – These are awesome for development. This is one of the first toys I ever bought Eleanor and she still pulls it out of the toy box. It has been so fun watching her as a baby barely be able to pull the rings off to now being able to take the off and stack them back on.
  15. Noodle and Boo Shampoo – Plain and simple, I love the way this stuff smells. I also believe it cleans really well. I have purchased a few different brands and nothing comes close to the way this one lathers and washes away dirt.
  16. Noodle and Boo Lotion – Again, I love the way this smells. It is that typical, sweet, clean baby smell. It also seems to really moisturize her body and last through the night.
  17. Munchkin Click Lock Sippie-Cup – I have gone through so many sippie-cups that leak. It is astounding how so many companies can continue to make such trash. I have found that these work well. They are a new addition to my collection so time will tell, but so far so good.
  18. Silicone Chew Ring – Oh my gosh, teething! No one can warn you with how bad it can be. Eleanor had four teeth break through at the exact same time. She cried for three straight weeks. These were nice because I could give them to her in the carseat and they would not only feel good on her gums but also kept her preoccupied.
  19. Pampers Wipes – I am a pampers girl. Their products just work. I would say they are the Bounty of baby wipes. One wipe has been enough to clean some of the largest dirty diapers.
  20. Pampers Swaddlers – Every baby is different but these fit Eleanor perfectly and I can count on one hand how many times they have failed me. Which at 14 months, is saying a lot (knocking on wood as I speak).
  21. IcyBite Key Teether – These are amazing because you can put them in the freezer and they feel so good on your baby’s gums. Added bonus, holding something cold makes them very curious and buys you a few extra minutes to get things done.
  22. Melissa & Doug Nesting Stacking Blocks – Hands down one of Eleanor’s favorite toys. I bought these at the same time as the rings and she still uses them. Her favorite is for me to stack them all on top of each other and let her knock it over. According to our PlayWisley instructor, this is excellent for development.
  23. Melissa & Doug Wood Music Makers – We have these in our play room and Eleanor loves to walk around the house holding them. They are definitely a toy she continues to reach for.
  24. Fischer Price Stroll Along Walker – After the Joovy, this is her favorite walker ever. I believe it helped her understand the concept of walking before she could actually walk. She now puts her doll in it and proudly walks her around the house. It is absolutely adorable!
  25. Skip  Hop Activity Gym – Activity gyms are ugly but necessary. I got this one for Eleanor as I didn’t think it was as bad as the other ones. You will use them EVERYDAY before your baby can sit up. They are so mesmorized by all the things dangling from above. This comes with a few items but my night nurse told me to, “junk it up.” So I bought tons of rings and toys to string from the arc as well.
  26. Fisher Price Record Player – This is a new purchase but it comes with different records you can switch out and all of them play famous lullabies. I think it is adorable and would make for a really fun gift.
  27. Melissa & Doug Caterpillar Xylophone – This is something I like to just have in our toy chest. She uses it from time to time but I read they are a great way to introduce sounds and music to them.
  28. Water Wipes – In the words of my friend Lauren, “Are you even a mom if you don’t have water wipes in every bag?” I agree. I use these ALL THE TIME! From wiping her and me after meals, cleaning her stroller, and at restaurants. I get nervous when I run low on them.
  29. VTech Classic Nursery Rhymes Book – We read real books to her every night but during the day I love these interactive books. She enjoys turning the pages and listening to the music. I recently even bought some in french to introduce it into her world.

 

 

thank you to Walmart for partnering on this post

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