For so many reasons, this is an exciting post. For 17 weeks, we have been keeping a secret. This February we will be welcoming a new addition to our family! It has been fun to have quietly had this time with our families over the summer to soak it in. It has been a beautiful, scary, and precious time. As I come to the end of my 17th week, and many of my jeans no longer fit the way they did at the beginning of the summer, we felt it was time to share about our newest adventure with you.
It has been an exciting, and scary journey getting to this point. Before getting pregnant, we heard so many stories about the difficulties of getting pregnant and the chances of miscarrying. With this being our first, we were cautious to celebrate until we heard the first heartbeat and had a few key ultrasounds along the way. Now, at 17 weeks we feel confident enough to share this exciting news. We had been talking for over a year about the potential of seriously beginning a family. After some good talks about what it might mean for us as a couple and business owners, we decided it was time to let nature take its course in our life. We just weren’t expecting it to happen as quickly as it did.
About half way through Whole30 I began to feel “different.” Any lady who has gotten pregnant knows this feeling. It was odd, the symptoms began showing up pretty quickly. From random nausea to extreme tiredness after sleeping for more than 10 hours the night before. I was beginning to feel not normal so to speak. Thankfully the Whole30 diet kept me away from alcohol and a couple bad habits, so I was able to stay healthy before I even knew I was pregnant. Mike and I have always been big advocates of vitamins, and I had been taking prenatals for a couple of years. In addition to prenatals, we were taking our daily doses of vitamin D, calcium, and DHA already. We honestly weren’t even thinking about pregnancy at the time we began eating this way; we were just trying to do some self-care to help us to be the best at our work. It ended up being perfect timing in our lives, considering how healthy we had just become and our upcoming summer travels. All of you who wondered why we never did a full recap on our Whole30 experience, this was why. I actually never fully completed it because food aversions and so on took over. My one review is that it makes you quite obviously fertile…I actually read this was a recommended diet for those trying. Didn’t know this till after the fact and we did have a good laugh.
After noticing the shifts in myself in those late days in May, I decided to take a test. I remember waking up on a Monday morning to the hammering outside in our studio. Mike was already outside talking to our contractor, so I got out of bed, took a deep breath, and took the test. I had to wait for about 3 minutes, so I anxiously headed out to the kitchen to boil water for coffee and realized I had forgotten my phone in the bathroom. I hustled back into the bathroom and just glanced at the test, and there it stood. Done and ready in way less than 3 minutes with a big old “YES” on it. There have been many times in my life as a woman, where I have felt different, so I just picked up a test to check. Most of the time it was just to check, but there have been moments as I am sure there have been for many of you, where I thought what if it did say yes but read no or the other way around. Those little sticks have quite the emotional power over a woman. Shauna Niequist writes a beautiful piece in her book Bittersweet about this moment in every woman’s life. I had only read it days before, and her words were echoing in my head as I stood there shocked by the positive response on that silly stick for the first time. I was overjoyed and anxious in every way.
As soon as Mike came in, I told him and it was an exciting moment we will always cherish. Before we got too emotional, I called the doctor and made an appointment that afternoon to get a blood test to make sure the results were real. Two days later, we received confirmation that I was nearly four weeks pregnant.
I instantly had a million questions, and I don’t know if that stops because I still have a million more now. All I knew was that I needed to stay relaxed, take care of my body, and offer myself a lot of grace in the coming weeks and months.
The weeks leading up to our summer in Michigan I welcomed in the dreaded first trimester symptoms. Fortunately, I had a pretty mild time with very few complaints. I had occasional nausea but was never sick and I still feel lucky about that. I needed regular naps, like a lot. Work was very difficult as my brain was quite fuzzy, I went to bed early, and I went through weird food aversions and sensitivities. I drank a lot of water, cut out coffee, and tried to hunt for the healthiest version of any craving I had. On the other side, Mike was a champ and pulled his weight by helping to cook, and even cleaning the house while I was sleeping. As a doer it was hard to not push myself. I had to tell myself it was ok to relax and allow the first couple of weeks to be a time of growth. I made a point to workout, even though it went from intense plyometrics and cardio to elliptical and light weight work instead. It made me feel as if I was still accomplishing something with the limited energy I had. Plus, it was also the only way I could have had any hopes of energy in the afternoons.
By the time we arrived in Michigan, nearly all of my first trimester symptoms had subsided. I could hang until midnight, as long as I had at least 9 hours of sleep. I have been desiring workouts again. I am eating all the things I love again, except for those on the pregnant woman off limits list. Which honestly has been my biggest challenging. I do have occasional muscular pain from things moving around, stretching, and growing. Doing regular yoga and long walks has made that much better though. It has been wild to watch, and feel, my body shift. Considering, a week before finding out I was pregnant, for the first time since college I saw serious abs developing on myself (thanks Whole30 and Bikini Body). I was the healthiest and fittest I had been in my life. My job now is to maintain a healthy outlook not only with fitness and nutrition, but most importantly stress and work. Foods aren’t always interesting like they were, so sometimes you have to hide that avocado you normally love in a smoothie. Removing stress has been the most important thing I have done and I feel thankful that this six weeks landed here in this time. Taking real time for ourselves and talking about what this new adventure means for both of us and our work has been so helpful to keeping stress as low as possible. It isn’t easy, but I do plan to talk more about this in the coming months.
After hearing this catch up on the last four months of our life, I am sure many of you are saying, “so how is this going to effect The Fresh Exchange…” Which we had to ask ourselves as well. We have watched a lot of blogs shift when kids come into play. Some we have stuck with and others we have fallen from, probably in a very similar way as many of you. We are excited about having a kid and beginning this is new adventure in our lives, but The Fresh Exchange will still remain a lifestyle blog. Which means a kid will be a part of our life, just as travel, design, fashion, and fitness are all areas of our life, but no single area will be the focus. Our goal has always been for The Fresh Exchange to be a blog dedicated to living an intentionally simple and beautiful life. We love the challenges parenthood presents and the opportunity it has to make us more whole and humble humans. In our opinion, we aren’t just bringing a human into the world, we are also welcoming in new versions of ourselves into the world as well. That said, we have set up some boundaries and some expectations as we venture down this path.
1. We love the online community and plan to share a lot of triumphs and lessons along our journey as new parents and business owners, but we are going to be more private with our little ones. The adventure of parenthood is one we all go through together and we will focus a lot of our stories on that collective journey we all travel. We have allowed our lives to be more public, but we want to give that same choice to our little one to choose for themselves. We hope to have more children in the future and know that every kid will be unique. Some will want to be a more visible part of the blog and others will want to be the Elizabeth Olson of the family quietly being a rockstar in the background, which we think is pretty cool too.
2. We will talk about being parents, having a family as entrepreneurs, about the journey of being pregnant, and our choices along the way. We don’t expect everyone to be interested in these stories, so they will coincide with other content. So don’t worry, if you aren’t into this whole kid thing. I get it! It is now a part of our life as it is for many of you, and I want to make sure we talk about the journey of parenthood and we don’t leave it out this part of our story. I also feel I would be neglecting myself as I will need to talk and share about these things here for my own sake.
3. We believe everyone, and every parent is unique and that there is no such thing as “the right way”. In our conversations and posts about parenting, there will be no judgment for those of you who have chosen a different path and in fact we welcome hearing about it. We think different is great. Therefore, when we talk about the decisions we have made, know that they come without judgment and they are just one way to do it. There is no doubt I will be asking for help, but I hope that comments and reactions to certain topics can remain hopeful and helpful. As entrepreneurs, parents-to-be, and parents there is a lot to navigate. We are excited to hear the various paths and choices. Our hope, as with all of our posts, is to help to facilitate a healthy, honest, and positive conversation here for everyone to grow from. We believe the best decisions come from hearing many perspectives and then choosing what fits for you and your journey.
We are excited about this new adventure ahead. I know changes are ahead, but sometimes we have to just go for it. Plus, I literally don’t know how much longer I can hide my belly anymore on Instagram. We hope you enjoy this journey with us and are so excited to share it with all of you!