Baby #2 – Gender Reveal!

Baby #2 - Gender Reveal! - Girl Nesting

I grew up in a household made up entirely of women; raised by my mother, my aunt and my abuela (grandmother). The chatter of women used to drive me nuts, but loved I was indeed. We, women, are very sensitive and intuitive creatures. Some would even go as far as to say “dramatic” (forgive me ladies). Dramatic as we may sometimes be, we are without question Amazing.

This brings me to our gender reveal for baby #2. Guess what?! We’re having another girl!!! I am ecstatic! I will be in a house full of girls once again. Women are strong, full of fire, personality and yes…opinions. I couldn’t be more honored that God chose me to raise two future strong women! A huge responsibility. Michael is also very excited, but also terrified (lol). Zoë told him the other day, “Daddy, I’m the boss, Mommy’s the boss and you are a boy.” – Left him speechless. Imagine, another little boss will be joining the team soon…my husband is feeling a little out numbered.

So, I am soon to be the mother of two girls, thank you God!!! This journey will make me stronger, wiser and much more patient in the end…I’ll have a lot of white hair too. I look forward to all that I will learn about myself through them. I also look forward to taking them to boy band concerts and having movie nights at home with their friends; we’ll be found watching romantic comedies and giggle over sweets – I’ll be reliving my childhood for sure.

I am currently 22 weeks and can barely believe it! Our baby girl kicks me on a regular basis (LOL). We have a name picked out for her, its beautiful and unique. We call her by her name when we talk to her through my belly. To our friends and family we refer to her as Baby “S”, keeping it a secret until she’s born. I can tell you that I chose her name from a dream, where I saw that she was a girl long before they told me through genetic testing. It was her eyes that gave me the name.

Courage has led me here…

 Baby #2 - Gender Reveal! - Girl Nesting

*pic taken at 18 weeks. I am enjoying my 2nd trimester without morning sickness (hurrah!) Aches and pains are a regular though (oh well). 18 weeks left to go until we meet her at last 🙂

Hello 2nd Trimester and Babies Compared to Fruits & Vegetables

Hello 2nd Trimester and Babies Compared to Fruits & Vegetables - Girl Nesting

Hello 2nd Trimester! I have to say, it’s so good to see you again! For most women, this is when the morning sickness makes an exit and energy makes an entrance. So far, nothing different has happened. I am hopeful though. I too want to experience the “bliss” of the 2nd trimester. I really don’t want to be that small percent again that continues with morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy, things could be different…positive thinking right?!

Yesterday, Michael and I went to get the genetic testing done. Yes, the tests continue. I tried my best not to worry too much about it, but thanks to procedure, they make that almost impossible. They placed us in a room by ourselves, with a 10 minute video of all the things that could go wrong with the genetics of our baby. I won’t go into it because that would just cause someone else out there to worry, and I don’t believe in that one bit. Michael, bless his heart, reached over and turned the video off a few minutes into it. “We don’t need to see that”, he smiled and shook his head. He suggested we enjoy Facebook or Pinterest instead while we waited for the counselor. I love a man with a great idea.The perk of the test is that you can find out the sex of the baby as early as 10 to 11 weeks pregnant, the results are ready within 7 to 10 business days. It’s a new test that’s offered for ages 35 and up, so definitely ask your doctor about it if you fit into that category.

The big question in the house is, “WHAT ARE WE HAVING???”. Well, according to The Bump, we are currently having a lemon. LOL! They’re still comparing babies to fruits and vegetables…it’s nice that some things never change. Comparing them to lets say…well geez, I’m drawing a blank here…animals, would be kinda of weird and creepy. I already have dreams I’m giving birth to kittens, so no need to make that dream any more confusing.

I sometimes feel the little “lemon” moving inside of me, which is pretty early really. Probably happening because it’s not my first pregnancy and that baby is a week ahead in growth. The little angel is not the size of a lemon at all, but some other fruit down the line (what comes after a lemon?).

Having a toddler to run after makes pregnancy a whole other ballgame. I am not even huge yet and when that happens, “God Bless Me!”. I often forget to look up the milestones each week, “We’ll look at it tonight”, one of us says and then I pass out. I know a bit more of what to expect this time, “Oh aches and pains, you’re back! Thanks for joining..”. It’s harder for the same reasons.

The new thrill is sharing the excitement with our daughter Zoë. I love encouraging her to tell baby, “good morning” – so precious. I am fascinated with her imaginative stories of all the things she wants to enjoy with her new brother or sister. We have a very vocal 3 and half-year old, she gets into long detailed stories that often have a friendly dragon that likes to come over to play, “then it eats mommy!”, she laughs. Funny girl, dragons don’t eat mommy’s. ..

Anyhow, I wanted to thank you all so much for your support and kind words on my last post about our Infertility struggle and success. Thank you so much for your love.

Nothing left to say for now, except for onward and upward! 

I Fought Infertility Again & We’ve Got News!

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

I know, I’ve been a stranger here on Girl Nesting, MIA for too long. I have a very good reason – We’re pregnant!!! Baby #2 is on the way! Feels so good to write that (oh my goodness!!!). I am a survivor of infertility. I’ve somehow beaten my odds twice now. A true miracle, because it’s not so easy for me to conceive. Being that the case, I needed my space and privacy for that time. I thought I was nuts to even dance around the idea to try again. I’m still kind of confused and bewildered how it happened the first time. Almost five years ago, I was told I had less than 30% chance. Despite the odds, we conceived Zoë on our own after 3 failed IUI’s and 1 failed IVF. This time, my chances were even lower. I knew going into this I wasn’t going to hear great news, I am 38 years old. My doctor called to tell me that my egg quality was older than I am, so time was of the essence. I was gambling on something so slim in my favor it was enough to make me want to crawl into a hole, but my heart was telling me not to shy away from my dream. I’m always preaching that I am a believer of positive thinking. So my goodness, I was going to live by my own words. I was going to give it my best try and a lot of that effort was going to come from my frame of mind. I wouldn’t allow myself to slip into doubt and sadness. No matter how easy it felt to slide down that dark path, I was going to keep climbing. 

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting 

The nurses call you daily through this process. Each call has been anxiously awaited from the day before. On the phone, they are brief, they are direct, and many times they do not sound empathetic. They are fact readers. The first time I went through this process I was 33 years old. My heart was worn right on my sleeve and every word that was a negative burned like hell. This time I’m older and have a much thicker skin. I came into this with a realistic approach. Facts could equal yes or they could equal no, it is that simple. I reminded myself that the nurses are doing their very best and have so many women to tend to. I’m not their only patient who wants to have a baby…get in line! Being frustrated at the doctors and nurses is too easy. It’s only human to want someone to blame, and the truth of the matter is we’re really blaming ourselves and projecting it onto the messenger.

The money bit on all of this is too crazy to even digest. I was sick to my stomach at the thought of us wasting money on failed cycles. We were paying out-of-pocket (gasp!). I had a limit in my mind of what I could endure and then I had a limit of what we could afford. The two were actually pretty close. I only wanted to do two cycles of IUI, I could not see myself doing IVF again. I just couldn’t put our family through that financial burden. Michael wanted to do whatever it would take. We would figure out the money later, we could get a loan. This just didn’t sit well with me, I promised myself that I would do the extra work to make it a strong cycle. Extra work included: vitamins, working out, talk therapy, frequent acupuncture which was scheduled to my cycle (and is not cheap). If my best didn’t get us there, then I would have to visit the idea that it was not a tangible dream.

CYCLE #1

Call received before scheduled IUI:

“Jahaila you have made 10 follicles this round!” the nurse said with surprising excitement. 

“I have a chance…?” I asked.

“Yes, you have a very good chance, ” she said. I could hear her smiling.

I can’t begin to tell you the joy I felt…Of course being the worrier that I am, my thoughts fell upon the “what if’s”. I could actually have 1 child from this cycle after all…or I could have 3 babies! OMYGOSH what did I do?!!! Or I could have none... I don’t want to have none, I just want one healthy baby. I would be incredibly blessed with two…but we we would have to move again for sure. I could have 1…

Call received after IUI:

“Hi there,” the nurse said like an old friend, “well, your HCG levels went up 10 points…but I have to warn you..this is a very low number, so we are unable to confirm that this pregnancy will stick.” She took a deep breath, “Girlfriend to girlfriend, I would prepare yourself that it will most likely not. It looks like it could be a chemical pregnancy and you could start bleeding in the next day or two..I just thought you should know.” 

Chemical pregnancies, for those of you unfamiliar, is an early miscarriage. An experience I’m all too familiar with. Even though brief, this was the hardest conversation I have ever had. I wrote in my calendar notes that night, “Prayers. Even little miracles can grow up to be big miracles”. I told Mike and my Mother, “Being a mother to this life starts now, if I don’t believe in it, then I’m not doing my job. It needs me to cheer it on”.

That weekend, Michael and I attended his twin brother’s wedding. We were praying those numbers would go up and not down. It was terrifying. I had a couple of advantages that kept my mind in high spirits. #1 I had been successfully pregnant in the past. I knew I was feeling what I felt before when I was pregnant with Zoë. Cramping around the belly’s “shell” is a good sign. This distinct cramping is known as Implantation. It wasn’t the intense cramping and pain that is felt during a miscarriage, which I had experienced in the past before as well. #2 I was taking pregnancy tests like a boss! We counted a total of 28 tests…yep, 2 to 3 a day! Each time, the line got darker, and that (thank you pregnancy forums) is a GREAT SIGN.

Call received after the wedding. Note, I never started bleeding that weekend. In fact, I started experiencing nausea:

“So Jahaila, we have a good change in numbers that have happened! I must inform you, we are still proceeding with caution. Your HCG levels went from 10 to 99.”

“Thank you God!!!” I was in tears.

She went on to say that I was “currently pregnant”, but there was no way of knowing if it would stick. “That’s o.k”, I thought, “nausea, breasts hurt like hell and I’m glowing is all I need to know right now”. Fact: baby is getting stronger. 

Final Call. This was the make it or break it call:

“We have great news for you Jahaila, your HCG levels went from 99 to 237 in 2 days! We are very pleased with this number! We finally can confirm that you are pregnant!”, the nurse exclaimed. She was so happy to tell me, and I was just in tears from incredible happiness and joy. 

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

Saying that we are excited is clearly understatement. The feelings that ran through our bodies when we saw our baby for the first time on the monitor, was the most beautiful moment I will always remember. Sure, it was a simple black dot (LOL), but we were in love with that black dot. We were so emotional we actually made the nurses cry.

Each visit after that, everyone from the nurses to the staff behind the desk, were as happy as we were. They eagerly awaited to see pics and fought to who would perform our ultrasound next. We fell in love with these people, they have big heart. They helped to make this life inside of me happen.

When the light shines through the clouds and reveals a life worth trying for…there is no greater awareness of something bigger and more powerful than us all.

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

It took a team to make this baby. Thank you Infertility staff at my Gynecologist office who worked so hard to fit me into the schedule and helped get me ready so I wouldn’t miss this cycle (I didn’t even ask…). Thank You Doctor and nurses at FCI, you all are incredible angels. Thank you vitamins that the Doctor recommended to produce more follicles (it works!). Thank you staff at Pulling Down The Moon Acupuncture (you all are incredible miracle workers!!!) for helping me stimulate more follicles and easing the discomfort. Thank you to my Mom for being the best listener and never letting me slip into sadness, you are my rock. Thank you to my best buddy Rachel and my Aunt Janet for sending me images of beautiful and inspiring places. Thank you to my husband Michael for being there with me through every single blood retrieval (every single day), holding my hand through this process, doing your best not hurt me during the trigger shot in my lower back and being my best friend who gives me courage. Thank you God, who I spoke to regularly from the beginning. I asked you to help guide me through this challenge, and you gave me strength and courage every step of the way. Last, but certainly not least, THANK YOU BODY. I know I was asking a lot of you…you are stronger than anyone will ever know. 

 I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

*Pics taken in Hawaii for our 6 year wedding anniversary & babymoon. We are currently 3 months pregnant. Our daughter Zoë is very excited to become a big sister 🙂

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

We are finally showing you all the final reveal of the rental unit! It has been a fun and sweaty journey, but we are finally finished. Professional pictures were taken last week and it’s going on the market for rent this week. We expect it will rent fast. Rentals are really booming here in downtown Chicago, especially for this location, which is located across from the new Maggie Daley Park. The experience had Michael and I wanting to flip homes full-time. I seriously can see us doing this in the future. We really loved seeing the transformation and bringing a tired dated studio apartment into the present time (see the before). For me, designing a space from scratch was more fun than I can conjure up into words. It’s the ultimate shopping experience, lets just put it that way. Everything I chose for the unit was budget friendly and because it’s a studio, granite for example, was less expensive because we didn’t need that much square foot of it. 

Mike and I drove to my mom’s building to clean the apartment the day before the realtor was to come in and see the unit’s transformation. We cleaned the floors, the mirrors, counters…everything. Cleaning is definitely our little therapy. Mike more than me, but I too love to just make everything look fresh and new again.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl NestingRental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

I chose a laminate flooring (Southern Grey Oak) that really looks like true hard wood floors, but can be wiped down and is very durable; perfect choice for a rental unit. I’m in love with how they turned out. Instantly, you are WOW’d when walking into this unit because of the floors alone. They look very expensive and are just the opposite. If you’re looking for great floors, I highly recommend putting these on your list for consideration. They ranked high in ratings and we can clearly see why.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

We had a small window cut out in the kitchen. Perfect to pass the food over when entertaining guests or to be used as a little breakfast counter. This made a huge difference with quality of lighting in the kitchen, natural light now floods into the previously dark space.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

White penny tiles are the kitchen’s backslash. I have always loved penny tiles. In our old loft, I had installed black penny tiles, so this was a nice contrast to use white this time in a space. The floors were a great find at Tile City, $3 and something a square foot! They pair well with the laminate floors throughout the studio. The appliances were bought as a package deal, which saved so much money rather than buying each appliance separately. They look great don’t they?! The original kitchen did not have a dishwasher, so this was pretty exciting to install one finally – you’re welcome new tenants!

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

The bathroom is my favorite. The marble hexagon tiles on the floor are perfect in this space. I am very much a fan of hexagon tiles. They instantly make a space feel modern and current. I paired them with snow-white subway tiles in the shower and they look great together. The combination brings texture and pattern into a small space beautifully. The vanity my mother and I spotted at Home Depot and loved right away (here’s one similar). Grey is a favorite color of ours, I felt it would be the perfect statement in the unit’s only bathroom. We also had the tub re-glazed! I highly recommend this instead of replacing a tub. The process saved us a fortune and looks AMAZING! Other than that, everything in the bathroom is new, all sourced from Home Depot.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

In the entrance and the wardrobe area, we had the contractor install new sliding doors in place of the old bi-fold closet doors. All lighting in the unit are from IKEA. Yep, I will always be a fan of IKEA. Great design for less, perfect resource for a rental unit. They can be replaced easily without breaking the bank. 

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

Well, that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed viewing our rental renovation. Like I said before, we had the time of our lives bringing this studio back to life. It was an awesome project for us all to be a part of. Thank you Mom for asking me to design the space – truly an honor to be asked by someone so talented in interior design…you are my inspiration.


Spring Beauty Trends: Model Jasmine // Hot Pink Lips

Spring Beauty Trends: Model Jasmine // Hot Pink Lips - Girl Nesting Spring Beauty Trends: Model Jasmine // Hot Pink Lips - Girl Nesting Spring Beauty Trends: Model Jasmine // Hot Pink Lips - Girl Nesting

I’ve been extremely lucky to sit in some of the most talented makeup artist chairs around the world. I get to see what’s trending before it even hits the press. This Spring beauty trend is hot pink lips. It’s already stretching across the magazines and I love it! Hot pink lips can turn a simple outfit into something truly sexy. Splurge or get the more affordable brand at your drug store. Either way, you’ll be turning heads.

I paired this hot pink lip with Jasmine’s own boyfriend jeans, my classic black J.Crew blazer and a white bikini top from Topshop – because classic sexy is forever sexy.  

Model: Jasmine @ Ford Models Chicago

Photographer: Michael V.

Styling, Art Directing and Photo Editing: Jahaila V. 


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