Parenthood is something Lindsay Ellingson and her husband Sean Clayton can't wait to tackle together — and the challenges along the way made finding out she was pregnant this time a different experience.
"I had a late-term loss last year, which was devastating, and I just felt like my body needed to finish what it started," the former Victoria's Secret Angel, 35, tells PEOPLE. "I started doing guided meditations as a way to work towards healing and manifesting this dream. Within a few months, I had a feeling that I was pregnant again."
The mom-to-be, who is currently fronting J Brand's Mother's Day campaign, "couldn't wait" to find out, so she took a pregnancy test while Clayton was out with friends "and surprised him that evening after dinner."
"We both cried and were so happy and also scared," she says. "It was a crazy mix of emotions. I can't believe it's been almost nine months since then. We are so excited to meet our baby."
And while the couple know the sex of their little one, they've "decided to wait until the baby is born to reveal it" — and "have a few names that we love but still haven't agreed on anything, so we will wait to see the baby and hopefully it will just come to us."
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Victoria's Secret Angel Lindsay Ellingson's Wedding Photos: See Them Here!
Ellingson, who is also a co-founder of Wander Beauty, tells PEOPLE that she and Clayton "have been isolated on Lake Erie" since they left New York in March, when coronavirus (COVID-19) began to take a larger hold on the city.
"We are so grateful to be in a safe place," she adds. "Our dog Carly even has a little yard to play in, and we have this beautiful view to keep us feeling zen. I have been taking virtual hypnobirthing classes and find the relaxation techniques so helpful to manage the extra stress and unknowns of the world right now."
Those unknowns have seeped into her birth plan, which Ellingson tells PEOPLE has "shifted around" since they left her medical team in N.Y.C. and "found a new team of doctors" — and she's "a little nervous" that "my past spinal fusion surgery to treat my scoliosis will interfere with the epidural."
"My entire spine is fused with metal rods to straighten out my back, so I've been told the epidural might not work, and I won't know until I'm in labor," she says. "My hope is that the techniques I'm learning in my hypnobirthing classes will help me push through, unmedicated if necessary. That said, the bright side of delivering in Ohio is having my family's incredible support, which I'm really grateful for."
Ellingson reveals that "it's a bit hard" to plan exactly what her balance of motherhood and her career will look like at this point given the global health crisis, "but as a co-founder [of Wander Beauty], I don't want to be away from the team too long."
"I'll likely check out for the first month and begin to re-engage during the second month," she tells PEOPLE. "I want to stay in touch with my team as much as I can, but also want to fully be with my baby. Overall, I'm so excited to start this new chapter. For so long, I have been so focused on my career and myself, and it's wonderful to finally take a step back and begin our family."
Touching on the parts of motherhood she's most looking forward to, Ellingson says she's also "excited to experience the love I will have for my baby and the bond we will share."
"It seems so surreal to me now, I can't imagine it, but I hear from all the women in my life it's pretty amazing and so worth all the sleepless nights," she explains. "I also can't wait to see our baby in Sean's arms. I always knew that he would be a great father and I'm excited to see this new side of him."
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