Aly's Story

I’m honestly not sure where to even start. Mother’s Day has been a tough one for me for years…

It's hard to find a better community than the one that we've found in Laurel. You'd never know I’m not "from around here" because the love that we share with so many and the kindness that can be found on every corner makes this place extremely special.

You may recognize us from the good ole days of Home Town's season 2 and remember that I worked for Laurel Mercantile. My days back then were spent managing the (one) store, and now fast forward 7 years later I am still at the Mercantile but you'll find me behind the scenes as the Director of Purchasing and Materials. It's been a whirlwind, in the best way! When my husband Jordan and I wanted to start our family in Laurel, the house was that first step and while, hopefully  the baby would come  next, that isn't  what happened for us. I watched so many of my incredible friends become mothers and hoped that would be me one day. While we were waiting on our chance to become parents, we got to be Lala and Jordy/Uncle Jug/Uncle Six to some of the best kiddos!

We started trying to build our family in 2017 and reached out to our doctors for help in early 2018. After a year of assistance with medicine, we were sent to Mississippi Reproductive Medicine. The next 5 years were some of our hardest yet, but we were so fortunate to have such supportive family, friends, therapists, and medical team. They have celebrated each win, cried at each loss or roadblock and prayed us through this. After more testing at MRM, we realized medication wasn’t going to be enough to help us start a family. We started procedures in 2019 and had 3 failed IUIs. We had hopes to start IVF in early 2020 but were delayed by COVID and a dirt bike accident that left Jord with a broken shoulder and fractured neck. In the fall we did our first egg retrieval. I have been terrified of needles my entire life, so this was super scary for me. 30+ shots in the span on 12-14 days was really overwhelming. Emily Saxton was an angel and came to my house every morning and night at 7 to give me shots. We were so excited because everything seemed to be going to plan, but unfortunately we had a failed cycle that resulted in zero viable embryos. It was such a blow and we needed a few months to process the loss and prepare ourselves to try again. We started the discussions of embryo or egg adoption in hopes of that helping us expand our family. We did more testing and my levels were improving, so we decided another egg retrieval was our next step. We increased dosages which meant more shots.

Our 2021 retrieval was successful and we were able to freeze two embryos! We scheduled a transfer and started moving forward. Unfortunately, a sonohysterogram showed I had uterine polyps, so we had to schedule a hysteroscopy for early December. After healing from that, we were excited to move forward with a transfer. After starting shots, we both caught COVID and had to cancel that transfer. Another delay… We waited a few months and had a successful transfer on May 3, 2022. We were so excited! I came home to a pear tree in our driveway from the gal pals to celebrate getting pregnant! We took a girl’s trip to NYC to celebrate the release of Erin’s first children’s book The Lantern House in late May. While we were there, we found out I developed a subchorionic hematoma. Mal and Emily rushed me to a clinic while Erin was filming and we were able to see a heartbeat. We celebrated with dinner and a gluten-free  Milkbar  cake! It felt like everything was finally going to happen for us, but it all fell apart. Two weeks later, we didn’t have a heartbeat at our 7 week ultrasound. We were devastated. The thing is, IVF does not always equal a baby. Each cycle we hoped and prayed as hard as we could that God’s plan had a child in it. After giving ourselves some space and time to recover from another surgery, we decided another retrieval was the best course of action. 


We had another successful retrieval in late 2022 after opening the Scent Library. We were excited and planned a transfer for early December. We did some last-minute bloodwork and realized my thyroid levels were elevated and we had to cancel to get it under control. This ended up being a 4-month delay. We finally were able to schedule a transfer for May 16th, 2023. We ate the McDonalds fries, and prayed this was the time that it would work for us. We found out we were pregnant in late May and were so excited and terrified. We had been here before… My levels were lower and measuring a little behind but her heartbeat was strong! We did weekly ultrasounds and sighed with relief at each appointment. We graduated from the fertility clinic with our blue folder in July, Jord had a work meeting and had to miss the last appointment, but of course the gal pals wouldn’t let me go alone. We held our breath a lot over the next few months.

We went for our anatomy scan and found another mountain to climb before we would ever be able to hold a baby in our arms.  I had vasa previa and velamentous cord insertion. Our doctors were not overly concerned but let us know I’d probably have to spend a little time on bedrest in the hospital for monitoring and we’d be delivering early. This meant more ultrasounds than is typically necessary, so we had a chance to see our girl every few weeks. Throughout this process it was hard to think about working on  a nursery or stocking up on baby things. I didn’t feel like we were jinxing ourselves, but the thought of having to pack it up if we had another loss was too much to bear. I’d taught myself to stay in the present and only worry about what I could control in the moment. I should have known when everybody insisted that we could just figure out the nursery after she arrived that they were scheming something!


The end of the journey was finally in sight when we  were admitted to the hospital in early December, only a few days after the most incredible baby shower of all time! Seriously, it was insane...


Thankfully I was able to work remotely while in the hospital to avoid going too stir crazy.

We took daily walks around our hospital floor and to the cafeteria and had picnics on the top floor of the parking garage just a few steps from the entrance when I needed a little fresh air. Jordan and I celebrated our 11th anniversary in my little hospital room, waiting for Mary Owen to arrive. 

The days passed pretty quickly and our daughter, Mary Owen Smith, the best Christmas present we ever received, was delivered on December 21st. We’d been told up front that she would need to spend a little time in the NICU, so we were prepared to spend our days at the hospital for as long as we needed to. She was born at 33 weeks, 6 days and weighed 5 lbs 5 oz. That night we got to hold her for the first time. Looking back now, I’m shocked we weren’t overwhelmed by all the tubes and wires. We were just so happy to hold our girl that we’d waited so long for!

Her door in the NICU with the hanger Alise and Amanda surprised us with!

It’s all such a blur at this point. The days were long, but we couldn’t be more grateful for the care we received while we were there. What a gift it was to be supported by the best doctors, nurses, respiratory  therapist, physical therapists , and countless others. They taught us how to take care of Mary Owen and encouraged us when it felt like we had no idea what we were doing or had a set back that would extend our stay another few days. Thankfully the NICU-itis never set in! This is mostly because one of my lifelong best friends, Mallory, lives 3 minutes from the hospital and let us move in so we could be as close to our girl as possible. It made our time there so much easier and gave us the rest and space we needed to process the hard days and be able to go back refreshed to take on the next day.

My lifelong best friends Taylor, Mallory and Stuart 6 days after Mary Owen was born. Only our parents were allowed on the NICU visitors list, so they fed me lunch and got me out of the hospital for a few hours.

We graduated after 19 days (such a short stay compared to so many families we saw there) and took our girl home to the most perfect nursery I could ever imagine. (See the full nursery tour, here.)


Our great friend and now Mary Owen’s uncle,  Adam Trest,  is obnoxiously talented and we have always loved the art that he creates. Adam has joked for years that he was going to paint a mural for a nursery as soon as we needed to start decorating one. Even though he hates doing murals. Well he wasn’t lying….  When we saw the art that he did for Mary Owen's nursery, we were truly blown away and I didn’t have words. This is such a special part of our story, of her story, and in the space that she will get to grow up in. We couldn't have asked for a better person to do it! This is just another example of how well our people have loved us through this.

I don't know how they knew, but gracious that crib was exactly what I wanted! The craftsmanship and the detail on it, I really couldn't believe the Scotsman team did that for us. She will be the only baby outside of the Napier girls to have a Scotsman crib. That’s pretty good company to be in. When I walked into that room for the first time, such a flood of emotions hit! I saw that crib and I could tell you by name each person that I'm sure had a hand in designing it, creating it, and then perfecting it.. You don't get to experience that every day and that was really overwhelming and incredible. Mary Owen will always be reminded how special it is to have such an heirloom piece. A set of  floating shelves for her books were another surprise. I love to read and hope to pass that love to Mary Owen. We had already been collecting books and I had no idea how we were going to display those. But of course there was already a plan for that.

The nursing cart has been a lifesaver! Emily knew all the right things to put in it for me. Brooke put together an album of photos from the shower and it’s so fun to look back on such a special day. I tell Mary Owen about each of her aunts and how excited they are that she is finally here. I still don’t have words for the blanket Kendall helped with. I’ve only let myself read it in the last few weeks. What a special gift for Mary Owen to have letters from the women she is loved by the most!


It’s not lost on me how lucky we are as I sit here at my office desk typing this while our 4 month old baby sleeps in my arms. We didn’t know if this would ever happen for us… I hope Mary Owen will always know how wanted she is and how hard we worked to become her parents. I hope she will know that it took an absolute village to get to this point. A village that she is so lucky to have the rest of her days. Every single moment was worth it to bring this little girl into the world.


Mary Owen at the hospital just a few weeks old! 

 Leaving the hospital with our girl! 

Mary Owen now at almost 5 months!