The Start of Audrey & Bear

by Rachel Quarnberg January 16, 2018

The Start of Audrey & Bear

Hello, Friend.   I am so glad you stopped by. 

My name is Rachel.  I am married to my best friend and business partner, Daniel.  Together, we have two beautiful girls, Audrey and Annabelle.  They are hilarious, thoughtful, and too cute for words.  I try to be the best wife, mother, and business owner I can be.  And am working on being forgiving of myself when I can’t be the best at all of these things all the time.  I begin each day with God, grace, and a grateful heart.  I love reading, good food (Giada, can you hear me), and discovering new places.  Oh, and Dr. Pepper.   “The Pepp” and I have a long-standing relationship there are just never enough hours in the day. 

Motherhood – filled with its laughter, exhaustion, and tears – is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.  Nothing makes me happier than seeing my girls smile. 

As the founder and CEO ofAudrey & Bear, life is filled with joys, sacrifices, and lessons learned.  So many lessons learned.  It is my hope that by sharing my wild journey with you, you leave feeling more inspired and connected than when you came.  

I encourage you to comment below.  Think freely, but speak respectfully.  I look forward to joining you in a conversation. 

 

AND BABY MAKES 4 ... HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Our family was growing.  I was nearing the end of my second pregnancy.  Anxiously awaiting the arrival of my second daughter, Annabelle, I began packing my hospital bag.  I had delivered my first daughter, Audrey, just a couple of years before, so I ‘sort of’ knew what to expect.   Into the bag went the essentials – an outfit, a blanket, nail clippers, etc.  But something was amiss.  This ‘preparing for the hospital’ moment I had cherished so much with my first felt so mundane and ordinary this go-round. 

I suspect most moms feel this way after the first pregnancy.  Right?

And really, no big surprise there.  Chasing baby #1 while growing baby #2… well, it does not leave much time for self-reflection and quiet moments. 

But while I excused myself for not making a big to-do over all the moments leading up to Annabelle’s birth, it still left me feeling a bit sad.  And guilty.  Nothing about her birth felt uniquely hers.  Even most of her darling outfits had been Audrey’s just a couple years before.

This pregnancy.  This birth.  It didn’t have that special magic I so wanted for my baby girl. 

Perhaps it was the hormones.  Perhaps the lack of sleep.  Perhaps just the determination a mama can have when she gets something on her mind, but I felt compelled to change this.  I was going to find a way to make sweet Annabelle’s entry into our lives just as special - and just as extraordinary - as her big sister, Audrey’s, had been. 

This late in my pregnancy, I wasn’t sleeping all that well (that belly gets in the way).  So, lying awake in bed, I had some time to think.  Then it hit me.  And now with my mind racing – I REALLY wasn’t going to be able to fall asleep.  No matter.  I had a plan. 

PREGNANT MAMA ON A MISSION 

When Audrey went down for nap the next day, I sat down at my kitchen table and began sketching.  I came up with a design.   A design that featured Annabelle’s name which I imagined on a beautiful blanket that I could use to receive her. 

With a design in mind, I still had to figure out how to get it ONTO a blanket.  Call it fortitude.  Call it pregnancy.    But I had gotten an idea on my mind, and there wasn’t anything that was going to deter me from making it happen. 

A few weeks prior, while enjoying a bit of retail therapy at the local fabric shop, I happened upon a bolt of jersey knit fabric and thought to myself the softness of the fabric would be amazing up against a baby’s skin.  I then wondered why manufacturers didn’t make swaddle blankets using this sort of fabric. 

Seriously. 

Audrey ALWAYS managed to Houdini-wriggled her way out of a traditional muslin swaddle. Every.Single.Time!  With its incredible stretch, jersey knit would most definitely make for a better swaddle. 

That entire bolt of fabric ‘might’ have jumped into my shopping cart and came home with me. 

Fast forward, and as I explored options for printing Annabelle’s design, it occurred to me that by printing it onto jersey knit, I could make her the most remarkable swaddle blanket. 

A few google clicks, and a couple of weeks later, and a box arrived at my door.  It was the fabric I’d ordered, with Annabelle’s design.  It was beautiful!  When naptime arrived, I pulled out my sewing machine, dashed to my kitchen table, and set to work cutting and sewing Annabelle’s blanket.  It was perfect!!!

I tucked it away into my hospital bag and felt success knowing that NOW we could give Annabelle that incredible welcome and show her how uniquely special she is to us.  

ANNABELLE'S ARRIVAL

A few weeks later, our beautiful Annabelle arrived.  After we’d had a moment to meet our sweet daughter, a nurse whisked her to the other side of the room to be weighed, measured, and cleaned up.  I looked over and waiting alongside her was an ordinary pink and blue striped hospital blanket.  I asked the nurse if she could please use my blanket instead.  She gladly agreed and wrapped Annabelle in it.  

I’ll never forget! 

The nurses, the doctor, and everyone else in the delivery room took notice.   

Again, as the wonderful staff escorted us down the hall to recovery, they took notice. 

Everyone took notice. 

They celebrated Annabelle.  They celebrated me.  I felt so special with my tiny, little shining star wrapped up in her blanket. 

THIS was the welcome I had wanted for her!   And it was every bit as perfect as she is!

CELEBRATING LIFE

In the weeks that followed sweet Annabelle’s birth, after seeing her photo on social media, added to the congratulations were questions about her blanket.  

I had a small shop on Etsy where I sold things like fabric banners and flannel receiving blankets.  Once the new-mom sleep exhaustion had past, I decided to see if others would also be interested in name swaddle blankets.  I added them to the shop, and they were a hit! 

Armed with the desire to help others celebrate life, and wrap their babies with blankets as special and unique as they are, we have been able to make our shop what it is today. 

Welcome to Audrey’s Bear.

 xxxxx

Rachel Quarnberg
Rachel Quarnberg


2 Responses

Tracy Klipfel
Tracy Klipfel

November 07, 2019

Hi Krystal! Thank you for sharing your story with us about your NICU baby. I can only imagine how long those 18 days felt! So glad you had his A&B blanket to help keep him warm and celebrate his precious life :)

Love hearing that Audrey & Bear products are your go to baby shower gift! Such a special gift for the parents to celebrate their newest bundle of joy!

We love the kind words and support!

Tracy Klipfel
A&B Community Manager

Krystal Thompson
Krystal Thompson

November 05, 2019

I have two Audrey’s Bear blankets for my son and this is now my go to for baby showers gifts. I love the swaddle4swaddle program. I ordered my blankets long before I knew we were going to be suprised at 34 weeks when my son decided to make his debut six weeks early! He spent 18 days in the NICU the longest 18 days of my life. We used his blanket to keep him warm when we brought hom home. Thank you for these beautiful blankets.

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