This month marks our sixth annual fascinating moms feature, in which we profile five inspiring mothers with vastly different stories who all share a common bond. From business owners to free spirits with one baby or three, they are each on a journey that’s uniquely their own— and yet they’re relatable in so many ways. Our hope is that you find these mamas as smart, refreshing and admirable as we do, and our wish is that you know you are every bit as fascinating as they are.
CEO and Creative Director
Home: Highland, Utah
Game-changing baby product: Baby Brezza Formula Pro
Diapers changed in her household daily: About 20
Best way to spend $20: Pizza delivery and a new iTunes movie to watch in bed with her husband
After a litany of unsuccessful fertility treatments, including Clomid, intrauterine insemination (IUI) and two rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF), Ali Hynek and her husband, Jeremy, moved to a new state, got a new doctor and tried IVF for a third time.
“We implanted two embryos,” says Hynek, who was hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. “When we went in for our ultrasound … the nurse told us we were having twins! But what she showed us on the ultrasound screen didn’t match up with twins,” recalls Hynek. So she asked the nurse what “that stuff” was, and the nurse took another look.
“When she said, ‘Congratulations! You’re having triplets!’ I about died,” admits the instant mom of three. One of the two implanted embryos had split, which meant the family would be welcoming identical twin girls and a fraternal boy to their family.
Hynek describes the pregnancy as “incredible,” and after two months on self-prescribed bed rest, she delivered her tiny, healthy babes at 31 weeks and 6 days. Penelope came home after 34 days in the neonatal intensive care unit, and Ethan and Alejandra followed just two days later.
When Hynek found out she had a trio on board, she worried about everyone being on their own schedules, running her and her husband ragged. Miraculously, though, her “Sweet PEA” (as she endearingly refers to them) naps, eats, plays and sleeps in sync. “They all sleep at least 12 hours a night,” says Hynek. “It’s heaven.” She never thought she’d be a mom who let her babies’ schedule dictate her life, but these days? “There are very few things that can lure us into missing a nap.”
When the triplets were around 3 months old, the Hyneks hired a full-time household assistant/nanny to help with the babies when they’re awake and run errands while they’re asleep. The extra set of hands (plus two sets of doting grandparents who live within a couple miles) allowed Hynek to continue running her company, Nena & Co., which she launched in 2013. She works primarily from home now, so she’s never far from her kiddos, and even when she needs to be on site, she’ll often bring a baby or two with her (a nice perk of being your own boss).
Nena & Co., which is known for its one-of-a-kind handbags, as well as a selection of accessories and children’s apparel, is a nod to her Guatemalan heritage. (“Nena” means “baby girl” or “darling” in Spanish and is a nickname Hynek’s mother still affectionately calls her daughter.) The company is committed to paying fair wages, honoring the beauty of the hand-loomed textiles it incorporates into its designs, and using the finest materials and craftsmen to assemble its products. “I love being able to connect with my heritage and work with the people of Guatemala,” says Hynek.
The CEO and creative director used to visit Nena & Co.’s Guatemalan headquarters every eights weeks or so but hadn’t been back since giving birth. So she recently packed up her babies, husband, parents, in-laws and assistant—as well as a handful of other company members—and traveled with her entourage to the Central American country.
Pulling off the part-business, part-pleasure trip was an impressive feat. “I had an in-depth spreadsheet of packing supplies, so that I didn’t overlook something important,” divulges the master of organization. And it was an adventure they won’t soon forget. Says Hynek, “To see these blue-eyed, light- haired babies with local people in Guatemala … and to share so much of where their grandma is from with them at such a young age? It wasn’t easy, but it was totally worth it.”