"I was so nervous, but my fear quickly turned into determination for my baby," the model and Wander Beauty co-founder tells PEOPLE

By Maria Pasquini and Anya Leon
May 19, 2020 12:48 PM
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Lindsay Ellingson and son
| Credit: Courtesy Lindsay Ellingson

Lindsay Ellingson and Sean Clayton have welcomed a son!

The former Victoria's Secret model, 35, and her husband welcomed son Carter John Clayton on Friday, May 15, her rep confirms to PEOPLE exclusively. Their baby boy was born at a Cleveland, Ohio, hospital at 11:21 p.m., weighing 7 lbs., 12 oz. and measuring 20.5 inches.

"Overall, it was a really smooth and safe delivery," Ellingson tells PEOPLE, noting that while she was initially "nervous" about not being able to have an epidural due to a previous spinal fusion surgery, which she had to treat her scoliosis, the experience ended up being empowering.

"When the anesthesiologist said an epidural wasn't possible because of my spinal fusion, it was like this moment of empowerment," she says. "I was so nervous, but my fear quickly turned into determination for my baby. My husband Sean was with me every step of the way and encouraging me through the whole process."

"We are so grateful to welcome this little angel into our lives," the co-founder of Wander Beauty, who had a late-term loss last year, adds. "The journey has been full of many emotions, both tears and laughter, and every feeling in between."

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Lindsay Ellingson's son
| Credit: Courtesy Lindsay Ellingson
Lindsay Ellingson and son
| Credit: Courtesy Lindsay Ellingson

Another moment Ellingson will never forget? The first moment she got to hold her baby boy in her arms.

"It was surreal to finally hold my little boy," she says. "I had felt his kick for months and had dreamt about him so many times. The doctor put him on my chest for skin-to-skin time and he looked right up at me, and then to Sean. We were crying tears of joy and relief. Its a moment I will never forget."

Although their families weren't able to join them at the hospital due to coronavirus restrictions, Ellingson and Clayton called them "right away." "We can't wait for them to meet him in person," she adds.

As for how she and her husband decided on the perfect name for their son, Ellingson shares they got to know their boy before making things official.

"We had a few names picked out," she explains, adding that they "wanted to wait" before making their final choice. "That day we left the hospital, we decided he looked like a Carter," she adds.

Lindsay Ellingson and son
| Credit: Courtesy Lindsay Ellingson

Opening up to PEOPLE earlier this month about how she plans to balance motherhood and her career, Ellingson shared that while "it's a bit hard to plan," she'll likely take a month away to focus on being a new mom.

"I'll likely check out for the first month and begin to re-engage during the second month," she said. "I want to stay in touch with my team as much as I can, but also want to fully be with my baby."

"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," she added. "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."