Saturday, May 31, 2014


Baby Helena as had a busy few weeks!  I can't believe she is already 3 weeks old, and that June 1st is tomorrow!  Chris returned to work on Tuesday, and we are slowly figuring out a routine.  Her first few weeks of life have definitely been eventful.  It's amazing how one little itty bitty human can stir up so much love.  We have had lots of visitors over, including all of her first time grandparents!  Helena definitely has them wrapped around her little and strong finger.
 Helena was calm when I first had my dad hold her, and once she got a little fussy he immediately wanted to hand her off.  But surprisingly by the end of his trip, when she was fussy he wanted to be the one to comfort her.  It's a very special bond that only a grandpa can have with his granddaughter. 

 My mom, of course can't be more in love.  She loves to hold her and spoil her.

 Aunt Alice is amazing with her niece!  She's comforts her better than I do.  During her trip whenever Helena was upset she went to Aunt Alice.  By the end of the trip we were calling her the "Baby Whisperer".
 My mother-in-law is amazing.  Ever since we conceived she always makes sure to tell me a heartfelt "Thank you" when we see each other.  I don't think I deserve any thanks, as I feel so lucky to be given this gift.
 Great-Grandma!  I'm so happy that Helena will be able to get to know her Great-Grandma.
 Lovely ladies: Alice, Helena, and Mary
 My Father-in-law loves his granddaughter.  Helena will definitely go to him whenever she needs a good laugh, or a break from her too serious of a mother!

In addition to all the immediate family Helena has also already met lots of my friends, and my Aunt Deanna, and cousin Cheryl. 
Today she even met some family and friends via FaceTime!
We love having people over, and going out.  She is so loved.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

2 weeks

Helena had her 2 week check-up today, and little girl is already growing up too fast!

Height: 21.5 inches - 95%
Weight: 8lbs 9oz - 75%
Head: 14" - 50%

She's getting long!

The past 2 weeks and 3 days are pretty blurry, but I want to try and document as much as possible to remember this short newborn time in Helena's life.  So here goes.

Our biggest struggle is nursing.  She latched on right away after birth and got some colostrum but after her weight went down to only 7 pounds (her birth weight was 7lbs 15oz) we started her on donor milk in the hospital, and formula once we got home, and this created a lazy sucker.  And I mean sucker in the literal since.  She truly won't suck, as she's now spoiled with the instant gratification of the bottle.  Right now our solution is lots of pumping (we thankfully found a hospital grade pump to rent), and the use of the nipple shield.  She thankfully eats like a champ with the nipple shield and gives me the feeling of nursing, and being able to comfort and feed my baby.  It hasn't been easy, but we are learning.  She officially surpassed her birth weight last Thursday 5/22, when she weighted in at 8 pounds.  She definitely lets us know when she in hungry.  Her other big milestone was losing her umbilical cord on Sunday 5/25 night.  My little baby is truly growing up!

She's growing more and more curious.  You can see her big eyes looking around, trying to soak everything in.  I'm loving seeing her personality come out. 

I'm really proud of us for continuing to live life.  I think I had a fear that having a baby would stop me from doing anything.  I think having a Spring baby has definitely played a role in this, and for that I'm thankful.  We've been out of the house quite a bit, considering we have a newborn, and it feels good. 

Chris is a rock star.  Seeing him as a Dad as made me fall in love with him more and more.  And I don't think there is anything like seeing a man with his daughter.  He dances with her, and just loves her so much.  He's done most of the dirty work, meaning he has changed most of her diapers.  I think I've only changed maybe 10 diapers since she's been born!  He's been super encouraging with me during the times I've been frustrated and couldn't breastfeed.  He wakes up with me for her middle of the night feedings, changes her, and feeds her while I pump.  To say he is my partner in this, is an understatement.  He is giving his all, and I am so appreciative of that. 

Her pediatrician is happy with her, and her progress thus far.  Our first trip out of the house with her was to see the pediatrician on Wednesday 5/14 where she immediately peed on the table after the nurse got her weight.  Chris asked for a diaper, and I didn't bring the diaper bag!  I didn't even think of it!  We had left the house with absolutely nothing to care for our newborn baby.  It was pretty comical, and thankfully we got some diapers from the nurse.  Then today she did the same thing: peed on the table.  But thankfully I did bring the diaper bag, so I was better prepared.

Helena for the most part is a good baby.  She excels at all things newborn.  She sleeps well, eats well, and poops well!  She likes to be swaddled, and loves to eat.  She prefers to be held.  She's a jerker, and will squirm in her sleep.  She makes lots of goofy faces, and randomly smiles in her sleep.  She has super small ears, and really long fingers and toes.  I think her face has changed the most since her birth.  Right now her eyes are a steel gray, and I truly hope that they stay that way, or change to a dark blue.  Her hair color as also changed.  She was born with almost black hair, and it has gotten more brown with reddish tints to it over the past 2 weeks.

I'm doing good.  My incision is healing, and I'm doing lots of walking.  The days go by super quick, it's amazing how fast time is going.  I'm focusing on this short-lived newborn time.  Helena is so small, that we went out and bought some more newborn clothing and newborn diapers.  We were truly prepared for a 10 pound baby!  Everywhere we go people are mesmerized by her, and how small she is.  I feel so blessed to have this little one. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

What's in a Name & 3 Years

 One of the tasks of having a baby is choosing a baby name.  Since we didn't know if baby was a boy or a girl, we picked out a name for each.  Thankfully Chris and I are pretty decisive, and we decided on our names back in November. 
Who knows how old I was, but I've had my girl name picked out since I was young.  My middle name is Helene which came from my Grandma Egan, her name is Helen.  My Mom's Mom passed away when she was just 18, so I never got to meet my Grandma Egan.  But throughout my life I've always been told that I have my Grandma Egan's spirit.  I've been told that we were a lot alike, and both lived a little bit on the road less taken.  Because of my close relationship with my Grandpa Egan, I've always felt super close to my Grandma Egan, even though we never met.  But I do truly feel a closeness to her.  I loved how my middle name represents her, but in a different version, with the addition of the "e" at the end.  It's her, but it's different, and that is what makes in mine.  That's where I came up with Helena.  I've always really loved my middle name, and love the name Helena, and how it like my middle name, represents my Grandma Egan, but in a different way, with the addition of the "a".  I think the name is classic but different, without being too different.
I'm so happy that Chris agreed to it.  Back in October we were talking about baby names and he said that if the baby was a girl, her name would be Helena.  I didn't think he had completely agreed on it, so when he brought it up, I was pleasantly surprised.  I kept asking for confirmation so that when/if months from then he tried to change the name I could tell him that he did indeed agree to the name Helena.  He then wrote out the above contract.  It reads:
I CS & AS agree to name said baby Helena.  If it is indeed a girl - with the option to continue the name search.  This name is the choosing of the wife and if its used the husband will get first choice on the middle name.
From that point we never really discussed any other names.  I did have a middle name chosen, but Chris wasn't a fan of that, so he did have full say on her middle name of Grace.  He wanted a biblical name, which is where Grace comes from.  And I love it. 
Helena means Bright One.  And that's exactly what she is.  She has brought so much brightness into our lives, and I know she will continue to do so.
On another note, it was today 3 years ago when Chris and I went on our very first date.  As we sat on the couch this morning and reminisced we felt overwhelmed with the blessings we've received over the past 3 years.  We've created a lot over the past 3 years and I can't help but feel extremely thankful.  Chris as shown me love beyond my wildest dreams, including this new love in our daughter that I can't even put into words.  I'm looking forward to showing our daughter our love, while we fall more in love with her and each other.  

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Let's Compare

I didn't take a lot of baby "pump" pictures, and of course looking back now, I wish I had.  But oh well.  Here's a side by side comparison of growing baby Helena.
30w: 3/8/14

34w: 4/5/14

37w1d: 4/27/14
I gotta say, I sorta miss my baby bump.  It was a comfort to have my daughter with me all the time, to rub on her from the outside in.  But now that she's out, it's a lot of fun seeing her movements and imaging them on the inside.  The whole process is definitely a miracle to watch beginning to end.  To go from a tiny poppy-seed, to the beautiful little being that we've created. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

May 10th

Chris and I barely slept the night of May 9th, anxious about what was about to happen.  I think we woke up around 3am on May 10th, and just laid in bed and talked.  At around 4:30am we finally decided to get ready for the drive to the hospital.  Chris made a quick trip to get some breakfast and we left the house for the last time as a family of two.
My Mom followed us to the hospital and we arrived just before 6am. 
We went in through the ER and walked to the Labor and Delivery unit.  I was immediately turned off as the nurse who showed us our birthing room just basically pointed at us and the room we were going to.  No introduction or "Hi" "Hello".  Once we got in the room she told me to undress and pee in a cup.  Chris inspected the room and asked the nurse when she returned when the last time the bed was cleaned.  The nurse couldn't give us an answer, so we requested to be moved to another room.
Once we got situated in the new room a steady group of nurses and doctors came in and out.  It was no surprise that it took 3 nurses to find a vain for my IV which started my tears.  I'm not a fan of needles and having someone come in to try and poke me was a dose of reality that I was about to go in for surgery.
Before we knew it we were up and walking towards to the operating room.
Going to the operating room

Walking to the operating room
It was scary.  I had a serious case of the shakes throughout the whole thing, which is a common side effect, and Chris and my doula Josie were kept outside of the operating room until right before the surgery was set to start.  I didn't know this would happen, so during my spinal tap and prep I had no idea where they were.  Seeing Chris enter took some of my anxiety away.  It was a surreal feeling knowing I was being cut open and not being able to feel it, but still being wide awake and alert.  Chris kept looking at me and kept me calm, and my doula kept me up to date on what was happening.
Surgery is about to start
Before I knew it they had Chris stand up to announce the arrival of our DAUGHTER at 8:18am!  It was a euphoric moment seeing Chris stand and announce "It's a Girl!"  Our baby girl came out SCREAMING!  I had been warned that most c-section babies don't come out screaming, and it takes a little bit of time to hear that first big breath, but not my baby girl.  She made her presence known right away, which was such a relief for me.  I was frustrated because I couldn't see her where they were wiping her down, but thankfully my doula was taking pictures and showed me a picture of her on the camera.  Plus, the whole time I could here her screaming, and that was a huge comfort.
First picture of Helena Grace
Chris then was able to trim the umbilical cord.  And bring her over to me.
Happy and healthy baby!

My arms weren't in restrains, but my right hand had my IV, and my left had the blood pressure cuff, so I couldn't really move them to actually hold my baby girl.  But she was laid beside me and I feel in love.
Mom and daughter

We are a family of three

Chris then took the baby to our birthing room where my mom was awaiting to hear the word, so she was able meet her Granddaughter right away.
Proud Dad
While they were meeting I was still in the operating room getting stitched up and put back together.  Thankfully Josie stayed with me, and she was a constant support during the whole process.
For the most part the nursing staff was amazing.  Specifically post surgery.  Everyone instantly was in love with Helena and how beautiful she is.  I got up and walking to the bathroom about 24 hours after my surgery, and was able to take a shower on Sunday afternoon, and a walk around the OB unit.
The next day Dr. Jones (my main doctor, and the doctor who did the surgery) came to check on me, and I asked her if she was surprised by her size....considering we really were prepared for a 10 pound baby.  And she said that she was.  Even my doula said that it looked like Dr. Jones questioned if a c-section was the right way to go, since she wasn't even 8 pounds.  I obviously can't change anything about her birth now, and her birth to me will always be exactly that.  A birth, not a surgery.
This picture is out of order: This is right after Helena's birth when I couldn't yet see her.  Chris was such a strong comfort during the whole procedure.
Sometimes I still can't believe that I have this little precious life that God has trusted me with.  I've always wanted to become a Mother and now that I am, I almost can't believe it.  I pray that God will guide me to be the best Mom that I can be.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Pregnancy Week 35 - 38

4/27/14: 37w1d

Last night at Dance Jam: 5/8/14: 38w5d

Week 35: 4/13 - 4/19 (coconut)
Took our Breastfeeding class this week, and got the house prepped by getting the vents and carpet cleaned.  Worked out twice, which felt great.  Found out at the doctor's office that baby's official eviction will be set for 5/13, when I'll check in at the hospital that night. 

Week 36: 4/20 - 4/26 (honeydew)
Celebrated Easter, and feel so blessed.  Had my last growth ultrasound, and baby is nearing the 9 pound mark, and still has 3 weeks to cook.  The doctor has given us the option to do a scheduled c-section.  I honestly have no idea what to do.  I feel like this is my first big "mother" decision to make, and I'm already clueless.
Week 37: 4/27 - 5/3 (winter melon)
We met with our doula this week, and she gave us some good options if we decide to go the c-section route.  I'm doing lots and lots of praying that baby will come on its own sometime before 5/10.  It's crazy to think that my life is about to drastically change for forever.  We've made a decision, and baby will be here no later than 5/10.  One more week!  Chris planned a fabulous last "date" on Saturday.  We had the most fantastic brunch and massage!
Week 38: 5/4 - 5/10 (pumpkin)
We have days left, and this pregnancy will be coming to an end.  I feel bittersweet and am trying to enjoy each moment as i know these moments will soon be replaced by other beautiful moments.  I'm loving peoples reactions to me: "Wow, you are really pregnant."  I'm growing more and more anxious, in addition to the actual growing part.  My belly has started to itch, and I don't like it!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Please Welcome...

Our little GIRL to the world!
Helena Grace
Born Saturday May 10th @ 8:18am
7 pounds 15 ounces
20 inches

We are at home, happy, healthy, blessed and oh so in love!
More to come.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Maternity Photos

Back in April, when I was 35 weeks pregnant, Chris and I met Bryndi for a Maternity Photo-shoot.  Bryn was referred to me by my friend Andrea, and I love her maternity and newborn work!  Simple and classic, and she moves super quick!  We had a great time downtown, and super soon she'll be shooting our little star!  We got a great package deal, and I'm thrilled that Bryndi will be documenting our child through its first year of life!

If you need a photographer I highly recommended  Bryndi!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


I've been trying to think of a word to describe this whole pregnancy experience now that my pregnant days are in the single digits.  From spending 8 months trying to conceive, and questioning if I could even get pregnant, to taking my first home pregnancy test, or hearing the baby's heart beat for the first time at my first ultrasound in October, or having to prick myself to check my blood sugars, or to first feeling baby move over Christmas, or to going on insulin, to feeling like I have a baby bump, to picking my doctor, all the way to now about to have a baby, and everything in-between.
The single word I can think of is overwhelmed.
Right now I'm every emotion imaginable.  I'm home alone putting away laundry, cooking dinner, and then cleaning up the kitchen.  It's a weird mix of feelings going about every day normal life, knowing that soon, extremely soon that life is about to change forever.  I'm overwhelmed.
Chris and I have been so blessed, and been given so much throughout this experience.  A couple of weeks ago my work group threw Andrea and I a surprise baby shower.  It was so nice to see such a large group come together for the both of us.  We got beautiful flowers, cake, and very generous gift cards.  Then last night Chris comes home from work with a ton of diapers and wipes, a swing, and a play saucer thing from his work.  All of this generosity just brings tears to my eyes.  I feel very undeserving.  I'm overwhelmed.

the spread at my work baby shower

yummy cake for Andrea and I

Andrea and I
Andrea had her baby yesterday.  And honestly I'm trying not to think about it, because I will just cry.  To know that she is now a mom taking care of a sweat baby boy.  Plus just going through this whole experience with her, I'm just overwhelmed.  And to now know that we'll be new mom's together, it's almost too much.
Add caption
Chris planned a super sweet date for us this past Saturday.  We went to brunch at Lola, and we both seriously had the best breakfast.  It really was what you want a nice dining out experience to be.  Then we went and got a couples massage at Eden Spa.  I was nervous about this, because I got a massage back when my mom was here at the end of March, and it wasn't a good experience.  But this massage was possibly the best massage experience I've ever had.  I asked her to focus on my neck and lower back as I think I strained them in Dance Jam, and she made me feel like brand new.  It was truly fantastic.  Seeing Chris put up with me throughout this whole pregnancy, and to see the love out of all of my crazy moments, makes me realize how blessed I am to be sharing my life with him.  I'm overwhelmed.
Starting tomorrow we'll have guests over.  My mom arrives, then my dad arrives next week.  By the time they leave we'll have some alone time as a family of 3 before my in-laws arrive for Memorial Day weekend.  I'm excited to see them all, and to see all parents become grand-parents.  Along with my sister-in-law become an Aunt, and Grandma become a great-Grandma (even though she is already one).  I can't help but think that I'll see each person grow to a new level of love, and to think that my baby produced that love, is so overwhelming.
Even more overwhelming is knowing that I haven't even met my baby yet, and knowing that's when the true emotion will begin.