Welcome Brooks Frederick Craig Helm to our Family

I wanted to wait until we truly absorbed these first few weeks with Brooks before I took time away from it to go back to writing. I have just enjoyed learning about this little guy, watching Pearce love on him and recovering from this whole process. It took time and I didn’t want to put pressure on getting this blog post out by a set day to take away from this. But here goes!

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For starters Brooks was due on November 4th, I tried not to share it as when you’re overdue you are bombarded daily by a lot of questions, some very personal and to be honest I didn’t have all the answers and I was sick of sharing them. People trying to tell you how to get the baby to come out, suggestion after suggestions. I tried it all, the days leading up to his birth I was at the gym running an hour on the elliptical – he wasn’t moving till he wanted. I tried acupuncture twice and had a great experience with a woman from Abbotsford who helped tremendously with my anxiety – I have had extremely bad anxiety this year not just about labor so I plan to do more of this in the future.

After seeing my doctor on November 5th he advised me that our baby was large and he did not think it was safe for him to be in much longer and that he wanted me to be induced that week, so I chose the 11th as my mom would be back from her work trip and we would have the week to prepare. At this point I had been 2 cm for 3 weeks and lost my mucus plug 3 weeks previous and had 3 sweeps. Chris and I planned to clean the house and organize Friday (November 9th) while Pearce was at daycare. We were going to organize and get ready so that Saturday we could have one last family day then Sunday have the babe.

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By November 7th I was so uncomfortable crying from the pressure in my abdomen, I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t do anything the pain of carrying Brooks was taking its toll on my body. The night of November 7th I cried and rocked on my exercise ball for 3 hours until finally forcing myself to sleep with lavender oil and bad tv. The night of November 8th was the same, but much worse contractions had started nothing consistent until about 5 am, when they started to come more consistently.

Well with contractions picking up I took Pearce to daycare (8:30am) and came home, stripped our bedding and started cleaning the kitchen and bathroom as I thought they were possibly Braxton Hicks since I  had them all week. By about 10:30 the contractions were getting a lot stronger my doctor had advised me that because of how quick my first labor was that we shouldn’t take our time going to hospital. So we packed up, made arrangements and headed to Abbotsford Regional Hospital. Just a reminder we did not know the gender of our baby so we were still arguing about baby girl names on the way to the hospital. As we did not have one!

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We arrived at the hospital around 11:45 am at around 12:30 pm the doctor checked and advised I was only 4 cm and my membranes were bulging (your water will break soon) at this point we had 2 choices

1. Go walk around and hope your water breaks on its own

2. Be admitted and have the doctor break my water

When I had Pearce my water broke on its own and he was born 40 mins later so I wanted to try to wait. So we went to the mall and walked around for 3 hrs! Picked up some last-minute things, got Pearce a present and headed back to the hospital. When the dr checked me this time I was still 4 cm and still had bulging membranes. So they asked what I wanted to do, I said I really wanted to try to let it happen naturally and asked if I could have a bath before doing that, so we tried the bath – it completely slowed things down. So we got out of the bath and I walked a few laps around the hospital wing. At this point we were approaching a nurse shift change and I decided that I would wait till the shift change to have my water broken to ensure I could meet my new nurse and discuss my plans/wants before anything.

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While waiting I advised my nurse I hadn’t eaten anything that day since 9 am as my mom had told me I would need an enema and I didn’t want one so I was extremely hungry – the nurse laughed at me saying they no longer do enemas and that I could eat. She got me some toast and juice – it really helped! At 7:30pm we were introduced to our new nurse (she was our nurse who delivered Pearce as well) and at 7:40pm they broke my water. Contractions came on stronger and I was able to manage them until 9:45 I was exhausted and after speaking to the doctor who said I was only 7 cm and my cervix was starting to swell and that we may need to try to move the baby I gave in, I asked for fentenyl, after one dose I could still feel the pain and just felt very out of it not able to concentrate on anything. Each time you take an opioid you have to be checked and the baby, when they checked they noticed that our baby HR was starting to get irregular and my cervix was swelling more and the baby was not moving down. At this point it was about 10:45 and the doctor advised me that she thought the best thing to do would be to get an epidural, as she believed we may have to have a c section but at the very least it may allow them to adjust his position and get him moving.

Our doctors plan was to get the epidural, slow the labor down and adjust baby to have them enter the birth canal, then give oxytocin to try to deliver vaginal although she didn’t believe this was going to be successful due to the baby’s size and HR issues. After having the epidural our baby continued to not cooperate, he was fighting it and his HR got so bad that they had to put a HR monitor on the baby inside me. We tried changing my position to regulate his HR – nothing was helping and a c section was needed. We had to wait for the doctor to finish up with another patient and at 11:40 we headed to the OR. I asked the doctor that if there was anyway we could safely have the baby on November 10th I would love that so that both our boys were born on the 10th of the month. So they said they would make it happen.

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So with that we left my mom in the room and headed down to the OR, and at 12:02 am we met our beautiful BIG baby boy! Brooks Frederick Craig Helm was born at 12:02 am on November 10th, and weighed 9 lbs 8 ounces, 55 cm and a head circumference of 39 cm. The pediatrician said it was the biggest head he’d delivered!

While the doctor stitched me she advised me that due to the size of my son and his position he was unable to move down the birth canal to have a vaginal birth, and that even if we had successfully moved his position  he most likely would not have been able to fit – and that I should be thankfully he didn’t.

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When I got to recovery, my husband was there waiting with our son. He latched immediately and it was such a blessing to be holding him, I have no ill feelings about having a c section. My birth plan was always to get a healthy baby. While keeping me safe I put my hands in the care of medical professionals and am so incredibly pleased with the care of the delivery nurses, doctors and all the amazing nurses who took care of us afterwards.

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Now for how we picked his name:

Brooks – I found this name while on Instagram looking at Carousel Nursery designs, and messaged my husband told him I found the perfect name for a boy. He said he also found one and that he had been emailing with a guy about hockey and loved his name we both sent each other a picture – we both sent each other the name Brooks – it was meant to be

Frederick – my husbands grandpa

Craig – my maiden name to name after my family which is also my father in law’s name.

Thank you everyone for following my pregnancy story

– xOx CHELSEA

 

Photocred: Michelle Cervo Photography 

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Pearce’s Second Birthday – Moana Style

The thought of having a two-year old child is absolutely crazy to me. How is he two? Where did my sweet little infant go? Well he is gone and now we have a wild, impatient two year old.


For Pearce’s birthday we also got him his First hair cut! I promised my husband that on Pearce’s second birthday we would cut his long beautiful locks – a decision to which I have strong regrets about. But my husband really wanted his hair cut, and he looks so much older now. So the Friday before Pearce’s party we woke up early and headed out to Sparky’s in Coquitlam Centre, I chose them because they focus on childrens haircuts and do a ton of first haircuts. Pearce sat on my lap and watched Toy Story 2 while the woman cut his hair, and I cried. He did really good except for when she cut around his ears and near his neck, he was very squirmy and cried a little. You are probably wondering how I kept such a wild crazy boy still. My Trick: a Booster juice smoothie. Before we went for his haircut, I took him to booster juice to get him a smoothie, so he sat and drank his smoothie while getting his hair cut. Once we were done she laminated a piece of his hair for me and I took as much as I could home. The crazy thing is he doesn’t even seem to notice his hair is gone?


Whenever my husband doesn’t have hockey on Friday we try to have a family movie night. One Friday night a few months ago we had 2 options : Sing or Moana. My husband is a big wrestling fan so we went with the obvious choice: Moana!


Pearce loved Moana, we all watched intently and have since watched thousand more times. Now when we watch we all sing along to all the songs and try to find pieces of the movie we missed the first 1000 times we watched. I remember May long weekend when we got stuck in the car for 8 hours, watching Moana 3 times with Pearce. So it seemed like the obvious choice for his second birthday!


I really like to make Pearce’s Parties a lot of fun, my parents always made my birthday  a big deal and I want to provide the same experience for Pearce. So I knew I wanted to try to follow the theme as much as possible! So I started with the decorations, I love Party City  as they have so much variety for birthdays with a huge online selection.  I went into Party City while visiting Edmonton for work and got the stuff for goody bags.


This year in the good bags it was:
Mini water guns, chalk, a mini coloring book and crayons, bubbles (of course), and a slinky! I try to steer away from the candy because we had a Pinata!!

The food was the fun part, Chris and I always really enjoy doing the food for Pearce’s birthday.


The Menu:

Appetizers

Chips (of course), Spring Rolls, Popcorn, Kid Treats (squishee’s, raisin boxes, fruit snacks, wafer cookies).

Lunch:

Home Made Turkey Burgers, Beef burgers, Veggie burgers, and hot dogs!

Dessert:

Moana’s boat on the ocean (jello with wafer cookie boats), Layers of sand (vanilla pudding with layers of golden oreos), Moana Cookies and Cupcakes made by the amazing Lexi’s Treats. This year we went with an Ice cream Cake because everyone loves DQ icecream cakes! 


The decorations were a lot of fun, Pearce has a mad obsession with Fish right now, so Pearce and I made some fishies for the Moana wall together. Then I took streamers and made a wall of fish and the ocean and stood the 4ft tall Moana side by side. The rest of the decor was pretty easy, thanks to Party City. We ordered the Moana balloon bouquet and got some other balloons (ps. did you know foil balloons are reusable? Once done using them insert a straw into the hole to which you fill with helium and release all the air, then fold up and reuse next time!) We ordered some ceiling swirls with Moana pictures on them from Party city and had pom poms left over from our wedding and that was basically the decor.

We had family and friends come from near and far to celebrate Pearce’s second birthday and boy did that little guy get spoiled. But mostly he had a wicked time with his friends. We had set up a mini bouncy castle outside that Pearce got from his Aunty Reid for his birthday and the kids had an awesome time. We finished the birthday off with the Pinata and a nap for all of us!

Thank you to everyone who came and celebrated with us. Pearce is such a lucky guy to have so many wonderful people who love him!

xOx Chelsea 

 

Guest Blog: Preparing for Baby #2 By Stacia Sharma

One night Chris and I were out for dinner with my family and I got a text from my friend Stacia, “Guess what” at that moment I knew, Stacia was pregnant. We had always talked about having our second maternity leave together and at this time Chris and I were thinking of trying again. This announcement came with so many mixed feelings for me, happiness that I would have another beautiful baby in my life to cuddle, sadness that I wasn’t also pregnant. The sadness soon disappeared completely and now we know Stacia is having a little girl. Her daughter Berlynn and Pearce are best friends so I am super excited for them to have another little one to play with! Throughout my pregnancy and raising Pearce, Stacia has been a constant go to for advice, pick me ups and help with all my parenting, marriage and life tips. So when I decided that it could be fun to have some other perspectives on my blog, Stacia was the first person I asked. Here is a blog post about how Stacia has prepared to welcome Baby Number 2. 

Hi, my name is Stacia and I’m a mom to a wonderful two-year-old daughter and expecting daughter number two any day now. I’ve known Chelsea for years, we went to high school together, worked together at Mc Donald’s and now she’s one of closest friends. When I first found out I was pregnant again I was petrified, it happened a lot quicker than the first time and we were expecting it to take around the same amount of time this time. Having a new born and a barely two year old scared the crap out of me (who am I kidding I’m still terrified), for some reason I have always been more comfortable with a two and half year gap.

Once the shock wore off and reality set in, I started to do a bit of research both online and speaking to other moms about what I could do to make it as easy as possible on our family. What I found was a breath of fresh air, every single person said it was easier than they ever expected, of course I know its going to be hard but knowing that others had the same fears and it was easier than they thought was just nice to hear.

With my first I thought I was so prepared, I had my bags packed, laundry done, her room was completely done and I even remembered flip flops for the hospital room. Man was I wrong, I completely overlooked that giving birth would require any kind of recovery time and that I would be too tired and busy to want to cook anything. Sure I had all the baby gadgets but when it came to everything else I wasn’t prepared at all. So this time, I did a little more preparation for the family in hopes we can keep things running as smooth as possible and make the transition to two kids as easy as possible.

The first thing I did was pre-made some freezer meals, I know lots of people do this before having a baby and I regretted it big time for not doing it last time. I find a lot of freezer meals are casseroles, lasagna’s and soups or stews, since it’s the peak of summer I did a lot of meat in marinades so we could just toss on the bbq and serve with a salad without heating up the house and not eating anything super heavy. I also did a couple crock-pot meats for taco’s or burritos. The last thing I prepared ahead of time was smoothie bags, I took a big bag of frozen berries, spinach and banana’s and made individual 1 serving bags, all I need to do is add a liquid and protein. I really think these will be great for all of us, my daughter loves smoothies and it’s a great way to get her some extra greens.

Next on my list was making sure I had toddler activities because I know in the first couple weeks I’ll be extra occupied with the baby and a bored toddler will make things a lot harder. Thankfully it was just her birthday so I tucked away a lot of her gifts into my closet and I plan to give them to her one at a time when I need some quiet time. New toys are always great for some quiet time. I did some research on other activities that are great for toddlers and stocked up on play-dough, art supplies, puzzles, and sticker books.

The last thing I did was make sure my pantry was stocked with favorite snacks and I set up an amazon subscription for diapers, toilet paper and laundry supplies, paid all our bills ahead of time, packed our hospital bags and pre-made frozen recovery pads (seriously last time I was so unprepared for recovery, its kind of embarrassing).

I’m very fortunate to have a very hands on husband and to live close to both my parents and my in-laws who are great with our oldest daughter, fabulous cooks and always willing to help with housework and yard work so even if I’m not 100% prepared (is that even possible?) they will help make up the difference.

So my question to parents with more than one, how did you prepare for your growing family? We’re you surprised at how much easier or harder it was than you expected?