Grit Blogs > Arrows and Minnows

Special Birth in the Form of My First Niece

By Caleb Regan, Managing Editor


Tags: childbirth, niece, uncle, family, birth, babies,

A portrait of GRIT Assistant Editor Caleb Regan, with a puny catch.Thursday, August 27, 2009, my family welcomed my brother Josh’s first child, Elliana Marie Regan, into the world (6 pounds, 9 ½ ounces, 21 inches long and looking every bit a Regan). What an experience it was to be able to be there at the hospital, right outside the delivery room, ear pressed against the door hearing that first wail out of that beautiful baby girl’s mouth.

The doctor emerged from the room moments later – probably a little surprised to find us so close – and said something along the lines of, “You guys have got a little cutie patootie, I’ll tell you that.” I couldn’t agree more. Although she initially seemed to look a little too much like my brother, I’m sure she’ll be alright.

Josh and Elliana Marie Regan, moments after birth.

I have to admit I was nervous. It sank in on Wednesday that the following day my brother and his wife would be going through childbirth, and any number of malignancies seemed a remote but very real possibility. And, not to be egocentric, but I would be an uncle for the first time. It was absolute relief when we entered the room and saw her little arms and legs flailing wildly as she tested and stretched her muscles, and to see Nikki with a wide, yet weary, smile on her face.

Josh, Nikki, and Ella Regan; All the makings of a beautiful family.

Ya done good, sis.

Meeting my first niece. She's perfect.

I can’t say that new life is more powerful or life-altering than death after a couple of hardships endured – losing a father in an unexpected woodcutting accident among them – but this felt like pure triumph worthy of giving thanks, and I do know that if there were ever a time when Dad was looking down smiling, that would have to be one of them. The birth of Elliana, or Ella, as she’s called, was indeed life-altering to more people than just Josh and Nikki. I know it was to me.

Dad and the Uncles Regan, my brother Andy (holding Ella) and myself.

And our mom just beamed, which is usually life-altering in its own right.

Grandma Rolene and Ella.

On a side note, I did manage to sneak out Saturday during the middle of the day, while Josh and Nikki were entertaining guests in the hospital, and experience some beautiful Kansas countryside and catch a couple of small fish.

Southeast Kansas countryside, with some Blackeyed Susans on the far bank and cattle in the background.

Small bass on a Saturday afternoon in rural America.


Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on .