Four Months

Miss Mary Mac turned four-months-old on December 25, 2016!  This year, Christmas was extra special with our newest babe here.  Just two days before Christmas of 2015, we had our first positive pregnancy test.  I had prayed that we would get pregnant before Christmas last year and the Lord blessed us with an answered prayer. :)  We were so grateful to have our wonderful Christmas present from 2015 here with us at Christmas 2016! Having Mary Mac here with us happy and healthy made celebrating our Savior’s birth all the more meaningful and special. It is my steadfast prayer that each of our girls come to know and love our Lord Jesus Christ and tell others about His Love for us all as well.

Before Christmas, Miss Mary Mac did a lot of growing from 3-4months.  She started interacting more and more with her big sister and was a wonderful side kick to all the lovely holiday gatherings.  She even made the trip to Raleigh to see her first ballet performance with the Carolina Ballet, the Nutcracker.  She also made her own on-stage debut as Baby Jesus in the Christmas play at church.  Her big sister had the very same role in 2013, and she was perfect, just as her big sis had been as well.  We also enjoyed getting to see friends and family for the holidays and especially enjoyed seeing our good friends, the Johnsons.  Their son is only 11 days younger than Mary Mac and seeing the two of them interacting was sooooooo sweet!! I’d be lying if I said I don’t hope those two end up marrying each other some day. ;)

Miss Mary Mac met Santa twice this year, once at the church play and again at Bass Pro Shops as is tradition now.  She wasn’t the least bit bothered by meeting the big man in red and I think she actually helped her big sister be less afraid as a result.  She started showing quite an interest in her fingers and thumbs and began showing signs of teething this month. Lots of drool, loose stools, irritability and fussiness was more commonplace for our normally laid-back girl.  She continues to sleep fairly well for us and we keep praying this is a continued trend. I do love watching her eyes light up when Emmy enters the room and I love that Emmy asks to see her little sissy first thing in the morning. I pray they grow to be very close as sisters and develop a bond with Christ and each other.

Weight: 16lbs, 4.5oz

Length: 25 inches

Likes: Watching her big sister’s every move, strolling around in the car seat or baby bjorn, being close, mama’s milk :)

Dislikes: Tummy time still isn’t our favorite although we are certainly getting better at it!  Being left alone, even if mommy just needs a potty break, is becoming not-ok in the eyes of MM. ;) She did get shots at her 4 month visit and that is never fun. Her daddy took her to this visit, though so I didn’t have to watch this time. :)

Sizes: Size 3 diapers!! Still squeezing into some 6 months clothing but starting to feel a little more comfortable in 6/9 months.

Sweet memories:  Mary Mac still loves bath time, and even if her teeth are giving her a fit she still barely fusses over anything.  She has the best laugh and loves anyone who will try to make her smile.  Her daddy puts her to bed every night and they have their own sweet routine together.  He holds her a certain way in the rocker and makes sure she is comfortable every night before she drifts off to sleep.  I am so grateful to have married such a kind, loving man who has easily extended that same love to our daughters. I don’t ever do enough to tell him or show him how much I appreciate him, but I really, really do.  He is amazing to us!

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Three Months

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Our precious baby girl turned three months old on November 25th.  I will likely make this comment in every single one of these monthly posts, but I simply cannot believe how fast times flies.  We are starting to enjoy more and more sleep, but learning that with better rest comes busier days and fuller schedules and lots to do.  My baby girl is taking it all in stride – she has such a delightful demeanor and is so easy going (at the moment).  She had a busy third month of life. We celebrated our first Halloween as a family of four which including dressing up as a butterfly for Mary Mac and two different costumes for Emmy Mae (a bumble bee at school and a cat for trunk-or-treat).  Our little one is doing great with her tummy time and holding her head up for longer and longer periods of time. Although, she isn’t  totally a fan but she is not nearly as defiantly against tummy time as her big sister was. :)  She has started “talking” more and more and smiles SO BIG when her big sister is around!

Miss Emmy Mae has become quite the big helper. She loves to fetch diapers or wipes and giving her baby sister a “hug and kiss” is top priority first  thing when she wakes up in the morning and just before bed at night.  She loves to be the one to “fix” her crying, whether from providing a pacifier or just talking to her and engaging with her while she is (im)patiently waiting for her mommy or bottle.  We also celebrated Miss Mary Mac’s first Thanksgiving, and it was so great to have her tag along.  At one point after lunch, both Jerri-Rae and I were pumping in the Taylor’s living room and I remember thinking this would probably be the last time either of us would pump over Thanksgiving for our babies as both of our families are likely now “complete.” We also enjoyed a lot of fun festivities around Thanksgiving.  Just a few days before turkey day, we loaded up as our little family of four and headed to the mountains for our second annual trip to get our Christmas tree and, for the first time, experience the Polar Express.  We had SUCH a fun time on that trip! The girls did so well driving there and back and we thoroughly enjoyed the first class experience on the polar express. Mary Mac was mostly in awe of it all and trying to figure it out, but Miss Emmy Mae sure did enjoy herself and allllllll the candy involved!  We also ended up driving straight home and skipped the whole stopping to cut down a tree because we had to soundly sleeping babies on  the way home and it saved us a lot of time. We hope to resume that tradition next year.  We stayed in Asheville this year and enjoyed a lovely trip to Biltmore Estate where we took our family photos.  This was the last time we had been to Biltmore since my 25th birthday (as documented here) and things are certainly different with a toddler and infant. :) But we wouldn’t change a single thing!

Mary Mac is still taking in around 4-5 ounces during the day per feeding and is feeding almost every 4 hours, with the exception of nighttime when she will go about 8 hours between her nighttime and morning feeds.  She has adjusted to mommy being away on Mondays and Wednesdays like a champ and enjoys her time with Daddy during the week as well.  She is a wonderful little shopper, hardly ever fussy and loves to be on the go. She even attended a meeting for Bridge to Hope when mommy needed to make a conference call and we didn’t hear a peep out of her for over 2 hours.  She does have a pretty big intolerance for caffeine and caffeine-containing foods (including chocolate) and so I have had to eliminate those products from my diet.  This was difficult initially, but definitely much easier to make the dietary changes than seeing her in pain from horrible gas due to not tolerating the caffeine. She is one of my biggest blessings, and I am desperately hanging onto every one of these “firsts” because I know they are likely the “last firsts” for our family. She is so perfect in every way and I cannot imagine our lives without her.

Weight: ~14lbs

Length: ~24 inches

Likes: Cuddling, nice long naps, baths, lying on her activity mat all stretched out, walking around the house together, her mobile over her crib (she will literally light up and giggle when it starts to play).

Dislikes: Not getting milk fast enough, being “overtired” when she doesn’t get her full nap out. Can’t say I blame her though!

Sizes: Size 3 diapers!! :O Cannot believe my big girl is growing so fast. She has moved out of 3/6 months and into into 6 months clothing.

Sweet memories:  Our girl time on Tuesdays and Thursdays, her running errands with me and everyone making a big fuss over her adorable self :)  There are so many things I want to remember about this time. Her soft skin, her “dredlocks” from where she rubs her head back and forth and creates a little knot in the back of her hair, her wonderful smell, her precious smile and sweet sounds, how she tries to talk back with everyone when we are all talking and I get the impression she doesn’t like to be left out.  She is always so good at bath time, loves looking around and figuring out where the water is coming from and giving her little massages with the soap.  I love the way she looks at me in the morning or when we are nursing and she holds one of my fingers so tightly like she doesn’t ever want to let it go.  She will also hold my shirt or stare at the patterns on my clothes until she is almost cross-eyed!  She loves my LuLaRoe tops because of the bright patterns and colors.  She is the perfect addition for her and I cannot thank God enough for her!

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Two Months

 

name-gameOn October 25th, our sweet Miss Mary Mac turned 2 months old.  A lot has happened in these past two months, and she has been the best little baby.  I am constantly amazed at how calm and laid back she has been so far.  This is made even more amazing by the fact that Mary Mac has a three-year-old jumping/yelling/being loud in general around her 24/7.  In this second month of life, she has gifted us with more regular sleep and got into a great groove of waking up only once in the morning, between 3am and 4am for a quick feed and then back to bed.  I have been afforded the opportunity to start getting more done around the house with this more regular sleep schedule and it made me considerably less anxious about returning to work in just a few short days.  I am so blessed by this precious girl and we are so grateful to have her in our family.

Firsts:  Birthday party – Big Sister Miss Emmy Mae turned 3 years old and Miss Mary Mac was a champ at BOTH of her parties.  I was so lucky to be able to have a little birthday celebration at Emmy’s daycare and one for friends and family at our house.  During the party, Miss Mary Mac got her first ride on a UNICORN! <3 She also attended her first Everett/Kerekes family reunion.  Mary Mac also went  to the NC State Fair for the first time!! This is my favorite fall tradition and I was so excited for her to experience this special family tradition with her sister. Another noteworthy first this month was that Miss Mary Mac got to meet her birthday buddy, Charlie!  Born only 11 days earlier than Mary McLain, Charlie is the son of one of my favorite people in the world – Amster!  It was so exciting to go through our pregnancies together and now, navigating the newborn life together as well.  I know Charlie and Mary Mac will grow to be best buddies!

Weight: 12lbs, 15.5 oz – 85th percentile

Length: 23 inches – 74th percentile

Likes: Switched from her big sister’s pacis (Mams) to the Soothie, stretching out, and has started communicating via smiles and cooing! She also loves being on the go – riding in the car seat and shopping or just running errands with mommy.

Dislikes: She is so laid back, its been hard to find something she doesn’t really like. Although she does get very fussy if you don’t change her diaper quickly enough!

Sizes: Size 2 diapers, and moving out of 3 months and into 6months, but the best fit is 3-6months right now.

Sweet memories:  This is more about her big sister, Emmy Mae, but when we went to the state fair, Emmy asked over and over to ride in the “basket heights” which was her way of describing the Ferris Wheel. Emmy is slowly starting to fall in love with her little sister.  She wants to be right beside her as soon as she wakes up and insists on telling her goodnight before bed. She constantly has to be touching her or near her in some way. Watching their relationship grow has been so special, and I pray it only gets better with time!

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One Month

It is hard to believe our sweet girl is already a little over one month old.  In our first month together as a family of four, we have definitely grown both literally and figuratively.  While this may be our second time having a newborn and going through the rigorous first two weeks home, this is our first time having a toddler AND a newborn and let me tell you – that is a whole new ballgame.  I am, however, very grateful for a much smoother c-section recovery this time around which has helped so much with being able to move more quickly and being in less pain in general!

The first few weeks home were quite an adjustment for our first born. Thankfully, Emmy is now getting along very nicely with her sister whom she has dubbed “Mary Mac Rainbow.” We are all still learning to adjust to our newest member and sweet Emmy was trying VERY hard to help in the beginning…Maybe a little TOO hard.  In fact, early in our second week home, I was washing bottles one afternoon and Emmy rounded the corner into the kitchen holding one of the two bottle brushes I typically use. She very proudly announced she had just “wet the brush in the toilet so I can help clean the baby’s bottles.”  I know she knew instantly from my response that she had done something wrong, but her intention was actually good.  How can you get mad when your two-year-old just wants so desperately to help?  Fortunately, I was able to rationally explain to her why that would NOT be a good thing and now every time I wash bottles, she announces “We do NOT put bottle brushes in the toilet, right Mommy?”  :)

Thankfully, Mary Mac appears to tolerate her sister and sometimes maybe even enjoys her loud, touchy-feely, toddler self. And Mary Mac has been such a good newborn, eating and growing like a super star!  At two weeks of age she was still not back up to birth weight, but she was already well into the 90th percentile in weight given her impressive starting point. So, I wasn’t worried. When Emmy was born, I was so nervous about her weight gain (and lack thereof) in the beginning.  I can honestly say this time I have been so much more relaxed about weight gain and I think it has benefited not only my mental health, but my breastmilk supply and ability to breastfeed in general.  Right now I am doing a mix of pumping and breastfeeding and things are going very well. I already have a freezer full of back-up supply and after getting over the initial difficulties with latching, baby girl has really got the hang of it nursing. And her weight gain certainly shows!  She gained 1.5lbs in the last 2 weeks which I am super happy about!

Mary Mac is very sweet and loves to cuddle –  but when she wants milk she wants it STAT and will let you know right away if she is unhappy that she has to wait.  Mary Mac also loves soft textures, especially minky fabrics, and so we have added a few new minky blankets to our collection.  She loves hanging out on her activity mat staring up at the fun animals, colors and patterns. She has done so well with tummy time and doesn’t appear to hate it as much as her sister did.  We are still on a schedule of eating every 3-4 hours during the day and night, although she did let us sleep for 7 consecutive hours a few nights ago.  We are hopeful that she will continue sleeping longer and longer stretches at night soon although we just aren’t there yet!

Our daily schedule looks a little like this –

6:15-6:30AM MM wakes up with big sister EM shortly following.  I will nurse or Dustin will give her a bottle while Emmy watches cartoons and one of us showers.

6:30-7:30AM – Pump then wash bottles and pump supplies from previous night

7:30-8:30 – Get Emmy ready, change Mary Mac’s diaper and get her dressed, make breakfast, start a load of laundry/fold laundry and/or pick up things around the house, pack the pump bag, diaper bag, and milk bag, and run out the door to get Emmy to daycare.

9:00 – 10:30AM – run errands with MM after dropping off EM

10:30-11:00AM – Nurse or feed a bottle and change MM’s diaper

11:00-11:30AM – Pump

11:30-3:00PM – Awake time for MM so tummy time, walking around the house together, walking outside some, listening to music. Pump again. Feed, diaper, and get ready for a nap.

3:00-5:00PM – Naptime for both me and MM

5:00-7:00PM – My mom or Dustin will usually pick up Emmy, come home, eat supper and hang out together as a family then bathtime for Emmy, pump again. Feed, diaper MM, short nap.

8:00PM – Nighttime for Emmy

8:00-10:00PM – MM is usually awake or eating during this time. She will go to sleep from 10pm until about midnight or sometimes until 2AM. Pump at 10pm.

2:00AM – feed, diaper, back to bed. Pump again.

6:15-6:30AM – And then repeat!

MM @ One Month

Weight: 11lbs, 1 oz – 90th percentile

Length: 22.25 inches – 65th percentile

Head circ: 38.75cm –  96th percentile

Firsts: Everything :) Her first outing was to Babies-R-Us on the way home from the hospital at 4 days old (just like her big sister!). Her first smiles were while feeding and she has started to have some responsive smiling, most often when I change her diaper. She is very happy when she has a clean diaper. :) She went to Surf City for the first time at 10 days old for Labor Day weekend.  We went for the day and to drop big sister off with GiGi so she could enjoy the holiday with her cousins.  Mary Mac was also part of her first photo shoot at 12 days of age and she did GREAT! ;)

Likes: Minky blankets, her big sister’s pacis, the activity pad, and interacting with her big sister!

Dislikes: Wet diapers, waiting for a meal!

Sizes: She was instantly too large for newborn size clothes and she graduated from Newborn diapers to Size 1 after the first day in the hospital. She is currently fitting into 3 months and a few 3-6 months onesies.

Sweet Memories:  Yesterday morning I started pumping while MM had just gone back to sleep after her first morning feed.  She started crying right away, but given I had only pumped for 5-10 minutes, I was going to let her cry for a few minutes.  Her big sister must not have liked that because she stopped watching cartoons and walked into my room stating “I think she wants me to give her the paci, mommy.”  I told Emmy she could try to give her the paci, but that I doubted it would work since she was spitting it out when I tried to give it to her a few minutes prior.  Of course, when Emmy put the paci in MM’s mouth, she instantly took it without any issue.  Emmy, feeling very proud of herself, looked at me and said “Mommy, I’m going to watch my shows now. If she spits out her paci again, YOU will have to put it in, ok?”.  I couldn’t hold back the laughter.  My little Emmy has become quite the little mommy to her sister!

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Photo credit: Cynthia Rose Photography

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Meeting Miss Mary Mac

Sometime in September of 2015, Dustin and I both felt the time had come to welcome a new member to our family. We weren’t entirely sure if that new member should be a dog or human, but eventually decided on human after Emmy started asking for “a new brother or sister.”  I remember praying that we would be pregnant by Christmas, and just when I thought that wouldn’t be happening, I had my first positive pregnancy test after putting Emmy to bed on December 23rd.  I remember walking into the living room where Dustin was watching TV and just holding the test, smiling a big (probably very goofy) smile. We sat in awe and cried together and thought about the tiny being growing inside my belly while I marveled at the Lord’s perfect timing and thanked him for this wonderful gift — just in time for Christmas.

On August 25th, 2016 we finally got to meet our sweet little blessing in person. After much debate in my heart and prayerful consideration, we decided to deliver her via repeat c-section.  I was so hopeful to be able to attempt a vaginal delivery after the cesarean I had with Emmy, given an incredibly difficult recovery wrought with difficulties galore.  However, our sweet one decided to grow and grow and GROW in my belly and at 37 weeks was measuring 9lbs and 4 oz, considerably larger than I felt was reasonable to safely consider a vaginal delivery after c-section.  And every day leading up to our scheduled c-section date became more and more difficult, both physically and emotionally as I  waited for her arrival.

In the days before my surgery, I had done my best to prepare Emmy for what was to come. I told her about the hospital stay, and how the baby will be “cut” from my tummy, and mommy needing lots of rest and care after the surgery. Her little face was so sad when I told her about the surgery, and she kept saying “but I don’t want them to cut you” and repeatedly said “but I will be at the hospital for your ‘surgy,’ right mommy?” On the day of the surgery, she was quite the little trooper. Dustin and I drove up to Raleigh around 6am to be there at 715am, so we let her sleep and her Grand and Daf came to get her dressed and bring her to the hospital. Dustin and I listened to Elevation Worship’s Here as in Heaven CD the entire trip. I needed it to try and relieve some of the anxiety I had about what was about to occur, and I do think it helped a bit.

When we arrived to the hospital, Dustin covered us in prayer and I tried to remain calm.  To say that I was nervous about the surgery (and primarily, recovery) would be a major understatement. I think knowing what to expect this time was both a blessing and a curse. Fortunately, we were greeted in the L&D triage room by a cheerful, wonderful nurse named Kim.  Although this was a repeat section, I was relieved by her calm demeanor and walking us through everything that was to come.  Within what seemed like only minutes, I was in my gown, IV started, waiting to meet our little one.  Emmy came in to wish me good luck and I savored my last few minutes with her as an only child.  I knew she had no idea how her world was about to change and while this made me a little sad, I was also excited to bring a sibling into this world for her to grow up with and enjoy.

Finally, it was time to make the quick walk to the OR suite.  After saying a temporary goodbye to Dustin, I had to walk into an OR as a patient for the first since graduating PA school.  I have to say, I would MUCH rather have been on the OTHER side of that table in that moment.  I was amazed at how scary an OR can be as a patient, considering just a year ago I would walk in as a student ready to assist on any and all cases with an enormous amount of calm and confidence.  It was startling, to say the least.  Regardless, my experiences in the OR definitely did give me a sense of reassurance. I repeatedly told myself that my medical team is experienced and prepared to perform my surgery with no issues, and there would be nothing to worry about.  I still shook like crazy (thanks to anesthesia AND my anxiety) and had to engage in breathing techniques over and over to keep my composure. But at this point, everyone in the room knew I was a PA and I definitely didn’t want to have a freak out in front of other medical professionals. : )  And so I sat, as calmly as I could, while the anesthesiologist administered my spinal.  I tried to stay distracted and found myself enjoying his teaching to the student CRNA and being thankful, again, that I was delivering at a teaching hospital.  I instantly remembered the warm sensation from my first spinal and moments later the surgeon was in, curtain was up, and I heard “incision time 1033.” Dustin was finally back by my side and just five minutes later, at 1038, we heard the first strong, beautiful cries of our baby girl. We both instantly started crying, and then laughing as everyone in the room started taking guesses at how much our sweet girl would weigh. Dr. B suggested at least 11lbs and when she weighed in at 10lbs, 4 oz he “demanded a recount.”  Everyone was commenting on how big and beautiful she is. I remember looking through tears over at the warmer as the NICU team assessed my sweet girl and and finally brought her to me for skin to skin. I was so surprised they offered to do this as it was not an option at my first c-section. (They also offered for Dustin to cut the umbilical cord, which was not offered at our first c-section either.)  Dustin got to hold our sweet girl while they closed my incision and I was so relieved to have the surgery coming to a close.  Our sweet nurse wheeled me out and into recovery where Dustin and I spent nearly 3 hours alone together with our newest member of Team Gurley. It was such a sweet and special time for us to relax, nap, nurse, and bond with our darling girl.  Of course, we weren’t supposed to be in recovery for that long as we were waiting for a room to open, much to the chagrin of our family. After the 2.5 hour mark, our nurse offered  to allow our families to come back to recovery to meet their newest granddaughter.  The wait was excruciating for everyone as we still had not revealed the baby’s gender. We had so much fun filming their responses as Dustin was finally able to say “It’s a girl!”

My recovery went very well and we are so enjoying our sweet, newest member.  Mary McLain is an absolute doll and I can’t imagine life without her.  I am so thankful the Lord chose to place her in our family and look forward to watching my two sweet girls grow up together as sisters!

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Mary McLain

August 25, 2016 | 10:38AM | 22 1/2 inches