Today at 10:38AM marks the time one year ago when you entered our world and changed our lives forever. Although I carried you in my tummy for nine months, we hoped for you and prayed for you much longer.
On the day you were born, your daddy and I were so ready to meet you. We were also very excited for you to meet your big sister, Emmy, whom we knew would be your biggest fan. (It took her a little bit, but this did eventually come true!) We were admitted to the hospital for our repeat c-section that morning. We were quite surprised you made it to our c-section date as you had grown so large we were certain you’d ran out of room! But this was not the case. You were quite comfortable in my womb. Our obstetrician and surgeon, Dr. Bernstein, was exceptional that morning. We chose to deliver you at a larger facility where a NICU was accessible, especially after I developed gestational diabetes and I knew there was a chance you’d need some extra care after birth. I remember distinctly the moment I walked into the OR suite, and my entire body was shaking from anxiety. I kept taking deep breaths and praying for the Lord to give me peace. And, my prayers were quickly answered. The anesthesiologist entered the room with his medical student, and they began the procedure. As it turns out, information had already circulated around our medical team that your mommy is a PA, and so they were all “on their toes” according to our sweet nurse, Kim. I was so happy our anesthesiologist had a student and that he apparently enjoyed teaching. His instruction kept me distracted from my anxiety and reminded me that I was in great hands!
Soon after the spinal, your daddy and Dr. Bernstein entered the suite and before I knew it, the incision was made. Just five minutes later, you arrived, crying the most beautiful (loud) cries! After hearing the wonderful words “It’s a girl!” we then began hearing guesses of your birth weight by all the nurses and Dr. Bernstein. Needless to say, you were a sweet, BIG, bundle of joy from the beginning! Soon after your assessment by the NICU team, you were placed on my chest for skin-to-skin while they closed my incision. Daddy also got his turn to hold his second baby girl, and we were both crying happy tears that you were finally here with us!
You did so well transitioning after birth that you didn’t need a NICU visit! I was so incredibly grateful for this. The three of us – me, you, and your daddy – all got to spend a wonderful 3 hours together in recovery while we waited for a room. I think this was one of the greatest blessings we received after your birth. This time allowed the three of us to bond and get to know one another in such a special way. Your grandparents, however, were a bit anxious in waiting so long to see you. Which was understandable! So our sweet nurse allowed them to come back and meet you in recovery. It was so precious to me to witness your daddy announcing your name and that you were a precious little GIRL to them! Everyone was, and continues to be, so elated to have two sweet girls.
Your birth is special and unique, just like you are. But your big sister did give you and your mommy and daddy a wonderful gift — the gift of experience. We knew a little more of what to expect when you were born, and this gave us a peace and joy that I can hardly put into words. I truly believe this experience allowed us to take better care of you AND resulted in a much, much easier recovery for me this time around. I am eternally grateful to your big sister for giving that to us! And, speaking of your big sister, I have to tell you just how excited she was to meet you in that hospital. It did take her a little longer than we expected to accept the idea that you would be coming home with us. But, after she realized you were, in fact, here to stay, she quickly began embracing her special purpose in your life as your one and only big sister. She quickly became my little helper and anytime you would reward her efforts with a smile or laugh, I could see her affection for you grow. Watching you two interact has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. You and Emmy will always be sisters. Nothing can or will ever change that, and I pray fervently that the Lord blesses your relationship. I pray that you love each other fiercely, protect each other always, and keep each other rooted in relationship with the One who made you.
We were able to spend a precious, unforgettable extended maternity leave together as mommy worked only part-time after you turned 12 weeks old and up until you turned 9 months old. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for this time and the ability to enjoy you as an infant. Your daddy worked hard to ensure I could stay home with you as long as possible and I am so grateful he did. We spent many days lounging around the house, doing tummy time, running errands together, or visiting your sweet daddy. All of your days as an infant have been a joy to me. You have been the sweetest, most laid-back baby and such a wonderful addition to our family. I am so looking forward to all the days ahead with you, my precious girl.
Darling Mary Mac, I have been given the enormous task and greatest blessing to mother you and your sweet sister, Emmy Mae. I will not always get everything just right as your mom. But I can tell you something I do know without a shadow of doubt. I know that your biggest dreams, greatest aspirations, and highest ambitions will one day come to fruition. I know this not because I believe in the many fairy tales I will read to you. I know this not because you and Emmy will work hard to accomplish these dreams, although that will certainly be a vital part of the process. I know this to be true because I have seen this done in my own life, through the guidance, prayerful discernment and daily pursuit of our Heavenly Father’s will. If I can teach you anything as your mom, I want you to know that I have achieved and received NOTHING without HIS hand in mine, every step of the way on this incredibly journey. It is my heart’s greatest desire that you and Emmy both commit yourselves to the Lord and seek His purpose for your lives, the one He has designed especially for you!
My precious Mary Mac, when you were still growing in my tummy, I had a lovely patient tell me what I already knew about you: The Lord has a great plan for your life. I have known for a long time that the Lord was birthing more than a baby when He gave you to me. I have no idea what He has in store for us and His kingdom through you, but I cannot wait to stand beside you, encouraging you and loving you all the way. You are a perfect Child of God, Mary McLain. I love how the Message reads Romans 12:2. It says, “Place Your Life Before God. 12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” Mary Mac, Let these words mean more to you than writing in a book. Let them lead you, instruct you, admonish you, and guide you in your life and your spiritual walk with Christ.
I am so thankful you are mine, Mary Mac. May you always feel the warmth, happiness, and LOVE you bring to us and to everyone around you for all of your days. Happy FIRST birthday, sweet girl. We cannot wait to celebrate this birthday and many, many more with you. I love you more than words can ever say!
With all my love,
Photography by Cynthia Rose Photography