25 Weeks 4 Days

I can’t believe there are less than 15 weeks left before we get to meet our little girl.  It seems like yesterday we were at 15 weeks, with 25 weeks to go!

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We have had one busy past few weeks – no doubt a contributing factor to the weeks just flying by. In addition to the baby countdown, I am counting down the days (8!!) left in my didactic year of school and I am still in shock at being so close to finished.  It WAS just yesterday that I was counting down the days until school started, right?? And just a few days ago that I got my white coat and had no idea what I was doing? I. Just. Can’t. Believe. It!  In a little over one month away I start my first of 12 clinical rotations and I am excited/nervous/terrified/eager all rolled into one.  My first rotation practice has no idea they are not only getting a student (always an adventure) but a 32-week, very pregnant student at that!  Lord help us!

We had a fantastic July 4th holiday weekend celebrating two sweet friends who got hitched and we spent a wee bit of time with the family.  We didn’t actually make it to an actual beach for July 4th weekend, which is unfortunate because these days it seems like all I want to do is stick my toes in some sand and prop my rather large self up near a big body of water. But I plan to make up for that very soon on my break between school and the start of rotations.

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My oh-so-handsome husband and the father of my unborn child looking snazzy in his groomsman outfit and photobooth prop bowtie :)
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At sunset after the Shrimparoo at the fishing club.
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Playing around in Wings at the beach after getting ice cream from Island Delights. This is actually a still from a video the Tar Heel was taking, unbeknownst to me. Love these silly moments with my husby!

 

Me and baby girl enjoying a bit of froyo. At least there is a small bit of froyo under there somewhere…

This July 4th weekend was also special for us because my sweet brother-in-law proposed to his beautiful/amazing/wonderful girlfriend, whom I absolutely LOVE!  To say I am excited to call her my sister-in-law is a huge understatement.  She is the kind of girl I would want to be friends with even if she weren’t connected to the family in any way.  She has an amazing, Christ-filled heart and it truly shows in her sweet nature.  Everyone loves her to pieces. I am especially excited that she is going to be an Aunt to our sweet baby girl!!  :)

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With Dustin’s dad and step-mom, celebrating the newly engaged couple! :)

Last week was a little bit more adventurous than I’d like an average week of pregnancy to be. Both the Tar Heel and I ended up in the ED with severe food poisoning.  I had my first trip to L&D as well and thankfully, baby girl was safe and sound and only showing minimal signs of irritability during the whole episode. We both got lots of fluid and rest and after countless trips to the restroom, we were eventually freed of the horrible grips of whatever bacteria made its unwelcome way into our digestive tracts. Turns out my ED physician at WakeMed was also a preceptor to CU PA students and when I told her I was only a couple weeks from starting rotations, she was happy to give me clinical teaching points as I was lying on the bed barely able to hold my head up. She was super nice and helpful, but I’m quite sure I was not nearly as receptive to her teaching as I could have been under other circumstances. Regardless, I am grateful for her help and grateful both Dustin and I are back on the mend. :)

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Our first L&D room. Thank goodness our precious baby girl is strong and stayed IN where she belongs for a bit longer!
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Mema came prepared to visit us when we were sick.:)

Here’s to staying healthy and always having something to look forward to… :)

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PA School Magic

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This is what having 20+ people watching your US looks like!

I don’t think it would come as a surprise to anyone to know that being pregnant while being in PA school is a constant struggle.  Of course, we didn’t plan for it to happen this way – but the Lord certainly did.  And while life as a PA student/ pregnant lady is hard 99% of the time, there is that 1% of the time where absolute magic happens.   Fortunately for me, I got to experience that just two short weeks ago and it will be something I will always remember.

The back story: A few weeks ago I was approached by Professor Johnson, one of our faculty members, with a proposal for an opportunity to be an “OB OSCE” patient.  This would entail having all 39 of my classmates watch me receive a full anatomy scan ultrasound.  Mrs. Johnson insisted that I not make a decision without going home to talk to Dustin and really think everything through.  I guess she could tell I was very eager to say yes, and I so reluctantly agreed to sleep on it.

After speaking with Dustin, we discovered we did have some questions about the process and so I met with Prof. Johnson to discuss.  After allaying a few fears, I knew this would be an amazing opportunity that I did not want to miss.  I mean who gets to say they had 39 classmates (practically family members at this point) present to meet your baby in utero?  I could hardly wait!

Finally the day was here and everyone (me and members of faculty) had managed to keep everything a complete secret.  So all my classmates knew is that they would be observing an ultrasound of a “real” OB patient before practicing in the simulation lab.

After listening to a presentation on OB ultrasound, we headed for a bathroom break and I snuck into the exam room to get ready.  Dustin was there with my mom, which was a request I made at the beginning of our planning.  I figured it would be a more realistic scenario if family were present so Mrs. Johnson happily agreed.  We were all prepped and ready for the students to arrive.

When everyone walked in, the feeling of excitement was overwhelming for me. There were lots of “ohhhs” and “awws!” going around the room. When the instructor put the transducer on my belly and sweet baby Gurley made its debut, it was AWESOME.  Everyone’s faces just lit up and there were even a few tears!! I told the sonographer to not hold back any details about Baby Gurley, and so when it came time to obtain the view to determine sex, we let the students guess and we confirmed/announced what Baby Gurley will be!  It was AMAZING!!!  Everyone got excited and giddy and it was just such an incredible experience.

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Still from the video of us checking in on Baby Gurley! Abby had just said “This is going to make me cry!” so sweet :)

We watched Baby Gurley yawn, flex fingers, and kick like crazy for almost 20 minutes!  Even the smallest movement would elicit the loudest “Aww” from the group.  I was so proud, so elated, so happy… really, there aren’t enough words to describe it.  It was truly beautiful.  Dustin recorded most of the ultrasound and took some great pictures, and I have loved watching the videos over and over.

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Another video still of one of my favorites, Kat, and her excitement at seeing Baby G moving around on screen! Love that girl!

I spoke with Prof. Johnson later the next day and we both were just in awe at how much better the experience was than we were expecting.  I looked over at her a few times during the ultrasound and saw her wiping away tears and just thought about how much bigger this event really is than what I ever thought it could be.

The pregnant body is such a blessing from God.  I am learning every day just how amazing our God is simply by each continued breath I take – a breath which I am in turn giving to my growing baby.  My hope for this experience was that each of my classmates would grow to see a pregnant woman as TWO bodies in one; and to never take for granted that each decision for mom is a decision simultaneously made for the fetus.  I was so naive about pregnancy and obstetrics before I became pregnant myself (and I certainly don’t claim to know it all now.)  But I have learned to be so much more respectful of the pregnant body and the unfathomable miracle that it truly is.  Of course, I know my passion for OB/GYN is fueling much of my intensity regarding pregnancy (my own and in general).  But it is such an important population that we will all inevitably come across in practice at some point in time.  I hope Baby Gurley will leave a lasting, deeply memorable impression. I know our little one has already given that to me.

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Ba-bee Gurley at 18 weeks 1 day!

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15 Weeks, 5 Days

I cannot believe we are already only a few days away from being 16 weeks along with our sweet little Baby Bee.  Ever since we found out we were expecting, we’ve been calling Baby Gurley our little Baby Bee.  We buy lots of bee things around here because it reminds us of a special time in our life – when the Tar Heel was a SCAD Bee down in Savannah!  Now we can hardly wait to add one more very special Bee to our family this fall :)

We started a garden, the perfect spot for our baby Bee spinning flag!

And as of almost two weeks ago, we now know what our little Baby Bee will “bee”!  We are so excited.  When we went for my 12 week visit and ultrasound, we were presented with the option of doing some testing for chromosomal changes that may indicate serious disorders or syndromes.  I had really wrestled with this, and after speaking to a few friends, had pretty much decided we wouldn’t do any testing.  We figured no matter the outcome of the tests, we wouldn’t change anything.  One of the major perks of being pregnant in PA school is having access to some incredible medical resources.  One of my mentors at school happens to have practiced women’s health for 20+ years. When I mentioned to her we decided against testing, she kindly asked if I cared to know what she often told patients with regard to testing. Of course I was interested to find out. She told me that for many years she carried the same belief that I had – regardless of testing, it wouldn’t change the outcome (with regards to aborting). And that was ok for a while, until she began to see the many couples who opted not to test who ended up having a child with needs who could have benefited greatly from being born in a hospital with every resource available, a decision the parents could have made with the knowledge gained from prenatal testing.  And for those children, every prolonged second of care in transport can significantly impact their quality of life down the road.  I share all of this for anyone who may come across the blog who is trying to make the same decision we were.  Of course, this is not a blanket statement for everyone and each mother-to-be should have a very candid discussion with their partner and physician before making this decision.  But for us, the option to test made a lot of sense, so we went for it.

The test we chose to go with is called Panorama and is a simple blood test (not invasive). The test separates my DNA, the baby’s DNA, and Dustin’s DNA (by a cheek swab) in order to analyze for chromosomal abnormalities.  This test is over 99% accurate for detecting changes of chromosomes 13, 18, and 21.   As an added bonus, it also looks for the X and Y chromosomes which determine the baby’s sex. So, two weeks ago this Friday we got a great test report AND found out what our sweet Baby Bee will “bee”!!  Isn’t medicine amazing?

For now, what our little Baby Bee will “bee” is our little secret. We are keeping it a secret for another little secret we have :) Gosh, secrets are fun when you’re the one who knows them!!!!!!

Here’s some pregnancy stats so far:

Weeks of morning sickness:11.5 (thank goodness we got through that!)

Baby is the size of: Avocado!

Favorite food this week: Watermelon and Chocolate Milk

Babymoon: Ocracoke Island in April!

Maternity Clothes: Still sporting my dresses, tops, and some work pants. Just purchased first pair of maternity jeans!

Thing I miss the most from pre-pregnancy: My beloved Diet Pepsi

Thing I love most about pregnancy: Of course I look forward to seeing our little Bee on U/S, but there’s nothing like waking up each day remembering that our bundle of love is growing stronger each day inside my belly. I am still in awe at the whole process. More superficially, the thicker locks are nice. :)

So far this semester…

Semesters.  I think I measure my whole life in semesters.  I guess I like it so much because it’s easy;  I’ve been doing it non-stop for almost ten years. Yes, in 2014, the year I [finally] graduate, I will have been attending an institution of higher learning for ONE DECADE. That’s TEN YEARS (see I learned a thing or two in college). As an [not-so] interesting side note, I will also have been on Facebook for one decade.  Not sure how I even feel about that. Wait yes, I do know, I feel like I wasted every minute of that decade spent on the time-sucking Facebook. Seriously. Thankfully I have followed suit from many smarter and wiser folks in my life and closed “the book” (or as our Pastor Mike calls it, IMAGE MANAGEMENT – click this link and skip to 2:15 to hear his thoughts) to focus my energy on much more important things in my life, like Instagram ;). Haha, just kiddddding…. Mostly. But seriously, click the link, listen to the clip, then go check your own Facebook page and see if EVERYTHING HE SAID ISN’T TRUE. Talk about stepping on toes.  I love that Hope Community Church keeps it real.

Back to this semester.  Thankfully, this semester seems to be going more smoothly than my first.  I don’t think the quantity of material has gotten any easier to handle, but I am finding myself considerably less stressed, and creating (dare I say it) a new found balance of work and play.  IE: we have tried to see our families more, and one of the best ways has been by going to our niece’s gymnastics competitions.  I cannot even begin to put into words the pride and joy I had seeing her compete for the first time with her team in her pretty purple leotard, up on those uneven bars with beautiful lines and pointed toes.  She was AMAZING!! Taking a break from studying to hangout with her and the fam has been such a blessing to us.

I am also trying to put aside the books and pick up the running shoes again.  The Tar Heel and I are doing the Couch-2-5K training and should be ready for a 5K around mid-march.  Speaking of mid-march, we will also be celebrating two whole years of wedded bliss this March 19. Can you believe it?  I know I can’t.  We have had such a fun past two years together and the best part is knowing the best is yet to come!! :)

Clinical rotations are six months away.  That is CRAZY.  I am soooo excited/nervous.  We had meetings with our advisors last week about where we want to be most challenged and to review rotation preferences.  I found out I will most likely be taking an OB/GYN rotation in Smithfield because I requested a rotation where I can deliver as many babies as possible!! I also found out I will probably be doing a rotation in Ortho at the Durham VA because I want to scrub-in as little as possible. I am happy some thoughts on what type of medicine I’d like to practice are finally coming into view. So far my top three choices would be: 1) Women’s Health 2) Internal Medicine 3) Peds and my bottom three choices would be: 1) Ortho 2) Emergency medicine 3) Geriatrics.  We’ll see if this changes at all by August. I spoke to one of the second year students in our program and she said she has already delivered 25 babies on her OB/GYN rotation (!!!!!!!!), and that rotations have really made it harder for her to choose what she wants to do — eeek! Either way, I just can’t wait.  I am so ready to put what I’ve learned into practice and start real medicine.

 My first sutures, blood draw (on each other!!), and punch biopsy

A Riley burrito, at Karis’ first competition, Riley being my cuddle buddy on V-day while I (sorta) studied, and a RED cork from a bottle enjoyed during the Winter Storm of 2013 (aka a few snow flakes!)

My Valentine’s Day invitation designed by the Tar Heel with these words as the background, watching the planes take off and land from the RDU Observation park, my beautiful Valentine’s gift – a blue diamond necklace (already decided it will be our daughter’s “Something blue” on her wedding day!!), and pretty dessert following the best meal we’ve ever had at Four Square in Durham.

 

Apothecary Ball 2013

Right now I should be preparing for our first OSCE of the semester scheduled to take place tomorrow morning. Or I could be studying for our first exam of the semester coming up Friday. But instead, I’m doing what I really want to do…which is to post memories from my first Apothecary Ball!

The night started off at Caffe Luna with two other PA couples for dinner before the ball. It was delicious, as always.

After dinner we made our way to the ball. The Apothecary Ball is an event for the Pharmacy and PA students held each year at the beginning of Spring semester. The theme this year was “Fire & Ice” and so naturally, I aligned myself with the “Fire” side and wore Red.  It was such a fun night.  I was looking forward to the event being held at the Brownstone hotel — the same place where we had our Initiation party my freshman year on the day I was initiated into Pi Beta Phi!  Being in a sorority, we had formals and semi-formals each year. I was SO EXCITED to finally be able to take my sweet Tar Heel to our first “formal” together.

And we had a GREAT time!  Granted, I think the Tar Heel had pretty low expectations given his former formal experiences. Poor guy just wasn’t lucky enough to experience a Pi Phi event at State. BUT, the Apothecary Ball made up for all of that.:)

I think this was during Ke$ha’s “Die Young” song – sooo fun!

We even had Class Superlatives. They included: Best Dressed, Most Likely to Misplace Their Cadaver, Most Likely to Flirt with their Supervising Physician (this was a little awkward for both the peeps who received this since they are married/engaged…gotta love it), Most Likely to Yell at their Patients, and Most Likely to Cry in a Corner on the First Day of Rotations.   Seriously.

Alex made me promise this pic didn’t go on FB. She failed to mention the blog… Love this girl. :)

The night was simply perfect. It ended shoeless – a proven indicator of any worthwhile formal event. We even stopped by gumby’s for a quick pit stop before the trek home to Holly Springs.  Yes, this was a great event to relive my “glory days” of Pi Phi formals and carefree nights of pretty dresses and sweet drinks… but this night was better than any of those simply because I finally had my forever date with me – my sweet Tar Heel.

So, cheers to not having to pretend when your reality is better than anything you could ever dream up. :)