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!

regina3

17 Weeks

We had such a wonderful weekend for my “first” Mother’s day. We spent Friday and Saturday celebrating my brother’s graduation from NC State with his Master’s degree.  I always love attending NC State events – sports, graduation, all of it. Friday was the departmental graduation which was smaller in size (but still conferred around 450 degrees) and Saturday morning was the BIG graduation for all the undergrad/grad school graduates.  There are now 5,255 additional alumni in our NCSU family.  I am still so jealous that undergrads get to wear the RED caps and gowns (started just a year or two after  I graduated) for graduation!  I just can’t put into words how much I love that university.  It was above and beyond some of the best years of my life. I cannot WAIT to take our sweet little baby bee for a tour of my beautiful campus. One of my favorite parts of attending big graduation is when we always close the ceremony with everyone singing our Alma Mater. It just gives me chills to hear everyone shout NC STATE! and I always get a little choked up. I am so happy to have the opportunity to be completing my professional degree at Campbell, but my heart belongs to State.

In honor of my brother graduating, a picture of me at my NCSU graduation in 2008... hah! I was just a baby at 22, but I literally felt like I could do anything in the world that day.
In honor of my brother graduating, a picture of me at my NCSU graduation in 2008… hah! I was just a baby at 22, but I literally felt like I could do anything in the world that day.

One of my favorite moments this weekend was when my nephew, Dane, asked me and Uncle Dustin when we were going to the “baby store” to get our baby. Hah!  How sweet is that.  He definitely knows a baby is on the way, just a little confused about when he/she will get here. I think he is more than ready to finally have a little cousin to play with!

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Baby Dane proudly proclaiming that he wants to go to NC State too just like his dad (and mom and Aunt Gina)!
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With my gorgeous cousin Beth after Michael’s graduation. She is the reigning Miss Goldsboro and will compete for the Miss NC crown in just a few weeks. Can’t wait to cheer her on! Also, Baby Gurley bump is highly evident in this dress!!

Sunday was the big day – my first mother’s day. It was so exciting to be able to celebrate that event for the first time.  I felt a little like it wasn’t entirely for “me” since my baby is still growing in my belly – but I have had more than my fair share of sleepless nights and nauseated days to be able to carry the mommy title. At least everyone I saw that day still told me Happy Mother’s Day and confirmed that “it still counts”!  Mother’s Day morning we worshiped at Vintage Church in downtown Raleigh where we were lucky enough to watch Dustin’s newest baby cousin being dedicated to  the Lord.

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Jamie, Luke, and Baby Gage at the dedication. That is one gorgeous baby!

The service started out with the story of Abraham and Sarah being told they would conceive, and it was such a beautiful and fitting story for mother’s day. It is one of my most favorite stories of the bible and is a beautiful example of the Lord’s steadfast love for us AND his sense of humor!  If you haven’t read it, you should!! We also sang In Christ Alone, one of our wedding songs.  The Lord was certainly speaking to us that morning and I will always remember it as a very special way to start my first mother’s day.

Vintage did a super nifty thing for all the guests that morning – they set up a photobooth outside in the parking lot!  Here’s one of our shots.

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What a fun idea. :)

We then went back to Luke and Jamie’s for a cookout/hangout with the family for the afternoon.  It was so much fun! I loved catching up with Jamie and talking to her about all-things-baby. She has been a sweet source of encouragement ever since we told everyone we were expecting. She will randomly send me a text of some helpful pregnancy hint or a good book recommendation. She is awesome like that!  Luke and Jamie did a wonderful job hosting the whole bunch of us and I am so glad we got to spend time with them and the rest of our family on such a special day!

I had several sweet texts and calls from friends telling me Happy Mother’s day that morning. One of my favorites was from my bff Salty. She sent me this and I thought it was cute to share for all the mommies out there:

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Her text with this picture attached read “The future words of Baby Gurley” haha! LOVE that girl!

Hope your Mother’s Day was extra special as well!

regina3

Spring days

We have so many wonderful updates, I’m not sure where to begin!  The Tar Heel and I are slowly but surely settling in together and figuring out this whole marriage thing.  It is simply amazing to me how much we have learned about each other over the last few weeks, and even more amazing how much we think alike.  We find ourselves often thinking the exact same thing at the same time and we never even have to say anything aloud. It is kind of creepy.  It happened before when we were dating, but never to this extent nor this often!  We have to just laugh at how eerily similar we think from time to time.

Last Thursday I went home to NC for three days to present my final master’s thesis equivalent, a research study my partner Kelly and I have worked on for the last year.  It is amazing to think that three years of work (2 years of classes and one year of research) came down to one, 45-minute presentation.  Kind of scary!  But, after our practice presentation Tuesday night we received rave reviews of our research project and results, so we felt much more comfortable presenting to Campbell faculty on Thursday night for our final presentation.  I am so excited to say the final presentation went well, and I am officially done with my first master’s degree!  I can hardly wait until May 13th when I get to walk across the stage and receive my hood and new, shiny degree.

The Tar Heel and I have enjoyed finding our place in this new city and I am finally making new friends!  A couple of weeks ago I joined the local Pi Phi Alumnae club here in Savannah and I have met the sweetest ladies.  I attended a Panhellenic Luncheon where fifteen sororities were present, with Pi Phi being one of the largest sororities represented.  Both the Tar Heel and I were invited to so many homes for dinner and churches to visit with these new Pi Phi sisters after that day, and it was a wonderful reminder of why I joined the organization.

Being in Savannah has been the most wonderful experience for the artistic side of me.  I have always had an interest in art and I love that the Tar Heel has such an incredible appreciation for the arts as well.  We have even started collecting interesting pieces and we have acquired some amazing artwork.  And every single weekend there is something going on in Savannah that is centered around the arts.  This past weekend we went to the SCAD Sidewalk Art show in Forsyth Park.  It was aaaaamazing!  The Tar Heel had to take advantage of the many photo ops, and I had to take advantage of the opportunity to wear my floppy hat for the first time this spring.  It was beautiful!

The next time I post, I hope to share good news regarding a job I am interviewing for this Monday.  Please please please say a prayer for me! :)