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!


Mary McLain

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

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