Letter to Emmy

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My darling Emerson Mae,

We celebrated your first birthday as a family this weekend and it was so much fun! I know your favorite part was having all your little cousins and friends to run and play with on your “new and improved” jungle gym set that your Granddaddy made for you. You laughed and walked as fast as your newly walking legs could take you.

I can’t believe you were born one year ago today. It was so vivid, and a little bit of a blur all at the same time. I will never forget the morning you were born. You were born by an elective cesarean section, as recommended by our obstetrician. We arrived at the hospital the morning of my surgery and I could tell your daddy was scared as we parked the car. I was ready to meet you, but he was so worried about what could happen if something went wrong. We cried as your daddy covered us all with prayer, right there in the parking lot of the hospital. But I wasn’t scared, little one. God gave me such a beautiful peace that morning. So I prayed that He would give that to your daddy, too.

As we went through registration and made our way to the pre-op holding area, I changed into my hospital gown and had IV fluids started. I think my prayers were answered, as your daddy started getting very goofy and giddy with excitement while we were in holding. He started taking pictures of EVERYTHING! He didn’t want to miss a thing. I just wanted it all to hurry up so I could meet you… :)

Eventually, I said goodbye to your daddy and he was taken to the room next to the OR where he waited for you to be delivered. As soon as your daddy had to leave me, I started to panic. I was terrified. I started shaking and crying on the table. I knew what to expect as our doctors and nurses had explained everything, multiple times. But the fear was overwhelming. We had an angel of a CRNA that helped to keep me as calm as possible and explained everything that was happening as it occurred. Soon your daddy came back into the OR and my tears would not stop, even with him by my side. When the surgeon asked me if I was ready to see you, I excitedly said “yes!!” and he lifted you out of my tummy. Every bit of my fear was washed away the moment I saw you.

You came into this world screaming!  Your cries were so loud, but so, so beautiful to us. I remember one of the nurses commented that you had a “powerful” set of lungs! You screamed the entire time the nurses washed you, weighed you, and checked your vitals. You screamed so much, until finally they placed you near my face while the surgeon closed my incision, and I finally got to say “hello.” When you heard me speaking to you for the first time, you stopped crying completely! It was the most amazing moment for me. I knew you knew exactly who I was. You knew I was your mommy, and I knew you were going to change my life completely.

You were born on the first day of the NC state fair last year, and so each night we were in the hospital, we excitedly watched the amazing fireworks show from our hospital room window. Your daddy and I have watched the NC state fair fireworks show together every year since 2009. It was like the Lord was giving us our own mini celebration each night! You had so many visitors in the hospital – so many family members that drove over an hour to meet you in all your precious, new baby glory.  You had us all wrapped around your sweet finger from day one!

Once we finally brought you home, I was kind of a mess the first few weeks you were in our life. I was terrified I couldn’t take care of you as well as you needed me too. I felt overwhelmed, nervous, anxious, emotional, and exhausted 24/7. Your daddy stayed home with us for the first week. When he went back to work, your GiGi came over our first day alone together and she helped me so much. I cried when your daddy left, cried when GiGi got there, cried when GiGi left, and cried with your daddy got home. There were lots of tears from you AND me in the beginning. Eventually, though, we got into a beautiful routine. You knew I would always be there for you no matter what you needed, and I learned to take care of you as best I could. You started wanting only me around, and I felt needed and loved by you. That made me happier and more confident that I could take care of you! We had a wonderful 11 weeks together on maternity leave before I went back to school and I will never forget that special time with you.

This past year has been an absolute whirlwind! It has been so wonderful to watch you grow and develop your own little personality. I felt like we both met milestone after milestone because you were growing with me through clinical rotations. Every one of my preceptors have been impressed by you being in my life during school, and they all grew to know and love you through all the hundreds of pictures I share of you each day. You were also a huge hit when you were still in my belly when I was on rotation, and you were given so many gifts from patients! The Lord knew just what He was doing by sending you to your daddy and me when He did. You have given me so much determination, focus, and drive to get through PA school. Not to mention that because of you, I could truly empathize with my OB patients, and in being a patient in general. You are my very best motivator and have pushed mommy to get through some very difficult times! I couldn’t have made it through school without you, your daddy, and the favor of the Lord, and I thank you for that sweet girl.

My little Emmy, I love you so much and look forward to all of the “next steps” with you. Yes, your first birthday has made me miss all of our time together when you were a tiny baby. But this life is so fleeting, that we should dare not spend more time in the past than the precious gift we have been given to live life in the present. You are such a light in our world and a joy in our home. You are the most amazing little girl, and a most precious child of GOD!  Your daddy and I are so blessed to have you in our lives. We cannot wait to watch you learn and grow, and pray you will grow through this life being friends with Jesus and teaching others about that friendship, too. We have so many things we want to teach you, yet you teach us something new every single day.  I pray you always keep your “powerful set of lungs” by speaking up for those who can’t speak for themselves, and showing the love of Christ to all those around you. Above all, I hope you always feel how much you are LOVED. Happy FIRST birthday, beautiful girl. We can’t wait to celebrate every day with you!

I love you little Goosey.

Mommy

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Ten Months

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We are only a few weeks away from celebrating our baby girl’s first birthday, and I can honestly say this has been the fastest year ever. Celebrating her many firsts and milestones has been a highlight of my life, and the time “before Emmy” seems like a distant memory at this point. Dustin and I are so blessed by her each and every day. From her sweet smiles and cuddles in the morning to her stubborn, short tempered “meltdowns” – she is 100% “US” and we couldn’t love her more!

Over the last month, we have had lots of fun adventures. We started off her tenth month of life on a mini-venture to Raleigh, NC. We spent time with our sweet friends Elisabeth and husband Tyler, and friends Averi and husband Grant. Elisabeth and Averi are two of my Pi Phi sisters, and I love them dearly. Averi is actually my Lil Sis, and she gave birth to Georgia MacHenry (Georgia Mac) three months (almost to the day) after Emmy. We enjoyed our pregnancy together, and now we get to watch our little legacies grow up together! We planned this weekend a few weeks in advance. Elisabeth and Tyler traveled all the way from Charlotte to meet Miss Emmy Mae and Miss Georgia Mac for the first time! We started out our day together at a favorite spot of ours in college, Café Carolina. After we had our fill of lunch and cupcakes, we decided to do something a little spontaneous – to stop by our old sorority house and show our girls the house and reminisce a little. August 17th also happened to be “move-in” weekend at my alma mater, NC State, and so campus was busy and exciting and everything I remember it being and more. When we arrived to the sorority house, we had our husbands take pictures outside but they insisted on leaving to get beer instead of hanging out inside, so they headed back to Averi’s house. Being in our sorority house (my former home) and meeting several of the current NC Delta Pi Phis was such a surreal experience for a couple reasons. First, I couldn’t believe Averi and I had a seven month old and ten month old in tow as we stepped through our front door. Second, this fall marks the ten year anniversary since I started college at NC State. HANDS DOWN, my undergraduate college experience at NCSU was one of my favorite seasons of life. And it was absolutely due in part to my Pi Phi sisters and the amazing sense of home I immediately established in Raleigh with my Wolfpack Family. I was SO HAPPY to share this with my little Emmy! And I know she couldn’t understand all of that at ten months, but we will be going back to campus for family outings and sporting events as much as possible as she grows up. Eventually, I hope she starts to understand why I love my Wolfpack and all things STATELY so much, and that she may even share in that love one day as a student and alumni herself!

In addition to our Raleigh road trip, we took a slightly longer drive… all the way to Atlantic City, New Jersey for the Miss America competition!! Yes, you read that right. I am not much of a “pageant follower” though I have always enjoyed watching the competitions on TV and can remember several “girls night” sleepovers with friends gathered around watching either Miss NC or Miss America. We found our way at Miss America this year for one very good reason: my sweet cousin Beth was crowned Miss NC this summer and we went to support her on this incredible journey! We had the BEST time walking on the boardwalk and attending the pageant. My parents, brother and sister-in-law and nephew all went in addition to my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and some family friends to support our sweet Beth. Although she did not place in competition, she represented our state well at all of the preliminary events and we are SOOO proud of her! Emmy was such a doll on the trip. Everyone doted on her everywhere we went. She is just a little ham around people, and especially around other children. She LOVES kids and gets so excited and reaches towards them, kicking her feet excitedly trying to get down to crawl to them. We were so nervous about taking her on an 8-9 hour drive, but she did amazingly well. We stopped only once on the way to NJ, according to when Emmy was at the end of her patience with driving. It ended up being all the way outside of Baltimore, and coincidentally, 1.5 miles from where one of my favorite people in the world lives, my Amster. When I put it together that we were super close to her house, I texted her and luckily, she was able to meet us outside the Cracker Barrel where we were having lunch. It was such a LUCKY, spontaneous reunion and I LOVED getting to see her and Matthew!! We also got to see her sweet Mom and brother, who happened to be in town as well!! Love how the Lord works out happy little meetings like that :)

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EM @ 10 Months

Weight: 23.5 lbs

Firsts: Emmy went to NC State’s campus for the first time, and to the Pi Phi house there as well! She also met Elisabeth and Tyler for the first time. She also went on her first big roadtrip to NJ. She got two more teeth this month, this time up top! They broke through, finally, after several miserable days. Emmy also got Hand, foot, and mouth this month :( After three days of absolutely horrible pain and refusal to eat/drink, our darling girl started feeling like herself again. She never actually got any blisters anywhere externally, only had them on her mouth which made eating a miserable activity. Fortunately, she is better now! Emmy was also in her first official “public” photo shoot as a baby for a campaign ad of a good friend that’s running for office. She was perfect and adorable in all the shots, of course. ;) The shoot as also at Pullen Park, one of my favorite places in Raleigh and we took full advantage of our time there after the photo shoot. Emmy rode the train and the carousel for the first time and loved it! :)

Sizes: Still in 12-18 months clothes. Diapers: Size 5

Likes: Shrimp! This girl loves eating tiny bits of fried shrimp. She also loves crawling as fast as humanly possible and is walking VERY quickly with her walker. She maneuvers that thing like a race car! :) She has now conquered the “NO” headshake, and is the typical response when I ask her any question. She is beginning to toss her spoon around and mimic feeding herself. She also transitioned down from 6 bottles (~24-30 oz) of breast milk a day, down to only 2 sippy cups of breast milk (~8 oz day). This allowed mommy to STOP PUMPING this month, which mommy loves! :) We still have a great stock pile going so she still gets her breast milk and

Dislikes: Sharing, being told “No” and when she is diverted from doing anything potentially dangerous. Her fingers are like magnets to light sockets and/or anything small and round that can block her airway. She keeps us on our toes, 24/7!

gurleygirls

Nine Months

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Fotor0901225522I can’t believe it.  Emmy has officially been outside of my belly longer than she was inside!  And, much like my pregnancy did, these months have flown by.  Here’s what’s happened during Emmy’s ninth month!

Our precious girl is becoming more and more independent each day, and I am blessed to watch her grow.  She is crawling so well, and has started pulling up and standing up on her own or by balancing with someone (or something).  I can’t believe how much she changed from a “young baby” to an “older baby” over night. She lost those extremely chubby cheeks and now has only “somewhat” chubby cheeks. ;) She has learned how to wave and say ByeBye like a pro!

Emmy thoroughly enjoyed her nine month photo session with the amazing Amanda of Millie Holloman Photography.  Millie was there to help and make funny faces/silly noises, too.  It was AWESOME to finally meet them!  We traveled all the way to Wilmington for the shoot, which was the PERFECT excuse to enjoy one of our favorite cities!  We stayed with Dustin’s sweet brother and sister-in-law, which is always a treat.  After the shoot, we headed to Elijah’s on the water, where Dustin and I had our wedding reception three years ago.  It was wonderful to take our beautiful little girl to the place where we enjoyed our first few hours as husband and wife, now as a family of three. :)

The majority of Emmy’s ninth month, I was on rotation in the emergency department.  I was working crazy hours (2pm-12am, five days a week) and I missed my girl so much. We managed to get through it, though.  She had her first awful cold just a few days into my rotation, and two nights in a row she was still up with her daddy when I got home around 12:30am. So I stayed up with her those nights and walked the halls until she drifted to sleep, several hours later.  It reminded me of her days as a newborn, when I would stare at the clock and think “I HATE YOU, 4AM.”  It seems to me, no one should be awake at 4am. And I was awake every morning at 4am until Emmy was about 10 weeks old.  Then, like a light switch, she started sleeping through the night and I was able to sleep through the 4:00am hour once more. :)

I was off one full week this month and so Emmy and I got to spend a lot of time making up our moments apart during my ER rotation. We even went to Wilmington again, this time with Gigi and cousin Karis to have a girl’s trip with Aunt Joanna.  It was such a great time and I loved seeing my little girl interacting with her big cousin and Aunt and Gigi.  She loves them all so much!

Emmy also went with me to Campbell University on the last day of my week off for my very last Convocation, EVER!!!  ALL of my classmates and faculty members gushed over how precious little Emmy was and she lovvvveeed the attention.  She waved ByeBye to everyone, and it was so sweet! I was so proud of my darling little girl, and loved showing her off to everyone.  She is such a blessing to me, and I can’t imagine my life without this girl!  She is everything I could ever hope for and more.  I had no idea I could love someone so much… :)

 

EM @ 9 Months

Weight: 22.5 lbs

Firsts: Emmy saw Elijah’s for the first time, and she enjoyed their famous crab dip. She loved it!  She also got to see Uncle Drake and Aunt Joanna’s house for the first time.  She loved eating yogurt for the first time, and we discovered she is quite the fun little shopping buddy. Emmy MOVED UP to the N2 nursery room (6months-1year), which was a BIG deal in our house! It was definitely a harder transition on mommy than Emmy… She is the youngest in her class now, but she is doing very well and keeping up with the big kids according to her teachers! This month we also organized her closet, which is a huge first for us!  We have officially packed away all of her under 12months clothes!! :(  But, it was necessary to finally get her room organized. Now she loves opening and closing her closet door and pulling her shoes out of their cubby.  She is a SHOE GIRL for sure!

Sizes: Still in 12-18 months clothes. Diapers: Size 5

Likes: Shopping, trying new foods, and spending time in her bob strolling around outside. She could stroll and be content for HOURS.  Emmy also really liked visiting Campbell. She was friendly, content, and enjoyed seeing everyone while mommy was in convocation. She was the best behaved 9 month old around!

Dislikes: Again, she is learning what she can and cannot do/have.  She doesn’t like hearing NO!

gurleygirls

Eight sweet months

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On June 17th, Emmy turned 8 months old.  It is so hard to believe our little girl is getting close to turning 1 year!  I have loved this past month so much and enjoyed watching Emmy grow.  Emmy had a wonderful month while mommy completed her OB/GYN rotation in Smithfield.  It was such an amazing experience to deliver 15 babies into the world, and each one of them reminded me of the day Emmy was born.  It was such a sacred day, and one filled with so much joy.  I have her birth story written, but just don’t know if I will ever have the courage to post it.  Some intimate details, like how Emmy was born, are just too precious.  I feel the need to guard and protect their perfect memories, saved for me and my little family alone to enjoy.  And, I feel the same protective nature for the perfect memories I have of each of those sweet babies I was honored to delivered. They brought me SO MUCH joy over the course of five weeks!

So yes, I’m searching for a job in women’s health.  But, that search and all it entails is for another blog post altogether. Back to Emmy.  :) She had a HUGE MILESTONE this month!  Our precious Emerson Mae started CRAWLING!!!!!  Just days after turning 8 months, she was off to the races!  It was a bit of a slow start to begin with, but with each attempt she got faster and faster until now she is a crawling MACHINE.  It was so fun to watch the evolution of learning to crawl to crawling, because she would get so frustrated by knowing she was SO CLOSE and then she was so happy once she figured it out!  She would smile and giggle and dart across the room in seconds.

Because she started crawling, she also started losing some of her little baby fat. :(  I am disappointed by this, but I know she is growing into a little girl and I am ok with that.  I know she is going to be a handful in the coming months, but she hasn’t exactly been a cakewalk this whole time!  She is a determined, some what stubborn, but very loving little girl.  So I am excited to see her personality growing every single day!

This month we celebrated Father’s day and Emmy’s first fourth of July.  We headed to the beach for July 4th and came back just in time for me to start a rotation in the Emergency Department.  She loved her time at the beach as always.  We also took Emmy to one of our favorite restaurants, Southern Exposure, for the first time.  She lovvvvveeeeeeed the mashed potatoes!  We went in celebration of my parent’s 42nd wedding anniversary!  I can’t wait for me and Dustin to celebrate 42 years. :)  We are well on our way seeing as how we met 10 years ago today! ;)

Emmy still hasn’t got anymore teeth yet but we expect some to peek through any day. She has become a pro at waving hello and goodbye and she has conquered the words “dada” and “baba” though we are still working on “mama.”  She does this hilarious motorboating noise with her mouth and anytime you do the same to her she will repeat it back to you.  She is starting to develop a little shyness around new people or people she has not seen in a while and can get some stranger anxiety as well.  I don’t mind this so much since she clings to me and hugs my neck for all she is worth when she gets nervous. :) I gladly take the hugs, but know we have to encourage her to not be afraid of others when she is with us.

Since she started crawling, she is exploring more than ever.  And she is SO smart.  In the first three or four days that she started crawling, I probably said the word “No no” more than I have ever in my entire life.  She is definitely learning the meaning of this word.  She is learning so much about how to manipulate objects and loves mundane things like wooden spoons, tupperware, and plastic cups much more than her toys.  She also recently started protesting diaper changes. Like screeching cries, turning over and refusing to roll back over, to allow us to finish changing her while basically being very uncooperative.  My mom asked one of the daycare teachers if she had begun acting out like this for them, and they said “Oh, yes, she did that couple times.” So my mom asked how they managed to deal with it, and Ms. Eula said very simply “Well, you tell her NO.”  My mom and I laughed because that seemed very obvious and we felt silly we had put up with her shenanigans for several days.  The next diaper change when she started rolling over, we very sternly put her on her back and said “NO Emmy” and she started up at us with the most puzzled look on her face, as if to say, “How do YOU know that word, too?!?!”.  We thought it was so funny!  She quit acting out immediately and we proceeded to change her diaper in peace…  Gotta love those daycare ladies! :)

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EM @ 8 Months

Weight: 21 lbs (down 1.5 lbs since crawling!) :(

Firsts: Crawling!  She also enjoyed eating at Southern Exposure for the first time, and she tried lots of new foods including fresh corn, fresh figs, macaroni and cheese, and watermelon.

Sizes: Still in 12-18 months clothes. Diapers: Size 5

Likes: Her new found freedom in crawling!  She also loves her new pink swing her granddaddy got for her.  They could spend hours and hours swinging together.  She loves being outdoors in general and will crawl to her stroller when she is ready for her evening stroll.  She has us all wrapped around her tiny little finger.

Dislikes: Diaper changes (still), hearing the word NO, and peaches.  She is NOT a peach fan!

 

gurleygirls

 

Seven Months

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On May 17, Emmy turned seven months old! Here’s a recap from her seventh month!

A lot of fun things happened from May 17-June 17 for our big girl. One of the biggest accomplishments this month had to be the successful arrival of her bottom TWO front teeth! Yes, our first “tooth” was actually a combo. Emmy is always outdoing herself it would seem. We really struggled (really) with cutting these two teeth but after they got here, Emmy was back to her happy-go-lucky self. It was a rough few days, but we made it. Emmy is such a sweet baby, so any time she isn’t sweet and laid back, we know instantly something is off. She was so fussy for three days before her teeth appeared. She was fussy off and on for much longer than that, but for a solid three constant days she was really out of it. We tried everything we could to calm her. Tylenol, warm baths, frozen teething rings, frozen bagels, cold wash clothes, all natural teething tablets, watching lots of Mickey Mouse… nothing seemed to work. We even decided to bring her blue kiddie pool into our living room so she could have as many toys in the pool as she wanted to make her little self feel better. We gave in to her every wish. Nothing seemed to help but time. Eventually, she woke up one morning and showed off her two new pearly whites and things have been relatively back to normal ever since!

We spent our Memorial Day weekend and the week following at Dustin’s grandparent’s beach house. It was Emmy’s first time being at the beach house with everyone there and she really loved it. You can read more about it in my last post. I loved having the week off to spend some time with my sweet little family. We took Emmy to a new surf shop on the island while we were there and they happened to have a big display of Mickey Mouse stuffed animals. As soon as she spotted one, she started grunting and kicking her feet and reaching as far as she could, trying to get her hands on one of those Mickeys. It was the first time she has ever reacted that way towards a toy. Needless to say we came home with a new, stuffed Mickey Mouse that night!

As soon as the weekend ended, we started back to rotations and I headed to the OB/GYN office where I was blessed with an amazing experience. I got to see lots of mommies growing beautiful babies and even delivered 15 babies myself. I assisted with 4 c-sections as well. It was a wonderful, albeit emotionally draining, experience. I am now starting in the Emergency Department for the next five weeks and will get one more week-long break at the end before my final THREE rotations before Graduation!!

Emmy Mae at 7 Months from Regina Gurley on Vimeo.

EM @ 7 Months

Weight: 22lbs, 5.5oz

Firsts: Emmy cut her first two teeth! She also had lots of firsts at the beach house for memorial day: First boat ride, PaPa’s homemade peach ice cream, first trip to Sear’s Landing, first time eating MeMa’s mashed potatoes and sweet tea/lemonade.   Daddy had also been dying to give her raw lemon for the first time. I think he built it up a little too much – our girl had no problem chewing on that lemon and didn’t make a single funny face! She was all business. :)

Sizes: We are hanging out in 12-18 months clothing now. I can tell she is starting to slim down a little bit and is looking more and more like a toddler and less and less like a baby…already! Diapers: Size 5

Likes: Pretending to crawl. She is getting SO close. One of the moms of another baby in her room at daycare said her baby is starting to pretend to crawl “like Emmy does.” She has quite a bit of influence, already! ;) She also loves watching Mickey Mouse. Emmy is a BIG fan of little children/toddlers. Anytime we go somewhere and she spots little kids, she starts kicking her legs frantically with excitement and she instantly becomes enthralled with them. It seems to be intensified when she is around her big cousin Karis and big cousin Dane. It is so sweet to watch all of them interact together!

Dislikes: Diaper changes. She just doesn’t have time for anything like that! She instantly starts to cry when we lay her down to change her. Hoping this phase ends soon… :)