Friday, December 18, 2009

Road Trip!

We officially had our first road trip as a family of four. How does this differ from a road trip with just three? Tremendously! A trip that normally takes four hours driving (went to Mom and Dad's) with the occasional stop became a 6 hour trip with many long stops. Stops to eat, get out of car seat, nurse, change diapers, walk the dog, etc. etc. We decided to leave close to Gracie's bed time, gave her her milk, let her watch a little TV, and off the dream land we hoped she would go. No such luck. She LOVES her some Veggie Tales so she refused to fall asleep. She may have slept for an hour tops but was wide awake when we finally pulled in to mom and dad's around 1 am. Reese was great and slept the entire way!

Packing and the amount of stuff needed for two babies is unreal. Keep in mind that no toys were packed but a few books and a baby doll. Mom and Dad have an entire room full of toys which Grace likes to play with cause they are all new to her. We took the pack-n-play for Grace to sleep in and Reese slept in bed with us. It actually went better than expected. Grace was able to sleep the entire night without waking when I would be up with Reese and she actually slept in every morning till 9 am. This is something I wish she would do at home.

Needless to say, it was a little chaotic getting there but we had a great weekend. Matt and I attended my annual work Christmas Party in Gaithersburg, MD on Friday. Then we spent the evening with the family. Beth and Andy drove up as well as Jeremy and Lauren. We did our Christmas with Beth and Andy as they will be in GA to visit his family over the holidays.

Below are some of the pics from our weekend. It's funny to see how much more Grace is into Christmas lights, and presents, and bows, and all the fun Christmas stuff. She was so cute just staring at the tree in amazement!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Littlest Santa's helper!

This past Sunday we had the pleasure and honor of attending our first large Down Syndrome Association event. The Christmas party was for all ages and their families. They had a DJ, karaoke, face painting, elfs making animals out of balloons, games, and Santa even made an appearance as well.

We had a lot of fun. We were sad Grace couldn't be there cause she would have LOVED it but she was home recovering from her weekend illness! Reese slept through most of it but she woke up in time to meet Santa. She must get her "dancing" from her sister cause she was wiggling so much I thought she was going to wiggle right out of my arms. I warned Santa before I handed her to him and after a few pics he looked at me and said "You weren't kidding..she is a mover and a shaker." Guess she liked the music selection the DJ chose. ;)

Reese was the littlest one there and she was a huge hit! All the kids and parents wanted to see her and thought she was the cutest thing ever. Of course we agreed with them! She is a McClain! hahahahha! That totally sounded like something Matt would have said! Doesn't it?

We met a lot of great people and look forward to more events in the future. Here are some pics of our cute little Santa's helper! Enjoy!

Saturday, December 5, 2009


I mostly blog about our family and positive things but something happened this morning that really irritated me and I knew I needed to blog about it. I took Grace to the Pediatrician this morning because she has really been struggling with a cough and congestion the past few days. Well when I went to get her out of the crib this morning her face was swollen and she just looked miserable. Thankfully our pediatrician has Sat. hours.

While we were waiting in the waiting room a very sweet young girl came over to talk to Grace and I. I learned her name was Brittney and she was 14 years old. She asked lots of questions about Grace and offered her toys to Grace. Brittney is different from other 14 years girls. I'm not sure exactly what her diagnosis is but one of her legs is shorter than the other. She wore a special shoe and she spoke differently. She wasn't a "typically developing" child and this I can very much relate to. After talking to us for a while she walked over to a woman with her little girl not much older than Grace and asked how old the little girl was. Next thing you know the nurse was calling Brittney's name and off she went. We waved bye and started to play with the etch-a-sketch. Next thing I know the woman beside me leaned over and in a not so quiet voice and said "Her Grandmother needs to keep her over there and under control." I just looked at her in shock and didn't say anything. As I sat there realizing what she just said I became so angry. Angry at her ignorance and angry that my children might go through the same ridicule one day. I want to protect my children but I know that there will always be ignorant people out there judging those different than themselves. (this woman's little girl had HUGE ears but did you hear me kid has some big ears, have you thought about getting them fixed? NO, I would never say something like that because it's not important and it doesn't define who she is!)

I went from being angry to feeling bad for this woman. She probably doesn't have the pleasure of knowing a child with a disability or felt pride by watching a loved one accomplish a milestone that others take for granite. I also realized that I want to do everything I can to educate those around me so that there is less ignorance. But I know it's not going to be easy and there will always be those people who will get under my skin and upset me. I just pray for patience and for wisdom on how to respond.

Friday, December 4, 2009

2 months old!

Reese turned 2 months old on Nov. 29th. I still can't believe how fast time is going. I remember by mid Aug. I was so over being pregnant and very excited to meet our little girl. Fast forward three months and our little girl is here and growing more and more everyday.

We had her 2 month check up on Tuesday and much to my surprise and the dr's, Reese gained 2 lbs and 13 oz and grew 2 inches in one month!!! She is now 10 lbs 13 oz and 22 1/2 inches long. She is doing sooo well, especially since they said she may gain weight slower than other children! I don't think Grace ever gained almost three lbs in one month. She is filling out nicely! Don't you think?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Welcome to Holland!!!

Grace had her check-up with the Neurologist yesterday. We were excited for him to see the progress she has made since her last visit in March. He had to look at his chart to see which side was her "weaker" side. He couldn't tell!!! Amazing!!

He also said that if he had predicted this kind of progress 10 months ago he would have been stretching it!! We couldn't have been happier or more proud of Grace than we are today! She has overcome so much and we love her so much.

I recently came across a short article that really touched me and I'm sure will be a comfort for many years to come. I feel honored and excited to be both Grace and Reese's mother. I have no idea what the future holds but I can't worry about tomorrow or I might miss out on all the wonderful things today!

Welcome to Holland- by Emily Perl Kingsley

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this...

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome To Holland".

"Holland?!?" you say, "What do you mean "Holland"??? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy"

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills...Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy...and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned".

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away...because the loss of that dream is a very significant loss.

But...if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things...about Holland.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Post c-section recovery!

I can not believe how quickly these past 6 (7 weeks tomorrow) have flown by. Not only is Reese nearly two months old but I am over the worst part of a c-section. The long recovery. I was dreading it weeks before I had it because I knew that my life would change drastically.

Here are a few of the post surgery restrictions and situations I faced these past 6 weeks.

1. No lifting anything over 10 lbs (Grace weighs in currently at 25 lbs 13 oz) How do you explain to a 18 month old that Mommy can't pick her up?? Broke my heart!

2. One trip up and down stairs for first two weeks and then limited trips for following four weeks. I would have to make sure to shower and have everything I needed for the day to take with me downstairs each day. This is difficult when I had to carry Reese at the same time.

3. No exercise of any sort

4. Blow drying the incision after shower to make sure it was completely dry!

5. Lots of pain meds. I tried to stop taking them early but soon realized that if I was in pain I was of no good to either of my children. Oh yeah..and found out I'm allergic to perkasets. Had really bad rash develop on my stomach, butt, and upper legs. NOT FUN!

6. Clothing was interesting as I couldn't wear anything that sat near my bikini area incision. Lots of PJ's and elastic waisted shorts pulled up to my belly button. I couldn't be stylish if I wanted to be.

However, as bad as I'm making this seem it really wasn't that bad at all. No perinatal stitches and less bleeding are both perks. Not to mention God protected Reese by keeping her breech so that I had to have a c-section due to her low blood platelets. So overall, I'm very happy about having a c-section and the recovery went by faster than I had initially anticipated.

So if you have to have a c-section or you deliver naturally (as I have done both) neither are better than the other. Ultimately it is what is best for you and your baby!

Saturday, November 7, 2009


Today Matt and I attended our first meeting for new parents with the DSAHR (Down Syndrome Association of Hampton Roads). We were both excited to meet other parents and to gain some sort of wisdom and insight to what it means to have a child with Down Syndrome. We decided to keep Reese home with Grace and Aunt Jenn just because she isn't quite 6 weeks old yet and the H1N1 epidemic. However, we were fortunate to meet a little girl named Tori. Tori is 2 years old and a complete cutie. Her mother Karen was very candid in sharing her experiences, emotions, hopes, and love for her daughter. I think both Matt and I were amazed by this and especially with this little girl!

For the first time I saw past the diagnosis and saw the potential for my daughter. There are so many rescources, programs, and support out there for children with Down Syndrome and their families. It was strange how we had an instant connection with these parents. I'm very excited to get involved and educated. We know we have much to learn but it's nice to know we don't have to walk this path alone. We can look to those who have and are walking it now. What a blessing and an encouragement.

Monday, November 2, 2009


I can't believe Halloween has come and gone already. This year was a lot of fun as Grace was old enough to go trick-or-treating for the first time. Grace was a sweet little strawberry and Reese was a little daisy. We had record high's of 84 degrees here in VA Beach. So we didn't stay in our costumes long cause the girls would have overheated.

Grace had an entourage following her around the neighborhood. She was having a blast!! She didn't understand the concept of going to someone's door and not going in but after a few houses she caught on and started grabbing a handful of candy and putting it in her bucket.

Here are some pictures. Enjoy!

Here is Grace ready to get going.....

and she's off!!

first house....

A movie star and her Strawberry...

our little daisy's first Halloween...

Thursday, October 29, 2009

18 Months!!!

So I'm a bit behind for this post. So much time and energy goes into a newborn because they are so dependent on you. However, I don't want to miss a very monumental occasion. My little Gracie is 18 months old as of Oct. 22nd. However, she reminds me more of a 2 1/2 year old. She is so BIG! She has been doing some great things over the past month. She is practically running now and into everything. Her vocabulary has grown tremendously and is mimicking everything we do. Her latest thing is to smell her feet on command and wave around her hand like it smells and pinches her nose saying ewww... So hilarious! She is also carrying around her baby doll and putting her in the swing,pack-n-play, and feeding her a bottle.

Some of her other favorite past times is going running with dad, dancing, playing with shoes, playing with her buddies, going to the park and just being outside, and watching the occaisional "Wonder Pets" and "Backyardigans" with Daddy when he gets home from work!

I was very nervous about how Grace would adjust to having a new baby sister at home. She has pleasantly surprised me. She is always loving on her and every time the baby makes a noise, it doesn't matter where she is in the room, she runs to her side to check on her. When people come by to visit she is very verbal and seems like she is trying to introduce them to her or telling them that that is HER baby sister. Very cute!

My baby is growing up too fast. Here is a picture of her this time last year and a recent one. We are so proud of her and all her accomplishments. She surprises us every day. Even though she isn't the baby anymore she is still my baby!

Enjoy your kids! They grow up too fast!

Pumpkin Patch 09'

This is our 2nd year to take Grace to the pumpkin patch. They have a really great one here called Hunt Club Farm. The difference from this year and last is Grace's mobility. Last year she was just sitting up so we could prop her up and pose her for all kinds of fun pictures. This year, we were lucky to grab a few. The girl was all over the place! The weather was incredibly warm, upper 70's. It was a great day to get out of the house (and believe me we all needed that).

Grace rode her first kiddie ride. She went on it with Aunt Jenn and cousin Alex. She was all smiles before the ride but as you can see that changed quickly once the ride began. Bless her heart.

She also kept pointing to the Ferris Wheel so Aunt Bethany and Lauren decided to take her on it. Again, excited to get on but not so excited once the ride began.

We also attempted the pony ride but as soon as we put her on she was not having it. I think also, it was too close to nap time. Maybe next year.

As you can see Reese slept through most of it but still came up in her pumpkin best!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Some of my favorite pics....

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Our Baby Girl is Home!!

We brought our precious baby girl home yesterday. Her platelet levels have stabilized and are at an all time high of 167,000 (they were at a dangerous low at only 23,000 before her transfusion last Thursday). Her jaundice is much better and she is still feeding like a champ. We were able to "room in" with her Tuesday night at the hospital. She did great. I actually had to wake her up every three hours to feed her.

She met her big sister, Grace for the first time yesterday. The meeting went better than expected. Grace was very interested in Reese, touching her toes and even giving her kisses. It was a precious moment and one that I will forever cherish. And seeing them together made it real..I have two beautiful daughters! What a blessing!

With this past week behind us, there are a lot of emotions and things we are still trying to process. We have kept one significant detail to ourselves mainly because we were awaiting the results of one test. However, we knew pretty much after a few hours of life what the diagnosis would probably be. We got the results yesterday before she was discharged.

Reese has Trisomy 21, better known as Down Syndrome. Even as I type this it is hard for me to comprehend. We were so concerned with the possibility of Reese having a stroke in utero like her sister, that this never crossed our minds. Also, me being only 31 years old, we were ignorant to the fact that it does occur in 1 out of 877 births for woman my age. The statistical probability I believe is 1-2%. So although the odds seem unlikely, my children fall within the these small statistics.

We do however believe Reese is a gift and a miracle. My OB told me that if we had delivered naturally that Reese most likely wouldn't have survived or would have most definitely bled internally (in brain or intestines) due to her blood platelets being so low. We know God protected her by not allowing her to flip which in turn caused me to have a c-section. I thought maybe there was a cord around her neck but the low blood platelet was something I couldn't see and was much more severe. So thank you Lord!!

I know that many of you are feeling bad or even sorry for us. Please don't feel that way. We may not understand and may never will but we are so blessed and so thankful that God chose us to raise these special children. Good news is that her ECHO cardiogram came back heart defects or problems. That is great news as many children with Downs have heart problems. She also passed her hearing test and her CT Scan and many more important tests. She is healthy and we are going to be meeting with a genetic counselor soon to ask our questions and get more information about how to make her quality of life the best we can.

We love you and all can't express in words how much we appreciate your prayers and all you have done for our family. We are so blessed to have you all in our lives. We couldn't have gone through this with out you and we know you are there with us on our journey as parents to both Grace and Reese.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Our newest addition....

Reese Taylor McClain came into this world Sept. 29th, 2009 at 10:57 am. She was 7 lbs 7 oz and 20 inches long. The c-section wasn't nearly as bad as I had expected and I'm trying my best to take care of myself and recover quickly so that I can be at my best for both of my girls. Many of you know the complications that Reese faced at birth. Her breathing was the first concern and because of this she spent the first 24 hours of birth in the level 2 nursery at Chesapeake General Hospital. I wasn't even able to hold her! You can imagine my panic and emotional state especially after going through a similar situation with Grace after she was born. It wears me out to even relive this and type it all out. I just don't have the strength tonight. However, I know so many of you are praying and thinking of us and I wanted to let you know how much we appreciate it. We feel the prayers and I know Reese does.

Her currant status is she is at CHKD (one of the best children's hospital on the east coast) and has been doing great. Her platelet levels are stabilizing and she is feeding very good! Now the issue of concern is her jaundice. She is under the photo therapy lights with the cool sunglasses! We thought we were going to get to "room in" (stay in a room with her in the hospital) tonight and take her home tomorrow but that isn't the case. They want to keep her a little longer to get her billy ribbon (not sure if that is how you spell it) levels down before we take her home. So now we are looking at either Wed. or Thursday.

She has had several tests and they have all come back good! We are still awaiting one test which will determine a lot concerning her future. That is all we are saying for now until we know for sure. But this we do know..she is a precious gift and we love her so much! We can't wait for her to meet everyone of our dear friends and family who have been praying for her since she entered this world almost one week ago!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Grace is Walking!!!!

It's official! Our little Gracie is walking. We are so proud of her. She has been doing so good and just in the past few weeks she has really gotten the confidence to take steps without holding onto our hand. Her therapist said she is doing great. Her new SMO brace is fitting great and she is pretty much wearing it all day. The AFO (larger brace) is a no go right now but the therapist said she is doing so good without it that she may never have to wear it. Praise God!! We'll see how it goes as she grows.

God has done so many amazing things in Grace's life since her diagnosis of Hemi-peligia Cerebral Pasley back in Jan. We had no idea what that meant and we still have lots of questions but she is doing so well that we know there is nothing in life that she won't be able to accomplish if she puts her mind to it. She has such a determined and strong-willed personality which I believe will help her face any obstacle in life. Her OT also has CP and she said that Grace is going to be just fine and her personality alone will take her far.

Cognitively she is right on track and even a head verbally. She is a talker that is for sure. We just praise God every day. That stroke could have taken her life and although her right motor skills may never be equal to her left, she is doing her best and continues to amaze everyone that knows her and sees her progress.

Thanks to all of you for your prayers, your encouragement, and investing so much into our little Gracie. We couldn't have come this far without you all!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Reese Update!

I'm currently writing this blog with speakers taped to the lower part of my abdomen. I hope Reese likes Diana Krall and Nat King Cole. I'm trying everything out there to get this little girl to flip. The ultrasound tech said to try music cause sometimes they try to follow the music.

I had my weekly check up this morning along with an ultrasound to check on the status of little Ms. Reese. Good news is that she is gaining weight at a good pace now and is around 6 lbs 9 oz. at nearly 38 weeks. She is still breech but there is plenty of amniotic fluid so she has a good chance of turning this late in the game. That explains why my stomach seems so much larger with this baby. I have lots of fluid!

So what's next you might ask? Where do we go from here? That is exactly what I asked my dr. She was just as bummed about it as I was. She knows how important it is to me to deliver naturally. However, we both want what is best for the baby. The problem with attempting to deliver a breech baby is the risk of head entrapment which can cut off oxygen to the baby. This also makes it more difficult to get the baby out with an emergency C-section.

We are going to give it another week and when I go back on Thursday for my weekly visit and check her position again, we will go from there. More than likely if she doesn't flip we will schedule a c-section for either Sept. 28th or Sept. 29th. And if she does flip my dr. will most likely schedule an induction. They don't want me to go too long becasue of what happened with Grace. They don't want to take any chances and have her in there longer than 40 weeks.

Looks like in 10 days or less (if she decides to come on her own before that) we will be welcoming our little girl into this world. I'm excited but nervous too. Not nervous about how she gets here but nervous because I'm not sure how Gracie will respond. I pray she isn't too jealous and that I'm still able to spend quality time with her while taking care of a newborn.

Thankfully we have lots of family and friends supporting us and willing to help out how ever they can. I know I will take them up on it, especially if I have to have a c-section as it is a long recovery. But until then I'm asking everyone prays for God's will with this labor and delivery. If Reese shouldn't flip due to danger to her then of course I want a c-section but if there is no risk and she's just enjoying hanging out under my ribs, closest to my heart, then I pray she flips around in time to be born naturally.

I'll try my best to update you as we learn more.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wedding Traditions!

This past Friday morning Matt, Bethany, Andy and I headed to Chesapeake City, MD (about an hour north of Baltimore) for Jessica Curran's wedding. Jess and her family are good family friends. We have known each other since 7th grade. We were on the same church district and went to camps and district events all throughout high school and Beth and I use to drive my 89 Chevy Citation to Baltimore on the weekends to visit her and her sisters! We have lots of great memories and traditions including singing in all of their weddings. First was her mom's wedding in 2000, then Jenn's wedding (Jess's older sister) June 2003, Katie's wedding (Jess's younger sister) Sept 08, and now Jess's wedding Sept 09. Even 9 months pregnant I wasn't going to miss her wedding. Of course I went to the Dr. the day before we left to make sure everything was okay. That was a great visit actually. I lost 1 lb and my blood pressure was great. She just advised that I make sure I knew where the closest Labor and Delivery Hospital was. Thankfully we didn't have to worry about that.

Our trip there was rather long due to the GPS taking us the wrong way around DC, thus getting stuck in rush hour traffic. We ended up missing the rehearsal but made it to the rehearsal dinner. What I love about Jess and the rest of the Curran's is their love for crabs! They introduced Bethany and I to crabs probably in early high school. We grew up in MD but for some reason never got into them till we started hanging out with them. So it was to be expected that we would get to chow down on some yummy MD crabs at the rehearsal dinner! Good times!

Later that night, we checked into our hotel. We were suppose to be staying in a one bedroom suite at the Hilton, Non-smoking, with two queen size beds. Well we walked in to the room and it obviously wasn't non-smoking so I called the front desk and they upgraded us to a two bedroom suite free of charge! We had three tv's!! It was great! We decided to go for a nigh swim and hang out with some old friends.

Now all along, I am missing Grace like crazy. This is only the third time I've been away from her and probably the furthest distance I've been away from her ever! But she was staying home and her Aunt Jenn and cousin Alex were watching her so I knew she would be in good hands and would have a blast. However, Jenn called me later that afternoon and Grace was beginning to get a fever and not feeling well. Her nose was constantly much that they went through an entire box of Puffs plus in less than 24 hours. So not only am I missing her but I'm feeling guilty that she is sick and I'm not there to comfort her. Long story short, she didn't sleep well at all for her Aunt Jenn that night and her temp got up to 102.

But what could I do, I was over 5 hours away and still had the wedding to get through. So I just prayed for her and talked to her on the phone and told her mommy would be home soon! We had a relaxing morning and afternoon, went and discovered the little college town (University of Delaware) that we were staying in, and ate a really good cupcake from a little shop that was recently featured on the Food Network. Then we got ready and headed to the wedding. It was a gorgeous day, couldn't have ordered a more perfect day for the wedding. Jess looked beautiful and Matt cried when she walked down the isle. I could barely look at him during our song. She picked the song "Kind and Generous" by Natalie Merchant. At first I was like, okay..not your average wedding song but after I really started looking at the words and hearing Jess's reasoning for picking it I realized how it was thanking God for bringing them together. Andy played acoustic guitar and we slowed it down some! They were pleased so I guess that is all that matters.

The reception was fun and the food was amazing. The thing about being 9 months pregnant is you think you can eat a lot more than you really can. So I was quite miserable by the time we climbed in the car at 10 pm to drive home. Yep, that's right. We drove straight home. We didn't get in till 4 am but it was worth it. I wanted to see my little girl and Andy needed to get back for church. Overall it was a great trip and a nice get a way for Matt and I before Reese gets here.

Grace had a rough time on Sunday and ended up sleeping on me during her nap but she is feeling much better today. I think we are almost over this nasty little cold.

Here are some pics of the wedding! Don't be alarmed when you see the size of my stomach because I was shocked! I knew my stomach was big but didn't realize how big till I saw it in these pictures! hahahahah!