Now, thankfully, Sarah Grace has a much calmer story. Just as special, though.
Thomas was about four months old and I was beginning to wonder if I would lose any baby weight. I had tried to nurse Thomas, but between all the spitting up and sensitive stomach junk, we resorted to formula. That is a story in and of itself and this is supposed to be about Sarah Grace.
Joshua and I were living with his parents, and somewhere around Thanksgiving, I started wondering if I could possibly be pregnant. Again, we were on birth control, and since I had never had a child before, I had no idea what my body was doing. I guess I should say I had never recovered from having had a baby, so I wasn't sure if I was still recovering or if I might be pregnant. I had no clue and so I was just rolling with the punches. Finally I gave in and took a home pregnancy test. And another. And another. And when we announced to all the parents that they would be grandparents again, my mother in law smiled and said, "I thought so." Stinker.
We were again amazed at how the Lord was just handing kids to us. If you had asked us, we wanted kids after a few years of marriage, and then we wanted them a couple years apart each. Did I mention Thomas was only four months old? As Christmas drew near, I began to really warm up to the idea of having them so close together. Not as though I had a choice, but it was occurring to me all the nifty things that my children would share with only a year between them. In fact, Sarah Grace's due date was six days after Thomas's first birthday!
The pregnancy went smoothly enough, and I left the preschool in February to spend the next six months with Thomas and preparing for my girl. Did I know she was a girl yet? I don't remember! We did find out with Sarah Grace...I somehow thought it was necessary to know if I needed pink or blue. Why this was important to me, I will never know. They told me it was a girl, so I started stocking up on pink blankets and sleepers and hunting for the perfect crib set for a little girl. All the time saying, they could be wrong. It could still be a boy. And if it is, he will be sleeping in a pink crib. Hmmm...
Welp, it was indeed a girl! Delivery was a breeze, especially compared to the nightmare delivery I had with Thomas. And since I don't want to scare first time pregnant ladies or girls who want to have children in the future, let's just leave it at that. She arrived with all her perfect toes and perfect fingers and a head of dark hair. Hard to believe I had a hand in a baby with hair as dark as hers was at birth.
We ooh-ed and ahh-ed over her for the first few days at the hospital, and again, we were discharged with instructions to go back to the doctor for a bili-rubin check in 24 hours. It seems we had another carrot kid on our hands. We went home, slept as soundly as possible with a newborn in the house, went back to the doctor, and lo and behold, her bili-rubins were to high. This time, however, they set us up with a home photo paddle. She looked like some sort of little alien creature with her body seemingly glowing and a 'tail' protruding from her jammies. Alas, her bili-rubin level continued to climb.
Round two, the home photo-therapy bed. Now our precious little daughter was strapped into her 'straight jacket' and cuddle time was limited again. She was supposed to be on the bed for 22 hours a day. So, we fed her in the bed and when she was finished, we would excitedly scoop her out for cuddle, er, I mean burp time and diaper change and then velcro her back in. The nurses reported that her bili-rubin levels were still climbing.
Next step, on to the hospital and the pediatric tanning ward. This time, however, I was a veteran and a bit rebellious. The same nurse who had attended Thomas was taking care of Sarah Grace, and when she brought me my box of surgical masks, I groaned and thanked her. I began the process of pulling out the wires in the mask so they would be better suited as diapers. I was the ever obedient Mommy by day, keeping up the incessant flow of surgical mask changing for my baby, but by night, I slipped diapers on her. From midnight until 7am, she wore Pampers. It aggravated the nursing staff, and I was difficult and roundly ignored them. I was justified in my rebellion (whatever that means) when our pediatrician announced her bili count was finally decreasing. She had hit some pretty high levels, kissing 30, and I am told that damage starts occurring about 32 or so.
Looking back, I should not have defied the surgical mask bit, but I did. I had this notion that if the Lord gave us this baby, He would take care of her. Which He did and does, but sometimes I forget that that even though He blesses us with 'fire', we must fan the flame to care for it. It surprises me how careless I can be, while at the same time feeling as if I am doing things just right.
We went home after about 2 1/2 days and Sarah Grace charmed us all. Her brother didn't take long to warm up to her, and soon they became playmates of sorts. She would sit in her bouncer, and he would bounce her, with us reminding him not to catapult her out of the thing! She was certainly a healthier baby, and I have had the pleasure of staying home with both of them since.
While Sarah Grace had an easier infancy, she was a much more solemn baby. She wasn't a fussy baby. Quiet the opposite really. She was a much more content baby, sleeping through the night early on and very watchful of her surroundings. She was slow to bestow that sweet smile on people, but happy in a quiet and subdued way.
She is still the most solemn of our children. Her quietness and stealth help her to get elbow deep in her mischief before we pick up on what she is doing. Oh, she can be the Chatty Cathy, and normally is these days, but she has a sneaky quality to her.
She is a precious part of our life, and not a day goes by that we don't comment on our Princess Grace. She is growing into a little girl now and out of her babyhood, and while I miss it, I am enjoying her emerging personality and nurturing nature.