Since it was Sharon's birthday, and I recovered all our pictures of her from my parents' computer while we were visiting, I've been taking some time to look through all of our pictures from her 3-month stay at the hospital. Looking at these pictures, I can hardly believe that she was really that small. It's hard to remember sometimes that she had such a rough start at life since she is now doing so well, and seems so normal. I count myself extremely blessed to have her in my life. She constantly makes me laugh and she is so smart, and cute, and inquisitive, and determined, and stubborn (not at all like her mother), and she is such a huge part of my life! I never would have guessed that one of the trials of my life would be to have a premature baby the size of Sharon, and it's still hard to believe it's only been a year, but I wouldn't change one bit of the experience. Yes, it was stressful. Yes, I had many emotional breakdowns, usually about once a week, or if Sharon was having a bad day. BUT I also had so many blessings throughout the whole experience. Seeing such a tiny little person (yes, she was a person, even being that small, with her own personality and attitude) fight to survive even though everything was so hard has given me a small glimpse into the wonderful miracle that life is. There is no way that we are simply an accident!
Anyway. These pictures were taken on September 15, 2009. Sharon was starting to look a little better by this time, as her eyes were finally opened (since they were still fused shut when she was born), the bruising on her head was going away, she didn't look so much like she'd been socked in both eyes, and she'd gained a little bit of weight, so she didn't look quite so alien. I can't get over how teenie tiny her hand is. I mean, do you see that! Her whole hand was as big as the first joint of my thumb! She even has finger nails on those tiny fingers. I love these two pictures! I'm not even sure why because they certainly aren't the most darling, or the most glamorous. Maybe it's because that even though she was covered in tubes, wires and tape, all I could see was my amazing little girl, her cute little nose, her Wilhelm chin, and her many amazing expressions.
I was sitting next to a woman at church today who has a fairly new baby. She was sleeping, but every now and then would make little squeaking sounds. Then at the end of the meeting she started to cry, the newborn cry, because she was hungry and I couldn't help but smile and feel a twinge of envy. I remember sitting in the delivery room after they'd taken Sharon out and hearing a baby screaming in the other room. What I would have given to have a beautiful new baby screaming in my arms. And for the next 2 months we couldn't hear anything from Sharon because of the breathing tubes. When we finally heard a tiny cry from her it was such a welcome sound, and pretty emotional for me as well! I love to hear her cry (I prefer laughing now) because her crying just makes me realize how blessed I am that she was able to stick around and be our little girl! I love you, Sharon!