Our Spunky Princess Turns Six

February 21, 2007, Peyton Jane is born at 10:51 am. 
It was a rare moment of solitude that I remember the most about Peyton's birth six years ago. She entered the world much like her sister, quickly and with her fan club already assembled. We were blessed to have both sets of grandparents at her big debut; aunts, uncles, and friends stood ready to envelop her, eager to meet the newest Bailey girl.

It was a Wednesday morning, and I was induced, so everything went according to plan; Landry spent the day at preschool and came to see Peyton that evening. It was a sweet meeting; Landry didn't ask to send her back and seemed smitten with her new baby sister.

But the moment that I remember the most about her birth was actually the morning after. I woke up and was alone in the hospital room--that rare moment of solitude. Jason had gone to get breakfast, and they had not brought Peyton back from her night in the nursery (yes, she spent her first night in the nursery so we could get some rest. No judgment, please.) I remember lying there and thinking, "I am now the mother of TWO daughters." The weight of that reality grabbed hold of my heart and has not let go since. I remember crying as the wave of this realization washed over me--sobbing at the shear magnitude of all of the joy and all of the responsibility that being a mother of daughters brings. Maybe it was the postpartum hormones beginning their happy dance through my body, maybe it was the uneasy silence of that hospital room--all I know is that I had one of the most cathartic cries of my life the day after Peyton was born. I prayed...sobbed...choked these words to God, "Please don't let me just be the mother they need. Please help me be the mother these girls deserve..." I still pray this prayer every day.
Already a Daddy's Girl
Ready to tackle life as a family of four, we took Peyton home from the hospital. Now that we were the smug, experienced parents, Jason and I weren't going to chart every poopy diaper (yes, we did that with Landry) or set the alarm every three hours to make sure we stuck to the rigid feeding schedule (yep, guilty). This time around we were going to be the chill parents and let Peyton call the shots. Her first night at home, she slept a solid six hours. Jason and I high-fived one another because we thought we'd hit the baby jackpot. After all, God only gives you what you can handle, and since we endured countless colicky nights with Landry, we felt we deserved this little taste of baby bliss. 

But after a few days at home, we noticed that Peyton slept ALL of the time and wouldn't wake easily to eat. Our super-easy baby was perhaps a bit too chill. It got to the point where we had to strip off her clothes and use a wet cloth to rouse her enough for a feeding. I tried so hard to remain calm and not resort to my typical FREAK OUT mode, but my mother's intuition kept gnawing at me---something is wrong...something is wrong...

Our Sleeping Beauty
Unfortunately, my mom instinct was spot-on. We got a call from the state health department when Peyton was eleven days old. It was the first Saturday of March and Jason was at a track meet. Her newborn blood screenings revealed that her TSH levels were alarmingly high, which meant that she was not producing enough growth hormone and explained her sleepiness and weight loss. "Your baby is losing brain cells. You must get her to the doctor immediately." I will never forget these words of the health department nurse, which obviously scared me to my core. I later found out that these scare tactics are deliberate because not all parents will act for the well-being of their child without first hearing the worst-case scenario. (Don't even get me started...) I remember holding Peyton to my chest and praying through sobs, "Please let her be okay. Please let her be okay..." And then I did the worst thing a parent can do upon hearing a diagnosis for their child...I Googled it. BIG MISTAKE.

Our fabulous pediatrician reassured us that Peyton would only lose brain cells if her Hypothyroidism went untreated. She got us an appointment with a wonderful endocrinologist at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, and Peyton started taking Synthroid, or as we fondly call them "magic pills," at three weeks old. Her endocrinologist thinks she was not born with a thyroid gland (I thought that came "standard" on babies, but apparently not). Peyton will have to take Synthroid for the rest of her life and monitor her TSH levels with frequent blood tests. In the big scheme of things, that's easy-peezy.

Peyton wakes up thanks to those "magic pills."
Thinking about Peyton's shaky start makes me beyond thankful for the life-force that she is now. Her energy, her spunk, her bubbly personality--she brings such JOY to our family. I am forever grateful for those "magic pills" that helped bring her out of that fog, and I realize how truly lucky we are. My heart breaks for parents who don't have the luxury of the "magic pill" solution.

But being Peyton's mother is not always easy. My peacemaker tendencies and conflict avoidance do not always jive with her stubborn MY WAY mentality; she definitely saves the drama for her mama. It's in those frustrating moments--those tear-my-hair-out-kind-of-days when I have drawn that line in the proverbial sands of parenthood for the showdown of the wills--when I see that stubborn streak of my strong-willed girl come out in full force--it's in those maddening moments that I can't help but remember that sleepy little lump that wouldn't wake up for the first few weeks of her life. And it's in those moments that I can't help but remember--this is what you wanted--a strong girl who has a mind of her own. You got exactly what you wanted, Amianne. She is more than okay--she's a fighter. And even in those moments of utter frustration, I am grateful to God. I feel blessed beyond measure. 

And look at her now--such SPUNK, such SASS. If you know our Peyton, you know that she's truly a LIFE FORCE.

Happy 6th birthday to my Miss Sassy Pants. I try my best every day to be the mother that you deserve. 

Peyton Jane 


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