Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Reflections on Christmas 1982 (Jenae's First Christmas)

I am remembering this day (December 25th) 36 years ago. Two days earlier, I had given birth to our fourth child (and fourth daughter). We had named her Jenae.
Jenae was a beautiful little baby with a cute little turned up nose, black hair, dark eyes, and yellow skin. The yellow skin was due to jaundice. The pediatrician was concerned that it had come on so early. She needed testing, and she needed photo therapy to break up the bilirubin. I was still hopeful that we would be able to go home in time to celebrate Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with my husband and our three oldest daughters. But it was not to be. My doctor released me to go home, but Jenae's numbers were not good. She would need to stay in the hospital under the lights. I determined to stay in the hospital with her.
Camie, aged six, had been marking off each December day on a calendar she had been given at school. She was anticipating the visit from a certain “jolly old elf” that was to deliver gifts to her and her siblings on Christmas Eve. Jerry explained the situation to Camie who then wrote her second letter to Santa, explaining the situation and requesting that he delay his visit by one day.
Christmas day was very quiet and peaceful. Jenae was brought to me in a Christmas stocking with a red bow (in lieu of pink) pasted in her hair. I snuggled with her when she wasn't under the lights, and listened to the music of The Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I reflected on the birth of my Savior so many centuries earlier. Christmas 1982 will go down as one of my most special Christmas memories.
The next day, Jenae was still not ready to go home. She would need to stay at least one more day under the lights. With a somewhat heavy heart, I released my tiny infant to the capable care of the nursery staff at Medical City Dallas and left the hospital with empty arms.
We had a wonderful "Christmas Eve" and "Christmas Day." Santa honored Camie's request and delivered Christmas gifts to all of us (albeit a day later than normal). The nurses at the hospital called to give me frequent updates on Jenae.
On December 27th, Jerry drove Camie, Alyssa, Kindra, and me to pick up our newest family member. This time I exited the hospital with a cute little bundle. She was our best Christmas gift ever!