Rachel had never considered herself to be much of a romantic. Trying to come up with baby names during her pregnancy, her list consisted of sensible, practical names like "Christopher" or "Rebecca". But in the haze of pain, drugs and hormones, as the doctor placed her newborn son into her arms, she decided at the last moment to name him Phoenix, after the Academy where she had met his father.
Now, as she left the hospital with a healthy, 7.5 pound baby boy, the world suddenly seemed more overwhelming than she had remembered.
As she rode home in the taxi, the reality of her situation sank in like it never had during her pregnancy. None of her books had prepared her for this tiny, living and breathing, but completely helpless person blinking up at her. There was no one waiting for her at home, and no one she could turn to for help if she needed it. What if she couldn't do this?
Once home, seeing the photograph of Zhan smiling from the dresser as she carried Phoenix into the bedroom finally calmed her nerves.
"That's your daddy, Phoenix," Rachel told him; the baby seemed more more interested in trying to eat her necklace.
"He's far away right now," she continued as she distracted him with a bottle, "but if he were here he would sing you beautiful songs and say funny things to make you laugh."
"I hope you get to meet him some day," her confidence restored, Rachel laid him gently down for the night.
As she drifted off to sleep herself that evening, she could feel that everything was going to be alright. Tomorrow she would be returning to work and she and Phoenix were going to be just fine.
The next morning was Rachel's first chance to wear her traffic cop uniform. She thought she looked pretty snazzy.
"You be a good boy for Mr. Oglesby while Mommy's at work," Rachel instructed as she said goodbye.
There, that wasn't so hard, she thought to herself as she strode out to the carpool, trying to push aside the doubts that kept creeping into her mind about leaving her baby alone with a stranger all day.
After all, she knew she could trust the babysitter. At 64, Jarod Ogelsby was a nice old man who loved children, but had never had any of his own. After he had retired, he signed up with the babysitting agency in order to live vicariously through other sims' families. Even though Jarod was older, Rachel was glad for Phoenix to have a positive male presence in his life. Still, she couldn't help but feel slightly guilty as she left.
"I'm home! Did you miss me?" Rachel greeted Phoenix when she returned home that afternoon. She found that she was much more prompt about leaving work at 3pm sharp than she used to be.
Rachel quickly discovered that it was much more difficult to keep a baby on a schedule than she had anticipated, and yet somehow she was able to make it through the midnight feedings.
And the dirty diapers.
While still managing to keep up with both the housework and her career.
As the months passed, Rachel became more and more disappointed that she had not heard from Zhan. She knew her letter had been a long shot, but she had still hoped to hear something. Things were going well for them, though, so she tried not to dwell on it.
Of course, things couldn't stay good forever. Rachel was severely reminded of this one day as she attempted to fix a problem with the stereo.
By the time she recovered from the shock, an electrical spark that had leapt onto the wooden casing had become a flame and quickly grown out of control. Rachel frantically dialed the fire department as the fire spread closer to the bedroom where Pheonix lay in his crib.
The firefighter arrived to find her struggling to keep the flames back.
Together, they were able to extinguish the fire before it could reach the sleeping babe.
Soon after, it was time for Phoenix's first birthday. Having survived yet another near fatal disaster, Rachel felt as if the celebration was for both of their lives. She still didn't want a big party, but did invite Jarod over for cake. His exuberance helped to lighten the mood.
"Make a wish!" Rachel said, leaning over the cake. She hoped Phoenix wouldn't mind if she made one, too.
Although he had inhereted his mother's hair and eye color, Rachel was amazed by how much Phoenix was growing up to look like his father.
Cake was served, which the adults enjoyed while Phoenix feasted on his fingers.
And the celebration ended with dancing in front of the newly replaced stereo.
The unabridged journey home from the hospital:
I thought it was so hilarious that she had that look on her face the whole time. You can tell that she was having second thoughts about this whole baby thing. xD
Also, Jarod is a pervy old man:
I don't know who that is he's swooning over, but it's definitely not his (younger) girlfriend he's currently in a relationship with. He really is a family-oriented sim without a family, though, so I thought I'd focus on that part in the story since Rachel probably wouldn't know much about his love life anyway.