My third child, Mary Katherine, turned 10 yesterday. It made me feel so very ancient. I still see myself as the young mom with small children, but somehow time has slipped through my fingers and my toddlers are now adolescents.
Katie was my third child in three years. She was an unexpected event in my life. I was considering the possibility of adding another child to our family, but planned to wait at least 2 or 3 years until the other kids were potty trained. However, God's plan was not my plan, and He blessed me with an absolutely beautifully amazing daughter.
I was shocked to realize that I was pregnant, with Grace just a year old and James not even 2. Then the morning sickness set in, and it was unbelievably horrific. As I alternated laying in the bathroom floor hugging the toilet with laying on the edge of my bed vomiting into a bowl for 16 weeks, I was very unsure about God's timing on this third baby. I couldn't care for myself, much less two small children. But the morning (all day and all night) sickness ended, and I began to enjoy the baby moving and accept that we were gaining another child into our family.
Katie arrived after a brief induction on April 6, 2000. She was 9lbs, 5 oz. with a head full of fuzzy black hair. She was stunningly beautiful. We had a few rough weeks at the beginning. She could not create a strong enough suction to breastfeed, or to even suck from a bottle. I fed her with a syringe for a couple of weeks until she could take a bottle, and gave her a bottle until she could finally breastfeed. I spent my days hooked up to an electric pump, putting the milk into syringes, slowly feeding her, then hooking up again to get the milk for the next feeding. She was jaundiced, and had to be held on a blanket filled with special lights 24 hours a day for the first couple of weeks.
Anybody surprised that postpartum depression hit me hard? 3 tiny children, 700 square feet of living space, no sleep, and no relief from the stress.
But like most things, the challenging part passed quickly. Katie learned to eat more easily, and we resumed our life. I spent my days reading, singing, and playing with my kids. We went for long walks at the park, taking a sack of old bread to feed the ducks. We explored kid friendly museums, and visited every playground around. We played pooh sticks on a little bridge on the seminary campus, and found ways to have adventures every day - even with no money.
Katie was blessed with a unique personality. She is a container of pure joy. She is positive and happy nearly all the time. She delights in life and in other people. She loves to be able to create beautiful art to share with others. Katie is gifted with a sense of color and design. It is like God filled her up to the brim with beauty, and it spills over into everything she does. We call her tinkerbell, because as a tiny little girl she said, "thank you," all the time. Only in her wee little voice, it sounded like, "tink um." So her Daddy began to call her Tinkerbell and it stuck.
Katie has been an absolute miraculous delight in my life. She innately senses when things are wrong, and seeks to comfort. She looks for ways to make dull situations fun, and delights in living life to the fullest. I did not understand God's plan at the time, but I cannot imagine a more amazing little girl. I am so glad that God placed her into our lives. Happy Birthday, Tinkerbell.