Friday, April 5, 2013

A Woman in the Making

The past two weeks, there has been a lot going on here. Not only did my third and youngest daughter turn 22, which was enough for me to feel like I’d stepped into the Twilight Zone,  but she also passed her state test to become an EMT in the state of Virginia.

Caitlin turning 22 wasn’t something out of the ordinary; children turn twenty-two every day. But this was *my* child. And my youngest biological child. After Megan, I had Bethany, who died, and then a year later Caitlin made her entrance into the world.

Sometimes, people have thought that Caitlin was the “replacement child” for Bethany. When I got pregnant with Caitlin, some even asked me if I would name her Bethany. As if Bethany’s life meant nothing. Bethany’s life *did* mean something; it *did* have value, and her gravestone verifies that fact. She lived, and was, and had a purpose. No, I would not give Bethany’s name to my next child, as that would have invalidated Bethany.

Caitlin was not a replacement child; nothing could be further from the truth. But she was so incredibly special. While Megan had been born with Down syndrome, and Bethany had been born prematurely, Caitlin was born just four days short of her due date, and she did not breathe when she was first born. The umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck several times, and she suffered a stroke.

The stroke made her have seizures, which I saw for myself in my hospital room and told the nurses about, but they didn’t believe me and insisted that what I was seeing was just “normal newborn reflexes.” Not until Caitlin had a seizure in the nursery did the nurses believe me, and she was taken to the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit), where she stayed for eight more days until I could take her home.

This sweet child came home finally, after days and days of my begging anyone I could to take me to the hospital with my pumped breast milk to feed her each day. Because she was on Phenobarbital to control the seizures, she slept a lot. Caitlin was the most beautiful child I had ever seen, and I never tired of looking at her.

The first few weeks after I was able to take her home, Caitlin slept almost constantly, due to the Phenobarbital making her sleepy. I had to wake her for feedings. But we got through, and the days and months went by. Caitlin was monitored through blood tests and EEGs to see how her brain was responding to the dose of medicine she was on. Two months after she had turned one, she was taken off the Phenobarbital. She did great, and we just went on from there.

Caitlin faced some challenges when she was young, but she was always up to meeting those challenges. The stroke she had had at birth affected the left side of her body, but only her Early Intervention therapist and later on, her ice skating instructor, could notice the lags. I just encouraged her to reach for her dreams. Which she did, wholeheartedly.

And here we are today, with Caitlin so recently turning 22. Who would have thought? My oldest, Megan, recently turned 25, my son Ryan will soon be 13, and the infamous Timotheus turned 9 a few months ago.

Where did the time go? How did this happen? I swear to you, it seems like just yesterday that I held that little bundle in my arms and coaxed her to feed, telling her how much Mommy loved her, how much she was wanted.

And here she is now, standing before me, all grown up and forging ahead to the life she has chosen. The baby I had nourished, the child I had comforted and encouraged, the teen I had guided, the woman standing before me into whom I have invested my heart.

She is reaching for her dreams, and grabbing them. Caitlin has become someone I not only enjoy, but admire. She has turned into a person who is responsible, mature, funny, fun to be with, sensitive, loving, kind, caring, giving, and so much more. She reaches for her goals and doesn’t let any roadblocks stop her.

She’s an inspiration to me, and all I can do is thank the Lord God for making me her mother. I will always feel blessed to have been her mother and had the blessing of having raised her and known her. Caitlin Elizabeth, I love you!


  1. Beautiful post, very touching. Your children are all beautiful on this inside and out. I am so glad to have had the honor of seeing Miss Megan and Miss Caitlin (and the boys!) grow into such lovely people.

    1. Aw, thank you dear. It's been an adventure and journey. ;)