Disclaimer: I do not own the characters from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman. The rights to those characters and to the show belong to the creators of the show, to CBS, and to A&E.
Back to Normal
The sun was quickly setting on the day that had changed their lives forever. The sky was full of orange, pink and purple swirls that seemed to stretch on until the end of time. Pike's Peak looked beautiful at this time of the day, and Michaela's mind wandered back to sitting near the top when Sam died. She remembered how beautiful the sky had been and how bright the stars were after the sun went down.
The stars would be out soon, and this would be Katherine Sully's first night in her hand-carved cradle, made especially for her by her loving father. She had had a big day after her dramatic birth in the middle of nowhere. Michaela and Sully had ridden into town, and the entire community had come to welcome them home and greet the newest citizen of Colorado Springs.
The children were settling into their rooms upstairs with their homework. They had neglected it as of late with all of the preparations for the new baby. Now that Katie was here, things were returning to normal. Normal. Michaela chuckled a bit as she cradled her daughter in her arms on the front porch of the beautiful homestead that Sully had made with his own two hands. She remembered Dorothy telling her that normal wouldn't be normal anymore after the baby came, and her friend had been quite right. When baby Katie entered the world, the word 'normal' took on an entirely different meaning. Now, normal was going to be getting up in the middle of the night to come to the aide of a crying infant, setting one more place around the kitchen table, celebrating one more birthday each year and adding one more stocking to the mantle at Christmas time. Normal was going to be better than ever.
"You comin' inside?" Sully wondered as he limped out onto the porch with Michaela's shawl in his hands. The breeze was starting to pick up, and Michaela held Katie closer to her body. Miss Katie was wrapped up in the quilt her grandmother had made for her. Sully gently wrapped the shawl around his wife's shoulders and then wrapped his arms around her. Seeing his wife with their daughter in her arms was better than Sully had ever dreamed. Katie was something that was created out of the mutual love and respect Michaela and Sully had for one another. She was truly a miracle in both of her parents' eyes, but especially to Michaela. She had thought she was too old to have a child, but Katie was living proof that her thoughts just weren't true. If another child came along in the future, Michaela knew it would be another miracle, but for now, having Katie was one of the greatest blessings she'd ever received.
"I'll be in soon. I just want Katie to see the first stars," Michaela replied with a smile. Sully kissed Michaela's cheek.
"I'll sit with ya." He sat down on the porch and helped his wife sit down. She winced a little, but soon situated herself comfortably. Katie's eyes were wide and bright, unlike most newborns who would rather sleep than check out their surroundings. She seemed to love looking at the sky. She was already so much like her father in that respect. He was a lover of nature to his very core. Michaela was as well, but she knew that Katie naturally took after her father, seeing as Michaela had spent most of her life in the prim and proper society of Beacon Hill and Boston. Katie would never have to worry about her mother's opinion of her, Michaela would make sure of that. She would always encourage her daughter to do the best, and she'd always be there when the best wasn't good enough in her daughter's eyes.
"Look at her, Sully. She's beautiful."
"She is," Sully replied with a smile. "She looks like ya, and that's just what I thought she'd look like."
"She does look like me, I agree," Michaela began, "but I can already tell she's going to take after you."
"Why do ya say that?"
"Look at her, Sully. I've never seen a newborn baby so alert before. Look at the way she's looking around at the trees and the sky. She certainly has a true love of nature."
"So do you," Sully replied. "Ya just didn't know it 'til ya came here."
"It's hard to believe that one event in a person's life can change their lives forever. If my father hadn't died of that stroke, I never would have left Boston. I might be married to some stuffy doctor and working under him at some hospital."
"And I never woulda met you."
"That's true," Michaela replied with a nod. She looked down at Katie. "We've been blessed, Sully. This little girl is never going to know what it's like to not be loved. She's always going to have our family, and we're lucky to have her."
Katie began to fuss, and Michaela rocked her back and forth. Sully smiled as Katie's little face turned a new shade of pink.
"Here, let me hold her," he suggested. Michaela passed their daughter to her husband, and he kissed the top of her head.
"There ain't nothin' to cry about, Katie. You're a lucky little girl to have a ma like the one you've got. We all love you, and we're gonna make sure you're safe and happy." Michaela smiled as she watched her husband with their firstborn child. She wondered if there would be any more children in their future or if this was it, but if Katie was the only child she would ever be lucky enough to give birth to, she was sure glad she was the one lucky enough to be called her mother.
Katie's cries stopped after a few minutes, and Sully remained rocking his daughter back and forth. Michaela reached over to stroke her husband's arm softly.
"You have quite a way with her."
"So do you. Soon as I put her in your arms for the first time, she stopped cryin' and just stared up at ya." That was true. Michaela knew her mother had been right from the moment she saw her daughter's beautiful face. When Sully had lifted her up into the world, a sense of peace and calm had washed over the new mother. Holding Katie in her arms for the first time had been one of the most magical experiences that Michaela had ever known.
After a few minutes, the sun disappeared from the sky, and the stars began to sparkle. Sully smiled and pointed up at the sky.
"Look, Katie," he whispered. "Look at the stars." Katie's little eyes sparkled with the starlight, and Sully slowly handed her over to Michaela.
The three stayed on the porch for a few minutes before retiring into the homestead for the evening. Little Katie went right to sleep in her cradle as soon as Michaela put her down. She couldn't take her eyes off of the little miracle that she had given birth to. Both of the new parents sat down on the edge of the bed.
Michaela leaned her head on Sully's shoulder, and her mind drifted back to the few minutes after Katie's birth.
"Look at her little toes," Michaela cooed as Sully bundled Katie up into his coat. The baby's eyes were tired and slowly shutting out the light. She was tired, as anyone would be after what she'd just gone through with her mother.
"She's perfect," Sully replied with a smile, kissing his wife softly. "Wonder what the kids are gonna think of her?"
"They'll love her," Michaela replied matter-of-factly. "I know Colleen wanted a baby sister. Brian wanted a brother, but I'm sure he'll jump at the chance to chase the boys away when he's older."
"Oh no. She's not datin' 'til she's your age."
"Are you saying I'm old?" Michaela asked with a laugh.
"You ain't old," Sully whispered, kissing her again. "You're still look as young as the day I first saw ya." Michaela let out a content sigh.
"We need to name her."
"Katherine," she immediately suggested. Sully swallowed hard and looked at his wife curiously.
"Katherine? Why Katherine?" Thoughts of the young woman who'd come into their lives just two years ago entered his mind. Why would Michaela want to name her that? "After what happened?" Michaela took Katie into her arms.
"Sully, this isn't about the past," she replied quietly. "Marjorie was telling me of a book she read by Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Her writings helped Marjorie out of her darkest hour. I think naming her Katherine Elizabeth would be a tribute to all women and to my mother. I want our daughter to grow up being independent and able to think for herself. What do you think?"
"I think Katie's gonna grow up to be one heck of a lady, just like her ma," Sully replied with a smile. Michaela's eyes lit up happily, and she leaned forward to kiss her husband.
"I love you," she whispered.
"I love you."
"We best turn in. I'm sure Katie's gonna be wakin' us up soon." Sully winced as his ankle started to bother him.
"I'm alright," he insisted. "Just had a little pain is all."
"Do you want me to get you anything?"
"Nah. Just get in bed and let me hold ya," Sully replied, climbing in on his side, slipping his shirt off, and placing it on a nearby chair. Michaela smiled and slipped into her nightclothes, finding that her gown was much too big for her now. She stood in front of the mirror and laughed a little at herself. "What?"
"I think I'd better have these gowns taken in," she said with a smile. "Emma will definitely be making a fortune off of me!" Sully grinned as he noticed how big her gown was on her. She changed into a slightly smaller gown and crawled into bed to lay next to her husband. He pulled his good arm around her and gave his injured one a rest.
"'Nite," he whispered to her. When he didn't get a response, he looked down to see that Michaela was already sleeping. What a day she'd had. The woman had been through a great ordeal, and she deserved all of the sleep she could get.
As Sully drifted off into a deep sleep, he smiled, thinking about how wonderful it was to have Katie as his daughter. He was relieved for Michaela that the pregnancy was over and relieved for the rest of the family. Now things could get back to normal.