And Then I Bloomed Forth a Little Cherokee Rose
While I'm up telling birth stories, I'll add the story about Miss Justice Esther for good measure.
Justice Esther Hannah Grace, 3rd child, so three middle names. You may correctly assume that Skyler, being my 2nd born has two middle names. And yes, Nina has only one.
In my father's family, where the Cherokee bloodline and citizenship comes from for us, there is a trend of child naming that we follow without needing to be informed in advance. The trend is what I just described in the previous paragraph.
Justice's date with destiny interrupted my plans to attend Rhema Bible College in Broken Arrow, OK
I had to turn a huge ship around very quickly. Raised by a stay at home mother, there's only one way I know how to do things with my children: in the fullness of each tasks appropriate time. So for me the answer was unquestionable, and college would have to be postponed for her.
When I found out I was carrying, I called her a girl and just like when I told my relatives that my 8 week old second born fetus was a son, they scoffed and questioned full-doubtedly. But we speak things that are not as though they are, and any mother who grasps this principle is the physical embodiment of completely defied science; if she cares to know it.
With Justice I did everything according to taste. She craved homemade treats such as baked squash and ranch dressing; deep fried tofu; homemade guacamole and pizza on wheat crusts. I drank soy and almond milks, and from 5 months on had to lay in bed because she wanted to come out and see everyone already.
She moved significantly more than Skyler did, and the heartburn was like gurgling car oil in the back of my throat. She didn't care for the pickled ginger, but it was the only remedy that helped.
The doctor predicted at 37 weeks that she would be a 6 lb 4 oz baby, and I thought that sounded nice. But I had to admit that she filled the screen quite a bit more than her 8 pound (at birth) big brother did right before he was delivered.
The day of prediction rung like the gong of a cathedral church bell throughout my body for seven days following. As labor slowly progressed, other than the vomiting after contractions, I felt no pain and was content to wait.
However my babysitter for my son was foreseeing crisis in her circumstances, and timing became an issue; so we went for a few jogs on the night marking the 38th week.
At midnight I went into the ER and was dilated 4 centimeters. I requested my epidural and later in the morning was administered pitocin.
I delivered her just before lunch and a terrible 8 lb. 11 oz.
When I asked Doctor Stallone (pronounced: Stuh-lo-nee) how many stitches I needed, he just smiled at the two of us, nodded and said with a giggle (in a very italian accent) "Enjoya your baby."
She was the calmest baby of the first three. At birth we had to disturb her with a foot poke to get her to make a sound once her throat was cleared. When the nurse took offense from the doctor over a typical birthing occurrence (I think the nurse was new) Justice turned red from head to toe and filled the room with a roar.
However all the talking to her in the womb paid off and when I called her name gently, she calmed and the red color fled her appearance.
She also enjoyed sharing her comedic brilliance with the nurses in the hospital nursery. When she was wheeled back into my room after standard immunizations were administered, I heard a cooish giggle and the nurse personally giggle with my newborn and complimenting her funny jokes.
When I asked the nurse what was so funny, I was told that every time they touched Justice she would fart and grin really big about it. Apparently when one of the other nurses noticed what Justice was doing and let a giggle slip out in the nursery, Justice began her cooish giggle over the humor of her own bodily function as well.
She latched right on for cholostrum and milk. She wouldn't complain if she was hungry. She would just look at me, and coo if I was staying asleep too long. As she grew I would open my eyes during sleeping hours to find her watching me, and I would ask her, "Are you hungry?" or "Do you need to be changed?" and she would nod appropriately to whichever the need was.
She would give a slight whimper when it was both, and she still is the overflowing cup of joy in our family tree.
At four months of age, we were in Oklahoma and I was taking ridiculous heat from society for breastfeeding my child. So I resorted to putting her on formula during the days and breastfeeding her only at night.
The first day of this change is still my favorite story to tell.
When I gave her the first bottle, she drank it down giving no apparent acknowledgement to the difference. Maybe because she had received my milk in a bottle so many times before and it didn't register with her entirely.
When it was time for the second bottle, she looked at me like I might have lost my mind, and refused at first pushing the nipple of the bottle out with her tongue.
With it was time for the third bottle, we had trouble. She pushed and pushed the nipple, cried and routed insanely. (We were in public.) After several minutes of her protest filling my ears, my then four month old daughter sat straight up and through tears shouted, "Bad mama!" before surrendering to the bottle.
My son and I laughed really hard.
That night when we curled up in bed, and I placed my breast where she could nurse, a final sigh of grattitude and complete relief filled the room. And so she adjusted.