Jubilee was due November 18th.
I was so sick early in her pregnancy, I couldn’t even read or knit, because both activities made me dizzy. All I could do was lie on the couch and keep my five children (ranging in age from one to six) alive. Then of course, we added in Mordecai…I was quite eager to give birth and get back to my old self. Not to mention, I wanted to try to breastfeed Mordecai, and each day Jubilee wasn’t born he was getting older . I didn’t dare risk nursing him before she was born, lest I bring on labor early…
Finally, during the early morning hours of November 20th, my labor began. Regular contractions that drove me out of bed. Our midwife at the time lived about 45 minutes away, and was insistent we call her the minute I knew I was in labor, because she was afraid missing the birth. It didn’t matter how many times we reassured her I never went that fast…so we waited until seven or so and called. She came out and was able to see I was in labor. Unfortunately, as soon as she arrived my contractions petered out. I realize now this is fairly common, but man was it discouraging.
We walked…and walked. I did laundry…all the while feeling like the “watched pot that never boils”. Finally, our midwife and assistant (who was also her daughter) headed into town to do some Christmas shopping. I felt ridiculous. I was barely having any contractions and here they were waiting around for me to have my baby…I finally laid down and took a nap.
About 3 PM things picked up and stayed intense until Jubilee was born at 7 PM. When it came time to push Jubilee out, she emerged very, very slowly…inch by inch. I remember when her head was out thinking, “Whew, now it’s over”. But it wasn’t…she continued to make her slow arrival. Now, nothing was wrong, and it probably only took a couple of minutes for her to be born, but lets face it, those last few minutes seem like an eternity. When I talked to Chuck about it later, he said he was just starting to get a little bit anxious because it was taking so long.
I’m afraid the first words Jubilee heard were, “Jubilee, Jubilee, that was no fun…” But she’s recovered. We discovered she was indeed a girl. Chuck had chosen the middle name “Harvest” because of the time of year she was born.
Jubilee was born with a head full of black hair, and one dimple. She weighed in at exactly seven pounds. That seemed so bizarre (since our last two girls had also weighed exactly seven pounds) that we made the midwife reweigh her.
So Jubilee was was our seventh child, born in our seventh year of marriage, at exactly 7 PM, weighing in at exactly 7 pounds. Its seems we couldn’t have chosen a better name.
Jubilee was born Wednesday night, and Friday I called our caseworker. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hello, this is Renee. I just wanted to let you know that I had a baby on Wednesday, and I wanted to know if it was okay for me to breastfeed Mordecai.
Her: LOOOOONG SILENCE
Her: You had. a. baby?
Me: Yes. Wednesday night. Its a girl.
Her: But…I didn’t realize you were pregnant. (she had been out for a home visit two weeks before)
Me: Yeah, I didn’t really show very much…I’d like to nurse him…
Her: Um yeah, that’s fine. You had a baby?
Lets just say it was an awkward conversation to put it mildly, but I had permission to try nursing him.
Now the fact is, Mordecai was 2 1/2 months old, completely bottle fed and had a disorganized suck…but we were determined to give him the very best. I found that if I caught him just as he was waking up (stirring buy not entirely awake) I could “fool him” by slipping my breast into his mouth. Once my milk let down, he would react to to the flow in his mouth by swallowing. In the beginning this only worked when he was half asleep. I would nurse him, then give him a bottle to “fill him up”. Within two weeks I was able to do away with the supplements and he was completely breast fed.
I realize in condensing that story it makes it sound oh so easy. I offered him my breast. He took it and nursed. I packed away the bottles.
In reality it was horrible. He cried. I cried. I was in pain. He didn’t care. There is a big difference between a newborn’s suck and a two month old’s. He had trouble even drinking out of a bottle, and here I was forcing him to learn something entirely new…It was a few weeks of misery. But we succeeded. His disorganized suck lasted until he was close to his first birthday. In fact, he demonstrated the same lack of organization when he ate- knowing there was food available, but unable to remember to swallow…
Just look at those chubby little faces! Who could deny that every night of broken sleep, every evening of pacing, and every session of nursing was completely worth while?
Chuck I slept with both babies. We would start them in their cribs at night. When one awoke I would bring him or her to bed to nurse. We would sleep until the other baby awoke. I would then put baby #1 back in his/her crib, and grab the other. It wasn’t the most restful time of my life….but I knew I was giving both babies just what they needed.
On two different occasions, I actually mixed up the babies. I thought I had been nursing Jubilee, only to hear a cry and find her in her crib. Then ensued a moment of panic…If this is Jubilee, where is Mordecai??Of course, both babies were happy and healthy. I had simply mistook who I had been nursing.
We finalized Mordecai’s adoption when he was 8 months old. He was finally, officially, ours.