Maleah is something else. She came into the world different than any of our other babies. She was due on the 11th of December and we welcomed her into the world a couple of days before that in our very own home.
I knew when we had our sixth child, Stephen, in the hospital (which was nearly a perfect experience) and had to wait approx. 25 minutes on the doctor to get there before I could begin to push his little self out, that I may want to consider a different option for the next baby.
A very reluctant husband humored my desires to find a midwife and consider an actual home birth. After an initial consultation and then follow-up visits we both really liked her and found her to be very caring and knowledgeable. After months of anticipation and some anxiety of the "unknown," we began laboring about 1:00 in the afternoon and about 10 hours later Maleah was born under water in a birthing pool set up in our bedroom! Not only was a home birth (and a waterbirth) a first for us, but this was also the first time we did not know the sex of the baby. That was a lot of fun. I will never forget.... once we turned her over after she had been laying on my chest, we saw that she was a girl! Our other four girls, who had witnessed the birth, began to jump up and down and celebrate! They ran down the hall to tell their Papa (who had teased them all along that we were having a boy) that he was wrong!
Another first for all of us was a total commitment to infant potty training with Maleah. We began taking her to the potty at a month old. She went the very first time! We do cloth diapers, so I figured whether she went or not, if we could just get her to have a bm in the potty it would be worth it. Who wants to clean that out?! It has definitely been an experience and a conversation piece for sure. Does she go in the potty? Yes, almost every time. Does she still wet her diapers? Yes, almost every time! Although barely wets most of the time. Babies go a lot!! Maybe one day I will post on the ups and downs and pros and cons of infant potty training.
Maleah was born chunky and dark. Very dark hair and skin. Actually she had a redness to her skin for a few days and looked like a little Indian baby. She stayed chunky through the next months. She went from chunky to plain fat. And, I didn't mind one lick if someone called her such. She was sweet and cuddly. So soft and huggable. She has been a pure joy. Maleah has a fun personality. She scrunches up her nose when she laughs. She will laugh out loud at something that she sees funny or just to get some attention. She gives great hugs and kisses already. Some of her words include."mama, daddy, papa, Joshua (sort of), bye, night-night, stop, no (yes, she has said this to me), Sam (our dog), Jake (one of her friends from church), and baby".
She began to take her first steps a couple of weeks ago. She began to crawl at 5 months old. This was earlier than any of our others. I much prefer the late crawlers. She was into everything soooo soon. She eats everything off the floor! One of her favorite places to play is in our boy's room. In there she can drive cars, bang blocks, take books out the box, open drawers and throw their clothes on the floor. She loves it! Although Maleah adores all her siblings, she can only handle so much of them. She is independent and wants some quick lovin' so she can be on her little way.
Maleah has changed quite a bit in her looks. She has gone from the very dark hair to a blonde. She has an unusual eye color. We are not sure yet what they will be. Kind of gray at this point with a touch of brown or blue...it is hard to tell. They may not be the same color as the rest of the children, but they are big like the rest of them. She has a golden color to her skin. A little round face that reminds us of her sister, Morgan.
We are blessed to have Maleah. She is a gift from God. There is a lot of work involved with having seven children. I once said that if you could have three, you can have ten. Well, easy to say for someone who didn't have ten! And, it really isn't true. There are obviously more mouths to feed, more bodies to clothe, more clothes to wash, more beds to make....
There are also more lives to instill godly character. There is school to be taught. There is a dying to self that must take place with me and Keith on a daily basis as we sacrifice our desires to give to them. I don't mean monetary things. I mean the giving of ourselves to them. Our time. Our attention. Our energy. Our prayers. Our sleep. Our food. Our love.
We are constantly asked if we will have more children. I believe our answer is genuine when we say that we really don't know. Whatever the Lord wills for us, is what we will have. Probably. We have experienced no trouble conceiving yet. We believe Psalm 139, where the Bible says that God's thoughts are precious to each one of our children... GREAT are the sum of them!! We look forward to learning what God already knows about each one of our children that have been fearfully and wonderfully made! Marvelous are His Works and that we know very well! Just as Hannah in the Old Testament was "visited" by the Lord and conceived Samuel, we believe that all seven of our children are a result of the fact that the Lord "visited" us and we accept his gift to us. Selfishly, we can say "no more", but we truly do want to honor the Lord and His control of this area of our lives.
So, where will these little feet go?
And, what will these little hands do?
What will these eyes see?
Our prayer for Maleah is that these feet, these hands, these eyes will be an extension of the Grace of God and will reach, teach, touch, and love just like Jesus... to the ends of the earth. Just like our other six children. Just like any the Lord may see fit to bless us with in the future.