The baby kicked. Sometimes Nest felt like kicking too. This was her choice to be in this white world. She did it for her brother, but he had not come to visit. As soon as the baby came and was big enough, Nest was determined to go home for a visit, with or without a cradleboard.
"When Chari...I mean...mothers usually come. I will ask my mother to be here for you. Would you be more comfortable going to stay with her when it is close to your time of deliver?"
"I wish to be home, but don't want to be alone. My mother has been gone a long time. I do not have her to tell me what will happen. I can go to your parents if that is what you wish."
"How about if I work closer to home when you think the time is near? Then I can ride to get my mother when you need her." He took a deep breath, "What I was starting to say was that a few weeks before my firs wife was due to deliver our second child, she went to her mother's. She just never came back. I would like for you to deliver here if you are comfortable."
Nest smiled. At last he had spoken to her about his previous wife. Yes, she would stay home even if no one was there to help her.
"Until then, I can leave the rifle with you. If you need me, you can shoot it. I'll come as fast as I can."
"But what if some bad Indians come? You won't be able to have protection."
"What if some bad Indians come here? Now you will have protection."
They laughed together. She felt after in his arms than she had in a long time.
We have some time. The leaves are still green on the trees. When they start to turn color. I will think about it. I just had a pang when I was working in the garden today that made me wonder, what if..."
"Don't worry, little one. This is something every woman has gone through since Eve. My mother went through it ten times. Bonny Kate has given birth eight times. They didn't lose any babies."
"But your mother died after giving birth," Nest protested.
"That was because she had to be moved too soon. If we hadn't been under Indian attack, she probably would not have died."
His words gave Nest a lot to think over. To Joseph, Indians cost his mother's life. To her, childbirth caused his mother's death. Nest rubbed her belly as it knotted up into a hard ball. The baby would come when it was good and ready. Her life was in the Creator's hands. She pushed thoughts away of when her mother lost a baby. She did not want to sing that sad song again.
On Sunday, Bonny Kate rode over for a visit. Nest was not comfortable enough to ride to church anymore. but was glad for the company. After midday dinner, Joseph went outside so the two could have women talk.
"Do you know about having babies, Nest?"
"Not much. I was too young to pay much attention when my mother had my brother."
"I will come as soon as Joseph rides over for me. But I will tell you what to expect..."
With that, her mother-in-law took much of the mystery away from the upcoming event. She talked while nursing her youngest unconsciously stroking his curls. "Some things will just come naturally, you'll see. Just remember, it is hard work, real laboring, but there is a reward when you hold your little one. If you get scared, it will only take longer. Work with it."
"Thank you, Kate. I'm not so afraid now. I am excited to hold my baby. I don't expect the babe to come before the leaves turn red and gold. Would you like to see what I have made?"
Bonny Kate admired her handwork, complimenting her stitches, and making a few little suggestions as to what she still needed.
When the woman rode off, Nest felt a deep craving in her heart for her own mothers, as thankful as she was for a good Christian mother-in-law. Joseph too would love the child, she was sure.
He seemed to be excited as the time drew nearer. His eyes again followed her, and he liked to feel the baby more when she lay beside him in bed.