The name Shiloh Olivia Pierce translates into the gift of peace. It was a name befitting the daughter of two Korean War veterans. She was born with her father's coal black hair and piercing eyes and her mother's healthy set of lungs. (According to her daddy, that is. Her mother did not appreciate that running joke one bit.). Shiloh was born with her father's lackadaisical sense of timing; she was two weeks early. The doctors had been preparing Margaret and Hawkeye for a late delivery and so he had scheduled his vacation for the last two weeks of Margaret's pregnancy. Fate and Shiloh had different plans. Fortunately he worked at his father's office and could rearrange his vacation hours without a problem. The important issue, getting to spend the first two weeks of his daughter's life with her, had been resolved. And now it was time for Mom, Dad, and baby to share the unique experience of adjusting to the new family dynamics. Margaret was no longer the only girl in Hawkeye's life. Hawkeye was no longer the center of the household. How these roles would be affected and how they would affect the Peirce's marriage, only time would tell. But for right now it was time to enjoy sweet innocent Shiloh. The gift.
At age two weeks, the first full week of bringing Shiloh home from the hospital….
Hawkeye crawled into bed with his blonde wife and the baby. The chestnut headboard blended perfectly with the matching chest-of-drawer set that had belonged to Margaret's mother.
"Mother." He lovingly whispered. "She's absolutely beautiful.. Just like her mom."
He reached over to touch the baby's head.
"Sssh. Don't. "I'm feeding her." Margaret said, irritated. The baby had difficulties with the bottle and Margaret refused to let anyone, not even Hawkeye, mess up the feeding. He'd just have to wait a while before visiting her. Margaret had already tried several different positions and had just settled in before Hawkeye barged in the room. Uncharacteristically, she felt like crying.
"Margaret, I've just came up to see her…I haven't gotten a chance to hold her today. Let me have her." He reached out for Shiloh who was busy trying to drink from the bottle but having difficulties. She was beginning to cry out of frustration, not a full wail but a cry nonetheless..
"Hawkeye!" she declared. "Are you out of your mind! You're distracting her! She needs to concentrate. You just can't come in here right now. Just go. We'll talk about this later. I don't have time to deal with you right now. Can't you see how busy I am?"
Margaret rearranged her position, trying to calm the baby in the process. The baby lay against her rose-colored shirt. It hurt her to be so bossy with her own husband but at the same time she was irritated at his lack of common sense. She was too tired to have to explain everything to him. She was worn out, exhausted from the birth and a slow recovery. It was all she could do to get up in the mornings and shower before the baby woke up. She started her husband's coffee and breakfast, although the smell still made her sick, a habit leftover from her pregnancy days. But she did it because she loves Hawkeye. So if all she needed was an hour alone to feed her baby than that certainly shouldn't be too much to damn expect! Just one hour where she could be alone with her daughter….she knew she would come up against some oppression. Daniel, for one, may not understand the importance of her alone time. Hawkeye may not either. At this point Margaret was afraid that she was expected to be front and center at all times, like some dime store ballerina. That was not her. And that's sure as hell not the way her daughter would be raised as well. Margaret would be polite and cordial, but she would not back down from her need to be alone with her daughter. And then there was the question of Hawkeye's role in the baby's life.
Margaret knew that he was going to be a wonderful father. She knew that he needed time to form his bond without Margaret's interference. She needed to trust him, and that would be hard for her to do. Not because of him, it was just that it would be hard for her to trust her daughter's life with anyone. She knew without a doubt that her husband would be a wonderful father. She had no reservations about him personally, only the natural ones that most new parents feel after the birth of a new child.
"Fine. I can see when I am not wanted." Hawkeye huffed as he left the cream-colored bedroom with rose panels.
"You don't need to be like that." Margaret whispered.
The baby started to cry, and so she had to reposition her yet again. Margaret sighed. She wanted more than anything to go after Hawkeye and tell him how much she loved him. How much she loved what he was trying to do. But she had to think of the baby. Shiloh was learning to feed and needed quiet. Now was not the time to get stressed, she told herself. So she looked down at the beautiful head of hair on her newborn and she caressed it. She started to sing "My Blue Heaven" in a soft voice. That had always been one of her favorites. She had even sung it many times during the war. If you would have told her back then that she would be singing it to her and Hawkeye Pierce's child, she would never have believed you. Life was just funny that way.
Hawkeye left, saddened by the preceding events. He paced the floor of the hallway, deliberating his next move. Should he return to his bedroom and insist on seeing his daughter? Realistically speaking, that wasn't an option. That would only alienate her further and quite frankly, cause a huge argument. Margaret was a passionate woman, which is one of the things he loved most about her. He would never ask her to be anything other than herself. Being a mother was sure to bring out the best in her. The whole nine months he'd imagined what kind of mother she would be. They would have their differences in opinions, that was to be expected. But he was not prepared to start disagreeing already. All she had to do was ask for help. He did not mind. It was hard for him not to feel left out. The past week she had insisted on doing everything by herself. She had not even let him do so much as change a diaper, not that he had really minded that part. Margaret always was quite independent. But this was different. This was their child she was dealing with. Maybe all she needed was time to adjust. Perhaps his father could offer some advice. After all, he had been through this before.
"What's eating you, son?" he asked as he sharpened his knife.
"Nothing." He said, his tone revealing a deep sadness.
"Don't give me that. You look like something the dog dragged in. I would think you'd be on cloud nine with that little one of yours rather than hanging in here with your old man." Daniel said as he placed the knife in the lock box.
"Not my fault. Margaret doesn't want me anywhere near the baby. God only knows why. I haven't done anything wrong. I went down to peek at my daughter and I got shooed out. Margaret practically bit my head off just for being in that room. All I wanted to do was make sure they were all right. Serves me right, I guess for being a caring father."
Hawkeye sighed as he sat at the side of the bed. He stared at the foot of the bed, knowing that he should have been in his own bedroom at that very moment. It was not right that Margaret shut him out of his very own room. He would have understood if she had been angry if he had been neglectful of her needs. But all he had wanted to do was help her out, and for that he had been turned away.
"Now, Hawkeye, you now, she's tired, she's been through a lot, she's just came home from the hospital…give her some time. She'll be all right." Daniel offered, giving Margaret the benefit of the doubt. "After all your mother acted a bit squirrely after you were born. It's something all women go through."
Daniel could see that his son was troubled, but believed that things would work themselves out. After all, Margaret was still getting used to being a mother. These things took time. Having a new baby in the house was a huge adjustment for everyone, especially Margaret. Back in his day the father steered clear of the woman while she recovered. Things were different now, and so he did not have the best of advice to offer his son.
The younger Pierce scratched his head. "I hope you're right. This is nothing. I'm making a big deal out of nothing. She's just tired. I would be too after going through what she's been through. I'm a doctor, I should be more understanding. I'm going to let her sleep for a bit. It's going to be alright."
He wasn't so sure he believed his own words.