Wednesday, 26 March 2014

a quiet welcome


A caesarean is a very clinical, impersonal way to bring a baby into the world. We sat in a surgical waiting room, stripped down and dressed in hospital gowns, lined up in beds waiting for various operations. The man next to me had travelled a long way for his surgery. His wife came and wished me all the best and he was wheeled away. The man across from me had his cancelled due to high blood pressure. I prayed my blood pressure was normal.
Soon, we were moved to the 'little room of needles' just outside the operating theatre. It's my least favourite place, though the staff were so fun and friendly. We joked about middle names. Tim asked questions about needles. I asked him to stop. I sang a song to Tim about a spider and a fly so that I didn't faint while they put the spinal block in. I sang it quietly so that I didn't distract the anaesthetist. And by the time he was done and I was lying back on the bed, my legs were warm and heavy. It's the strangest feeling.

Tim had been checking in with me throughout the day about The Name. We had narrowed it down to two.
"Feelings on the name?"
"Yep, I think I'm settled, you?"
"Yep. Me too."
The conversation went like that every time. It's fun to have little moments like that, fun and intimate and understanding, that make you realise how much you love a person, that give you a side to your relationship you don't see often, maybe just a few times in a lifetime.

I was wheeled into theatre. Vomited. They gave me something for my blood pressure. I started to feel normal again. Well, as normal as you can knowing you're about to undergo surgery awake. I did feel excited. And terrified. I did enjoy the solid knowing, "Today I am going to meet you!" I did remember the awful recovery last time. I was incredibly thankful my mum had offered to take the big kids home with her so I could come home from hospital to a quiet house. And that Tim's mum had spent the week with us cooking and cleaning and letting me rest, letting me finish her quilt. (!)

Our baby was born around 12:30. She came out with a small cry and went back to sleep. And they lay her on the table, wiggling her purple body, giving her oxygen so she would take a deeper breath and expand her lungs. It would have been terrifying if it wasn't for the constant reassurance of the midwife: "This is really normal! She has a very strong heartbeat! She's just gone into shock and we need her to have a big cry!"

Cry Baby!
Her bird-like squawk filled the room and finally she was brought to my chest where I held her awkardly. I couldn't lift her with all the wires attached to me, to see her face, but I was so glad for the hospital policy which allows her to rest on me, skin to skin, after she's born. She lay there quietly and I spoke to her softly.


After miscarrying this time last year, I felt like I'd been pregnant for 15 months. I can't describe how good it felt to have this girl in my arms. And how that relief and thankfulness and affection has grown more as the wires were removed and the morphine wore off.


We named her Finlay Lucy Florence. Finlay meaning 'fair warrior', Lucy after my dear, creative, generous, tenacious friend, and also meaning 'bright'. And Florence? Well that was some colourful decoration just for me. A name I'd loved since reading about Florence Nightingale years ago. Florence means 'flourishing'. Naming a third child is challenging! And in the end I had to let go of all my concerns about style (it's so different to Eve!) and gender (it's traditionally a boy's name!) and just go with our favourite.

After 2 days in hospital, we came home to a beautifully empty house. And in the quiet, I think I just spent 3 days looking at her. And talking to her, singing, nursing, falling asleep on the sofa with her on my chest. I have never taken my babies in like I have taken her in. It has been deeply warm and calm and intimate. And today, when the noise returned, wonderful and homely though it is, I hardly said hello to her. It was all I could do to remember when she last fed. And when she squawked from the bedroom today during the kids' rest time, I thought, 'Oh, that's right, you're here now! And you're awake!"

And all through the day I have reflected, that though a planned date and a cut belly seem so far removed from the design of childbirth, the opposite of intimacy, this time it allowed me to organise what I needed - family who live away to help at the right time - to make it a truly intimate experience.

And her quilt? Finished just in time, 506 hand-stitched voile hexies, backed in Anna Maria's Loulouthi Flannel, and hand-quilted. I'm so glad I did this. It took several times longer than I expected and I would never have pushed through for any other reason. I feel like I have now been initiated into my craft - my first baby since becoming a sewist. My first completely hand-stitched quilt. Our own family heirloom.


31 comments:

  1. Huge congratulations Jodi! Finlay is adorable and her names are just perfect! Glad you're all safe and well and enjoy this special time. Her quilt is absolutely stunning and it looks so soft to wriggle on :) Lots of love to you all xxx

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  2. How wonderful! Congrats on this beautiful new addition to your family! And congrats also on the completion of a beautiful hand stitched quilt!

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  3. beautiful post. Many blessings to you all xx

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  4. Congratulations! She is absolutely beautiful and her quilt is amazing! Enjoy this special time!

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  5. Congratulations! I hope all goes well for you and your family in the days ahead.

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  6. Oh I've been wondering about you and yours over the last few days. So happy you had an uneventful delivery and a few days to soak her in :)

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  7. Just beautiful - I'm having a little cry here in a cafe for you all - so much love to you Godfrey clan! xxx

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  8. Beautiful! Can't wait to meet her! xx

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  9. Beautiful, beautiful post. Congratulations on Finlay's safe arrival and your boning as a family. I love your quilt and it would be incredibly soft both front and back. Finlay looks so pretty on it. Wonderful news.

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  10. Wow-such a moving post. Congratulations on your new little girl, she is beautiful! I am in awe of that quilt, and SO SO special to have that for her as an heirloom. Wishing you all the best!!

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  11. beautiful post - what precious moments. Almost makes me want to have a 3rd :-)

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  12. Sweet post! It is an important story to document and you have captured details like sights and sounds that will bring this special day back to you years from now. It is surprising how we can forget things we thought we would never forget when we don't write things down. Congratulations to you and your family!!

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  13. Congratulations - she is beautiful, as is her name and quilt.

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  14. Congratulations on the safe arrival of beautiful Finlay and the beautiful heirloom you're created xx

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  15. Congrats on a beautiful job, the baby and the quilt :)

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  16. Wow Beautiful, just beautiful, every little bit, your story, the baby and the name. Thank you for sharing your moments. Wishing you and your family all the best.

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  17. Congrats! Such a lovely post. I can relate about the c-section stuff too - it's definitely not fun.

    I wanted to share that I applied AMH voile to my windows of my sewing room, thanks to your idea:
    http://www.dresdenlane.com/2014/03/stained-glass-windows.html

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  18. A beautiful baby, a beautiful post. Congratulations.

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  19. Congratulations! Oh baby girl, Welcome you little beauty! So happy she is here, what a blessing for youa ll!
    take care, and snuggles to the babe, xo, Anna Maria

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  20. Fantastic. How wonderful that the c-section ended up having such a very bright side. The quilt is truly stunning, but Finlay is another masterpiece. xo

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  21. Congratulations! What a beautiful little girl. Love her quilt, too:)

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  22. Thank you for sharing your joy with all of us! Congratulations and all the best!

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  23. Aw, what a nice story and a beautiful name! glad you had some quiet time to recover and cherish your new little one. Congratulations!

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  24. Seems like both the baby and the quilt were worth all that extra time you put into them! Congratulations, she is beautiful.

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  25. I'm so late to the post - just resurfacing after being buried in book details again. Somewhere in the middle of last night I suddenly thought, "Jodi's baby!!" I've been praying and waiting along with you all this time, and somehow forgot that the day would actually arrive when she'd be here...

    She is beautiful, your quilt is beautiful, and the picture of you with your children is an absolute treasure. I could not possibly be happier for you, my friend. Blessings on you all as you walk into this new phase of your journey as a family. :)

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  26. Absolutely beautiful post Jodi! Huge congratulations to your and lovely family!

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I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx