One week and two days ago, I held my daughter in my arms for the first time. With her arrival, everything else has been made anew in our lives. Her quietly breathing, squealing, hiccuping, warm-bodied presence is the center of our home now. Dan and I are at the beginning of a lifelong journey of getting to know this new person and growing along with her.
I’m thankful that, in the months and weeks leading up to the birth, my midwives kept reminding me that every birth process entails something unexpected, something one was not prepared for. In my case, the one thing I had not been prepared for was having my pregnancy go on 15 days past the due date. Those days were lessons on patience and letting go, something that was asked of me in the actual labor and delivery as well. But in the end, what mattered was that we had a healthy baby girl and that I was able to give birth to her in the safest, most natural way possible given the circumstances.
We named her Aava [pronounced AH-vah], which in my native Finnish means wide, open, expansive, specifically with reference to the sea or the wilderness. It is also a Finnish alternate form of Eva/Ava, which derives from the Hebrew word for “life” or “the source of life.” Our hope is that her name will bring to her life openness like that of nature, and a sense of connectedness to all life.
Of all my “homegrown” projects, she is by far the most wondrous, the one I’m most proud of and grateful for.