As of eight days ago, the world is a richer place. A beautiful new little inhabitant is here, and her name is Edythe Irene Connally. She is my second granddaughter, born to my son Kevin and his wife Adele on April 27, 2011. They have nicknamed her Edie after my mother, and already another endearment has spun off of that: Edie Beetie (like “itty-bitty”). Our Edie is making an excellent start in life and bringing joy to us all just by being her wondrous little self.
By the decision of her parents, Edie was born at home. Rory and I drove to Bremerton to be with them and to welcome our grandchild. A very capable and well-prepared Australian midwife and her assistant attended Adele through labor, and Kevin gave loving support to his wife throughout. Although I was concerned about the what-ifs of a home birth, I have to say that there was a remarkable tone of peace. Adele chose not to use medication but instead coped with the pain by . . . singing. (Can you believe it? Someday I will incorporate this into a novel, I think.) As I waited nearby and heard her, I could pretty much estimate the intensity of the pain by the ratio of music to groaning. Truthfully, I was amazed by the stalwart way Adele handled the excruciating task of labor.
I had the privilege of witnessing Edie’s birth. Kevin and Adele did not know the sex of the baby beforehand, and I think I was the first to see that the baby was a girl. It was a miraculous moment, to behold this brand new creation, wet and squalling, and know we would love her for the rest of our lives. I stood there gazing through tears of amazement and joy and then went running to tell Rory. He was as overcome as I was with gratitude for this precious new life and for Adele’s strength and safety.
When the flurry of birth was over and Adele sat propped in bed, holding Edie in a green receiving blanket, Kevin gathered us together around the bed: Rory and me, Adele’s family, and the midwifery team. He poured glasses of white wine for us (white for a girl; he had also bought a bottle of red in case it was a boy) and we lifted them in Edie’s honor. At Kevin’s request, Rory prayed for Edie. Then Kevin read the prayer of St. Patrick over her as a blessing: “Christ beside you, Christ before you, Christ within you, Christ below you, Christ above you . . .”
Welcome, Edythe Irene!