"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Our Fourth Baby Arrives

Photo credit to A for this timely shot
Welcome to our sweet new child! In the late morning of May 27 I scooped up my fourth son and held him in my arms for the first time. He was born early at 38 weeks gestation, surprising me completely with his prompt and brisk entrance. I had my fastest labor yet, whirling through the whole thing from 6:00am to 11:10am when we first saw his face. We really hit the gas in the last hour of labor though moving from 4cm dilation at our time of arrival at the birth center at 10:00am to the three pushes and baby meeting at 11:10. Whew! I was kind of intimidated when I realized things were clipping along a bit faster, worried that I wouldn't be able to keep my feet under me psychologically and that the intensity of a fast birth would beat me to shoe leather. Handily, he's a very sweet baby and he was gentle on his mommy. I stayed right on top of things until a certain point in labor (maybe 10:30 or so) when I suddenly felt unable to keep up and thought I was wimping out. I realized retrospectively that the panic and hazy feeling of losing it was just transition hitting and the emotional wall most women come up against right before the baby descends the birth canal and pushing begins. Sure made me feel better to realize that I had coped just fine after all. I did most of my labor "on land" this time and slipped into the birthing jacuzzi my plush birth center provided at the very ninth hour. I think I got in around 11:07 or so. I was there for three pushes and the birth of the placenta and then I was popped into the cozy in-room bed and Baby and I were snuggled in with blankets fresh from the dryer in the next room. Heaven, even on a hot day in May. And then we placed an order at the local taco stand and had lunch. No sweat, baby before noon and a whole day left to kill!

Our beautiful new son, our fourth and latest joy is: 
8lb 4oz, 20 inches long,  Giles Crispin Armstrong. (pronounced JYE-ulz) 
And now...a little name background for the curious:

He's named after two saints, a name grounded in history and pageantry.We like that Giles smacks of British Isles chivalry.....tinted with knights and dragons and top-hatted gallantry. Crispin is more boyish and takes down some of the high tones Giles can carry and makes it a little less stuffy.

There have been two great saints named Giles, one was a much loved, early miracle worker and the other one of St. Francis of Assisi's inner circle, one of the first Franciscan brothers whom Francis charmingly called "the Knight of our Round Table." We also like the homey, down to earth hero feel that the character Farmer Giles of Ham gives to the name.

Giles was originally the Greek name Aegidius and the literal meaning of the name is "young goat." I'll grant that this comes off a bit odd but you have to do a little digging. Some sources also say that the name means "shield" which is a much cooler meaning to carry around, although a bit bafflingly far from the first meaning.Turns out the word originally comes from the term for ancient Greek shields, particularly the important shield of their highest god Zeus which were made out of (wait for it....) the tanned skins of young goats. To be a shield is good but to be a shield for the highest god in the pantheon is pretty heavy duty. We like the connotations. We hope Giles is always a protector and a shield for those around him even for the hidden vulnerabilities of those who seem high and powerful.
photo credit to my sister Song
Crispin is another vaguely British sounding name, fitting for our combined very British Isles heritage. Crispin means "curly haired" which is neither here for there for us specifically. Our little man has no real hair of any substance yet and what little down is there is not curly at this point. Wouldn't it be funny if he got lush curls later on in life? Would sure make his mama smile.

St. Crispin was an early Christian martyr who with his twin brother, who left their noble family positions and attempted to share the gospel with the Gauls by day and industriously working as town cobblers by night. St. Crispin's Day was once the feast for honoring these two but today it is most linked to Shakespeare and historic wars after the several key battles that were begun on that day. Shakespeare's famous reference to St. Crispin's Day is in a speech given on said eve by King Henry V (in the play of the same name) before his troops in preparation for the battle of Agincourt. Handily the speech is a rousing call to brotherhood and sacrifice...a lovely thing to reference in connection with the name. Crispin apples are also tasty, and give a little homey touch to the name.

Giles is a completely sweet little soul. He sleeps soundly at night waking once or twice to nurse with no real crying. Maybe being number four has sent him clear signals that an easygoing attitude is needed, or maybe God has given me a special gift not to be taken for granted, relief and charm in a chubby little body. We are enjoying him completely and you'll all understand if the blog temporarily turns into a baby album, won't you? With dimples like this in the viewfinder its hard to resist.


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