quinlan justine.

My sweet girl is finally here. Finally.

She was 8 days late as the calendar tells me, but I don't like to think about it that way. I knew she would come in her own time.

So on April 23 after a bowl of ice cream and an hour of the History Channel, she decided she was ready to meet us. I labored at home for fourteen hours with the enduring support of my dear husband who timed contractions, made Gatorade slushies, and encouraged me without ever wavering - even for a moment. He's incredible. I'm so grateful I'm married to him.

By 11:00 the next morning, I told Justin I felt like I had to push. (Yes, we were still at home. We had planned for a natural birth, but not a home birth, so it was definitely time to go.) I started to worry about how much longer I could hold out and I pinched my eyes shut the entire ride to the hospital. Dear Lord, please don't let this baby come in the car, please don't let her come in the car... 

We arrived at the hospital at 11:40 a.m. and a full 10 centimeters dilated. I pushed for less than 10 minutes while a wide-eyed sixteen year old nursing student watched me in all my primal glory. I should buy her a cup of coffee if I ever see her again.

And there she was. My Quinlan Justine, 9 pounds 5.5 ounces and 20 perfectly chubby inches long.

She has brought me more joy in her two weeks on Earth than I ever thought possible. I'm enamored with her. I love the way she snarls and snorts when she's ready to eat. I love the way she purrs like a kitten when she's full. I love the way she stares at my Dad's mustache. I love the way she swats at Justin's face when he's kissing her.

And I love her name.

Quinlan is my grandmother's maiden name - Pauline Fredericka Quinlan. She was baby #13 out of 14, born into an Irish Catholic family in Wisconsin. (I think by the thirteenth baby, you end up giving out names like Fredericka because you don't have any more up your sleeve.) Her parents were Alma and Thomas Quinlan and as the story goes, Thomas worked on the railroads all the live-long day. I've also heard that he was a little paranoid about money and as he traveled for work, he would put money into different banks under aliases for safekeeping. When Pauline was just a toddler and baby #14 was an infant, Thomas was in an accident on the railroads and never came home. Alma was left with fourteen children all to herself. Fourteen.

She tried to get some of the money Thomas had invested in all those different banks, but she didn't know what names he used for each one. Can you imagine? But she made it work. In addition to mothering fourteen children, she took in laundry to make extra money. I wish I could've met her. What a woman.

Alma and Pauline both passed away before I was born, but my own mother tells me about them all the time. She says that Alma made the best pastries you could imagine and she'd have them ready when Pauline's eight children came home from school. She tells me she loved to watch her make them because the fat on her arms would shake when she rolled out the dough. I guess things like that are intriguing when you're just a kid. Alma Quinlan - the hardest working and bravest woman I've never met. I'm incredibly proud to be related to her.

And then there's my Mom, Justine. She is my best friend in this life and the most selfless, patient mother I know. If I end up half the mother she is, I have no worries. Her name came from one of my great-uncles ex-girlfriends who never made it into the family but my Pop-Pop loved her name. Justine. And so it was easy to decide what to call my darling girl. Quinlan Justine. No other name seemed to fit, there wasn't a backup plan or a, "Oh shoot, she doesn't look like a Quinlan!" type of moment. It's always been the only name for her.

My dear Quinlan who at 15 days old already had a dozen nicknames revolving around that beautiful letter Q. My sweet girl whose initials also describe her - Q.T.

Daddy and I love you forever.


strawberriesinparis said...

What a beautiful baby!!! And I love this story.

I'm Kristen said...

um. you're an incredible photographer. and writer. and mother.

and i can't get over how beautiful your baby is. once i'm back in town i'm coming up to take pictures of your family. and give you your housewarming gift. and kiss those cheeks-o-luv.

Brittany said...

Kristen! i'd love for you to come meet Agent Q. she's super fun and super fat. we love her. please come over anytime - Q loves making new friends and almost always bakes cookies for guests! :)

Unknown said...

What a lucky baby girl to have a Mummy who will bake her goodies as she grows up. That was one of my fondest memories growing up - coming home after school to a house filled with the scents of butter and sugar and chocolate.

Colleen Clary said...

I am one of your mom's cousins, so Alma Quinlan is my grandma. My mom was Therese, #13. I think part of the story that is also sweet is that your little Quinlan's birthday is 3 days before Grandma Q's birthday 4/26/1896. Love her name. Perfect.