Extended Stay America: Part V

This is the last post in a five part series about how and why Rachael and I ended up delaying our return to Qatar. Click here to go back to the first post.

Rachael and I had spent countless hours trying to choose a name. Finding names that we liked was easy — the real challenge was finding one that we loved. We read books and looked online. Scoured family trees and asked close friends and family what they thought. We ended up with two lists, one for boys and one for girls, each about twenty names long. But when Dr. Goss placed our daughter onto Rachael’s chest I knew immediately what her name was. In fact, the realization was so quick and complete it was almost as if the name had been revealed to me, rather than chosen.

Idara. For the phonetically inclined, ih-DAR-uh, the first ‘i’ like the ‘i’ in igloo. We’d first heard the name only a few days earlier when we met a nurse named Idara, and we both liked that the name came organically from the situation we’d found ourselves in. When Idara the nurse met Idara the baby at her first checkup a few days later, she was understandably bashful. We did our best to take the pressure off by explaining that we just thought it was a pretty name.

I don’t put much stock in name meanings (Rachael, for example, comes from the Hebrew name for a female sheep), but for the record Idara means “joy” in Nigerian, “organized woman” in Latin, and, get this, “administration” in Arabic. I can’t wait to explain that to our Arabic coworkers when we get back.

After Idara was born Rachael and I spent two hours sitting with her before we called anyone to share the news. I’d wanted to avoid feeling obligated to keep anyone updated, so I just went radio silent for the whole day. After that two hours was up and the nurses were starting to talk about moving us back upstairs, I started making telephone calls. “Would you like to come to the hospital to meet your granddaughter?” Almost everyone thought it’d be a boy so it was fun to hear their surprise.

idara with drs. goss, alavi, and mase Our heroes: Dr. Goss, Dr. Alavi, and Dr. Mase. Not pictured but no less important in our time at the hospital were Dr. Parker, Dr. Hayes, Dr. Yamashita, Dr. Wyatt, Dr. Manriquez, Dr. Bendert, and Dr. Montaigne, plus all of the wonderful nurses in the Mother and Baby Unit and at Labor and Delivery.

rachael with one of our wonderful nurses, florence Rachael with her post-partum nurse, Florence.

The next (and final) two days in the hospital were similar to the first, except that there were three of us now instead of two. The tests that Dr. Wyatt had ordered five days earlier all came back negative. After nearly two weeks of constant ups and downs I felt like we could finally breathe a short sigh of relief.

kjerstine and rachael with babies Kjerstine visited with her two month old but then they must’ve gotten the babies mixed up because Kjerstine is holding Rachael’s and Rachael is holding Kjerstine’s.

hearing test Idara taking a hearing test. She passed.

We spent Thursday entertaining a few visitors, talking with doctors and nurses, and practicing breastfeeding. On Friday afternoon it was finally time for us to leave, so we packed up all of the belongings we’d accumulated over the past eight days and, with the help of one of the nursing assistants, walked down to the car. Of course you have to take her home at some point, and we were getting a little antsy, but once it actually happens it feels far too soon. “You’re just going to let us take her?” I’m sure many parents have had that exact same thought.

rachael and alex and idara finally at home Rachael and Idara and me in Gordy and Suellen’s back yard.

And that’s where I’ll leave the story, which is really just beginning. Thanks for following along.

If you’d like to read the series from the beginning, click here to go back to the first post.