Andy and I are very excited and relieved to welcome our new baby boy, Oran Rice, to our family. Born three weeks early on February 21, everyone was a little concerned about Oran’s small size (just 5 lb 4 oz), and whether he might have been exposed to infection in utero. We were delighted when Oran was cleared of infection risk and was discharged from the NICU allowing us to all go home from the hospital together! So far he excels at eating, sleeping, pooping, and making bizarre snorting and grunting noises.
About the Name
We had a really hard time picking a name, and would probably still be in a state of uncertainty if it weren’t for expedience of getting paperwork handled by the hospital records department rather than spending the years it would take us to figure it out on our own. Just like the name “Oliver” (Oliver Cromwell, Ollie North, Oliver Twist) the name “Oran” comes with a dubious famous namesakes (Orrin Hatch, and a less than appealing character in dfw’s book “An Infinite Jest”). We want to reassure our friends and family that we actually had a good reason for picking the name. We chose it because we like a story that goes with the name. Oran was an Irish monk who helped establish a monastery on the Island of Iona in 548 (perhaps through a “Foundation Sacrifice,” according to one version of a cryptic local legend… http://www.columcille.org/storan.htm). The monastery at Iona was likely the place where monks started writing the Book of Kells in the early 800s, events depicted in animated feature ‘The Secret of the Kells.’ In the midst of Viking raids and across the dark ages, this book survived. St. Oran is still commemorated on the stone ruins of the monastery at Iona, the graveyard there is named after him, and the Book of Kells has remained on display at Trinity College in Dublin since the mid-1800s (http://digitalcollections.tcd.ie/home/index.php…). For us, the name is about preserving spirit, beauty, and writing through times of extreme hardship and vulnerability. It also acknowledges each of our maternal grandmothers’ connections to Ireland–it is difficult to find ways to acknowledge your maternal line when naming a son. We also like the fact that the name has an apparently separate Hebrew origin, where it means “pine tree.” Oliver had suggested naming the baby “Conifer,” and we think Oran at least has a bit more of a ring to it.
Thank you to everyone who has supported us through the pregnancy and birth and early days with Oran–we are so grateful for our communities of friends and family.