After months of trying to kick and punch her way through my sister's rib cage, my niece found a more conventional way into the world last Saturday, the 13th. Nobody knew, even my sister and her husband, if it was going to be a girl or a boy, so that was a fun surprise. It was a really long labour (like, 34 + hours), but both Marilyn and the baby were fine.
They named her Svea, which is a family name and also my middle name. We pronounce it SVEE-ya, so if you can say Sven, you can probably muster Svea. She'll have to tell people how to pronounce it all her life, but unless she moves to Stockholm, she probably won't meet another one.
I'm up in Ottawa now. Marilyn's really exhausted, and I don't blame her. One thing's for sure, the kid's lungs work! She cries and cries, even when she's just eaten. Apparently Marilyn did the same thing to my parents, so... karma*? It's a funny little newborn cry, though, like a little kitten mew.
Well, I'm pretty stoked to be an aunt. I'm the only one, since we have no other brothers or sisters and Marilyn's husband is an only child. It makes me want to get the theme to presents, or sing her a certain song, or dance a certain dance, but I'm really not going to worry about it - it'll all come naturally. I just hope I'm around enough in the coming years to get to know her.
Oh, the stats: she was 6lbs 6oz, has some wispy hair, blue eyes.
ADDENDUM: Svea's actually pretty darn good. It turns out she was full of gas that first night I was here, but now my sister's gotten used to feeding and burping, so she's pretty congenial. Damn straight.
* I mean "karma" in the misunderstood, Western sense, so says the Religious Studies snob.