The following is the email I used to announce the birth of my firstborn son, Jacob. I hope you enjoy the story and the reasons for his name.
I find it efficient to tell the story of Jacob Peter (also known as 周铠岩) Hollins’ entrance into the world and the reason why we chose his name the fewest number of times. Although, that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy talking about everything Jacob.
The fast facts:
– Jacob Peter Hollins was born on January 23 at 5:00am – 3 days early and early in the morning
– Measuring 50cm (about 20 inches) – the doctor looked at Mary and I and said he was unusually tall consider the stature of his parents.
– Weighing 3.8kg (8.36 lbs) – the doctor looked at the father and didn’t wonder where his weight came from.
– Healthy and without webbed feet (ask my mother)
The moments leading up to his birth:
So we were told this week that we had to move into a new apartment. We’re happy with the move and we like our new apartment, but it’s slightly hard on a full term expectant mother to pack everything and move. The school was hoping that we could move before the baby came. We got the keys to our apartment on Thursday and spent a good part of Thursday afternoon cleaning the apartment. Several friends were kind enough to help us out. Our plan was to clean on Thursday and move on Friday. I went out to the phone company to get a phone number and internet service hooked up for our new apartment.
It’s about a 15 minute bike ride from our place. While I was at the counter I called Mary. On the phone I couldn’t hear Mary very well because I was in a busy place and I thought she was telling me that the water broke in the new apartment and that there was water all over the floor. Actually, it was her water that broke. I was surprised because she hadn’t felt any contractions and I guess I just wasn’t expecting him to come early, since his due date wasn’t until Monday.
I rushed home as fast as I could. Unfortunately, it was an extremely windy day and no matter what direction I rode I was riding against the wind. So, I kind of felt like I was in one of those nightmares that you have where you are trying to run away from the bad guys but you’re not moving or your feet feel like they’re in semisolid concrete. I couldn’t get home fast enough.
Mary’s water broke at around 3:00 in the afternoon. We threw together a bunch of stuff to take to the hospital and I walked out the door almost as soon as I had come back. I probably only spent five minutes outside looking for a taxi, but that too seemed like an eternity. The bitter cold probably had something to do with that perception. We were able to get to the hospital by 4:00 and they soon confirmed that she was in the beginning stages of contractions even though she couldn’t feel them yet.
By 8:00 she was feeling pain which became unbearable by 11:30. Since she was far enough along for the epidermal, we went for it. I squeezed in an hour of sleep since Mary was feeling fine then. Mary didn’t sleep though. By 3:00am she was fully dilated and she began to push. It became rather apparent after a little inspection that our child had a huge Hollins head. The doctor gave a helping hand with the vacuum and at exactly 5:00 our little Jacob Peter breathed his first breath. Mary was amazing. The labor was smooth (as much as labor can be) and void of complications, other than the huge head problem of course. Mary and our boy spent most of the day recovering from the trauma and bonding with each other. I snuck in a little cuddle time too. Thankfully the hospital has wireless so grandpa, grandma and aunt Amy back in Ohio were able to see him on the web cam. Tim Sietman brought us some much needed stuff while we were at the hospital since we left in such a hurry.
Our boy has an English name and a Chinese name, kind of like most foreigners who live in China, they adapt a Chinese name with Chinese pronunciation so that the locals have something easy to remember and say.
His English name is Jacob Peter Hollins. You already knew that. Jacob is my favorite character in the good book. He goes through a long journey in character and is eventually changed into the man he was elected to be despite himself. I see him as an illustration for anyone who may be similarly elected. It’s appropriate then that the nation of Israel was named after him to represent the great struggle that they have had with their maker and their eventual change in character. Peter has a similar story in the book with a great change occurring over many years. The man who blundered so much became the rock on which much was built. I desire my son to grow into such a man as these two, to recognize the fallen condition he is in and be changed into something so much more. JP Hollins takes his initials from his father, Joel Patrick.
Jacob’s Chinese name is “周铠岩” which is spelled in pinyin as “Zhou Kai Yan” and phonetically pronounced as “Joe Kai Yen”. He takes my family name in Chinese “周” which comes first in Chinese culture. Zhou KaiYan sounds slightly similar to Jacob. The “Kai” part means armor. I find this fitting, since we’re told to put on the armor as the main tools in which we are equipping ourselves to live a changed life. The “Yan” part means rock, and well that’s quite appropriate considering that his English middle name is also rock. In fact that’s what the doctor said about KaiYan’s huge Hollins head, that it was really hard, like a rock (again, the entire Hollins family has apologized to Mary for our genes). As you may notice in the characters both kai and yan have a mountain “山” in them. This makes for a very manly name in Asian cultures and our boy is, well, an Asian man.
Thanks for thinking about us everyone. We have been so overwhelmed by all of your thoughts and encouragement already. Please continue to remember us and we seek to raise him well. Attached are some pictures to assist you in oo-ing and ah-ing. I hope you can share in the overwhelming joy and blessing that we have already experienced.
– Joel, Mary and baby Jacob