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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Discussion: When Was the Baby Named?

Today's discussion question is: When was the baby named? Before you had children? Second trimester? Two days after the birth? Three months after seeing the photo of the available child? Etc.

This is a trickier question than it first seems. Let's say that in fourth grade I was reading the Anastasia Krupnik books and thought "I LOVE THAT NAME. I want to name a future daughter that name!" And then I grew up, had a baby, and named her Anastasia.

So did I name her in fourth grade? No: what I did in fourth grade was put the name on my finalist list. Without the consent of the other parent, and without knowing what my child's surname would be, and taking into account that in sixth grade I said "Megan! I love that name!" and that ten years later I said "Emerson! I love that name!," I couldn't say that the baby had been named at that point, no matter how committed I felt at that moment. In retrospect it may FEEL as if I named the baby At That Moment, but if I'd grown up and had a baby with a guy who said "Ug, I hate that name" it would have been a no-go: the baby would have turned out NOT to have been named back then.

HOWEVER, if I still loved the name Anastasia in college, and my serious boyfriend and I were discussing baby names and I mentioned that name and he said "I love it. Let's definitely use it for our first daughter" and from then on we referred to our future hypothetical children Anastasia and Sam, and then we got married and had our first baby and it was a girl and we named her Anastasia, was that baby named back when we were dating?

Harder to say, isn't it? Because probably when I was pregnant we would have had the discussion again, more seriously now that it was real, and considered other candidates---and if so, the baby wasn't really named until we said, "Nope, we still like Anastasia best." But you could also make a case in this situation for the idea that even after a name is REALLY REALLY CHOSEN, there can be little flashes of doubt: a person might be watching Four Weddings and a Funeral in the third trimester and think "FIONA! Wait! Maybe FIONA is my favorite name!!" Or, lying in bed at night too uncomfortable to sleep: "Is Anastasia REALLY the name we want to use? Maybe it's Too Much. Maybe it's too uncommon. Maybe I DON'T EVEN LIKE IT AT ALL." Flashes like that aren't really a re-considering of the name but more like little panicky flairs (or sensible making-sures) that don't even come close to dethroning the champion, and it would be possible to put "Wait, now that it's real instead of a little Dating Fantasy, are we ACTUALLY going to use Anastasia?" into that category, if that is the way it felt.

So! You can see how this is a very very subjective sort of question to answer. It's tempting to exaggerate, I think, because it makes a better story: "I chose this name in fourth grade" is more appealing than "We dithered all through the pregnancy and first had one favorite and then another, and then by the time she was born we'd basically decided we liked Anastasia best." Each of us will need to carefully examine our naming stories for truth: Is it only in retrospect, with the child named and it unthinkable to imagine her named any of the now OBVIOUSLY wrong alternative candidates, that it seems as if this was always the definite choice? Are we mistaking "the day I added the name to my list" for "the day we said THIS IS THE NAME"?

And of course, sometimes we won't remember without looking it up. I don't quite remember when we chose Rob's name. His was one of the "not very interesting" baby naming stories that would be tempting to embellish. We thought he was a girl until we found out at 20 weeks that he wasn't. We considered a bunch of different boy names, but the only real candidate was the name we chose. And at some point we must have said, "Okay, that's it, that's the name"---but it failed to leave an impression and I'd have to check my journal to see for sure.

William was named in the first trimester, before we even knew he was a boy. We didn't have a girl name, but I wrote the boy name choice (complete with middle name) in bold capitals in my journal at around 12 weeks. Again, I'd have to look it up to be more exact, but I remember thinking it was disappointing to have the boy name chosen already when it wasn't even the end of the first trimester yet.

Elizabeth was named in the third trimester, but I was still uncertain even in the hospital: I loved the name, but I worried it was too unusual or that it wouldn't fit her. I'd say that the baby WAS named in the third trimester and that my flashes of doubt were just stronger---but it's hard to tell if this is true six years later.

Edward was also named in the third trimester, but we were down to two candidates already at the beginning of the second trimester: they were the two names we would have used if the twins had both been boys, and it was hard to give one of them up. Paul had a slight preference for one name, and I had a slight preference for the other, so we were waiting to see what the girl name choice would be---but then the girl name choice went well with both. One day in the third trimester I told Paul that the boy name I preferred felt more like My Baby and that my slight preference was now a strong preference, and he said that was fine with him.

Henry was named in the third trimester, after spending the first two trimesters going back and forth between two OTHER names. I suddenly thought of a third name and made a strong case for it, and we used it. I remember it was a relief to be able to stop going back and forth between the other two!

Now it's your turn, and feel free to take up as much space as you want in the comments section! When was the baby named?


StephLove said...

My daughter loves the fact that although she's five years younger than her brother, she was named first. Early in the dating phase, partner and I got to the "what's your middle name?" conversation and it turns out we both had runs-in-the-family middle names. So I joked we'd have to use one as a first name and the other as a middle if we ever had a daughter. I don't remember exactly when it stopped being a joke, but she was born 19 years later and we never considered another girl name.

My son was also named years before birth. Partner and I were at our 5-year college reunion, staying in a dorm that was next door to the one where we met. That dorm had a common boy's name. I said we should use it if we ever had a boy. That was 8 years before he was born and again, we never considered another name. We didn't settle on a middle until I was pregnant with him, however.

jen (melty) said...

It's hard to say when my first was named, because I "knew" her name at some point, but everyone tried to talk me out of it! Then at some point my husband agreed to it and suddenly everyone loved it! My middle child's name was what the first one would have been if she was a boy. I know some people are against that but I really love his name and was so overjoyed that I got to use it. My third was born and didn't have a name for 2 days. In the end we went with one of those names that I had always held from the time I was a kid in high school. It just wasn't a contender in any other kid because it's also the name of a guy my husband is jealous of (but both he and The Guy know that I had always loved that name.) I never did think about that though, I always considered him named once we decided and announced it.

Meg said...

Ooh, I love reading about this and rambling about mine!

We never really had times when we'd say all right you pick this one, I'll pick that one. We always had veto power over the others' choices, which could get painful at times, but more in terms of being frustrating than anything. I've always liked quite a few names and never been firmly attached to just one or two. If I had been, it'd probably annoy me more!

My husband had always had a girl and a boy name in mind. I liked his boy name just fine and had nothing I preferred, so we used that for our first kid (a boy, obviously!).

I wasn't as sure about his girl name choice, but he went off it by the time I was pregnant again anyway. He put together a spreadsheet with some names we both liked, we messed around with various lists, etc. etc. and in the end I picked a name from a list of his and I said right that's it that's what we're having end of story.

With our third kid, we vacillated and wibbled and he kept coming up with insane name choices (i.e. he obviously only meant them *at the time*), and I picked an oldish name with a nickname we both like (and our son went to daycare with an adorable girl with that nickname, too) and I said right that's it.

Meg said...

GAH, Meg again, make that "over the other's choices". I am not perfect with spelling or grammar but I especially hate it when I mess up apostrophe's''''!

Kristin said...

Great question! First son was named, for me, partway through the second trimester. It wasn't a name that had been on any of my lists before, but when I saw it I loved it and it just felt like him. Middle name was after my husband's dad, so that part was easy. It took a little longer for my husband to feel as sure as I was - he wanted to wait to meet our baby before it was "official," but a few weeks before he was born decided that it was the name. We didn't have any back-ups or anything going into the birth. In fact, I had an index card with the name spelled out clearly for my husband, in case he was filling out the form without me for some reason (my dad did this when I was born, which is why my middle name is spelled "Nichole").

Son #2 is currently expected in about eight weeks, and he's been named for the past couple of months. This time around it was my husband who was sure before I was, but now we both love the name, and talk to and about the baby as that name. (Haven't shared outside of immediate family and one or two close friends, though.) It was harder to find another boy's name that felt like it went with our oldest's name. Again, it wasn't a name I'd considered the first time or had on any previous lists, but we both love what we've chosen and can't wait to meet him. Middle name is after my dad, so that part was easy.

Rayne of Terror said...

With our first we were painting the porch after I knew I was pregnant but before the 20 week ultrasound and I said if it was a boy I wanted the middle name to be Ryman. It's a family name that my brother, dad, and grandpa all had as middle names. Bob said, if you get a family name I want a family name too. I said okay what are the choices on your side that haven't been used in this generation. I think the choices were Louis, Henry, and Thomas -all fantastic choices - and I said I like Henry best and I think Henry Ryman is a great name. Bob said he agreed. It took less than 15 minutes to have him names and I still love his name.

Sometime in the intervening 4 years between pregnancies my SIL mentioned that there was a grandpa who changed his name at Ellis Island from a name that started with a Q to his boring American name. I looked up the Ellis Island records looking for a Q DeVivo coming from Italy and found only one, Quinino. I said to Bob we really ought to remember that name if we have another son.

So I got pregnant again and felt really strongly it was a girl. Oh we had such good names on our list. The top 2 were Verity and Beatrice. Verity DeVivo would have been so nice. So at the 20 week ultrasound we were shocked to have another little boy.

So we went back to the drawing board and considered names that weren't family names that matched with Henry, like George, which everyone though Bush ruined. And I tried to talk my husband into Lawrence nn Larz after my dad buy Bob though Larz was to heavy metal and Larry too baby boomer. He did like Lawren though. So I suggested Quinino nn Quinn and we both liked it though worried about saddling him with such an ethnic name. We started working on middle names to potentially go with Quinino and settled on James after my great uncle and great grandfather. We liked that Henry Ryman and Quinino James each had an ethnic name (Italian and Dutch) and each had a king's name and had the same number of syllables, but we continued to dither.

I reached a point around 30 weeks were I felt i couldn't go on without making a decision and so we said okay Quinino James is the name and we'll call him Quinn or Nino.

I never felt that sense of perfection with his name, but now he's almost two and we call him Quinn or Quinn Jimmy and I love it.

Barb @ getupandplay said...

We had a list of about 5 or so boy names that we liked for our firstborn. We "auditioned" one each week, referring to the baby by that name. Some were eliminated after only a day. Once we got to Charlie, I said, "That's his name." and we called him that privately. I think I was about 8 months pregnant. We didn't tell anyone except my doctor his name.

We're expecting a boy again and I suspect that we'll do the same thing.

My niece and nephew were both named in utero and I thought it was strange (this was before my own experience, obv.) BUt having done it this way now, I get it.

Fran said...

Our oldest was named (boy and girl variants) before we were even married.
Middle was named after we found out he was a boy but it took us another month to decide on a first name and another couple weeks for the middle name.
Youngest was named the girl name we had picked for the middle one before we knew he was a boy.

Clarabella said...

I have always been obsessed with naming my hypothetical children. No, really, if you look through all my old journals, there are inevitably baby-name lists every few months or so. Especially interesting are my pre-teen years' choices: Cheyenne, Cherokee, Destiny, etc.
Anyhow, sometime in college, I decided my baby boy's name would be Liam.
Skip to ten years later, when my partner & I are confronted with a surprise! twin! pregnancy. In the midst of the surprise! stress! what-the-hell-are-we-going-to-do-ness, the naming conversations were my favorite. So, of course, we had to do boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl name sets AND have back-ups. I was in heaven. My only requirement was that one boy was Liam. Lucky for me, my partner is from an Irish family, & William is a family name of his, so...voila! We finally settled on other names, but in the end, we only had the one, so Liam he was...
Despite having decided on Liam in college, I really felt we'd actually "named" him when we officially decided on his name: Dad's-Name William (to be called Liam) Very-Irish-Surname, around the 19 week ultrasound, when we found out for sure it was a boy and only one baby. After that, the belly was just "Liam," & our son was a real presence for us 5 months before he was even born.
Fun topic!

Elsha said...

My daughter was named sometime in the second trimester. When I was pregnant I spent many evenings perusing name websites and throwing out names I liked to my husband who immediately nixed most of them. Kalena was the first one that he also liked right away. I kept looking but nothing else was ever really a contender. We did dither about the spelling a little-- we discussed Kalina but I refused to use Kaleena because our last name already has a double "o" and a double "a" in it. I didn't want to torture her! And obviously we settled on a single "e" in the end.

Will was also named sometime in the second trimester-- of my pregnancy with Kalena that is. Even though we knew it was a girl we opted to pick a boys name anyway--just in case. William Henry was what we picked, and after Kalena was born we told people that that's what we wanted to name our first boy. I got pregnant when Kalena was 10 months old and although I looked a little at girl's names, once we found out it was a boy we didn't even discuss other names.

I myself was one of those "named long before" babies. At some point my parents had a neighbor who's daughter's name was Elsha and they agreed that they wanted to name their first girl Elsha. (I think they only had one of my brothers at that point.) Then after my other brother was born they picked the name Todd for if they had another boy. Took me another 4 years after that to come along, but the names were ready!

Annika said...

Sam was named two days after he was born. Well, the morning of the second day, and he was born at night, so maybe just one day. (Let's say one, to make me feel better.) His name was never anywhere near our list.

Grace was named...well, when we first found out I was pregnant I thought it was a girl and her name was Grace. At about 20 weeks we settled on 2 candidates for each sex, one of the girl names being Grace; it remained my preference, but we didn't decide for SURE until the morning after she was born (she was also born at night).

Auntie G said...

Ha! This is an excellent question for me, since my naming experiences have not gone AT ALL how I would have preferred, nor (almost 19 wks pg with #2)is that likely to change.

I chose my son's name as my favorite in the third trimester, after seriously loving an entirely different name for many months, which ended up being too popular in my circle of friends. My husband would not take baby naming seriously (OMG the names he suggested, just to get a rise out of me!), nor did he want to know the sex ahead of time. I knew we were having a boy AND I had to play along and pretend to discuss reasonable girl names as well so as not to spoil his surprise.

FURTHER exacerbating the situation: my husband is a Jr and wasn't/isn't sure about how strongly he wanted a III. I said I preferred having one "_________" in my life at a time BUT I left it up to him "if" we had a boy, b/c I did not have an equivalent longing to name a child after me.

AND THEN: my water broke when I was 36 wks exactly - surprise! And off we went to the hospital, baby name book in hand. Once "Little Man" *UGH* was born, I started lobbying hard for my name but again was willing to have a III, to the extent that I was also lobbying for the nickname I wanted to use.

SEVEN DAYS AFTER HE WAS BORN (deadline after which getting an SS# was a royal pain), my husband finally gave in to my choice: Theodore. We call him Theo and his middle name is my husband's first.

BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE! So, part of my getting "Theo" was telling my husband that IF we had another child (we're not exactly super fertile...*sigh*) and IF it was a boy, he could have naming rights.

Fast forward to, two+ yrs and two miscarriages (uh, both of boy children) later, we are happily expecting, due in October. I have not confirmed yet that this child is another boy, but that's my STRONG feeling. Husband once again wants the surprise. I haven't even TRIED discussing names this time around, except to throw a royal FIT when my husband insisted that I had given him total naming rights, regardless of gender. OH, HELL TO THE NO. To say that my husband has horrible, HORRIBLE taste in girls' names would be an understatement.

Sorry for the book...I actually love telling the story of picking out Theo's name and watching people wince and laugh...and most importantly, I adore his name, so all's well that (FINALLY) ends well!

Susan said...

I can honestly say that my first two were named well in advance of getting pregnant. It took my husband some convincing to get me to name our daughter Susanna Jane because my name is Susan and I didn't want her to have a variant of my own name. But eventually I gave in, instead of using the "uncommon" name I wanted, which was Emma Catherine. Jane was set as a middle name early on since it honored both of our mothers. Our first son's name was agreed on with minimal discussion and no wavering - Samuel was the top choice for each of us and Robert is the name of both of our fathers, so Samuel Robert was set in stone well before we were pregnant. For my next son, Benjamin David, we debated a few names but settled on Benjamin pretty fast after the ultrasound revealed boy. A little more debate went into the middle name, but we were both leaning towards David from the beginning. Our next child, Sarah Catherine, was named a week or two before birth. Even then, we had a back-up name that we took to the hospital. A lot of angst and debating went into her name. While I absolutely loved it, I was very reluctant to have three children whose name all began with S and one whose name didn't. Now we're five weeks away from our fifth and final baby, a girl, and the naming is a total nightmare. We have a variety of choices that we're kicking around but no agreement at all and no sense of "YES! That's her name!" about any of them. It's getting bad enough that every time I open this blog, I wonder if I should add to the surplus of naming mail you get and beg you to name my baby for me. :)

Tarah said...

When by DH and I were dating I told him I wanted to name a daugher, Elizabeth, after my best friend of 15+ years. I had decided in college when living with said BF that honoring her and our friendship by naming my daughter after her would be a neat thing to do. So I guess my girl name was picked out then :)

Secondly, my grandfather, Reed, was a very amazing, Godly, and loving man and I knew from an early age that I would love to use his name as a middle name for one of my future children. He passed away in 2009 so it was even more important to use his name.

In October 2010, Elizabeth "Libby" Reed, was born. We didn't know the gender of the baby until birth-day but my gut told me a girl. We did have two boy names, just in case, but we will save those for, Lord willing, our future kiddos.

Kimmy said...

This makes me want to ask my mom at what point they decided to name me Kimberly. I know that their first choice had been Stephanie, but I have an older cousin named Stephanie so they ruled it out. Then they saw the name Kimberly during the credits of a show ... but I don't know if there were any other name contenders, if they saw the name & immediately decided, etc.

Becca said...

We had lists for both kids with names we liked. Their names were finalized during the second trimester after we found out their genders.

The Mrs. said...

Right after my husband and I got married, he took a driving job that gave us endless hours togther in the car. One trip, I blurted out, "Don't you think ________ would be a great name for a girl?"
He mulled this for a minute before slowly reponding with, "Yeah. Yeah, that's actually the perfect name!"
Zip forward four years, and at my eight-month ultrasound, we found that our baby was a girl. Relief! We weren't able to come up with a single boy name, but Bea's name had been decided.

Then, last year, we got a surprise phone call about a baby boy needing a home. We managed to agree on one name. The birthmother loved it... until about a week before he was born. We managed to picked another name. The birthmother loved it... until the day he was born. Discouraged, we went home that night and agreed on a third name. When we arrived at the hospital to take him home the next morning, the birthmother asked us what we had picked. "Oh!" She exclaimed, "I wish I had thought of that!" With her blessing, we took him home to meet his big sister.
Now, we can't IMAGINE his name being anything other than what it is.
So our kids don't have "matching" names, but they are who they are, and we love that.
Great topic, Swistle!

Phancy said...

I would make a GREAT bureaucrat. My immediate answer to the question was "Well, when we wrote it down on the birth certificate paperwork form." Sigh.
We knew she was a girl, and had a short list going into the birth. I was adamant that we not choose her name for SURE until we actually saw her--just in case. Then I had a hellish long labor and a c-section, and decided that I should not be making such a momentous decision after being awake for 48 hours and pumped full of lots of drugs. In my state I might have named her after the anesthesiologist. So we picked our top name, but not formally until a day and a half after she was born. (And it is one of those names that I've loved since I was 6 stories. But I also loved Hester at the same age and I think I won't be using that name.)

Lauren said...

We chose my daughter's name a few weeks before she was born, after nine months of discussion and research. With my son we spent a lot less time talking about it throughout the pregnancy and didn't choose a name until I had been in labor for several hours. Poor neglected second child :)

Tara said...

Our first daughter was named at the beginning of the third trimester. I made a list, Husband vetoed the names he was going to veto, I trimmed the list to 25, then another veto session, then I trimmed the list to 10, and Husband and I both ranked our top 5 and ended up with the same top 2. So those were our final choices that we went into delivery with. (We chose neither when our daughter was stillborn and named her Angel instead.)

Our second daughter was named at the beginning of the second trimester. We narrowed both the boys and girls name lists but both really LOVED the names Isaac and Eriana. So those were our names. They were both a secret and we called Eriana "Eddy" until she was born and we revealed the name. :) If she had been a boy her inutero nickname would have been Ike.

Megz said...

Daughter number 1's name has been my favourite as long as I can remember. I remember starting high school and meeting a girl with this name and thinking "oh no, now I'll have to find a new favourite name". But she turned out to be nice and so the favourite status stayed.

Fast forward 20 years and DH and I went for a long car trip sometime during the second trimester and many, many names were discussed, most of which were also dismissed. I tentatively mentioned my favourite name of all, and he loved it and so, apart from some last minute worries on my part, she was named.

Her middle name was chosen when my mother passed away years earlier and was absolutely non-negotiable.

Second daughter's name was DH's favourite. Can't exactly say at what point she was named.

Her middle name proved a lot more difficult and right up to the last minute we were trying to find the right name. In the end it was chosen a couple of days after she was born, commemorating the street she was unexpectedly born on (i.e. at home, not at hospital).

Karen L said...

It is a tricky question.

My first's name, Adam, was first suggested in the second trimester (based loosely on a pregnancy/naming dream from years earlier) and quickly became the front-runner. But I believe firmly that it is a mother's prerogative to change her mind upon seeing the baby. My mother did so with my brother's name. So we went to the hospital with two backup names but stuck with Adam. So when was he named - during the second trimester, or when the backups were deemed unnecessary?

My second was tougher. We'd thought of Margaret for a girl when I was pregnant with Adam before the ultrasound confirmed he was a boy. Margaret was such a sacred family name that there was no discussion of backup names. The ultrasound technician really couldn't tell the sex with my second pregnancy. However, we were *sure* we would only ever have boys because Adam was the 20th consecutive boy born in DH's family. So we didn't actually put much thought into girls' names, ever. Only late in the third trimester did I suggest picking a girl middle name because, I love talking names and it was so boring to have had the girl name picked and undiscussed for years. We half-hearted created a short list of three girl middle names. Then, much to our surprise, baby was born a girl. And I actually could not sleep at the hospital until we had picked one. DH left it with me and then was delighted with my choice, Naomi. In fact, he loved it so much, that's her name: Margaret Naomi, going by Naomi. But the hastiness made me nervous. We announced Margaret Naomi and did the paper work but warned people that we weren't sure whether she'd go by Margaret or Naomi. It took a few days before I was semi-confidently calling her Naomi. So when was she named - when I picked her "middle" name at the hospital? or when I ruled out having her go by Margaret?

Number three - a boy. Is still not named. Due in about 7 weeks. Trouble is both leading contenders break one of my rules: that the kids' names not sound like ours, so as to prevent confusion. Maybe it's time I emailed and asked for a post.

AmyRobynne said...

Love this question!

At some point during our engagement, or maybe early in our marriage, pre-kids, we decided to name our first daughter Eleanor with middle name either Lucia or Linnea. It would give the initials ELF, which my LOTR-loving husband loved. He was pushing hard for the spelling Elanor, which is Sam's daughter in the books, but I wasn't sure I wanted to deal with that. Our preferred nickname varied over the years.

In 2003, I got pregnant with baby #1 and the girl's name was set but we had NO IDEA on boys' names for awhile. I was around 5 months pregnant when I saw that both Peter and Phillip/Philip weren't in the top 100 boys' names. Philip doesn't work with a last name starting with Fi- but we both loved the idea of Peter. My maiden name is Peterson and I have no brothers or cousins, so I liked how it would carry that on. We managed to tell no one our potential names and didn't know ourselves if it would be a boy or a girl. Child #1 turned out to be Peter Kenneth (mn after my beloved grandfather).

When Peter was a couple months old, I realized he had a bunch of lion clothes and I briefly regretted not naming him Leo. During my next pregnancy, we were pretty set with either Leo or Eleanor and I ended up with boy #2, Leo William (mn after my husband's father and grandfather).

Last year, I was pregnant with child #3. In the 4 years since Leo's birth, I'd run into a lot of baby Eleanors/Noras including a friend's daughter who I nannied for almost a year and my husband's coworker who actually named his daughter Elanor after LOTR. That pretty much killed the name for us, to our chagrin. We had ultrasounds this time that told us we were probably having boy #3 by 12 weeks. We talked a bit about girls' names before that and had a top name we both didn't veto (Audrey) but if we'd been surprised with a girl at delivery, we probably would have thrown other options around before choosing one. I would have tried to convince him of Genevieve, I think.

The boy's name we did pick was like Peter's -- I hunted for classic names that were on their way out. I think looking for names most common 50 years ago is not far enough away for most parents now. Timothy caught my eye early on and was always the front-runner in my head, but Caleb and Sebastian were strong possibilities and we didn't decide for sure on Timothy until the 3rd trimester.

AmyRobynne said...

Oh -- Tim's mn is Edward after my father and other grandfather. We joke that we'll end up with a fourth son because now we need to use the 4th grandfather's name for a middle. Tim's mn was chosen long before his first.

Jane said...

I've been reading your blog for a while....and I really want to know what yours kids names actually are!!!!

ps. Sorry if that sounds stalkerish? LOL

Carmen said...

Oooh, good topic!

Our son was named a couple of weeks before my due date (we hadn't found out the gender). We'd narrowed the name down to two names for each sex. My husband rarely suggested names; he was more of a vetoer. We'd narrowed boy names down to Kieran & Brennan. He wanted one of the girl choices to be Kiera (Keira?) because he thought it would be "cool" to have a Kieran & a Kiera. I was horrified and couldn't convince him that that was a DUMB thing to do, so I bargained away Brennan to avoid Kiera. Turned out to be a boy, so Kieran it was, with his middle name the same as my husband's.

My daughter was named not too long after we found out she was a girl. (We found out the sex so that we could tell Kieran the baby's name in the hopes that would help him adjust.) I REALLY didn't like Sienna anymore so we started from scratch, although once again, my husband just vetoed names I suggested. We ended up choosing between Alexa & Calla. I preferred Calla, he wanted Alexa (nn Lexi). Since I'd "won" when we named Kieran, we went with Lexi. I'm still a bit sad about that. So she was named at about 24 weeks. Her middle name is the same as mine, to match the fact that Kieran's is the same as my husband's.

Not terribly exciting stories. Strangely, when Leo and I were dating we decided that if we had a daughter we'd name her Santina. Neither of us had that name on our radar 13 years later.

Swistle said...

Jane- I emailed Laura Wattenberg because I couldn't STAND not knowing what her daughters' names were! She said it's her most common question.

Jenny Grace said...

Most if my pregnancy was spent disagreeging on names. Gabriel's dad and I have VERY different naming styles. In the third trimester, we started focusing on names that we both liked okay, instead of names that one of us loved but the other hated. That was a key turning point. At the beginning of month nine, we had two names: Gabriel Jemison and Keiran McClain, and we thought we would take them both to the hospital. But then about two or three weeks before we had him we sort of simultaneously declared GABRIEL. So. That's when he was named, although I have occasionally felt mournful about not using Keiran, which is Irish Gaelic for dark-skinned, and meaning wise I don't think I could hit a better name for a half Irish/half black kid. Plus it's a great name. Although Gabriel is also good, and I've made the full switch from just liking it okay to loving it as the name of my son.

Jess said...

When I found out I was pregnant in 2003, my husband and I hit the baby books. We were those parents who wanted to be prepared with names ready, nursery done, car seat in the car, etc.. From the 2nd trimester on, we had 2 names as front runners and back-up names. By the day delivery came around, our son was named Eli Benjamin and all was set.

Skip to 2005, and we decided on a gender surprise. We took our time with names and when we heard something we liked we added it to our list. Delivery day approached and all we had was a giant list of names. Needless to say, our 2nd son, Hudson Samuel, was not named for 3 days.

Just 3 short months after Owen was born, we discovered I was pregnant once again. We hit the books again, and came up with two name possibilities and when delivery day rolled around, our third(!) son, Noah Emerson, was born and named.

Now in 2008, we decided to add to the family, but we were having trouble conceiving after about 6 months of trying. After two rounds of IVF, we prepared ourselves for our twins. Names were picked out by the third trimester and our twins, Abigail Grace and Jacob Sawyer were born.

LoriD said...

Great topic - I love reading through all the responses!

Daughter #1's first name was picked at about 22 weeks. I really liked a certain name and my husband wasn't convinced. He suggested a name that rhymed with my choice and it felt right. The middle name was chosen after she was born - it's a mash-up of both her grandmothers' first names.

Son's first name was the boy choice the first time around. I always loved the name and it had a pleasing Star Wars connection for my husband. His middle name was chosen in the hospital - it's my maiden name.

Daughter #2's name was chosen about a week before she was born. We were not connecting with any names (boy or girl - we didn't know the gender). I had resorted to looking through the phone book to see if I could find inspiration there! We have a big chalkboard in our kitchen where we would write down a few options everyday. One morning I woke up to one of the girl names I suggested circled with a big YES beside it. Good thing the baby was a girl... we never did agree on a boy name!

Bird said...

We went into the hospital for Son with a short list of first names and a set middle name (after my grandfather.) I knew which name we would choose and while husband really liked it I was just okay with it. I played along and debated the list post- birth but we ended up going with the name I thought it would be. Now I really love it and am glad we chose it. For daughter we used the girl's name from the first pregnancy because we both loved it so much. We weren't sure if we were going to do a middle name at all per family tradition but decided late 3rd trimester to use one. I pushed for (and won) a name that I would have used for another girl but Husband wouldn't go for as a first name. The two names flow really well and I was so excited to announce her name. Great topic!

Swistle's mom said...

I picked Swistle's name (Kristen Nicole) long before she was conceived. I had a very nice student named Kristen, and I loved the sound of the name. I picked Nicole supposedly after husband's favorite seminary professor (Dr. Roger Nicole), but even more so because to my ears those two names had the most perfect combination of sounds I had ever come upon. I held my breath (I think I even prayed) as I proposed the name to my opinionated, name-vetoing husband. He liked it, and it stuck firmly in the #1 place for the next several years until Swistle was born.

Even now, I rarely hear a name that I think sounds as good as "Kristen Nicole." And I didn't mind when both names became increasingly popular. In my opinion, there are worse things than having a name everyone likes! I did have the fun of picking a name (Kristen) that neither my parents nor my inlaws had every heard of before. I know. Hard to believe. But I myself had only heard the name "Kristen" twice before I picked it. Obviously I wasn't into American Girl dolls at that time -- if they even existed then. And I knew nothing about the Social Security name lists. Nor was I savvy about what sounds were becoming popular. So I had the experience so many others have had -- of picking a name we thought was unusual and finding out later it was actually popular. I wouldn't have mattered, however: "Kristen Nicole" was our baby!

Karen L said...

Hi Swistle's Mom! Thanks for sharing the story!

kimma said...

I tend to think of our first son as having been named twice.

I gave DH a list of names quite early on and he refused to comment (apart from crossing out three or four immediately) until we knew what the sex would be. At our 20 week scan we were told he was a boy and afterwards over coffee DH piped up "Little XXX, hey? That's good." So in my mind he'd chosen something from my list and it was decided.

I started talking to my bump by name and a few weeks later he heard me. DH is a Libra and a terrible decision maker. He freaked out and said "That's not our final decision is it?" So we spent the next several months going back and forth on other contenders with XXX always at the top of our list.

Finally on my due date I told DH this child HAS to have a name TODAY! So, he decided on XXX and our son was officially named (but not born for four more days).

We are expecting our second son in August. We've had a similar experience with him - I suggested my #1 name after the 20 week scan and DH much to my surprise said yes, lets use that! ... Only to turn around a few weeks later and admit he doesn't love that name.

Now we are back at the shorlisting stage and I've resigned myself to the fact we won't make a decision until the week he is due.

Phancy said...

Yay for Swistle's mom's story!!!

Jenny said...

Holy cow--Swistle's mom! How cool!

Elizabeth said...

First of all, my husband will not ever discuss names until we know the baby's sex. Why argue over names and/or disappoint me about a boy's name when we aren't even going to need it?

So I assumed I would name my daughter Leah, and my husband said nothing to dissuade me until the day of our ultrasound. Driving me to work after we found out our first child would be a little girl, he told me that Leah wasn't a name he loved, and besides, it didn't work with our last name. He also didn't love my half dozen or so back up names, and I shot down all of his immediate brainstorms. Over the next few weeks we went around about several names. Sometimes we would find one we both liked a lot, but then he would declare it too common (anything in the top 20 on the SSA list pretty much) or I would decide it just didn't feel right. I liked a lot of Old Testament names (Leah, Miriam, Mara, Abigail), and he liked fancy names (Alessandra, Cressida). We also tended to go for some slightly hippie-ish names, like River and Magnolia (and I imagined getting Leah by using Lia as a nickname), but as Californians living in DC, we were reluctant to use anything that just confirmed certain stereotypes about ourselves, I think. Finally my husband suggested Sierra, and I told him it felt good to me but to let me mull it over for a couple of days. The next morning, I arrived at work and discovered that he'd forwarded me an email from one of his college friends, announcing the birth of his daughter Sierra. UGH! A few days later as we poured over the SSA list again, going through the top 1000 names, he picked out Adriana. And suddenly that was her name. It seemed to flow well with Ruth, my grandmother's name that I wanted to use for a middle name, and our last name, it was fancy enough for him, plain enough for me, and not too common. It just felt right.

Google's cutting me off, so I'm going to post twice. How embarrassing

Elizabeth said...

The second time we found out we were having a girl, I handed him my list of girl names I liked and told him I would be happy with any of the names on the list: Aurora, Nerissa, Marina, Clara, Lyra, or Mara. (I had apparently decided my girls would have names ending with A.) Without hesitation he picked Lyra off the list, shocking me because it was the least common name. But it is the name of a character we adored in a book with both liked, and we like so few books in common. And she is such a tough, awesome girl, and that's what he likes to imagine in his daughters. I needed a few days to think about it and make sure I felt right about it. I was worried about her having to spell or pronounce her name for people for her whole life, but during that time in came to feel like the right name. I still felt some hesitation about it a few weeks later, and nearly started to lobby for Clara, when a friend had her ultrasound and announced that her daughter (who would be born several months after mine) would be named Clara. So Lyra it was, and we love her name. I wanted to use Beatrice, my husband's grandmother's name for a middle name, but he didn't want to, so we went with Noelle, a name I've always loved (and she was born near Christmas). Actually, as first we picked Isabel, as it is related to my name and Isabel Allende is one of my favorite authors, but after about two weeks, I noticed the initials spelled LIE. Oops. I do kind of regret that she doesn't have a family name, but at least her first name has meaning to us, whereas Adriana's is just "we picked it off a list and liked the sound."

I really felt the NEED to know my girls' names as soon as I knew they were girls. It just seemed important to me. And my favorite part was that toward the end of my pushing with Lyra, someone asked if she had a name, and then as I gave the final push and she came into the world, the midwife and doula and a couple of the nurses cheered her name, so it was the first thing she heard as she was born. And I teared up just remembering that because I am a big sap.

If either girl had surprised us and been a boy, she would have been Noah Andrew. Noah is my best friend's middle name and Andrew is my father-in-law's name.

Well, that was long.

Jodi said...

First of all, Swistle's mom - you are awesome for sharing your story - thank you!

We haven't found out the gender of any of our four girls before they were born, so my off the cuff answer is, they were all named right after they were born, but I guess it's not that simple.

With our first, we cemented our girl name (Philippa) during a long rainy walk in the highlands of Scotland when I was 19 weeks pregnant. We maybe swithered a bit about middle names after that, but I don't think we ever reconsidered her first name or even had a back-up.

With girl #2, I was hung up on -ily ending names, Cecily being an early frontrunner, but wasn't crazy about any of the nicknames for it. During a vacation with hubby's family, I was bouncing names off my mother-in-law (she has awesome taste, so she's always one of my greatest tests of the strength of a name we're considering). She hated (*really* hated) Cecily, but loved my newest fascination: Romilly. Lying in bed that night, I couldn't sleep for imagining myself with two little girls Pippa and Romy. I was about 20 weeks pg at the time. We have never called her Romy - her big sister named her Ro-Ro instead :)

Girl #3 was a toughie. I was totally smitten with Georgie names, with Georgina being the favorite, for the early part of the pregnancy, but we just couldn't get to work with any form of the family name we were trying to work in as the middle name: Joan. We briefly flirted with Cornelia at about the halfway point, but ultimately just settled on a list of about 10 and the very mechanical process of seeing what worked with what middle names. Beatrix was a strong favorite towards the end, but about a week before my due date, we realized that the nickname Bea didn't work that well with our last name, which is an adjective. When she was born, we both knew she was a Beatrix despite the punny name possibility, but we really didn't know going into the birth that she would be.

Girl #4, by contrast, was named (first and middle) less than a week after the positive test on a road trip across state. It hit me like a lightning bolt and it was just a matter of getting daddy on board after that, which I did largely by saying it occasionally during our drive and holding my hand up for a high-five. By the time we got there 6 hours later, it was more or less set.

Baby #5 is due in 19 weeks, and I dare say her name is set already if she's a she and has been for a few weeks. If she's a *he*, then we finally get to see what happens when we have to name a boy. Our boy choices have never been nearly as certain going into a delivery as our girl names are. Fun times ahead!

BTW, I was one the many who asked Laura Wattenberg what her daughters names are. Did she tell you? I'm dying to know your kids' real names, too!

Peyton said...

I know that I'm months past the rest of the comments, but my husband and I just had a long, argumentative discussion about what we're naming our second (I'm 21 weeks) on Sunday.

Our first wasn't named until right after she was born, literally. While I was pushing, my mother was in the waiting room on the phone with her mother saying, "I think they're going with Option #2." My husband came over right after she was wrapped up told me, "You know you aren't going to be happy unless she's named Option #1," a name I had suggested in the first trimester and that he had vetoed and I had brought back up a few weeks prior. So she's Option #1, and he's be holding a grudge about it for the last 18 months. (Honestly, every time I hear Option #2, I still think it's such a beautiful name; I would have been happy to use it. A little sad we won't use it now, because it starts with the same letter as Option #1.)

This time, I've really tried to make an effort to compromise. When he expressed a dislike for my favorite name, I dropped it and started looking at other names from our short list (we did make up a list of possible future siblings for Child #1, which for this girl and a couple of boys we are sticking with—we really like all of the boy names we've got). I didn't really care for his top choice—it's a lovely name, just not My Baby—and only one other really went with the middle name we both really, really like.

So, this weekend, I asked for solid confirmation that this was the name we are sticking with, and it will take something really extraordinary to budge it. I just wanted to know if I should be actively looking for another or if we were happy with what we had (which wouldn't stop me from throwing names out that I thought sounded interesting, but unless they REALLY REALLY struck him too, they were only options for hypothetical future children, not this definite one). At that point he started going on and on for about an hour about how his opinion didn't matter, and so if this was the name I was stuck on, sure, fine. I love my husband to death, but he was never making any suggestions for names he preferred.

So, after a bit of a shouting match and me having a few tears, we had another hour-long discussion about how, even though his dislike of Child #1's name is completely gone, he was still holding a grudge that he needed to get over, and how we were trying to compromise this time. We discussed the pros and cons of the name we had—he thinks the name sounds more like a character than a real person, I think it sounds like Culture We Aren't and don't know what to do about nicknames—but we both think it's pretty, and we really, really love the meaning. Eventually we confirmed that this name is Child #2. We'll check in with each other from time to time, just to reconfirm, but we're not looking for anything different anymore. So, yay! We're not announcing what it is until the birth, though.