My name is Katy (short for Katharine, but I've always been "Katy") & I am nearly 38 weeks pregnant. My husband Brian and I expect to welcome a baby girl to our family pretty much any day now!
Before I go any further, I should note that our last name starts with a D and rhymes with "Flemming." When we got married, I moved my family name (a german name that sounds like "Sights") to the "middle" position, my husband legally changed his middle name to my family name and our son has my family name as his middle name also. So this baby girl will have my family name as her middle name. I love that we all share both of our family names. I do find it harder to chose names because I love the idea of finding first & middle names that just "go together!" but the middle/last combo was decided years ago when we got married and changed names!
We have a three year old named Gavin and we love his name. It took a LONG time to settle on his name and because I feel very superstitious about "definitely" picking a name before a baby is born (and about telling anyone the name choices), we actually went into the hospital with three names in mind (Kevin, Sean & Gavin ... the last of which was only added to the mix about a month before he was due to be born) but in the midst of a 37+ hour labor we both admitted that each of us had begun to think of him as Gavin in our minds so we settled on that moments before he was born! [True confession, I also loved that everyone we told his name to in those first few weeks told us how much they LOVED the name Gavin and it was very nice to get such enthusiastic affirmation of the name we'd chosen]. It was chosen mostly because we just really liked it ~ but I like connecting names to other things and immediately went out and bought a copy of Sir Gawain & the Green Knight to give to my son in the future.
Although we knew the gender of our first child, somehow in the midst of agonizing discussions about names for him (we have seemingly different "styles") we threw out a few girls names and at the time we agreed that we both really liked Cora & Molly (truthfully, I loved Cora SO much more than Molly and I had pretty much decided from the moment that Gavin was born that if he had a little sister, she'd be named Cora)
Fast forward to today, however, and lo and behold we know a "Cora" who has been a child in my son's daycare the past few years. Somehow, knowing another little girl named Cora has caused us both to have such a strong association with this one particular girl, that it makes the name harder to consider (especially for my husband... I think I could get over it, but he really can't get back on board with Cora). And Molly was used by a cousin and by a friend of ours (spelled Mollie) over the past three years and suddenly it doesn't seem right this time around.
Since the first week we started seriously discussing names a few months ago (when the ultrasound tech told us it was a 95% chance of a girl), we keep coming back to the name Heidi. I loved the book as a child (and I love names that have literature connections and read that post on your blog about 15 times for inspiration!) We both really like Heidi, but for some reason neither of us can quite say: "I love this, this is her name!" I wonder a lot if Gavin & Heidi are good sibling names? Gavin is so Celtic sounding and Heidi is so German sounding (although with our two family surnames, I guess that is appropriate!). I am also REALLY hoping this little one gets my husband's thick, dark brown hair and green/hazel eyes and I have a hard time not thinking of a "Heidi" as a blonde with blue eyes (which is unlikely given our genetic contributions!) Finally, although I really like my name "Katy" I have struggled with it sounding too "young" as I've grown older. I think of Heidi as a spunky little girl's name so I'd love to hear your opinion on whether Heidi is name that she will "grow into well" and whether it transfers to the professional world. (and also whether it's too "70s" as one baby name book suggested)
The only other name we've come close to agreeing on is Tessa or Tess. (but not short for Therese or Teresa, just as a stand alone name)
We do both agree that we like names whose spellings make it easy to know how to pronounce and that we like names that are both not too unusual that someone will look at us and say "is that a name?" or too popular -- we'd likely rule out names in the top 15 of baby girl names.
My husband also likes (and I REALLY don't):
Jodee (although I do have a cousin named this and I adore her)
I'm lukewarm on his suggestions of:
Marissa (although I like Maris and Marin)
For my husband, any name we choose also has to pass a test of "sounding like she could play women's professional soccer" (don't ask me exactly what that means but it does rule out names like Margery & Adaline apparently)
I really like (and my husband does NOT like):
Gretchen (his grandmother was Margaret & even my trying to convince him that this would be a way of naming a baby after her didn't help!)
Ada (my husband's other grandmother was named Aida ... pronounced "Ida" so this is a little tricky since the family might wonder why we didn't just name her Aida)
Polly (my grandmother's name)
I also like the nick name "Nell" but my husband only agrees to that if if comes from the larger name "Janelle" and I really prefer that it come from "Eleanor"
Can you see how we have seemingly different naming "styles"!!
For some reason I keep thinking we'll happen upon a name that we just both LOVE and will know that it's the right one... but we're getting down to the wire (and I'm having lots of pre-labor contractions as I type this) so I'm sending this one email to see if you or your readers have any name suggestions for us that go well with the sibling name Gavin and blend our two styles of names!
Oh and this is our last baby (unless the absolute unexpected happens) so the only thing we'll be naming in the future is a dog!
Sorry for the long email, feel free to edit if you decide to post!
Thanks so much! I love reading your blog and have come back to it many sleepless nights during these last few weeks of pregnancy but since I've never seen anyone ask about the name Heidi, I thought I'd try emailing!
P.S. I do just want to add that although the ultrasound tech gave us a 95% chance of a girl, I have serious doubts about the gender sometimes and I keep peeking in the "boys" section of the baby name book to have a back up "just in case" this little one surprises us!! Is it crazy to have a back up boy's name?
I don't think it would be at all crazy to have a back-up boy's name: I am always in favor of more name-hunting! At this point in the pregnancy it seems best to prioritize: FIRST get a solid girl name (or solid list of several to choose from) and THEN continue the fun with a boy name search. When I'd start to get stressed about choosing a name for the non-indicated-by-ultrasound sex, I found it comforting to think that if the baby WAS the sex we weren't prepared for, it would be such an amusing and startling surprise and such a great story, everyone would be distracted by THAT for awhile---and besides, we'd have a perfect reason for needing a little extra time to find a name.
Your husband is suffering from a common affliction among fathers-to-be (not ONLY fathers, but it does seem more heavily weighted toward fathers), which is that he's thinking about girl names from his own generation, rather than shifting to the current batch of baby names. You, on the other hand, have successfully shifted. This is the main difference between your lists: not so much style as timing.
I like the idea of making sure a name can work for various types of women, though I don't like the idea of picking just ONE type. The idea behind "Does it work for a stripper or a Supreme Court Justice?" (which I modify to include less-unlikely professions such as manager, receptionist, teacher, lawyer, bookkeeper, check-out clerk, bank executive) is to make sure we're taking into account that a child could be any of many different temperament types and skill-sets. It's good to keep the athletes in mind, but also to remember the introverted book-reading types, the drama club types, the pink and glitter types, the nature-loving types, etc. Another thing to keep in mind is nicknames: it's difficult to picture a Cordelia or a Marjorie playing soccer---but the picture changes if I imagine her teammates calling her Deels or Jory or Flemming.
I seem to be coming down pretty hard against your husband's side here. Dear, dear, I don't mean to: he has some very nice names on his list, and wanting her name to work on a girl who plays sports is good thing to keep in mind. I think it's just reminding me of Paul back when we were first naming our babies and he kept suggesting names like Wendy, Tracy, and Tamara. Those are indeed fine names, and they were perfect fits for the girls we knew when we were in high school, but I was ready to move on to Eve and Elena and Emerson and Lauren and Olivia. KEEP UP, BOYS.
I love the name Cora. A name that feels similar to me is Clara. Clara Sights Flemming; Gavin and Clara. So pretty.
Another possibility: the rhyming name Nora. It reminds me of your Nell option, and it too can be short for Eleanor but works even better than Nell as a stand-alone name. Nora Sights Flemming; Gavin and Nora.
Maura and Laurel have similar sounds as well. I particularly like Laurel, especially since you have Laura on your list. Laurel Sights Flemming; Gavin and Laurel. Would the initials LSD bother you?
I think Heidi might be a very good compromise name. It's a name from my own high school, and yet I feel ready to hear it again---unlike many of the other names of my peers. Heidi Sights Flemming; Gavin and Heidi. But I'm not sure I like it with the actual D-surname, without the Sights in between.
There's also Idey or Eidey (stand-alone, or else short for Eidelyn/Idelyn), which share many of the sounds of Heidi and also give you a tie-in to Grandma Aida-pronounced-Ida. But this may fall into the "Is that a name?" category you're talking about.
Ivy, too, has some of the sound of Heidi, without the potential '70s problem, and I love the repeating V sound with Gavin. Ivy Sights Flemming; Gavin and Ivy. This is one of my favorite options.
Holly falls into this same category as Heidi for me: sure, it was used in my generation, but it's more the "1970s owls" category than the "1970s bangs" category: I still want it around. And it's similar to your old favorite of Molly. Holly Sights Flemming; Gavin and Holly.
A good compromise category might be The Baby Name Wizard's New Classics: these are the names that I was struggling to describe using owls and hair, but really what they are is names that work at our ages AND at our kids' ages. Wendy, Tracy, and Tamara aren't on there, but Kevin, Sean, Tessa, Holly, Alicia, Samantha, and Marissa are. Other good possibilities: Bethany, Cara, Bridget, Clarissa, Jocelyn, Lara, Laurel, Leslie, Meredith, Sabrina.
Name update! Katy writes:
First of all apologies for having taken SO long to update you on the name of our little girl!
(It's been a busy three months with two kiddos and in the midst of it, I wound up back in the hospital with gall bladder surgery so I've been playing "catch up" on nearly everything!)
Secondly, thank you so much for posting my letter and for your very thoughtful response! And thank you to the many people who commented and offered suggestions as well. What you wrote as well as the many comments helped me to fall even further in love with the name Heidi however, I still kept feeling like I would need to see this baby to settle on that name.
After you printed the letter I made a huge list of every single name that was suggested by you as well as all the other names that were given in the comments. I grouped them by the ones I loved, the ones I didn't like (or couldn't use because I work in an all-girls school and they have the wrong connotation) and ones that I wanted to think about. I showed the list to my husband and after several long conversations, we settled on three that we could agree would be wonderful names: Heidi, Tessa & Leah (thank you to "Erin" who commented and suggested this name)
Despite my hopeful projections on Sept 12th, when I wrote the letter, our little girl took her sweet time and didn't arrive until Sept. 28th. During the 36+ hours of laboring in the hospital, we were still so undecided that my husband kept offering other ideas and we even started to throw Mira into the mix of names. I knew, though, that I would need to meet my daughter to decide ultimately (which drove the nurses crazy as I felt so protective of wanting to decide on our own, we wouldn't even share our top names with the nurses/midwives/my mother during the entire labor).
Finally, though our little girl was born ... and as much as I LOVE the name Heidi, even from the first moments of seeing her, I wasn't sure that was her name... she spent the first ten hours of her life as "Baby Girl" and while we cuddled and she nursed I kept trying out our names to see what fit...(Admittedly, I really wanted to look at her and know she was a Heidi, but something about her tiny little face, wouldn't let me settle on that!) ultimately she let us know that she is a Leah. So I'd like to introduce you to our darling Leah. I think that Gavin & Leah wind up working well together and it really is a name that just seems to "fit" her in a way that the other names didn't!
My only slight naming regret is that in our discussion of the name, we never imagined that a name spelled Leah would be pronounced any other way except "Lee-uh"... and for the past three months I have been asked about the pronunciation (and had to correct people ~ even close family members!) because many people pronounce it "Lay-uh" (or "Lee").
So thank you again for all your advice. Attached is a photo of our little Leah at about 2 months in a beautiful handmade dress from the mother of a friend of mine!