I am 35 weeks pregnant (due 8/31) with our first child and we found out we are having a girl at 16 weeks (it's nice to have an ultrasound tech friend!). This was a blessing because while my husband and I had agreed on a girl's name, Norah, in one of our first baby name conversations five years ago, we were nowhere close to agreement on a boy's name. In fact, talking about potential boy names had become quite a chore. The news that we were having a girl ended that struggle until very recently.
Three events have broken the naming peace:
A few weeks ago, my mother-in-law suggested that we should have a boy's name just in case. Ultrasound techs have been wrong before. This got my husband thinking about boy's names all over again. Then about a week ago, my husband found out that his 22-year-old cousin was thought to be a girl all the way until birth, leaving his aunt and uncle to flail for a boy's name moments after his arrival. And yesterday our good friend's cousin gave birth to a baby boy...AFTER they had already spent several thousand dollars on pink baby gear, thinking they were having a girl. These stories make my blood pressure rise!
We think the odds of our baby being a boy are very slim and most of our expensive baby gear is gender-neutral, including nursery decor. We've had several ultrasounds and have been told by four different doctors and techs to expect a girl. But are we tempting fate if we allow our boy's name feud to linger? Do we need to have a boy name in our back pocket? I know we are probably way overthinking this, but it would make my hormone-addled brain and my planning-obsessed husband feel better to have a backup plan in case a boy appears at delivery!
Assuming we do need a boy's name, we could really use your help. Our last name is $tephen$on (pronounced like Stevenson) and the baby's middle name will be Lee regardless of sex, which is my husband's and his father's middle name. We plan to use honor names as middle names for all of our children.
Our top choice for a boy was Lucas until a close friend named his son Luca in December. Now it's off the table, sadly.
Potential compromise names that neither of us love or hate:
Elliott (nn. Leo)
Names I like and he has vetoed:
Names he likes and I have vetoed:
William (nn. Liam)
Charles (nn. Charlie)
I tend to be all over the map with respect to naming style preferences for boys; I like the surname-as-first name style, some traditional names, and some trendier names. He tends to be more firmly settled in the traditional name camp. There are names we both like but feel like we can't use because of alliteration with our last name (which makes me nuts!) like Silas and anything ending in -son/sen. We have many other names we agree upon for future lady babies; favorites include Charlotte, Alice, and Gwendolyn, in case that helps generate more ideas.
We've both scoured your blog and the Baby Name Wizard for new ideas but nothing seems to be The Boy Name for both of us! And we find ourselves falling in and out of love with boy names, which is weird since we've had Norah picked out for years and never wavered. Any advice and suggestions you or your readers have would be so appreciated. Thank you!
Here are some reasons to have a boy name AND a girl name ready, even if you're pretty sure you know which one you need:
1. It can be quite fun to say things like, "If I'd been a boy, my name would have been Christopher!"
2. It does very occasionally happen that an ultrasound is wrong, and so it's nice to be prepared.
3. Baby-naming is fun.
Here are some reasons not to:
1. If you do have a boy when you're expecting a girl, that story is SO THRILLING to everyone, you'll have all the excuse and time you need to come up with an alternate name. There would be no need to decide immediately; you'd have days or even weeks. It even becomes part of the fun: "Daddy and I didn't even know you were a boy! We had to go through a baby name book right there in the hospital!"
2. Baby-naming can stop being fun, and start being stressful and difficult---and the odds are strongly in favor of all that stress and difficulty being for nothing. You're describing it as "quite a chore" and "a struggle," and you've had several ultrasounds all with predictions of girl, so it sounds to me that this is where you are right now.
3. Many people find that the name they'd chosen for the opposite sex is no longer one they want to consider when expecting subsequent babies. Deciding on a name now may save you time if you have a boy later---or it might waste a name.
As you might expect, I was VERY KEEN on naming my own babies, and started lists the day the pregnancy test was positive. And yet I waited until I knew if the baby was a boy or a girl before getting serious about choosing a name, and considered that one of the huge benefits of finding out the baby's sex before the birth. For the fun of it, I would draw up little lists of names I might consider if the baby surprised us by being the opposite sex---but I never got into the more difficult and stressful work of making a final decision. It didn't feel worth it, and I soothed myself with the "It will make the story even better" idea.
If you do have a boy, the work you have done so far is plenty: you will still have some deciding to do, but you've given it thought, and you've drawn up some rough lists, and you've become familiar with the other parent's opinions and with the boy name sections of the baby name books. At this point, when it has become a stressful and upsetting chore, it doesn't seem worth the effort of narrowing it down further. If choosing only one name were enough to bring down punishment from Fate, there would be many more stories of birth day surprises than there are.
Name update! Austin writes:
Hi Swistle & Readers!
Thanks for all your help and suggestions for a name in case we had a baby boy. As it turns out (and as we figured), we fretted in vain. Our beautiful daughter arrived nine days late on 9-9-12, healthy and huge (9lbs. 10oz.!). After some last-minute angst over whether to name her Norah-with-an-H or Nora-without-the-H, we settled on Nora Brooke when we saw her (my middle name is Brooke so we kept up the family middle name tradition). You'll be hearing from us again if we have a boy in the future!
Many thanks again,