Those last three days of the two week wait are the worst, aren't they? You've got a bit of hope left, but it's rapidly eroding. The testing date is so close (less than a week away!) but the odds are you'll never make it there. AF's calling cards are increasingly difficult to ignore. The only worse part of my cycle is when I'm waiting on a late ovulation.
So to distract myself, I'm going to post about one of my favorite topics: Names.
I have always been fascinated with names. I think a lot of writers are. Names are such lovely symbols-- or at least I've been conditioned to read them that way after years of reading fiction. Names are musical. Names are adaptable, changing like a face over time as relationships grow or alter. Names are such a beautiful gift from parent to child.
I'm the oldest of four daughters, and I was seven when my youngest sister was born. My parents never enlisted our help in naming their younger children. They never even let us know the potential names before my sisters were born. But I can vividly remember reading through their baby name books during my mom's pregnancies, making lists of names I liked and suggesting them to my parents.
Over the years I made constant name lists that stand as a record of my obsessions and changing interests. Then in college, the internet revolutionized the way we name children. The SSA began releasing the annual Most Popular Names lists, parents started debating names online, google searches allowed immediate calculations of the incidences of a child's potential full name not only in his or her locality, but across the globe. I became interested in the sociological aspects of naming, the reasons certain names trend up or down, what names parents are drawn to at a particular time and which names they reject. Names are fascinating to research from that perspective, because they are both intimately expressive of parents' class, cultural, and other affiliations and also totally free!
Eventually, a few years ago, after becoming an active member of a community of "Name Enthusiasts," I was picked to co-write an advice column about names for an online publication (under an alias, not my own by-line, as it's a corporate endeavor).
So, suffice it to say, I've spent a lot of time thinking about names.
And naturally, after almost ten years with my husband, we've talked about names together. We hadn't even been dating a year before I started throwing "potential children's" names around, and once Lawyer Guy realized this was just a hobby of mine and not an indication of my desire to get pregnant at 20, he played along. I've even infected him with my name interest. He now remembers noteworthy (or appalling) names he hears on the street or given by acquaintances to tell me about them and has his own firm favorites and strong dislikes.
Our chosen names have changed over time: we started nine years ago with Eloise and James and moved through several other permutations over the years. But four years ago--after we became engaged--we finally settled on a different set boy and girl name. We loved them. When we started trying to conceive, we would talk all the time about what we would do with X or Y, where we would take them, what they would be like.
We purposefully left the middle names undetermined-- until I got pregnant. Roughly a week later, we had those pinned down, too.
After we lost the baby, we still kept those names. Since we don't know the gender of the baby we lost, I think of it only as "m&m," and I'm comfortable doing so. We feel no compunction applying these names to a new baby. They were always potential names, chosen for a potential baby, and they can wait until the actual baby arrives to fill that potential.
But maybe I did attach them to my first pregnancy more than I think I did. Or maybe (what I suspect is more likely), having the same mental names for my hypothetical, non-existent children has grown boring. Much of the fun of discussing names comes from the debate, the discovery, the moment when you and your partner realize that you both love the same special sound. We had those moments four years ago. Talking about these names isn't fun any longer.
So I've been cheating on X and Y. I've been pondering other possibilities. I've been filling out online stationery order forms for baby announcements (shut up, we all do it) with other monograms. There's a boys name lurking in the background, not ready yet to take center stage, but the situation is quite different for the girls. A new contender has emerged, a name we both adore, that is sweet and short and lovely: Nell Isadora (the middle for LG's grandfather).
I'd really like the little zygote to show up already, so we can hammer out this debate. I'd really like the pang that accompanies every column I write to disappear. I'd really like to comment on name blogs and message boards again, something I haven't been able to do since the miscarriage.
I'd really like to not get bored of another set of names before the baby arrives to wear them.
[Edited 1/21/12: Now that we do have a baby and have given him our favorite name, I have removed the distinguishing details from this post to protect his privacy]
I'm back, and it's hopefully not a once-off!!
3 weeks ago