Expectant Chronicles: The Name Game

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We thought we had it figured out.

And then we weren’t sure.

Many months ago, after I first saw that unbelievable, yet unmistakable second line on the pregnancy test, after I offered Dude a small gift bag for Valentine’s Day containing pee-on-a-stick, we had brainstormed. We had made lists. We dreamed of what we’d name our little dude or dudette.

We lost that little unplanned and unexpected emby, just shy of 6 weeks, but by then we knew. Dude called it “the coin flip,” where the outcome doesn’t so much make you decide as help you realize what your choice was anyway, based on your reaction. He wasn’t sure he wanted to start again. His kids are pre-teens, and in a few years they’d be out of the house and we’d be free to have our own adventures. The day before my positive test, we had talked about it, and hadn’t come to a clear conclusion. But the pregnancy, and its demise, flipped the coin for us. We wanted this, both of us.

A second set of lines showed up in July, and the lists came out again, but we lost that wee one too, just as quickly. By now we were actively trying, and so this time we didn’t put the lists away, but kept throwing possibilities around.

When the next positive showed up unexpectedly in September (I was spotting, only 10 days past ovulation, and took the one dollar-store test I had hanging around just to prove I was right about not being pregnant, and was taking it to the trash can when I glanced at it a second time and saw a faint shadow!), we were prepared. We had narrowed down options, ruthlessly discarded rejects, and honed in on the winners.

The girl name was easy, from the beginning. Lots of choices, obvious favorites, a quick winner.

The boy name was tougher, never quite giving us any standouts. We had a few leaders, but no definite decision.

At 19 weeks, we went for our ultrasound. The very first image captured was this one:


Crap. I mean, we were happy that everything looked great and he measured right on target and it was awesome to finally see this thing I supposedly had in my uterus. But the next morning, I woke up weepy. I’d thought it was a girl, and it wasn’t, and worst of all, he didn’t have a name.

Right then, laying in bed, we went through our list. The strongest possibility for the first name became the middle, and a new leader arose for the first name, one we’d both liked from the beginning, one with lovely meaning and connection for us. I started thinking of Baby Bumpy by that name, even saying it to him sometimes. I was sure that was it…but then recently I started second-guessing.

One problem: it’s starting to become more popular. We want a name that’s at the bottom of the Social Security rankings, or not on there at all. Not weird, or intentionally unique…just uncommon. This name has been rising on the list the past five years, and although the new list has not been released yet, I expect it to have risen again. Second issue I have: the ending of the name is similar to both E’s and Girl-E’s names. Not a huge deal, but throws me off a bit that C would be alone in that way.

It’s not out of consideration totally–we still love it and the meaning it holds, and I even had a dream last night in which I had given birth and affirmed to my midwife that that was his name–but really, we’re not sure.


So now we are back to brainstorming, compiling, and reducing. I asked Dude tonight to consider what we’d name Baby Bumpy if he were born tonight, and he suggested “Dudito”–little dude. (Actually a little ironic since I don’t think I’ve told him what I call him in my writing.)

I think he’d just be Baby Boy, honestly. We are that unsettled.

And so the name game continues. Good thing we’d already decided not to tell anyone the name until he’s born!

How long did it take you to decide on your little one’s name? Was it an easy process, or did you go back and forth? Please share!

The Author

I'm a pastor. I believe in radical love and ridiculous grace. I love to sing and sew, and have a shop on Etsy. I'm trying to make my ecological footprint smaller. I have chickens who provide endless entertainment. Oh, and I'm a formerly single mom by choice, son E (born 6/00, placed 11/23/11, adoption finalized 11/21/14) and now making a life with The Dude and his two kids, Girl-E (12/02) and C (9/04). Baby Bumpy due to arrive around 5/25/15! This blog chronicles my thoughts on faith, family, and the wild adventure we call Life!


  1. My husband was the worst to pick names with. I got a baby name book from the library after we found out our boy was a boy and told him he had 2 days to go through it and make a list of at least 10. I did the same and when we compared there was one name we both had. Name sorted.


  2. We had a spreadsheet in Google Docs where we put the names, which one of us had submitted the name, if there were any family ties, the 2013 census popularity ranking, and if the name was rising or declining in popularity from 2000-2013. Like you, we didn’t want a totally off-the-wall name, but we didn’t want something in the top ten, either.

    We put each of the names into Google and weeded out a few more that way (notorious female serial killer? we’ll pass!). We ended up with an old-fashioned name that is becoming more popular, but still in the 200s for popularity. Our daughter is six months old, and we’re still in love with the name.


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