The Name Game

Today is my oldest’s 6th birthday. I can’t believe it’s been 6 years since that crazy, painful, miraculous, emotional, life-altering day. Before I had children, I always thought I’d be a traditionalist and wait to find out what we’re having until that big birth-day. Some people claim that waiting to find out if it’s a boy or a girl helps to get them through the labor. I get it, I do. But as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I wanted to know WHO the heck was in my belly!!
The day we found out we were having a girl was such a special day! We really didn’t care if it was a boy or a girl, but since we decided to name our first born daughter after my grandmothers, Natalie & Charlotte, and hadn’t settled on a name for a boy at that point, it felt right. The celebration we had that day was something I needed. The moment Natalie was born was incredible, and would’ve been phenomenal either way – but getting that bonus day half-way through the pregnancy was awesome. We started calling Natalie by name in the womb… however, we didn’t tell anyone else her name. The hubs & I were the only ones who knew. It drove everyone absolutely INSANE! I’m sure many people wondered what sort of weird name we were hiding. But it was fun. And I felt uncomfortable with the thought of anyone else talking to my belly, calling my unborn baby by name. That was sacred to the 2 & ½ of us.

Cut to nearly 3 years later… pregnant again. Very different pregnancy. Sicker than a dog almost the entire 9 months. I had to go on medication just to keep food down. I lost 20 lbs in the first trimester because I had no appetite and anything I ate went to the baby and the rest went into the toilet. I was convinced it was a boy. Had to be, right? This pregnancy was kicking my ass, there’s no way it’s another girl! We even had what we felt was the perfect boy’s name, but hadn’t come up with a girl’s name yet. Spoiler alert! It was another girl! It took me a few hours to wrap my brain around it. Another girl? Natalie had thrown me for a loop her first 2 ½ years of life. The tantrums, the sleepless nights, the constant need for attention… If I had to go through all of that again, how in the world would I survive??

Well, another girl meant I had to hit the name-books, the net, TV & movie show credits… if there were girl-names within an eye shot, I was all over it. I’d throw names I liked out to the hubs, and he’d shoot them down. Every. Last. One. 2 challenges drove me insane: (1) Finding an appropriate name that went with our very common last name. I didn’t want a common first name because it’d be likely there would be 20+ people with her exact name living in our city and (2) since I’m “Kelli with an I” I also wanted to do what I did with Natalie – give her a name she wouldn’t have to spell every damn time she told someone her name. Natalie Charlotte wasn’t a name you heard very often. I wanted something like that; classic, but not trendy.

Do you know how hard that is??? Especially when you loved the first girl name you picked out… and had your heart set on the boy-name you picked out?! And let’s face it, the hubs wasn’t offering any level of assistance here. Other than the fact that I got to name our first child after people from my side, so if we did that again, naming anyone from my side of the family wouldn’t be fair. Oh it was a barrel of laughs pulling my hair out over this one.

Then, it happened; about 2 months before she was born, I gave up on the books, the net, basically finding a name altogether, and took one of my best friend’s advice to simply come up with a name on my own. She told me to just think of some thing or place we loved and come up with a name based on that. So I went back to our time in ArizonaTucson? No, not for a girl. But the mountain range was the Catalina mountains… Catalina? Maybe call her Lina? Definitely a prospect. We weren’t a fans of Phoenix, so that was never an option. But… wait… Sedona? SEDONA?! One of the most beautiful, spiritually inspiring places we’ve ever been to? I mentioned Catalina & Sedona to the hubs, and he looked up at me and said “Sedona… hmmm… “ which was the most positive reaction I had received up to that point! So, we turned to Natalie, 3 yrs old and asked her “What do you want to name your baby sister? Sedona? Or Catalina?” And Natalie said “I like SEDONA!” the way she said her name sealed the deal. We thought we “came up” with the name ourselves, but my mother gave us the book The Three Sedonas about the founder of Sedona’s wife, Sedona. Yup. Sedona the city was named after a woman! The Founder trekked to the breathtaking city and couldn’t think of anything more incredible than his wife. Made me love the name and the city even more.

My advice to anyone finding it challenging to find that perfect baby-name is to ignore everyone. Pick what you like and what you can agree on with your partner. It’s a lot of pressure naming someone, but know that when it feels right, it really is right. I found it best to wait until the baby is born to share the name too. Share the gender if you know it, but the name is a very fun secret to keep until birth. And then no one can say “What the hell kind of name is SEDONA?!” or “I knew a girl in high school named Natalie, she was SUCH a bitch.” For some reason, people can’t help themselves when it comes to names. But once they see that baby, it’s much harder to question the name! And when in doubt, give your other child(ren) a few names to choose from, and if anyone questions your new baby’s name, blame it on their sibling! 

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