Why You Should Name That Kid Before Birth

We chose our first child’s name before we even started conceiving: Melissa Waugh, a name we both loved. But at the twenty-week ultrasound, a clear “frank and beans” picture of our baby changed that plan.

We need a boy’s name.

As a high school science teacher of eleven years, that was a challenge. Almost every good name has a bad meaning. And when combined with “Waugh” (pronounced “Wall”), even good names don’t sound good.

So, I read baby name books, asked friends for suggestions, listed favorite student names, and, of course, combed our family tree for something catchy.

I polled friends on Facebook, picked a name, then threw it out the window and started over: Cameron, because we liked it. William, after my grandfather. David, after my husband’s step-father. Glenn, for my wife. Bradley, for my great grandmother Lottie Merry Christmas Bradley Terry Wingo.

Too difficult.

We’ll settle on one after he’s born, we decided. Like a puppy – once we see his personality and his cute little face, we’ll know which name fits best. Besides, it seems preemptive to name our baby –presumptuous, even. We had a hard time conceiving, so the whole pregnancy felt like a miracle, like it wasn’t real. You better not jinx it.

But then came twelve hours of difficult labor, with chorioamnionitis, fever, manual dilation of my uterus (as painful as it sounds), and me caving in at the end, receiving an epidural. There was talk of a C-section; Our baby’s heartbeat is unstable. Things got dicey.

When our son finally emerged, the cord was wrapped around his neck three times, and his vitals were weak.

I never got better.

The nurses rushed her to a corner of the delivery room, where they crowded into a portable baby triage center, the room filled with anxiety instead of her first cry.

They were too busy to tell me what was going on, and I understood. Ignore me. I would choose my son a thousand times over; don’t worry about me

I am helpless. Numb from the waist down, in a compromised position and bleeding profusely, unable to see or hear my newborn.

I called her, so she could hear her mom’s voice, it sounded familiar. “It will be okay too…. Baby.” “Mama is here…Baby.” “I love you baby.”

That’s when I learned why you name your child before they’re born: just in case you need a name to call them.

Even if they’re never in your arms, you need that name.

After a few minutes of trying to get my heart into the corner of the room, my heart came to me. Alive and well, ready to name:


After my great-grandmother, Lottie Merry Christmas Bradley Terry Wingo, who never wanted a name.

Our next reco: 8 Best Baby Name Resources That Are Completely Free

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