Why You Should Name That Kid Before Birth

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

We needed a boy’s name.

As a high school science teacher of eleven years, that was a challenge. Nearly every good name had a bad connotation. And when combined with “Waugh” (pronounced “Wall”), even good names sounded bad.

So, I read baby name books, asked friends for suggestions, listed favorite students’ names, and, of course, sorted through our family tree for something catchy.

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

It was too hard.

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 seemed preemptive to name our baby –presumptuous, even. We’d struggled to conceive, so the whole pregnancy smacked of the miraculous, like it just couldn’t be real. Better not to jinx it.

But then came twelve hours of difficult labor, with chorioamnionitis, fever, manual dilation of my uterus (that’s as painful as it sounds), and me caving at the end, accepting an epidural. There was talk of a C-section; our baby’s heart rate was unsteady. Things got dicey.

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

I wasn’t much better.

The nurses rushed him to a corner of the delivery room, where they huddled around a portable baby triage center, the room full of anxious energy instead of his first cries.

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

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

I called to him, so he could hear his mother’s voice, something familiar. “It will be ok…. Baby.” “Momma’s here…Baby.” “I love you…Baby.”

It was then that I learned why you name your child before they’re born: in case you need a name to call out.

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

After several minutes of trying to wrench my heart into the corner of the room, my heart came to me. Alive and well, ready to be named:


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

Our next reco: 8 Best Baby Naming Sources That Are Totally Free


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