Walking With You--Naming Our Babies
Like most women (I think), I had names picked out for my children by the time I graduated high school. However, my step-sister-in-law got to my girl's name first so when we found out we were pregnant, we started thinking. We had three boys names picked out but we couldn't agree on a girl's name. I don't like names that can arbitrarily be shortened by anyone you meet--it really bugs me when someone introduces themselves as Christopher or Jonathan and the other person immediately says "Hey Chris" or "Hey John" just because they assume it doesn't matter. Anyway, my husband just decided to quit worrying about it until the time came when we knew what we were having. I have always felt that I would have a daughter first so I kept suggesting names anyway.
I work in a hospital so I see names all the time--fun names, traditional names, names with entirely too many vowels or consonants or 'z's' or apostrophes. I wanted something that the baby wouldn't have trouble pronouncing or spelling since our last name is frequently mispronounced and misspelled. I have always loved the name Elise for a middle name because it flows so well and sounds very elegant to me. We just couldn't come up with a first name that we both liked.
One day, I was going through charge slips at the hospital and I saw two patients back to back whose names together gave me Raelyn. I liked the sound and I had never heard it before (although if you google it, it is fairly popular). My husband liked it instantly, but I still had my reservations because of the spelling. I told him we would just wait until we knew which gender we needed a name for.
On the day of the ultrasound, we were very excited and deep down we both thought that we would see a girl. The moment I saw her face on the screen, I knew that was her name. She was Raelyn. I knew her name before I knew she was a girl! I didn't say anything though because the tech still had not found out the gender yet and we all know what happened for the rest of that visit. When we got to the car after my amniocentesis and talking with the genetic counselor, I told my husband through my tears, "Can we still name her Raelyn? I think her name is Raelyn." He agreed and it was settled.
I looked it up later and discovered that Raelyn means "beautiful lamb" which I thought was very fitting. I can't think of a more precious and yet vulnerable reference than a lamb, and we are all called to follow the Shepherd. Even more interesting is her middle name Elise, which means "Promise of God". That really touched me and I took it two ways. I believe that a "Promise of God" is that she will have brothers and sisters here on Earth. Also, Raelyn was a promise to me--she was the firstborn and left behind a promise in that brief glimpse of the love that I have for my children. I have never been around children much and I have always had a very deep, hidden fear that I would not be able to love my children enough. She showed me a love that I never thought I could possess.
My husband and I use her name when we talk about her, but no one on my side of the family has ever spoken her name. I know no one wants to dredge up old feelings or grief, but it's not old to me. I smile everytime someone spells out her name in the comments. It still makes me so happy to hear her name spoken out loud--to know that someone remembers.
5 weeks ago