On naming girls....

Thursday, June 9, 2016


I didn't blog back when I first had babies so the what's in a name has never been shared.  I love my girls names and I love the stories and meanings behind each.  

Sitting down for dinner at some restaurant in Kansas City it came up.  

The, "when are y'all going to have babies,"  it.  

 It was the day before New Year's and we had slipped away with the sister and brother-in-law to celebrate the new year.  The whens quickly escalated to what wold you name him? 

"Jake," we responded proudly.

Because Jake Belin on the carry would sound SO good announced over the PA during a Friday night high school game.  

"What about if it's a girl?"

We both kind of froze.  We had never really talked about it, but I had always wanted to name a little girl Claire and so I announced Claire Ann.

My Daddy had a great Aunt Claire who lived in Memphis.  Hearing his stories of her southern grace and hospitality always made me love that name.  And my Mama's middle name is Ann so it was perfect.  My sister-in-law chimed in, "I just LOVE the name Anna Claire."  

And I did too.

Just a little over a month later, on Valentine's Day, I found out we were pregnant.  We flew off to Vegas that morning with a What to Expect When Expecting book, because I'm nothing if I'm not planned.  And a notebook to fill with ideas for baby names.

Jake was a shoe-in, but we were still working on that girl's name.

Kennedy (because I might be obsessed with JFK and Jackie)
Scarlett
Sydney
Josephine
Claire Ann
Anna Claire

And truth be told, my semi-neurotic ways said we had to figure this name out before that plane landed in Vegas.  Even though we had no idea what we were having and I was a mere 6 weeks pregnant.

We didn't decide on a name that day and it would be months before we did.  But the second we saw that sweet profile we knew.

On May 16, 2009 (My Daddy's birthday), during our gender reveal ultrasound, we named our first baby.  As soon as the words, "it's a girl," were spoken from the sonographers mouth, we new our baby girl's name was Anna Claire.

The meaning of Anna is favor or grace.

The meaning of Claire is clear or bright.

Clear favor and grace. 
 
And all of that she is, our first baby girl.

 
I always wanted to have children close in age.  My brother and I are 9 years apart and although he tolerated me growing up, we've been much closer as we've gotten older.  John's baby sister is 18 months younger than him and they have always been so very close.  Plus we were getting up there in age so waiting another 8 or 9 years to have a second child wasn't happening.

My second pregnancy was a hard pill to swallow when you have a make it happen today mindset and have been a go-getter and a doer all your life.  We were pregnant with Anna Claire exactly 1 month before our official we're going to start trying time.  So I never dreamed it would take over a year to get pregnant the second time.  While I in no way will claim that year was devastating or claim to know what women who face infertility for years and years feels like, it was hard to read between the lines every month OR the lack thereof in our case.  We just simply wanted another baby.

In November of 2008, on a weekend trip back to Arkansas for a Razorback game, we finally had a plus sign.  I had felt a little excruciatingly nauseous all weekend, but I chalked it up to a long weekend and the time change.  Sunday morning before we were set to fly out, I had John run to the store.  You see the real problem here is we just hadn't been traveling like we should, we only get pregnant when we're about to go somewhere, apparently.  My sweet husband and brother in law came back with a bag full of dollar store brand tests (because that was the closest store) that I was certain wouldn't work.

I knew I wasn't pregnant, but I also knew I needed to check.  I had taken pregnancy tests religiously every month for over a year.  I had the fancy schmancy ovulation predictor kit, I charted, I did it all, but to no avail.  I had been to my obstetrician, had blood work, and even talked about beginning fertility treatments in the next few months.  So I knew I wasn't pregnant.  

I also knew I wasn't yet pregnant because just the month before I packed up the ovulation predictor, I placed my charting journal in the bottom drawer, and I gave it to God.  

6 tests later all confirmed that I was indeed pregnant.

God has a funny way of showing us it's always on his time.

 I had a pretty tumultuous pregnancy the second time around.  It was "threatened miscarriage" from the first appointment with HCG and progesterone numbers in the gutter.  I had a pretty massive subchorionic hematoma and my placenta looked like it had lakes in it.  Which meant it looked old.  We were told the baby most likely had Down Syndrome, then probably Spina Bifida, until an amnio at 18 wks revealed a perfectly growing and healthy baby girl.

Ava's name wasn't that hard to decide on.  I loved the name Blair and Blair Belin sounded beautiful together, but Blair also rhymed with Anna Claire so John vetoed.  And so we named her Ava Elizabeth.  Ava because we loved the name and Elizabeth after my grandmother.  

The meaning of Ava is life (and it's a perfect name for her)

The meaning of Elizabeth is pledged to God.

A life pledged to God. 
  

I never dreamed for two seconds I would be a mom to girls or much less that I would have to come up with 3 girl names.  Y'all can't really even fathom what a tough job that is AND I promise the A thing is all by accident.  I also should have known when the boy name was a solid shoe-in and it took us forever to decide girl names that I was indeed a girl mom.


My third pregnancy happened so very fast.   We had been talking about what if it takes as long OR longer the third time around when bam I was pregnant.  Again.  

My third pregnancy started out so very similar to my pregnancy with Ava.  But this time, I was certain we were having that boy.  I was so sick and felt so completely different than my previous pregnancies.  

My doctor was on a mission trip and I needed to know what we were having.  He wouldn't be back until my 21st week of pregnancy and I didn't like seeing the other doctors in his practice so I said I would wait and instead, scheduled an ultrasound at a birthing center for a few days later.  I was just 16 or 17 weeks, if that.  

Standing in my bathroom getting ready, Anna Claire walks in and boasts, "I know what the baby's name is, Mommy."   

"You do?"  I asked.

"mmmmhhh, it's Alli."

"That's a pretty name, but what if it's a boy?"

She looked at me and without skipping a beat, "God told me it's Alli."
 

And to this day, she has never wavered.
 
John and I had never even remotely discussed names up to this point since I was so sure it was a boy.

Later that day, we heard,"It's a girl," for the third time and we too knew her name was Alli.

The meaning of Allison is noble.

The meaning of Grace is unmerited favor.

And boy did we experience that with her.



Alli's birth is what brought me to blogging.  You can read the beginning of her story hereBut sharing our families entire journey is what keeps me here.  
 
There's so much to be found in names and looking back, I see God's hand so evident in the naming of our girls.  There's just something about those babies that make me marvel in the fullness of God's love and grace for us.  And how their names were written long before we ever knew them.  


"Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart" Jeremiah 1:5




 Jackie
 

 
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