Choosing names for babies is one of the greatest and most terrifying things ever! If you really stop to think about it, this kid is going to be known by this name that you choose for the REST of his or her life! That’s terrifying!
I can recall a conversation with a friend just before I got pregnant with our first little girl. We were talking about baby girl names, why? Because that’s what you do with your girlfriends when you are starting to dream of having little babies. I had a couple of names on my all time favorite list that had been there for quite some time. I put out the name that I was in love with and got a blank stare back at me that I am certain was in no way meant to offend me or my choice of name. “Uh, never mind?” I thought. “Just kidding? I guess that is NOT the name I will name my hypothetical daughter some day?” That’s me taking the conversation lag personally, but either way, my husband and I talked about it later that day.
It was from that point on, my husband and I decided that first, we would never share baby names with others until that baby was born and the birth certificate was signed. And second, he informed me after that conversation that we would not be finding out the gender of our kids during the pregnancies. He told me that there aren’t many surprises as an adult and keeping the gender a secret for the pregnancy and finding out together in that magical moment immediately following all of that hard work would be one of the greatest surprises we would experience together.
Later that year, I found out I was pregnant with our first babe. We changed the names on our long list of names that had both boy and girl names and kept them secret until the big day came. My first labor and delivery was, well, my first. So let’s just leave it at that, and all I will say is that it was not that magical TV scripted moment of the midwife smiling and saying “it’s a girl!” while placing her on my chest. Needless to say, SHE was here and did not end up with the original name I had shared with my friend earlier that year.
I really did think second time around would be different. I mentioned to my husband of how I really wanted to find out the gender this time. Especially if we were having a boy because all we had were girl things. Which I have since learned from all of my friends who have girls and then a boy, it doesn’t really matter in those early days when you are at home recovering and nursing if they only wear all pink because no one else will see them, and even if they do, who really cares. But again, we left it a surprise and this time had the magical moment where our baby was placed on my chest after a fast labor and delivery and my sweet husband through tears whispered in my ear that we did in fact have another girl. That was truly one of my top favorite memories of all time and well worth the wait.
Then came our sweet third baby. The one who has done things differently from the beginning.
At our 19 week anatomy scan, the ultrasound technician found some things on our scan that did not look quite right. We were referred to a perinatologist, a specialist, to have a level 2 ultrasound. Our local doctor’s office does not provide a level 2 ultrasound so we had to make the trip to San Francisco a couple of days later to get a better look.
Originally, we were going to once again keep this baby’s gender a surprise. But the more I started thinking about it on our way to SF, the more I realized I really wanted to find out. Especially if things were not looking quite right. I wanted to be able to connect with this baby and name this baby. I wanted people to be praying for this baby by name before this baby even entered the world.
Towards the end of our level 2 ultrasound, the perinatologist explained that our baby did have a hole in the heart and that we would need to see other specialists to look into if further. I turned to David, smiled and with tears in my eyes asked if we then could find out the gender of our baby. I had to know. He nodded in agreement.
“I can tell you that you are most definitely having a girl!”
I was shocked! Another girl! Our third daughter! Oh boy was David in for it! I am one of three girls and oh, my poor father!
Of course there were many other emotions going on, but I was determined to pick a good name out for our baby girl. I wanted her name to mean something. The other girls’ names were not necessarily picked because of their meanings. More because I am a sucker for old fashioned names! And, I love family names which both of theirs are. Plus, when you meet them, you could not even begin to imagine them with different names.
One day at church, we sat next to this lovely lady. She had the most beautiful name, a name that can sometime be a nickname for Bernadette (although, she will tell you that her name is not Bernadette!).
Once we said it out loud, I couldn’t shake it. Bernadette. The meaning is, strong and brave, like a bear. Knowing what little we knew about our sweet baby girl back then, it seemed only fitting given what she was going to face. We knew that she was going to be brave through the many obstacles that lay ahead of her. She was already strong! I also thought that her name would give me the perfect opportunity to share with people when I was ready all about my strong and brave little bear. I love hearing how people pick names for their babies especially when there is a great story behind it.
It was decided. Bernadette Hope, because our hope is in God alone. And we knew that His hope was the only hope we could cling to in the days and months ahead.
Now when I look at her, I don’t see anything less than a strong and brave warrior. With her gorgeous red hair and a smile that lights up the entire room, she looks only like a Bernadette Hope.