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Day 6: Naming Your Baby

{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, join us with the #thismotherhoodstory as we journal our way through topics surrounding grief and life after loss.}

Saturday, October 14, 2017 – Journal Prompt
Did you choose to name your gone-too-soon babies? Why or why not? If you did, what special meaning does their name hold?

“I can’t tell you their gender, but I can tell you that there may be a little something extra down there.” The ultrasound technician had just completed our eighteen week scan with the twins, and while she wasn’t allowed to officially tell us their sex, she was gracious enough to give us a hint.

We had already picked out names, and quickly settled on who was who: Alistair was baby A and Landon was baby B. Just over ten weeks later, I was beyond thankful that we’d chosen to call them by name for a large portion of the second-trimester. In the shock of my heartbreak, I didn’t have to worry about naming my now deceased baby — I already knew exactly who he was.

Two years later, when we experienced our first miscarriage, I knew that I wanted to name the baby. I didn’t want to continually refer to my losses as “Landon and the miscarriage.” I loved this eight-week miscarried baby as much as I’d loved my thirty-one week stillborn son, and we wanted a name that reflected that. About a week after the miscarriage, my husband and I came up with the name, Kära (pronounced like “Sher-ra”) named after the Swedish phrase “min kära” meaning “my dear.”

For each of our four miscarriages, we have never been far enough along to confirm the babies’ sex. However, during each pregnancy, we have felt very strongly about the gender of our baby. Each time we informed our then-two-year-old son about a pregnancy, we asked him whether he thought it was a girl baby or a boy baby. For each pregnancy, he would tell us very strongly that “the baby is a girl,” or “this one is a brother!” We would ask him in different ways, mixing up the order, and trying to surprise him, but once he made us his mind, he never wavered from his original answer. Once we lost the babies, we named them according to his predictions.

Our second miscarriage took place over the month of December. I sat in the ultrasound clinic, listening to Christmas music and thinking that surely this time we’d get to keep our baby. But at this nine week ultrasound, the sac only measured 6 weeks 4 days, the baby invisible. They called it a blighted ovum and I waited the next two weeks to see if the baby would grow, or if we would miscarry.

One evening, while we were waiting to see if we would lose this baby or not, I spent some time crying and praying in the shower. For some reason, I couldn’t get the name “Björn” out of my head. It was not a name that we had ever considered before. Hopping out of the shower, I told my husband, “I think this baby’s name is supposed to be Björn.” He was. We lost Björn (his name means “bear” in Swedish) just days later.

Three months later, I became pregnant for the fourth time and at seven weeks I began to bleed. While I was optimistic, I was also realistic in my understanding of what this meant. For three days we asked for prayers and intercession on our family’s behalf, but when I was given a new name, “Ebba,” I knew in my heart that this was the end. We miscarried little Ebba two days later: her name means “strength of a wild boar.”

During the next pregnancy, my son said, “I want a boy but I’m thinking it’s a sister.” My husband and I smiled at his certainty but inside, I was worried. From the moment I’d first discovered that I was pregnant, I too had very clearly heard the words, “This baby is named Avonlea.” This was not one of the names that we had picked out for a future daughter and I knew then that she was not destined to stay with us for long. All week long, I cried out to God, pleading with Him to let me keep my daughter and praying that I’d heard wrong.

Avonlea was our sixth child and fourth miscarriage. We lost her at 4 weeks 5 days, and had known about her for exactly one week. And yet, for the entirety of that week, she had been known by name both my myself, and by our Heavenly Father.

I have always felt very strongly that God gave us these names. These were not names we’d previously discussed or considered naming our children. We have full names picked out for future children and these were not it. In His graciousness, God prepared our hearts for this loss and let us know with certainty that these little ones were in His hands; He had seen them, and He knew them by name.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
    and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
    and the flame shall not consume you.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Isaiah 43:1-3


{October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month! In this week leading up to October 15th, I am partnering with fellow loss mama, and author extraordinaire, Stefanie Tong, to help create discussion and raise awareness about this vitally important topic. Each day, we will be tackling a new journal prompt about grief and life after loss, and we encourage you to join us! Use the #thismotherhoodstory hashtag to share your journal prompts and help us build meaningful conversations about the reality of pregnancy loss! We don’t want you to miss out on any of these posts, so be sure to follow along on my Facebook and Instagram AND on Stefanie’s Facebook and Instagram.}

Missed a Journal Prompt? Find them here:

Day One: A Letter to Your Baby
Day Two: Pregnancy After Loss
Day Three: Postpartum Depression
Day Four: Faith & the Psalms
Day Five: Helping Your Children Grieve

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