May 26, 2014

Infertility and the Child We Almost Named Elizabeth

Conceiving our first child was relatively easy, but conceiving our second child proved to be much more difficult. After one miscarriage and nearly two years of trying, we were beginning to wonder if we would ever have another child. Neither one of us was comfortable with fertility treatments, but we were open to the idea of adoption and began to consider that possibility.

We researched various adoption methods, read books about the subject, contacted agencies, even attended a seminar for prospective adoptive parents. After extensive research, we were comfortable and knowledgeable on the subject. While laying in bed one night, we agreed to move forward with the adoption process. The plan was to call the agency in the morning and get started on the paperwork.

That very next morning I found out I was pregnant.

Obviously we were thrilled to be expecting, but after trying for so long, it seemed too good to be true. I feared we would have another miscarriage and tried to protect myself by not getting too emotionally invested.

Even as the pregnancy progressed, I found it difficult to connect with the growing life inside. I heard the heartbeat and saw the baby on a first trimester sonogram, but it was still hard to believe. My husband felt the same way. I guess that during all those months of trying to conceive we had conditioned ourselves not to get our hopes up too soon.

By the time we finally felt convinced that the pregnancy was "real", my morning sickness was in full force. I was sick all the time. The slightest little smell, temperature change, etc. would send me running to the bathroom. I was hugging the toilet morning, noon, and night.

I actually lost weight in the first trimester from so much vomiting. Morning sickness is such an ugly side effect of something that is supposed to be so joyous.

Again, we were thrilled to be expecting, but we still had trouble connecting with the baby. I thought it might help if we gave our baby a name and we named her early in the pregnancy. Although we didn't know the gender yet, we both felt fairly certain that it was a little girl. We decided to name her Elizabeth. And it worked. Naming our baby finally helped us connect with the pregnancy.

After a sonogram confirmed that she was in fact a girl, we began sharing her name with the world. We were committed to the name and told everyone that her name was Elizabeth.

We took maternity photos using her name.

I made a piece of nursery art using her name. (Seen in this tutorial.)

Our older daughter would pat my belly daily and say, "Hi baby Elizabeth, I'm your big sister."

But in the end we decided not to name her Elizabeth. And now that I've built this story up so much, I'm sure you're all probably all wondering why. The short answer is that a vague acquaintance called our older child - whose two syllable name isn't one to be typically shortened- by an abbreviated nickname.

Granted we call her "Lindz" at home all the time, but this acquaintance didn't know that. So why did this bother me so much? Well, I realized that if practical strangers were eager to use abbreviated versions of names that aren't typically shortened, then they most certainly would shorten a name like Elizabeth, which literally has a dozen different derivatives.

I love the name Elizabeth - but only when used in its entirety. As her parent I thought that I could coach others to call her by the full name and not by nicknames. I probably could have been successful at keeping her the full Elizabeth for the first couple of years, but what happens when she goes to school and her friends want to call her Beth, Ellie, or Lizzie? I don't particularily care for the first two nicknames and "Lizzie" is only two small consonants away from sounding identical to our four year old's name.

The idea of choosing a new name after so many months of calling her Elizabeth was really difficult for me. It almost felt like if we changed her name, we would also be changing her identity. That seems like a rather silly thought now, but at the time I was very pregnant and very hormonal.

In the end, we decided that our dislike for the name's derivatives was greater than our love of the full name Elizabeth. We selected another name that we equally loved. The moment our daughter was born, I knew that we had made the right choice. The name we selected for baby "R" suits her perfectly, and I can't imagine calling her anything else.

1 comment:

  1. What a great story and beautiful post. My husband and I went though secondary infertility too and it was such a roller coaster. It is almost difficult to grasp unless it happens to you.

    As for nick-names.. I totally get you. I've been a "Kim" for so long, it is strange to hear myself called Kimberly.. which almost defeats the purpose of having that name in the first place.