As soon as anyone confirmed that I was, indeed, pregnant and not just massively bloated around the midsection, they asked, "Do you know what you're having?" We were super-excited to say that we were having a girl and a boy! The follow-up question was - almost without fail - "What are their names?"
If you followed this pregnancy, you know that we did not announce names prior to delivering the twins. We had a handful of reasons for this, one of which was that we were being so open about all aspects of our IVF and pregnancy experiences, we wanted to keep a small part of the process between us. Another reason is that we honestly weren't 100% certain of either name before we met them!
Naming a person (or two) was one of those things that felt like a huge, huge responsibility to me. These are their names, not just for their whole life, but forever. As I was filling in the family tree pages of their baby books, I wrote in the name of my grandfather who died while I was pregnant. It struck me that even though he's gone, the stories we tell about him will always be tied to his name, written on the pages of those baby books. My mother in law loves exploring her genealogy, and often tells us about her relatives from several generations back... by name. Long after our babies have lived, their descendents will read these names and connect them to the stories of the people who carried them. Kinda huge, right?
So we didn't want just any name we pointed to in a baby book. We wanted them to have meaning, both to us and in the "your name means ___" sense. We wanted them to be able to be playful for a child, with an adult option in case they run for office someday. (I've always kind of wished that Katie was short for something more grown-up. Not that I'd probably use it, but it would be there if I wanted it.) We wanted something that wasn't too modern and had stood the test of time. We wanted combinations of names that had an easy cadence and flow with our last name, and that fit with each other as siblings and twins. And we wanted something most people could pronounce :-)
Abigail is a name we fell in love with early in our fertility struggle. It's of Hebrew origin and means "Her Father's Joy" (although we prefer to edit it to "parents' joy," since she makes me pretty happy too). We know several Abbie/Abbys who we love dearly, and would love if our daughter grew up to be like them. It's a name we clung to through so many ups and downs that sometimes when I call our daughter by her name, I choke up because Abbie - OUR Abbie - is really here, and it's not just an abstract name for a hypothetical someday child. Her middle name, Rebecca, means "Captivating" and is in honor of a dear friend of ours... another woman we will hold up as a role model to Abbie, an example of grace, faith, and strength.
Samuel was the son of Hannah, in the Bible. She was heartbroken in her infertility and is famous for praying so earnestly and silently while praying for a child that she was assumed to be drunk. The popular verse among those parenting after infertility, "For this child I prayed, and the Lord has granted me my petition which I asked of Him" (1 Samuel 1:27) is a quote from Hannah. Samuel means "asked of God" or "God heard," and I cannot think of a more fitting name for the child we cried, begged, and prayed for for five long years. Ethan means "Strong" and is, of course, after his Daddy. It's a tradition in my family to give the first son his father's name as a middle name, so this was set in stone in my mind from the beginning. So we just needed to find a first name that flowed with Ethan as a middle. It's harder than you'd think! :-)
We're so pleased with the names we chose, and that they allow us to testify to God's love and grace when we share them with people. How did you choose your children's names? I'd love if you'd share them with us in the comments!