Tag Archives: pregnant

6 Things to Think About When Choosing Baby Names

photo credit: Deciding Which Door to Choose 2 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Deciding Which Door to Choose 2 via photopin (license)

Choosing baby names sucks. Trying to agree on a potential boy’s name when you already have two boys? That’s a special kind of hell.

As most parents will tell you, picking out a name is a tall task fraught with difficulties. And if you have a couple with two strong personalities and no shortage of opinions, that difficulty increases exponentially. Which means after you’ve exhausted family names, checked the Social Security baby name database, gone over the Game of Thrones list of names, and had your partner strike down all of your sports-related name ideas, it’s suddenly 3 a.m. and you’ve developed a hatred for the person you’re supposed to love because you can’t understand WHY THE HELL HE/SHE HATES ALL THE AWESOME SUGGESTIONS YOU’VE MADE!

Sorry. Again, things have been tense around the Daddy Files household.

You see, with the Patriots winning the Super Bowl in miraculous fashion courtesy of a game-winning interception (and boy do I post that link every chance I get), I immediately decreed our baby’s name (if it’s a boy) will be Malcolm Butler Gouveia. This was not a joke. I’m deadly serious, much to my wife’s chagrin. But she nixed it out of hand and wouldn’t even entertain a discussion.

Meanwhile she’s throwing around names like David, James, and Benjamin — all fine names, don’t get me wrong. But we already have very traditional names in William and Samuel, and if the third one is a boy I’m hoping for something a little more outside the box.

But how far outside is too far? And what else do you have to consider when thinking of names? Well, don’t worry because I’ve got you covered in thinking through all the potential pitfalls and mandatory considerations when naming another human being.

******************

6. Initials
My brother is named Nathan. His middle name starts with an A. His initials spell NAG — something I’ve reminded him of his entire life. As a rule, try to avoid picking names that spell something, because someone somewhere at some time will use it against your child. For instance, if we had a girl the first time around we were briefly considering Victoria for the first name. That’s all well and good, but I naively thought of an A-name for a middle name. In case you’re a little slow on the uptake, that would’ve given my daughter initials of VAG. Rookie mistake.

5. Nicknames
Maybe you like the full name you’ve chosen, but what about nicknames? For instance, do you like Jameson but not James? We briefly liked Atticus (To Kill a Mockingbird is our favorite book and Atticus Finch my favorite literary character), but what would the nickname be? Atty? ‘Cuss? And even though it sounds ridiculous, you need to consider the fact that kids are little assholes and a bad nickname can haunt your child for years. Julian is a fine name, but some little shit is going to call him Jules or Julie and tease him mercilessly. Benjamin is popular, but I worry he’d be in for a lifetime of “Ben-d over” jokes. Also, parents passing on certain last names must remain cognizant of the first/last combo unintentionally creating chaos. Case in point from one of my readers:

jackhoff

 

4. Family Matters
Want to see a family rift the size of the San Andreas fault occur in no time? Start talking about naming kids after family members. So you choose to name the kid after your father? Great. But guess what? Now your partner’s family is pissed and wondering why you’re not taking their names — Mordecai and Bertha — into consideration. There’s a reason Will’s full name is William George Thomas Gouveia — William (my dad), George (MJ’s step-dad), Thomas (MJ’s biological dad). And if you’re passing down a name, just know that he/she could be saddled with “junior” for life. Is that OK? Are you inadvertently taking away his own identity and saddling him with unrealistic expectations? This gets extra messy when siblings in the same family are pregnant at the same time and competing for the use of the same names. I swear, naming children has probably caused more wars than religion.

3. Past Flames & Assholes
My wife suggested the name Ryan. And surprisingly, I kind of liked it — until I remembered that’s the name of her ex-boyfriend. I’m sure he’s a very nice person and nothing personal, but screw that. Likewise, a lot of perfectly good names are ruined by assholes. I kind of liked the name Mason until my wife told me it has ties to the Kardashians. Instant elimination. Plus there are just certain memories associated with the names of people you hated from your youth that you just can’t get over no matter how hard you try. And trust me, don’t try. Just move on. There’s nothing worse than saying your new baby’s name and having to make a concerted effort to choke down the vomit rising in your throat.

2. Too Trendy/Popular
Yes, I love Khaleesi too. But as much as I adore the Mother of Dragons, Game of Thrones is a trend. Ten years from now no one is going to know what or who the hell Khaleesi is. They’re just going to think you’re a weirdo who named your kid a weirdo name. Same with uber popular names. It seems like every boy in the world the last five years has been Aiden, Jaden, Jayden, or Braden, while all the girls are Emma, Olivia, Sophia, and Isabella. And those names are fine, it’s just, well — I want something a little different. I don’t want teachers saying a name in class and suddenly 10 kids raise their hands. Obviously there are more important ways to stand out and be an individual than your name, but I want to start out on the right foot.

1. Too Obscure
Apple? Sage Moonblood? Kal-El? North West? Celebrities are the kings and queens of wacky ass baby names. And while I don’t want my kids blending into a sea of similarly named kids, I also don’t want to put them out on the fringe with a name that inspires nothing but raised eyebrows and a chorus of “Ummmm…what’d you say your name is??” comments for the rest of their lives. Middle ground is our friend in this department. And I’m throwing alternatively spelled names in here too, because those DRIVE ME CRAZY! No Jaykob, Bryleigh, Alexzander, Ashlee, Whiteney, Alyce over here, thank you. That is a freaking nightmare, and I would spend my life looking at that name and not resisting the urge to hit it with my red editor’s pen!

*****************

In the end, we go into the delivery room with 2-3 top choices. Then, when our baby is born, we look at him/her and decide what the final verdict is. Case in point, when Sam was born MJ and I were 90% sure he’d be Atticus. But then he arrived and we looked at him, and we turned to each other and said “He’s a Sam!” at the exact same time.

It’s not easy and there are a lot of considerations, but it’s pretty cool when you get the end result. Unless you go with Adolf. Please don’t do that.

Share Button

Come to the Safety 1st Pop-up Shop in Boston, May 14-17

safety1steventbriteSometimes, as a blogger, the perfect company comes knocking at your door at the absolutely perfect moment.

As many of you know, we’re expecting our third baby in early September. Will, our oldest, just turned 7 and that means we’ve been using all of his old baby stuff for Sam. Same clothes, same high chair, same toys, and the same stroller. But that last one is going to have to change because, well — the stroller we bought 7+ years ago is ridiculously outdated. It was nice in 2008, but now it’s clunky as hell because it’s HUGE. It’s a pain in the butt to fold up, it takes up too much room, and MJ has a hard time maneuvering it around in tight spots.

But even though strollers and travel systems have gotten smaller thanks to new technology, the price has risen dramatically. I was sweating bullets wondering how I’m going to afford a new (and safe) travel system for our third baby, and I’ve been desperately searching for a system we can not only afford, but that my wife finds aesthetically pleasing.

And then the answer found me — in my own backyard no less.

Safety 1st (based in Foxboro, home of the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots!!!) is hosting its first-ever “pop-up shop” in Boston from May 14-17. They’ll be setting up in Faneuil Hall (right next to the Make Way for Ducklings store), and giving all new and expectant parents the opportunity to test out its brand new Step and Go Travel System — quite possibly the easiest stroller you’ll ever open.

Because we always have our hands full as parents, Safety 1st has taken that into consideration and created a stroller with a step-on pedal so you can unfold the stroller without ever dropping the diaper bag (or the baby). Paired with the onBoard 35 infant car seat that easily clicks in, it’s a safe, cost-effective, and easy way to get around as a new parent.

But instead of telling you about it, it’s better to show you.

In addition to testing out the Step and Go system, there’s a whole lot more for you and your family to do while you’re in the city.

The festivities kick off Thursday, May 14 at 10 a.m. and include family friendly activities throughout the week. There will be free stroller fitness classes with pilates instructor and new mom Jennifer Phelan (Friday and Saturday); afternoon story hour with Mix 104.1’s morning DJ Kennedy and children’s book author and illustrator Jef Czekaj; and “Step Up Your Day or Date Night” with free make-up and hair styling.

Saturday and Sunday the pop up store will receive an exclusive visit from Step and Go Social Media Vending Machine. The machine is stocked full of prizes for the on-the-go parent – you could win anything from EOS lip balm, to Babies R Us gift cards, or an iPad Mini. You never know what the machine will spit out, but everyone leaves with something. The Twitter hashtag to use during the course of the event is #StepAndGoParent.

To see complete details and register for the free event, click here.

If you go on Sunday, keep an eye out for me, MJ, and the boys and come say hi. But if you’re expecting, please take advantage of an opportunity to actually test out the stroller and then go shopping and eat at one of the best spots in Boston in the process!

DISCLAIMER: This post is sponsored by Safety 1st and I am receiving some products. However, all opinions remain 100% my own.

Share Button

A Letter to My Unborn Baby

ultrasound

Dear 3rd Child,

I wasn’t always sure I wanted you.

Oh, sorry about that. Where are my manners? Hi, I’m your dad. Nice to meet you. I’m the owner of that loud voice you’re probably already sick of. If you can even hear. Honestly, I’m not even sure you have ears yet because I hate those baby development calendars that tell me how big you are by comparing you to different fruits and vegetables. You know, this week you’re a peapod and next week you’ll be the size of an avocado. Maybe it’s because some of the vegetables they use are really strange, and because I don’t eat enough of them I don’t know what they look like and then all perspective is lost. I start to feel like if I can’t use vegetables to figure out your size then maybe you don’t exist. Maybe none of us really exist. And suddenly I’m in a full blown existential crisis all because I’m unfamiliar with rutabagas.

Sorry, sometimes I get off topic a bit. As I was saying, I wasn’t really sure I wanted you. I know that’s a horrible first impression I’m making, but it’s the truth.

You see, you’re our third child. The only problem is, I never planned on having more than two. It’s nothing personal, just that I’m a big believer in man-to-man defense. Or, in other words, one parent for each kid. It’s simple in theory, and it comforts me not to be outnumbered. But your arrival means your mom and I have to switch to zone. We’re going to be out-manned, forced to play a prevent defense. Insert additional football metaphors here.

It’s not like your mom tricked me or was deceitful. When we talked about how many kids we wanted she always said “two or three at the most.” I think I just ignored the latter part and assumed we were on the same page. And then we had trouble getting and staying pregnant, so in my mind, three was almost definitely not in the cards.

Last April your mom told me she was pregnant. Unfortunately (or from your purely selfish perspective since you wouldn’t exist, fortunately), it didn’t work out. But from that experience, I learned a few things. Mainly 1) how nervous I am about having a third child, and 2) how much that doesn’t matter because another child would be a wondrous, awesome thing.

We lost that baby before I could really wrap my mind around the whole thing. But here you are in the second trimester, and the reality is staring me full in the face. But, as usual, when one of my kids seems to be the problem, one of my  kids solves the problem and shows me how stupid I am.

Case in point…

I’m freaking out because we have no place to put you. We rent a cozy 3-bedroom duplex and currently, all bedrooms are occupied. To make matters worse, none of them are very big. So the question becomes where do we put you? And the answer is we have to put your two brothers in the same bedroom — the thought of which causes me great consternation.

When Sam was born Will lost his play room because it turned into Sam’s nursery. Now another sibling is on the way and Will is going to lose half his room to a 2-year-old tyrant. As an older brother who shared a room with a younger sibling for nearly a decade, I can commiserate. That experience can be suffocating and the age difference (5 years between them) makes it even tougher. I was dreading having to tell Will and the meltdown that would surely ensue.

But guess what? Will wasn’t angry. In fact, it was quite the opposite. When I told him he’d have to share a room with Sam his eyes lit up and his smile grew wide and bold.

“You mean I get to share a room with my brother??? YESSSSSS!!!!” he said, much to my surprised delight. “I bet Sam will even climb up into my bed and cuddle at night. I can’t wait.”

And suddenly I felt very silly. It reminded me of two years ago when I worried I couldn’t possibly love another human being as much as I loved Will. But I soon found out our hearts automatically expand when a new baby arrives, and in that vein we’ll find a way to make it work regarding everyone fitting under the same roof.

As for Will’s reaction, shame on me for not seeing that coming. Now don’t get me wrong, I know full well his tune will change after a few weeks or a month of his brother all up in his face all of the time. That’s inevitable. But let this be a lesson to you, baby boy or girl, of the kind of family into which you’re entering.

Your oldest brother Will has more kindness, empathy, and emotional intelligence than any 10 adults put together. He is patient, a great teacher, and so full of love he’s in danger of bursting. He’ll be your guide and best friend. Meanwhile your older brother Sam is a tornado. He attacks life with zeal and fears nothing, yet he hugs every other kid on the playground and has smiles for everyone. You’ll be closest in age to him (26 months apart) which means you’re going to battle him your entire life. Yet all the while you’ll want nothing more than to be just like him. He will push you in ways that are frustrating and obnoxious, but ultimately he’ll make you a better person and he’ll force you to work harder and keep improving.

And your mother? Well, she’s a saint. And a gorgeous saint at that. But as beautiful as she is on the outside, she’s even more spectacular on the inside. I don’t have to tell you that though. You literally know what I mean.

You’re not entering a rich family so I can’t promise you a carefree life detached from financial struggles. You won’t have the finest things, occasionally you’ll have to go without, and some days we’ll barely scrape by. But there is one thing I can promise you with complete certainty. You’re being born into a family filled with love. Passionate, unyielding, copious amounts of love and loyalty that we’re never afraid to express. From your parents to your siblings to your grandparents and beyond, love will comfort you and cushion you far better than a life of riches and luxury ever could. So welcome, my little one. You’re the last piece of the puzzle and the world is waiting. Stay safe and grow strong and healthy.

One last thing you should know — it doesn’t matter if you’re a boy or a girl. As long as you’re a Patriots fan.

Love,
Dad

Share Button

When Should You Announce You’re Pregnant?

pregnancyannouncement

First of all, WE’RE PREGNANT!

Telling loved ones and friends the big news is one of the happiest things I can think of, because everyone is just so ecstatic. Pure, unmitigated joy complete with screaming, hugs, smiles, and tears. And I was very grateful to have received that in spades this week when we announced the impending arrival of our third child. Everyone was overwhelmingly positive and thrilled, and I appreciate that.

And yet…

A few emails and comments began trickling in to the tune of “Ummmm, September? You guys can’t be very far along,” and “Wow, you’re announcing early. Are you sure you want to do that?”

Look, MJ and I get it. This is the eighth time she has been pregnant. Yup, eight times. That means twice it’s worked out favorably, but five times thus far it hasn’t. We’re no stranger to this particular rodeo and we know the ropes. You can either announce shortly after you pee on the stick and hope for the best, or you can go the more conservative route and wait until the 12-week mark — which is when the chances of miscarriage drop dramatically.

We’ve done both over the years. There were times we announced a pregnancy early on and then had to painstakingly break the bad news to everyone all over again. That sucks because invariably someone doesn’t get the news and proceeds to come up to you in a month or two and ask how the pregnancy is going. It’s brutal. So because of that, we’ve also opted to wait to announce until the second trimester. That has its own drawbacks though, because I’m a very public person and that just means less time for people to celebrate and share in your joy.

And of course, even when we did wait until after 12 weeks, we still had something go wrong and still had to feel like we were disappointing everyone by telling them bad news. So, that begs the question, when should you announce?

The correct answer is whenever the hell you feel like it!

There is no right or wrong time to announce your pregnancy, and you should do it how and when you feel is right. We’re just about 8 weeks along and we decided to share the news because we saw the heartbeat on the ultrasound and it was a very strong 157 bpm. Our doctor said everything looks terrific and there are no concerns at the moment. So instead of waiting until 12 weeks just because we’ve had bad luck in the past, we decided to just focus on being happy.

For me, good news is always good news. Even if something happens down the road and we lose this pregnancy, it was still good news when we announced. It was still a happy event that brought us and others joy. Nothing can take away the feeling I had when all of our anxiety and fear was alleviated by the flickering of a tiny beating heart, so I choose to celebrate that instead of keeping it needlessly bottled up out of fear. Because good news should always be celebrated and shared in my opinion.

I don’t judge anyone else who waits and takes a different course. I’ve been there, done it, and understand it. But for us at this point in time, we’re celebrating. We’ve had so many dark times and losses that we never miss an opportunity to celebrate a win.

So we’re 8 weeks along. We’re due September 11 (yeah yeah, I know). We will not be finding out if this will be our third boy or our first girl. And if you’re wondering how Will is reacting to the news, well — we videotaped the moment we told him and let’s just say it didn’t go as expected.

Share Button

Should We Have Another Baby?

mjpregs

It was the first really warm day in April. Winter finally released New England from its icy grasp and nature was set free to bloom. Everything was new and the leaves were green in their infancy, and people left their houses, looked around, and smiled while taking in deep breaths of unadulterated spring.

Will and I had just tried our hand at trout fishing, with no luck. But despite the zero tally regarding the fish count, we rewarded ourselves with a trip to the local hot dog stand for footlongs and fries.

After placing our order, Will bolted to the playground while I sat at a picnic table waiting for our number to be called. I briefly turned my head toward the sky and smiled, then glanced toward my oldest who was already making his way across the monkey bars. My old middle school loomed in the background behind my son — an eerie juxtaposition of new and old, past and present.

It dawned on me we were eating at a place I loved in my youth, in front of a school MJ and I attended for three years. At 11 years old I had already met my future wife, despite the fact she’d move away and I’d go four years without seeing her. Then, nine years ago, MJ and I drove to that very school during a blizzard just minutes after I asked her to marry me. We danced together in the empty parking lot, snow swirling around us and flickering in the headlights.

I was lost in thoughts of storms, tranquility, past, and present when my phone rang. Fittingly enough, it was MJ.

“Perfect timing,” I said, skipping over the hello. “I was just sitting at the hot dog stand with Will and looking at the middle school and thinking about us and everything…”

She cut me off before I could finish, and I could immediately tell she was in a panic.

“Come home now. I’M FUCKING PREGNANT!”

**********************************

It’s not like we hadn’t discussed having a third child. Of course we had. It’s just that those discussions never ended with any kind of firm answer.

I think if you forced her to answer, MJ wanted another baby. As for me, well…I was truly torn. Do I want a daughter? Yes. But do I really want to go through the newborn phase again when I had such a tough time emotionally with Sam? Honestly, I don’t think so. Besides, we have terrible luck with pregnancies not to mention no room in our duplex (or our budget) for a third kid.

Also, three sounds like a lot.

I talk to parents with three kids and they’re straight up harried. Not like normal parent harried, but “tear your hair out holy crap I need six more hours in the day” kind of stressed. Three is a lot. Three’s company. Three is being forced to abandon man-to-man defense and go with zone. Simply put, three is scary.

So I told MJ the truth — I don’t honestly know how I’d react to a third kid until I was actually put in the situation.

**********************************

My first, split-second reaction was shock. Pure shock. And fear.

We can’t afford this baby. We weren’t trying for this baby. How the hell did we even get pregnant when I have a condition that gives us roughly a 2% chance of conceiving on our own without IVF? Where would the baby sleep? What would I ever do with a daughter? What the hell will I ever do with three boys? And it was all made worse by the fact that my wife was in hysterics, I wasn’t with her, and I had to keep it all together in front of Will.

I quickly collected our food and my son, and we hopped in the car to head home. I passed the middle school, I remembered dancing in the snow, I saw my oldest in the rearview mirror, and I looked at the picture on my phone of Sam.

And then I busted out laughing.

Not a giggle or a chuckle, mind you. I started belly laughing my ass off. Uncontrollable bursts of hearty laughter usually reserved for my favorite comedies. Will was looking at me like I was nuts, but for the life of me I couldn’t stop. I was laughing so hard I started crying, yet I was also wearing an ear to ear grin. As I pulled into the driveway, I laughed once more because I quickly realized I had answered my own question.

**********************************

Our baby had a due date of December 25. A Christmas baby. Our gift.

We brought Sam to the OB appointment partly because we didn’t have a babysitter (because we didn’t tell anyone the news), but also as a good luck charm — even if neither of us would admit it. Because if you’re new to these parts, we’re well-versed in miscarriages and pregnancy loss. Four miscarriages in as many years. A medically necessary abortion due to a fetal abnormality at 16 weeks. Not good.

Despite having two beautiful boys and having been through the wringer, being in that room with the ultrasound tech didn’t get any easier.

MJ hopped on the table while Sam bounced on my knee. The grainy image began to take focus on the small screen as I held Sam with one hand and took MJ’s in the other. Sam cooed and raised his hand to the screen, reaching out in an attempt to touch it. His little cherubic fingers finally found the glass, and he started tapping at it.

Right at the void where a flickering heartbeat should have been.

 **********************************

We’re fine. Really, we are.

I don’t know why or how we’ve lost five pregnancies in the seven years we’ve been trying to have kids. But you know what? I don’t know how I became so blessed to have the two unbelievable boys who call me dad. A lot of people would say we’re unlucky, but we’re not. If anything, we’re incredibly fortunate to have the life we do. To have our happy and healthy sons.

I don’t know if we’ll have another baby. That will most likely involve IVF and all the risks, effort, and potential for disappointment and heartbreak that carries with it. But at the very least, I now have an answer to the question.

I’d be thrilled to have another baby. As if there was really any other answer.

Share Button