Holy shit, I found out!

Giveaway winner results are at the bottom of this post! 

The baby was upside down inside me on the ultrasound screen, looking towards my spine, hands up. The technician kept trying to take facial measurements, but it was impossible. She tried for a long time, poking me, shaking my belly. The baby wriggled and squirmed, but wouldn’t turn. The technician, I’m going to call her Lana because I think that was her name, had a lilting Scandinavian accent, and it was clear that she liked babies. “Beautiful,” she said, of my baby’s kidneys. “Just beautiful.”

She was very good about not using gendered pronouns, since I’d asked her (less awkwardly than I’d expected) at the beginning to write the sex in an envelope. That morning, looking for a plain white envelope and card, I’d found this handmade card with a picture of a mama and a baby bear on the cover. I bought it for someone else, years ago, and forgot to send it, because I’m a bad friend like that. They had a boy, and there were lots of pink hearts on the back of the card, which I hadn’t noticed before. Not that it matters, of course. But I’m oblivious.

I was nervous, but I also knew reflexively that my baby was healthy. I was fascinated by the details. The delicate neck, the blurry organs, the long, steady femurs, this whole complicated organism with its tiny relentless heart. Surreal.

The whole time, even as I squinted intently at everything else, I was secretly scanning for the penis. It was a very dedicated secret penis hunt. “Wait…wait…” went my brain. “There! That’s the penis! I found the penis!” It appeared to be located somewhere in the stomach cavity. It was a foot. It was part of the spine. I was so sure the penis was there, somewhere. I had been calling the baby by his perfect name. I sang this song to him a lot, in Hebrew, that began with his name. I love that song. So I knew. But everything was fuzzy and gray and smudged on the screen.

Lana told me after a while to get up and walk around and maybe the baby would move. But when we regrouped, the baby was in exactly the same spot, resilient and stalwart, protecting the face.

Lana called the doctor in, and he tried his hand at convincing my baby to pose for the camera. Nothing. “Everything is fine,” he said, finally. “Everything looks great. We’d just prefer to get clearer shots, but sometimes that can’t happen. Sometimes the baby won’t let us.” And then he got up and shook my hand and then Bear’s hand and left.

“You’ll remember to write in the envelope?” Bear said, a little anxiously, to Lana. She remembered.


And then we were at brunch, ordering omelets from the familiar waiter with the long women’s wig and the big, bulky male frame, who spoke in a gentle, feminine voice. Things can go either way. Any way, really.

“I’m not ready, I’m not ready!” I said. “This is too important!”

“It’s one of those things that’s so important, but you don’t even know what kind of important it will turn out to be,” said Bear. And then he said something about playing Russian roulette, and how both dying and living are a big deal in the context, but totally different, which didn’t really make me feel better, and it wasn’t clear which one was death, a boy or a girl.

No, of course I understood: it felt as extreme as pulling a trigger. Our lives were going to change in a second. And not even because of finding out the baby’s sex so much as finding out something so real about the baby. As though with every new fact, the baby becomes more of a person to me, like chipping away stone until there’s a complete sculpture, just sitting there like it’s been waiting. It can never fit back into the expressionless block-  it’s been realized. There’s no going back. I tried to memorize the position of our little table in the restaurant. Three in from the entry, along the right wall.

“It’s a boy,” I said.

“Probably,” he said.

“Wait for the coffee,” I said.

We waited for the coffee.

“I’m opening it,” he said, the brown envelope in his hands.

“No!” I said. “Okay, open it! Don’t show me!”

I felt like I should say a prayer. Like I should do a ritual.

Bear opened the envelope and looked confused. He showed me. There was a question mark written on a little sheet of sticky note paper inside the card.

“Oh,” he said, and flipped it up, revealing a second sheet.

He paused for a long time.

“What? What!” I cried.

“It’s a boy,” he said.

“It’s a boy!”

But there hesitation in his voice. “I think it’s a boy.”

“You think?!”

He showed me. There was a little drawing of a smiling face on the second sheet. A few strands of hair poked out the top of its head. It didn’t really look like a boy or a girl, but boy seemed the safer guess.

“What does THAT mean?” I said. “Is it a boy? We have to call them!”

What the hell was Lana’s problem? She took on a sudden, malicious edge in my recent memory. Was this some kind of sonographer’s inside joke? Some sort of clever, condescending comment on our effort to control the situation?

We stared at the image for a while. “I think it’s a boy,” Bear said again.

“I think it is, too,” I said.

And then, suddenly, he said, “Wait!” And there was another page. He flipped it.

He said, “Oh my god.” His face went blank and gentle and his eyes got that glistening, held-in tears look.

“It is a GIRL,” Lana had written.

And I burst into tears.

“It’s a girl,” I choked out.

“It’s a girl,” said Bear, slowly.

And I felt so many things at once I couldn’t do anything. I thought, “This whole time, she’s been a girl.”

She seemed so badass for that. Just being a girl no matter what her parents were thinking. Even as I sang her that song without her name in it.

“Are you okay?” Bear asked me, reaching across the table for my shaking hand.

“Yes,” I said. “I’m just shocked.”

“We shouldn’t be surprised,” he said, smiling and serious and shaky, too, “It was always fifty-fifty.”

But we were surprised.

And I remembered that Bear had said, long before we decided to have a baby, that he really hoped we’d have a daughter. “You’re going to have a daughter,” I told him.

“I don’t know anything about girls,” he said.

“I don’t really either,” I said.

“She’s smart,” he said.

“She is,” I said.

And then I said, “She doesn’t have a name!”

I was stupid. I understand that now.

I wouldn’t let myself think about the baby being a girl. For some reason, in my brain there was only room for a boy. I’m trying to explain it to myself. I was scared. I grew up with two little brothers, and I loved them fiercely. Tiny toddling boys always smile at me on the elevator. I can picture Bear’s son perfectly, but my daughter seems foreign and confusing to me. My picture of myself isn’t clear, that’s why, I think.

Boys names were easy. They sound decisive, firm, cool. I compiled a long list before I settled on The One. I could have five boys and they’d all have great names. But girls names–so many of them sound too pretty to me. They sound interchangeable, sweet, easy. There’s a light, breathy quality to them. And I want my daughter to have a name that sounds strong. I want so many things for her name. I want it to be certain and interesting and meaningful and fresh. I want it to be Jewish. I don’t want it to have emerged from inside a male name. I want it to be simple to read and write. I want it to maybe be a little quirky.

It probably doesn’t matter even close to how much I feel like it matters right now. I know, I’m typical. Just another bobo, according to this line I just read in a Forward article: Bobo names sound classy but not snotty, familiar but a little quirky, family-feeling but fun, traditional but in a cool ‘Auntie Mame’ way,” Satran says. In other words, they’re names an acculturated but identified Jew might love.

Yup. That’s me. Boringly unoriginal in my effort to be more original. Of course I live in Brooklyn. Of course.

But God, I want to give this girl the best of everything. My daughter. This mysterious baby who hides her face. Who stubbornly refuses to move from the place in the world where she is comfortable, regardless of external pressure. Who measures ahead of schedule because she is big and strong. Who is surprisingly calm. Lana said something about how you can tell the personality of a baby while they’re still inside. And she said something else about this baby being very calm. I am not calm. But I have definitely hidden my face. I have refused to pose. I am terrified right now. I am so absurdly happy. I am pouring over lists of names. What should I call my daughter?

*  *  *

What is your favorite girl name? Tell me if I’m not allowed to steal it and I promise I won’t. One of my favorite non-Jewish girls’ names is Lyra, after the heroine in the His Dark Materials series.

People with kids– what is the story of you finding out the sex? I’d LOVE to hear it! My mom waited until we were born. She’s a big believer in that. I’m glad I didn’t wait!

Unroast: Today I love the way I look in this photo that Rachel took of me, even though it’s clear I’m in my messy bedroom and not on some glamorous set:

When Rachel found out it was a girl, she started wildly kicking the air, yelling, “YES! YES! SISTERHOOD!” :-)

Oh, and don’t think I forgot!!! The winner of the Shabby Apple birthday giveaway is….commenter #77, Karoline! Congratulations!!! I hope you’ll let me know what you end up picking so I can drool over it :-) And please send me an email so I can hook you up with Shabby Apple!


Kate on March 13th 2013 in life, pregnancy

155 Responses to “Holy shit, I found out!”

  1. Eat the Damn Cake » NOW CLOSED win a beautiful dress for my birthday responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:23 pm #

    [...] can find the giveaway winner at the bottom of this [...]

  2. Alana responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:29 pm #

    Woohoo! Congratulations! I had about a hundred heart attacks MYSELF just reading this post – how am I ever going to handle the nervous strain of finding out the gender of my own baby? :P

  3. Alana responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:30 pm #

    PS I also like Lyra. And I like a bunch of names that are “too popular” right now, such as Sienna… As a unit (ie disregarding the names I like and he hates, and vice versa) we seem to be drawn towards germanic names like Louisa and Heidi…

  4. Daphne responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    Love that photo of you. And so happy for you!! Secretly I was hoping you’d have a girl. :) My favorite girl names are Irene, Violet, Seraphina, Henrietta, Maybelline (although I realize there are downsides to being named after a mascara) and Dahlia. Feel free to steal any of them.

  5. Alana responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:32 pm #

    PPS (you can see I wasn’t kidding about the nervous strain), I kind of love your sonographer right now! How sweet that she put in a whole little journey for you ;-)

  6. Daphne responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:33 pm #

    Another girl name that I always thought was so pretty and original was Saramanda.

  7. Lucy responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    So happy for you guys. :) *High five*

  8. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I love YOUR name! And Bear totally suggested Seraphina!! So cool.

  9. maggie responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    OH MY GOD YOU’RE HAVING A GIRL!!!!!!!!!!!! Ahh!! I’m so excited for you :) :)

    (I’m sure I would have felt the same if it was a boy, heh!)

  10. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    It was really pretty sweet of her. And hilarious, in retrospect :-)
    And I know!! The strain!!! AAAHHH!!! When I was reading over this post to check for glaring typos and stuff, I started to cry every time I got to the finding out part. That’s how intense it still is!!

  11. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:36 pm #

    so much for me telling you tonight… I have to stop immediately putting stuff on the internet :-)

  12. Erin responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    Congratulations! Lyra is my favorite girls’ name, too, for the same reasons :)

  13. Gloria responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:43 pm #

    I knew it! Mazel Tov!! (I, too, love the journey Lana took you on.)

  14. Melissa responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    Congratulations! I love the name Lyra, she was an amazing character. My absolute favorite is Miette, after the girl in City of Lost Children. We’ve been planning on naming a girl that since before we ever got married or really though about having kids. (I think there has to be some possibility of running into each other socially for it to qualify as stealing, so unless you move to Iowa, I wouldn’t worry.) Runners up (runner ups?): Matilda, Tedra, a lot of trendy Gaelic names that would not fly with the mister.

  15. em responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    My most favorite family of little girls : Ora, Avital, Anat, Navah, Emunah, Ayelet :)

  16. Rachel @ Musings of an Inappropriate Woman responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:56 pm #

    This post made me smile, and then laugh, and then smile again. My favourite bit (and the one that made me laugh) was this:

    “What the hell was Lana’s problem? She took on a sudden, malicious edge in my recent memory. Was this some kind of sonographer’s inside joke? Some sort of clever, condescending comment on our effort to control the situation?”

    I would probably have had the same response to that drawing!

  17. D responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Congratulations! I can’t imagine how it must feel- wow! I think Lyra is a wonderful name.

  18. Erin Lee responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    My favorite girl name is Cecilia, after my confirmation saint (patroness of music). Middle name: Lee, like mine and my aunt’s. And this sounds ridiculous, but I still love the alliteration: Her name will be Cecilia Lee Settevendemio. Obnoxious, but I still love it. We’ll see.
    I also love Jane Elizabeth, because of my favorite author and one of her most famous heroines.
    You can use any of them you want, because it’s a free world, and I would have never met one of my best friends if we had not started fighting over who’s name was really “Erin” in preschool. :-D
    I have a harder time with boy names. We had settled on Michael Allen, after both of our fathers – until I went to grad school and my advisor’s name was literally “Michael S. Allen.” Ah, well. I’ll just plan on having a girl and then be stuck like you without a name when we have a boy!!
    I can’t wait to find out in a fun way like you did. Someday.

  19. Erin Lee responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:05 pm #


  20. RitaMarie responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:05 pm #

    This post made me smile and choke and tear up. Very lovely revelation and the sentiment can be felt in every word.

    A girl.

    That’s so awesome.

    Hm… I’ve always loved Sofya Grace or Amelia Madeline. They’re both kinda Jane Austen-y, I guess. :)

  21. Mindy responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:07 pm #

    How exciting!!! :) My daughter’s name is Aubrey, so of course I love that name. I also love Ruby, Gracie, Amelia. I’m definitely not having more kids (my Aubrey is going to college this fall!) so I wouldn’t care one bit if you used one of my names. ;)

  22. Mindy responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    Oh, and I think Lyra is lovely too!

  23. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    One of my favorite girls in the world is named Aubrey :-)

  24. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    Fantastic. We’re thinking similarly…

  25. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Congratulations! Of course she’s calm, she came here to teach you that :) As for names, if you can’t decide on one…pick 4!!! Works for me! BTW…my first experience with finding out was being told I was having a boy, but had a girl. Sweet, sweet news! She is lucky to have you and Bear as parents, but I’m guessing she already knows that :)

  26. teegan responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    please don’t take ‘mina pearl’ from me! i know mark will probably give me a pack of boys, but that’s my girl name. we’ve thought about amelia acacia, too, but it’s less likely that we’ll need it.
    i have a friend with a ‘hazel jane’ which i love, but hubby’s not a fan. when i was younger and engaged to another guy, i thought about ‘wendy’ and ‘lucy,’ but they’re sort of attached to that guy, so they’re up for grabs (not that the names are ruined for me! i have a good friend named lucy and my cousin married a wendy.)

    you’re going to be a kickass mom to a girl. and bear is going to fall head over heels – oh, he seems to be the kind of guy who will be so sweet with a daughter. yay!

  27. Twyla responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    The photo of you is lovely. I can’t wait to see you as a mommy.

  28. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:19 pm #

    My great-grandmother’s name was Minna, so that’s actually on the table, slightly, but I promise I wouldn’t be stealing it from you, and it’s a little different from Mina anyway :-)

    I have an amazing friend named Lucy.

    And it’s funny– people keep telling Bear “you’ll be a great father to a daughter!” and he came home from work last night, a little mystified, and asked me what that means. I told him I think it means he’s really gentle and kind. And I think he really will be. I’m so thrilled to see him as a dad…

  29. Rapunzel responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    How exciting!
    hmmm…I have a “Listography” book , “your life in lists” is what it is about. I made my own list in the back of boy and girl names even though I’m not keen on having kids, personally. Here’s my list of girl names: Juliet, Abigail, Lily, Olivia, Claire, Isabella, Alice Marie (first and middle), Molly, and Sophie. I just find all of those names pretty and most of them interchangeable as well for middle names. And of course you could use any of them if you so wished!

  30. shyra responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    My favorite girl name is Jewish and so close to Lyra. Shyra, I was told means Light

  31. Kay responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Congratulations on your impending cub (cub-erina? cub-ette? I dunno…)

    Girls’ names – I *love* the names Shoshana(h), Emmanuelle, Ari, maybe Hannah.. (Obviously, I want my future daughter(s)’ name to be Jewish, too ; ) )

    Also, I’m curious to know what song you’ve been singing to your wee one, if you feel like sharing. : )

  32. Katharine Lilley responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:31 pm #

    This is a simply beautiful post and it brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure you’ll pick the perfect name for your daughter. What was the name you had in your head for a boy?

  33. Corinne responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Congratulations! I cried when I read your post, and my own story rushed back at me.
    I did not want to know the sex (life’s biggest surprise I thought-We can wait). But my baby could not wait, my water broke early…hence a two week stay in the hospital. But while stuck waiting, they performed an ultrasound to find out how much water I had actually leaked. While lying there, still in shock that I was having my baby early, the tech said, “I know the sex, do you wanna know?”. Well, I thought, if I was going to have to sit in this hospital to wait for week 34 to come, hell I wanted to know! It was a girl! I cried I was so excited! I finally knew, like you, a bit more detail to this being I was waiting for. And she was worth the wait.

    As for baby names, my husband needed to honor his grandpa Herman by using an H name. So while riding the L to downtown Chicago (earlier in the summer), I spied a festival going on in the hot sweaty streets and read a banner for a Henna tattoo tent. The name Henna was perfect, original, honored Grandpa Herman, cool and easy to say. And now that she is already 9 years old, everyone knows her, loves her name and she thinks it’s pretty cool too.

    But, we just saw Fiddler on the Roof this past weekend, and I loved the name Chava. The character a strong confindent Jewish girl!

    Good luck!

  34. Izzy responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Hi Kate! Congratulations on your daughter!! :)

    I would have to say that my favorite Jewish girls’ name is Naomi… I find it strong and beautiful, without being too cutesy. I also LOVE the His Dark Materials’ series – Lyra is an amazing character.

  35. Jess responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    Adira – meaning mighty or strong. Your little one sounds strong and confident. Nobody’s gonna get her to do something she doesn’t want to do … So good luck with that! :) and congratulations.

  36. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    OOH! Awesome name!! Thank you!

  37. rowdygirl responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    OK.. so I knew you were having a girl because I have this weird thing that happens when someone tells me they’re pregnant. As soon as I hear the news (or read it in this case) if it’s a girl, I always get a vision of a pink dress in my head. yeah, I know, weird. If there’s no dress, it’s a boy. I’ve been right the last 20 babies.
    It’s not scientific, but my average speaks for itself. Happy Baby Girl !!!

  38. zoe responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 1:47 pm #

    the part about hating lana for a split second made me laugh out loud! the whole situation was hilarious! happy you’ve found out the sex and are over the moon about it :)

    as for names…well, you’ve got some time! start paying attention to the ones that grab you, the ones you hear repeatedly and like, the ones you read or see. i think naming a baby without meeting the baby first would be difficult! good luck :) (maybe google ‘jewish baby names’ and see what comes up? i may or may not have just done that…)

  39. Kiannah responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    So many congratulations to you and Bear!!! And thank you for sharing this with your readers– the suspense was getting to me ;) Also, that picture of you is radiant.

    As for names, I personally enjoy what I think of as ‘princess’ names (which I consider my own to be, so I may be a little biased). This is probably because I grew up associating princesses and heroines with badassery, not Disney (although I still love Disney). So Lyra sounds lovely to my ears.

    It seems like a lot of girls’ names end with either an ‘ee’ sound or an ‘ahh’ sound, and that princess names often fall in the latter category. Although I also appreciate it when names defy this division (like Kate, for instance!).

    I think A’s are often important to princess names; they take up space and they take their time. Mariana, Katianna, Ariana are some examples.

    There are so many wondrous paradoxes about being a woman and I like names that open up their own tales to encompass these paradoxes. Names that sound strongly, assertively, unabashedly feminine.

    I’ve always felt that my name bequeathed to me a certain sense of strength, femininity, individuality, and worth. I suppose that’s the heart of what mean when I say ‘princess name.’

  40. Stephina responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    Holy Moly!!!!!!!

    So I normally read your blog pretty religiously, or at least I did before I had a little babe 3 months ago and the very last post I read was how you and Bear thought you wanted to try for a baby, and here you are carrying a little girl!

    I can relate to how you feel about her gender. I too thought for sure I was carrying a boy, and she surprised us. We found out at our ultrasound as well. Girls are just so complex and most of the time I don’t know how to relate to the ones in my own life… but my Lil is so sweet and completely melts my heart when she scrunches up her shoulders and gives me a huge grin. Or tries to suck or lick my face when I give her kisses. Or just cuddles after a nap. Oh Kate, it’s the most wonderful thing in the world being a mother.


  41. Melanie responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 2:23 pm #

    Congratulations!!! I love names — I’ve picked out a whole arsenal for if I have girls (Harriet, Vivian, Penelope), but that’s a ways off. My Hebrew name is Mirah Hanna, and I’ve always thought that Mirah was a very pretty name.

  42. Stephina responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Oh, and other names we were considering:


    We went with Lillian (hubs choice) and call her Lil.

  43. melidesau responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 3:03 pm #

    I rarely ever comment though I read your blog pretty religiously, but this was a really fantastic post. Also, congratulations!

    Maybe you thought your baby would be a boy because she’s going to be a hardcore tomboy :)

    A Jewish name I really love is Dvorah – since it’s a variant of Deborah it’s not overly exotic, but it sounds badass while still retaining a hint of femininity.

  44. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    Thank you!!
    And that’s my Hebrew name!! :-)

  45. Kelli Lynn responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    Hi There! Congratulations on the baby girl. I LOVE being a mom & hearing other people’s stories about motherhood. I raise many children & have given birth to two — first a girl, then a boy. I didn’t find out the sex until delivery because I like mysteries & was afraid of being told one thing & it turning out to be the other. My daughter’s first name is Kyra & her middle name is Lena. I chose Lena because her older half-brother is named Aldan. Aldan is also the name of a river nicknamed The Brother River that runs parallel to the river Lena, nicknamed The Sister River. Her daddy chose Kyra because is sounded nice with his last name & was similar to Kaia. (He REALLY wanted her to be named Kaia, but I had just had 2 other friends name their daughters Kaia & a third seemed like a little much, especially since I wasn’t that drawn to the name myself.) When she was an infant, I told everyone her two names together, Kyra Lena, but people seemed confused. So, when she was one, everyone started just calling her Kyra. When she was 2, everyone called her Lena. When she was 3, she could speak for herself & said KYRA LENA is my name. Since then, she has always used both. My son is Christopher Valor. So far, we all call him Valor or sometimes Val. Christopher is his dad’s first name. Valor is a quality we admire & sense within him. At 2, he speaks more with his actions & expressions than with his voice, but he seems to like his name & to especially like the way his sister sounds when she says it with so much pride. Even though we discussed names for both children prior to birth, we waited until we met the children & spent nearly a day with them to officially report their names & finalize their birth certificates. . . . As far as Hebrew names for your baby girl go, I’m sharing a list. Please let me know if you choose one! :) . . . Ora (light), Orli (I have light), Naomi (pleasant, Ruth’s inspiration), Maya (water), Liora (I have light), Levana (moon), Keren (ray of sunlight), Keila (vessel), Ilana (tree), Bina (intelligence, understanding, wisdom), Bayla (beautiful).

  46. shay responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    My favorite hebrew names for girls are: Abiri and Kalanit

  47. Janet T responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 3:43 pm #

    I too wanted a strong name for my daughter ( now 21)- so I named her Kate ( full name, not short for anything)- but I love the name Grace as well.

    Congrats to you and Bear- this is going to be an incredible adventure for you

  48. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    @Janet T
    Nice choice :-)
    My name isn’t short for anything either, and I’ve always liked that. But I also always wished it was more Jewish, since my brothers both have Jewish names, and I got really involved with my synagogue as a teenager.

  49. Raia responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:02 pm #

    Congratulations! As the mother of a little girl, I am biased, but little girls ROCK! I am so happy for you.

    We also had the ultrasound technition write our baby’s sex on a card that we opened later, at home just the two of us. I had so wanted a girl, but was mentally prepared for a boy. I cried when my husband read the card, I was so happy and excited and scared. I called my mom, sister and in-laws to tell them too. Our baby was very active during the ultrasound I was amazed watching her legs kick and stretch, and her little back, the round of her head. We were able to keep the whole scan on DVD and I watched it again and again.

    My current favorite baby names are Everleigh and Vivienne. My daughter is Veronica Elaine.

    So happy for you to have a strong, healthy daughter on the way!!!

  50. BJ responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:18 pm #

    (does a Happy Dance with you) Congratulations!

    Favorite girl names? I like Elizabeth because it’s versitile — she could be a Liz, a Lisa, a Liza, an Eliza, a Beth, or a Bess. I also like Octavia, Michaela, Beverly . . . I read the name Pasithea in a fantasy novel once and I think that’d be a cool name to have. And I watched She-Ra way too much as a kid so Adora’s on the list somewhere.

  51. Elizabeth responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:21 pm #

    Congratulations! Well done, you guys!

    So, I’m obviously biased, but I can heartily recommend the name Elizabeth. My parents chose it because they wanted a strong name – they had a feeling I was a strong baby :) – and that’s exactly how it feels.

    I love how you can shorten it to SO many other names (my cousins and I once counted 32…), but I wear it in full – weighty, unapologetically long, and kind of fierce!

  52. Elizabeth responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Hah! Simultaneous Elizabeth-recommending…

  53. Kate responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Loving all the Elizabeth pride!
    There is something awesome about rocking a long, noble name…

  54. Isabel responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    Congratulations! That’s so cool, a girl! :-D Wow! I’m happy for you, I really am :-)

    Well, I don’t know that many Jewish names, but old Biblical names are Jewish, right?

    I’ve always liked the name Rakel (Rachel in English, I guess), and the name Ruth. :-) I don’t know how original they are, though. :)

  55. Devorah responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:47 pm #

    That’s amazing! B’sha’ah tovah! Also, some fun names: Adira, Tikvah, Bruriah, Yardena. Good luck with the choosing!

  56. Ashli responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 4:59 pm #

    Congrats! Your pregnancy posts have made me more excited about having a child one day… (I’m just a little terrified of the pain and just the whole process of being prego…)

    My husband and I have come up with a few options for names. But my favorite is our girl name… we tried to put our names together, Andrew & Ashli.. We came up with “Ansli”… pronounced anns-lee… I love it. Feel free to take it! ;)

  57. Michele responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    Congratulations Kate! I am so happy for you and your DH. I have two boys but my favorite girl name is Janie.

  58. San D responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    I am so happy for you and Bear that you will be blessed with a daughter. She will be the light of your life, and you and Bear will be the literal light of hers. How about Liora, which means “I have light”?

  59. Devon responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:06 pm #

    Possibility: use the boys name you had picked out. I have a “boys name,” and I love it. Also, congratulations on your pregnancy and your little one. I don’t comment too often, but I really love your writing.

  60. Lauren responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:07 pm #


    Here are some girl names I like (and I have no problems if you use them):


    I’m guessing I must like the -uh sound at the end of names. :)

  61. Gabriele responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    Congratulations!!! I think you’ll be a fantastic mom to a beautiful daughter :) and you should check out nymbler.com for names – it lets you add a bunch of names and then it gives you similar suggestions. So it’s good for finding some kick-butt names!

  62. Christine responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    I loved the way this post was written! And so, so many congratulations to you :D !

    I’ve always loved the name Rhiannon for a girl.

  63. Kande responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    I found out my first while pregnant – as like you, was convinced it was a boy, so who cares? I was shocked – shocked!! – that she was a GIRL! We did keep it a secret though as (fyi); these things are never 100% (unless you do amnio testing or some such endeavour); especially when they say “girl”. It’s likely they are right, but since not 100% we preferred to wait until she was born first then tell.

    With my second – it was a much longer journey to pregnancy, and I knew everything, right down to conception minute pretty much! So that time, since the only thing that was a real surprise was gender, I opted to not find out. My husband wanted to know, so we were going to have the tech let him know, same way, write on a paper in an envelope – but my baby already was a Mommas girl, would not cooperate, and they didnt feel comfortable guessing. And from that, I kind of gave away that yes – another girl!

    It was surprising and exciting each time we found out. It was neat to know for one and imagine/daydream the possibilities;it was neat to not know with the other and play the guessing game. I will neve forget the moment of finding out with both. I think I was more emotional the second time but to be fair – I was finding out, after three years of infertility, a surprise conception, a tightrope pregnancy, and a stressful delivery (emergency c-section), so I think the emotions are kind of self-explanatory ;)

    Anyway – congratulations and if it follows through – you will never imagine her being anything but a girl and will wonder how you ever thought she could have been a boy! Or if nature/life/the faults of manmade guessing machines lead to you actually delivering a boy – you will never imagine him being anything but a boy and will wonder how you ever thought he could have been a girl! :)

  64. M responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 5:52 pm #

    Ever since you shared that pregnant, I had been secretly rooting for a girl. From your writing and your insight, it seems like you would provide the perfect environment for a strong and unique girl to grow up in. Best of luck! :)

    Though, I’ve sort of developed a confusion about defining babies by their sex. Gender is fluid and depends on one’s own perceived identity rather than their sex organs. Being around trans and genderqueer people, I see the value in giving androgynous names and letting the baby define his/her/hir own identity.

  65. Abby responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 6:06 pm #

    That’s so exciting!!! Congratulations!

    I’m still trying to decide if I want to have children ever, at all. I was completely anti-child all through high school. Now I find myself considering it as at least a possibility…partially because I’d want to raise them to be a badass who knows capoeira xD

    But even if I don’t have kids, I still consider baby names. Some of my favorites (feel free to use these) include Valencia, Josephine, Thalia, Nerissa, Freydis, and Visna (the last two are names of shieldmaidens, I’m a dork, I know). I still have a long time to think about it though.

    As far as hebrew names go…I don’t know much about hebrew names but I looked up a few and Mira is a gorgeous name that means “rebellion.” And if your daughter is going to be anything, it sounds like she might be a rebel!

  66. Sarah S responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Congratulations! You and Bear are going to raise one kick-ass girl.

    As of late I’ve thought that Madeleine Inga would be a beautiful girl’s name, and as I’ll probably never have a child of my own, I give you full permission to borrow it permanently. :)

    I also love:


  67. Alanna responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    Kate, I’ve never commented before but have felt connected to you from Australia for a long time now. You have a way of giving voice to all the feelings I’ve had as a girl and woman about my self and my body.
    I want to give you my most heartfelt congratulations. Your daughter will be given the best possible set of tools to navigate the difficult world we live in – you. I am so pleased for you and Bear and your daughter, what wonderful parents you will be.

  68. kgirlknits responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 6:31 pm #

    i have one daughter, named Lily Queta (Queta was my grandmother’s name, it’s Spanish) and my two girls names had I had more girls were Astrid and Freya.

    Neither are Jewish, but they are strong, goddess-esque names ;)

    Feel free to poach, I’m passed using them now anyways!

  69. Lily responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 7:01 pm #

    A girl! Mazal tov!
    As for names, I like Livna, (lee-vnah) and Noa or Maya (which I think are all Jewish name, incidentally).

  70. Emily responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 7:07 pm #

    I like…

    Ayla – Ayla means “oak tree.”

    Arnona – Arnona means “roaring stream.”

-Bayla means “beautiful.” It may also be related to the name Bilhah, who was the mother of Dan and Naftali, two of the 12 tribes of Israel. (Genesis 29:29 and 30:3) (variant spelling: Baila)

-Chaya means “alive, living.” Chaya is related to the name Chava, who appears in the Bible as the first woman. (Genesis 3:20)

    Mehira – Mehira means “swift, energetic.”

    Zemira – Zemira means “song, melody.”

  71. Josefine responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 7:16 pm #

    Congratulations!! A girl!I :D I have to agree with you, Lyra is an awesome name. I’ve always loved Luna as well, after Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books. Or Klara, after my great grandmother. Or Vera, just because I like it. Or Sylvia, after Sylvia Plath. Or maybe Esther. Or Tuva or Frid, both Scandinavian names. I should stop now.

  72. Ruth responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    I thought my son was going to be a girl, for sure. I didn’t allow anyone to tell me the sex of the baby until he was born. I was relieved because we couldn’t agree on a girl name and we knew what to name a boy.

    Now he’s 10. I still remember when adult faces seemed enormous because I spent so much time staring into his perfect baby face. I remember his bris, which I am so pleased for you that you’ll be spared this time.

    One way to handle names is to name her after wonderful people in your families who have died. You can do this by the old initial method or by translating the name and finding equivalent meanings. We used the Kolatch name dictionary for this, but some of his ideas about translation are a little insane. Fun for brainstorming, though.

    My favorite Hebrew name that never belonged to anyone in my family is Noga, which means either brightness or Venus. Esther is a name related to hiddenness. I also like all the Hebrew names connected to animals and plants. All of my son’s classmates are named Sophia, so beware of choosing something so popular that she’ll have to use her final initial all the way through school.

  73. bethany actually responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 8:24 pm #

    That’s exactly how I felt when I found out my first was a girl. I was CONVINCED it was a boy, I had a younger brother, I could imagine my husband’s son so clearly…but we had a girl, and she’s amazing and fierce and funny and smart and sweet. And then we had another baby, and she’s a girl too, and just as amazing as her big sister, both of them made up of pieces of me and their dad and even their aunts and uncles and yet totally, completely themselves. At one time I couldn’t imagine having anything other than a son, and now I can’t imagine my life without two frustrating, challenging, hilarious, loving daughters. (They’re 8.5 and 2, in case you’re curious.) I’m sure if I’d had boys I’d feel the same exact way. :-)

    (I always thought I disliked girly names too, but in the end my girls both have unusual, feminine names. It’s just…who they were, in the end. The names we picked–Annalie and Elliora–fit them, and the femininity of their names doesn’t diminish their strength at all. *shrug* Ya learn something new every day.)

  74. JessB responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    Congratulations Kate, that’s great news!

    I love the name Rowena – I met a girl with this name when I was in primary school, and she was just lovely. Years later, I watched the movie Mr Holland’s Opus, which included a song called Rowena’s Theme, and I fell in love with the name again.

  75. Susan responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 10:19 pm #

    30 years ago, we were convinced we were having a boy. Back then, ultrasound was now what it is now so there was no way to know. When our precious daughter was born my husband was down at the business end and said, “it’s a boy, it’s a boy!” “um, sir? That’s the umbilical cord” There was a quick moment of silence, then sweet tears, “it’s a girl!”

    We named her after my mom, Elise. I changed the spelling to Elisse so she wouldn’t be saddled with the Elsie the cow thing like my mom had been. Funny thing was, when they brought the papers in for me to write her name down, I was so traumatized by the whole birth I completely forgot what I was going to name her. I hated looking like a dumbass (I was young), so I faltered and ended up writing Elyse. Which was fine. But a surprise to us when her birth certificate came.

    I love names that are meaningful. My friend the biologist named her daughter Samara, which is the name of those seeds that have wings on them. Sweet, huh?

    Girls rule. But its nice to have a boy, too. He helps us lift heavy things when he comes home. You have to think of these things.

  76. R responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    I recommend Rachel as a name. ;) It’s Jewish and has always served me well. I certainly feel strong an independent and feel very at home in myself, and maybe that has something to do with my name.

    When I was young, I always wanted a softer, more feminine name. Like Samantha or Olivia.

    (Funnily, the man I love is Jacob. I grew up an atheist, so someone had to point out the biblical parallel to me.)

    Lilah is a Jewish name that is close to Lyra. I had a friend at summer camp called Lilah who was a hardcore chick. Or, well, maybe more a hard chick. But I’ve always been sorry that we lost touch.

  77. Jennn responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 11:00 pm #

    One of my best friends named her daughter Alethia, and it means truth in Greek. From Wikipedia:

    “Aletheia (ἀλήθεια) is a Greek word variously translated as “unclosedness”, “unconcealedness”, “disclosure” or “truth”. The literal meaning of the word ἀ–λήθεια is “the state of not being hidden; the state of being evident” and it also implies sincerity, as well as factuality or reality.”

  78. Lulu responded on 13 Mar 2013 at 11:41 pm #

    Congrats, Kate! I am so happy for you and Bear. My friend Haya has a sister named Tzipora. She is called Tzipi (like Zippi, or Zippo). It is a name that’s traditional, but has whimsy and a little edge to it. I have always liked the name Aviva, though it means Spring.

  79. Karen responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 12:14 am #

    Mazel tov, Kate! So happy for you!

    I agree with the earlier post about the name Shira. She was confused about the meaning, though. As you know, it means song. Lior means light.

  80. Mary responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 12:44 am #

    Wow, congratulations! That’s such a cool way that you found out what you were having. I love the little sketch on the note paper!

    My favorite girl name is Adelaide. Like the character in Guys and Dolls. Also, Adeline. I really like Adeline, but it also happens to be the street where my high school is located, so that’s the first thing I think of… I also like Addie as a nickname!
    Other favorites of mine are Ophelia and Elanore.

  81. Jessica responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 1:12 am #

    OH MY GOD!! I haven’t been keeping up with any blogs for a while and didn’t even know you were pregnant! Congratulations!! <3 My husband and I had two sons, and when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was so sure she was a boy. I really loved the name Ira, and thought, "That's what his name will be." When we found out he was a GIRL, we were shocked, just like you. We needed time and space to think. Neither one of us have sisters, only brothers. What would we do with a girl? We didn't know! When it came time to choose her name, I said, "I still like Ira." My husband said, "I do too." So we named her Irah Leigh, adding the "h" to make it look more feminine. And it was perfect. <3

  82. Jessica responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 1:12 am #

    OH MY GOD!! I haven’t been keeping up with any blogs for a while and didn’t even know you were pregnant! Congratulations!! <3 My husband and I had two sons, and when I was pregnant with my daughter, I was so sure she was a boy. I really loved the name Ira, and thought, "That's what his name will be." When we found out he was a GIRL, we were shocked, just like you. We needed time and space to think. Neither one of us have sisters, only brothers. What would we do with a girl? We didn't know! When it came time to choose her name, I said, "I still like Ira." My husband said, "I do too." So we named her Irah Leigh, adding the "h" to make it look more feminine. And it was perfect. <3

  83. Annie responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 2:08 am #

    I’ve always loved the name Margaret. Classy, but there’s the opening for lots of nicknames if she doesn’t like her full name (Maggie, Peggy, Margie, Marg, Garet, etc.)

  84. Liz responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 2:16 am #

    CONGRATS!!!! Girls are wonderful :)

    It’s so funny, because my husband and I have the total opposite problem – tons of girl names kept flowing between us, but with boys, ZIP, NADA. We finally had to stop discussing boy names because it was stressing both of us out too much. Part of the reason was that I was fighting the one name my husband has his heart set on (and I was resisting because it “sounds too French”) but the thing is, it’s the name of the mutual friend who introduced us, who is my husband’s best friend, his paysan. It seems that whenever I tried to push the name off of our hypothetical son, it… just seemed wrong. Finally, I accepted it (with the promise that I have dibs on the middle name) and I have SO MUCH PEACE. The hypothetical little boy is himself now lol

    In choosing names, I always had this grand idea of incorporating family names and grandparents, etc. But nothing really felt right. When discussing this with my aunts, they told me that when the baby decides, the name will appear, and that will be that. I really started to believe this because this week two names just fell into place, after YEARS of us disagreeing! And neither name is what we had planned from the beginning!

  85. Ahuva responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 5:10 am #

    Our daughter is named Zohara. It’s an Israeli name, which means stars of the sky. The same as the book of Zohar “זוהר הרקיע”. It’s a bit of a retro name, as I’ve never heard anyone from my generation having it. I love the name “Zohara”, and it suits our daughter perfectly.

  86. Jane responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 5:33 am #

    For some reason, since I was a girl myself, I’ve always loved girl’s names that start with ‘A’. My current two favourites are Abigail and Anna. Or possibly just Anne. Alice is also a winner. As a teenager I was quite taken with Aurelia and Anastasia, but I don’t think I have the face to bring that off in real life. My other favourite girl’s name is Wednesday (as in Wednesday Tuesday Addams)… but I think I’m keeping that one for myself (for when I go crazy one day and want to run away and start a new life in Mexico…)

  87. Leah responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 10:14 am #

    I absolutely LOVED reading this! I’m so excited for you and Bear.
    Feel free to use my name (Leah) – it’s worked very well for me.

  88. Diana Spechler responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 10:34 am #

    Congratulations! This made me cry. Yay for girls!

  89. Alex responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 11:12 am #

    I like Yael. I used to be able to remember many more Hebrew names… and I used to enjoy thinking about which ones I would name my future children…but it’s been a while since I actually participated in a Jewish community. I still want to use them, though, because I think they are pretty. I feel like I can come up with something fairly unique (depending on where I live, I suppose) but still…appropriate.

  90. Carrie responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 1:34 pm #

    Such a good topic! Gender is one of the most interesting, complex aspect of humanity, which affects us so much yet we have no control over. I remember when my sister had a baby boy, I was happy, but she just had her second child, a girl, and I am thrilled! My entire sense of the child is different, more generous, more loving….which frightens me! Has anyone else experienced this?

  91. Kate responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 1:38 pm #

    Some of my friends had this reaction to my news. They said, “Not that I wouldn’t be happy if it was a boy, but…”
    The thing that really annoys me, actually, on pregnancy messageboards and stuff, is when people get really angry when other people don’t have the “right” reaction to finding out the baby’s sex. Like, someone will say she’s a little disappointed, or needs time to process the news, and then other women will attack her for not being a good mom, or not being loving enough. We can’t help having these basic emotional reactions, and they have nothing to do with being a “good” or “bad” person. Instead of people getting pissy about the “right” and “wrong” way to feel, we should talk about why we feel these things in the first place!

  92. Jiminy responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 2:01 pm #

    Woooow, i’m so happy! I didn’t know until I got to the part with the picture and I got sad that I was secretly rooting for a girl :) . How awesome of Lana to build the suspense :) .

    Being from a multicultural marriage, we chose old biblical names that would be easy to say in both cultures, so our girls are Maria Sara and Hanna Louise. But my list was muuuch longer (I had the opposite tendency, two boys names and a hundred for girls), so, if they are not too plain for you and if you forgive my obsessive pairing of names:

    Nora Julia (Nora being the strong one, Julia the soft part in my mind)
    Sophie Alice (too soft for me, so probably way too soft for you)
    Clara Elisa
    Ilinca (i know, too eastern, but from Eli)

    Whatever she’s called, she will be humungously lucky to have a mom like you :) .

  93. Kate responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Lily Queta ROCKS. Lucky girl!

  94. Kate responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 2:55 pm #

    I noticed that Sophia is very, very popular now. Ava, too! They’re both so lovely, but I do think I want to avoid something that every other girl might be named.

  95. Kim responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 2:57 pm #


    Just heard the name “Ezra” for a girl and think it’s great (feel free to steal). I love gender-neutral names.

  96. Kate responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    you guys are seriously SO HELPFUL. Thank you for sending me all these names. And please, more!!

    I love Zohara. Gorgeous and meaningful.

    Bear has been pushing for Yael from the start, but I think it might be more popular than we first suspected, and I’m worried about people constantly mispronouncing it. That’s the thing about a name in another language. When I see Jewish names, I automatically pronounce them like I’d pronounce any Hebrew transliteration. But many other people would pronounce it in a more basic, American way, and it might be frustrating.

  97. kelly responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 3:32 pm #

    So…my girls are Olivia Christine and Elizabeth Kay (She goes by Eliza.). They have our moms’ middle names as their middle names. Our son is Asher James- my hubby’s first initial and my middle.

    With Olivia, I knew she was going to be a girl as soon as I found out I was pregnant. We didn’t officially find out until she was born. We were supposed to name her Elaina, but as soon as I held her the first time, I knew Olivia fit her better.

    With Eliza, I had a vision that showed us with 2 girls, then a boy, but I convinced myself she was a boy. We weren’t going to find out, but I had a lot of complications during the 3rd trimester, so at week 32, I caved and asked them to tell me. I cried when I told my husband that night. But, when they told me that they were going to induce at 37 weeks, I was happy to be able to pray specifically for my baby girl. As for names, we debated for 24 hours before deciding on Elizabeth, and it took another 9 months to decide to call her Eliza.

    With Asher, I knew he was a boy right away, but we confirmed that at the 20 week u/s. He was born in our VW jetta on the side of the road after a 45-minute labor, and we googled Biblical boy names after we finally got to the hospital. I knew James would be either his first or middle name, but didn’t know what the other name would be. I got shivers when I read the name Asher, and knew that was the one!

    Congrats, again. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!

  98. fran responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    I go to school with a lot of Jewish girls and have heard many profs mangle their names. I know a lot of girls named Yael and they are often called “Yale.” Ack. I get that the profs don’t know, but you’d think they would ask about pronounciation on the first day as they’re reading off the names on the roster!
    Congratulations! You will be an awesome mom. I’m in favor of Shira. And Lyra.

  99. Jenn responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 4:12 pm #

    I find Rebecca to be a fairly staid name (she said, pissing off all the Rebeccas in the room), but my best friend spells it Hebrew-style: Rebekah. Something about the different selection of letters makes the name strangely magical, even though to the ear nothing has changed. No one’s ever going to say “What kinda weird name is Rebekah?” but the spelling makes it beautifully unique. Free for the taking!

  100. morgaine responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 4:36 pm #


    My favorite girls’ names are Rhiannon and Eleanor.

  101. Mary responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    My name, obvs, is Mary; the bf’s name is John. I love that our names are the same as many people’s grandparents. Super old-fashioned.
    For kids, we both agree we can pick a standard name for a boy, nothing frou-frou or made up. Richard. William.
    For girls, we both like flower names. Iris. Violet. Azalea (Zalie for short).
    But I think, since his parents are from Ireland, we have a great excuse to use names like Aoife, Catriona, Declan, Maeve, and Liam.
    I know nothing of Hebrew names, but Shay had a great suggestion above for Kalanit. I love Rachel. I love that suggestion for Zohara.
    And I absolutely love the 60s musical Fiddler on the Roof, someone said they just watched that. I love the chorus in the song “Tradition” with young women’s voices singing about what it’s like to be a daughter!

  102. SaraB responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 8:00 pm #

    Lyra is one of my favorite characters of all time, and Liorah would be an amazing Hebrew equivalent. It’s especially appropriate to all the Northern Lights, Dust, sparkly stuff of that series. Besides, she will light your way, as babies do. She’ll show you things about yourself that were always there, just concealed in the dark. What do you think?

  103. Kate responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 8:01 pm #

    Yeah, that’s pretty damn awesome

  104. San D responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 8:09 pm #

    see #58, and then I want to add this: don’t forget your last name and how the first name sounds with it. Think poetic

  105. Nikki responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    We were planning a homebirth and decided not to find out the sex. We were worried about putting too many expectations on the baby before they were even born, so we waited. Secretly I always thought she was a girl and whenever it was just the three of us, I always called her ‘she’.

    We had a name picked out for each sex, but we didn’t mention them to anyone before, just in case someone got a sour look on their face and it ruined them for us.

    The day of the birth, I labored all day with just my husband and mum with me at home. We played scrabble between contractions and Luke cooked us food to give us strength. When the sun went down, things started to ramp up and Luke filled the birth pool with water, boiling huge soup pots on the stove when the hot water tank ran cold.

    The baby was born at 11:30 that night, after 18 hours of labor, in the warm water of the pool. I reached down into the water and found a leg, all warm and slimy and surreal. I spun the baby around gently until I found the shoulders and lifted the tiny being out of the water and into the world.

    “The baby is here” I said, and Luke – who was sitting behind me and hadn’t even realised that the baby had been born said “Oh my god!” and burst into tears. We sat for a long time, me cradling the baby, Luke cradling me, whispering to each other in the dark of the loungeroom.

    Finally someone said “is it a boy or a girl?” and I laughed because we were so caught up in tiny lips and hands and eyes that we hadn’t thought to check. The cord was in the way and I couldn’t see so my Mum scampered around with a flashlight and positioned herself just so.

    “It’s a girl” she said. Her voice shook.

    “I knew it” I whispered looking into my daughter’s eyes.

    And then I said her name. First to its owner, then to the world.


    It’s a bit of a unique name, a little hippie like us, it’s also a spice which pleases my chef husband, but it sounds tough too don’t you think? The J and P sounds are strong and not afraid to take up space. I like that about her name. It’s not frilly.

    Juniper is 2 now, and loves to hear the story about her birth. When I get to the end she puts both her little arms in the air, hands into fists and says “Hurray for Juniper!”

  106. Stacey responded on 14 Mar 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Congratulations! How exciting! My two favorite names for girls are French names, and I feel like everyone would know what movies I got them from if I used them: Amelie and Eponine. If I ever have a girl, I’d love to give her one of those names, because my last name is French, and even though my kid wouldn’t be French at all, I still think it would be cool for her to have a full French name.

  107. Mandy responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 1:02 am #

    I like the name Miriam. Or, if your little girl is as calm as predicted, you could always call her Serena.

  108. Mandy responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 1:02 am #

    BTW, congrats!

  109. Lola responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 2:01 am #

    Congratulations! A girl!

  110. Sari responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 3:27 am #

    All of the Yaels I knew are awesome, but it is definitely a common Hebrew name.
    I agree that Liora could be a good Hebrew take on Lyra.
    Also, once you have your short list, highly recommend showing it to lots of random people that you know… and don’t know… and see how they do with pronunciation. It’ll give a clear idea of what she might fave growing up.
    I mean, I’ve spent my life correcting people who pronounce my name “sorry”… I think it does something subconsciously. ;-)

  111. S responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 5:05 am #

    I love the Hebrew name “Einat.” It is beautiful and strong. I’m so excited your having a girl!

    Kate, (or any readers) when you were younger (the time when you were not ready for children) did you ever worry about being infertile, without actually have grounds to do so? I want a daughter and/or a son so much, so I worry that I would not be able to conceive.

  112. Kim responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 9:15 am #

    I liked the name Raiden for our girl, but didn’t feel right when she came, so we went with Sydney. Raiden is the Japanese god of thunder (technically a boys name, sorry), but I thought it would be really cool for a girl.

  113. Shannon responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    Congratulations! I’m generally kind of meh about finding-out-the-sex stories, but this was beautifully written and genuinely touching. I am a sap, though, for parents who appreciate the strength in their daughters.

    I totally relate about boy vs girl names; I have five sons and the only difficulty with naming them was narrowing down all the great choices. Our one girl went unnamed for three weeks; we named her Miriam and it suits her well. Other girl names I like — Meredith, Mallory, Helen, Louisa, Elise, Laurel, Ivy, Clara.

  114. Anon responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Hi Kate,
    I’m an avid reader of your blog. I’m not going to leave my name as I know I’ll get flack. I was really moved by your post and I just wanted to say that I think you handled it really well. I’m one of those women who didn’t.

    I was convinced that I was pregnant with a boy – and I mean convinced, I even dreamed of my ‘boy child’ and had his name picked out. When I found out I was carrying a girl, I took to bed for a week. I couldn’t bring myself to tell my husband or discuss it with anyone. I was grieving. And I was ashamed that I was grieving. Just to clarify, I wasn’t under any pressure, my husband didn’t care about the gender of our child – this was ALL my own doing and made me question my so called female intuition and bond with my unborn child. I had been so sure, but really I was so wrong.

    Anyway, I was appalled by my response, so I went to see my friend who is a therapist to talk it out. And basically she was horrified that I cared so much and was basically so shallow. But I did care. I thought long and hard about why I didn’t want a girl and it boiled down to this: I was worried that she would be ugly and condemned to a life worrying and being traumatised by her looks. Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s true. I got lucky in the genetic lottery but my sister, born just a year before me was cursed with our family nose. My husband has a big nose too. My sister who is so intelligent and accomplished has been blighted by her looks all her life and has had 3 nose jobs to correct (what she calls) her ‘beak’.

    The thought of passing this nose/beak on, TERRIFIED ME. I didn’t want to make a new human that, depsite whatever else she accomplished in her life, would always have this ‘flaw’. I know I sound superficial here, but my sister is a seriously smart woman and if that wasn’t enough to innoculate her against the depression and operations and thought and time invested in her nose/beak obsession, then what hope did any potential daughter of mine have?

    For some reason, I didn’t feel this about a boy child. My husband has a big nose and he’s damn attractive. I just didn’t see it as being a ‘life sentence’ for a boy. But for a girl…oh my god. What if my family nose and his family nose collided – could I do that to an innocent unsuspecting girl child?

    I felt guilty and ashamed and worthless for even being worried about this. Finally, over a family dinner my sister expressed relief that I was bringing a baby into the family – because she felt she’d passed on the baby baton to me. She declared that she’d decided NOT TO HAVE CHILDREN because she couldn’t live through her nose trauma all over again. She felt it was responsible not to pass those genes on. Well, that was it, I actually started going to therapy about what I had already done to my poor unsuspecting girl baby.

    I was riddled with self loathing and fear. I know how absurd this sounds, but it seriously blighted my pregnancy. All that trauma over the perception of ‘attractiveness’. Crazy!

  115. karen responded on 15 Mar 2013 at 9:25 pm #

    Oh, we were so nervous to find out with our first…my husband held my hand & we were both so thrilled to be having a girl.

    With the second, another girl, we were all there – husband holding our 3 year old staring at the screen intently and me in the bed …the tech announced “GIRL” and my husband said “are you sure? can you check again?” ha! Poor man, he is SO out numbered – even the dog is a girl!

    So we have Madeline Rose & Elizabeth Doreen. Both middle names were grandmother’s names.

    And it really is true about how the personality developing early on – my first was fairly calm in utero, and she is a more laid back child. Quiet, reserved. Lizzie never stopped moving once I could feel her and at 4 months old she is a much more challenging child.

  116. sami responded on 16 Mar 2013 at 7:42 am #

    Yay! You are growing a human! So amazing. So so amazing.
    Anyway, I am nowhere near being a parent and I don’t think I ever want to be one BUT I always file away names that I like in the back of my mind. Just in case.
    I think boy names are WAY harder. It’s a fine line to walk between ‘traditional’ and ‘weird’. Girls names seem to be easier, like you can go masculine or feminine and bother or either are okay. Silly but there you go.
    ANYWAY my favourite girl names are:

    -Delilah (my most favourite- yet I’ve never met a real Delilah before)
    -Abernathy (ok I got this from the movie Death Proof but I think it’s pretty badass)

    My sister had a baby boy just over a week ago. They didn’t find out the sex until he was born! His name, as it turns out, is Brennan. I like it! Names are so fascinating aren’t they? So many possibilities, and then they’re still change-able. I am Samantha but I haaaaaaate being called it, it doesn’t suit me, so I insist on being Sam at all times. My mums name is Gwenllian, which is Welsh and none of us actually know how to say it properly so she is just Gwen.

    You have plenty of time to choose a name so don’t panic just yet! Best of luck to you both though! :)

  117. sami responded on 16 Mar 2013 at 7:51 am #

    Ooh, also I like ‘Kathryn’. It seems feminine yet strong.

    As you were!

  118. Hadley responded on 16 Mar 2013 at 1:09 pm #

    My two favourites are Joella and Isadora (Izzie).

  119. Cate responded on 16 Mar 2013 at 1:51 pm #

    Congratulations!! Little girls ROCK! I’m glad your little peanut is healthy and growing strong! My favorite girl names are Elyse, Naomi, Annabelle, Ursala, and Mabel …

    I normally wouldn’t like Mabel but I saw a show (I can’t remember which one) where the grandma gave the new parents easy acronyms to remember how to care for the new baby. One of the things she said when packing a diaper bag was “Mothers Always Bring Extra Love” – so the couple decided to name their daughter Mabel after that piece of advice.

  120. Cari Ellen responded on 16 Mar 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    YAY!!!!!!!!!! Girls ROCK! I am eating up every word of your experience! What a gift to share!

    With Shayla Moon we had a list a mile long of “S” first names (for my grandmother Susan) and “M” middle names (for his grandmothers Milka and Millie) for both girls and boys. I was POSITIVE she was a boy, but had both ready just in case. She was born a girl (!) at 8:02 pm. And one of the moments I will always remember was at around 3 in the morning, we lay in the cozy birthing center bed together, just staring at her and watching her try all those names on. In a matter of minutes we were down to “Shayla Moon” or “Shasta Mae”. The final choice felt hard but in the end it was pretty clear. In our case we needed to see her to know what fit.

    With Jadyn Brook, I was also POSITIVE she was a boy. I was so positive, in fact, that I actually cross stitched “Bodhi” on her Christmas stocking. (Yes, yes I am Jewish but my hubby is not and we were staying home for Christmas that year – she was born on Dec 17th – and I had always wanted to make stockings!). So there she was, another girl, born at home this time, and nameless for 3 days. We wanted a “B” for my grandfather Barnett and a “J” for his grandfather John. The name Bodhi means enlightenment, so when we found out that the Jade stone was used by the bodhisatvas to help people reach enlightenment we knew that was her name.

    Their middle names, Moon and Brook are to symbolize a strong connection to nature.

    Have fun choosing, it can be really fun!


  121. NSH responded on 16 Mar 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    I can’t believe this is my first time commenting on your blog, since I’ve been reading forever, but I just had to stop lurking to comment on this post and tell you my all-time favorite Jewish girl name: SHIRA! Kind of obvious since you’re a singer, but I thought I would throw it out there. (And my favorite Sanskrit name, since I study Sanskrit literature: Kavita, which means “poetry.”)

  122. Dana responded on 17 Mar 2013 at 3:56 am #

    beautify post. Pregnancy gives us a special feelings and moments that we remember for a long time.

  123. Jaala responded on 17 Mar 2013 at 3:57 am #

    I love your blog :) You are always saying what I am thinking but unable to articulate.

    My name is Jaala Ruth, both hebrew names. I’ve always liked Ziva/Zivah too.

    Raising a girl is complicated for sure, but I think if anything it’s helping me understand myself better. I also have 2 boys who are completely different but equally enjoyable to raise :)

  124. Kristen responded on 17 Mar 2013 at 2:32 pm #


    My favorite girl’s name is Tamsin (my daughter’s name).

    My favorite Hebrew name is Yael; my husband’s favorite is Esther (Essie, for short, the name of his favorite great-aunt.

    If I have another daughter someday, I’d like to maybe name her Florence, an old family name.

  125. onebreath responded on 17 Mar 2013 at 4:16 pm #

    Congrats! I’m looking forward to hearing about your adventures as a mom and as a woman moving through different stages of life :)

  126. Krista responded on 17 Mar 2013 at 11:15 pm #

    Your writing is engaging. I felt like I was sitting in your chair! Congratulations on your baby girl!

    My first daughter will be named Emma after my grandmother. The name may sound delicate, but my grandma was the first woman to fly a plane in the State of Montana, was one of the first female firefighters, and a fierce and passionate human being. My sisters, all substantially older than me, spent so much time fighting over who got to use the name they stopped having children.

    Enjoy finding the perfect name for your gorgeous baby.

  127. FlavaFlav responded on 18 Mar 2013 at 1:45 am #

    Hi Kate

    I live in Australia and I found your blog last year, when I was pregnant with my baby boy, who is now 3 months old.
    It has kep me company in many late night feedings! I love your writing style, it feels so personal, it is like reading letters from a friend :-)

    Anyways, I found out my baby’s gender at the 19 weeks scan, you could clearly see his penis as he had his legs open so no surprises at birth day!

    For girls names, I love Lola, Lana and Ruby.

    Enjoy your pregnancy, it is a great experience. To feel the baby moving and to imagine how he is going to look like and how his personality is going to be, and this and that.
    Having the bubba here is 1.000.000 times better!

    Lots of love your way

  128. Kate responded on 18 Mar 2013 at 10:50 am #

    lol FlavaFlav!
    Congratulations on your son!!! I feel so impatient to meet my daughter now. I keep trying to guess hundred of things about her based on her little twitches and stuff. It’s probably unfair of me :p

  129. Kate responded on 18 Mar 2013 at 10:58 am #

    I hope you’re seeing this! I meant to respond much earlier and kept getting sidetracked. I hate that you had to write this anonymously, but I also know how critical people can be. But feelings are feelings. They happen whether or not we’re annoyed by or ashamed of them. They happen whether they’re noble and virtuous or dirty and scandalous. Honestly, just the word virtuous makes my skin start to crawl….

    I think it makes plenty of sense to be worried about what a daughter might look like. I wish we lived in a world where it didn’t matter, but we don’t. That doesn’t mean it HAS to matter enormously for every girl and woman. We are individuals. We handle things differently. We notice things differently. We have different concerns. But of course, after seeing your sister suffer, you are concerned about this in particular. How could you not be?

    But let me just say: as a girl with a big ol’ bumpy nose, I have actually felt pretty great about myself for most of my life. It sounds sort of weird, coming from someone who writes about body image for a living, maybe. But I think that’s why I write about it. Because I know what it feels like to love myself and the way I look, and I am still a little indignant at the world for getting in the way. And also, there is always always always so much more to being a person than appearance, even when it is tormenting us. Your daughter might be anything. She might climb mountains or go to outer space or teach kids who desperately need her help. She will definitely not always be thinking about the way she looks, however that might be.

    But I get it. I am also worried about my daughter’s appearance. Not because I think it’s so so important to look a certain way, but because I know it can be really hard not to. That’s a real concern. But I am also trying to trust her to figure things out herself. I’ll write a whole post on this sometime soon, so stay tuned! And good luck! And CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  130. Michelle F responded on 18 Mar 2013 at 1:45 pm #

    I talked my husband into finding out the gender because I didn’t want to continue referring to the baby as “it”. I would fall into the generic “he”, but then people assumed I was having a boy and I didn’t like doing that anyway. He originally wanted to wait and have the excitement of the gender reveal when the baby was born. For our second baby, I was ready to let him have his way, but his comment was “seeing my baby born was excitement enough!” so he was fine with finding out.
    I really wanted to have girls. I’ll admit to being a bit afraid of trying to raise a boy. Growing up wasn’t all that easy for me being an overweight girl, but my husband had his own issues too.

    Now I have my two girls, Valerie and Cordelia, and they are both gorgeous. I don’t think that’s motherly bias either. I am somewhat concerned about raising them in this world (they are 4 and 1), but I will do my best to teach them good values and to love themselves more than I ever loved myself. It took me 37 years to begin loving myself and feeling confident in myself. I hope their journey to this is shorter.

  131. Johanna responded on 18 Mar 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    @anon — Your comment reminded me of looking at my new baby girl in the hospital and suddenly realizing that she had MY MOTHER’S NOSE in the center of her tiny, perfect newborn face. I called my sister in a panic, since I knew she would understand. My sister and I have the Jewish bump on our noses, which bothers us to varying degrees (my sister more so) and our mother’s nose is the source. For a few days, all I could see when I looked at my little daughter was that NOSE. My baby reminded me so much of my mother in the moment, that I actually felt irritated with her. :) I was convinced that she was doomed (and I actually think I’m pretty good-looking, despite the nose, so I can only blame the intensity of my response on postpartum hormones).

    I remember feeling shocked when a friend came over and said, “That is seriously the prettiest baby I’ve ever seen.” But, ten years later, turns out my friend was prescient. My daughter is a combination of my husband’s family and my own, and her particular combination has turned out gorgeous. Like, “I can’t believe I produced such a pretty daughter”-type gorgeous. I know the NOSE will develop more as she ages, but she’s honestly so pretty that I don’t think it’ll matter. And, as my husband reminded me whenever the topic came up, he *liked* my nose and had always thought it was cute. Go figure.

    Anyway, I think my point is that kids never look like you think they will. And the stuff you worry about is inevitably the wrong stuff. I worry plenty about my daughter (such is motherhood, alas) but I don’t worry about her looks. NOSE and all…

  132. KatieLilly responded on 18 Mar 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Hello there! I’ve been reading your blog religiously for about a year now, but haven’t ever commented. I’m not pregnant, nor even married, but this post, and your previous post really, really struck a chord with me. When I was younger I got into an argument with my mom (about something random, we both have Irish tempers…) and eventually yelled that I hoped that I never had a daughter. We calmed down and I had to explain…everything that you’ve been concerned about (although you are much more eloquent and articulate than I was!). After reading your blog now for a while, I love everything that you’ve written because it seems to have been written for me, everything is relate-able, stunning, insightful, poignant and touching! I am SO very happy for Bear and you. I know that you will have an amazing daughter!!!
    My favorite girl names, like your “Lyra” are all form books too! (I love Lyra as well by the way!)…

    ~Rhiannon- from “The Lost Years of Merlin” by T.A. Barron, she’s Merlin’s sister and lives in a tree named Arbassa (basically the dream of my childhood)
    ~Gemma- from “A Great and Terrible Beauty” by Libba Bray, Gemma is a Victorian girl who never quite fits in to society’s ideal of demure femininity and she kicks butt while being charming and witty!
    ~Alaizabel- from “The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray” by Chris Wooding, she’s a girl who’s thrown into a situation and world that’s unknown and terrifying but discovers a huge inner strength throughout the book.
    ~Coralie/Coraline- from the book of the same name by Neil Gaiman. Coralie is the French version, but I love how adventurous and imaginative that Coraline is, and how resourceful and brave.

    I know that they’re not Jewish (I am a pale, freckled, redheaded Irish/Scotch/Welsh girl) but they are all names of women who’ve inspired me, and I hope that they help!
    P.S. I’m a Katie/Kate/Kates as well, so…YAY! :)

  133. Kaylene responded on 19 Mar 2013 at 10:56 am #

    I love the name Lyra. (And I love that book series!) Though all of my favourite girls names tend to be the old English kind. I was just thinking the other day that it’s a shame you never see names such as Polly around anymore. There’s something simple yet pretty about such names.

    My parents had two names for me, depending on what colour hair I had. If I were blonde, my name would be Claire. Pretty name, I like it. But I came out with a shock of black hair, and so my name is Kaylene. Wouldn’t trade it for the world.

  134. Kate responded on 19 Mar 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    I love a good birth story!! thanks for sharing!
    And sorry it’s taken me so long to respond. Juniper is an AMAZING AMAZING name. totally in love with it. And I love her reaction to her birth story. God, that’s adorable. Wow.

  135. Kelli responded on 20 Mar 2013 at 12:59 pm #

    Congratulations! It is so amazing how the unborn baby becomes so much more real once you know the gender. My husband & I were the opposit of you, we both have sisters so we both just kind of assumed we would have a girl. When we had our ultrasound we were so surprised that “it” was a boy! The whole afternoon we just kept saying to each other that we couldn’t believe it! I thought I really wanted a girl but as soon as I found out he was a boy, I realized I would have been happy either way because I was thrilled! I was also nervous. I would have been nervous about a girl too though. It’s a big deal, bringing a human into this world!
    I love the name Lyra. I think I told you, but both my sisters found out they were pregnant & due very close to Rhett’s due date. My middle sister had a girl & her name is Lyra Noelle. Beautiful! It is such a lovely name, & relatively uncommon.
    I felt opposite of you, I had lots of girl names that I loved but no boy names. Rhett was 4 days old before we finally settled on a name! Some girl names I loved (and you can use as far as I’m concerned, even though I’ll use one or 2 of them if I ever have a girl):
    Pepper (my favorite…Pepper Phillips…sounds spunky, right?)
    Deborah- such a strong female. I love the Biblical/Jewish/Christian significance although it is somewhat common name.
    Well you know, I had a lot of other possible girl names before I knew Rhett was a boy & wouldn’t you know, I can’ t remember the rest!

  136. Teresa responded on 20 Mar 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Thank you for your blog, and congratulations on your girlie!

    I love Maya (my daughter is actually Maia), Lydia, Kathryn, and Aleah.

    Enjoy her!

  137. Ayesha Aslam responded on 21 Mar 2013 at 12:43 am #

    This made me cry, it’s so beautiful and well written. Congratulations! I can tell you’ll be a wonderful mother.

  138. Lana responded on 25 Mar 2013 at 10:36 pm #

    I cried reading that post. Beautiful. Just beautiful.

    Maybe I am obsessed with the sonographer with the same name as me – but I am making it all Hebrew and suggesting Liat for your baby girl


  139. Doña responded on 26 Mar 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    I loved this story! I didn’t want to know the gender of my baby but my partner did. He felt strongly about it, so we decided we’d ask at our 24-week ultrasound. But the kept her legs together and the tech couldn’t tell. Up until around then I was convinced I was having a boy and I had a long list of wonderful names picked out for him. But one night I dreamed of a baby girl and I just knew I was carrying a girl. We started talking about girl names but none of them really clicked for me. The baby had been camped out like a Buddha in my belly for months, so I had to go for a second ultrasound at 36 weeks because my midwife couldn’t tell if Bean (as we’d taken to calling the child) had finally turned head-down or not. I realized that now that I was sure I was having a girl, I was going to be really disappointed if I delivered a baby boy. So we asked that tech to confirm my suspicion/belief/hope. Luckily my intuition was correct. But we still didn’t decide on her name until I was in labor, and didn’t tell anyone until after she was born. Stella Anne. Stella for my father, the astronomer, and because she’s the only baby if my generation but she doesn’t have my father’s name. And Anne because each of the first-born girls in my family for a couple generations have that middle name.

    Choosing my daughter’s name is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I love it now, but I doubted it for weeks after her birth!

  140. Honeybeemg responded on 26 Mar 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    I just stumbled across your blog, and I was delighted to read this! When I was pregnant, my husband and I decided not to find out the sex, but I really thought it was a girl. (Partly because I just pictured myself with a girl more, and partly because of the timing when I got pregnant – female sperm live a lot longer!) Anyway, I didn’t totally trust my intuition because I’m usually wrong when I guess what other people are having. We had an awesome pregnancy and home birth. I wasn’t convinced that I was in labor (because it was just lots of intense pressure, but it didn’t hurt) even though it went on all night, and by the time our midwife got there in the morning, the baby was crowning and it was time to push! Our poor midwife; I had talked to her on the phone several times throughout the night, cooly and calmly denying that I was having contractions because it didn’t hurt! (It seems so obvious to me now, but whatever.) Things kicked into high gear and I pushed her out in no time, and my husband caught her. He handed her up to me and I lay down, cuddling her to my chest and we just lay there for a long time, just looking at her little head and hands and the side of her face, until finally we said “wait, is it a boy or a girl?!” and turned her over to look. And she was a girl. Helena, now 2 1/2 years old.

    I read your blog from Huffington Post about your pregnancy, your choices, etc. I have to say that the way our society approaches pregnancy is so weird. The VAST majority of the time, the baby will benefit from you doing exactly what is best for you! It’s not a YOU or THE BABY dichotomy! You have every right to read, research, soul search, and interview doctors. We talked with an ob, the nurse practitioner at my ob’s office, the local hospital-affiliated birth center (run by certified nurse midwives), and two state-licensed independent midwives. We went with the choice that felt absolutely right for us, and it WAS. It will not be the same choice for everyone! Whatever choice you make, you have to own. By making the choice to use an LDM instead of a doctor, I gained so much. I also took on the responsibility to make my pregnancy as healthy as possible so my choice would continue to be a wise one!
    A couple of things to keep in mind when you are selecting a doctor or other practitioner:
    1) It’s not all about the hours of labor. It’s also about receiving quality, personalized prenatal care. And postpartum care! What support services, if any, are available to you postpartum? Ask them – who are you going to call if you are having a problem in the middle of the night a week after you come home?
    2) Labor is governed by hormones. Your body knows how to do this – if uninhibited. The release of the correct hormones at the correct time makes labor and birth happen. Hormone release can be inhibited by fear, threats or perceived threats, or just plain irritation/people bothering you. Think about orgasm, another similar process. How easy is it to have an orgasm if you are worried, distracted, or fearful? The thing is that different people will be most comfortable (and therefore more likely to have a good experience) in different places. I wanted to be at home so no one could pester me. My friend who just had a baby said that would make her terrified, and she felt safe at the hospital. We both felt confident and comfortable with our bodies and with where we were, and we both did very well in labor. Just something to think about. Sorry for the novel…

  141. andrea @ my kinda perfect responded on 27 Mar 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    oh, i just love that you’re bringing a girl into this world! she will be an amazing, strong, smart lady, just like her momma.

    my favorite girl name is Lena. it was my nana’s (maternal grandmother) name, who died when i was only 6 months old. i love that it’s old fashioned, but also short and sweet. if i was to have twin girls ever (talk about speculating!), i would name them Lena & Lucille. my boyfriend (who i’ll marry and procreate with one day) never met his maternal grandmother, who was Lucille. i think Lena & Lucy would make a great pair. (in my dreams)

    i was on the edge of my seat reading this post. i didn’t dare sneak ahead, for fear of revealing the gender too soon….what a story! congratulations, again! =)

  142. Lisa responded on 27 Mar 2013 at 5:42 pm #

    I like ‘Miriam’, personally. And it’s Jewish. :)

  143. Bethany responded on 30 Mar 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    Congratulations! I am a first-time reader, but had to comment when you asked for strong girl’s names. Our twin sons are almost eight months and before we knew it was two boys we’d picked out the perfect (in my view) name for a girl: Roxanne. I have a faint hope we will have another and be able to use the name, but my husband is opposed to more children so it’s unlikely. Congratulations again, I hope the rest of your pregnancy proceeds smoothly!

  144. Links Lundi | Ruby Bastille responded on 01 Apr 2013 at 8:05 am #

    [...] at Eat The Damn Cake is having a baby, and her post about finding out if she was having a boy or a girl actually brought tears to my eyes. Share this:FacebookTwitterTumblrMoreStumbleUponDiggRedditLike [...]

  145. Nancy responded on 01 Apr 2013 at 9:23 pm #

    I had a very very specific boy name in mind, and had thought we would include the bio-mom’s name in a girl’s name. But then we found out we were getting a boy, and it was really easy to work his biological mother’s name into his name, and his initials are also the first three letters of his first name … so …. I guess I’m saying these things have a way of turning out different than you would expect but just the way they are supposed to. Good luck! And congratulations!

  146. Lauraine responded on 05 Apr 2013 at 3:46 pm #

    My girls were both exhibitionists on ultrasound. My first – a routine unltr-sound – my second a much more serious event. Both are girls. Healthy, wonderful girls even if there were many issues to worry about during the pregnancies. My girls are Emily and Jillian. We used Catherine and Grace as middle names. We also loved Madeleine and Margaret. Maggie. Megan. Maddie.

    Best wishes!

  147. Kris responded on 08 Apr 2013 at 1:09 am #

    Kate, congratulations!
    I stumbled across your site today and got swept up in your baby posts – you’re due a few weeks before me and the timing was just spot on.

    My husband has 3 sisters, a fleet of girl cousins, and was just sure we wouldn’t have a boy. From the moment I knew we were pregnant, I’ve thought it was a boy. We definitely wanted to “find out” during the pregnancy, but since my family is in NY and I live in Tokyo, we thought that letting them find out the baby’s gender first would be a great way for them to feel more a part of this whole pregnancy spectacular. The plan was to have the doctor write the baby’s gender in a card, seal it up, mail it to NY, and await a call/package/other form of notification from my parents about what pronoun we should use.
    Then at the 17 week ultrasound as our doctor cautioned us that the baby was too small for her to feel comfortable making a gender determination, my husband was SURE he’d seen a tiny penis. He couldn’t let it go so we booked a 3D/4D ultrasound for later that day. The ultrasound specialist at that clinic also wouldn’t make it official since she wasn’t my main doctor, but we watched our little exhibitionist baby showing himself off for a solid 10 minutes and all agreed that it was “probably” a boy that we were looking at on the screen. So much for the cute card idea!

    We went back last week (at 21 weeks) and re-confirmed that we’re having a boy. Even though we’ve basically known for a month, it still felt crazy to see them add it to the chart and to walk out feeling a little more confident in calling my little kicking machine “he.”

    I also relate to your international/other language name pronunciation concerns. It seems much easier to come up with girls’ names that are easy to say in both English and Japanese than it is for boys’ names. We do have one that we like, has significance to our families both in English and in the Japanese characters we would use to write it, but it’s steadily climbing in the US name popularity rankings… still trying to decide if this bothers us or not.

    Anyway, apologies for the massive comment and best wishes for a healthy second half to your pregnancy!

  148. Kirsty responded on 13 Apr 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    I called my daughter Kate! A beautiful strong name for sure. I guess that may not help you in a name search.

    I too thought I was having a boy. when the sonographer said she was a girl I cried too! I felt unexpectedly delighted and proud for some reason. I had produced a wonderful girl! Really shared that feeling that she was a bit of a rebel for being a girl under the opposing expectation. And you do get a sense of theircharacter in utero.

    With very best wishes for motherhood. Writing as you do, you’re well equipped to help her with the challenges she faces.

  149. Rebecca C responded on 16 Apr 2013 at 3:11 am #

    I felt the same way about my second child when I found out he was a boy. But my gosh do I love having a boy, just as much as I love having a girl, his older sister. Different but equally good feelings.

  150. Eat the Damn Cake » how I want my daughter to look responded on 07 Jun 2013 at 10:18 am #

    [...] She bit her lip and tried not to smile. “Oh yes. I can tell.” [...]

  151. Kimberly responded on 27 Jun 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    I had the same requirements for my daughter’s name. I chose Tabetha. Everyone knows it, not many people have it. It has a long history, it has both strong sounds and femininity, and it lends itself to many nicknames.

    Congratulations. :o )

  152. Kate C. responded on 10 Jul 2013 at 3:16 pm #

    I found your blog and was sucked in. I love your writing, and your feelings are so similar to mine when I was pregnant (at the ripe old age of 36) for the first time last year. I thought (nay – swore) I was having a boy, and when our ultrasound showed three times it was a girl, I howled in misery that my mother was going to gloat :)

    I’m now 6 weeks pregnant with my second. My daughter Cadence (one of the more obscure definitions I chose as primary: “giving the sense of harmonic completion”) has turned me into a loving and patient (most of the time) mother and still managed not to change ME at all, which was my biggest fear.

    We are tossing around names for our next little one; if it’s a girl, right now the top of the list is Calliope Jayne. (Calliope: “Beautiful voice”). Ellie Georgina is a second, and by the time my hormones are done with me I’m sure I’ll have forty more. I don’t know if you’ve had your baby yet or have settled on a name but you’re welcome to them (given they’re not Jewish, though…). I love reading your blog, please don’t stop!

  153. A Response to Kate Fridkis from a Mom Who’s Been There | Mom Meet Mom responded on 15 Jul 2013 at 9:50 am #

    [...] it’s confusing, because I actually feel totally ready to meet my daughter. I can’t wait. Especially when she’s kicking me somewhere weird. No, especially all the [...]

  154. C responded on 19 Sep 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    I know this was months ago but I just had to comment because I think we must have had the same technician as you for our scan yesterday… now I can’t remember whether she said she was from Estonia or Latvia but she must have said “beautiful, beautiful” in her sweet accent about 40 times! It’s too early to find out the sex(es) and I have no idea whether to or not!

  155. chicagoland tour de cure 2011 responded on 25 Mar 2014 at 6:25 am #

    I can relate to how you feel about her gender. I too thought for sure I was carrying a boy, and she surprised us. We found out at our ultrasound as well. Girls are just so complex and most of the time I don’t know how to relate to the ones in my own life… but my Lil is so sweet and completely melts my heart when she scrunches up her shoulders and gives me a huge grin. Or tries to suck or lick my face when I give her kisses. Or just cuddles after a nap. Oh Kate, it’s the most wonderful thing in the world being a mother.