Gone Coastal

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What's in a name

This clearly falls in that broad category of posts that have been in the queue for awhile. In fact, it's been brewing since before we named names not quite five months ago. We thought a lot about what to call our second child, our son, even deliberating a bit after he arrived. In the end we gave him three names. Eliakim Hunter Leonidas. Quite a mouthful I'll concede, but I'd like to share a bit of where they came from.

A little out of order, I'll take the second name first, 'cause it's simple. If Trin had been a boy, she would have been Caleb Hunter. Caleb was my choice, Hunter the Bear's, but I liked it. Strong. Somehow the second baby never felt like a Caleb, but we kept Hunter.

Back to his first name, regular readers may recall some broad hints when I made the initial announcement that our second pregnancy was a little unexpected. The bare fact was, we were still recovering from the shock of all the changes after our first child, and adjusting to my status as working mom. There seemed little doubt I was made to make babies - smooth pregnancy and quick, uncomplicated delivery. Caring for and living with them, however, turned out to be a much greater challenge even than I had imagined. Though all else being equal I wasn't keen on raising an only child, I was not entirely certain we could handle another.
While we were still wrestling with this question, we had opted for what was intended to be a pretty foolproof, hands off means of postponing any final decision. I had had an IUD inserted when Tweety was about 4 months.
One of the lingering after effects of Tweety's birth was a shift in my body's response to hormones, with the result that my monthly cycle was a pretty wild ride. While I was on leave, this just meant that not much beyond the basics got done for a few days, and in fact I was only vaguely aware that I seemed a little more sensitive. When I returned to work, however, it was rather like a steamroller. Four straight days I couldn't think straight, obsessive thoughts chugging like a steam train down the track to a broken bridge. (Thankfully, it landed across a weekend, so it was only two days of work that I was useless.) Being in the midst of the transition to 'working mom', these thoughts mostly fixated on the future, and the dilemma of to have or not have another child. Not a bad thing to ponder, when you're in your right mind, but let's just say these weren't constructive thoughts.
I went to see the doc after that, as I knew I had to do something if this was going to be the norm going forward. The doc said we should monitor it, and I was to take some notes next cycle and get back to her.
Of course, the next cycle never came. I was back at work for less than a month before I was pregnant again. And the dilemma of decision was gone. I was stunned, and afraid, but I'll also admit to being somewhat relieved that the decision had been made for us. In the post partum delirium of Trin's birth, I'd done a lot of second-guessing over our decision to bring another life into this crazy world. But as important as it was for us to have made the conscious choice the first time, it was probably just as positive for us that it was mostly out of our hands the second time. We could easily have chewed over it for another decade.
While we were giving ourselves whiplash over the options for our family, God saw fit to move his plan for us forward. I took comfort in the thought that God thought we could handle this. And I wanted a name that somehow reflected that God's will prevails. I looked for awhile for a name that actually meant God Prevails. I found some sites that said Yoel meant exactly that, but it didn't quite fit right. It sounded a lot like Joel - a lot of sources said it was the Hebrew version - but Joel, I was told, meant 'Yahweh is God'. Also a very good name, but not what I was looking for.
I had all but given up on the search, pushing it to the far back burner for awhile. Then one day, the burner flared up and I came across the name Eliakim. Sources vary a little in their definition, but the one that stuck with me was "Whom God raises up." Not exactly the meaning I'd started off looking for, but almost immediately it felt right. It stuck with me. The Bear took awhile to warm up to it, but it had been the same for me with Trin's name.

Now, as every mother - and some women who've yet to be so blessed - knows, getting pregnant is just the start of the journey. And this pregnancy was different for me than my first. Relatively moderate as far as the classic trials, especially in comparison to some women I know. But it had its unique trials, and this little guy showed from the start that he was rather determined to be here.
Of course the unexpected nature of this pregnancy meant that when one decision was taken from us, another tough one came up right away. We have a little life beginning to grow within me, but it's sharing its space with a device meant to keep it from starting. An ultrasound at just five weeks showed the IUD was still exactly where it was supposed to be, and a small dark circle was tucked in right beside it. There's remarkably little real information out there about the risks of removing the IUD or keeping it in, so it was tough, but in time I decided to have it removed, and reduce the risks of complications later in the pregnancy. The little guy hung in there, and we were still pregnant a month later, and the second ultrasound showed a nice strong little heartbeat.
In the realm of more classical pregnancy ailments, I was queasy through to about the halfway mark. Thankfully I didn't actually vomit, I just couldn't eat much after a certain point in the morning. It was hard to eat what I ought. In fact, apart from my belly, I was losing weight. But the little guy managed to find everything he needed to grow. Fast. The standard ultrasound showed he was a little ahead of the curve. So did my belly. If I hadn't already had two ultrasounds, I might have expected twins.
When the queasiness finally subsided, the sheer size of my belly still meant it was a challenge to eat enough. I peaked out at under 25 pounds gained over the whole pregnancy. But it still didn't slow him down.
Which brings us to the delivery. Fast and furious, and the practice's biggest vaginal delivery for the year. And he was thriving from the start, eating well and taking in the new world around him.
The third name, had been suggested to the Bear late in the pregnancy. Leonidas was the Spartan king who had led a successful resistance against the Persian army at Thermopylae - the central character in the movie 300. The Bear loved this. I was not so sure I wanted to associate my son with such violence. In any case, I at least had to see the movie first. We debated this one awhile, even after the big arrival. The name means 'Son of Lion.' There had been a bit of a lion theme throughout the pregnancy - little things from totally different sources that kept showing up with lions. And in the end, I figured a boy that big, strong, and determined after all that, was strong enough to carry three names, and Leonidas stayed.
And thus far he bears it well. Eliakim Hunter Leonidas Geisler is about six and a half months now (yes - if you were paying attention, he was not quite five months at the start of this post! Writing time is hard to come by) He is tall and strong. Still hates to miss anything - he needs to be put in another room or have his view blocked if he's to get any nap in the day. He's already making his way around the room with great purpose, rolling and spinning and reaching. He's not quite crawling, but the knees are starting to go up, so it won't be long. He's even pulled himself up a couple of times or stood holding furniture. He's going to give me a heart attack no doubt.
His third tooth is poking through, and I'm pretty sure the fourth is not far below the surface.
He's amazing and wonderful. And I'll be needing all the help I can get to keep up with him and his very different but equally wonderful and amazing sister.