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what’s in a name?

At last, our sightseeing behind us, it was time to pack up our bags and do what we had come to London to accomplish.

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S’s prenatal screening had been scheduled for 9am on Wednesday morning and the first thing we did upon arrival in London was call the Embassy to confirm the appointment. Yet, when we showed up at the doctor’s office a few minutes before 9am, we found empty hallways and dark rooms. Eventually, a receptionist arrived and said that they were not expecting us until 2pm that afternoon. The doctor was scheduled to be in Labor and Delivery during the morning but somehow this did not get communicated to either us or the American Embassy in London, which had scheduled the appointment.

This was problematic. While S’s return flight was not until the following morning and her medevac travel had been covered by the Embassy, we had purchased D’s tickets on our own dime so that we could be together when we received the big news about our baby’s gender. D had brought his suitcase to the doctor’s office because we weren’t sure how long the appointment would last and he had an early afternoon flight back to Chisinau. By the time the doctor would be able to see S, D would need to be aboard that plane.

There was one other doctor at this clinic, who agreed to see S. She would have to come back in the afternoon for the rest of her scheduled tests but at least we would learn the baby’s gender before D flew back. Perhaps. The problem was that this doctor was actually a fertility specialist and by his own admission had not performed an ultrasound since medical school. He maneuvered the ultrasound machine back and forth across S’s stomach, commenting that everything looked normal but without rendering a verdict on the gender. At one point he mumbled something about maybe glimpsing a testicular sack, but refrained from making a definitive pronouncement. And that’s how we learned that we’re expecting a boy, news that S’s actual doctor confirmed later that afternoon.

Long before we had even entertained the notion of having kids, S had wanted to discuss baby names. D would have none of it, not even when we confirmed that S was pregnant. S had made a list of the names she liked, but D would not look at it until we knew the gender of the baby, which proved a prescient decision. When we did learn that we are expecting a boy and D asked for S’s list, she said she needed a few days to revise it. Virtually all of the names on her initial list were female.

Since then, we’ve scoured baby-naming websites and compiled lists, but have not come any closer to settling on a name. We want a name that’ll sound good in English, and Russian, and maybe Spanish too; one that isn’t too popular, but also not so far out of the ordinary that it would make people question our sanity. In Jewish tradition it is customary to name children after deceased relatives. D’s grandfather was named Boris, which is a great name for Soviet times but not one with which we’d saddle an American child. S’s grandfather, who has also passed away, was named Louis. We have yet to find any B or L names that appeal to us, though we have already turned down a number of suggestions that would easily open our child to playground ridicule.

Our procrastination in choosing a name may have something to do with the fact that, all evidence to the contrary, we have not fully come to terms with the fact that we will become parents very soon. We still have a few months to come up with a name, and besides, S isn’t due until next year….

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