Anybody who was around for our first pregnancy knows that our first son was nicknamed Nugget. His full story can be found under the “Our Sons” dropdown. Now, nine months after losing him, Jason & I have finally given our first son a proper name – Noah.
Why? What a loaded question. First I’ll address the “why” of naming a child lost at 8 weeks gestation, and why we did it after all this time. Noah is and will always be our first child. Though we lost him before we ever got to hear his heartbeat or see him wiggle on an ultrasound screen, he was still our baby. Most mommas will tell you that the first is such a special experience. We only got to have Noah for 8 weeks, but in that time we created an entire life for him and for us – we planned his birth, we talked about daycare and schools, we considered family vacations, we thought about how to include him in our wedding. In our hearts, we dreamed of our entire lives together – and then we lost him. But we continue to talk about Noah, and continue to make his legacy a part of our family.
So we decided Noah deserved a real name. Nugget was a cute nickname, but it’s hard for us to imagine our first son sitting in Heaven without a special name chosen by mommy and daddy. It was hard to talk about him, and even harder for people to understand who he was and what he meant to us, when he didn’t have a name. It took us this long to name Noah because honestly, grief is hard. Naming him makes losing him so real. I couldn’t face that reality in the weeks following his loss, as Jason underwent a very complex life-or-death surgery. And then I got so wrapped up in my pregnancy with Omie that I couldn’t let open the floodgates to my grief by considering names for Nugget.
But then Omie died. He died and we realized that he would not be alone, that Nug would be with him too. And we realized that we wanted to remember both of them, to include them in our family, to celebrate the time we had with them. We wanted to talk about both of our sons, to share their stories, to write their little names in page margins and on Christmas ornaments. And so we named Noah.
But why Noah? So many reasons! Jason has an uncle Noah, so it’s a family name, like Omie (named after his grandad Omar). Noah is also four letters long, just like our last name and just like Omie’s name – I’m a sucker for symmetry. And the Biblical account of Noah touches my heart. Noah obeyed God’s command, and built the ark to save his family and all of God’s lil creatures from the Flood. After disembarking, God made a new covenant with Noah, and gave His promise to never again rid the world of life (Genesis 8:21). The Lord put His rainbow in the sky as a sign of this covenant (Genesis 9:12-16). Similarly, losing our Noah completely wrecked my life but then built me back up, changed me for the better. Losing him was my storm, the thing that made my future pregnancies “rainbows.” But his loss and his legacy were also like my personal ark, bringing me through the storm and back into the arms of God.
Not all loss parents will name their lost babies, regardless of gestational age, and that’s perfectly okay. There is no guide on this, no manual on how we’re supposed to walk through this grief, through this life, without our children. But naming our sons has helped us heal, if only a tiny bit. So here’s to my son Noah, my first baby – mommy & daddy love you, forever and always.