Different opinions about when to choose/announce the name? Please help!

Sorry, this is kind of long, but I really appreciate advice on this emotional topic.

My husband and I are not yet pregnant, but we are trying to come up with some ideas for names in advance so that we aren't trying to do it while I'm all hormonal.

We are planning on having two children, so we kind of fell into a pattern of finding two names of each gender. That way, we could imagine each name as though the baby had a brother or a sister to go along with it.

In the process of coming up with basically two of each, we decided that we wouldn't make any final decisions until after the baby was born. That way, we wouldn't have to worry about letting the name slip before the birth (we do NOT want to open ourselves up to criticism from family and friends). I told my husband that my only concern was that he might hold the baby and decide that s/he's "definitely a [name 1]" while I hold the same baby and decide that s/he's "definitely a [name 2]." My husband said that as long as we both feel comfortable with the final two of each gender, if I hold the baby and have a strong feeling one way or the other, that he'd be willing to go along with that.

I LOVE this idea and imagined us taking a few hours to recuperate, maybe even taking a nap, and holding our baby and trying out the two names and various nicknames that we've come up with.

Okay, here's where I'm getting to the problem....

My husband and I were just talking about how long the parents have to name the baby after the birth. I said that I thought they had at least until they went home from the hospital and that I had read about parents taking even longer to decide. He got very uncomfortable and said that that whole idea made him very uncomfortable. I said that I wasn't planning on waiting that long and would also feel uncomfortable leaving the hospital without a name.

But he was REALLY uncomfortable. With the whole idea of waiting any length of time at all. In talking about it, it sounds like he really wanted to be able to announce the name within minutes of the birth. MINUTES.

I brought up some "what if"s -- like what if I'm not feeling well or the baby has to go to the NICU and we don't even get a chance to hold him/her? To my shock, he said that ESPECIALLY if the baby were in any kind of trouble, he'd want to have a name for it right away. This is totally against my line of thinking. I can't even imagine announcing a baby's name when I haven't had a chance to even hold it, nor can I imagine trying to make a decision about a name while I am worrying about the health of my child.

I asked him, if he feels that strongly about having a name that quickly after birth, how did he think we'd make the final determination between the two contenders without even getting a chance to hold the baby? He said he didn't really know. That he just thought we'd know right away.

I feel so confused and scared. I feel like I had this perfect image of this process in my head. That I would give birth, find out the gender, hold it while they clean it and make sure that everything's okay....try nursing within the first hour, etc. I imagined myself holding the baby for as long as I could before my arms got too tired and I needed to take a shower and sleep. Then my husband would probably announce the vital statistics (sex, time of birth, etc) to our parents, and when I woke up and we were holding the baby again, we'd talk about which name we wanted to choose, of our final two.

Even when I imagined things going wrong -- the baby needing special care, or having to have an emergency c-section, or all kinds of other things, the process of naming was always the same in my head: holding the baby, whispering the final name choices to him/her and seeing which one felt right. Even if that didn't happen right away, I thought for sure that my husband wouldn't want to name a baby we hadn't even held yet.

My parents didn't name me or my sister until well after we were born. Both of us were born early and so they just weren't prepared. So it feels completely disturbing to me that my husband would expect me to give birth, maybe get a chance to hold the baby for LITERALLY 5 MINUTES (that was the number of minutes that he said he'd expected before making the announcement) and somehow have the presence of mind to name a child.

How do we work this out? Part of me feels so upset about this that I don't even want him there for the birth if he's expecting that he can pressure me like that. I'm having all these horrible images of being completely out of it -- in so much pain or on so many medications that I am unable to function -- and being asked to name a baby I can barely see because I'm so overwhelmed and exhausted. It's the most disturbing image that I can come up with.

But I know that as shocked and uncomfortable as I feel, that's how he feels too. In HIS mind, he'd be calling his parents right after the birth and telling them the name. He had a vision for how this would go and I had a vision for how this would go and I just want to figure out what we should do in order to make both of us comfortable.

Replies

1
By EVie
May 29, 2012 2:17 PM

Hmm, this is a really interesting conundrum. I feel like the people best qualified to answer here are the ones who have already gone through the labor, delivery and naming experience, which I have not. But I'll take a stab at an answer for you, based on my reaction.

First of all—I'm probably biased as a woman, and maybe I'm not being fair to the dads out there (dads, please speak up if so), but I feel like a father's role in the delivery room is to be supportive of you and your needs. Period. I'm sure it's an emotional, intense experience for the dad as well, but you're the one doing the heavy lifting. He's there to hold your hand, cheer you on and do whatever else you may need of him.

I think that role also extends to making your recovery as comfortable as possible, which means not pressuring you to make an important decision on a name before you have a chance to catch your breath (and especially if you're all fuzzy-headed from anesthesia). If what you've decided on as a couple is to wait until you meet the baby to choose between the final two names, then you both owe it to each other to give each other a reasonable amount of time to feel comfortable with your choice. I personally feel like building in time to shower and sleep is perhaps excessive, and just holding and nursing the baby for an hour or so would be reasonable... but I don't know what you'll feel like with all those hormones rushing around. Then again, neither do you, and neither does your husband. So you both really need to just expect the unexpected and be flexible, which for your husband means chilling out and not pushing you, and for you maybe means relaxing your idea of the perfect post-natal experience.

If you feel like he absolutely won't be able to do that, and his anxiety will make the whole experience even more stressful for you, then maybe you need to think about deciding on the name in advance, with the other name held in reserve just in case the first choice really doesn't fit (and in the case of the girls' names you mentioned in the other thread, I don't really see that happening—they have a pretty similar vibe to me, classic, a bit reserved, strong but clearly feminine, with a variety of nicknames available). You can still plan on holding the baby for as long as he will let you before filling out the paperwork, but maybe having at least a provisional decision made would take the pressure off.

I think that for both of you, having this set vision of how things will go is potentially damaging, because things are bound to go differently—even though it sounds like you've envisioned a ton of different contingencies, you can't anticipate how you're going to feel in the moment. You might find that the instant you hold the baby, you just know. He might see what the experience of labor is actually like for you, and think "holy hell, I'll give her whatever she wants!" (I've read about plenty of naming dilemmas resolved to that effect). So maybe the best thing is to abandon your set expectations and just go with the flow.

2
By EM2N
May 29, 2012 2:42 PM

This is an difficult situation!  Even though EVie hasn't gone through it, I think her comments are right on track:

"So you both really need to just expect the unexpected and be flexible, which for your husband means chilling out and not pushing you, and for you maybe means relaxing your idea of the perfect post-natal experience."

I guess my first thought after reading is that you really cannot consider, let alone bring up, not having your husband there for the delivery.  It's his baby too!

A second thought, I was not drugged up for my delivery, but those first few hours really are just a crazy, somewhat less than lucid time that both flew by yet are permanently imprinted in my brain.  As soon as we saw Nora we knew she was Nora.  We had decided beforehand on her name, but I clearly remember my first cuddle with her, we just knew who she was.

I can sympathize with your husband, I absolutely cannot imagine a baby who needed special care heading to the NICU without a name.  You know how emotional you feel about the process, and that he is equally emotional about it. 

To me the only path forward seems to be some compromise that has built in flexibility.  I would suggest having a tentative goal of a name within 90 minutes or two hours.  If things go smoothly, which is likely, that's plenty of time to cuddle, nurse, let the nurses attend to any of the newborn procedures you choose to do, and bond.  If you both agree at the time to change things, so be it.  That may be too much lack of control over the situation for you to be very happy with, but you cannot plan out every contingency, and neither of you has the right to force your way, so there will have to be some amount of flexibility and compromise.  

Your husband will know if you are too loopy to go through with the process.  Even without your stating such, I think he would not force a decision.

Also, the paperwork isn't filled out until well after the fact.  I think we handed in a form as we were leaving the hospital two days after Nora was born.

 

3
June 26, 2012 3:00 PM

I'll try to deliver a male view to this, but keep in mind that I haven't had the chance to be present at a birth myself.

I won't talk about most of it, about the pressure and all that. EVie gave better information and insight on that than I could. But I'd like to address this:

"I brought up some "what if"s -- like what if I'm not feeling well or the baby has to go to the NICU and we don't even get a chance to hold him/her? To my shock, he said that ESPECIALLY if the baby were in any kind of trouble, he'd want to have a name for it right away. This is totally against my line of thinking. I can't even imagine announcing a baby's name when I haven't had a chance to even hold it, nor can I imagine trying to make a decision about a name while I am worrying about the health of my child. "

I can easily imagine that he'd be worried about the child. As a father, he hasn't had to do the heavy lifting of the pregnancy itself--certainly he will have been there supporting you and baby through the process, but he won't be carrying the child, he can't grow the child, so he's probably imagining that he hasn't truly given anything to the child yet. Then comes the bad news: the child has to go to the NICU. The baby might not make it. A name might be the only thing he has a chance to bestow on the baby, so he wants to be sure that his child is named before anything bad happens. If, heaven forbid, the baby passes on before receiving a name... he would feel like a failure. Then the baby never had the dignity of being a person.

Certainly, none of this says anything about your condition, nor about your expectations of the process. Your needs should be respected. But I can imagine that in the case of the NICU being involved, he's imagining the urgency of bestowing personhood on the child.

4
May 29, 2012 5:03 PM

So, you need to talk to each other about what you were expecting, what he was expecting, find out why each scenario makes you feel like you do, then see if there is a compromise. 

As someone who had a little one who did go straight to the NICU (and I got to hold him for about 2 minutes before he left, but I don't even remember it), it WAS important to me that he had a name. It meant that he wasn't "Baby Boy Sh____". I didn't get to see him for over 24 hours. People were coming and going and got to see him while I didn't. I still resent that, but at least he had a name that we gave him. That and pumping for him were the only things *I* could give him while I was still so sick I couldn't see him. So I do see your husband's point. Of course we felt that he was an Alex@nder J@mes before he was born, so we had agreed on a name before he was born. 

On the other hand, we were much more indecisive with our DD's name. We had "decided" on her name, but were open to the possibility that she *wasn't* Ev@ngeline when she was born. Thankfully, she was born very early in the morning, so we weren't going to call anyone at 5 in the morning to tell them she was here. We got to hold and see her and confirm that yes, she was Ev@ngeline K@thryn before we made phone calls. 

For us, it's important that we have a front-runner of a name before a baby is born. I think our next one will probably be one of the hardest namings we've had to do, but we'll still have a front-runner with a back up or two just in case. 

5
May 29, 2012 8:28 PM

I can offer my experience.  My husband and I went into delivery with a list of 8 first names and 7 middle names that we both agreed on. So nowhere near a set name! We both had our own personal favourites but we didn't really have a front runner.  We had always said we were happy to name the baby once we met her and we warned family and friends it might be days before they got a name.

I gave birth in the morning and we spent a couple of hours getting to know our baby and having some breakfast after a long night of labour before we even rang our parents to tell them they had a grandchild. I think it was about 3 hours before we contacted anyone.  We had told the hospital staff that we were going to think on a name for a bit so they didn't pressure us at all.

We were lucky that we had no complications and our baby stayed with us the whole time. If she had needed to go to NICU we may have sped up the naming discussion process but I think we would have played it by ear.

We had intended to discuss our list of names while in hospital post birth but really we spent the time resting and cuddling our baby and honestly it didn't matter to either of us that she didn't have a name. We went home that afternoon and she met some close family members still sans name. I emailed friends and family and posted on facebook about her arrival and said we would have a name in a few days.

We intended to discuss it but the first couple of days are crazy and you are tired and sleep deprived. People did bug us about the name a bit, but I told them that I was too exhausted to drive or operate heavy machinery and I wasn't willing to discuss names when in that state. That shut them up. Plus we seemed to have people around all the time and we wanted to discuss names without outside influence.

In the couple of days following my babies birth we had both mentally gone through our list and realised half the names didn't fit.  Finally at about midnight 2 days after she was born, we were alone and awake and decided to discuss names. We agreed which names to ditch and came down to a few to discuss. We both had 1 favourite from the first names list that we both thought fitted so that was an easy choice. The middle names we kind of ran through options and pros and cons and settled on combo we both liked with a couple of other options. We agreed to sleep on our preferred option and see how we felt the next day. The next day we asked our baby if she like her name and she kind of gave us a 3 day old smile so we decided to go ahead and announce the name later that day.  

Honestly, it wasn't a big deal her not having a  name for a few days. Plus we had a day of using the name ourselves to make sure we were happy before officially announcing. 

I know my mum and dad had a few options for names for me,with a favourite. When I was born my mum didn't think I looked like that name (which she was keen on before the birth) and wanted her other choice. My dad went and announced the name (the one he wanted) and filled in the paperwork while my mum was still in hospital. 30-odd years later and she still hasn't forgiven him!! 

All I can advise is maybe talking to your husband about your feelings. Some people feel up to naming straight away. We certainly didn't. You might not either. At least if you are down to 2 names you can give yourselves a couple of hours to make a decision and then see how you go. You can always agree that in an emergency or if something goes wrong you can make a decision straight away, that might placate your husband. Otherwise maybe agree on trying to announce the name once you are settled into your room and have a few minutes to yourself? 

 

6
By Coll
May 29, 2012 8:32 PM

Everyone, especially EVie, makes excellent points, so I don't have too much to add. But I did go through this process a few (well, 8) months ago and this is my take:

First, my situation was different because my husband and I chose one girl and one boy name years before we even got pregnant, though we were still able to keep them a secret.

Still, I'm getting hung up not so much on your desire to wait until after the birth to choose the name but your desire to have this prefect name-bestowing moment. Which I'm worried might not be realistic. It might be, but it might not. You might feel strangely distant from your child in those first few hours and wish that you already had a name by which to think of this strange little person who has suddenly come into your life. You're trying to think through multiple different possibilities for the birth (c-section, NICU stays) but even that seems like another way of orchestrating this perfect moment for yourself. I guess I'm saying that the birth is unpredictable but so is your response to it and I think you need to open more space for the experience to be different than you dream or imagine without it also being flawed or failed in some way.

Also, a big thing for me was to have my husband go downstairs and announce the baby's gender and name to our families after our child (who turned out to be a boy) was born. We faced some difficulties conceiving and my husband was a huge support to me. So much of the prenatal and birth experiences are focused on the mother, I really wanted to give him this gift of being the center for just a little while--that was a big reason I pushed for us to not find out the gender. And he LOVED having that moment. He said it was one of the best of his life.

I think it's very kind and giving of your husband to leave the ultimate name choice up to you. Perhaps as a gift to him you could compromise on your perfect naming vision to choose your child's name within an hour or so of the birth, so he can have his special moment with your friends and families, too.

And as someone above pointed out, you don't have to fill out the paperwork the instant you decide the baby's name. You just have to turn it in before you leave with the baby to have the birth certificate filed.

7
May 29, 2012 10:32 PM

I think your husband's issue is not so much naming, as announcing: he (understandably) wants to be able tell people about the birth of his child as soon as possible, but he can't even imagine doing so without a name.

One thing he's forgetting is that births happen at all hours. Perhaps he needs to consider whether he is really prepared to call his parents at, say, 4:00 in the morning?

Also, there's really not that much of a rush in making the announcement: even in this age of social networking, a post within an hour or two of the birth is considered very fast. Yes, you tell the new grandparents and aunts and uncles sooner, in person or on the phone, but those are exactly the people who can wait on the name for a few hours if need be.

You definitely needn't worry about the five minute deadline: only people in the actualy delivery room can expect to find anything out that quickly. People in the waiting room can expect some news around the quarter-hour mark, depending on how things went.

8
By mk
May 31, 2012 3:48 PM

Agree, if the issue is really more about announcing the name to others. My friend didn't settle on a name until a few days after her baby was born. Her firsy email announcement to friends announcing the birth listed the name as "TBD". :)

People will understand.

 

9
May 31, 2012 3:17 PM

I'll share my experiences as I've named one baby within seconds of birth and he was rushed to the NICU and I've named another baby when he was 2 days old after having had a difficult and dangerous (for me) long labor and emergency c-section.  

With my first we had a boys name picked as our top choice, but we agreed we'd leave things open until after we met him.  We also had a few girls names, but nothing I'd call a number one choice.  He came 5 weeks early and after a fast labor was placed on my stomach-face down & away from me.  I looked down at his tiny little bum and said "Hi Will".  Husband asked "is that it then"? And I said yes, still not having properly held him or even being able to see anything but his bottom (basically, I named my kid's butt).  I finally held him for a couple of minutes before he was taken to the NICU.  Since I couldn't do it yet, husband was encouraged by the nurses to go to the NICU with him-so even if we'd wanted to, no phone call was going to happen yet.  I had complications so by the time baby was settled, I was OK and cleaned up, and husband came back over an hour had passed.  We waited another 45 minutes before baby was back in the room and we never considered calling anyone until we knew what was going on with him for sure.  We agreed we wanted to be able to make a full report on his health without needlessly scaring anyone (slight problems breathing, but he figured it out and didn't stay in NICU long at all).  By the time all this happened it was close to 1 am.  We'd asked people if they wanted a middle of the night call and called only the few (my mother & grandmother) who had said yes.  Everyone else (to include husband's parents) were called at a reasonable hour later that morning.

With my second we agreed to not talk about names at all until after the baby was here.  I had my short list of names for a boy & my even shorter list of names for a girl.  Husband had 2 names for a boy ready and none for a girl, even though he thought it was a girl my entire pregnancy.  After a very long & difficult labor, I finally agreed to an emergency c-section and delivered a 9 lb 7 oz boy.  He had no problems at all, but I again suffered from some pretty severe complications.  I saw him for about 30 seconds before he was whisked away and didn't see him again until about 45 minutes after I was returned to my room (I have no idea what amount of time passed between).  We snuggled with him a bit, made the 4 am calls to my mom & grandmother and then husband went home to take a nap and pick up our oldest from the neighbors' house.  Husband and oldest son came back around 9 am (husband made the rest of the calls from home) and we started to talk about names.  We agreed none of our names fit him and spent the next 2 days talking about names.  The state I was in requires the baby to be named before you leave the hospital, so we were really pressured to come up with something ASAP.  I said something along the lines of "he just doesn't look like any of these names" husband replied "he looks like an Elliot or a George" I said I didn't like Elliot but loved George...and visiting hours were over so husband had to leave (Will was with him).  A nurse overheard me calling him George and asked if that was the name and I said I was only trying it out.  When she brought him back to be nursed later she said she'd polled the other nurses and they all agreed he looked like a George and so that's what the staff were now calling him.  Husband came back in the morning and when I told him the story he said "George it is then".  We didn't have a middle until late that afternoon and went home that night around 8.

So I guess the lesson from my really long story is that when it comes to having & naming babies, you never know what is going to happen.  A name might come easliy seconds after you see your baby, or it might not come along until days later.  You might use your number one choice or you might go with something that wasn't even on your list.  To some extent, you shouldn't worry about it too much-you and your husband need to try and adopt a go with the flow attitude about it.  Maybe he won't be in a position to call ASAP, maybe people will ask you not to call at 2am.  If you tell people in advance that you want 1 hour or 2 hours bonding time before you're going to make an announcement maybe your husband won't feel so pressured to pick up the phone 5 minutes after baby arrives (which really, just doesn't seem realistic-you won't even be alone with him that soon).  If it makes you feel any better, I had my sons in 2 different states and in both cases I didn't get the form to fill out the birth certificate until I got my forms to check-out, so even if you think you've settled on a name right away, you'll still have time before you even have the option of making it official.

 

10
June 2, 2012 12:52 PM

Tanks so much to everyone! Wow, such great stories and advice. I talked to my husband and he confirmed that he thought the most important thing is my comfort and well-being. But he was pretty firm on the NICU scenario part -- which I understand better now, from your posts, although it makes the possibility of complications that much scarier for me. I am just trying to stay positive!

11
June 4, 2012 11:09 PM

I haven't read through all the replies but I'm a mom of 5 so I'd like to weigh in.  I notice that in your opening you say that you want to come up with baby names now rather than when you're pregnant and hormonal.  I actually have found the immediate post-baby hormonal emotions incredibly difficult.  For me trying to make any decisions within the first week is pretty much ridiculous.  My first was born preterm and nursing did not go well for awhile.  I was a crying mess.  I am so glad that I didn't also need to decide on his name.  Although my other babies have been full term the post-delivery days have been emotionally very challenging.  The physical and emotional changes are intense.  Based on my own experinces, I think having a name pretty much ready to go is the best idea.

12
June 5, 2012 9:53 PM

To add to the idea of being hormonal during pregnancy, it's not uncommon to actually feel better emotionally while being pregnant. My sister found that all the hormones made her feel much saner (she has anxiety issues) than she's ever felt in her life, not crazier. I've also seen a lot of personal anecdotes online testifying to this idea of gaining a lot of clarity and focus while pregnant. So don't assume you'll just be the stereotypical unreasonable pregnant lady unable to make decisions, OP.

13
By Guest (not verified)
June 12, 2012 11:50 PM

I completely agree with Another Laura.  If you think you will be too hormonal while you are pregnant, just wait until the hours after your birth.  Your body is going CRAZY with hormones trying to shrink your uterus (causing major cramping) and bring in your milk.  You may have been in labor through the night.  If you ended up having a c-section like I did, then you are also recovering from major abdominal surgery.  You already seem pretty emotional about the issue now when you are not even pregnant, so I would try to pick the name ahead of time.

Also, at the hospital, they generally do not refer to the baby by its name, even if you know the name before hand.  It will be Baby Chang, Chang being the last name of the mother.  In fact, my husband was a little annoyed that all the wrist tags and the paperwork said Baby Chang, even though his last name and the baby's last name was "Smith."  It didn't matter; because my last name was Chang, so everything said Baby Chang.

14
June 15, 2012 2:14 PM

Having not yet experience pregnancy and parenthood myself, and coming late to this discussion, I don't have much to add to the wisdom that's been shared already. I'm reading the thread with interest though, and I certainly wish you and your husband and future child(ren) well as you navigate all the emotions and possibilities.

Regarding the NICU scenario your husband is worried about, one thing I do hear parents say repeatedly is that if they fear that their children are in danger, they experience a sudden and overwhelming clarity of purpose. Perhaps that will help you and your husband trust that if for some reason your birth experience doesn't go as planned and hoped you will know in the moment what to do, e.g. "My son needs help breathing so off he goes, and by gosh he's an Alexander!" Sometimes in these circumstances the names that are chosen aren't what was originally planned - they may be given to invoke a fighting spirit, the loving prayers of the extended family, or for any number of other reasons that take priority over previous thoughts. It is also possible, maybe not ideal but certainly not a terrible thing, to change a baby's name (long before s/he's learned to recognize it) if you do experience "namer's remorse" - so perhaps keeping in mind that there's an escape valve if the initial choice doesn't fit will take off some of the pressure.

Perhaps both you and your husband are focusing on the naming process as a way to try to imagine how childbirth and parenting will go ... here's this big scary unpredictable experience looming on the horizon, and picturing naming is one way to try to make sense of it. Of course you can't predict it all, and of course that's terrifying; you wouldn't be scared if you didn't already love the little one you're dreaming of. But there is no single right way to do things, and lots of other parents have gotten through it, and you can too. Overall I'd try to focus on the big picture - you are NOT a failure if all the details you've planned on don't fall into place - and trust that both you and your husband are guided by love and concern. Your parenting strategies are inevitably going to clash at times, but it doesn't have to be the end of the world if you're focused on common goals for your family. If you're already feeling a need to cut him out of the loop, though, to that ensure things proceed your way, that's not the best start.

The pain and emotion in your note are very clear and very moving. Best wishes to you and your family for peace and clarity!

15
By Guest (not verified)
June 26, 2012 2:50 PM

It sounds like you are treating your "final two" names like some kind of sacred cows. Maybe you'll hold the baby and think both of your final names sound like crap and don't fit. Also, if you haven't been pregnant before, you may find that you bond very strongly with the child while he/she is in utero. Every single mother I know has felt that way. Therefore, holding the child for the first time after he/she is born may not feel like your "first meeting" in some ways. So, choosing the name that is right for the child (taking gender into consideration) may not be as arduous as you're imagining. Why not pick the name (one for each gender if you're not finding out the sex), with the understanding that if it "doesn't fit" you can change later. That requires some trust and compromise for both you and your husband. 

16
By Guest (not verified)
June 26, 2012 8:00 PM

If you're waiting for a clear head you'd might as well wait until the kid is 25 and out of the house with a strong sense of self and a successful career and a happy relationship, before you name him/her. Because the years before that will be a blur of worry and bliss. 

 

17
August 23, 2012 1:35 PM

I can speak to this as a NICU mom, and a very unexpected one at that (went into labor on due date, had no signs of complications during pregnancy or labor)... and I was glad that we had a name already picked before the actual delivery, because after the baby's health abruptly declined, we were really in no shape to be having any major discussions.

That said, even though we had his first name picked out and written on the white board in my room during labor (we were still dithering post-epidural in labor about the middle name - it was a fun way to pass the time), when he had to be transferred to another hospital with a higher level NICU, all of our badges and barcodes and tags in the new hospital STILL said "Babyboy Lastname". If your kid has a complicated medical situation arise, I don't think anything can really prepare you for that experience. As important as names are to us, it really wasn't something we were worrying about at the time- we were in total survival mode, focused on being the best patient advocates for our son.

And, with our first son - totally according-to-plan, med-free labor, totally healthy baby -- the spouse was SO SO worn out from delivery that she was really unable to do much bonding for the half hour or so, because she was shaking uncontrollably and fully out of it from days of labor. That is, I think, a very real thing that happens a lot - I don't think you can expect to deliver and then immediately segue into a glowing bonding moment where the baby's name is revealed. If you didn't use pain meds, you might be totally and utterly exhausted. If you did use pain meds, you might be groggy or feverish as side effects. Regardless, you will probably be pushing out a placenta 5 minutes after birth, or else you will probably be getting stitches to reconstruct your private parts. Maybe you will be having the bonding moment and your child's name will become clear while all this is going on, but maybe not. It's possible you'll be busy dealing with major physical trauma... and as you are going to be the haver of the trauma, I think you get to set the pace for the "when do I feel recovered enough to be able to have a coherent conversation about an important decision".

So, basically, like many things about birth, I don't think you can plan it quite this much. Birth is messy and usually unpredictable, so things usually do NOT go quite like you picture them, so I think it's okay not to script it out quite this much.

I can also speak to this as having been the gestational parent for one kid but not the other. I will say that I felt like I got to know both of my sons in-utero before they were born... in the case of the one I was pregnant with AND the one I was not gestating. We, like you, had two boy names. We felt that one just felt right for the first child once we found out he was a boy, and the other one felt equally right for our second son. You may find that you have a feeling about your kid and his/her personality when you're pregnant, since if you think about it, you've been holding them for nine months at that point, and your partner will spend a chunk of that time getting kicked in the hands/face and possibly playing games with the baby, getting to know them and their habits. The piece that's missing, what they look like, isn't even really revealed at birth because they're so over-hydrated and squashed.