What’s in a name

What is in a name? We tend to use names so often over the years that we never really think what a name really means or how it was originally selected. Someone asked us the other day how we arrived on each of the girls’ names- that made me think I hadn’t written that down yet.

It took the entire pregnancy (7 months at least) to come up with three names that both Craig and I agreed on and that flowed together. Figuring we would eventually be yelling them all in a row, they needed to match at least enough that we wouldn’t have a word jumble every time. It didn’t take us long to come up with three boy names, since we counted on having three boys. In fact, we hardly even considered any girl names before finding out the sexes, simply because Craig’s whole side of the family is a line of Douglas boys. But no, to our surprise…alllllll girls!

Craig had a gut feeling it was going to be girls after our 16 week ultrasound, when the doctor told us she was about 90% certain on all three and said she wished to be a fly on the wall when we figured it out. She wrote down her results on three, individual sticky notes. Sitting in the car, we decided we couldn’t just look at them sitting there; but, we also couldn’t go home and let them burn a hole through our kitchen table and our sanity. Instead we went to Target, picked out six small accessories (3 girl and 3 boy) and three cute boxes, and went up to the Customer Service desk. The guy and girl working there definitely laughed at our request, but also complied. They took all six items and the sticky notes. We walked around the store while they boxed up items corresponding to the notes and hid the remainder from view. Once done, we paid for the secret items and headed home.

Plus you get to dress up little girls so cute!

That is how we discovered what is now our everyday reality. Opening the boxes one by one, and then Face-timing family and doing it again.

People ask us if we intentionally planned spelling out their initials as “HER” for a set of identical girls. This was not something we even noticed or thought of, and was actually pointed out by a nurse after everyone officially had their names. It is quite the funny coincidence, since the letters correctly spell the word and could have easily ended up in a different order. If you really want to get silly about initials, it actually spells out “HERD” if the last name is included. And that is correct…we have a HERD of girls.

We started out with a few key rules in our “name the triplets” game:

  1. All names had to flow and be easy to say in a row.
  2. No names with the same starting letter and none that rhymed!
  3. Both Craig and I had veto rights, and could outright deny anything we hated and it would come off the list.
  4. Middle names would be family names.
  5. No one received their name until we saw them post birth, in case it didn’t match them.

As they continued cooking, we called everyone Baby A, Baby B, and Baby C and associated any heath risks and measurements to each specific letter. Before b-day we asked the doctor if they could be delivered by the A/B/C, since that was how we associated who was who, and she agreed that was doable and that they were aligned to make that possible. At that point they were distinguishable by minor features in the womb, Baby A and B shared a placenta, with Baby B about 20% smaller than A, and Baby C had her own placenta/sac and matched in weight with Baby A. They were also distinguishable to me as the baby that sat on my bladder (Baby A), the baby that snuggled with my stomach so I filled up on food quickly (Baby B), and the baby that hid out in my rib cage (Baby C).

I can’t remember exactly, but I believe we finalized all three names a couple weeks before delivery. Knowing that I wasn’t going to make the 36 week mark, but hopeful to make it past 32, we put some effort in until we finalized to Harper, Emerie, and Reagan. It’s funny that all three names are technically gender neutral; we could have named three boys the same and it would have worked. I remember thinking back then how significant it was to have names defined; it seemed much more real! I also remember telling myself someday I will look back and smirk at some of the choices we almost used, simply because the girls fit into their names so well now that I can’t imagine them by anything else.

I’m happy to report no one’s name is on the top 5 girl (or boy) names in the United States in 2018, although Harper is in the top 10. In 2018 in Alaska, Harper landed at #8 (no wonder we meet so many Harper’s!), Emerie (spelled with a “y”) is at #95, and Reagan at #54. The list is fun to look at, check it out here; some of our twin friends did quite well picking out uncommon names!

Harper Anne

Miss Harper Anne, our Baby A and oldest by 30 seconds, was our easiest name to agree on. Craig and I had “Harper” picked out before any other name and planned to use it for a boy or a girl. I secretly hoped to use it for a girl (worked out nicely!), but was okay with either sex because the name is just so cute. Too bad so many other people think that right now too, as Harper is one of the most popular, trendy names, rising significantly in popularity in the past decade. We claim we picked it out before it was so popular; in fact, we coached a little girl in soccer a few years back named Harper. She was the cutest thing (about 3 years old), even though she wasn’t really a fan of the sport, and it sparked our interest in the name. Harper ranks #9 of the 10 favorite names in 2018, according to the Social Security Administration, with over 10,000 girls receiving it in 2018.

So what does Harper mean? I’m betting you could guess it, because yes, it means “harp player” or “someone who plays the harp.” At one point in history this was a very important figure. Very creative, I know. Would I prefer it to say soccer player or someone who plays soccer? Sure, but then the name would just sound weird! It originated in England and currently popularity is often attributed to Harper Lee, the famous writer of To Kill a Mockingbird.

Harper’s middle name is Anne, with an “e”, which is also my middle name, my Mom’s first name, and trickled down the maternal side of the family line in a few other places as well. It is less popular now than when I was born, although likely a good pick for middle names for a lot of people (I can’t look that stat up). Anne is Hebrew in origin and means “full of grace” or “gift of God’s favor.”

So to some it up, Harper Anne means harp playing gift of God’s favor ❤

Emerie Faye

Miss Emerie Faye was our hardest name to decide on and our last decision. We went back and forth on a few others before hearing this one day at soccer and thinking it was cute and less common. We went back and forth a bit on spelling, as I felt “Emery” was more masculine (plus I have family with this spelling)- this version is more popular. I just couldn’t get behind “Emeri” without the last “e” and I knew a few other folks that used “Emori” or “Emory”, eventually landing us on Emerie. I think it’s feminine and it fit her! In 2018, it was ranked 688th on the female popularity chart with around 400 baby girls receiving the name that year.

What does Emerie mean? Very fitting to her personality, it means brave and powerful or a version of “powerful home.” Originating from the French, it eventually shifted to a variant of “Amory”; in England, pulling from Emaurri, meaning busy, industrious, and power. I think that all fits her quite well.

Emerie’s middle name, Faye, is after her Grandma Shelly (Faye). While not blood related, I consider Shelly a second Mom, friend, and now Grandma! She was very instrumental in my teenage years and the babies (and I!) adore her. Like her first name, Emerie’s middle name also sits about the same place on the popularity scale, with about 400 babies receiving it as a first name last year. Faye, which is old French, means fairy or elf.

How fitting is that?! Her name means brave or powerful fairy. So fun!!

Reagan Jean

Some say Miss Reagan Jean might be named after the popular show Blue Bloods, but really we just thought the name was pretty and unique (of course I love Blue Bloods too…so there is that…). It is a nice, strong name and I believe that fits her well. It has never ranked higher in popularity than #97 in 2016, so we will see if a new trend begins for it. I have seen a few baby Reagan’s on my triplet page this past year.

What does Reagan mean? Originally Irish, it means “little ruler” for girls and “little king” or “kingly” for boys. The name became more popular after Ronald Reagan’s presidency- that makes me laugh- when family visited in September, a couple of the boys were calling her Ron. She does not answer to that name haha.

Jean is after Craig’s Grandma Barbara, the girls’ great grandma, and a form of Grandma Sue’s middle name…It isn’t on the top 1000 names in the past 20 years (only thing I could find is it is #1,479!), meaning it took us 6 names to get to a super uncommon one! It is also from Hebrew origin (later Scottish for girls and French for boys), meaning “God is gracious” or “gift from God.”

In summation, Reagan Jean means little ruler and gift from God.

Want to know what your name ranks according to Social Security records? It is pretty cool to see- check it out here.

While the girls aren’t using sentences and phrases yet, they’ve known each other’s and their own names for quite some time. If I call Harper, the other two will look at Harper and she will turn toward me. The same goes for Emerie and Reagan. While they don’t verbally say each others’ names yet, they definitely have an understanding of the association and who is who. I can’t wait to see them verbalize in a mirror and see if they recognize themselves or call the reflection one of their sisters’ names. Should be fun to see.

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