Her Name

I will be honest, for the longest time I didn’t really understand when people gave names to very early losses. I think I thought it would compound their sadness, make their loss bigger than it was, make it more, somehow.

I didn’t come to name my first loss deliberately. It kind of just, happened. And to my utmost surprise, I’m incredibly thankful that it did.

It was a song that did it. A song that I have always loved and I still listen to, from time to time, when I’m feeling melancholy. At some point I realized the song reminded me of the baby I lost, of that first pregnancy that broke something inside me, physically and emotionally.

In the song is a name. And over time that name became the name of my first baby. I worried, even as it was happening, that it would reopen an old wound, rendering the hurt it deeper and more profound. I was surprised to find the opposite was true. The name gave me comfort and a recognition of what I lost that I didn’t realize I needed.

At the beach a few weekends ago I wrote her name in the sand and watched as it was washed away. She may have been erased from this world, but she will never be erased from my heart.

How do you honor and remember what could have been?


  1. Beautiful – thanks for sharing! My husband and I named all three of our early losses; we both strongly felt it was the right thing (for us) to do. I did not, however, initially feel compelled to name the second embryo we transferred during IVF that did not stick (or at least didn’t stick long enough for us to know). But… faith is a big part of my life and I believe in Heaven and I believe that one day I will see my babies there. I don’t know when a soul enters/is created in the embryo/fetus/baby journey, but the idea that maybe that little embryo’s soul would be in Heaven and be nameless bugged me. But that life feels different to me than the three that stuck/grew for awhile. Ultimately I settled it by thinking of that baby as “November” (which is the month during which we transferred). It’s not much of a name but it is an identifier for me… and if one day I meet a little soul named November I’ll know exactly who it is!

    1. My husband doesn’t actually know that I have a name for our first loss. No one knows, actually, except all of you. It’s something I’ve kept close and I doubt I’ll share with anyone IRL, probably ever. I don’t think my husband would understand. I doubt he ever thinks about that loss anymore. Which is fine. We each deal with these things in different ways…

      November is a beautiful name.

  2. We didn’t name our first one a real name…just named “it”…Firefly. Because her/his flicker of light that we saw on the ultrasound, was the first thing that came to mind. Beautiful post and wow…just inspiring. Thank you for sharing.

  3. We used to name every embryo we transferred; gave them names that started with letters of the alphabet – kind of like the hurricane naming convention, we moved through each letter with each embryo transferred. Owen is either Indiana Jones or Jack-Jack (or Jesus, as Jeff insists. I was never comfortable with that name, LOL).

    We stopped, though, when we got to N and P, I think: it just got too painful to give those little seeds names and know that it was likely they wouldn’t stick. Which means that we also name the babies I lost. I think of the last one, the one with the heartbeat, as Spark, though. She would have been a fiery little girl.

    I am so happy that you found peace with naming her, and this is gorgeous.


    1. I kind of love the idea of naming your embryos in alphabetical order. Amazing. I understand the need to stop though. I can’t believe you made it as far as you did before the heartbreak became too much.

      I love Spark. So fitting.

  4. I once had a dream about what our biological daughter would look like. It was probably the strongest dream I’ve ever had. To this day, I can tell you exactly what that little girl looked like. She didn’t have a name in the dream, but I know what it would have been. As we’ve moved through adoption, that name has always been off the list. It will forever be her name, the name of what might have been if we’d gone down a different path. I should do something to let her go…but it’s still hard to think that that door is closed forever.

  5. Our six year old had a twin but we lost her early on. We don’t actually know she was a she but I always think of her as Avery.

  6. This took my breath away and made my eyes water because it made me think of my loss at the same time as you had yours…and this hasn’t happened in years. I’m actually thankful to feel it. Thank you. Remembering with you.

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