When we first got pregnant I had a very strong feeling that the baby was a girl, I just felt it deep in my gut. But as my pregnancy progressed and I began to grow this perfectly round little basketball belly that I carried straight out in front, doubts began to creep in.
Strangers would stop me in the grocery store to comment on my belly, and every. single. one. would say “Oh you must be having a boy!”. I began to dream about little boy babies; my sister tripped one day and as she lifted herself off of the pavement she saw a little blue sock by her head. I discovered that 75% of pregnancies with placenta previa involve male babies. My gut feeling shifted, wavered. I wasn’t sure anymore.
We’d been wobbling back and forth on names for my entire pregnancy. A name I loved one day would seem twee and cloying the next. I was adamant that the name we chose pass something called “The Supreme Court Judge” test: I would imagine a supreme court judge with the name I’d chosen – if it seemed ridiculous or improbably (think Supreme Court Judge Neveah Bella Swan) it was out.
I still have the list of girls names that I’d been adding and deleting from my entire pregnancy, it reads:
Adam hated all of them, and as I became more and more convinced that I was having a boy, it didn’t seem to matter anyways.
A week before my c-section I was sitting in Whole Foods eating lunch, trying to make the most of my last few child-free days by eating expensive salads and reading celebrity gossip. As I scrolled through a gossip site, scanning past news of breakups and overdoses, there it was, “Drew Barrymore announces birth of daughter Olive.”
I stared at that headline for probably a full thirty seconds, mouth agape.
For those that dont know, baby names are a BIG DEAL. Friendships have been destroyed over baby name theft- I myself was flirting with stealing my sisters baby boy name (I unknowingly picked the one name she’d been secretly hoarding for herself for 15 years …see, I told you names were a big deal!)
I couldn’t believe that whispery side-mouth-talker Drew Barrymore had stolen my baby name! Now if we had a girl and named her Olive, people would think I copied Drew fricking Barrymore! I was heartbroken, panicky, sweaty (the last one might have been attributable to being 37 weeks pregnant, but nonetheless, what I am trying to say is that I was AGITATED.)
I immediately sent a mass text to everyone I knew, exclaiming “Fucking Drew Barrymore stole my baby name!” And fully two thirds wrote back: “What? I didn’t even know she was pregnant!”
My heart began to lift a little- even the ones who did have a vague knowledge of her being pregnant hasn’t heard the name. Perhaps her relative obscurity in the past few years would work to my advantage.
I spent the next few days polling strangers and acquaintances, “Did you hear that Drew Barrymore had a baby?” I would ask innocently as though I were just making polite small talk- except I’d then scrutinize their reaction so closely that it began to get a bit creepy.
After a few days of this I was satisfied that very few people had heard that Drew was pregnant, fewer knew she had a baby girl and only one or two knew her name. Success! Olive was back in the running.
But as I said, I was pretty sure it would be a boy at this point, so any celebrity name theft issues were sort if moot.
So imagine my surprise when they pulled that little baby out of me and Iheard Adam cry, “It’s a girl!”
“It’s a girl?” I found myself repeating over and over again, “A girl?”
And she had no name. That whole first day she had no name. We kept staring at her and trying to decide who she looked like, and as evening fell and our guests trickled home I decided that she was Olive Grace. And Adam vetoed it.
BUT, he also didn’t make any other suggestions. It’s not like he was lobbying hard for another name, he just didn’t like any of the ones I had chosen. I hated that she was unnamed, she didn’t feel real. So I just started calling her Olive – “Olive needs her diaper changed.” I’d say.
“Who?” Adam would reply, feigning ignorance. It continued like this throughout the night and the more I called her Olive, the more she seemed to suit it. Her funny little face, her big lips, her goofy personality -I was set.
Adam however, still didn’t like the name.
” Madeleine, we can’t just name our kids after your favorite foods” he said at one point with exasperation, “What’s next, little Goat Cheese?”
At one point around 4 am I was making my final push for her name, when Adam suggested a deal.
“She can be Olive Grace,” He said, “If I get full naming rights of our next child.”
Keep in mind that this is the man who wanted to name this child “The Steve”.
Internets, I agreed.
And I can assure you that Adam does not require that his baby names fulfill the Supreme Court Judge test. There is a strong possibility that we will end up with one child named after a food, and another named after a character from a TV show, or a comic book, or, you know, THE STEVE.
I’m just hoping he forgets by the time we get to that point.