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Names I Almost Used

Just as I shared a list of names that didn't win first place after the birth of my son, whose name I keep secret for privacy (but I can hint that it's Scandinavian), I will share this list of names that were on my final list for my daughter. Just for fun we called her Isabeau when she was in my belly. Everyone else hated it at the time and now they all miss it!

Like a normal person I made a long list of names I've always liked when we found out I was pregnant, added some new ones, then crossed off most of them until there were three left on D-Day. Then, just like my son, she came out looking completely different than what I expected, so I had to go over years worth of lists and hundreds of names to find something that fit her, but it was definitely worth it because I am so in love with her name. However, some of these I will really be sad to leave behind. I hope someone uses these names because they really deserve it.

The Final List

Esmerina - This rare version of Esmeralda, "emerald," is sometimes used in Portugal, sometimes Albania, and rarely somewhere else. It has been used zero times in U.S. records as far as I can tell, but as much as I like rare names, more desirable to me was the mesmerizing sound. It bothered me a little bit that a March birthstone is aquamarine, so this seems more appropriate for a May baby given that my family buys into the special gemstone bit, but that didn't bother me when it came to the name Trystine because that gemstone doesn't have a birthday month.

Ornella - This Italian name "invented" by Gabriele d'Annunzio for La Figlia di Iorio means "flowering ash tree" and I found it in my family tree. It isn't common in Italy either, but in the U.S. there are less than 50 people with this name. (Some other gems on that tree include Stella, Olympia, Silverio, Almerinda, Rosa, and Adriana.) Ultimately I just didn't think she'd grow to love this name.

Cosima - She is starlight, intelligence, music, sensuality, pink girly frills and clever attitude. In the final moments I really thought this was the name, and just like Ornella, Cosima does suit my baby. Meaning "order, cosmos," you can hear the correct Italian pronunciation on Forvo. Do not listen to Orphan Black - KOH-see-mah is the furthest you should get from the original pronunciation. I also had a brief affair with Cressida, and overlooked gem with loads to offer. Looking back, either Cosima or Cressida would have been a great name on little babe. I went with something similar.

Oriana - A sparkly little name with impact, she will always delight me like a dark and mysterious gemstone with a golden aura (fitting as her name means "golden") or a medieval princess-sorceress. You might recognize her from a Tennyson poem, the Portuguese children's book A Fada Oriana, or the chivalric romance tale of Amadis de Gaula.

Faustine - In France she is pronounced FOH-steen, in America faw-STEEN. I've always loved this name but baby simply didn't look like this was her for the first few months of her life, especially at birth. Now this looks like it would've been perfect. The meaning is "lucky," so maybe it will bring luck to someone else.

Faunella - Our last name has a "u" in it so you'll find several names with a "u" on the full list, but Faustine and Faunella always top it, with Hungarian beauty Fruzsina making the occasional appearance. Faunella is simply an elaboration on Fauna, the Roman goddess whose name means "wildlife." The same as Faustine, and Fenella/Fenna which we also considered, baby just didn't look like one at birth.

Calluna - Speaking of "u" names... Calluna is the botanical name for heather (which I was almost named). It's delightfully witchy and right up my alley. The husband disliked this name most, so he was the only thing standing in the way of using it.

Rose-Avalon or just Avalon - Between the King Arthur stories and it's cute "apple island" meaning, Avalon would have been perfect had it not been the name of the Toyota Avalon, or the name of a medical monitor we saw in the hospital just before my c-section. It would work in a country or state that doesn't have either of these. Pomeline has a very similar meaning. The Rose part was because my mom wanted us to choose a family name.

Dagny & Dagmar - Either of these would've matched with my son's name in origin, but not in sound. While I feel Dagny/Dagmar would be appropriate for my daughter, I think a more feminine, soft name was best for her because she was just so darn quiet and gentle. I also love Ingrid, but she definitely doesn't look like one.

Melusina - This one confused me. I absolutely love the story behind this name. I love the watery, magical, legendary feel of it and it inspires me. It's the perfect name for a Pisces, a March baby, the daughter of someone who loves witchy/fantasy/fairytale stories, like me. I went back and forth on it all the time, because she really looked like a Melusina, but may not as she changes and grows. There were two other things weighing against it: the similarity to my name/difficulty saying our names together, and the lack of a nickname I really loved that didn't also sound like my name (because Mina could be a good nickname here but it makes problem #1 worse). I'll miss this one.

Trystine - In the hospital Trystine seemed right. Trystine is a natural combination of amethyst and citrine, and it's just gorgeous. As a name it's almost never been used, which is strange because people love coming up with unique spellings of common names, and she's oh-so-close to Trista, the feminine of Tristan. (Tristana and Tristania are two other rare female forms.) Being so familiar in sound but so very rare is a huge plus in my book. I was set on using this name but Little One doesn't look like a Trystine as much as what we ultimately picked.

Saskia - In the decade that I've known about this name I've never tired of it. It makes me happy to say each time, and unlike many other names, I am immune to critical response of it. Bonus points for the nicknames Sassy and Kiki (Kiki being a Ghibli name). Honestly I have absolutely no idea why I didn't pick it. No. Clue.

We also considered Audra (briefly), Aurelia, Olympia, Aristella, Andromeda, Lara, Lenora (briefly), Alita/Lita, Valoria, Verena, Calista, Thana, Thora, Phaedra, Zelda (briefly), Romina, Rona/Rhona/Ronia, Galatia/Galatea, Plumeria, Runa, Ingela, Serenella, Selenia, Jasmina, Silveria, Sylvestine, Sabeline, Glausia (briefly), Marciana, Toscana, Eirawen, Seraphine, Rosana, Rosanella, Rosaline, Silenia, Sibylla, Gwendolen, Guinevere, Tanith, Ksenia, Pearla/Perlita or Perdita, Fenella, Nicola (briefly), and Cypriana.

I'll also note that if it weren't for my pesky last name, Ginevra has always been my favorite name and I would've used it without blinking and the baby definitely looks like one. She would've had a little tussle with Saskia and Faustine, if she'd been on the list, but then won. I'll always be sad about this. On the same note, if Sabrina, Wendy and Gwendolyn (I'd go with Gwendolen, though) weren't so popular, that would've been a hard battle as well.

And had she been a boy, our list was Mariano, Salem, Rainer, Atreyu, Carlo, Carsten, Salvatore, Auburn, Massimo, Alaric, Casper/Caspar, Thayer, Aether, Sander, and Evander.


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