An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

Not yet on a first name basis

When we went in for an ultrasound a little over three weeks ago the doctor determined that I had a low-lying placenta, meaning it had formed at the lower half of the uterus. Excuse me while I slip into technical pregnancy talk for a moment: this can potentially be a problem if it doesn’t eventually move upward during the pregnancy because it can cover all or part of the cervix, a condition known as placenta previa that can cause bleeding or symptoms of early labor. She also couldn’t get the baby into a position that made it possible to inspect the end of her spine, so we scheduled another ultrasound to take a look at these concerns. That appointment was last Friday, and during that exam we got to meet the baby’s feet:

another profile shot

She yawned four times while we were watching, a gesture that silenced both me and Jon. I’ve only recently been able to feel her kicking around in the womb, so in many ways the only physical manifestation of the pregnancy so far has been my increasingly immobile body. This baby moves much differently than Leta did, and where Leta’s movements within felt like she was knocking down walls, this baby feels much more like she’s tiptoeing through the room. Watching her stretch her mouth wide open crystallized the reality of all these symptoms— the swollen fingers and toes, the flesh-eating acne, the embarrassing, uncontrollable flatulence that I often try to pass off as a creaky wooden floorboard. There is a certain look I have perfected when out in public, and when Jon turns around suddenly because he cannot believe that my dignity would allow such a sound to happen, all I have to do is raise my right eyebrow. This is code for YOU DID NOT HEAR ANYTHING.

Friday it sort of hit us squarely in the face: holy shit, there’s a human in there.

The placenta had moved upward significantly, and all the baby’s parts looked well-formed and jutted into and out of all the right places. The doctor asked us if we had chosen a name yet, and my answer was probably a lot more detailed than she had planned for. Thing is, we had a name picked out for a boy. In fact, we’ve had a name picked out for a boy since the beginning of our relationship. A boy was always going to be named after Jon’s grandfather, Truman, and then we’d only have to negotiate the middle name. Something short, precise, something I could yell easily and derisively when I discovered he had peed on the toilet seat.

But we cannot agree on a girl’s name. And every time I suggest something lovely or something sweet he says, no way, absolutely not, he knew a girl in grade school with that name, and she used to eat her boogers.

Then how about this name? No, he once dated a this name, and not only was she a bad kisser, but she eventually became a polygamist.

What about this one? Hell no, he once worked with a this one, and her hair smelled like cat food.

This? Reminds him of moldy cheese.

That? Makes him want to shoot squirrels.

So no, doctor. We haven’t yet chosen a name.

  • Ahhh the name battle. My husband and I started having that fight before we were even married but only for boy names. When it turned out we were having a girl and I said how about Fiona he said ok and that was it. Good luck! I make no suggestions because it’s a very personal decission.

  • Congrats on your baby. Miss Carol and me decided long age not to have any children and have never regretted our decision, but reading about the ultrasound and the two of you watching your baby yawn- WOW. What a feeling that must be.

  • kim from ny

    Oh and I’d like to throw in Lily and Olivia.

  • Amy

    My mother would be flattered if SOMEONE would have a child and name her after her. Imelda grows on you after a while.

  • Louise, Aveline, Elise, Yael.

    Granted, all of these are on my list and I will spend the rest of my life explaining to my mom that I did not take the kid’s name from you. But they are pretty names.

  • Oh that must’ve been something to witness: your baby yawning! We got a hi-five from our bambino. 🙂

    And I know what you’re saying about “holy shit! there’s a human in there.” Because I’m still feeling that way. I’m still in awe, wonder, disbelief (all of it) that inside me is another living being. Trips me out.

    I can also can relate to the baby names. We were the opposite, thinking our baby was girl so we had names picked out but once we learned we were having a boy that put us back at square one for a long time. for the life of me I could not think of any boy names. Thankfully, my husband thought of some that I like and aren’t weird or plain. That honor was left to my family who thought they’d be helpful in supplying us with suggestions. Uh, no thanks.

    Love those baby feet!

  • I’ve had a girl name picked out since I was a freshman in high school.

    I had a history teacher who really made me love his class, he told us stories, not facts, and so when he was telling the story of how WWI started, about how a sniper killed Archduke Ferdinand, but first the sniper (accidentally?) killed Archduke Ferdinand’s wife, and the last thing out of his mouth was her name, Sophia, well, ever since then I’ve wanted to name my daughter Sophia, thinking the name was just very sweet.

    AND, the history teacher was (mostly) right! Sophia WAS one of the last things he said, but it ended up being something like, “Sophia, who will take care of our children?” Still very romantic, in my opinion.

  • rose


  • chiquita

    Lovely to see she is healthy and yawning. Maybe she’s a good sleeper!

    I’ll contribute the 2 names I didn’t use: Naomi and Lydia.

  • Ya know–back when I was engaged and baby talk/name picking came up, an unspoken rule began to make way. If it’s a girl he got little to no say really. If it was a boy, he got say but I would be the underlining decision maker.

    Sometimes you just have to put your foot down. Plus, what does it matter? Eventually you’ll be calling her Leta, Jon or Chuck because there are simply too many names to get straight. When being called on by my mother when visiting family I become Morgan, Russ, or Cooper; she doesn’t even get around to the Taylee part.

    How about Taylee for her name? I’ll let you use it…as long as you tell her that she was named after an adorable Dooce fan. Yah? Done.

  • Feebs

    you can borrow my name…..Fiona. I got called lots of great names by my family when i was growing up – FeeFee Trixabelle, Feef, Feebee, Flea. I was raised in England where it is a common name but I live in the States now and I get tons of compliments 🙂

    It’s a celtic name meaining “fair skinned”

  • Shelley

    Not to sound like a total bitch but actually #30 Anonymous, she didn’t ask. I like Sawyer, it doesn’t really sound like a girls name but I once knew a precious little tip toeing girl named Sawyer. But I really like Truman as well.

  • My daughter moves the same way I thought she did before she was born. It sort of freaked me out. Maybe this kid will be way more mellow.

  • B

    How ’bout Trudy? You know, the female form of Truman. I’m kidding! I know you’ll come up with a great name.

  • allison

    I know it’s silly, but I’ve already made a list of names that I wouldn’t mind naming any child I might have! 😀 These are the girl names, and the result of massive boredom:

    (meanings in parentheses)

    -audrey (with noble strength)
    -aira (of the wind)
    -alida (small, winged)
    -eden (paradise)
    -clare (clear, bright)
    -fay (fairy or elf)
    -cecile (blind of self-beauty)
    -cheri (dear)
    -rosalie (rose)
    -alice (of a noble kin)
    -violet (flower)
    -bella (beautiful)
    -kioko (meets world with happiness)
    -celine (heaven)
    -aura (glowing light)

  • Sarah

    Glad to hear things are going well! Truman’s a cute name for a boy, but people PLEASE! You can’t name a girl Truman, did you not go to junior school? She’ll get called a ‘true man’. Kids are cruel!

  • Linsey

    I personally love family names. My mom’s maiden name was Insley and when she put the L in the front she got Linsey! I share my middle name with my grandmother and my aunt…Jean.

    Even though I could never find a mini-license plate for my bike with the proper spelling, I love having a name that actually means something as opposed to something else.

  • Mimi

    coraline. is it lame to name a kid after a movie? i love that name. and the movie.

  • I’m partial to Paige. But I didn’t want to name my child after myself. So, how about it? Paige?

  • i like truman a lot! (and why not for a girl?)
    i assume you are familiar with ?
    you put in names to influence a name search. names you love, family names etc.
    for example if you put in heather and jon and leta, it gives you: liza, nan and marty.
    if you put in leta and truman, it suggests: harper, helena and emerson.
    if you put in leta, chuck and coco, it spouts out: charlotte, ava and chloe.
    (more choices, i am only giving you my top three)
    pretty cool site. have fun.

  • Anonymous

    MaKenna. Call her Kenny for short.
    Stevie. Georgia- I have a friend named Georgia and she goes by George.

    Boys names for girls is the best.

  • Have you visited the Baby Name Wizard’s name nymbler? You put in a name you like, or Leta’s name, and you get suggestions that “match.” If you put in Truman and ask for girl names you get are Ellery, Harlowe, Sloan and Lucy, among others. If you put in Leta and ask for girls names you get Rhea, Maida, Adela and Thea, and a few more.

    The creator is a name genius. Plus it’s just fun to play around with.

    No suggestions from me. It’s such a personal decision, and I HATED it when people gave ME suggestions. We kept our son’s name a total secret until he was born – best decision ever.

  • Nat W.

    I know my opinion matters about as much as a tiny rat’s ass, but I’ve gotta say that naming a girl Truman and calling her Tru would be horrid. Tru? Seriously. She’ll be a stripper. I hate trendy names like that. Arg.

    Besides, we all know it should be Fawnzelle.

  • Anonymous

    I like the name Lora.

  • Aga


  • Jane Armstrong. Leta and Jane. Completely timeless, and so conventional it’s cutting edge.

  • Kelly

    How about Avery?

    Oh, and from the ultrasound profile shot I’m thinking Jon might have another mini-me!

  • Jodi

    i love the name “tru” for a girl. good luck.

  • Anonymous

    I think Tru is a wonderful name.
    This, of course, if this is your last one. If you are planning on having another…or if it’s even a possibility, you might want to wait on the Truman.

    However, saying, “Are Leta and Tru going to be there?” sounds quite natural.

    Here’s to elevating placentas and names that don’t create the demise of your marriage!

  • My vote is for Nora Truman Armstrong.

    Nora and Leta go well I think.

    Good luck!

  • Just please don’t insert 8 million Y’s into an otherwise perfectly good name. Because Bryttany and Alysyn? Make me ill.
    p.s. Part of the captcha is Irene. Rofl!

  • Anonymous

    TRUMAN IS NOT A GIRL’S NAME!!!! (4 exclamation points!!!!)

  • Definitely on board the “Name this chick Truman!” bandwagon. She’s got to grow up to be super cool w such a name…

  • Leala

    What about Hazel?

  • Sara

    My daughters names are Ariana Grace and Gabriella (though she gets called Ella) Emersyn. Knock yourself out 🙂

  • J. Bo

    When I was incipient (second of two daughters), my parents had an ongoing argument about MY name, too (they also had a boy’s name picked out). I was supposed to be named Jane Claire (which actually suits me MUCH better than the name on my birth certificate), but my dad was being a pill and vetoed that name… AND every other name my mother proposed.

    Finally, my father’s beloved aunt suggested a name that she remembered from a movie, “On the Beach” (starring Tony Perkins, all about nuclear holocaust– a real toe-tapper): JENNIFER. At the time, it was a pretty exotic name. Other than Jennifer Jones, it was very below-the-radar.

    So I was named Jennifer, and I was the only Jennifer in my class my whole school life, amid a sea of girls named Cathy and Cindy and boys named Kevin and Brad.

    Cut to 10-15 years later, and suddenly ALL the girls and half the boys are named Jennifer.

    SO… my advice is to pick a family name (as you did with Leta). And remember that, even if that name becomes insanely popular in the years to come, there really is only ONE person with that name– your beloved daughter.

  • Jen Kirk

    My husband and I are not fans of common names so we are using one that I sort of threw together. I always loved the name Avery, but people told me it was too much of a boy’s name to use for a girl. So, it has become Averley. If we ever have a little girl, which I hope we do, she will be called Averley.

    (You can use it if you want) 😉

  • Angela

    I think Shea Marin Armstrong would be awesome….(pronounced shay ma rin) and it would go darling with Leta…also remind you of freakin Marin county in CA

  • Haviland or Harlow – those names would never belong to a booger-eater and I’m sure they would be great kissers.

  • Anonymous

    My granddaughter’s name is Jadyn Elise.

  • bugwater

    My girls are named Ruby and Magnolia, so what the hell do I know?

    My vote: Mabel Armstrong

  • Candice

    Due to a crappy old chair and problems with my hips, I just got a new fancy-schmancy mesh chair at work. I’m in my first trimester and seem to have the same issues with gaseous emissions that you do. This is not going to end well.

    Oh and you should check out . Besides the great commentary on names, there are some great name finding tools there. You should also check out which is based on her book; it’s a lot of fun too.

  • Anonymous

    Although you didn’t ask, I’m a big fan of Truman for a girl. My mom was convinced during her entire pregnancy with me that she was going to have a boy and had her perfect name selected. When she in fact produced a girl, me, she named me after my aunt and my father. I’ve always gone by Scottie, after my father, a name I despised whilst young and begged to have changed to Heather (no joke). Now I love my name, and I bear no ill will toward either parent for its androgynous nature as other commenters have suggested your future progeny might.

  • I love unusual names. My oldest daughter is named Yuna.

    Picking names is tough. Finding the perfect one is like falling in love. When you know it, you know it.

  • I have to say I’m not really into the trend for using last names as first names, particularly for girls, so I personally wouldn’t choose Truman… It really doesn’t sound in the least feminine to me, unlike Leta which clearly does.
    I could give you a list of my own faves, but obviously naming your daughter is your affair.
    I can say, however, that for our second daughter my husband and I couldn’t agree at all… His “chosen name” was (wait for it)…Smilka, which means basil (the herb) in Serbian. What could I say (except “Hell, no!)? You also have to bear in mind we live in the south of France (and he’s even French, though I’m British), where Milka chocolate is very popular.
    In the end, we chose Lydie Rebecca, even though my husband had a girlfried called Lydie in his youth. I like the name, and it suits her, and it’s really uncommon here in France (Lydie is the French form of Lydia, but it’s pretty old-fashioned).
    Good luck!

  • MEB

    We were going to name a girl Nora Katharina. But it’s a boy, so we settled on Ezra. I’m so glad to hear your placenta righted itself – no bedrest for you! And I feel you on the gas – I sit in classes for three hours a day and have learned how to pass it silently. =)

  • r0ckaby3

    Our top two girl name picks were Marin or Kenna. We are having a June baby also, but ours will be of the masculine variety!

  • Annie


    I didn’t feel my second move as much as my first either. *shrug*

  • Ellery Queen Armstrong

  • Kate

    I’ve always loved the name Chloe. Amelie is beautiful, and it is one of the loveliest films ever made. I also am a fan of Olivia, which has been suggested a couple of times.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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