Tuesday, March 27, 2012

How B&H came to be known as B&H

Every time I meet new people they all ask me "How did you choose their names?" It's not the most interesting story, but it is one that B&H will probably like to hear someday. Many of you have heard this story before - hope you aren't bored to tears reading it! :)

We found out B&H were a boy and a girl at my 16-week ultrasound at the beginning of August 2010. I was surprised to hear that the tech could determine their genders so soon (I'd heard that sort of thing happens at 20 weeks), but we were both super eager to know if we were having boys, girls, or one of each. (We did know that they were NOT identical, so one of each was an option for us). Now, aside from Aaron's first cousin Grace, there aren't too many Riekenberg girls out there. I think the next one besides her was born in the 1800s. So, needless to say, my heart, which had always been hopeful for a baby girl, was prepared to hear we were having 2 boys -- though I'd had a dream a few weeks earlier in which we had 2 girls!

The tech got to work on checking out Baby A, who was lower in my womb. The tech looked at the baby's arms, legs, head, heart, etc and then asked if we wanted to know the gender. We both said YES! When she said it was a girl, I started to cry. Crazy Momma. A Riekenberg girl! Hooray!!
We took a brief break so I could stretch (2 ultrasounds take a LONG time and lying still with a giant pregnant belly is not comfortable) and go to the bathroom. As we waited for the tech to come back, Aaron said to me "I bet it's 2 girls..." in a sad sort of voice. Little did I know, as much as I'd had my heart set on having a baby girl, he'd had his heart set on having a baby boy! I think when the tech said Baby B was a boy, Aaron shed a little tear. Or let out a small "whoo hoo!" :)

Once we knew that we were having a boy and a girl, we started talking names. I bought a baby name book, but turns out I never even really opened it. We threw ideas out to each other and listened to suggestions from our family - our favorite being silly things like Nikki and Ricky. (Say them with our last name - Ricky Riekenberg. UGH. Thanks, Dad!) Eventually, Aaron & I decided that I would name the girl and he would name the boy. We each also had ultimate veto power, so if one of us chose a name we hated (our joke was we would name the boy something really German like Hans), the other could veto it down. It somehow seemed less overwhelming to know I only had to pick one name instead of two.

As my bedrest wore on and it became more and more evident that we were actually going to have babies sooner rather than later (yet still hoping for not TOO soon), I started really thinking about girl names and choosing a top 3. I also picked a middle name. Aaron also told me he had for the most part picked a name for the boy. We were excited about it, so we told some people what we were thinking.

Of course, my top name was Elizabeth. I'd *always* wanted a little girl named Elizabeth (or Elisabeth). I always thought Tracy was a boring name that had no nicknames, so I wanted a daughter who had endless nicknames! Naturally, Elizabeth jumped to the top of my list, and I added Greta and Leah. (Note: Aaron swore he'd veto Greta & Leah.) I knew I wanted to give her the middle name Beatrice, though. Beatrice was my grandma Verna's middle name, and I loved her dearly. Yet, I'm sure she'd understand why the name Verna need not be passed on to a new generation, even as a middle name. Beatrice, though, is cute. Even bordering on trendy in the old-names-are-new-again sort of way.

Aaron was set right away on Henry. He wouldn't even listen to any other suggestions (Oliver was at the top of my boys names list!). Even while visiting his 90-some year old grandmother, he told her the boy would be called Henry and she said "I like the name Benjamin" (foreshadowing???). Baby Boy's middle name was to be John, an apparent Riekenberg tradition. The son of a Riekenberg is given his paternal grandfather's first name as a middle name, so says Aaron.

Well, that fateful day on Dec. 3rd when my water broke, we weren't ready for the babies in many ways: I hadn't packed a bag for the hospital, we hadn't put the carseats in the car, and most importantly, we hadn't picked names! Even for the day and a half I was in the hospital before they were born, we didn't really nail down names. I sort of thought Elisabeth (by then I'd chosen the "S" spelling), and I still tried to convince Aaron to name the boy Oliver.

But then they were born.

I took one look at this face and knew she wasn't Elisabeth.
Not even a little. I had pictured Elisabeth as a bald or blonde baby. This baby's wild dark hair did not look like Elisabeth (nor Libby, Lisa, Beth or any other of the nicknames I'd thought of). I remember in my one-hour-post-partum daze looking at her and thinking "Hannah, her name is Hannah." I told Aaron that and he agreed!

Now Ben, I didn't even get to see Ben's face for almost 2 days after he was born. He was whisked away to the NICU right after birth and had a CPAP put on.
 He was much more fragile than Hannah. But while I was recovering from childbirth, Aaron was in the NICU. He got to see the baby boy more than I did and when we got back to my room he told me he was going to name the boy Benjamin. I had to trust him, since I hadn't seen baby boy much, but Aaron assured me it was a good fit. Better than Henry. (And besides, we had agreed earlier on NOT to do same letter names, so Hannah and Henry was out). We put their names on their birth certificates and a few days later I got to take a good look at my son's face. Yup, indeed he *was* Ben!

Now, after nearly 16 months,  I know them so well and I am more certain than ever that their names fit them perfectly!!

Is this not a Hannah (which has various meanings including, "beauty," "passion," "gracious," and "He (God) has favored me")????

And this is a perfect Ben or what?? (The meaning of Benjamin isn't as handily fitting as the meaning for Hannah. Benjamin means "Son of my right hand" - eh.)

Of course, as you all know, we rarely call Ben Benjamin and we even rarely call him Ben - he's known as Benjo to us. And we I did get a nickname for my girl: she's my Hannie.

1 comment:

  1. I would have bet real money on them being Elisabeth and Henry! I was surprised when we found out the names--but I've always liked them! I love their nicknames, too.