Thoughtful Thursday: Nicknames

April 30, 2009

Thoughtful ThursdayInstead of continuing to blog about blogging as we’ve done for the past three Thoughtful Thursdays, we will conclude April by returning to Thoughtful Thursday’s bread and butter: regular old infertility. The kind of issue that Fertiles just don’t tend to deal with, or at least not in the same way.

Hold on, not so fast… Quick detour first. It’s on topic, trust me.

When I bought my Volkswagen (as you may recall, the car I bought in 2001 to prepare for the baby that I was sure would be on the way soon), I received a registration card from VW. In addition to the usual name and address questions, it asked a question I’ve never seen anywhere else — a manifestation of the quirky marketing for which VW has strived for decades.

The registration card said something to the effect of:

Did you give your Volkswagen a name?
___ Of course! The name is _______
___ Huh? Why would I name a car?

To me, the very same question can be asked about all of the eggs and embryos (“theoretical children,” as my husband would call them) that get produced during fertility treatments.ย 

After IVF #2, Delenn asked me that very question about the two embryos that we transferred.

Looking good!! Did you name ’em? We named ours Attia and Servilla (Attia survived- we assume).

Honestly, naming embryos had never occurred to me before. Yes, I gazed at their photos for hours, wished that they would stay, imagined their futures, loved them. But naming embryos who had not implanted (and in that case, never did implant) was just not on my radar. I did name my Volkswagen, though.

Anyway, I have found many people who thought otherwise in the blogosphere. I have seen names for eggs prior to retrieval or IUI (usually naming the whole group rather than each individual, such as The Magnificent Seven). I have seen lots of names for embryos post-fertilization/pre-transfer, and even more names for embryos post-transfer (some names for the group and some individual names). The naming seems to go up further once people see embryos on ultrasound. When the sex of the fetus is known, it seems rare not to have some kind of nickname (or in some cases, the people start using the real name that they will give the baby). Some names are unique to people’s interests; some reflect something about the embryos/fetuses; some are just fun or silly.

Using some concurrent twin pregnancies as examples:

  • Miss Conception calls her twins Chick and Pea.
  • Katedaphne has called her twins Thing 1 and Thing 2 since seeing their first ultrasounds.
  • Shinejil named her twins Bruiser and Runty upon seeing their disparate sizes on ultrasound; one week later, Runty’s heartbeat could no longer be found, but Bruiser continues to do well.
  • Mrs. M@sk had been calling her twins The Flintstones, then revised it to Wilma and Betty once she learned the sexes, but she continues to call them all sorts of variations on the theme such as Bedrock Babies. By the way, Mrs. M@sk has just been put on bedrest for the remainder of her pregnancy, so go send her your good thoughts that the babies stay put for several more weeks.

My husband and I do have nicknames for our fetuses, but between the two of us we have said them out loud less than half a dozen times. Once, only once, when my husband said goodbye as I left for work, he also said goodbye to the babies using their nicknames. One of them is a name that DH for years has joked about giving our child as an actual name — purely a joke, he’s not batshit insane. The other one we came up with as a counterpart to the first name when we learned that I was carrying twins.

I’m not going to tell you the names, but I will give you a huge hint. If anyone happens to get them both before next week’s Thoughtful Thursday, you will get an enormous jackpot bonanza prize. I’m pretty sure no one will guess — wanna prove me wrong? (If you do guess, please don’t forget to also answer the substantive Thoughtful Thursday questions.)

Your hint(s): The names come from The Transformers. The 80s cartoon and toy empire, not necessarily the recent movie. One of the characters after whom one of our twins is named appeared in the 2007 movie, but the other one did not. I am not telling you whether they are Autobots or Decepticons (or one of each).

Back to this week’s Thoughtful Thursday query:
Have you named eggs/embryos at any point in the treatment process? If so, at what point? Were the names picked out before or after you saw their microscope/ultrasound image?

I’m not talking about when you might assign the real name to a fetus — that’s a topic for a different Thoughtful Thursday. Today, let’s talk about the silly nicknames that some of us give and some of us don’t. You can even tell us the names if you’d like.

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27 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Nicknames”

  1. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    …smiling….. this one TT is down the drain for me…

    I have nicknames picked out …but I am yet to see heartbeats, progressive sizes, sacs, and the works! I have only one u/s pic, and that was immediately after the transfer…

    So…whatever I have chosen is still tentative and in thin air….

    Cheerio did a service (Barbara at Burble led me to that…) for those who never came..and I submitted names of the 3 as :Loved, Hoped-For and Cherished…but they are no nicknames.

    There is no hope for this cycle…but I have the names for the babies all picked out.

    Second…I really am not/was not into Transformers…so I may not be able to guess at all….hmmm…The innnnerrrrnet! Maybe….

  2. Rebecca Says:

    I’ve never had any kind of embryo to attach a name to. But I think I’d just call it Baby. Nice and simple.

    I’m going to go with Optimus Prime and Megatron. Good strong names for what I hope are good strong babies!

  3. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    Huh…how many chances does a person get? Here I am totally shooting in the dark –

    Optimus Prime and Blaster

  4. Kymberli Says:

    For my transfer that led to the delivery of my surroson Sam, I had two 5-day blasts transferred. My intended mother Stephanie said that in the picture of the blasts, they looked like two pizzas. From there to around the first u/s, they blasts were known as “The Pizzas.”

    The blasts transferred in April of last year were known as Rocket and Masterblaster.

    The day 3 embryos transferred in March were the Skittles.

  5. Jamie Says:

    I’ve just use the alphabet. Our first cycle we transfered embryos A and B. Our second cycle was C, D, and E.

    Bo was “J”. And my current pregnancy (twins) are “L” and “M”.

    We have three frosties on reserve, but I don’t “letter” them until they are transfered.

    Great question!

  6. thehappyhours Says:

    I’ve never named my follicles, but I would probably have nicknames for any embryos. I just wanted to play the guessing game.

    I’m gonna guess Optimus Prime and Firestar

  7. jill Says:

    I probably shouldn’t be weighing in on this one – I’ve never been pregnant and have never done IVF. I love to give things nicknames though and do this without even realizing it. My dog most of the time is “silly” but he has tons of other nicknames. Even R and I have cutsey nicknames for either other (that I try my best not to use in public. haha)

    So anyway, I’m positive I would give my unborn babies (at any stage) nicknames but I’d have to be in the situation, the names could be anything at all.

  8. fattykins Says:

    The last time I was pregnant, I gave the baby a nickname long before I found out that he was a he. It was Harvey. We used to watch a show called Farscape and at one point the conciousness of one of the characters was transferred into the mind of another one, so that they both kind of lived in the same body. The owner of the body frequently called the intruder “Harvey”. It seemed to fit, so my unborn was called Harvey. Never out loud though. Some days Harvey was a He and sometimes a She…til we found out which it was – and then interestingly I dropped the Harvey thing entirely and referred to him only as “the baby” or “he”. I guess Harvey only worked for me when it was more mysterious or something. It took us until about 2 days before the birth to come up with his real name.

    As for your babes, I have no idea. I would guess Bumblebee for one, but I can’t think of another so it’s only a half guess.

  9. Mr. Shelby Says:

    I love Thoughtful Thursdays!

    I’ve taken a fondness to Gummy since it totally looked like a gummy bear to me.

    As Shelby is father along, I think nicknames will come a little more naturally to me as we’re so nervous right now and “GROW DAMMIT” isn’t a appropriate nickname ๐Ÿ™‚

    Mr. Shelby

  10. Kristin Says:

    I’m kind of in a different category because I conceive on my own but had trouble carrying to term. We typically nicknamed the babies after we first heard their heartbeats. For example, since a fetal heartbeat sounds a lot like a train, we nicknamed our oldest Woo-Woo (like the train whistle).

  11. Brenna Says:

    Naming embryos is a path we haven’t taken yet. Maybe next time around. Our first were just baby A, baby B and baby C. We didn’t name them until they were born, and then it was a jumbled rush since of course we weren’t expecting them at just over 20 weeks. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

    I love reading the nicknames some folks come up with for their little passengers, though! Great question.

  12. April Says:

    I named 12 eggs during IVF – 12 individual names! And I’m so bummed to say I can’t remember them all. I know that my favorites were Claudette and Whitey. And I think that Claudette is now my son Quin, and that Whitey is his twin brother, Rhys. And I suppose that makes me a bit odd. But I think we all know that infertility makes us ever so slightly, and quite pleasantly, insane.

  13. shinejil Says:

    Just for the record, we are mad nicknamers. So it isn’t surprising that the embies got dubbed something silly very early on. Our recent cars are the General Lee and The Pickle (it’s a bluish green and smells faintly of vinegar due to a minor spill in the trunk). Our cats have more names than a Spanish nobleman.

    For me, naming the little guys made it easier to both grasp their existence and distance myself through humor.

  14. Eve Says:

    Never named an eggo and was only preggo once. A bit into the pregnancy we started calling the baby ‘bean’ which we still do some times (although my son is 2.5). The best name I’ve ever come up with was the name for my stubborn ovarian cyst that the RE thought was an endometrioma and left me on the sidlines for almost 8 weeks. Named it “BetterBeGoneByMarch”, or BetterBe for short. BetterBe wasn’t gone by March, but she was by April!

  15. Cat Says:

    We don’t nickname anything, not cars or anything. Our only pets are two fish, one is a Tiger Oscar which we call Oscar and the other started as a feeder goldfish that was never eaten and now s/he’s 10″ long and has no name.

    So, our triplets are still simply Babies A, B, and C.

    BTW, I *love* Rocket and MasterBlaster!


  16. I can’t participate in the TT question, but I asked Reed to name some Transformers, and he said Bumblebee and Optimum Prime.

  17. Photogrl Says:

    Primus and Galvatron?

    I haven’t been through IVF, yet, so I haven’t named embryos. But every baby that I’ve concieved, has had a name, even after losing them.


  18. I am in the other category, as we didn’t name until we saw heartbeats. I think we called Nae “little one” and Zilla was Peanut. Up until after he was born. Never called Zilla by his name, I was too scared.

  19. Tara Says:

    Ooo, my first Thoughtful Thursday.

    When we found out we’re due in November, we called the baby Turkey (completely coincidental to my blog name). When we found out it was identical twins, we called the second baby Pumpkin because there’s a good chance of delivering in October. Though now we just tend to say A & B. Already can’t keep them straight…

    The only thing I know about Transformers is that parts of it were filmed here at DM AFB (where we’re stationed).

  20. Irishlass Says:

    My husband and I didn’t plan to name our embryos when we had our first IVF try (which didn’t work, so now we are starting the 2nd one). After the transfer, we just happened to be looking at the picture and chatting, and I ended up naming them Emmy A and Emmy B (they were graded A and B). My husband was calling them M&M’s.

    I’m not sure what I will do the second time around. Will just have to wait and see!

  21. S Says:

    We nicknamed some embryos, like:

    – fourthie (after a PGD cycle where #4 was normal) – it was a BFN.
    – the blobs
    – the blastoplasts
    – peanut (full points for originality) – it was a BFP – we called peanut Janaki from 8 weeks on, somehow knew it was a girl – wishful thinking. If it were a boy, it would be a very pretty boy.

    Now… really don’t care about individual names. We call all blastocyst transfers blastoplasts because of DH’s amusing little typo once. Its like elastoplast, you kinda hope it “sticks”.

    Naming them makes it worse. I had visions of me reading bedtime stories to Fourthie, ruffling his/her hair and saying “I love you, Fourthie” before tucking him/her in. And it would be an awesome story of how s/he got the nickname, something to be repeated at his/her 21st, a triumph in the face of death and despair.

    That was a pretty shitty post-BFN to deal with.

    I learn pretty quickly. Most times.

  22. strongblonde Says:

    someone asked me this just the other day. for the most part, b and i just totally ignore everything that’s going on with my body right now. if we talk about it or name anyone it may jinx it.

    we didn’t name the embryos…but i still think about one being a six and one an eight cell…and wonder which one is which.

    i did name my first car (only): brown sugar. ๐Ÿ™‚

  23. Leslie Says:

    Hmm, no, we didn’t name our embryos, and I think it was a way of protecting myself. I, like you, stared at them for hours and felt genuinely attached the moment I saw them. I was so in awe that we had finally created some DNA together because after 2 1/2 years of negative pregnancy tests, it feels impossible to believe it’s ever happened before. We’ve nicknamed our little fetus now, but it’s just a little private joke – nothing we talk about publicly.

  24. onepinkline Says:

    I’ve named ’em all. The follicles during IUI’s. The retrieved/fertilized eggs. And the Blasts we transferred. They were The Bubbles – and now that one has stuck – Bubble it is. If we have the opportunity to find out the sex we might switch to a real name – but I have my suspicions that Bubble will be Bubble for a long time.

  25. Sarah Says:

    I don’t usually name the embryo’s but this was the last cycle with my husband’s sperm (just found out he has a balanced translocaiton), and I needed a way to grieve the little bundles of cells that did hold that ineffibel promise our combined genetic codes.
    Sparky was our fetus who died between week 6 & 7
    The Panda’s were our last embryos with my husband’s sperm. From teh beginning I knew that they were an endganged species, and Panda’s seemed cute and cuddly like a baby. Ultimatly, I needed someone real to grieve, so I named them.


  26. I don’t know if this counts as a nickname, but we called ours “the dot” until she got big enough to start calling by the one of the names we had already picked out.


  27. Just saw this post. I found this interesting. I remembered my cousin that she gave the baby a nickname long before she found out the gender. She was so positive that it was a girl. Then it’s really a mom instinct, she was a girl. I may try to guess Megatron. ๐Ÿ™‚


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