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This week, we are sharing how we chose the names for our babies and any special meaning behind them.
Calvin Phoenix Zapanta Ejanda
I believe it was in early January that Louie and I chose Calvin’s name. It was after Christmas, after we received the sweetest message “Congratulations, your pregnancy is viable!” We were in his room at his parents’ house coming up with names that included both letters L and C, as a way to combine both of our names (Louie and Crystal). We just went through all the names we could think of that included these two letters, such Clyde, Lucy, Lucious, Chrysalis, and Chucklass (just kidding on some of those).
We finally agreed on a name for a boy, which you know to be Calvin, and a name for girl (I will not share her name because should our Heavenly Father decide to bless us with a daughter, we want to wait until then to share her name with the world). If Calvin had been a girl instead, her name would have still included Phoenix.
Phoenix was because we wanted a name that honored Louie’s grandfather, Felix. Tatay, as we called him (which means Father in Tagalog), was welcomed into Heaven last September, right before we had our Catholic wedding ceremony. This was an important way for us to pass his memory on with our child. That’s Tatay in the photo to the right, and yes, he is popping his collar! Little did we know how appropriate the name Phoenix would truly be, since now the soul of our blessed son is living in the grace of God. We know that Tatay, along with our other loved ones who have passed from this life into eternal life, is watching over Calvin.
Something special that my mom noticed, and that Louie and I hadn’t realized, is in the first three letters of Calvin’s name: C-A-L: Crystal And Louie. So with his name, our precious boy carriers us with him.
The Etymology of Calvin and of Phoenix
According to Behind The Name, Calvin can be traced back to the French word chauve, which means bald. I find this amusing because I imagined my relatives nicknaming him Calbo, which is the Tagalog word for bald; the reason being that the Filipino pronunciation of v’s sound like b’s. Also, it is rather appropriate, since he was born bald, with merely a hairline and the dark beginnings of hair, which were both clearly discernible on his head. Our Calvin had a widow’s peak just like his mommy.
Phoenix derives from Greek and means “dark red.” And as many of you probably know, it’s the name of the immortal bird of Greek and Egyptian mythology that becomes consumed by fire, but rises from its own ashes. The immortality of this bird, its rising back to life from its own ashes, reminds me of God’s promise for each of us – Though we shall return to dust, we will rise again to everlasting life. And so I live in the hope of joining my son again.
Sharing His Name
It was our plan to announce our baby’s name (and thereby his gender) after our ultrasound on March 4th. I was 18 weeks pregnant, so we were sure we would learn (confirm) whether our baby was a boy or a girl. The ultrasound technician even offered to write it in an envelope that we could open when we got home. But things changed. We did not get this envelope. When I asked for a picture, he responded, They’ll talk to you when you get there.
There was the Fetal Diagnostic Center where we were going to meet with a perinatalogist to review the ultrasound results. This was a follow-up appointment to the ultrasounds we had at the end of January, which detected the presence of amniotic bands. This is what she said to us: I’m sorry. The baby’s passed away. (You can read the full story on this post – The 5th Belongs to Calvin: Calvin’s Life.) When I asked the doctor if our baby was a boy or a girl, she answered that she didn’t know, that they didn’t check, considering the circumstances.
This Is How We Shared His Name, Instead
After I delivered Calvin, and while I lay sobbing with Louie crying I’m sorry over and over into my hair, they took my little boy, cleaned him, and dressed him. At this point I still didn’t know whether I had a son or a daughter. My attending doctor, Nita, told me that our baby was malformed, but she didn’t want to try to describe what he looked like to us, because whatever she said would not really show it. God bless her for saying that, because though we still feared seeing our baby, we did agree to do so. I asked her if our baby was a boy or a girl, and she said he was a boy. In that moment, our baby had his name.
Another doctor, brought the bassinet carrying our son into the room, and very gently asked if our baby had a name. We said, Calvin. She replied, Calvin is very special. He’s so special. The people in the room with us, those four doctors and nurses, were complete strangers until that day, but they were the first to hear his name. And Peggy, my nurse, was the first to write his name (on the card above).
I don’t know if anyone other than a parent who’s lost a child can understand how important it is to hear his or her name, to see this name written, to have others acknowledge the life and existence and significance of this precious, precious person who was taken away so much sooner than any parent would ever want.