Tuesday, July 10, 2007

what's in a name?

By the time I was being checked out of the hospital yesterday, we still hadn't come up with a name for the baby.

As I sat in my room, all of the bags were packed, my prescriptions were filled, the breast pump rental was in hand, the baby was dressed in his "going-home" outfit ... and I felt absolutely pitiful that we couldn't make a decision on what to call our newest addition.

Charlie would have been happy with the several selections we had in mind.

But like always, I was the final hold out.

Although we had two weeks to make our choice, I didn't think our decision would become any easier with time, so I promised myself that we would have a name selection by the time we left the hospital.

See, I really believe that there is a lot that goes in to a name. This one decision that we have been tasked with as parents, will be with our child for their entire life and it's not something that I wanted to make lightly.

So, as I was waiting for my wheelchair ride to the lobby, and on the verge of tears because I couldn't decide, I reached out to the first person that walked in to my hospital room. Who just so happened to be the woman who came in to clean our bathroom.

When she walked in to the room, I was sitting in a chair holding the baby. Charlie was sitting on the bed. It was obvious that I was distraught. I was weepy. Hormonal. Irrational.

I looked at the cleaning woman - looked back to Charlie - and just as he was shaking his head and saying, "No, Jen. NO!" I asked "Excuse me. Could I please ask you a question?"

The woman turned to me and said, "Si?"

Taking a deep breath I inquired "Which name do you like the best ... Robert Henry ... Robert Coleman ... Henry Coleman ... or Henry David?"

She looked perplexed and asked "Que?"

I repeated slowly - while pointing to the baby, "Which name do you like the best ... Robert Henry ... Robert Coleman ... Henry Coleman ... or Henry David?"

After mulling the question over for a moment, she brightly replied "Ohhhh. Henry David. Muy bonita!!"

That sealed the deal and wouldn't it figure, that was the exact name I was leaning towards, too. Here's why...

I've always loved the name Henry.

There are a few Henry's on Charlie's side of the family ... a great uncle, possibly two, and a cousin. Although there are no Henry's on my side of the family, we do have O'Henry bars, and that's close enough.

I also love the name David, which means "beloved".

To this day, I have yet to meet a David that I haven't liked. All the David's I know are fun, outgoing and gentle.

Having been born and raised for the first part of my life in Concord, Massachusetts, I grew up knowing the name Henry David Thoreau. So I thought it is was somewhat fitting to have a tribute to my hometown and one of the many authors who made it famous.

Moreover, on July 4, 1845, Henry David Thoreau began his two-year simple living experiment by "entering the wilderness" at Walden Pond. This was the same day, 162 years later, that our little Henry David "entered the wild" by being born the fourth child to a family with 2.5-year old triplets.

See the parallel?

Last night at 4 AM, after having been awake with our baby for six hours, Charlie asked if I remembered what the name "Henry" meant. I groggily nodded and said "Yeah. I think it means 'House Ruler'".

Charlie snorted and said, "I really think we should have named him something that means 'To embrace sleep' because as far as I can tell, his first rule is 'Ye shall not sleep between the hours of 11 PM and 5 AM.'"

He is nocturnal.

He is our new house ruler.

He is Henry David.

And he is extremely beloved.

If you are the praying type, and even if not, please keep baby Austin in your thoughts today. He is two years old and the fourth child - also a "surprise" baby - born to a family with triplets. I have never met Austin's family except "in the computer" and have really come to admire Austin's mom, Michele.

Recently, little Austin was diagnosed with severe hydrocephalus as the result of a brain tumor. He is going in for brain surgery on Tuesday 7/10. From my own personal experience with our children and the struggles that they faced in the NICU, I have come to believe that you can derive great strength from the knowledge that people are holding you in their hearts. Even people that you've never met before.

We'll certainly be holding Austin and his family in our hearts today.


  1. Henry David is absolutely perfect! He is beyond delicious. (except for the nocturnal part)

  2. Long live King Henry!
    I just love your children's names Jenna. May he sleep well tonight.
    Is Coleman a family name? Your maiden name perhaps?
    Whatever happened to the missing 16 yr old Helena Alexandria (I think that was her name). Was she found?
    I hope all goes well for little Austin.
    Rebecca D

  3. Hi, I have been reading your blog for quite some time now, and wanted to let you know how absolutely fabulous I find your writing and sense of humor! Congratulations on the birth of Henry David, he is beautiful.

    I live in South Africa and also struggled with Hellp syndrome. After two losses (and the whole heparin journey), we had two singletons at 33 and 32 weeks.

    I wish you lots of joy with a house full of children, and will keep on popping in to see how everyone is doing :)

  4. YES! I love the name Henry. What a beautiful son you have.

  5. What a beautiful name! It matches the triplets' names...very traditional.

    I could just EAT those cheeks up! He is SOOO cute and chubby!

    I hope you get some much needed sleep soon!

    I'll definitely be praying for Austin and his family today!

  6. Welcome Henry! How wonderful it must have felt to just pack him in the car and drive home!
    No NICU, no worries...Congrats!
    Linda (Chicago)

  7. Oh, Henry David. I love it! It's perfect.

  8. Welcome home Henry! He is just beautiful.

  9. Dear Jenna and Charlie

    Congratulations on your fourth bundle of joy.

    Henry David is a beautiful name (although he will always be Nemo in my mind.

    He is a beautiful, big, bouncing boy and I hope he gives you some sleep soon!

  10. LOVE the name! I didn't even realize David was an option. My oldest brother's name is David and my mom named him that because it meant "Beloved" and "A man after God's own heart".... and my brother is WONDERFUL... kind, outgoing, and gentle just like you said. David is a great name. And you already know my vote was for Henry. CONGRATS on choosing a name, I think it's just perfect for that beautiful boy.

  11. That would have been my choice of all the names. When you posted a few weeks back, I remember thinking I liked Henry the best. I have to tell you that I have been checking your blog several times a day before and after the arrival! It probably has been one of the biggest high points of my day! Congrats!

  12. Aww, it's perfect! I, too, love the name Henry. (We're considering Jack Henry for our new little one.) Congratulations!

  13. Jen- Thank you so much for including us in your prayers.

    I LOVE the name. I love how you made your decision. Priceless.

    Make sure when you get him home that you give him some direct sunlight for 15 or 20 minutes a day. That will kick start his brain into producing melatonin so he'll start sleeping at night.

    Or you are going to be really, really tired!

    He is absolutely adorable. So big and healthy!!!!!!! Congratulations again!

  14. Welcome home, young Prince! Now you have a William & Henry (Prince Henry of Wales (Henry Charles Albert David) - Harry's given name...

    Love to you all,
    The Bartees

    ps- at least you'll be up early enough in the morning to catch all of the Tour de France racing...

  15. I love Henry David. Very nice. Sorry for the lack of sleep...somehow I always forget that part when waiting for a new little joy to enter our family .

    He's beautiful!

  16. vety the nuts mom7/10/07, 9:53 AM

    Hello Henry!

    I absolutely love this name. I love that you have so many reasons to love it and quite a story to tell your son when he gets older. I also love that you asked the most impartial person that was going to give her most honest opinion. May she give him a blessing tonight along with us all! :) He's freaking adorable by the way!

  17. Congratulations on your sweet HENRY DAVID! I have a Henry, and he is sweet, wonderful, beautiful, smart, funny, and definitely the "ruler of the household." :) I can't wait to hear more about Henry and his siblings.

  18. Now there's a way to decide on a name! I like it!

    And I'm definitely thinking about Austin today.

    Congrats again to you.

  19. He is beautiful! Love the name.

    Congrats on being home. Hopefully he will start sleeping soon! :)


  20. love love love it! I agree it is hard to name a baby especially a boy/man! It was worth the wait!

  21. Love the name and I love that you now have a William and a Henry. Perfect!

    Thanks for sharing the story about Austin. We will definitly keep him in our prayers.

  22. Welcome Henry David! What a lovely name.

    Congratulations to you and your family.

  23. Henry is beautiful! And his name is perfect!

  24. I adore the name. Welcome Henry David. Hopefully fall into a good sleep pattern soon.

  25. yeah for the name Henry David, and of course for little Henry himself! Congrats to Mom and Dad and the trio too. Hope all is well. Will you be calling him "Henry" or "Henry David"?

  26. Oooohhh I thought he looked like a Henry. Awesome name. He's beautiful.

    I think Charlie is freaking funny, but I don't know of a single name, (and I am way into names) that means sleeper.

  27. Perfect - it goes well with your other kids' names.

    Congrats, he is adorable. Hard to believe you have ONE baby that is the size of your other THREE as newborns, isn't it???

  28. I'm in love, and I want to eat his little cheeks. You weren't kidding about him being a big baby! Welcome to the world Henry David.

  29. Hi! I haven't been lurking for very long, and it hasn't been hard to want to come back and read your updates! Congratulations on little Henry! I think the name you picked out is PERFECT! I LOVE it - as soon as I saw your list, I thought "OOOH Henry David, like Thoreau!" :) Congratulations - you sure have beautiful little ones!

    -Melissa http://lowercaseg.diaryland.com

  30. well, i just found your blog today while reading another triplet blog. i have to say that i love it already! i must say you are an amazing women to have another after triplets! i have 4 as well, but mine are 2 singletons and then identicla twin girls. when they started coming in two's, i decided it was enough for me :) anyway, i look forward to starting your blog at the beginning and reading through. I hope you have a great week. i will be adding you to my blog list that i read often!

  31. Poppa Alex and Kathleen7/10/07, 4:36 PM

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  32. Love the combination of Henry and David. He's gorgeous!

  33. Henry David is wonderful. I love the name Henry. Congratulations on your baby and on deciding on a name(that will be a great story to tell little Henry in the future!)

    I will pray for little Austin today. Him and his family are in my prayers.

  34. Welcome to the world Henry David Lawrence! You will forever be the "apple" of my "Miss American Pie"!

    Congrats to your entire family and we are so glad that this birth was a much more joyous celebration!

    Hugs & Kisses from Betsy, Gator & Kyle!

  35. Perfect name for a perfect baby!

  36. I agree with you about chosing the name of a child. It is who he/she will be for the rest of thier lives.
    Henry David IS adorable.

  37. Huge congrats! Henry is a lucky little guy. God Bless you all.

  38. Woo hoo!!! Little Henry is so cute. Thanks for sharing.

    In my opinion, children are the best part of life.

    Can't wait to hear how the trips are adjusting.

    Wish we lived closer. I could drop off some dinner.


  39. While we're on the naming thing, can I be bold and propose a change of blog name? "Amazing Parents" would work for me, cos Jen, I think what you and Charlie do every day, and the way you do it, is amazing.

    Your little Henry is adorable. My son is called Henry and my dad is David, so I love the name choice.

    I get a lot of enjoyment out of reading your blog. Thanks for sharing your world with us.

    PS Good luck with the sleeping. Maybe you should have given him 3 names all beginning with Z?

  40. OH MY HE'S BEAUTIFUL!! What a gorgeous little boy.
    Welcome Henry David! Perhaps you will become a writer like your mother.;-) Hooray for William - finally he's has an ally - (your parents are in trouble now - the fun is just beginning;-)) Thankful God for good health!

    Love, Marg

    (Will add Austin to our prayers as well.)

  41. Congratulations! He is beautiful and I love the name. Enjoy your new bundle of joy.

    Kelley (mom of 17 month old triplets -- Gracie, Ellie & Sarah)

  42. LOL,LOL,LOL!!!...I really need to say thank you for making me laugh outloud like this...LONG LIVE THE KING HENRY!!!....
    Karla =)

  43. Great name! A friend had a baby on 07-06-07 and named him David Henry. I love reading your blog.

    Rome, Ga

  44. I LOVE how his arms are folded around his face in the second pic. He is beautiful.

    And I can't say how much I like Henry David. My hubs' name, my first boy's middle name, and my second boy's first name. All in one.

    And there really is something to the "ruler of the house" thing, I'll just let you know. :)

    Congratulations again.

  45. P.S. Love that you asked the cleaning lady, too. That is priceless. And now I don't feel so bad for once looking at spam e-mail senders' names for ideas. :)

  46. Congratulations to you and Charlie on your new Henry David!!! It's all just so amazing. What a true gift - by all accounts. The name is regal and perfect - sounds like you asked JUST the right person's opinion. Never underestimate the power of a name!


  47. I disagree with the person who suggested you change the name of your blog (unless you want to, of course). Life has taken you on some amazing trips, and God has provided you with so many blessings along the way. Still very appropriate in my opinion!

  48. Blessings my friend! I too was in labor on a July 4th. Mackenzie was born at 12:40 on the 5th, seven years ago. Two girls and two boys, heaven is smiling on you friend. And my prayers are always with you and now with the house ruler too. xxoo to you all.Amy

  49. Jen- What a beautiful boy. 2 of each, heaven is smiling on you friend. Kiss all those babies for me. Amy

  50. Er, anonymous, that wasn't a serious suggestion. It was just my way of complimenting Jen and Charlie.

    Must be my Australian sense of humour getting a bit lost in translation.

  51. Henry! Perfect!! He is adorable and has a wonderful name. Not that I am biased or anything. Good luck with the sleeping. My Henry is a fantastic sleeper... with his mommy. ;)

  52. Oh Jen, Congradulations! He is perfect.
    love to you,

  53. I am married to a David and I couldn't agree with you more:)

    Congratulations! He is just beautiful:) Love your blog too - Here from Code Yellow Mom

  54. Ahhhh, sweetness. Henry David is so beautiful! I bet that is one cleaning lady you will never forget;) You and your Hubby are so witty. It's such a joy to read your blog!

  55. oh wow - congratulations. Henry David is just perfect in every way. I am so excited for you - another beautiful child. Well done!