After learning our precious baby was a little girl, we started to think of names. Our focus changed to finding a name with a special meaning for this little baby who will not be with us for very long. We wanted a name to fit her story. For every name we suggested, we looked up the name’s meaning. If it matched our little baby’s story, it was added to the list. The list was getting long, but nothing was feeling right… yet.

Wayne knew his maternal great grandmother lost two infants. He remembered seeing their markers in the cemetery right by his great grandparents’ graves. We decided to visit these precious little ones to see what their names were. Maybe they would provide us with some much needed inspiration.

As a family, the three of us visited these two little babies’ graves. I had to focus on our mission of finding a name rather than the reality that some day we will be visiting our own baby’s grave.

Wayne led us to the right spot. There were two markers- one for a little boy and one for a little girl. The little girl’s name was Catherine Ann.


I loved it.

Wayne loved it.

It was on our list.

We went back to the car to get the list; which I kept in my purse. Catherine means “innocent” or “pure”. Catherine. Catherine Marie. Marie is my middle name with many family connections.

We let the name resonate as we visited other family members in the cemetery. Madeline has never “met” her grandmother- Wayne’s mom- so we visited with Granny Janet. Our Madeline is named after her Granny Janet- Madeline Janet. Madeline, having no idea what was really going on, helped clean the grass clippings off Janet’s tombstone. It was sweet. She was taking good care of her Granny Janet.

As we made our way back to the car, Wayne and I repeated the name out loud- Catherine Marie. We were falling in love with it. We found our baby’s name.

As we drove home, the car was very quiet as Wayne and I processed all of this. As we were falling in love with the name, we were saddened. It was exciting to have picked a name and yet it hurt our hearts to know we wouldn’t be able to use her name as frequently as we wanted to. While there was some joy to have finally named our baby, this wasn’t the same joy we had when we chose Madeline’s name.

The mere fact that we became so sad and reflective upon settling on Catherine’s name, we knew we had chosen wisely.

With a name chosen, this means someday there will be two little baby Catherines in heaven- Catherine Marie and Catherine Ann.

We called Wayne’s dad and step-mom, Momma Jean, to share Catherine’s name with them. They, too, were happy to have a name, and yet saddened at the reality of the whole situation.

Later that evening we went to my parents’ house for a quick visit. We shared Catherine’s name with them as well. Again, my mom, dad, and sister became sad right along with us. The combination of joy and sorrow is a constant theme for us right now.

After we all regained our composure, my mom shared with me that her mother lost a baby. This baby was a little girl as well. I knew Gram had lost a baby, but I did not realize they knew she was a little girl. Then mom said, “And her name was Catherine.” A third baby Catherine? I had no idea. Now we weren’t sure if her name was spelled with a C or a K, so we just decided it was a C. It makes for a better story.

In a few months there will be three baby Catherines together in heaven – one from Wayne’s side, one from my side, and one of our very own.

Thinking about our baby in heaven is not natural, but that is our reality.

Another decision of a long, long list has been made.

Catherine Marie—“innocent” or “pure”