Names are kind of a big deal to me, you know. So you might have guessed that although I didn’t give you much of a glimpse into our name deliberations this time around, our new girl’s name was not arrived at lightly.
Her middle name, Audrey, was a no-brainer. Having honored all four great grandmothers and a special great aunt from my family already with our girls’ names, it was finally Trevor’s Auntie Audrey’s turn. I have long loved her name and hoped to bequeath it to a daughter at some point. (Who knew I would actually have enough daughters to use all of these fantastic names in our family trees?!)
The name Coraline is a long-used variant of Coral, like Coralie, so on the surface of it, it means “coral”, as in reef. (And since a few people have asked, we’re pronouncing it with a long i at the end, just how it looks: COR-a-line.)
But to me, all the significance of her name lies in its first syllable, Cor, the Latin word for “heart.”
Back in February when we found out we were were expecting, we almost immediately had reason to fear the worst. At our early ultrasound, we hoped against hopes to see a 7-week baby with a nice beating heart. The first glance with the ultrasound wand showed a 5-and-a-bit-week baby… and no heartbeat. It was just like the ultrasound of the baby we lost back in November, and for a few brief moments, I believed I’d lost the baby again.
The tech took a closer look, though, and suddenly everything changed. “Oh wait,” she said… “it is measuring 7 weeks after all…”
“And the heartbeat?” we asked tentatively.
“”Yes, there it is.”
But our relief was short-lived, as just a few days later I began spotting again. Having never had this symptom with any of my healthy pregnancies, I once again feared the worst, though my morning sickness persisted. It wasn’t until my 11-week midwife appointment that I was once again able to hear that sweet beating heart and be reassured that our little one was still safe and sound. So, you see, it was all about the heartbeat with this baby.
The name Coraline came up very early on in our name discussions, but we kept waving it away. If only it weren’t for that movie, it would be perfect!
But when a name is that close to perfection for both of us, it’s worth taking a closer look at the “if it weren’t for” to see if it is *really* a dealbreaker.
We had seen the movie. I’m not going to recommend it – it’s definitely creepy – but we didn’t *not* like it. The actual title character herself was pretty sweet. So we dug a bit deeper.
We discovered that the movie was based on a novel. There you go: it’s a literary name, not a movie name after all, much more like naming a child Charlotte than naming her Ariel. And the author is British, which, despite the fact that the book’s author believed he was making up the name, somehow gave credence to our perception of the name having the “British-y vibe” that we go for.
The final test was an old British baby name book I had in my collection. Published in 1974, so not that old, but old enough to predate both the movie and the novel. And there she was, sitting with her sister Coralie in the variants of Coral. A real name.
We were sold.
And this little ditty, from the creepy movie we had so often wished didn’t exist, ended up only strengthening our affection for our girl’s name.
It’s written and performed by They Might Be Giants. How fun is that? Our big girls know every word already.
Still, if you’re reading this and had never heard of the movie, as many people we have mentioned the name to hadn’t, you can go ahead and forget I mentioned it and go back to thinking we just dusted off a beautiful old English classic that has never once appeared in pop culture.