I was doing a digital declutter of my phone files recently, and I came across my baby names list from when I was still pregnant. It was a very short list, and I deleted it without a second thought, but then I thought maybe I'd share the names we'd brainstormed before Gabriel made his grand entrance.

Oddly enough, the name Gabriel wasn't even on the list. I had thrown it out there once, but I don't think either one of us cared enough to actually write it down. I had always maintained a stance about seeing my baby before giving him/her a name. When I was holding him in the hospital, he was looking up at me with those big, wide eyes like a perfect little angel. He was my Gabriel; I just knew it, and J agreed.

Here are some other baby names we considered:

Nova - This was the only girl name on the list. We didn't find out the sex until he was born, and on the off-chance he was a girl (I really wanted a boy but honestly didn't have a feeling either way), we tried coming up with girl names. I was struggling. There wasn't a single name that felt right for a girl in my book, and all the names I thought might fit my baby girl were really more masculine. Mark my words: if I ever have a girl, she'll probably have a boyish-sounding name. "Nova" was all J. He loooovvvvved the name. He felt so strongly that I put it on the list just for him. It didn't strike a cord with me, and I later found out an old friend of mine named her baby girl Nova. I'd like to think our subliminal mom connection blocked that name for me.

Roman - I vaguely remember putting this on the list, but that's probably because it's one of the few names that we both liked. That's it, though. We just liked it - didn't love it.

Orion - We were at the airport on the way back from New York when a little boy was running wild around the terminal. The mom kept shouting "Orion!" and J looked at me like that's it. No, readers, it was not it, but he put it on the list anyway.

William - This is a family name. There are multiple Williams across multiple generations in my family, and God willing, a future son will at least have this as his middle name. It just wasn't a fit for Gabriel. Gabriel was Gabriel.

Caleb - J and I both liked this name. When we chose Gabriel for the first name at the hospital, I remember looking down and asking what the middle name should be. J said Caleb without hesitation, and I asked how he'd spell it. Of course he had to be different and spell it with a 'K.' I was still coming down off the drugs and didn't have the energy to contest, so I just went with it.

(birth story here)