How I Named My Babies: Lucia, Camila & Rafael
Amber and Esteban Rodriguez, ministers for a local church, live in South Texas with their triplets: Lucia Sara, Camila Deena, and Rafael Esteban.
The triplets were born at 32 weeks and six days, in September 2022. Here, we talk to Amber about how she and Esteban named their babies.
Tell me how you named the triplets!
Children didn’t come easily for us. When we conceived and knew we had to name triplets, it was important to us that the names reflected the journey that we went through to bring them into our lives. It was important that their names have some kind of meaning behind them.
My husband is Hispanic and has Mexican heritage, and I’m from the Midwest. Esteban’s parents don’t speak the best English, and my parents don’t speak any Spanish. We needed names that sounded beautiful in both languages and weren’t too difficult for native speakers to pronounce.
When we picked Lucia, which means “light”, we felt like she was the light in the darkness for us. Lucia’s middle name, Sara, is Esteban’s grandmother’s name. She is a woman of faith and just turned 102. We wanted to honor her legacy.
Camila’s name means “servant” which ties into our faith. Her middle name, Deena, is my mom’s first name. Each of the triplets' middle names are family names.
Rafael means “God has healed”. That was meaningful to us because I really felt healed by being able to conceive and give birth to triplets. Esteban is my husband’s middle name, and we wanted Rafael to share his dad’s middle.
Did you consider any other names?
It’s very common to give multiples all the same initial. We toyed around with that idea — Esteban wasn’t nuts about it, but I thought it was kind of sweet.
We decided against it simply on a practical level. My parents could never remember which kid they were talking to and we all had different initials. It’s that times 100 when you have three that are the same age. So just for my own sanity, I wanted to choose different letters.
What were some of the challenges unique to naming triplets?
Giving someone a name feels like such a significant thing to do. We didn’t take that responsibility lightly, especially having been through the journey that we went through. It was especially difficult to come up with three names. It took us a long time.
Our girls are identical and we didn’t know who was going to be born first, or which name to give which baby.
Esteban and I had a miscommunication. I was under the impression that Baby A — whichever baby came out first, and we knew it would be a girl — would be Camila. But when they were born and the doctor asked Esteban the names, he said the first girl was Lucia. In my mind, it took me so long to remember that Lucia was my firstborn because mentally I had always anticipated that Camila would be the oldest.
Tell me more about the crosscultural aspects of naming the triplets
I really enjoy Spanish names but I did want my parents to be able to pronounce the names of their grandchildren. Their names are pronounced similarly in English and Spanish, but there are some differences.
Sometimes I get confused in my mind because I prefer to call my children their names with a Spanish accent. The trickiest one is my son. Rafael has a hard R in English, but in Spanish the R is rolled. It takes more effort to say but flows more naturally off of my tongue.
The funny thing is, I thought we picked names that were easy to pronounce for English speakers, but some people have a really hard time!
When you mix cultures and different types of people, everyone has to learn how to say something that is a little different. That’s the nature of my children’s names — they are from an interracial marriage, so that is the way they’ll grow up.
What are the trendy names in your social circle?
We know a lot of Becketts! City names are popular, like Austin, Boston, and Denver. A friend just named her daughter Atlas, which also feels like a place name!
Lucia, Camila, and Rafael are actually unique names in our circles.
What advice would you give someone who’s just starting the baby name process?
Don’t be afraid to take all the time you need. The right names will come to you at the right time.
How did you decorate the babies’ nursery?
The nursery was such a beautiful experience. When we moved into this house, I would sit in that room and just pray and think of what I wanted it to be full of one day — a child. Never could I have anticipated that it would be full of three children!
When I was designing it, I really wanted to give credence to the fact that I had spent a lot of time in there with many tears. It was not a happy room in my home. But designing it and preparing it for was very healing for my soul.
There is an arch above every crib. We have a rocking chair in there that I bought five years ago now, when we first started trying to have children, anticipating that it would soon be me and a baby rocking. That journey just took a lot longer than I thought it would.
Did the babies receive any special gifts?
The most special gift was handmade blankets from my mom. I grew up with handmade blankets from my grandmother, and when she passed away, my mom wanted to carry on the tradition of having blankets for each of her grandchildren.
When we found out we were going to have the babies, my mom was like, “Oh my gosh I have so little time! How am I going to do three blankets?” But she was excited to take on the challenge and completed them in time.
What are the cool things for parents and kids to do in your area?
I’m the most excited about enjoying the water when they’re a little bit older. We live in South Texas — it is hot here. Our town has rivers everywhere — they're one of the tourist attractions in our area, along with an awesome water park.
For now, I’m definitely excited to do the baby pool in the backyard, run the hose, and do all the water activities that we can.
Amber's (and Lucia, Camila, and Rafael's) Favorite Things
My Bebe self-feeding cushion
These pillows wrap around the babies' necks so they can feed themselves.
Mini cribs are awesome if you have a smaller living space. I didn’t realize how big cribs are until I started shopping for them!
Nyte Nyte Baby Sleep Suit
One of my favorite mom products is Frownies. They are basically a wrinkle preventative that is a sticker you wear on your face overnight. It “retrains” your muscles to age flat so your lines relax back into your skin. It’s all natural, no chemicals. I put on Frownies at night and that has helped calm my fine lines.
Thank you so much, Amber!