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How I Named My Baby: Millie Valentina

May 5, 2020 Sophie Kihm
How I named my baby

Hilda Skvagerson was born and raised in Sweden and now lives in California with her partner Michael. Last summer they welcomed their first child, Millie Valentina.

Here, Hilda answers our questions about naming her daughter.

How long did it take you to decide on a name?
The entire pregnancy plus a day or so after she was born. We spent day after day talking baby names. It was almost the hardest part of pregnancy — ha! When she was finally born at 36 weeks we ended up with a completely different name than the “narrowed down list” we came to the hospital with. She came out via C-section after 36 hours in labor and the nurses jokingly said “she’s tiny like a millimeter” because she was only 5 pounds and 18 inches, and that’s when we both said “OMG! She’s a Millie!”

What name did you hate to let go of?
Paisley. I wanted Paisley so bad. I thought it was so cute and unique, and my dad always wore paisley patterned shirts when I was growing up. And after my first ultrasound (where she just looked like a little squiggly line at 7 weeks) I brought the picture home to my parents and I’ll never forget my dads response after I said, “it looks like a jellybean” — he said, “no — it looks like a paisley.” From that moment my heart wanted the baby to be named Paisley if it was a girl. But my SO wasn’t all about it sadly. I kept saying “once you’ve seen me give birth you’ll let me name her whatever I want” so she was pretty much Paisley until she came out and Millie was just the most obvious thing in the world.

What would your baby be named if it was totally up to you? If it was up to your partner?
Totally up to me — Paisley Belle
Totally up to MikeArabella Rose (Because of the song Arabella by Arctic Monkeys and Rose after his mom)

How do you feel about your own name and how did that influence your choice?
Growing up I have always been the only Hilda. The only Hilda in my neighborhood, in my entire elementary school, high school and even college. The very few times I have heard of another Hilda it has felt like “no that’s my name!? How can someone else identify with that?” and I wanted Millie to feel the same. Now, I know Millie is not nearly as rare as Hilda, but it is not in the top 100 so I felt she would be safe from going to school with another Millie. Unlike her dad, Michael, there’s a billion of those out there and it’s something he has disliked about his name.

Did your feelings about any of the names on your list shift over time?
I initially loved Arabella (Michael‘s fave). But over time it started feeling “not me” to name my baby that, and the name felt a little rough/intense. We had a few complications during pregnancy and the baby just felt so fragile so I needed something softer and gentler for her.

What would your baby be named if it was the opposite gender?
Theodore or Lennox. Theodore if Michael could decide, and Lennox if it was up to me.

Did you decide on middle name(s) before the first name, or vice versa?
No, we didn’t have either a first or middle that we really liked and agreed on. All the names we finally narrowed down to/agreed on, we put together with a middle name. But we did not have one set middle name and several first names we were deciding between. All of our first names we liked had a different middle name paired with it. Paisley Vera, Arabella Rose, Stella Blue, Harlow Noelle, Emilia Belle… and so on.

What are the trendy names in your social circle?
Earthy & unique and possibly unisex names (like Willow, Navi, Luna, Sage, Everly). And something that can create trendy nicknames. My best friend’s baby is Kinsley Josefa, and they call her KJ or Kinsley Jo. Super cute. I try to copy by calling MillieMillie Vee” or “MV” but it doesn’t sound as cute!

What was your biggest fear related to baby names?
Having a name that wouldn’t work in English, Spanish & Swedish. Since we both come from homes with other languages it was important that her grandparents on both sides could pronounce the name properly. Another big fear was that my absolute favorite name that I couldn’t let go of would be vetoed by my partner. Which pretty much happened, but now in retrospect I couldn’t see Millie as anything else.

What’s the worst/funniest name suggestion you received?
Michael suggested Katherine and my mom was very insistent on Victoria (crown princess of Sweden), and I just thought those were both so “boring” and old fashioned. Then one weekend we were visiting my grandparents and my grandma pulled out a name book she used 45+ years ago, and they said I had to close my eyes and open the book at random and pick the one I pointed at…I got HEPSIBETH. It was a close runner up — not ?

Which partner had more fun with the baby name process?
Me! I spent hours looking at names and putting together first and middle names and testing them out by talking to her through the belly using the names I liked.

What was the most surprising part of the baby name process?
The most surprising part of the baby naming process was that nothing truly “clicked” until we saw her face, and none of the names we “brought to the hospital” with us was what we chose. Something completely different came to be when we saw her and got to know her. I think it is important to consider and be a bit flexible until you meet your baby. I’m always confused when people announce the name as soon as they know the gender, I think to myself “wait, what if the baby doesn’t look like a XYZ when you meet him/her?”

Thank you so much, Hilda!

About the author

Sophie Kihm

Sophie Kihm has been writing for Nameberry since 2015. She has contributed stories on the top middle names of 2019, the top baby names in each state, and the hottest nickname names of 2018. Sophie is Nameberry’s resident Name Guru to the Stars, where she suggests names for celebrity babies. She also manages the Nameberry Instagram and Pinterest. You can follow her personally on Instagram or Pinterest, or contact her at sophie@nameberry.com. Sophie lives in Chicago.

View all of Sophie Kihm's articles

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