I am overdue to post the birth story for our son. That will come soon, but for now, I wanted to begin by sharing the name story: how we arrived at the name we did for our son.

When we found out we were pregnant with our rainbow baby, we waited a bit before starting to discuss names. We had an initial “all is looking good” appointment and I believe we even waited to be sure we heard a heartbeat and knew there was development. We mused over a few and downloaded a fun app to get some ideas and mark what we liked and didn’t like.

We arrived on a girl name pretty quickly (by comparison). However the week of Christmas is when I found out the gender (I told my husband on Christmas Eve). While we found out it was a boy, it would be months before we finally decided on the name for our son.


I didn’t want a name that was overused, but I wanted a name that actually meant something. As in, it had a strong and intentional meaning. I can’t explain why that combination was so important to me, but it was. Add to the mix the separate likes and dislikes between my husband and myself, and finding a common ground of what we could actually consider naming — it is understandable that it took us quite some time to compile a short list.

Yet a short list, we did have. It was the same for weeks more, still not choosing the one. Early in the process, he had brought up a name and I didn’t not like it. I did like it, in fact, but I dismissed it because it was similar to a name that is somewhat common and I also had a friend who had named their son (who is only a couple of years older) a version of that same name. I don’t like copying others and I just remember it not making the list going forward.

Then, we’re back to months later with our short list. We went over and over those names. I remember overreacting when my husband told me he had told a couple of the names to the guys at work and they weighed in on it. I don’t know why it bothered me so much. He hadn’t done anything wrong by any means. I think I just didn’t want outside opinions making the decision for us, or deterring us one way or another.

One night we were unwinding at the end of the day, watching TV from opposite sides of the sectional sofa. (Me being pregnant, my back would hurt more and more – my one real symptom of pregnancy, so I would sit on the long side of the couch, streach my legs out and have my back propped up while he sat on the chaise section on the other end. Before pregnancy, I would sit on the seat beside him.) He brought up the name from all those months ago that I’d dismissed and it rang new in my ears. I liked it. I remember I had liked it before. I thought it through and I looked up the meaning and something started to click. I realized I was only hesitant to say no because of my friend who had named their son the similar one (spelled differently and a very, very slight pronunciation difference). I also came to the conclusion that it shouldn’t be a reason I say no. People have kids all the time and names are bound to be close or the same and it shouldn’t be reason enough. If I liked the name, that should be reason to keep it in the mix.

I read the meaning again and again and rolled it over in my mind. I felt different about it this time around. I felt my emotions swell and knew that it was the first time in this naming process that it happened – that I had a visceral feeling towards a name. For the first time, I could see myself calling his name down the hall years in the future and it sounding right. Sounding like it could be the one. I started to cry just a little, just a few tears and it was the final piece: I knew we’d found the first name for our son.

I walked over to his side of the couch, sat on the ottoman, took his hand and said, “I really like it. I think that’s the one.”

He wanted us to think about it for a few more days to be sure. He knew we weren’t rushing and we were intentional about the process. It is a big decision after all. Nothing changed though. That was the one.

Only a few days later we officially put the middle name with the first name and it was done. We had named our son and it was more real than anything else up to that point. The little one growing inside was identified in truth.

Jaxon Walter Gorham

I would call him Jax often. Though not exclusively.
Our Jax.
Our Jaxon.
Our joy.



So the meaning…here’s the reason it was our match:

God has been gracious. God has shown favor.
Graced by God.
The Lord Graciously Gave.

Poignant, intense words that spoke to our journey and that enveloped the hope I had for this child and the peace I knew of him. God has indeed been gracious. He walked with us in the valley of losing our first baby. A pit so deep that I will always carry it with me. Yet He was there in every step. Washing us anew, tending to us with abundant grace and mercy.

For a reason I’ll never fully grasp, he showed us the miraculous favor of being able to carry another child. Also unbeknownst to me, He allowed me to keep him safe until it was time to enter the world. Then, when I thought the hard part was over, two nights after he was born Jaxon was whisked away in the midnight hours to another hospital where he stayed in the NICU for a few days (another story for another day). And still – through it all, we were graced. He gave us this child to love, to hold, to nurture. It is a sincere miracle.

There are traits that are tied to baby names too from different sources I found when researching. For Jaxon, the traits were as follows:    pioneering    individualistic    bright    ambitious    courageous    spirited    independent    determined

We’re going to have our work cut out for us, aren’t we? I know that in honesty, a person is a person of his or her own. He will make is own traits and become his own person. He won’t be fully encompassed in a box of adjectives. Yet thinking on how his personality may turn out to be, is a privilege I do not take for granted.

For his middle name, Walter, we chose this after much discussion because it is my husband’s Dad’s middle name. My husband is one of many in a long line of James’ (& Jims). Yet my husband truly didn’t want to continue the path. I would have honored it, but he was adamant. He just didn’t want the same name. He wanted his own choice. Our own choice. Still, we wanted to honor our families and both sides were discussed as a possible contributing factor in his name.

We finally chose Walter, after his Dad, because not long ago, we almost lost him. Jim had suffered a severe heart attack while James and I were dating. A widow-maker – that’s what it’s called. As a matter of fact, Jim did code. Officially, he did die on the table….but the amazing team of Doctors brought him back. They worked so hard and so diligently. It is by God’s grace and the Doctor’s never-ending efforts, that he is still with us today.

That is no small miracle. It is a big one.

We had our own miracle growing and it was fitting that our son have the legacy of another miracle to be with him forever.

This is how Jaxon Walter came to be named. It’s a name chosen with care. It is a name that means our whole world.
God’s protection.

A name carries so much weight.



Featured Image: Photo by Allie on Unsplash

1 Comments on “What’s in a name…”

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