The middle name was easy. I don't remember when I made the decision, but at one point in my life I decided I wanted my oldest daughter's middle name to be LaRee, after my grandmother. Even though I've never met my grandmother in mortality, we have a very special relationship. During the pregnancy I sort of just knew I was having a girl, and once it was confirmed I felt like the little baby inside of me had a special relationship with my grandma LaRee as well. Alex was immediately on board with LaRee, and so since 20 weeks old Clara officially had part of her name.
Choosing a first name was a difficult process for us. I knew it would be before we even got pregnant. I'm that girl who's thought about what she would name her children for practically her entire life. I had notebooks filled with baby names. Once Alex and I were married I made a list on my phone of baby names I liked. I would try and talk to Alex about it on occasion, but he would just crack jokes and would never be really serious about it. The only progress I ever made was finding a boy name we both love. We basically have our oldest son named. Girl names on the other hand were always hard for us.
When we found out I was pregnant I wanted to immediately start talking names. Alex didn't act very interested, and I finally gave up and decided to wait until we knew the gender before I approached the subject again. Part of me was hoping we would have a boy so that we could just have the baby named, but the baby ended up being a girl! I tried talking to Alex about names again and we were just not getting anywhere. It was even harder because certain names we liked don't go well with LaRee. I finally came up with a plan and it worked brilliantly. We took a month and each came up with a list of at least three, no more than five legitimate name suggestions.
When we presented our names to each other we came in with open minds, but also knowing we were allowed to automatically veto one of the others names. I vetoed Ricki (Alex wasn't totally in love with this name, just thought it sounded cute with LaRee), and Alex vetoed Grace (I knew this would happen, but I at least tried one last time). I was a little on the fence about Madeline so I elected to drop it, and our list of three name possibilities was born:
We spent the next few months thinking about the names. I would occasionally ask Alex which name was currently his favorite. For a while he was really preferring Elizabeth, but around May he kept telling me he liked Clara. I definitely preferred Clara. It was the most unique and went really well with LaRee. But I really liked Elizabeth and Emma too and wanted to give them a fair chance. I also wanted the name to be 'right' for the baby. I thought really hard about each name, and even had a period of time where I thought each name was 'the one'. I eventually decided I didn't want to name her Elizabeth, because my preferred nickname was Ellie, and our only niece is named Ella. I thought that would be too confusing. I think I could have been persuaded to choose Emma, but Alex ended up being the one disinterested in it. Eventually we both preferred Clara so we decided we would name her that if we saw her and thought it was a good fit. And it was. We think it suits her very well and I can't imagine our Clara LaRee being named anything else!