What’s in a name?

Growing up I didn’t really have a nickname. But that didn’t last for very long when I started university. It was a bit of a ritual to be given a nickname in the first few weeks. And almost 20 years on (ok that really makes me feel old!), mine still refuses to be forgotten. To be honest I don’t mind. I quite like it actually.


Don’t worry, I’ll explain. Without boring you too much, in Fresher’s Week there was an event at the Student Union bar. I’d maybe had a wee bit too much to drink (it was Fresher’s Week after all) and maybe got a wee bit too feisty with some students from a ‘rival’ hall of residence. A few weeks later it was reported in our Hall newsletter that the Ginger Ninja from Burnley had started a fight. And so the Ninja part stuck. Ok so the part about me starting a fight wasn’t strictly quite true, but I wasn’t going to let an elaboration of the truth get in the way of a good urban legend … and a good nickname!

Some of my close friends don’t even use my real name (I think they have forgotten what it is). They have even taught their children to call me Auntie Ninja. I wonder if they will still use it when I am sat in my rocking chair with grandchildren at my feet!

2 Rainbow picture

Two rainbows (I didn’t take this… I wish I had!)


So where does the title of my blog come from? An Angel and Two Rainbows. The name describes our children. Our Angel – Ewan, our eldest son who died before he was born and his two younger brothers Dylan and Jude, our Rainbows . The term ‘Rainbow baby’ is used to describe a baby that is born following a still birth, infant death or miscarriage. I had never heard this term before until I became pregnant with Dylan (our second baby). The rainbow represents beauty, colour and brightness following the darkness and misery of a storm. I keep finding these words below on the internet. I’m not sure where it comes from:

“Rainbow Babies” is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm.

When a rainbow appears, it doesn’t mean the storm never happened or that the family is not still dealing with its aftermath.

What it means is the something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds.

Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of colour, energy and hope.

I can’t remember when I first heard the term, but I think it is such a lovely description. Some friends of ours tragically lost their baby boy about 18 months after Ewan died. A year later they had a baby girl – they gave her Rainbow as a middle name. How beautiful and special for her.

I’d been musing about a blog title for a few days and wasn’t happy with anything I thought of. Then, when I was out for a run, with my head clear the name just popped into my brain. I knew straight away given the things that I wanted to write about, it was the perfect name. I was so happy that I ran an extra lap around the reservoir!

When I was pregnant, Ewan was always our number one boy’s name. I remember being on holiday when I was about 8 weeks pregnant and we started to tentatively and excitedly talk about names. We knew we probably shouldn’t at that early stage. Anyway there was no contest with Ewan and Adam and I were in complete agreement.

We found out that Ewan had died two days before he was born. Friday 14th January 2011. We spent the weekend at home before we went back into hospital on the Sunday to give birth. We decided to finalise names before going in. Adam and I had an agreement early on that we would be honest with each other and talk about anything, no matter how we felt. We talked about how we weren’t sure whether to use the name Ewan (I think I was the one who brought it up). Because it was our favourite name. The one we had always wanted. If we used it for our baby who wasn’t going to live, then we couldn’t use it again if we were lucky enough to have another boy. So we started to think of other names. I can’t even recall what the suggestions were. It doesn’t really matter because we quickly realised that none of them seem right. So we decided to go with our first choice.

A few days later after Ewan was born, Adam said to me that he was so glad that we went with our hearts and chose our favourite name. Because it was our special name and our angel was, and will always be, so very special. If we had chosen any other name, it would have been like saying Ewan was second best. When he was anything but. In hindsight it now seems almost ridiculous that we had that initial conversation. Why did we ever think that we wouldn’t call him Ewan? But also in hindsight I remember that we were in a state of real shock and despair, and that helps me understand.

Whilst we were able to pick Ewan’s name easily, it took us a long time to agree on Dylan and Jude, our two Rainbows. Not down to me I might add. Adam was the fussy one (you know the episode of Friends where Ross and Rachel are trying to pick names? – Adam veto-ed almost everything I suggested!). I love all three names, but Ewan? It’s just that extra bit special.

2 responses to “What’s in a name?

  1. Rachel it is such a beautiful name and represents your 3 boys that is just perfect x