The Story Behind a Name | How We Chose a Name After Baby Loss

In the weeks leading up to Onyx's (unexpected) birth, Will and I talked about names. I wanted something that was unique, had a strong meaning and was relatively gender-neutral but nothing seemed to fit so we just called him "the baby".

Will suggested we go full force into baby naming mode after the anatomy ultrasound but unfortunately, life took a turn and on the day we were supposed to have the anatomy scan, I went into labor.

One of my last ultrasounds with Onyx

As we sat in the Emergency Room, I felt a sense of urgency in coming up with a name. Will, trying to stay positive, said something along the lines of "I don't want to think about names until he's born and that's still months away". I had hoped so too, but I gave birth the next day.

Onyx didn't have a name when he was born. We thought we had nine months to decide on the perfect name but turns out we only had five. Nurses kept asking us what his name was but there was so much going on that we weren't even thinking about names. We were too busy trying to memorize every inch of our baby who wasn't going home with us.

Onyx was a tiny 9.25 inches but he looked so long compared to what I imagined a 20 weeker would be!

Hours passed and eventually, as I was sitting in the hospital bed with Onyx in my arms, I came up with his name. He was no longer just "the baby" or "Baby Boy Mendoza", he became Onyx.

Black Onyx is a protection stone that aids in emotional support, especially during times of stress, confusion, and grief. Black Onyx is known to bring good fortune and help one recognize their own strength.

Onyx's astrology sign is associated with the earth element, so picking an earth-themed name was fitting. 

Having to name a baby who didn't survive is so overwhelming, it almost breaks you. You want to make sure their name is strong, that it is something memorable. Choosing a name is significant because it's a sort of proof that yes, my baby existed. I wanted to make sure we chose something that was unique enough to where we would probably never know another person with the same name but not too unique to where we'd never see it around the world. Onyx has been a perfect name for that.

No middle name, just Onyx. Four letters, two syllables. One powerful name for one amazing little human, born too soon.


  1. This was a beautiful post. I hope you don't mind if I share my story.

    My ex-husband and I lost our little one at just under 6 weeks. We had told almost no one we were pregnant, and kept quiet about the miscarriage. Due to this, and probably some shock, we didn't come up with a name then. It wasn't until maybe 5 years later, after I had become very vocal about our loss that I decided I wanted our child to have a proper name instead of always saying "the baby we lost" or "out stardust baby" or whatever else came out at the moment. We had always planned to name our children after Shakespeare characters because we met in person for the first time when I was in Much Ado About Nothing, and then we had our first kiss and started dating when we were both in Macbeth. It didn't take long to land on a perfect name for our baby, Puck. Puck is a mischievous imp who, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, causes a lot of uproar and confusion. The character is generally seen as not having a gender, which is perfect because I always visualize our Puck as a boy, and my ex always sees them as a girl.

    1. That is such a sweet story! I really like that you personalized their name to something that is important to your family's story. Thank you for sharing Puck's name with me <3