Mac was crying so hard when she told him he had to ask her to repeat herself because he simply could not make out the words at all. In fact, it took about ten more minutes, during which he came close to sheer panic by running every possible tragic scenario in his head before he finally caught the words "baby", "nine weeks" and "September". When he eventually managed to calm her it was his turn to sob for the next half hour. They both cried with happiness over the miracle. They both cried with fear because it was the second one and they were terrified it would be snatched away from them much as the first had been a year ago.
The days passed and turned into more weeks. Then months. The doctors were optimistic, though cautious. Bed rest was strongly advocated from the very first months and so she gave up her command in the San Diego office at the next opportunity, going into inactive reserves.
She was about four months pregnant when Harm suggested over blueberry pancakes: "Do you think we could call her Sarah?"
Mac's eyes met his, confused for a second, then she asked: "Why?"
"It is the most beautiful name I know," he said, his voice and eyes full of tenderness. It was the truth. It was the name he loved the best, not because of its literal meaning, but because it stood for strength and determination and magnificence. It stood for love. He was dismayed when she shook her head. It was his turn to ask the reason.
"Bud and Harriet."
Of course. How could he not have remembered? There has already been a baby named after Mac. And although she had lived for only a few minutes, although it had been years, she was ever-present in the thoughts of their parents, their closest friends. They could not do this to them.
"Anyway, it might be a boy," Mac smiled, trying to dispel the sombre mood.
"And what would you name him?" he asked, just as eager to return the sense of peace and mirth to the conversation. Mac narrowed her eyes mischievously.
His face expressed nothing but pure horror.
"You would subject our child to that?"
A second later he joined in her burst of laughter. Roger Rabb was definitely not happening, possibly to a great disappointment of any future school bullies. From that day on, however, the Rabb-Mackenzie household became a playground for the game of names.
The next morning Harm found "Humbert" written on a note in the book he was reading. He used the back of the same note to write "Melvina" and then he left it on Mac's night table. "Barry" appeared in one of his case files and she found "Fanny" among her undies, naughtiness not at all lost on her. Needless to say, Captain Rabb did not get much sleep that night, but he did not complain. The days went on and there was "Cunigunde" on the fridge and "Adolf" in his breast-pocket. "Theodelinda" popped out of a box of cereal and "Cecil" was waiting under the computer keyboard.
She was six months along when the doctor told them the baby was a girl. Mac's health was excellent, considering everything, and it was decided that if there would be no serious complications, she would only need to be admitted to the hospital for her final four weeks of pregnancy. Meanwhile, Harm relocated his family from a spacious, but lovely apartment building, to his parent's house, making sure that there would always be someone he trusted at hand when he was at work.
As the baby in Mac's body grew and started to move, the game of names changed. there were no longer any boy names and the funny and antiquated ones slowly gave way to the ones they seriously considered for the daughter. Quickly they realized they also wanted more than just a pretty name. It had to have a strong meaning too. There were both "Victoria" and "Berenice" to signify the victory the baby's birth would be for them. They liked "Esther" and "Ashi" and "Noor". They found "Charlotte", "Grace" and "Hannah" to have an alluring old-fashioned charm. Names in Farsi, names in English, names from various other languages, they went through baby books and internet blogs. So many gorgeous names (and some insane ones). Which one would be perfect for their baby girl? Could they really choose the right one? Could they both agree on it? Or would Mac bring her to the world nameless and then they would just write something down into the official documents, because "Baby Girl" was not really a name?
It was only a few days before Mac was scheduled to move into the hospital for the last stage of her pregnancy, to be closely monitored and looked after. Harm was in the shower, the hot steam settling over the small room, making the air humid and the large mirror over the sink blind with misty sheen. Mac just finished brushing her teeth, when she felt her baby move inside her. No matter how often it happened these days, it would always feel as amazing as the very first time. The laid her palms on her rounded belly. Baby Girl was a tiny creature in there. Mac closed her eyes and focused on nothing but her daughter.
She knew the perfect name.
When Harm stepped out of the shower a few minutes later Mac had already left the bathroom. But when his eyes, reddened from the hot water and shampoo, focused, he read the most perfect name written on the misty mirror.
Mere two weeks later she arrived, amidst much pain and anguish and joy. Tiny. Fragile. Beautiful.
They called her Corrie for short.
While Harm kept explaining to everyone that his daughter was a true "Jewel of the Sea", Mac insisted her girlie had "The Heart of a Lion".
They never got to play the game of names again. But Cordelia Mackenzie-Rabb, with the brightest smile and dark brown eyes, was more than they had ever hoped for.