When Hoda Kotb suprised the world this morning with news that she had adopted a newborn baby girl, fans near and far erupted with applause and celebration. To break the amazing announcement to her co-workers and family at TODAY, Hoda called in and shared a picture of herself cradling the sweet newborn in her arms.
The baby girl, born on Valentine's Day, is named Haley Joy, and is "the love of my life," Kotb said through tears.
A short time later, Hoda called back in to the show and shared more details about her new daughter with hosts Kathie Lee Gifford and Jenna Bush Hager, including the story behind her daughter's name.
"Haley is because of Halley's Comet and it was one of those things that I just picture her sailing through the sky," Kotb said.
And in keeping with tradition, H names are a popular alliteration in the Kotb family. Hoda's sister is Hala, and her neice is Hannah, for example.
The middle name was chosen because of the girl's sweet disposition, and for what she brings to Hoda and the family.
"She brings us joy," Kotb said. "She’s got a beautiful way about her."
So, what's in a name? Haley has an English derivation and, in its authentic form, denotes natural elements like hay, wood, or a meadow.
The name caught on in popularity in the United States in the mid-1980s, after Halley's Comet made news for breaking through the atmosphere and giving people around the world a glimpse at a rare astral event that only happens once every 75 years.
According to Nameberry.com, Haley ranked #279 in popularity in the US in 2015, after peaking at #28 in 2000.
Kotb isn't the only one who cherishes the name Haley (or its homonym, Hayley). Other popular Hayleys include English actress Hayley Mills, Paramour lead singer Hayley Williams and film actor Haley Joel Osment. Hayley Vaughn was one of the most popular soap opera characters to ever exist, and was portrayed by actress and talk show host Kelly Ripa on the ABC soap opera "All My Children" from 1990-2002.
Other celebrities who have given their children this same name include musician Pat Benatar, newscaster Paula Zahn, country musician Ronnie Dunn formerly of the duo Brooks & Dunn, and comedian Bill Hader, who named his daughter Hayley Clementine.
Recently, Kotb has been absent from the show, but remained active on social media posting inspirational quotes and messages, which may have left fans wondering what she was up to. One inspirational post read: "And suddenly you just know it's time to start something new and trust the magic of beginnings."
One of the most recent ones stated something far more special: "For all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you."
"I didn't know my heart could feel like this," Kotb shared with her TODAY family on the air this morning.
"With all the love I've ever had in my life, I never imagined that I could feel this ... it's like a warm hand on my heart. I'm over the moon."