Sunday, April 24, 2016

Pregnancy Journey: Finding Out the Gender

When you're pregnant people always ask you, "Do you want a boy or a girl?"  This is a trick question, I tell you.  Because we all know the correct answer is, "I just want the baby to be healthy."  So if you have even just an itty bitty preference, you wind up feeling like a horrible person.  From the get-go I have kind of wanted a girl.  I tried not to care!  It's just that perusing through the baby aisles I couldn't help but be enchanted by the bows, tutus, and glitter.  Girl clothes are definitely more fun.  Plus, most of my strongest connections are with other females.  I felt that I could bond more with a baby girl.  Not to mention, I have liked our girl names better than our boy names.  So, hard as it was to admit, bad as I felt about it, I wanted a girl.

Despite my desires, all signs started to point to our baby being a boy.  My family all said they thought we were having a boy.  They said this because there are a lot of boys in our family.  One night, Philip and I both had dreams that we had a boy.  I tried to make myself okay with this idea.  Still, part of me was hopeful.

At about sixteen weeks I started getting crazy impatient about finding out the gender.  We had a big ultra sound appointment set up for a little after twenty weeks, but that seemed so far away.  You can't pick the name, design the nursery, buy any clothes, really, unless you know the gender.  It is sad that our world is so "gendered," but that's kind of the way it is.  Plus I was in one of the lulls of pregnancy.  Pregnancy can be a roller-coaster.  There are some really exciting points, like announcing it to your friends and getting the most Facebook likes of your life.  There are some really intense points, like when you can't stop puking and all you want to do is sleep.  Then there are some kind of boring parts.  Sixteen weeks was one of those for me.  

 My friends told me about this business in my hometown that just does Ultrasounds.  They can find out the gender for you as early as sixteen weeks.  I became obsessed with doing this.  Talk about instant gratification.  Instead of waiting another month, suddenly I could go and find out the gender--tomorrow!  Here's the catch:  it costs $75.  My very pragmatic husband couldn't see spending that kind of cash just to curb my impatience.  We had a doctor's appointment at eighteen weeks.  I thought, "If you can tell at sixteen weeks, maybe the doctor could just find out for us at our appointment."  At any rate, I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask.

So at the appointment I asked the doctor if she could do an ultra sound and maybe tell us the gender.  She agreed!  However, she prefaced it with this, "I am notoriously bad at this.  I have been wrong before.  I'll do my best, but don't buy anything or tell anyone."  She did the ultra sound and it was amazing.  The last ultra sound we had been to was like, "There's your baby!" *Doctor points to a small blob that resembles some sort of sea creature*  This time was completely different.  I could see fingers and toes.  Baby was moving around in there like crazy!  This was definitely a human, and it was definitely growing inside me.  Then, the doctor told us that she was 70% sure that our little one was a boy!  

I have to admit that I felt a mix of emotions in that moment.  I was so happy seeing the glowing silhouette of our child.  Honestly, though, I have to admit that when she said boy I was a little disappointed.  I was also scared.  I thought, "What do I do with a boy?"  I understand girls.  I know what it's like to be a girl.  I know what they need.  Boys are kind of a mystery to me.  A smelly, wild, hungry mystery.  I began to wonder if we would have a close relationship.  All of the people I'm closest to--with the exception of my husband and brothers--are girls. 

After these hormone-enhanced emotions faded, excitement began to set in.  I started dreaming about what our son would look like, what he would wear.  I started finding ideas for a woodsy boys' nursery.  I started narrowing down our names.  The beauty of knowing the gender was that I was able to begin to picture everything about my baby more clearly.

The day of the official ultra sound arrived--finally!  I was so eager and excited.  Thinking about it that morning, I actually hoped it was a boy.  It would have just been such a curve-ball at that point to find out the doctor had been wrong.  I had already planned a boy's nursery.  I had been pinning baby boy outfits.  We had told a few family members and friends that we were pretty sure we were going to have a son.  I was mentally prepared to hear the doctor say, "It's a boy."

Once we arrived at the hospital, we were kept in the waiting room for over half an hour, but it felt like days.  I checked my phone about every five minutes.  Then they called me in and the show started.  I got a full hour of screen time, just staring at my child.  For the first time in this pregnancy I felt such a strong connection to our baby.  Seeing the close-up profile of his little face, I could picture our baby so clearly.  I imagined holding him in my arms.  I didn't even realize I was emotional, but I had to keep wiping tears that were leaking down the side of my face.  About a third of the way through, we got a pretty clear shot of baby's junk, and the doctor informed us that we were indeed having a boy.  Surprisingly, I felt nothing but love in that moment.  

This transition into parenthood continues to be a journey.  I realize now that people are right when they say that the gender doesn't matter.  Sure, I'm going to have to learn a thing or two about raising a wild little man, but I have my husband, brothers, and fathers to help me.  Now, I guess I really am just hoping that our baby will be healthy.  One thing is for sure though, I will love him no matter what.  In fact, as strange as it is, since we've never formally met, I think I already do.

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